Monday, October 13, 2008

"if the heart needs a reason to die for..."

New song by Mindy Smith, who is now officially my favorite new artist of the decade. She's been my favorite new artist since her second CD, Long Island Shores, came out a couple years ago (a CD with some fantastic cover artwork that seems to fit the music perfectly, as her heartwrenchingly beautiful voice does). I have a weakness for deep, dark introspective music, especially when sung with the kind of smooth angelic voice that artists like Mindy Smith or Karin Berquest (of Over the Rhine) employ. (Over the Rhine is probably my favorite group of all time, and as a related side note, Mindy Smith was actually once a house guest of Karin & Linford in Cincinatti before her debut CD came out.) Mindy first stopped me in my tracks with a song she wrote for her dying mother, One Moment More (also the title of her debut CD), and it didn't take long for her to make her way to the top of my favorite new artist list. And in this decade, there's some stiff competition in that category...Hem would almost be at least tied with Mindy if they were more consistent the way Mindy's music has been. Hem's debut CD "Rabbit Songs" is another one that can make me stop whatever it is I'm doing just to fully absorb myself in the music, and "Burying Song" is one of the most heartbreaking instrumental pieces I can think of. But Hem is also capable of some mediocre tracks, and I've not heard anything like that from Mindy. Rosie Thomas is the third artist in my musical "trinity" of favorite new artists, very much in that same "hardcore introspection" (as OtR once put it) vein. Rosie is also more consistently good than Hem, and why I don't consider her as my favorite new artist is one of those inexplicable factors of personal subjectivity. I think Hem, when they are at their best, are far better than Rosie, even if they're not at their best nearly as often as Rosie is. but for some reason, possibly the more personal connection she projects, Mindy Smith just comes out ahead of the pack. And with her new track, "Love Lost", it is evident that she isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

In case you're interested, other artists that would make it into my Top 10 New Artists of the Decade would include Sigur Ros (if this were a more objective list, I would have to put them at the top, easily), Broken Social Scene (when they released "You Forgot It In People", they were my favorite until Mindy came along, but, although they are still one of the best indie rock groups out there, they have never matched the magic of that early CD), and Copeland (another indie/alternative group whose music and lyrics just kill me with their depth. they renew my hope in the future of new music). There are other new artists from this decade that will most likely make my list as well (Do Make Say Think has a promising future and a solid catalog so far), but there's still over a year left in this decade to decide such things. For now, I can't seem to break myself away from this computer while I listen to Mindy's new song over and over. And I can't imagine anyone could come along in the next year who could possibly offer me something better than what Mindy Smith has already delivered...

No comments: