CSN (and sometimes Y)

It’s a little odd being home this weekend, as for the last six years, I was always on my way to WrestleMania. I decided to make the most of my change by getting in two rounds of exercise, with both walking and gym time.

March 30, 2012

1-mile neighborhood walk

  • Almost Cut My Hair–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Almost Hear You Sigh–The Rolling Stones
  • Almost Home–Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Almost Saturday Night–John Fogerty
  • Alone–Glee Cast (featuring Kristen Chenoweth)
  • Alone & Forsaken–Social Distortion

For this short burst of exercise, there was a “classic rock” theme, starting with “Almost Cut My Hair”. Back in the days of record stores (Hey kids! Not sure what a record store is? Ask your parents if they ever went to Tower Records, Strawberries, Record Town, or like store), one store created a backing card (the dividers between different musical acts) for this group that read “CSN (and sometimes Y)”. I always loved that, and if it had been the era of cell phones with cameras, I’m sure I would have captured the card for posterity. As it is, I have to settle for the memory, which I’m assuming I find funnier that anyone else.

I own the Rolling Stones’ album Steel Wheels. That on its own is not embarrassing, but the fact that it was the first Rolling Stones album I ever owned is. That’s sad, right? It’s also an indictment of my early musical taste.Truth be told, other than Tattoo You, I still don’t own any of the Rolling Stones studio albums, settling instead for the 2-disc greatest hits collection, 40 Licks. Clearly this ranks at least 6.0 Minds on the Simple Minds scale, as discussed in Wednesday’s post.

Like many teenagers, my life used to be about absolutes, and one of those absolutes was that I hated country music. Truth be told, I really didn’t even give country music a chance for years, but Mary Chapin Carpenter started to change that for me. I still fought the change, initially trying to rationalize that Chapin-Carpenter was folk music, not country, but I now know to listen to a song and judge it for its merit, not its category. The John Fogerty solo number is from his first run post-Creedence.

Then I heard a familiar opening instrumental run, and thought to myself,  “awesome, I forgot I had this Heart song!” As Kristen Chenowith’s vocals kicked in, I remembered that I didn’t own the Heart song, we owned the Glee version. Not disappointing at all! At least I was able to close my walk with a Social Distortion cut from last year’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes comeback album.

2.53 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Alone and Forsaken–Emmylou Harris
  • Alone at the Drive-In Movie–Grease Movie Soundtrack
  • Along Comes a Woman–Chicago
  • Alpha Dog–Fall-Out Boy
  • Alphabet Lost And Found–They Might Be Giants
  • Alphabet of Nations–They Might Be Giants
  • Alphabet Street–Prince
  • Already Gone–The Eagles
  • Already Gone–Tanya Tucker
  • Alright–Janet Jackson
  • Alright For Now–Tom Petty

My gym time started with the same song my previous walk ended with, just performed by a distinctly different artist (well, at least I see Emmylou Harris and Social Distortion as different artists–maybe you feel otherwise). The ironic thing about the Drive-in song from the Grease soundtrack is that the first time I saw Grease was at a drive-in theater. I fell asleep toward the end, so I didn’t get to enjoy the second half of the double feature, Saturday Night Fever.

Chicago is another one of those bands that gets me the glare from my wife when I put them on. She can almost tolerate the bluesy early work of the band, but not the sappy love-song festival of Chicago XVII. (You do have to hand it to the band for their attempt to help fans learn and master Roman numerals, but I think the Super Bowl and WrestleMania have that educational opportunity covered.) Some time soon I’m going to ask my oldest daughter to give me her 10 favorite Fall Out Boy songs for this blog, although I don’t know if I’ll every get a response–she hates having to make those kinds of decisions.

Parents that want to get their kids into rock music should pick up the kids albums of They Might Be Giants. They currently have 4, No!, Here Come the 123s, Here Come the ABCs, and Here Comes Science. The two alphabet songs come from the third album on that list (as you may have been able to guess). While my love of all things They Might Be Giants is likely to bias me, I think the songs are awesome for kids and adults, and I challenge you to listen to “The Alphabet Lost and Found” and disagree with me. The Prince song “Alphabet Street” is one I forget about, and then as soon as I hear it, I wonder why I don’t make more of an effort to keep it in active rotation.

