A Paul Anka Mystery (with Peter Cetera!) Song!

Sometime in the late 70s/early 80s (exact date of song genesis unknown), Paul Anka wrote a song called “Hold Me Till the Morning Comes.” And then he proceeded to record about fifty thousand different versions. Since 1997, I have been looking for the version that appeared on a tape that some attractive Marine made for me during the autumn of 1996 (we didn’t last, as a couple).

But around the turn of the century, the Internet didn’t yet have the answer to every single question I might have, because, well, see for yourself:

Amazon literally looked like an unkempt rainforest back then, didn’t it? No wonder I couldn’t find answers!

(cont.) and so I ended up with the crappy version (from the 1983 album “Walk a Fine Line”) that appeared on the album “Body of Work” that came out in 1998. Confused? You should be. Because I was. And have been, for 17 years, apparently. Anyway, that version sounds like this:

The Youtuber who posted this is a marketing genius. Put Peter Cetera on the cover of your vid and get 239,952 views (5,000 of them are mine) vs. the comparison I’ll make later in this post.

And I knew it wasn’t the right version. Because this version just sounds . . . less punchy. It’s almost like Paul couldn’t let Peter have his moment, there, at the end, when Peter is saying, “Would you love me in the morning?” And Paul is like, “Would you lo-ove me?” over the top of Peter’s vocals. Not great.

I mean, I DO wonder what Paul was doing. And what he was thinking, because even if the critics didn’t love him or the album this song appeared on, he was hella successful. I mean, it’s the sort of thing when writers complain that Twilight sucked and why was it so successful? It’s crap! And then some wiser person, for instance, me, responds, “Yeah, it’s crap. That’s why Stephenie is laughing all the way to her bank account. The account in the bank she OWNS BECAUSE SHE’S UNIMAGINABLY RICH.”

That’s Paul Anka. He had some hits in the 50s, then made a series of business-brilliant moves and even if his voice is “slight” and “a little hard to hear” with “all that talent surrounding it” {link} HE DOESN’T have to be as impressive as Peter. Paul’s smart. And he did a lot of genius crap and now he’s reaping the rewards.

But I digress. That version, where Paul is like, “I will not let you steal my spotlight! I must dub my own vocals over Peter’s shit because he’s the BACKING vocals and I’m the main act!” It’s a crap version.

Amongst the weird vocal blips at the end, there are other instrumental differences as well, which I noticed and didn’t like. Plus I could obviously compare it to the track that was on the tape Matt the Marine made for me, because back then I still had my double-cassette tape deck. It looked exactly like this random image of the precise make and model of the stereo I had back when Matt made me that tape:

This puppy was for sale in Canada for $40. And now that I have no way to listen to cassettes, I obvs. wish I would have known. I could have bought it! And then proceeded to live in the past, where everything is sunnier and warmer all the time.

So, despite years of obstacles and insurmountable blockades by record labels looking to repeatedly release new albums full of bad versions of old songs and not reissue Japanese 45s, the Internet in 2017 wins. Because while it didn’t have the answer to every life-long mystery back in 1999 . . . . {drum roll}

IT HAS THEM NOW. Here is the BEST VERSION of Paul Anka’s hit “Hold Me Til the Morning Comes” (featuring Peter Cetera on backing [backing, dammit, backing!] vocals) :

Here’s that comparison for you: the above version of the song only has like 500 views, because unlike the other Youtuber, they didn’t put Peter on the cover. Or in the title. We need to get a marketing team on this, because it would be great to get that crap version of the song out of circulation!

And for your reference, here is the version I found before I found the version from the Japanese 45, which also features a hilarious (I just have to be honest about that) Euro-version at the end. I guess that one is supposed to be for the discotheques.

https://youtu.be/NTbKlJceLYk

TL;DR — It took me 17 years to find a version of a song that I first heard in 1996. The Internet saved me, finally, from taking the complete mystery to my grave.

