Thursday, April 30, 2009

Old Time Rock and Roll



Fairly annoying song to wake up with this morning. The Risky Business footage was a must though.

Artist: Bob Seger
Year: 1978
Rating: Lukewarm

What a Fool Believes



Ah, yeah. The Doobs, and the sublime writing collaboration of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. 70's smooth rock heaven.

Artist: Doobie Brothers
Year: 1978
Rating: Hot!
Noteworthy: Check out the hilarious origin story from the guys at Yacht Rock:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cool Rider



Can't tell you how many times I watched Grease 2 when I was a kid/teenager. I was totally obsessed with this cheap knock-off of Grease, and the songs and much of the dialogue are permanently etched into my neocortex. I'm surprised this is the first of the Grease oeuvre that's made it into my head since the start of this project.

Artist: Michelle Pfeiffer
Year: 1982
Rating: "Burn(s) me through and through!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tarzan Boy



Oh my god! I haven't thought about this song in ages - it's a classic. And the video is so pleasingly, flamboyantly gay! I'm not sure why queers seemed so invisible when I was a kid in the '80s. All you have to do is open your eyes.

Artist: Baltimora
Year: 1985
Rating: Luke Hot
More about Baltimora/Jimmy McShane here.

Fly



It's been a blessed while since I've had an annoying song in my head, but here it is. And doesn't the lead singer look like Ethan Hawke?

Artist: Sugar Ray
Year: 1997
Rating: Cold

Smells Like Teen Spirit



Probably one of the catchiest punk songs ever written, with lyrics both penetrating

I feel stupid, and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us


and just plain weird

A Mulatto, an albino
A mosquito, my libido


Artist: Nirvana
Year: 1991
Rating: Luke Hot

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Girl From Ipanema



Great footage of Astrud Gilberto from the film Get Yourself a College Girl. This might be one of the ultimate in international songs that get stuck in our heads. It's not a bad one.

Artist: Astrud Gilberto
Year: 1964
Rating: Luke Hot

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Who Taught You To Live Like That?



Just before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming that I was at a Sloan show, but for some reason, guitarist and sometimes-singer Jay Ferguson was missing in action. I approached the stage and asked Chris Murphy, bassist and usual lead singer, if I could sing one of Jay's songs. We picked this one, a favorite from from 2006's Never Hear the End of It. I sang it, and the crowd went wild.

Artist: Sloan
Year: 2006
Rating: Hot!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Peaceful Easy Feeling



I get this feeling I may know you as a lover and a friend
But this voice keeps whispering in my other ear
Tells me I may never see you again.


Bittersweetly appropriate to my night last night.

I know, the third Eagles song of late. The Dude does not abide. Sigh.

Artist: Eagles
Year: 1972
Rating: Warm

Fraggle Rock Theme

Yet another video not available to embed. View it right here.

Pretty awesome theme, second only (in Jim Henson-land) to the intro to The Muppet Show, which is where my brain went next.

Song: Fraggle Rock Theme
Writers: Lee & Balsam
Year: 1983
Rating: Luke Hot

Song: The Muppet Show Theme
Artist: Jim Henson and Sam Pottle
Year: 1976
Rating: Hot!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just a Song Before I Go



Lovely ballad from CSN (sans Y). I actually had another Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song in my head a couple days ago ("Carry On," from their amazing album, Déjà Vu) but couldn't find a good web link for it, and I don't own it anymore, let alone in digital format. I'll post it later on if I can download it.

Here's to one of the first and ultimate supergroups, forever in rotation on the jukebox of my psyche.

Artist: Crosby, Stills, and Nash
Year: 1977
Rating: Luke Hot

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sing Me Spanish Techno

Cute cross-dressy video, but the story and images are so front-and-center that it sort of distracts from the music. I've grown more and more fond of The New Pornographers the more I've listened to them. They're fun, musically complex and poppy at the same time, lyrically compelling, and I love the vocal interplay between A.C. Newman and Neko Case.