As I’ve said repeatedly, I love artist tribute compilations. The country-music themed salute to the Eagles, Common Thread, is one of the first I remember seeing, but I didn’t add it to my collection until last year because of my previously mentioned blind disregard of all things country music. I don’t regret not having it earlier, as not much on the album stands out.  Speaking of standing out, this run of music ended with cuts from two of the stand-out albums of 1989, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 and Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever. Now those are two albums I would have regretted not getting sooner.


A Spongebob Album? Really?

March is coming to a close, and I feel that my momentum is strong, which is key, because no matter how much forward progress you make, you still realize you’ve got a whole bunch of “A” songs to get through, and even when you’re done with them, there’s still 25 letters to go, and some of them will make the ‘A’ section feel like a quick breeze. You have to seize the little victories, like today when I finished my “All” section.

March 29, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical plus arm weight work at the gym

  • All We Know–Paramore
  • All We Need Is A Dream–Cheap Trick
  • All Wound Up–Cheap Trick
  • All You Need Is Friends–Spongebob Squarepants
  • All You Need Is Love–The Beatles
  • All You Need Is Love–The Beatles
  • All You Need Is Love–The Beatles
  • All You Want–Dido
  • Allentown–Billy Joel
  • Allentown [Live]–Billy Joel
  • Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter–R.E.M.
  • Allison–The Pixies
  • Allison Road–The Gin Blossoms
  • Almost–Bowling For Soup
  • Almost Blue–Elvis Costello
  • Almost Blue–Elvis Costello
  • Almost Blue–Elvis Costello

Paramore was slowly building an impressive catalogue with three strong albums, but then lost two of their founding members. As long as they have lead singer Hayley Williams, their sound should remain largely the same, but the bigger likelihood is that Williams will launch a solo career. Then I had two consecutive songs from my only Cheap Trick album, Lap of Luxury, and I don’t think it’s a good sign that I originally thought I was hearing two copies of the same song.

Yes, yes, we do own a Spongebob Squarepants album–specifically, The Yellow Album. If you’re a parent and you’re wondering when your children will outgrow the show, I think I can comfortably tell you that the answer is “never”. As an example, I told my oldest daughter that I’d heard “All You Need Is Friends” today, and she proceeded to sing the entire song. Plus most times I go on Netflix instant, I find the show among the “Recently Watched” section, and my suggestions are often littered with cartoons.

Three copies of “All You Need is Love” from three different Beatles albums, including 1, Magical Mystery Tour, and Yellow Submarine. I know the song is specifically tied to Magical Mystery Tour, but I most identify it with Yellow Submarine and the scene where the Beatles take down the Blue Meanies’ evil glove. (That is a fun movie to watch once a year, but kids may find it a little off putting at best, and scary at worst.)

A couple of entries back, I spoke of confusing Sarah McLachlin, Shawn Colvin, and Sam Phillips; looking back, I feel guilty that I left Dido off that list. She’s more than the bridge of a great Eminem song–her No Angel album is solid beginning to end. Meanwhile, I’ve got two versions–studio and live–of one of the first “message” songs I rember hearing, “Allentown”. Later I would hear the more charged message song off that album, “Goodnight Saigon”, and later still, I’d learn that artists like Bob Dylan has chunks of songs like those two in his stool.

I actually had to look up the R.E.M. song title online, as the long title truncated on my iPod, and the multitude of underscores made me think there was a symbol or symbols in the title that hadn’t properly translated. While I listen to Doolittle far more than Bossanova when it comes to Pixies albums, I really love “Allison”. However, it is not my favorite “Allison…” starting song,  that honor goes to “Allison Road”, as I love every song off New Miserable Experience, a CD that is one of my all-time favorites.

