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KTW vs. ETC: Ladyhawke and of Montreal


A versus by Ernessa T. Carter and Kyle T. Wilson

After a 2-week hiatus, we’re back like a heart attack — but hopefully without the dire consequences — with another song exchange.

First check out the two songs that we can’t stop listening to:

Ladyhawke – Magic:

of Montreal – For Our Elegant Caste:

Now for KTW’s Take:

Ernessa wanted to get back to work this week, and asked me to pick a song I can’t stop listening to.  What I cannot stop listening to is of Montreal’s latest, Skeletal Lamping, although it’s hard to narrow down to just one song.  On first listen, I was a little disappointed that it doesn’t really compare to Kevin Barnes’ last album, Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?  But how could it?  That CD is a masterpiece.  Unlike Hissing Fauna, Skeletal Lamping has a slow burn.  It sounds like a make-out album penned by a pansexual lothario, complete with the requisite falsetto crooning and dirty talk-singing.

This brings me to the song I’ve narrowed down as the pick I can’t stop listening to, “For our Elegant Caste,” which has the following as its infectious refrain:  “We can do it softcore if you want / but you should know I take it both ways.”  Now that I’m beyond over Prince, since the author of “Erotic City” apparently thinks he can moralize about the fall of Sodom without sounding completely ridiculous, I nominate Kevin Barnes to take his place.  Thank you.

Ernessa picked “Magic,” a song by a band called Ladyhawke, which is a nice addition to the pantheon of pop songs named “Magic.”  This number has a kind of dark, 80s synth-pop wall-of-sound quality about it, and the hand-claps will be great on the dance floor.  Still, I believe the song by The Cars has a special place in my heart, thanks to that cool video where Ric Ocasek walks on the swimming pool.  Oh but then there’s also Olivia Newton-John’s “Magic,” which the more I think about it, must stand head and shoulders above the rest.  That song is gold.

And ETC’s Take after the jump:

Now Kyle must have bumped his head, because I think he just said that Olivia Newton-John’s Magic was better than my absolutely favorite “Magic” song (and hands-down the better video) of all time by the Cars. Obviously, he’s wrong about that.

But he’s right that Ladyhawke’s “Magic” does add nicely to the pantheon. It hits many of my sweet spots:

Cleverly-named band from someplace else? Check, this indie quartet is out of Canada. Fun electro-pop sound? Check. Effed-up love song? Check, and it’s actually a fairly complex concept (not just “I hate you for not loving me” but “I hate you for doing a half-ass job of loving me”) So Magic’s pretty much been stuck of replay on my writing editing mix for work.

But something else that’s about to get stuck on replay is this of Montreal song that Kyle suggested. I’m actually a fan of their Sunlandic Twins album from back in 2005. Somehow, I totally missed Hissing Fauna (so much good music, so little time to find it all) and I was pleased to be introduced to such a fun find as “For Our Elegant Caste.” Engaging Beats + Layered Structure + A Voltron Name-Drop = Automatic Inclusion In My New Editing Mix. So good job, Kyle.

But we still have to reconcile your horrible Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Magic’ is better than The Cars “Magic” assertation. So we need you to weight in on the “Which Magic Is More Magic Poll” below.

[poll id=”7″]

To help you make up your mind, here are both vids:

The Cars “Magic”:

Olivia Newton-John “Magic”: