As Reviewed by My Mother

We occasionally invite guests to review the best songs we’ve discovered that week while surfing around the mp3-blog universe. This week, I invited my mother.

Ann Baldwin loves music new and old but doesn’t pay much attention to what the PR people are shilling. As she told me, she grew up listening to and studying classical music. As a teenager, she started getting into Buddy Holly and moved quickly on to the Beatles, even styling her hair so she’d look like Ringo. The Rolling Stones followed and so on through the great music of the ‘60s, both American and British. As a Chicagoan she saw many great blues performers in small clubs and bars. She was also greatly influenced by her siblings living in Palo Alto at that time and loved the Jefferson Airplane and many other groups out of California.

I asked her what she’s got loaded on her iPod these days. “I am pretty much open to any music as long as it’s really good. Right now I’m enjoying listening to U2, Howie Day, Michelle Branch, Anna Nalick, Patty Smyth, and Don Henley. A month ago I sat three rows away from Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden and the level of his musical skills truly astounded me. Thinking of how well he performed definitely colored my opinions of these songs.”

* * *

“Love Me or Hate Me” by Lady Sovereign

I’m not crazy about the “fuck you” lyrics, but it’s obvious that the song centers around them. And the vocals are excellent and really clear. So the “fuck you” part doesn’t bother me, but it does. Obviously these are talented musicians. I thought as a song it was really well done; composition-wise it’s very well put together as a package. It would be fun to dance to.

Via Pop Tarts Suck Toasted

“Sound of the LES” by Drrtyhaze

Ugh. It’s very robotic sounding. There’s absolutely no singing, per se, just voices. And it doesn’t go anywhere. I had no emotional response to this at all. I didn’t even smile listening to it. I was like, eh. I don’t think you file this under music.

Via Music For Robots

“Mad Love” by Belles Will Ring

Now this was really engaging. I liked it. It has decent music with lots of depth, and the vocals were really good. There were a lot of complimentary elements. I put stars next to it. I could listen to this again. I could buy it. I thought it was great.

Via Fat Planet

“Keep On Smiling” by 120 Days

This I didn’t like at all. To me it sounded like techno music, like it didn’t take any talent to produce. It was “interesting” sounding. I liked the singer, but I wish his voice had shown up somewhere else, because in this song it wasn’t important at all. The singing had some depth to it, but otherwise the song was all surface.

Via 5 Acts

“Ash Wednesday” by Elvis Perkins

You file this under music? This was more about the lyrics than the song—he uses music to express his poetry. And the poetry was good! I wanted to listen to it over and over to figure out the context. But the music was very repetitive—very repetitive. I give the music a blegh. Maybe this guy should give up on music and try writing poetry.

Via So Much Silence


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. He is the author of three books, including his latest novel The Last Kid Left (NPR’s Best Books of the Year). His nonfiction appears in a variety of magazines, mostly GQ. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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