I think I’m supposed to love Bowling for Soup more than I do. Their goofy brand of songwriting shares some similarities with Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants, but sometimes it seems like they’re trying too hard. That being said, some of their songs they get right and “Almost” is one of them (which is too bad because I can’t use the “they almost get it right” pun that the song just cries out for!).

I got to close with three different versions of “Almost Blue”, a song Elvis had on Imperial Bedroom, and then brought back for Cruel Smile (the third version is from my greatest hits 2-disc set that, as I’ve mentioned before, is largely irrelevant due to my wife’s extensive Elvis collection).

Is Anybody Out There? (Or Greatest Hits Guilt)

I know that I’m writing this to (1) push myself to exercise every day and (2) push myself to write every day, but it’s a little discouraging to see the daily views drop to the low single digits. Perhaps it’s a little misleading that I was getting more than a dozen views within the first week of starting this blog, but I can’t help but feel that people read the early blog and decided not to come back. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT MAKES ME FEEL? (Sorry, just trying to inject some drama in order to keep readers interested.)

March 28, 2012

3.29 miles on the elliptical plus upper-body weight work at the gym

  • All the Shine–Childish Gambino
  • All the Small Things–Blink-182
  • All the Small Things–Blink-182
  • All the Things She Said–Simple Minds
  • All the Time–Green Day
  • All the Way Home–Bruce Springsteen
  • All the Wrong Reasons–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • All the Young Dudes–Mott the Hoople
  • All These Things–Elvis Costello
  • All These Things That I’ve Done–The Killers
  • All This Useful Beauty–Elvis Costello
  • All Those Yesterdays–Pearl Jam
  • All Through the Night–Cyndi Lauper
  • All Through the Night [Live]–Cyndi Lauper
  • All Together Now–The Beatles

“All the Shine” is from the Childish Gambino CD my family gave me for my birthday last week, Camp. I am trying to figure out how much I like it, but it’s difficult to separate my feelings for the music, Donald Glover, Community, and just give an honest opinion. I’ve liked it the first few times through, but I wonder if it’s born out of a desire to see Glover be successful at everything he does and then hope that draws more fans to Community. Like the devoted fanbase, I’m hoping for “six seasons and a movie”, but for now I’d settle for season 4.

I’ve managed to trim some of the fat from my music collection, if not from me. Sometimes somebody in the family will buy a single off iTunes and then we’ll later get the CD, which led to multiple copies of certain songs. For the most part, I’ve gone back and deleted one of the copies, but I missed a second version of “All The Small Things”, which I then had to hear twice. That didn’t bother me too much; it’s when I had to double up on tracks from High School Musical or the Jonas brothers that got me a little cranky.

Actually, I really enjoyed the run of music today–nothing I needed to either sheepishly apologize for or blame another member of the family for obtaining. Simple Minds returns with a second song from Glittering Prize. Sometimes, I feel bad when I just own a group’s greatest hits–like I’m missing out on all the cool deep album tracks when I don’t get all their studio releases. I feel this stronger about some groups more than others, and Simple Minds might be a good midpoint, a baseline for all other groups. For example, my Jayhawks collection is a greatest hits album and I probably regret not having more of their albums 5 times as much as Simple Minds, or 5 Minds on this scale I am making up on the fly. On the other hand, my Air Supply greatest hits is more than enough for me, so I’d probably rate them 0.1 Minds on the scale.

Everyone in my family loves Green Day, but I do have a fundamental question about the group. They started off as a punk band and they rally against the system, but with their massive commercial success, their broadway musical, and their own video game, aren’t they an entrenched part of the system? And if so, does this cheapen their music and message?

Oh, look! A Bruce Springsteen song; how novel! We have 148 songs by the Boss in our collection, and I’ve already heard 7, with one more ‘A’ song to go. While looking this up, I also realized that we have Springsteen songs that start with 24 of the 26 letters of the alphabet, with only ‘X’ and ‘Z’ not represented, yo. Then I got a Tom Petty song from back half of one of my favorite two-album runs by an artist, although I guess it isn’t officially a two-song run when he left the Heartbreakers for Full Moon Fever. For me though, the second album, Into the Great Wide Open (which contains “All the Wrong Reasons”) is the better of the two.

