For better or worse, we’re all in this together.
We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.
Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.
Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:
Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
Something Borrowed: A cover song.
Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.
John Lennon | "Watching The Wheels (Acoustic)"
"Watching The Wheels" was the third single off Double Fantasy, the album released just three weeks before John was murdered in December 1980. The song was released as an official single three months later with cover artwork that bore a photo of a smiling John and Yoko casually leaving their home in The Dakota. The photo was taken by Paul Goresh who also took the infamous photo of John signing an autograph for his killer Mark David Chapman. In 1998 the John Lennon Anthology was released which contained rarities, B-sides, demos, and all kinds of found recordings spanning from 1969 to 1980. The acoustic demo of "Watching The Wheels" swapped the sleek production of the album version with an earlier raw recording of John singing and playing acoustic guitar. It feels much more honest when he proclaims he no longer has the same egotistical drive he once had to be the most famous musician on the planet. "People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away/ Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me/ When I tell that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall/ Don't you miss the big time, boy, you're no longer on the ball?" could be seen as a callback to "People say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one." John continued to proclaim that he was not interested in what others thought of him or what he should do with his life. The difference here is that in this song he's not dreaming about world peace; he's just hanging out at home with his wife and young son playing the guitar, far more content in the shadows than the limelight.
The Arcs | "Lake Superior"
If you haven't been watching Netflix's Making a Murderer you are clearly out of touch with America's current obssession with serialized true crime documentaries. This docuseries joins the ranks of Serial and The Jinx with gripping the zeitgeist's attention and turning the national conversation to disturbing murders, police corruption, and miscarriages of justice. So much fun! So addicting! Anyways, Black Keys' singer Dan Auerbach's new side project The Arcs wrote a song about Making a Murderer's protagonist Steven Avery and how "Your alibi, will never do / When the whole town’s got it out for you."
Bon Iver's Justin Vernon | "Inside Out" (Spoon cover)
Indie rock band Spoon's "Inside Out" is the second track of their 2014 album They Want My Soul. About a year after the album was released, Grammy Award winner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver released a short, stripped down cover filmed in an empty amphitheater where the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival would take place later that year in Wisconsin. Vernon's version echoes through the night giving the song a more somber, haunting take.
Gallant feat. Sufjan Stevens | "Blue Bucket of Gold"
LA R&B singer Gallant toured with indie folk phenom Sufjan Stevens to promote Stevens' beautifully heartbreaking album Carrie & Lowell this past Fall. "Blue Bucket of Gold" is the final track on that album and sticks to the themes of loss, despair, and death. The sparse live version with Gallant singing Sufjan's words was created for Gallant's In The Room web series with Spotify. It's not as uplifting as Gallant and Sufjan's "Hotline Bling" live cover, but Sufjan solemnly playing the melancholy chords on piano combined with Gallant's soaring voice, this track really becomes something special.