Artist: New Pornographers
Year: 2005
Rating: Luke Hot

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Already Gone

Already Gone Live, 1974

The second Eagles song stuck in my head in the span of a week. This one has always been one of my favorites, though. I can't claim any sort of hipster distaste for the Eagles; I'm warm on 'em. I love the melody, the harmonies, and I can't resist the quirky opening lines:

Well I heard some people talkin' just the other day
And they said you were gonna put me on the shelf
Lemme tell ya, I got some news for you
And you'll soon find out it's true
And then you'll have to eat your lunch all by yourself...


Normally, I'm not drawn to the "dude dumping the chick" narrative, but the spirit of this song is about freedom from internal constraints, and I'm a kindred audience.

Artist: Eagles
Year: 1974
Rating: Hot!

You're The Inspiration



Gotta admit, this sappy Chicago ballad has been millin' about for days, almost as if to taunt me for skipping it over in the write-up from Friday. I had to include this link to a Peter Cetera solo performance, complete with wacky cell phone-waving revelry, 'cause the only other versions I'm finding on YouTube are from the post-Cetera era with lead singer Jason Scheff. As if this album weren't enough of a shark-jump (ah, the obvious link between massive commercial success and suckage) it was also Cetera's last work with the band before he flew the coup in 1985.

Artist: Chicago (Peter Cetera)
Year: 1984
Rating: Lukewarm

(Shark-jump icon stolen from Addison Road)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Losing California



Fun live version from a talk show appearance in '99.

Artist: Sloan
Year: 1999
Rating: Hot!

Noteworthy: With this entry, Sloan becomes the most frequently referenced band in my head so far (with Genesis close behind, albeit Genesis entries are dominated by one particular song).

Chicago is (barely) your kind of band, Chicago is

So, the official results of the Best Band Named after a Geographical Location poll are in, and let me just take this opportunity to thank everyone out there for participating and chiming in. In all, 41 folks voted, giving us the following scores:

1st Place: Chicago, with 12 votes

2nd Place: Berlin, with an achingly close 11 votes, after leading for almost the entire run of the poll.

3rd Place: a tie between Boston and America, with 6 votes a piece (America making a big jump from earlier in the contest.)

4th Place: Kansas, with 5 votes, and

5th Place: Asia, with one sad little vote.

Many discussants had lots of opinions about the showdown between Chicago and Berlin. Some think that Chicago is simply too commercial and schmaltzy to be the best representative of the Geo-Bands. Others argue that Berlin, while sophisticated and aesthetically hip, are musically inferior to the more diverse jazz-rock symphonics of Chicago. The controversy over this vote is expressed quite well by reader Michael D. of San Francisco, California. He states in a personal (but rather public) forum that:

Berlin may be style over skill, but oh what style! [On Chicago] Well-executed banality is still...banality.

I will agree with that sentiment to a certain point, as Berlin also suits my own aesthetic more than Chicago or any of the other bands in the poll (in fact, I almost didn't include Berlin because they were so very "one of these things is not like the others"). Nevertheless, it is hard to argue with the legacy of Chicago's discography. At 21 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum records, the band has very nearly as many RIAA-awarded albums as all the other bands in the poll combined. (Added up, Kansas, America, Boston, and Asia have 22 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum records. Guess how many Berlin has...that's right, zero.) We know that popular is not always best, but I think our readership made a sound choice with Chicago.

Anyway, enough of the rambles. Here are some of the choicest Chicago tunes just in case you need convincing (and yes, they've been in my head all day):

Arguably Chicago's very best song, certainly the most epic and addictive of their jazz rock catalog. Song: 25 or 6 to 4 Year: 1970 Rating: Hot! Oh, it's 1976, and Peter Cetera's hair shows it! This song oozes with pure '70s pop schmaltz, and that's why I love it so. Song: If You Leave Me Now Year: 1976 Rating: Luke Hot
A good song representative of their '80s oeuvre.

Song: Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away
Year: 1982
Rating: Warm

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fat Bottomed Girls



This song just fucking rocks. The above video is so totally a dubbed performance to the studio version of the song, but it's still good to see Freddie strut around in his trademarked bare-chested bravado. This might very well be the only overtly fat-positive song in the entire rock canon. Can anyone out there think of any others?