Twin Shadow Finds His Pop Sound on Eclipse

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George Lewis, Jr., the singer and songwriter behind Twin Shadow, doesn’t want to be trapped under the weight of genre. This is obvious from his flat-out admissions in interviews about the direction of his third full length release, Eclipse, but it’s even more clear from the radio-friendly lineup of tracks that made the final cut after months generating material in his new hometown of L.A. This, coupled with the sudden move away from heavyweight independent label 4AD to media-giant Warner Bros., tells us that if Lewis wants to make pop music, he’ll make pop music, pigeon-holes be damned. {Read More on Treblezine…}

 

Purity Ring’s Sound Goes Bigger on “Another Eternity”

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If any question loomed about the overall direction Purity Ring would go on their sophomore release, it gets answered pretty quickly on “Heartsigh,” the opener onAnother Eternity. It’s bolder, brighter and beefier than anything on 2012′s Shrines, and Megan James and Corin Roddick’s playful, often introspective electro-pop has transitioned into a vast, aural landscape that manages to be upbeat and energetic, more fun than ominous. The sort of quiet, somber musical channels that were explored onShrines in tracks like “Obedear” and “Shuck” are missing. And the eerie, sometimes uncomfortable wordplay that has been a staple of James’ lyrical ventures are either more sanitized or simply gone in favor of less complex, more digestible bits. {Read more on Treblezine…}

Father John Misty Sings the Hell Out of Being in Love

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Father John Misty is at his best when juxtaposing irreverent lyrics with the sublime beauty of a slow ’60s jam or a sunny, upbeat number, both found on his sophomore album, I Love You Honeybear. Gorgeous, swirling melodies and horn-infused tracks are jarring in their not-so-subtle, oft ribald subject matters. But this is nothing new for Tillman, who slipped under the Father John Misty moniker after he left Fleet Foxes. When Josh Tillman speaks about his art and the craft of the Father John Misty persona, you quickly realize if anything is true, it’s that the man is clever, eloquent, and possibly too bright to take for granted. {Read more on Treblezine…}

Recent Spins: Welcome to February, the Month of the Love Song

It’s all about love this month! I’ve put together some love-tracks (mostly). Broken hearts, hearts beating as one, heart-shaped candy, this is the season of song and hearts. And such. I love, love.

Anyway, I can’t be modest about it, but even though I have nothing to do with these awesome tracks, I DID find them. So many creative people are out there, doing fantastic things with their art, it just kills me! The following bands I heartily endorse. Listen till your heart bleeds!

I’m experimenting with embedding the tracks in my page via Spotify. I don’t THINK you have to have an account to listen, but I’m not certain. Let me know in the comments if you have trouble listening. I used to host the music on my own site but that got bandwidth-sucky.

First of all, Sky Ferreria. Just a good jam. She doesn’t mess around. She’s not Charli XCX, she’s more serious than that. Sky brings it.

 

FKA Twigs. “Two Weeks” is NSFW, probably, I mean, unless you work on the docks, a construction site, or possibly as stripper. It should be on the soundtrack to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” probably, I mean, I’ve never read that book, so I’m guessing. Yeah. But listen, it’s so good.

 

Little Green Cars. Don’t let the powerful opening fool you, this one is about falling for someone who doesn’t want you back. The harmonies are stunning, and the line “I know it’s your neglect / is the reason I’m so obsessed with you,” hits hard, and so true. I love it. “There’s more people out there to love / than people who love you.” Very good also. Well done.

 

Violent Mae. I’m still trying to figure out how this one is a “Mother’s Song,” because I haven’t had time to look up the lyrics. Upbeat, thoughtful, and easy to listen to. The song is fantastic. The vocalist has a great style. Straightforward excellent track.

 

Twin Shadow. I’ve been following Twin Shadow since 2010’s Forget. Retro, with that 80s feel, but so much better than anything that happened back then unless we’re talking about Joy Division, Jesus and the Mary Chain or other bands of that ilk. “To the Top” bursts with the kind of angst dreamers feast on.

