Category Archives: Cloud Cult

Best Stories in Songs

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I’m a big fan of the narrative told in a song.  Yes, you can argue (clever you) that every song tells a story.  But what about those songs that are TRYING to tell a story?  A very specific one with characters?

Yeah.  Those songs slay me.  And I’ve decided that you all need to know my favorites.  Because I’m right.

“Lake Pontchartrain” by Ludo.

This song is creepy.  And wonderful.  And gets you pumped.  And it was awesome when Ludo opened the St. Louis concert in August with this.

So.  The story goes that the narrator and his two friends (Darius and Nolan) are going on a road trip.  Just trying to get out of Missouri.  No big deal.  Only it ends at Lake Pontchartrain.  Here’s a video with the lyrics.  Enjoy it.

“That’s how it happened.  Why would I lie?  There were no bodies, I’ve got none to hide.”

“Bronx Sniper” by Mister Heavenly

This song is quite powerful.  Nick Thorburn’s crooning voice sings of a sniper who’s gunning people down, while Ryan Kattner’s (Sidenote: I’m convinced I could be happy living in a cardboard box if Ryan would live in it with me) harsher tones sing of having no remorse while he’s gunning people down.

Really, powerful is the best way to describe it.  Here’s the official video, and here’s a link to the lyrics.*

“I shot you down.  You never had a chance in hell.  I shot you down.  And I felt no remorse ’cause this heart’s a stranger and you’ll love it ’cause it’s dangerous like, this heart’s a stranger and you’ll love it ’cause it’s dangerous like yours.”

“Transistor Radio” by Cloud Cult

I’ve mentioned this song before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  This song is really great.  It’s all about a little boy discovering that his grandfather, who had passed away years ago, was trying to contact him and let him know something important.  The boy goes through a journey, eventually coming to the conclusion that his grandfather was trying to tell him that,

“Where I’ve been, where I am is the show.”

Here’s the song, and here are the lyrics.  Prepare to feel a bit weepy.

“O Valencia!” by The Decemberists

This song is Romeo and Juliet.  It’s a song about forbidden love, and it’s done in such an upbeat way that you almost don’t notice the chick dying…except she does.  It’s sad.  And the music is really catchy.  It’s weird in a way you’d expect from The Decemberists.

Here’s the official video, and here’s a link to the lyrics.

“Oh Valencia! With your blood still warm on the ground.  Valencia!  And I swear to the stars, I’ll burn this whole city down.”

“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by the Decemberists

Okay.  I know what you’re thinking.  I’m just putting up Decemberists songs because they’re my favorite band.  You’re halfway right.  I’m really familiar with their discography.  As in, I can tell you what was released when, what was going through Colin Meloy’s head when he wrote individual songs, and how good the song is live.

And “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” is just something that sticks with you.  I’ve seen it live twice now and, wow.  It’s kind of the bomb (assuming the bomb consists of the band members pretending to die midway through the song and Colin telling the audience exactly how loud he wants them to scream).

This song is about a boy who’s mother dies after being taken advantage of by a sailor.  The boy vows revenge and, years later, he comes quite close to getting it.

If you don’t listen to any of the other songs, or read any of the other lyrics, do yourself a favor and listen to and/or read the words for this one.  It’s that good.

Here’s the song with the lyrics.

“It gives my heart great joy to see your eyes fill with fear.  So lean in close and I will whisper the last words you’ll hear.”

“The Gambler” by Fun.

I’ve mentioned this song before, because I happen to think it’s a wonderful romantic song.  It’s about the life of a couple, after they meet when they’re 18.  It goes through the phases of their relationship, ending with their children coming to visit them again (presumably when the couple is now old and adorable).  When I started off writing this post, I didn’t think I wanted to include any mushy-type things at all.  That being said, it seemed right to mention this one.  It’s how everyone wants their love story to go (if they’re sane), so deal with my brief romantic moment.

Here’s the song with the lyrics.

“But like the night you took my hand beside the fire, thirty years ago to this day.  You swore you’d be here ’til we decide that it’s our time, well it’s not time, you’ve never quit in all your life.  So just take my hand, you know that I will never leave your side.  You’re the love of my life, you know that I will never leave your side.”

