Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Candy (Sugar Shoppe)

This mediocre confection has been swirling in my head for weeks, but only, oddly, in the afternoon hours, and so it has disqualified itself from entry in the blog. Finally, I woke with it, and now, you are merrily subjected to its sickeningly sweet incestuous entendres:

Candy, cherry lollipop now. Sugar, candy never stop now.
I wanna take you to my sugar shoppe, so come on.
I wanna give you all the love I got, so come on.

Sippin' milkshakes in the hot sun/come on sugar, gotta give me some.

Artist: The Brady Bunch
Year: circa 1973
Rating: Warm

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Break It on the Kitchen Floor

Wow! Amy Miles doesn't even have a wiki page, that's how goddamned indie she is! And the album this song comes from, Dirty Stay Out, is out of print. Amber and Scott saw her open for They Might Be Giants a few years ago, and voila, she's become part of my mental soundtrack. Emotionally raw, spare, and vocally melodic, I think you'll enjoy her.

Artist: Amy Miles
Year: 2002
Rating: Luke Hot

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just the Two of Us

Wow. Not a song I would usually associate with my mental soundtrack, but here it is, in its sappy sweet ode to dyadic love! Sadly, the memorable Bill Withers vocal seems unavailable online. But the video here is Grover Washington, Jr., the composer, on sax, and Zach Sanders on vocals, who does a very nice job.

Artist: Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers
Year: 1981
Rating: Warm

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kiss On My List

Heard this twice on the jukebox at a bar last night. Let's say there are reasons I woke up with this song front and center in my mind.

Artist: Hall & Oates
Year: 1980
Rating: Warm

Monday, May 18, 2009


"Dreams of loneliness like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had, and what you lost..."

Probably some of the most lovely and mournful pop lyrics ever. Second F-M song to float through the brain this month.

Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Year: 1977
Rating: Hot!

Walking on a Thin Line

Huey Lewis attempts and misses when trying to get "serious" about the Vietnam war. The song is melodically easy on the ears, but he was lyrically and musically bested a year previous by fellow commercial pop master Billy Joel on Goodnight, Saigon.

Artist: Huey Lewis and the News
Year: 1983
Rating: Lukewarm

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Chicken with Its Head Cut Off

This amateur video is really stupid and kind of hilarious, but I absolutely adore the song.

Artist: Magnetic Fields
Year: 1999
Rating: Hot!

No Rain

Video here.

When this satisfyingly poppy ditty came into my head the other day, I got out my guitar and decided to play it. (I have time to do this since I'm still unemployed.) The lines:

"I just want some one to say to me
I'll always be there when you wake
Ya know I'd like to keep my cheeks dry today
So stay with me and I'll have it made "

...are always affecting. And o-o-o-oh, it's a super-fun song to sing.

Artist: Blind Melon
Year: 1992
Rating: Luke Hot
Note: R.I.P. Shannon Hoon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mama's Family Theme

The Mama's Family theme is one of those TV tunes that have lingered in my consciousness for the last twenty years. I remember the show fondly, but the details have obscured over the years. I suspect it's one of those shows that I liked as a kid, 'cause I was a lot less discerning about my comedy. Though the star-studded cast of Carol Burnett players and to-be-Golden Girls (this show predated G2 by a couple years) speaks to a possible DVD revival in my future.

Artist: Peter Matz (composer)
Year: 1983
Rating: Warm

Friday, May 15, 2009


Stephen King, the legendary horror auteur, has a recurring column in Entertainment Weekly, and he's gotten on the songs-in-my-head bandwagon. In a recent column, he laments what he calls earworms and claims, among other things, that ABBA seems to be the band responsible for the most infectious songs in our collective heads.

But now that my attention has been drawn to this "earworm" concept, I feel so terribly behind the times. There's even a Wikipedia page about it. This phenomenon is also referred to as the "cognitive itch" which was coined by James Kellaris of the University of Cincinnati in his 2001 consumer psychology study on tunes that won't get out of our heads.

I knew I wasn't the first one to come up with this concept of logging the random songs lodged in the brain. When I started this project, I found a handful of other bloggers who have made some similar efforts. There's an excellent blog still active that's been up since 2006, written by New York journalist Holly Hughes. You can keep up with her mental soundtrack at The Song in My Head Today. She's a great writer, and draws from her love of influential artists like Big Star and Nick Lowe, but appreciates smooth cheese like Hall & Oates, which of course endears me to her even more.