 

Jessie Ware. Recommended if you like Sade, Rhye, and other artists that get a groove on. This track is amazing. The chorus will send you into cardiac arrest for love.

 

Sharon Van Etten. If you haven’t listened to this songstress yet, get on that. She’s evocative and vulnerable with a fragile quality that splits your heart. My favorite song of hers so far.

 

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments and give me a heads up if there’s a band you think I need to hear. I never snub a recommendation.

 

Yours.

-N

Writing a Sequel to Feed

First things first, I just discovered this gem. It’s so good. And, confession, something about the vocalist reminds me of Tracy Chapman. Weird! But it’s lovely and brooding and pensive. It makes me want to break up just so I can have a bit of drama. Haha!

 

So, anyway, I’ve been thinking about how working on a book now, for me, is different. Like, oddly different. Other-worldly different.

When I first wrote Feed, it was built on a short story called “Life Feeds.” I liked the damn thing so much, I wanted to do more with it. So I did. It was great. No one was waiting for me to finish. No one cared but me. I could write at the pace that worked for me and I did. I only had one kid, a baby, and when he napped, I could scribble off a thousand words no problem. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

I published it when it was done and didn’t do any marketing at all. I had no idea how to even approach that. I didn’t research that stuff because I didn’t know that marketing my indie book was even a thing!

So, because of that, it made absolutely no splash. It slipped into the water like Greg Louganis: nary a drop. Hardly anyone read it. It snuck under the radar and pretty much stayed there. Forever. Even now it only has something like 15 reviews on Amazon.

But that has never deterred me and it didn’t then. So I began working on Blue Hearts of Mars right after that and worked hard on it, sometimes feeling like someone else was doing all the work because it came so effortlessly to me. I loved the story and I just did what felt natural.

I published Blue Hearts a year after Feed. And I didn’t market that one either. It was January, and I put it up for a short free period on Amazon. That helped a bit. But not much.

Then, I met my friend and author Megan Thomason, because her YA book Daynight was also running a free promotion and Blue Hearts couldn’t knock hers out of the number one free spot. So of course I emailed her to razz her for beating me (I’m competitive like that). Well, she’s awesome and went out of her way to teach me about marketing and much of what I learned for her I’ve implemented. It helped with Blue Hearts, but that’s still the only book of mine I’ve ever pushed.

Why? I don’t know. Confidence, maybe. I’m still insecure about my abilities and my stories, despite loving the hell out of them. At this point, I’m working on a sequel to Feed even though I never planned one.

Feed ended in what some have called a cliffhanger. I get it. In today’s world, it seems like a cliffhanger because everyone writes sequels, and the best way to do a sequel is to leave room for one. But Feed is a dystopian story, modeled after something like Eugene Zamiatin’s We, which was one of the first dystopian books, along with Jack London’s The Iron Heel and E.M. Forester’s “The Machine Stops.” If you’ve read We, you know that the end is just sort of mundane. There is the hint of hope and change, but it’s not totally certain. Nothing is. The protagonist is ruined by the One State and the real hero is revealed to be I-303.

When I wrote the end to Feed, I saw that I left hope for the reader. My original ending was that [****former plot spoiler alert****] Ramone died, but the resistance lived on, which is hopeful, right? Well. A few people read it and got REALLY REALLY REALLY PISSED. So I changed it.

People are still pissed. It didn’t seem to help that I altered the ending. Some people still find reasons to get pissed! It can be discouraging.

And so, here’s what I’m getting at: I like the world and the characters in Feed, so I thought, what the hell. I’ll write a sequel.

That’s what I’m doing.

But I’m still torn about how I’m responding to readers. Lord knows I didn’t want them to hate the ending of Feed, either of them, the controversial death included. I want to them to appreciate the story and feel something: rage, relief, whatever. I don’t want them to hate me for not fulfilling them in some way.

The rub is: I’ve learned that I can’t make everyone happy. Or anyone, even, possibly. Maybe? I’m experiencing a bit of external pressure to perform, to write the story and do it well and keep it exciting and thoughtful. I’m not sure I’m doing that. They always say, “Write for yourself.” “Write what you know.” Nice little pieces of advice, those are. But what the hell do I know? And what does that even mean? If I’m writing it, you can be damn sure I’m writing for me.

But that just doesn’t change the pressure and the knowledge that people are waiting. Patrick Rothfuss wrote his first book over the space of something like ten years. And it went viral (can books go viral?). Working on the second was a huge ordeal for him. He’s published some of the emails he’s gotten where people beg him to finish the second and tell him to get to work rather than playing around with his son and such, which just show that some people are huge dicks. Where do they get off telling him to write his book and how fast? That’s not helpful.

Luckily no one is really doing that to me, either because my fan base is the size of a sample cup at Costco (not to diminish how awesome my fans are! I love you guys!) or because they’re an unusually quiet bunch. Whatever reason, I’m not under direct pressure from them. Just from what I perceive, I think. I want to be past this. I want to move on. But I’m in this limbo spot where I have to tie up loose ends. I can’t move on. Not yet. I have to do something first.

 

 

 

Stars Light Up The Night With an Homage to the Club Scene

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Stars’ newest album No One Is Lost opens with one of their favorite tricks: a sound clip from their musical vaults. They’ve probably got an entire database designed for just this thing. Some clips are powerful statements, like the one that opened 2005’s Set Yourself On Fire, which was written by singer Torquil Campbell and recorded by his father (“When there is nothing left to burn, you’ve got to set yourself on fire”), while some seem to be from films or TV shows. “From the Night,” the opening song to No One Is Lost, and one of their best songs to date, features ambient street sounds and what sounds like a group of speakers conversing in French. {Read More}

Karen O Crushes On Her First Solo Album

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Karen O is nothing if not unpredictable. As lead vocalist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs — a band that delivers songs with deliberate throat-punches as well as having written some of the best love songs ever, she uses her voice like a whip — backed by musical arrangements as loud and thunderous as ten thousand horses. On her first solo album,Crush Songs, she strips away the landscape of the big instrumentation featured on her group productions and gives us songs about being unfulfilled and lonely in a lo-fi, half-finished demo-tape kind of way. {Read More}

New Pornographers Pull No Punches with “Brill Bruisers”

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New Pornographers frontman A.C. Newman said before the release of the band’s sixth album, Brill Bruisers, that he  “feel[s] more confident about this record than [he’s] ever felt about anything before.” He’s also called it a “celebration record,” and has explained how he’s got nothing in his life dragging him down and that his art reflects this. The thing is that all of the albums AC Newman’s indie supergroup have released are pretty much fantastic, from Mass Romantic to Challengers, on up to the similarly solid Together. But there’s a palpable sense of something extra this time around, considering how alive and glittery Brill Bruisers is. Even the tracks guided by the more meditative and poetic Dan Bejar — also of Destroyer — leap from the speaker at a jackrabbit pace. It’s just a shame that summer is almost over — this album, much like the Pornos’ best, is custom fit for a beachgoing blowout. {Read More}

JJ Changes Their Name Slightly, But Not How Good They Are

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V is full of the polished sounds that have made JJ’s previous albums stunning opuses built on catchy instrumental loops and layered vocals. Tracks like “All White Everything,” “Full,” and “I” are so heavy they threaten to collapse inward, creating a musical singularity. They’re beautiful. Perhaps too beautiful. That contrasts starkly with the production decision to not tune Kastlander’s vocals. There are moments when she falters at the cusp of the proper note, and there’s something ironically angelic about it, because why does an artist decide to show their imperfections over the easy conceal? It’s baffling and attractive to hear this human vulnerability within the context of Benon’s and Kastlander’s slick production. The messy vocals—they’re right at home in the unkempt wilderness of the guitar/vocal track like  2‘s “Me & Dean.” That makes sense. This puzzling production decision on V is strangely alluring and respectable. Somehow it casts them as even more compelling artists. {Read More}

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