Thursday, October 29, 2009

Charlie's Angels Theme

I realised for the first time this morning that my straight-to-voicemail ring tone sounds like the Charlie's Angels theme. Now it's playing over and over again in my head.

Artist: Jack Elliott and Allyn Ferguson
Year: 1976
Rating: Warm

Note: Another song from the Bicentennial year.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This song brings my junior high school era back to me viscerally. The music, not the humiliations. Sweet song to wake up to.

Artist: General Public
Year: 1984
Rating: Hot!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unrelated? Maybe...

Addendum to She Says What She Means from yesterday:

Sloanmusic, the band's official Twitter i.d., made the studio version of the song available on the web about eight hours after I tweeted my entry and directly alerted them to it. Listen to the track I intended you to hear here!

Coincidence? I dunno, but thanks guys!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

She Says What She Means

Frustrating experience today: the above performance is great, but I had originally wanted to embed a studio version of the song for the Sloan-uninitiated out there. It's hard to love the raucous frenzy of these guys unless you can properly hear their smart lyrics and hooky riffs. My hopes dashed on the YouTube, I attempted to create a simple still shot video with audio track in iMovie, which I've never used before. After a couple hours of effort, frames not synching, song cutting off at 30 seconds in, etc., I finally got my ultra low-budge vid to work properly. Then I tried uploading it to said video hosting site, and the upload failed every which way I tried it. It wouldn't take as a .mov file, nor as an mpeg. My entire morning, down the Tube.

But I don't know what I would stoop to
Have you got another jump I could hoop through?

Artist: Sloan
Year: 1998
Rating: Hot!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles have been ubiquitous in popculture for more than forty years; still, I wonder how much, or how little, the recent re-releases/Rock Band phenomenon have altered their frequency in my head. This is the sixth post about them; two songs from months before the marketing frenzy and three songs since. I don't think there's enough data to tabulate it. Hopefully, this'll be the last post in which I'm repetatively musing about this dilemma, and in the future, I'll just let the boys from Liverpool do their magic in my head, unfettered by marketing guilt-by-association.

Artist: The Beatles
Year: 1967
Rating: Warm

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight

Given that R.E.M. is one of my all-time favorite bands, it's surprising they've only made it into my head three times since the start of this project; this is the second R.E.M. song to come 'round in a week's time. In fact, it's been ringing in my head for days, ever since Barry and I listened to it on his ipod shuffle while on the road between Durham and D.C. last week. It's such a catchy, fun, inexplicable song amidst Automatic for the People's more down-tempo, reflective tracks. As usual, I'm happy to recommend the Pop Songs review for another perspective.

Artist: R.E.M.
Year: 1992
Rating: Warm

Noteworthy: The Zep's John Paul Jones arranged the string section.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sometimes When We Touch, Redux/Shades of Gray

As the result of an intense snuggle session this morning, the song Sometimes When We Touch revisited my thoughts. It was last in my head on February 11, 2009. The melody then melded into Shades of Gray by the Monkees.

As with many Monkees' songs, this one was penned by professional songwriters from the infamous Brill Building, in this case, by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. If you check out their discography of co-written songs, you'll be impressed.

Artist: The Monkees
Year: 1967
Rating: Warm

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

With Whom to Dance

Lovely gender-bendy video for this broodingly sweet song. The rest of life pales in significance I'm looking for somebody with whom to dance Artist: Magnetic Fields Year: 1995
Rating: Luke Hot

House at Pooh Corner

Yet another song etched into my mind from my Camp days. Fascinating that Loggins & Messina are on tour again - no idea whether this marketing angle played into the song arriving on my brain. It's a sweet ditty - give it a listen if you've never heard it before. Great to see the young Kenny Loggins singing so earnestly. It's Winnie the Pooh fanfic!

Artist: Loggins & Messina
Year: 1970
Rating: Warm

Note: Loggins penned the song, which was recorded first by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and just months later by Loggins & Jim Messina.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I am this great, unstable mass of blood and foam
And no one in her right mind would make her home my home
My heart’s an autoclave

Only John Darnielle could make a potent metaphor out of medical equipment.

Artist: Mountain Goats
Year: 2008
Rating: Luke Hot

Friday, October 16, 2009


Listen to the sample track here.

Many of you know I have an abiding love for R.E.M., but I actually never really liked this song. I enjoy the album Up as a whole, though a lot of fans divide over it. Many "old stuff" purists gave up after this first attempt sans Bill Berry. But among fans who stuck with them through this transition, I might be in the minority in my opinion of this song. When I initially heard it, the similarity in melody and lyric structure to Leonard Cohen's Suzanne really irritated me. They gave a writing credit to Cohen on the album, but the story goes that they had no idea they were so closely mimicking him, which I find impossible to believe, given that "Suzanne" is pretty much Cohen's most recognizable song, and that the band had appeared on a Cohen tribute album in 1991. I also never cared for the lyrics, which I found to be a compilation of popculture clichés.

I will admit now though, eleven years on, that the lyrics and the imagery in the song have really stuck with me, in a good way. So I guess in my experience, this song has aged well like a fine cheese, as we cliché-lovers would say. These words particularly stick with me:

You want to trust religion
And you know it's allegory
But the people who are followers
Have written their own story
So you look up to the heavens
And you hope that it's a spaceship
And it's something from your childhood
You're thinking don't be frightened

I wouldn't have a hard time now giving the song a better rating. The sheer amount of nerdy pop philosophy here makes me grin.

For another take, which is more detailed and thoughtful, see Matthew Perpetua's review at his sprawling Pop Songs blog, in which he writes about *every* R.E.M. song.

Artist: R.E.M.
Year: 1998
Rating: Lukewarm (historical) Warm (Current)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


It's such a lonely word.