The annals of earworm blogs unfortunately are also filled with the corpses of blogs gone by. Of note there was which was updated during 2007-2008. I like the author's critical style and tastes. There was also which picked themes and then blogged about the songs that fit into the themes - good popculty fun, published in 2006. There are also plenty of other one-off entries about songs-stuck-in-various-heads within blogs that cover other subject matter as well. I will do my best to keep up the project and therefore keep forcing my arbitrary musical mind-bugs into your skulls for as long as humanly possible. Thanks for reading!

Here are some related earworm articles:

Top 10 Songs in Your Head
BBC article on the Kellaris study
Interview with Daniel Levitin of McGill University

Earworm drawing by Smynx user JamesD
Song Stuck in my Head image by Sam Brown at

Last Dance

Last Dance by Mekons
Fandalism Free MP3 Hosting

This song by one of my fave old-school punk bands the Mekons is such a beautiful and melancholy meditation on love that will never be:

So beautiful, you were waltzing
Little frozen rivers all covered with snow
All fragmented and broken up
Oh well I guess it's time to go

I love that quirky punk-meets-country sound, and Tom Greenhalgh's plaintive wailing, "It'll be alri--ight."

Here's a live version if you'd like to see it, but I think the studio rendering is better. If you do have a chance to see Mekons live, do it. Their energy is amazing.

Artist: Mekons
Year: 1985
Rating: Hot!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Foolish Heart

Lord, who designed the cinematography for this snore-fest of a video? I have a soft spot for the lead single from this album, Oh Sherrie, but only because it's exuberantly cheesy. Foolish Heart totally blows.

Artist: Steve Perry
Year: 1984
Rating: Cold

Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)

Awesome performance of this song. It's taken me a while to warm up to Arcade Fire, but I'm really starting to dig them. They've got some Talking Heads, art-rock flavor and some noisy Modest Mouseian elements, and of course, they're also just all their own thing.

Artist: Arcade Fire
Year: 2004
Rating: Hot!
Noteworthy: Laïka, serving as the song's central metaphor, was the doomed Russian dog who became the first mammal launched into space on Sputnik 2.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I've Got Two...

This classic Sesame Street song popped into my head in the wee hours when I had to, well, wee.

Artist: Bob and Susan
Year: 1970
Rating: Luke Hot


Like any self-respecting Santa Cruz stoner in the '90s, I had a Phish phase in college. This goofy cover of jazz standard Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie popped into my head a couple weeks ago, but I needed some time to research it.

Here are a couple samples of the cover. In true Phish form, they take the standard jazz melody, jam it out Dead-style, and add a wacky lyric line to match:

Crab in my shoe-mouth
Crab in my shoe-mouth
Crab in my, crab in my, crab in my shoe-mouth

And of course, whenever I hear the song, I can't get "crab in my shoe-mouth" out of my head for days, even weeks.

Here's the trumpet master himself. It's amazing to watch how fast his fingers move (and a gas to watch his cheeks puff up!) The "crab-in-my-shoe-mouth" part starts at about 3:25, and there's a fantastic conga drum breakdown at about 6:45.

Artist (cover): Phish
Year: 1992
Rating: Warm

Artist (original): Dizzy Gillespie
Year: approx. 1946
Rating: Luke Hot

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Second-Hand News

Not the best quality on this video/audio - sorry. Fleetwood Mac's in my head, 'cause I listened to their self-titled 5x platinum album from 1975 recently. This song, however, is from the even more massively successful 19x platinum Rumours album from '77. Lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff. What else is there to say, really?

Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Year: 1977
Rating: Luke Hot

Boi Kallah

This old Camp favorite entered my mind the other day. Can't find a link to the whole song, but here's a snippet for you from Brooklyn-based Jewish singer and educator Shira Kline.

A transliteration of the Hebrew is: Boi Kallah/Lecha dodi, likrat kala, p’ney shabbat n'kablah which means "Welcome the bride. Come my beloved, my bride." It's a Shabbat song, welcoming the "Sabbath bride," or Shekhinah, the divine presence of god, to consecrate the Sabbath. Fascinating metaphor, to welcome god as a "bride" and in a feminine form. Anyone know more about this concept?

Year: unknown
Rating: Warm

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Men Are Called Horsemen There

The inimitable Spencer Krug and his main Wolf Parade side project, Sunset Rubdown. Evocative storytelling and lush sonicscapes. Yummy stuff. And you should see Spencer's forearms when he's on the keys: sexy as all get-out. I heard a dude at a show once yell, "I'd go gay for you, Spencer!" I don't know how Spencer'd feel about that.

Artist: Sunset Rubdown
Year: 2006
Rating: Hot!