The Best Songs in Dallas Music, 2010: Spooky Folk Mines A Hatred For Its Members' Bible Belt Upbringing at No. 2
[Over these last few days of 2010, we'll be presenting our favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1, one track a day. Today, we take an in-depth look at song No. 2 on the list -- and, please, feel free to click after the jump for a stream the track. Also after the jump, check out songs Nos. 50-3 in the Top 50 list that will update as it grows...]
A great song doesn't have to be a production marvel. It doesn't have to reinvent the wheel, either. A great song, more often than not, follows a pretty simple path, starting as a great idea, and ending with phenomenal execution.
Fitting this bill perfectly, and standing out on a debut album filled with such cuts from the recent Denton upstart, is Spooky Folk's self-effacing singalong calling card -- a song with which anyone who has ever lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line can relate.
Capitalizing on frontman Kaleo Kaualoku's innate storytelling songwriting talents, "Bible Belt" is as timeless a track as can be hoped for, a song that elicits laughter as much as it does pain, and one that instantly unites its listening audience with surprising ease. Really: With songs like this one, it's no surprise that this young outfit has so quickly earned a reputation for phenomenal live displays.
Stream: Spooky Folk -- "Bible Belt"
At face value, yes, this is a song aimed at the Bible Belt dwelling set. But make no mistake: "Bible Belt" harps on universal themes. Everyone has trouble coming to grips with their place in life and, perhaps even more so, with their roots.
Spooky Folk's example, though, is an especially relatable one, though. With Kaualoku's vocals displaying a palpable strain, the singer bemoans his fast-paced lifestyle -- especially as juxtaposed against his upbringing.
But rather than a dour effort, "Bible Belt" pulls off a rather remarkable feat. It comes off, surprisingly, as a rather inspiring cut. Credit the singalong hook, during which Kaualoku is joined by his bandmates (and, in live settings, entire audiences) in screaming out his disappointment in himself.
It's a simple ploy but an effective one, tangibly evidencing the irony at the song's core. Sure, Kaualoku may be alone in his particular predicament, but, thanks to his backing chorus' cries, it becomes clear that he's hardly the only one who has felt a similar self-disdain -- something we the listeners already know, but something that Kaualoku, the song's narrator, may not have. As the song continues, though, and the chorus starts to pick up a somewhat jubilant tone, his feelings of solitude are washed away.
Life may throw curveballs, yeah. But it throws everyone curveballs. And in just 163 seconds time, Spooky Folk masterfully offers this life lesson via quite catchy means, too. No, Kaualoku may not think he can "go on living this way," but, amongst friends, yeah, he sure can. And in crafting a song that covers such ground, all while set against the backdrop of subversive religious oppression, he's penned a masterpiece we'll glad shout along with any time.
The Top 50 Local Songs of 2010 (Links to music videos and free
song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where
neither a download nor video exists.)
50. Dear Human - "Waiting"
49. Nervous Curtains - "All Yesterday's Parties"
48. Spector 45 - "Try Try Try"
47. Smile Smile - "Beg You To Stay"
46. Robert Gomez - "A Natural State"
45. Florene - "Parc Bitch"
44. Mount Righteous - "Eat Your Wife and Kiss The Barbecue"
43. The Strange Boys - "Be Brave"
42. Soft Environmental Collapse - "A Horse & Buggy Complex"
41. Deepspace5 - "Killing With Kindness"
40. Sextape -- "Lubricated Intimacy"
39. Museum Creatures - "Song ABC"
38. Ocelot - "Beating Hears"
37. Sir Silky - "The Squeeze (The Answer)"
36. Bone - "Homegurl"
35. Ishi - "Come Closer"
34. Hoyotoho - "Born Black"
33. Dorrough - "Get Big"
32. Katie Carroll - "Paper Girl"
31. Final Club - "Ruded"
30. Treal Lee & Prince Rick - "Throwed Off (Fuck Errbody)"
29. South San Gabriel - "All Night Long"
28. The Rocket Summer - "Walls"
27. Darktown Strutters - "Lucifer Rising"
26. School of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"
25. Damaged Good$ - "WEHATEDAMAGEDGOOD$TOO"
24. The Burning Hotels - "Austin's Birthday"
23. Doug Burr - "At The Public Dance"
22. The Flowers of God
2. Spooky Folk -- "Bible Belt"
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