Richard Thompson: Hope You Like the New Me
There are times when imitation is the sincerest from of stalking. That’s the kind of creepy concept that Richard Thompson can capture better than anybody else. This song is proof. All Thompson needs is his voice and acoustic guitar, with minimal accompaniment. I will always admire Richard Thompson’s music, but songs like this are why I don’t know if I would want to spend too much time alone with him.
Tanita Tikaram: Swear By Me
Tanita Tikaram first came to the attention of the music industry at age 19, with her song Twist in My Sobriety. The song had an unusual and beautiful arrangement, and featured Tikaram’s amazing smooth alto sob of a voice. It would probably have been better for her artistically if she had not been on a major label. By the time her third album, Everybody’s Angel, came out, there were clearly pressures on her to make her music more commercial, and a lot of the album is overproduced. Still, there are moments like Swear By Me, where her talent shines through. Eventually, it got to the point where Tikaram got out of her major label deal with the traditional Best Of album. She then dropped out of the music world for a time, and only recently returned as an independent artist. She’s back to making songs with the stark beauty that defined her in the first place, and her newer work is well worth seeking out.
BR5-49: You Are Never Nice to Me
The story of BR5-49 is much simpler. They came out of Nashville’s alt-country scene, making the kind of music that would have led to a steady gig at the Opry if they had been born a few years sooner. You Are Never Nice to Me sets up a classic train sound, and goes from there. The song actually has nothing to do with trains, but it’s a great ride anyway.