Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ukelele Romance

One of the better looking men on the planet.
It's slightly past the time of year when we vacation and escape to where the tide rolls in and the white beaches stretch for miles. If you'd like to participate in more of a home front sort of getaway, however, then Eddie Vedder's newest album - a collection of ukelele songs shockingly entitled Ukelele Songs - is a wonderful diversion in itself. The famed Pearl Jam frontman forks away from the heavy-alternative path paved by 20 years of grungy rock excellence, and lets his sweet croons stroll alone with only the picking and strumming of a tiny ukelele.

Simplistic and reflective, the singer's famous deep rasp drifts softly with his sweetheart strings, creating a plainly pleasant album full of songs that have almost reached their 10th birthday. Those expecting Vedder to squeal alongside the rip of the guitar might want to skip this listen, because it really is a charmingly quiet collection of songs - almost as if his already-subdued hits from the Into The Wild soundtrack took a muscle relaxant. Some highlights include the melancholy waltz of "Sleeping by Myself"; "Without You" which is an honest fairy-tale sort of realization; and "Longing to Belong" - a whimsical combination of ukelele and enchanting strings, which also has a magically fitting music video (below).

Perhaps my favourite of the Luau love songs is Vedder's duet with my main woman, Cat Power, on a cover of "Tonight You Belong To Me." This modern promenading ballad is sweet as pie; showcasing perfectly Vedder's sweetly vulnerable vocal performance while it coyly plays peek-a-boo with Cat Power's precious jazz harmonies. Spark a fire on the beach and slow dance to this new classic - it really is about as heavenly as it gets.


Tonight You Belong To Me - Eddie Vedder and Cat Power


Longing to Belong - Eddie Vedder

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