“All the Young Dudes” is another strong entry from the Juno soundtrack which nicely blends newer songs with classics like this one and the Kinks. Then I got a pair of Elvis songs sandwiched around The Killers, a band that I introduced my kids to, and then they ran with them.  For fans of Pearl Jam that have Netflix instant, I highly recommend Pearl Jam 20, Cameron Crowe’s outstanding documentary on the band.

I managed to get a 3-album Cyndi Lauper set from someone at work a few years ago with She’s So Unusual, True Colors, and Hat Full of Stars. I love all three, but the amazing thing is how filled with hits that first album is. The deluxe version of the album also included a live track of “All Through the Night”. I then got to close things down with a fun Beatles song from Yellow Submarine.


All “All…” Songs, All the Time

Here’s something you may have figured out by now; when your collection is more than 10,000 songs, there are certain starting words that you will be stuck in for some time in an alphabetical question. And I am smack dab in the middle of one right now, as through today, I have listened to more than 60 songs that begin with “All”, and I still have about 20 more to go. I feel confident that I’ll be on a new word before April hits!

March 27, 2012

3.10 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • All She Wants Is–Duran Duran
  • All She Wants To Do Is Dance–Don Henley
  • All She’s Got–Sum 41
  • All Shook Down–The Replacements
  • All Shook Up–Elvis Presley
  • All Shook Up–Ry Cooder
  • All Star–Smash Mouth
  • All Systems Go–Box Car Racer
  • All That Heaven Will Allow–Brice Springsteen
  • All That I’m Living For–Evanescence
  • All The Best–R.E.M.
  • All The Girls Love Alice–Elton John
  • All The Love–The Outfield
  • All The Right Reasons–The Jayhawks

In the mid-80’s I used to hate Duran Duran, and when you boil it down, it stemmed from one simple reason–my younger sister loved Duran Duran. From a logical standpoints, it’s an idiotic reason to dislike a band, but this is a typical sibling relationship. She loved everything they did, so I wouldn’t give them a second listen. With the possible exception of “New Moon on Monday”, I ignored all Duran Duran until “View to a Kill” until I was in college. Once I was on my own, I could go back and enjoy the pop-y goodness of the band, and I’m now (to my wife’s chagrin) a big fan.

It seemed like Joe Walsh was first out of the gate in the most successful solo Eagle competition, but then Miami Vice helped Glen Frey jump out in front. But there’s no contest in the long run–Don Henley trounced them all right? (Unless you count Timothy B. Schmidt’s five “Employee of the Month” awards at his local Kinkos.) Sum 41 is a bad that my son loves, although I heard of them first, as I remember “In Too Deep” being the closing party song in American Pie 2, a guilty pleasure movie franchise for me; and the answer is, yes, I will be seeing American Reunion on opening weekend, Easter weekend.  Box Car Racer, on the other hand, is all him. Maybe I’ll enjoy it; I haven’t really given it a chance yet.

It’s back to the Replacements and “All Shook Down” before we go in the opposite direction with the King, Elvis Presley and “All Shook Up.” Elvis was a perfect example of an artist that I’ve never owned any of his albums, but felt my library should have some representation of his work, and thanks to my local library I was able to get a selection of his history with a greatest hits CD. I did already own a cover of “All Shook Up” by Ry Cooder from the Cocktail soundtrack. In the coming months, I want to make sure this blog keeps things interesting, so I’m thinking of adding some features, like yesterday’s ultimate workout playlist. I’m also considering a “What Was I Thinking” CD review section where I talk about some of my more suspect album purchases. If I do this, the Cocktail soundtrack is a natural choice.

“All Star” will continue to be a societal guilty pleasure, a song no one want to admit liking.  Then, in a big upset, we get some more Bruce Springsteen, the sixth different song by the Boss since I’ve started this journey. Two of the next three songs make me think of my daughters. The first, the Evanescence song, makes me think of my youngest, as she loves Amy Lee and her group, and often adopts a similar singing style. The Elton John song obviously calls my oldest to mind, and I actually wonder if she’s ever heard the song. Just as she was predisposed to dislike anything by Alice in Chains, I’m thinking she’d already be liking this song. Squeezed in between is an R.E.M. song from their last album before they called it quits. While their later work was uneven, I still enjoyed it enough to be sad that they’re done as a group. I guess I can be optimistic and realize that there can’t be a reunion concert tour if they don’t first break up.

