This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #497: Sometimes by James.
When I first told you all about this project, I mentioned that there would be days when you would know and like the songs, days when the song stylings would not be to your taste and finally, there would be days when you didn’t recognize the song at all. I could be wrong about this but, I am writing this post with the assumption that most of you are not that familiar with James. I would be happy to be proven wrong. However, don’t let a lack of familiarity cause you to pass this song and this group over. One of the best parts of discovering this list of songs for me was being introduced to musical gems that I hadn’t heard before such as “Sometimes” by James. So, I urge you all to give this song a chance. I guarantee you that you will be happy you did. “Sometimes” is simply fantastic!
To get you started, James is the name of a band, not of a person. The lead singer of James is a man named Tim Booth, who reminds me a little bit of Michael Stipe of REM, if you need a comparable. James originated out of that musical hotbed known as Manchester, England. Manchester could have its very own Music Hall of Fame, as so many top named singers and groups started out there. This includes everyone from The BeeGees, to Oasis, The Artic Monkeys, Chemical Brothers, The Buzzcocks, The Happy Mondays, Hermans Hermits, Joy Division, New Order, Simply Red and, perhaps, the biggest group of them all, The Smiths. While building their own following in Manchester, James was “discovered” by Johnny Marr, guitarist of The Smiths. He passed on their first single to the mercurial lead singer, Morrissey. Soon, James found themselves opening for The Smiths on a worldwide tour and their musical careers took off.
James had a number one hit with a song called, “Laid” from their album of the same name. That song will appear later on in this list. You have heard “Laid” before, I am willing to bet money on it. It was one of those ubiquitous summer songs that seems to be playing all day, every day on the radio. You may not know who sings it but, you sure know the chorus. Well, from that same album comes today’s song, “Sometimes”. This is a song about the power of true love. It is about having the kind of love that you find with your soulmate. The kind of love that an withstand any test or storm. Normally, a song like that could achieve fame based on the positivity of its message. But, that is not why “Sometimes” is on this Top 500 Songs list. Believe it or not but, “Sometimes” is on this list because it has become a staple song for funerals! While researching James, I read comments, again and again, that thanked the band for this song because of what it meant to a loved one. Invariably, the person making the comment would go on to state that the song was played at their loved ones funeral and that hearing it now brings a tear to their eye and a smile to their heart.
So, I urge you to take a moment and enjoy a wonderful new song called “Sometimes” by Manchester’s own, James. James have sold over 25 million albums to date so, it is no fluke that they have made this list. They are as talented as they are under-rated. I love the soaring gospel-inspired finale to this song. It will fill you up, no doubt about it.
***Please check below for a very special bonus feature!!!!!
The link for the music video for Sometimes by James can be found here.
***As a bonus, While I was researching James, I checked to see if they have received any honours, awards or special accolades. I discovered that in 2014, they received a “Best Animation in a Music Video” award for their song, Moving On. So, being the curious cat that I am, I checked it out. Oh my word! This video is so clever and so very beautiful. If you watch it…and I implore you to do so…it will be the very best thing you will have seen in a long, long time. The animation is made entirely out of yarn!!! It was made by an artist named Ainslie Henderson. It describes the Circle of Life in a powerful yet, simple way that is astounding. This video might be the best animated video I have even seen! Well worth a few minutes of your time. If you watch it, make sure the tissues are nearby. You are going to need them. This is beautiful Art. The song is called, “Moving On” by James. The video link is here.
Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their website is here.
Thanks to the band, James, for making such beautiful and creative music. The link to their website is here.