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Bandpicked: Alaina Moore from Tennis picks “10 songs I wish I’d written”
One of my very favourite bands, Tennis are back with a new album this week.
Yours Conditionally, the fourth LP from husband and wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, is another expertly crafted collection of gorgeous melodies and addictive hooks. It glistens with warmth and optimism yet there’s also an edge of melancholic darkness. You can tell much of it was written on a sailboat.
For this week’s Bandpicked, we asked Alaina Moore to provide us with a list of her favourite pop culture stuff, and Alaina obliged with “10 songs I wish I’d written.”
I know it seems ridiculous, as I would give my precious captain’s hat to have written anything from the Tennis back catalogue. But hey, this may be the best collection of songs we’ve ever had submitted – and you will be singing ‘Crimson and Clover’ for the rest of the week.
1. Seven Words – Weyes Blood
I’ve never met Natalie Mering but she feels like a kindred spirit. She was raised for part of her life in a very religious environment and some of her influences seem to come from sacred, church music. There’s also something vaguely medieval about her songwriting, like some arcane truth was revealed to her through a mystic portal. At least that’s what I imagined when I first heard the song ‘Bound To Earth’. ‘Seven Words’ though – the moment I heard it I knew it would be important to me for a long time. It does all the work a song should do.
2. Shut Up Kiss Me – Angel Olsen
This is the sort of grab you by the shoulders and shake you song that I wish I knew how to write. It’s powerful and beautiful and that’s how you feel when you sing it.
3. My Lonely Sad Eyes – Them
It’s really the guitar riff that does it for me on this one. I don’t play guitar but if I did, I would want to write something like this.
4. Crimson and Clover – Tommy James and The Shondells
Any song covered this extensively got something right. The original version by Tommy James is by far the best, psychedelic and unbelievably romantic.
5. Love – Nancy Adams (written by George Bruns and Floyd Huddleston)
Disney’s Robin Hood changed my young life. Of course I was in love with the cartoon fox but I was most compelled by the original music. The whole soundtrack is stellar but ‘Love’ is a perfect song.
6. I Saw The Light – Todd Rundgren
Todd Rundgren is a glittering rainbow of a human, especially in this live performance. He’s an unparalleled song writer and musician. Mostly I’m influenced by his piano playing. At any rate, every time I hear this song I wish it was mine.
This live version is so rad.
7. Fade Into You, Mazzy Star
‘Fade Into’ You always puts me in the mood to cry – in a good way. It’s wistful, it’s understated. The melodies are absurdly good. I hate that I didn’t write it. I’m angry thinking about it.
8. Jesus Was A Cross Maker – Judee Sill
I went through a long obsession with Judee Sill. As I type this, I have a framed copy of her one and only Rolling Stone cover from 1972 on the wall next to me. She lived a painful life and died young from drug addiction. She learned to play music in church, as did I. She lived a reckless life that combined the sacred with the carnal. She wrote chorale music and was briefly a prostitute. Her lyrics are littered with spiritual and biblical references, as are mine. Her life frightens me a bit, but I feel inexorably drawn to her story and her work which is totally underrated.
And here’s a very endearing live set:
9. Wild Heart – Stevie Nicks
This live version of Stevie singing ‘Wild Heart’ has made the rounds already but I don’t care, I love it. The album version of this song lost the magic that is so evident in this performance. It serves as a good reminder that sometimes extra production adds nothing to a song that is already perfect on its own.
10. Shirim – Melody’s Echo Chamber
This track hasn’t been officially released but I think it’s the last remnant of the musical collaboration between Melody Prochet and Kevin Parker. RIP musical power couple. You’ll be missed.
Tennis’ new album album is out March 10th via their own label Mutually Detrimental, and they play a headline London show at Omeara on May 2nd.