Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Villain's Theme

Well, the mystery has been solved, as least, it seems so. Once again, my friend Buffy has saved the day. You may remember her sleuthing skills from the mystery of the Infernal Gallup. Now, she's helped us figure out what the hell that spooky, sneaky cartoon music is. A ringtone of the song is listed as "Cartoon Creeping Music" at AudioSparx. The real title turns out to be an appropriately-named composition called The Villain's Theme, and Amazon.Com credits it to Al Weber (and his Repetitious 88 Keys). However, the packaging on the "Memories" collection "Silent Film Music" available at Amazon credits him as Al Webber (with two b's).

Thing is, I don't think that Mr. Web(b)er is the originator of the piece, since this album, released in 1995, features music from other composers, all credited to Al (I don't think he can take credit for the William Tell Overture, for example). I think Webber and his Repetitious Keys performed all the tunes in this collection, but the piece was penned by somebody else. We also don't know how old it is yet. It could have been published anywhere from the late 19th Century to the early 1930s if it did feature in silent films.

The internets don't seem to have anything on this Al Webber guy, nor his 88 Repetitious Keys. Searches yield results for "A.L. Webber," but I don't imagine that the high-profile Andrew Lloyd Webber had to do compilation CDs for extra cash in the '90s. If anyone has any feedback or more information on this composition, please leave a comment!

Artist: Al Webber (and his 88 Repetitious Keys); composer unknown
Year: c. 19th Century to 1930s
Rating: Warm

Thanks, Buffy, for your ever present diligence, curiosity, and mad research skills!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Got To Get You Into My Life


Artist: The Beatles
Year: 1966
Rating: Hot!

Spooky instrumental

Mystery song time again, kids!

This song was in my head about a month ago, but I just could not find a sample of it online. Naturally, that's hard to do when one doesn't know the name of the composition or the composer. It's certainly one of those songs that I know from cartoons; I'm guessing from a very old black and white one. If I told you it's the "spooky" music playing to the visual of a character tiptoeing, would you know the song I was talking about?

I found this nifty virtual keyboard site online and tapped out the notes there.

The sequence I'm playing is:

C D# G C1 G# G F D# D, then back to C.

Can anybody name that tune?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Her Factory

Click here for the iLike link.

Gotta love a punk band with a good feminist-Marxist analysis. Although, I will problematize this by mentioning that I read an interview with their sometimes-bassist Sara Lee (swoon!) who said that she caught them overdubbing some of her bass lines while she'd stepped out of the recording studio for a break. Walk the talk, guys!

Artist: Gang of Four
Year: 1979
Rating: Hot!

Half Dead

One of the simplest, most relatable break up songs ever. Though I'm not breaking up with anybody (kenahora!*) I happen to be cleaning out a bunch of junk in my room today. As the lyrics indicate, the most effective way to manage such a task is to "act like a machine" while you're sorting through stuff. I'm not interested in being machine-like, but coming across my ex-girlfriend's house key was more of a mildly-amusing curiosity than a trigger for grief, which felt good. Artist: The Mountain Goats Year: 2006 Rating: Luke Hot *"kenahora" is the Yiddish equivalent of "knock on wood" - basically, an incantation to banish the evil eye. Pronounced "cun-a-HU-ra."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can't Get It Out of My Head

This is probably the patron saint composition of the entire enterprise of recording the songs that get stuck in one's head! Heard it on the jukebox at the Saturn Café in Santa Cruz about a month ago and supposed that it would worm its way back. Sho nuff, it did.

Artist: ELO
Year: 1974
Rating: Luke Hot

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Country Feedback

This song was actually in my head a couple weeks ago, before "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" which I logged a few minutes ago. I'm still catching up on my mental queue. Sorry for the out-of-orderness.

Artist: R.E.M.
Year: 1991
Rating: Luke Hot

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

I really enjoy the fuzzy guitars and loud rock vibe of Monster. This isn't my favorite song on the album, but it's got a lingering hook, for sure.

Explanations of the title of the song are here.

Artist: R.E.M.
Year: 1994
Rating: Warm

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


You know it's a good day when you wake up feeling this confident!

Artist: Irene Cara
Year: 1980
Rating: Luke Hot

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Burn For It

Something just doesn't ring true about Patrick, or any member of Sloan singing the lines:

I've got a barbed wire heart
And you can't handle it

I love 'em to death, but emotionally hardened they ain't. The very structured power-pop formula of this song belies the sentiment.
Artist: Sloan
Year: 2008
Rating: Warm at best

Pomp and Circumstance/The Riddle Song

So, I got the graduation march, Pomp and Circumstance, in my head, specifically as heard in a movie which I thought was Animal House. I've searched for a graduation scene online, but I can't find it, and the song isn't listed as in use in the movie at imdb. Anyway, here's some amazing footage from 1931 of the original composer conducting the song at the opening of the Abbey Road studios in London.

