2022: a Year of New Old Music

In 2021, I obtained a job. This is my first actual job and now I have actual money. With this money that I now have, many purchases have been made. In 2022 I started to purchase random physical media from thrift stores and various media stores. I want to introduce myself to new music and film that I most likely would not have found out about if it were not for me stumbling upon it at such store.

In regards to music, I have listened to a lot of new things in 2022. I try to make it my mission to buy a random CD each time I go to Goodwill, but that has mostly resulted in complete duds. I mainly see Christmas music and pop acts that I really do not care for there so it can be difficult to find something that actually is interesting. I have also bought many records this year. It is easier to find more intriguing music in that area than in the CD area when it comes to my tastes, but the one caveat is that they love to skip. This year I also purchased a portable tape recorder so I opened up my media collection to something that I hadn’t had access to before. I am quite excited to explore the world of audio cassette tapes in the future.

There are three albums that I listened to for the first time in 2022 that I really want to talk about. They have been my favorite albums from that year and I listened to them more than anything else. The three albums are Feelings by David Byrne, Beat Melody by the G & M, and Un gelato al limon by Paolo Conte.

The cover of Feelings by David Byrne. It is a picture of a plastic doll of Byrne with the album title above him.Let us start with Feelings (1997) by David Byrne since it is our one album in English. In 2021 I found a copy of Uh-Oh at Goodwill so that was my introduction to Byrne's solo work. I have not heard much Talking Heads besides Remain in Light which I had on my iPod when I was a kid and I did find a CD copy of it in 2022. For some reason I have not found any other Talking Heads albums in the wild and I hope to find some in 2023. I really enjoyed Uh-Oh so it was nice to find more of his work at other stores. I also purchased American Utopia the same day I got Feelings, but that album did not quite stick as much.

I was not completely amazed by this album at first, but after many listens I understood it much better. I felt the same way when I listened to Uh-Oh. It is quite rare for me to be completely in love with a song or album upon first listen. My favorites on this album are "Miss America" and "The Gates of Paradise." The latter mentions angels in it so of course I would love that song. I also really love the album art. It is an interesting concept with the David Byrne doll and the "mood computer" that is on the disc tray. Each color is labeled with a feeling and you are supposed to spin the CD and land on one of the feelings. The songs on the back of the case are also labeled with these colors so I assume that these are the emotions felt in the songs. I am not so sure if this is what the listener is supposed to feel or if it is how the narrator feels. I just think this album is really good.

The disc tray picture of Feelings by David Byrne. It is a circle of different colors broken up in four sections. Each section has a face of a Byrne doll with different expressions.

The next two albums I am going to talk about are both Italian and only upon writing this did I actually read the liner notes in Feelings to find out that Byrne had sampled an Italian song in his song "Fuzzy Freaky." The song that he sampled was "Nel bene e nel male" by Cristiano De André. So obviously I can not escape Italy even when I am listening to something that is not even Italian.

The cover of Beat Melody by the G & M. It is mainly black with a repeating photo of the band on the right and the album title with the band name in between the repeating photo.The second album that I want to talk about is Beat Melody (1966) by the G & M. This year I got into Guido and Maurizio De Angelis (they are most known underneath the name Oliver Onions). They mostly do film scores so I still have a lot of their stuff to look into, but I have already heard their more well known songs. I got into them through YouTube. It recommended me their song "Dune Buggy" which is from the film ...altrimenti ci arrabbiamo! I was curious as to why the song title was in English, but the film title was in Italian so I clicked on it. Of course, I found the song to be very good so I looked more into them. Beat Melody was the first LP that they released. They made one single before it in 1963 titled "Un vecchio macinino/La goccia d'acqua." These were made when they were teenagers so they sound quite young especially on their first single. In the 1970s is when they started doing film scores and they did write some songs for other artists.

Beat Melody starts off with a cover of "The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)" in Italian. I believe The Casuals were the first to cover this song in Italian so I assume the De Angelis brothers heard that first and decided to cover it. The second song is "Principessa" which is a cover of "Land of 1000 Dances" (another song that The Casuals did a cover of, but they did their cover in English instead of Italian like the De Angelis brothers). There are a few other covers on this album, but I wanted to mention those two songs since I am a native English speaker and any other native English speakers reading this might be familiar with those songs.

I think their two covers of those English songs were based off of the covers by The Walker Brothers. Their cover of "Land of 1000 Dances" has la's instead of na's in it and sounded more like the G & M cover so I assume they were listening to that one instead of the other versions of that song. I also think that the cover of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" by The Walker Brothers was the most popular version at that time and it is also the same band so they had to have been listening to their versions.

My favorite song on this album is "C'è qualche cosa." I really enjoy the drums on this track and I think it could easily be turned into a punk song and sped up a bit. I think Guido is mainly singing on this album. I can not tell that well because he doesn't have that old man sounding voice that he has on their music from the 1970s and 1980s, but he is the older brother and Maurizio sings in a higher register so it probably is him. I assume Maurizio does some of the backing vocals. I also think that this is a good album to listen to if you are trying to learn Italian because they don't sing that fast and I think they enunciate well enough that you can understand what is being said in their songs.

After I got into the De Angelis brothers, I have been listening to their music almost every morning before work while putting my clothes on. I highly recommend their album Santa Maria if you really enjoy 1970s pop rock, but would prefer to hear it in Italian instead of English and also if you need an album to add to your collection of album covers with tits on them. My favorite song on that album is "Ragù" which has female backing vocals on it which is something that was lacking on Beat Melody. They don’t use female backing vocals that much, but when they do I love it so much! If you go onto their Discogs (if you are underneath the name Oliver Onions and not any of their other aliases) or onto Wikipedia and see that the other albums listed are See You Later and Six Ways (this one was released underneath the name Bulldozer in some countries), those two albums are completely in English. Some songs on those albums do have Italian versions, though. The track listings are different on some releases, but I only listened to the Italian releases since that is where they are from and those two albums are also incredibly great.

