Ray Charles

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

When Mrs. You Hear That goes out of town, things tend to get a little… how shall I put this… chaotic. Meals are timed irregularly. Bedtime drifts further and further into the morning hours with each passing night. And showers? Might as well have never been invented.

I followed each of these trends faithfully this past weekend, when Mrs. YHT was up in Pennsylvania, riding Hershey Park roller coasters with her younger cousins. True to form, not one drop of water passed through the showerheads at YHT headquarters all weekend, I stayed up late Friday and Saturday nights working on elements of a YHT site redesign (I can’t wait to show y’all!), and if it weren’t for a thing of trail mix I bought from 7-11, I probably would have starved to death by the time Sunday rolled around.

Does all this make me a degenerate whose development was arrested somewhere between the beginning and end of college? Some might say so, but I know better. I’ve listened to Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music enough times to understand the real truth: I’m just in love.

Your life is supposed to fall apart when your baby goes away! That’s just how it works! Don’t believe me? Take one listen to Modern Sounds. I don’t know if a more powerfully depressing set of songs has ever been assembled. It features one tune after another about embracing loneliness, worrying incessantly, and wallowing in sorrow. But guess what? This is some potently romantic shit. Combining the supplicating ethos of classic country music with Ray Charles’ soulful delivery is like mixing up a batch of romance napalm. Its release in 1962 was historic, both in terms of its societal impact and its stylistic influence, and many consider it to be Charles’ best studio album.

What I consider it to be is the perfect album to have spinning when your loved one walks in the door from a weekend away, especially if dinner’s in the works and a glass of wine is at the ready. (A shower before starting to cook couldn’t hurt either, I guess.) Listen to a pair of Modern Sounds tracks below and click here to listen to the whole thing on YouTube (I can’t find an American iTunes link for some reason, but the British link is included below).

Ray Charles — “Bye Bye Love” [Soundcloud/iTunes]

Ray Charles — “Half As Much” [Soundcloud/iTunes]

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