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Songs Of The Week: A Tournament Of Music

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Songs Of The Week: A Tournament Of Music

Songs Of The Week: A Tournament Of Music

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JACKI LYDEN, host:

If those guys can make a tournament, we thought we'd devise one of our own creation. How about Song of the Week? I'm here with my co-judge…

STEPHEN THOMPSON: Stephen Thompson.

LYDEN: Hey, Stephen.

THOMPSON: Hello, Jackie.

LYDEN: You're the curator of Song of the Day on our very own Web site, nprmusic.org, and that's something that you do Monday through Friday and actually make a living at. So we asked you to come here and pick your song of the week.

THOMPSON: It was a terrible, terrible job.

LYDEN: Someone has to do it.

THOMPSON: I know.

LYDEN: So can we just kind of do the runner-up thing?

THOMPSON: The runners up, and I love these. I don't like to rank them. You know, they're like my children. But here's "Oh, Ramona" by a one-man band called the Hospital Ships; "Do Something" by the band Smoking Popes, and "Dying is Fine" by a wonderful band called Ra Ra Riot.

(Soundbite of song "Oh, Ramona")

Unidentified Man #1 (Singer): (Singing) Oh, Ramona. Where have you been?

(Soundbite of song, "Do Something)

Unidentified Man #2 (Singer): (Singing) You make me want to do something. You make me want to scream. You make want to break something.

(Soundbite of song, "Dying is Fine")

Unidentified Man #3 (Singer): (Singing) Death oh baby. You know that dying is fine but maybe. I wouldn't like death if death were good. Not even if death were good.

LYDEN: So I've got to say I like this "Dying is Fine" by Ra Ra Riot.

THOMPSON: Oh, it's a wonderful song.

LYDEN: I would have picked it for Friday.

(Soundbite of laughter)

THOMPSON: When you're thinking about death?

LYDEN: When I'm thinking about the end of the week. What's the line here?

THOMPSON: The song is built around a line in an E.E. Cummings poem, and the line is, Oh baby, I wouldn't like death if death were good. And there's actually a sad story behind the band where one of their members died. It's ultimately this very stirring kind of sweetly uplifting songs where the strings kind of fuel this wonderful kind of heart-swelling rock song. And I love it.

LYDEN: Yeah. I really like it, too. Good, we have agreement, my co-judge.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: How much does the music turn against in your own mood influence your picks? I mean, does Monday sound different from Friday? Does a good day sound different from a day of sorrow?

THOMPSON: A day of sorrow. I mean, I would say seasons probably influence it more than day of the week. Around this time of year, it's really great to do songs that evoke springtime.

LYDEN: Okay. Delightful, pushing up daisies, daffodils.

THOMPSON: Pushing up daisies?

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: Well, I was thinking of the "Dying is Fine" song.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: Drum roll time now. What is your pick of the week?

THOMPSON: My pick of the week is a Swedish band called Marching Band, and this particular song is called "Make No Plans." And the chorus just goes, I'll call you on the phone. Make no plans tomorrow. And it's just this very innocent, charming, almost sort of childlike pop song.

(Soundbite of song, "Make No Plans")

Unidentified Man #4 (Singer): (Singing) (Unintelligible). I'll call you on the phone. Make no plans tomorrow. I'll call you on the phone. Make no plans tomorrow.

LYDEN: I've got to say, your tastes are different than mine. I think this is saccharine.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: I think it sounds (unintelligible).

THOMPSON: I tend to like it one way or another. I either like it to make my heart explode with joy, or I like it to just absolutely crush me under the weight of gallons of tears.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: All right, let me see. Here's my song of the week. It's Thursday's pick, Tracy Chapman. This is from her latest album, "Our Bright Future.

THOMPSON: What I love about this Tracy Chapman song, it's a very simple song. There's not a lot of narrative to it, unlike what you sometimes think of when you think of her music.

(Soundbite of song, "Sing For You")

Ms. TRACY CHAPMAN (Singer): (Singing) Sweet and high at the break of dawn. Super tune that you can hum along to. I remember, there was a time when I used to sing for you.

LYDEN: Well Stephen Thompson, I hope you'll come back again and play some more of your selections for us.

THOMPSON: I would love to.

LYDEN: Stephen Thompson is the editor for NPR Music online, and you can sign up for the song of the day newsletter and explore this week's picks at nprmusic.org.

(Soundbite of song, "Sing For You")

Ms. CHAPMAN: (Singing) I used to sing for you.

LYDEN: And parting words tonight from Charlie Brown. Here's what he said to Snoopy. The floodwaters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.

That's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

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