I've been singing with my band
Across the water, across the land,
I seen ev'ry blue eyed floozy on the way, hey
But their beauty and their style
Wear kind of smooth after a while.
Take me to them lardy ladies every time!


Artist: Queen
Year: 1978
Rating: Hot!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane



I'd forgotten that Don Henley sings lead and plays drums simultaneously, though this particular song/performance doesn't showcase the drumming so much. This is a truly odd song to wake up to, since last night all I did was have a burrito and read a Buffy comic before going to sleep.

...sure to make you lose your mind.

Artist: Eagles
Year: 1976 - the Bicentennial year
Rating: Warm

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Repeat Loops

Three recent head-songs are replaying this morning. Woke up with the Entertainment Tonight theme again; then a repetitive medley of Zeppelin's Immigrant Song leading into Closer by Nine Inch Nails.

As I progress with this project, I'm finding that the songs manifesting in my head are certainly influenced by blogging about them. A song that would perhaps have been long gone into the unconscious reaches might resurface again and again just from writing about it or re-reading one of my entries. I'm also noticing that I have a slightly anxious anticipation upon waking, in an active wondering of what song might surface. This has possibly "pushed" songs to consciousness that otherwise wouldn't have arrived; some of them due to having blogged about them already, some due to recent exposure from actually hearing the song played. I'm attempting to dismiss songs that feel "forced" upon waking, and opting to blog about the songs that seem to float in more organically if possible.

Also, only two more days to vote for your favorite Geo-Band! Do it now! And if anyone out there has an idea about what the next poll should be, please leave a comment!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ana Lucia

Ana Lucia by Sloan
Fandalism Free MP3 Hosting


For some reason, this song always strikes me as appropriate for a Wes Anderson soundtrack. One of many songs that I love from Sloan's fantastic album Never Hear the End of It.

Artist: Sloan
Year: 2006
Rating: Luke Hot

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese/Interplanet Janet



Oh my god! "I hanker for a hunk of cheese" was the very first thing that arrived in my brain as I woke this morning. Why would an educational jingle from thirty years ago be in my immanent mental scope without obvious provocation? I don't even crave cheese at the moment.

Brought to you by: DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, ABC
Lyrics/Music: Lynn Ahrens
Voice: Lennie Weinrib
Year: 1977
Rating: Warm

This one then segued quite naturally into one of my favorite School House Rock songs, Interplanet Janet:



Honestly, watching this video and hearing the song again after so many years just gave me goosebumps right up to my head. "A solar system Ms. from a future world." I wonder if Gloria Steinem officially endorsed that lyric.

Brought to you by: School House Rock
Music/Lyrics: interestingly enough, Lynn Ahrens again!
Year: 1978
Rating: "The mercury on Mercury was much too high"

Sugar

Sugar by Ladytron
Fandalism Free MP3 Hosting


Another song associated with sweetness, this one the empty calories of unwholesome lust:

If i give you sugar, will you give me
Something elusive and temporary


Artist: Ladytron
Year: 2005
Rating: Luke Hot

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Closer



I haven't been a big radio listener for a long time, so '90s and '2000s radio-hit bands and songs remain obscure to me unless they've been burned onto a CD for me by a friend or I've had a pre-'90s fascination with the band already. There was a time during the mid to late '90s when I was a canvasser and we'd listen to the radio in the crew car on our way out to turf, taking turns picking stations. This song was in constant rotation on Live-105. I hated it then, but I've slightly warmed to it, for its dramatic flair. I think I was also too vanilla then to "get" the lyrics. The video, however, is just not my thing.

Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Year: 1994
Rating: Lukewarm

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Magic by the Cars



I adore the Cars. Though, as it often is with songs in my head, this one isn't the end-all-be-all of awesome songs by an artist I adore. If I had a more refined shuffle feature in my unconscious mind, I would probably mainly be playing songs from their first, fucking brilliant self-titled 1978 album, which evidently has now gone platinum six times over. 1984's Heartbeat City was a decent record, though I will say that Benjamin Orr (may he rest in peace) was best as a bassist and not as the front man. It's not at all that he was a bad singer (Just What I Needed, from the first record, is excellent), it's that Drive veers dangerously close to schmaltzy blue-eyed soul territory. But never mind, "Magic" is a cute enough number, and this album wasn't anything close to the abysmal shark jump that band members Greg Hawkes and Elliot Easton made in forming the New Cars in 2005 with Todd Motherfucking Rundgren replacing Ric Ocasek on lead vocals.