“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” by Arcade Fire

This is arguably my favorite Arcade Fire song.  I love it.  It’s a story about a boy and a girl who are alone in the world due to what must have been one heck of a snow storm.  Listen to it and tell me it doesn’t have some of the most beautiful melodies and imagery in it (hint: don’t actually tell me that.  I’ll know you for a liar).

Here’s the song and the lyrics.

“Then, we tried to name our babies, but we forgot all the names that, the names we used to know.  Sometimes we remember our bedrooms and our parent’s bedrooms and the bedrooms of our friends.  Then we think of our parents.  Well, whatever happened to them?”

“Jellybones” by The Unicorns

This song is hilarious.  It’s about a patient being diagnosed with a very serious case of JELLYBONES.  Unfortunately, the doctor can’t do anything for him.

Here’s the song and the lyrics.

“I woke him up and broke the news.  After everything was sewn I said, ‘Son, you’ve got a full-blown case of what is known as Jellybones.'”

“The Hazards of Love” by The Decemberists

Of course, the songs mentioned earlier don’t include a couple of what I consider excellent concept works.  The first is “The Hazards of Love” by The Decemberists.

This album is genius.  The entirety of it (from the first song to the last) flows seamlessly into one another to tell a story about Margaret, her shape-shifting lover, and the trials they go through.  It’s wonderful.

Here’s a playlist with every song in the album.  And, word to the wise: Sometimes, you can shuffle the playlists I provide you and you will not be threatened with bodily harm.  This time, however, I HIGHLY recommend you follow my advice and DO NOT SHUFFLE.  You will do yourself a disservice, since you will undoubtedly not know what’s going on.  The story is complex.  Don’t underestimate it.

“The Hazards of Love, you’ll learn soon enough.  The prettiest whistles won’t wrestle the thistles undone.  Undone.”

“The Tain” by The Decemberists

I also recommend listening to “The Tain” by The Decemberists.  It began in the same tradition that “Hazards” did, but I think the EP isn’t (purely because of time constraints) as well developed and epic as “Hazards.”

“Darling, dear, what have you done?  Your hands and face are smeared with blood.”

“Broken Bride” by Ludo

Then we have what I would probably say is my favorite EP, the “Broken Bride” EP by Ludo.  If you’ve seen/read “The Time Machine,” you know the general plot of the EP.  Of course, that doesn’t begin to do it justice.  It’s really an epic five songs, and won’t take you too much time to listen.

“I crashed before the birth of Christ, pterodactyls swarming.  You died in 1989, wanna get back to that morning in May.  Keep you in bed.  Never escape.  Holding you close.  Listen to you breathe the evening’s glow of fading light and cooling space.”

Am I missing other concept albums that deserve a shout out?  Probably.  Tell me about it.  Otherwise I’ll never know the error of my ways, and I’ll be insufferably arrogant forever.  Do you really want THAT on your conscience?

*I disagree with some of the lyrics this site has up.  I think the first line is “Later on in the epilogue, THEY FOUND HIM,” and that the last lines of the chorus are “This heart’s a stranger AND YOU’LL LOVE IT ’cause it’s dangerous like, this heart’s a stranger AND YOU’LL LOVE IT ’cause it’s dangerous like yours.”

Weekly Setlist – Oct. 13

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Hello friendly friends.  I hope tonight is an especially good night for you.  It’s been a great one for me.  I’ve been productive and awesome and kind of epic.

Don’t be jealous.  This week’s setlist is designed to help you be as great as me.  Of course, music can’t do everything.  It’s all…in YOU.

Whatever.  Here’s the playlist.

Oct. 13 Setlist. Oh, and my handwriting looks better if you squint.

As per usual, here’s the playlist on Grooveshark and on Spotify. [Note: “I See How You Are” was not available on Spotify]

And if you’re in a hurry or can’t be bothered to listen to all of it (I’m not offended so much as…disbelieving), here are the individual song links.