Transparent mental process: I read a friend's Facebook meme yesterday, which was entitled "Honesty." The song was instantly evoked. I noted in her comments that I wouldn't be surprised if it were to stick til the morning, and lo and behold...

Artist: Billy Joel
Year: 1978
Rating: Warm

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mr. Blue Sky

Interestingly, it was blue yesterday, but started raining today.

Artist: ELO
Year: 1978
Rating: Luke Hot

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chain Gang

I'm posting remotely from D.C., here for the wedding of a dear old friend. Weird to wake up the day of a wedding to a song about forced prison labor.

Artist: Sam Cooke
Year: 1960
Rating: Warm

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sweet Jane

Dating myself here as the youngin' that I am (though, at 37, approaching "middle age" I suppose), but the Cowboy Junkies' sumptuous cover of this amazing Velvet Underground song was the first one I heard, in the early '90s, when a dear friend put it on a mixed tape for me. It wasn't til a few years later that I started listening to, and loving, the Velvet Underground, when my roommate at UC Santa Cruz would play their self-titled album from 1969 nonstop.

Artist: Cowboy Junkies
Year: 1988
Rating: Hot!

There are a lot of versions of this song performed by Velvet Underground and Lou Reed solo. I present this one, 'cause it's got the "heavenly wine and roses" bridge that Cowboy Junkies included in their cover, and I love it.

Artist: The Velvet Underground
Year: 1970
Rating: Hot!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Star Wars - Imperial March

It would normally be pretty ominous for Darth Vader's theme to pound into one's head first thing in the morning, but I know where it came from. When I blogged about the spooky old children's tune The Hearse Song about a week ago, I cited the melody of the song's last lines to Chopin's composition Marche Funèbre. I thought at that time that the opening notes of the funeral march sounded similar to the Imperial March from Star Wars, but didn't think about it again until this morning when the evil Sith lord came a knockin' on my cranium. Turns out the "Imperial March" was somewhat based on Chopin's sonata, so the connection wasn't random at all. Fascinating, isn't it, how our brain can click right into a direct link even if we don't consciously know the connection?

Writer: John Williams
Original Artist: The London Symphony Orchestra
Year: 1980
Rating: Warm

Note: The March was introduced in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and has been used as a motif in all the following films. I'd attributed it in my mind to the beginning of the original trilogy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

These Eyes

The second Guess Who song on the noggin since I started this project. I thought this one might've been Blood, Sweat & Tears, actually, but I was mistaken. Both bands have this heavy sixties rock sound that also surprisingly borders on loungy pop. Especially on this track with the syllabically-crammed refrain, "These eyes have seen a lot of loves but they're never gonna see another one like I have with you."

Artist: The Guess Who
Year: 1969
Rating: Warm

If It Makes You Happy

I was in a pub a couple months ago, writing in my journal about bittersweet feelings (yes, I am the kind of geek who sometimes writes in pubs), when this apt song started filtering in over the sound system. It entered my mind again this morning after a similarly bittersweet Monday. Can't deny the catchy simplicity is emotionally resonant.

Artist: Sheryl Crow
Year: 1996
Rating: Lukewarm

Monday, October 5, 2009


Not sure why I can't find some video for this song - there are lots of covers out there, but not the original McCoy, so enjoy the track.

Lovely song to wake to. In my head.

You know, it's quite interesting/eerie to think that even if any of us were never to hear actual music again, we have lifetimes of songs stored in our memory, accessible at any moment we choose. So as long as we remain cognitively agile enough to recall them (a hope for us all!) we can simply supply our own individually-tailored soundtracks at any time, in any circumstance (a super-power I hope we're never forced to exercise). Van Morrison's a welcome addition to the mental play list.

Artist: Van Morrison
Year: 1970
Rating: Luke Hot

Note: I just learned that, though the album of the same name came out in 1970, Moondance wasn't released as a single til 1977. By today's hyper-marketing standards, that seems pretty weird, right?

Cool Rider, Redux

Last in my head on April 29, 2009.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Comfortably Numb

One of the most iconoclastic covers ever. Hard to imagine Roger Waters, David Gilmour and the boys anticipating that the dénouement of their masterpiece rock opera would manifest as a gay disco anthem at the turn of the next century, but there you are. My guess is that most Floyd fans hate it, but one has to admit the campy theatricality and pop hooks make this Scissor Sisters cover pretty special.

Artist: Scissor Sisters
Year: 2004
Rating: Warm

What I Got

The video is here. It's a tribute to dearly departed lead singer Bradley Nowell who famously died of a heroin OD just before Sublime's hit self-titled album release.

Not my favorite style of music, but I will say that I love that the line "I can play the guitar like a mother fuckin' riot" is followed by a mellow bluegrass riff.

Artist: Sublime
Year: 1996
Rating: Lukewarm

Note: I wonder if they acknowledged Lennon/McCartney for the ripped melody from Lady Madonna?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rain in the Summertime

Wow. The late-80s rocker mullet is in full-force on this U2ish tune from The Alarm. The song appeared in a dream, and I attributed it to an artist named "Donny Meast," noting to myself that his name was similar to Donny Most, aka Ralph Malf, from Happy Days. Dreams are weird.

Artist: The Alarm
Year: 1987
Rating: Lukewarm

Friday, October 2, 2009

Zest Commercial

A rude awakening this morning, with this cheerful '80s jingle ringing in my head. Anyone know who the actress is? She looks *so* familiar.

I couldn't imagine why a soap commercial would be on my mind, until Amber reminded me that I've been seriously dissatisfied with the soap we've been buying lately. Gotta change brands, but being a natch grocery shopper, Zest is definitely not in my future.

Year: 1987
Rating: Tepid