From The Desk Of The Green Pajamas: Foreign Pop

Like its Southern California influences in the Paisley Underground (Rain Parade, Three O’Clock), named as an homage to the psychedelic heyday of Jefferson Airplane and Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Green Pajamas must hold the world’s record for most albums (somewhere around 30) recorded by a band with the fewest number of live appearances (somewhere more than 30) over a career that has spanned almost 30 years. Jeff Kelly and Co. recently released longplayer Death By Misadventure via longtime Pajamas label Green Monkey. Kelly and bandmates Laura Weller and Eric Lichter will be guest editing magnet all week. Read our recent feature on them.

Kelly: There was a guy on the Amazon website that compared Zazie’s Rodeo album to the Beatles. The music isn’t really like the Beatles, but I understand exactly what they meant. Rodeo rivals the best Beatles records in its variety, presentation and first-class songwriting. This is my favorite French pop record, a masterpiece, of its genre or any other really. “Lola majeure” may just be the most beautiful song of all time. I only wish I knew what she was saying. There is a wonderful film of Zazie performing this album, Rodéo Live, in her sexy bare feet, though if you’re in America, to play it you need an all-region DVD player.

Alizée’s Psychédélices is a (minor) guilty pleasure. And it always now reminds me of the summer of 2007: beautiful, warm days and getting off work at noon and driving my 12-year-old daughter down Denny Way to her acting rehearsal. Psychédélices ruled the CD player then: a record she and I both agreed upon. It’s all just great sounding pop songs, the highlight for me being “Par Les Paupiéres.” Again, I’m not sure what it’s about but it is beautiful. For me, it’s “summer”—just like “Help Me Rhonda” or “Sunny Afternoon.”

Alena Vinnitskaya is a Ukrainian singer that I adore. All of her solo albums are wonderfully entertaining.  he dips into all types of modern pop music. But it isn’t really “style” that matters about Alena, it’s the great songs. Also, I have to admit that the “sexy” factor is at play here in a big way when she sings in English or in her native tongue for that matter. I grew up with the cold war, when Russian girls were exotic, dangerous and darkly sexy. Fittingly enough, she even has a great song called “007.” She really is a Bond girl. She just never made it into the movies, but I will always be a sucker for that accent and intrigue.

Videos after the jump.