Lucky Today” by Cloud Cult

“July, July!” by the Decemberists

“Kids” by MGMT

“The Limit” by Tommy & the High Pilots

“Naked As We Came” by Iron & Wine

“I See How You Are” by The Broken Family Band

“Love Astronaut” by Murder Mystery

“Rough Gem” by Islands

Good night ducks.  Parting is such sweet sorrow and all that.

Top 25 Most Played – Oct. 12

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Okay. I’m going to preface this post by saying that my laptop crashed a few months ago, I had to reconstruct my iTunes library and I’m in a weird place.  Right.  I’m going to report my iPod’s “Top 25 Most Played” songs without cheating.  And I REALLY want to cheat.  So badly.

You’re about to see why.

This is what shame looks like.

  1. “Transistor Radio” by Cloud Cult
  2. “Happy Hippo” by Cloud Cult
  3. “That Man Jumped Out The Window” by Cloud Cult
  4. “Charlyne” by Mister Heavenly
  5. “I Am A Hologram” by Mister Heavenly
  6. ” Heart Heart Heartbreak” by Boys Like Girls
  7. “Your Girl” by Mister Heavenly
  8. “Hold My Hand” by Mister Heavenly
  9. “On the Line” by Antennas Up
  10. “Harm You” by Mister Heavenly
  11. “Diddy Eyes” by Mister Heavenly
  12. “Doom Wop” by Mister Heavenly
  13. “Outta Sight” by Antennas Up
  14. “Broken Man” by Boys Like Girls
  15. “Contagious” by Boys Like Girls
  16. “Mister Heavenly” by Mister Heavenly
  17. “Thunder” by Boys Like Girls
  18. “Learning to Fall” by Boys Like Girls
  19. “I Told You So” by Boys Like Girls
  20. “Ringtone” by Without A Face
  21. “Bronx Sniper” by Mister Heavenly
  22. “Jr. High Emo” by Without A Face
  23. “Pineapple Girl” by Mister Heavenly
  24. “The Baylor Squirrels” by Without A Face
  25. “Knee Deep At ATP” by Los Campesinos!
I know what you’re thinking.  So much Mister Heavenly, right?
I hope you’re done laughing at me.  Not quite?  Okay.  Snicker while reading ahead.
Here’s the deal.  Sometimes, I have moods.  Moods where I don’t want to have to look up the meanings of words or divine precisely what Ryan is saying or what ATP means.  Sometimes, I don’t like thinking, but I want a beat.  And that’s when I listen to Boys Like Girls.  Their music is simple and I get it 100% of the time.
And I’m not being disloyal to my favorite bands!  It’s not cheating if I only do it once…or twice…or enough times to get 6 Boys Like Girls songs in my Top 25 Most Played songs on my iPod.
Damn.  I didn’t think this through.

Weekly Setlist

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In keeping with the theme of the website, every Thursday (or Friday), I’ll be putting up a setlist of songs I think you all should be listening to.  Friendly advice.  Feel free to ignore me.  But you probably shouldn’t.

This first week features some of my favorite artists, and I hope you’ll enjoy!  Below is a link to the playlist on Spotify.

If you don’t have a Spotify account (get one) or follow the following link to Grooveshark.

Unfortunately, the Without A Face song had to be substituted for a different one by the same artist.  The general feel of the playlist is the same.

And if you don’t feel like going through the playlist to see what I have in store for you, ladies and gentlemen, the setlist:

1. “Rabbit Habits” by Man Man

2. “Happy Hippo” by Cloud Cult

3. “Hotcha Girls” by Ugly Casanova

4. “The Gambler” by Fun.

5. “Pineapple Girl” by Mister Heavenly

6. “Joggin Gorgeous Summer” by Islands

7. “On the Line” by Antennas Up

8. “The Story I Heard” by Blind Pilot

9. “Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems to Turn Out Right” by The Decemberists

10. “Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes

11. “Poison Apples” by Without A Face (“The Band Broke Up (Part 2)” on Grooveshark)

12. “Death to Los Campesinos!” by Los Campesinos!

13. “Where to Start” by Tommy & the High Pilots

14. “Anything For You” by Ludo

One final salute, dears.

My Ludo ticket for A Very Ludo Christmas has been printed!