Artist: Sir Edward Elgar
Year: c. 1905
Rating: I'll pass

The thought that the march appeared in Animal House inspired another song from the movie to get stuck, an old folk tune that I thought was called "I Gave My Love a Cherry" (actually called The Riddle Song) which was performed in the film by my mental soundtrack staple, 70s singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop. View cliphere

This then lead me to get another filmed version of the song in my head, from one of my most beloved movies, Little Darlings. Armand Assante, as Coach Callahan, sings it 'round the campfire.

(The song is at minute 9:10, the very end of the clip, just after one of Angel and Randy's failed attempts at teen coitus!)

Artist (original): Unknown, English traditional
Artist (covers): Stephen Bishop and Armand Assante
Year (original): c. 15th Century
Year (covers): 1978, 1980
Rating: Lukewarm


This song will now forever be associated with Freaks and Geeks in my mind.

Artist: Styx
Year: 1972
Rating: Warm

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Know What I Like

Hit me today in this vague sort of way. I had no idea whose song it was, and when I was hunting for it online, I came up with a Peter Gabriel-era Genesis song of epic and boring proggy proportions. But the musicality is more interesting than this bland pop-rock Huey Lewis tune which has managed to lodge itself in my head for more than 20 years.

I know what I like, and this ain't it.

Artist: Huey Lewis & the News
Year: 1986
Rating: Lukewarm

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Somebody to Love

This one's from this morning, for reals. (I've been, and will continue, playing catch-up here at the blog, 'cause I've got a long queue of songs that need entries.) Anyway, it's in my head 'cause the song is a motif in the Cohen Brothers' film A Serious Man, which Amber and I just rented a couple nights ago. I don't think it has more resonance than that at the moment. The song, and the film, are pretty awesome.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Year: 1967
Rating: Luke Hot

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Here Comes My Girl/Here Comes the Night

Another instance of one song bleeding into another in the mental soundtrack.

Artist: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Year: 1979
Rating: Warm

Artist: Them
Year: 1965
Rating: Luke Hot

I Can Feel It

I got a thing for you, too, You can have it, you can have it. Artist: Sloan Year: 1994 Rating: Luke Hot Note: This clip from 2006 features the Yoko Casionos. The original single duet was with Jennifer Pierce of fellow Canadian indie band Jale.

Carry On

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their amazing 1970 album Déjà Vu. I didn't realize, until investigating the song for this entry, that the band had adapted the song from an earlier Stephen Stills tune with Buffalo Springfield. Many of the lyrics are the same, but the melody and harmonies are significantly different. Really cool to hear the original song!

Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Year: 1970
Rating: Luke Hot

Friday, March 12, 2010


The morning after giving a lecture on polyamory in a human sexuality class at SF State. [Grins.]

The "videography" here is a bit confused, but their live acoustic performance of this song is at their beautiful, absurd best. May have even been the very same show I saw live a couple years ago at Herbst Theater in my fair City.

Artist: Magnetic Fields
Year: 2008
Rating: Luke Hot

Downtown Train x3

Sometimes multiple versions of songs flash through my head almost simultaneously. In this case, three versions of the song "Downtown Train," written and performed originally by Mr. Tom Waits, appeared in my head in reverse-chronological order.

I own the acoustic album from EBTG, so that's the version of the song I've heard most.

Artist: Everything but the Girl
Year: 1992
Rating: Luke Hot

Then Rod Stewart's radio-hit version wormed its way in for a few minutes. The studio rendition is not bad, though his live performances of the song are cheese-tastic, to be sure.

Artist: Rod Stewart
Year: 1989
Rating: Warm

Then I was left with the original, and man, that's exactly where I needed to be.

Artist: Tom Waits
Year: 1985
Rating: Hawt!


I can't get no girlie action. Harumph!

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Year: 1966
Rating: Warm

Note: Sorry for the weak video. I had a great live performance up here originally, but YouTube took it down for copyright violation. Meh.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Babylon Sisters, Redux

Last in my head on November 9, 2009

Artist: Steely Dan
Year: 1980
Rating: Warm

Under Your Spell

I think it's getting to be time to watch the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again. I've been reading the Season Eight comics, but it's just not the same.

Artist: Amber Benson as Tara
Year: 2001
Rating: Warm

Note: The last time a song from the musical episode Once More, With Feeling was in my head was July 4, 2009.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sing a Song of Sixpence

I have no idea why this song is in my head. It's not even a song I ever sang as a kid.

Now it feels like I'm writing in the meter of the song. Weird.

Artist: Unknown/English traditional
Year: c. 1744
Rating: Warm, but it's creepy.

Note: Cute animation and singing by YouTube user alphaalphaecho.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Can't Help Falling in Love

Elvis really ain't my king, but I do love the '70s caped-suit motif.

Artist: Elvis Presley
Year: 1961
Rating: Lukewarm