Do not even get me started on how wrong it is to reform the Cars without Ocasek, Orr, and drummer David Robinson. I have a serious axe to grind with any band who reforms decades after their heyday for the payola, particularly when crucial band members don't participate (see Journey sans Steve Perry). For that matter, I'm similarly irked by bands that stay together well passed their relevance for the payola (the quintessential example being the Rolling Stones, who haven't produced a song worth a dime since the late '70s but grossed close to $500 million on their last world tour). Wow, now who's veering dangerously away from the point?

Artist: The Cars
Year: 1984
Rating: Warm

Immigrant Song



Weird to wake up to Robert Plant wailing, "Ahhhh--ahh! Ahhhh--ahh!" but there you go. This song has an absolutely bitchin' guitar/bass/drum progression, but the Viking imagery and Plant's voice sort of ruin it for me.

Artist: The Zep
Year: 1970
Rating (music): Luke Hot
Rating (lyrics/vocals): Lukewarm

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Candy



I love that a song called "Candy" was on my mind during a week I was chiding myself for eating too much sugar! Could my unconscious productions be more straightforward? (Apologies for the Chandler-esque question format.)

Anyway, enjoy this fantastic duet from the shirtless king of punk and the queen goddess of kitsch new wave. Their vocal combination on the refrain is perfect - a simple song with a palpable yearning.

Artist: Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson
Year: 1990
Rating: Hot!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dan Seals, in Memoriam

I'd like to acknowledge the recent death of Dan Seals, former soft-rocker and country artist, and one half of the adult contemporary duo England Dan and John Ford Coley. He was also the brother of Jim Seals, of the similarly mellow 70's band Seals and Crofts. He died March 25, 2009, of complications of lymphoma, but he'll live forever in my mental soundtrack.

Rest in peace, Dan.

Closer to the Heart



Not the most epic in the Rush canon; nevertheless, an extremely positive message that I find to be personally quite meaningful - we could all benefit from operating "closer to the heart" in this life. In other words, doing everything we do with as much love and care, or positive intention, as we can muster.

And, by the way, Blacksmiths, philosophers, and ploughmen certainly qualify this song for the Ren Faire Aesthetic tag. As do Geddy Lee's flowing mane and cloak-like garb.

Artist: Rush
Year: 1977
Rating: Luke Hot

Saturday, April 4, 2009

1.2.X.U.



Talk about a diametric change from the Entertainment Tonight theme! The tinny guitar riffs compelled me to wake this morning. Wire is some good shit - many post-punk and power-pop bands I love wouldn't exist or be quite the same without 'em.

Artist: Wire
Year: 1977
Rating: Hot!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Entertainment Tonight Theme



This song was burning in my head this morning, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was from. I knew it was some sort of TV talk show theme song, but I haven't watched this kind of shit in decades. My first hunch was that it was from the local CBS-affiliate Evening Magazine with Jan Yanehiro and some interchanging cast of nebbishy blond guys. Strike One. Then I thought it might be the Siskel and Ebert theme, but wrong again. It hit me as I was walking home from my quick outing to the mailbox on the corner, and thanks to the magical internets, we now have the winner. Ah, Mary Hart and John Tesh.

Year: 1984
Rating: n/r

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Get Around



Here's a fun performance from the Boys in 1964, their first trip to the U.K. Bonus: they also play When I Grow Up (To Be A Man).

I've always loved the line in I Get Around: "I'm a real cool head; I'm makin' real good bread."

Artist: The Beach Boys
Year: 1964
Rating: Warm, perhaps a tad warmer than warm.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Believe In Me



One of my favorite cuts on the last album. Perfect blend of cock rock and indie confection. And I need to believe in me right now, too.

Artist: Sloan
Year: 2008
Rating: Hot!