Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

I have a theory for how Conor Oberst writes songs. Somewhere in Omaha, in a quaint shack at the edge of a farm, Oberst gathers with a group of songwriters. They turn over a small hourglass, and each person jots down as many rhymes as they can into a personal notebook. When the last grain of sand falls, they compare notes and cross out any duplicate rhymes. They call the game "songwriting boggle." If this isn't true, I'd like an explanation for the brash originality all over Oberst's Wide Awake. The retooled "Land Locked Blues" is an oddly harmonic gem, thanks to added vocals from Emmylou Harris.

Ben Lee, Catch Me Disease

It took only one listen for this song to be permanently etched in my brain, and for the first time in a long time, that turned out to be an amazing thing. Sure, I love Australians, and Claire Danes may or may not have dumped Lee for Billy Crudup, but putting aside my affinity for sad foreign boys, this song is still pretty damn well done. Though in it Lee claims "they don't play me on the radio, and that's the way I like it," this may just be his one-way ticket to a huge pop hit. Which is sad because then I will be forced to hate it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Soundtrack

When I wear my iPod around enough, I start to feel like I'm in a movie and I'm experiencing Goldilocks syndrome trying to find "the" playlist that's just right to set the tone for my rockin' biopic. I know the Harry Potter soundtrack already accompanies its own film, but I think it works pretty well for me, too. The whimsical instrumental masterpieces bring a purpose and clarity to my life that I hadn't been getting elsewhere. Without the genius of the Harry Potter soundtrack, my movie would really suck.


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