The cover of Un gelato al limon by Paolo Conte. It is a picture of Conte at his piano with some drums behind him. The album title and artist name is in the bottom left corner.The last album that I wanted to talk about was Un gelato al limon (1979) by Paolo Conte. I learned about Paolo Conte through Robert Benigni. Conte has multiple songs in Benigni's film Tu mi turbi which are "Il grande Barnum," "Sparring Partner" (an English version is used in the film), and "le Chic et le Charme" and Benigni did a cover of Conte's song "Via con me" for the film. Benigni also has a song called "Mi piace la moglie di Paolo Conte" which translates to "I like Paolo Conte's wife" so clearly this man is a big fan of Conte...and also his wife. After I got into Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, I thought to go back and actually listen to Paolo Conte since he is one of the few Italian musicians that I know of and I wanted to listen to more Italian musicians in general.

I have only heard a few albums by Conte and have been going in chronological order, but Un gelato al limon has stuck with me. It feels a lot different than the other albums I have heard by him. Most of his songs seem to be quite quiet and this album seems to have more "loud" songs than he usually does. I am not so sure if I am correct in this statement, but that is how it feels to me. This album just has a great opener that really pulls you in. The second song, "Bartali," is one of the best songs I have ever heard in my entire life.

I don't know how to describe his music. I usually just say he makes jazz music, but I would not be able to tell you what sub-genre of jazz it would be. It is mainly him on his piano plus a few other instruments and maybe some backing vocals. It's very lounge and quiet, not a rowdy and frantic type of jazz. Although, some songs of his can stray from my description on what his music is like. His music is what I would imagine Italians would be listening to in clubs in the 1930s. His music is also what comes to mind when someone just says the word "music." This is what the default is to me for some reason. I think his voice is a bit funny sounding. He does that sing-talk thing sometimes, but I think that is because at times there are just so many words and syllables mashed together that it might be hard to break it up. I do not think he is easy to understand compared to Guido and Maurizio De Angelis for any of the people out there who are trying to learn Italian like me. I am sure we will understand him better eventually. Also, if you need another album to add to your collection of albums with tits on the cover then Conte has his album Paris Milonga just for you.

Ween on stage. Gene Ween is on the left, Dean Ween is in the middle, and Dave Dreiwitz is on the right. Claude Coleman is in the back on the drums. The bottom half of the photo is just the dark heads of people in the crowd. Ween on stage all standing in a line. From left to right: Gene Ween, Glenn McClelland, Dean Ween, Claude Coleman, and Dave Dreiwitz.

Another music related thing from this year that did not really go along with the physical media portion of this is that I got to see Ween! We went to an outdoor venue which I hadn't been to one before (although, this was my third concert so I don't really have much live music experience in general). I did not really enjoy it that much. I truly love Ween with all my heart, but I just could not pay attention to them at that venue. I was zoning out so much. I hope to see them again at a different venue and I also hope to get there earlier and assert my dominance as a semi-major, kinda leaning more towards casual, Ween fan.

I also felt so out of place there. I am an adult, but I am a very young adult and I just can not relate to all of the forty years, possibly late thirty year olds, that surrounded me there. I am not adult enough to be at a three hour long smoking and drinking session unless it was just me and my friends and maybe some friends of friends even though I do not really drink nor smoke. My mind could only pay attention to the crowd and the interesting looking figures that danced among me. The guy in front of me had a mullet and a really cool moustache and he was wearing a red 1980s looking nylon tracksuit. I saw another guy there that looked a bit like Wayne Coyne. There was another guy who was balding, but he had green liberty spikes which I thought was super cool.

Also at this show I realized how much they did not talk on stage. The MC Bat Commander must talk for hours. John Flansburgh needs to practice his stand-up in between songs or else he will combust. Gene and Dean Ween will not say anything at all. I didn’t really watch any of their live shows online beforehand besides some few singular songs or some television things so I was unaware of how their performances went.

What I hope for in 2023 is to purchase more CDs of bands that I like especially in the wild instead of having to rely on online marketplaces. I also want to go to record stores and multi media stores more often, but those are further away from me than thrift stores so we will see how that goes. I also want to finally get a turntable for my room. We do have a turntable, but it is in the living room which my father occupies most of the time so I rarely ever use it.

I would like to continue listening to more of Ween's unreleased works, their live performances, their tapes from the 1980s, and other various things so I can be less of a casual fan and more of a knowledgeable fan. I just want to get more into them because I enjoy them a lot.

I also want to listen to more of Paolo Conte since I still have a lot more to dig into. Same with Guido and Maurizio De Angelis. I have only seen one film that they did the score for and that was Zorro (1975). I really enjoyed that film and I think it has a great soundtrack. The soundtrack kind of sounds like video game music at some parts. It reminded me of being in Agrabah in Kingdom Hearts II.

I do have a list of bands and solo musicians that do intrigue me, but I am not so sure if I will ever get around to them. I want to get into more Italian artists as practice with listening to people speaking it. I also want to listen to more newer bands so I don't seem like one of those people who say they were born in the wrong generation even though I was somewhat like that when I was younger. I have money now so I can easily purchase music from smaller bands so I don't have to deal with any streaming sites. The problem is that I just don't gravitate towards new music that much. Most of the stuff that I find in thrift stores and multi media stores are of older musicians so that is what I end up listening to.