I used to talk a lot about The Outfield with colleagues at my first job. Almost all the guys that,like me, graduated from high school between 1985 and 1988, were big fans of Play Deep, and could name songs beyond “Your Love”. For me it was definitely a replacement CD (re-bought on CD to replace a tape or record). I can’t think of a better artist to hit my cool down period on the elliptical than the Jayhawks.  And that’s “All” for now.


And on Sunday, I rested

I knew the run had to end at some point, and thanks to a family visitor, pulled pork, a selection of pastries, and an inviting couch, things stopped just short of double digits. But I knew I only wanted it to be a 1-day break and I wanted to make sure I pushed myself a little harder on my day back. So I decided to hit the gym and do a more extensive outdoor walk. The latter activity demonstrated some exceptional timing, as after a solid week of 65-75 degree, record-setting temperatures, I decide to walk 2 1/2 miles when it’s back to the 50’s with a strong chilly wind. I just tell myself it was all part of the plan to walk in cooler temperatures and push myself in the bracing air.

March 26, 2012

2 1/2 miles walking outside

  • All I See–Linda Thompson
  • All I Wanna Do–Sheryl Crow
  • All I Want–Joni Mitchell
  • All I Want–The Offspring
  • All I Want for Christmas is You–Glee
  • All I Want Is You–Barry Louis Polisar
  • All I Want Is You (Live)–Carly Simon
  • All I Want Is You–U2
  • All I Want to Be (Is By Your Side) [live]–Peter Frampton
  • All I Wanted–Paramore
  • All I’m Thinkin’ About–Bruce Springsteen

Girl power abounds to kick off today’s list, with two of my wife’s favorites sandwiched around a CD from my collection. Linda Thompson has a great voice, and I really like sometimes to fall asleep to some of the Richard and Linda collaborations, like “Dimming of the Day,” so I do enjoy Fashionably Late. Meanwhile, Sheryl Crow is a pop bubblegum for me. I proudly own her Greatest Hits album. Blue is of course and album everyone should own and listen to at least once a year (a sort of musical Strunk & White.)

Same song title (“All I Want”) but a polar opposite musical act in The Offspring. My twins both decided to pool money and bring their Greatest Hits into our collection, a decision I secretly endorsed.

One of the things that’s going to happen when you listen to your entire list alphabetically, is that you get your entire list alphabetically. This includes holiday music, a genre I own quite a bit of. I never got the Mariah version of the song, but my youngest got a Glee cover of it on one of the two holiday CDs we own from that show. She’s also a big fan of the movie Juno, which produced a kicking soundtrack that starts off strong with the Barry Louis Polisar and gets even better.

So I wonder if after Katrina, Carly Simon ever regretted singing about a “sexy hurricane” on “All I Want is You”. For me, it starts a “live album” run, with each album being progressively more famous, as Simon’s live release is dwarfed by the soundtrack to the U2 concert release Rattle and Hum, but it can’t hold a candle to Frampton Comes Alive, one of the musical pillars of the 70’s. It’s then back to studio releases with another favorite band of all three of my kids, Paramore, and a Bruce Springsteen track from Devils & Dust, a release I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I get older.

3.29 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • All in White–The Vaccines
  • All in Your Mind–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • All My Life–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • All My Life–Kenny Rogers
  • All My Life–Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
  • All My Love–Led Zeppelin
  • All of Me–Willie Nelson
  • All or None–Pearl Jam
  • All or Nothin’–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • All or Nothing At All–Frank Sinatra
  • All Out of Love–Air Supply
  • All Over the World–The Pixies

It’s always fun to find to find a new band. There’s plenty of ways to introduce myself to new music–sometimes, I just explore iTunes, listening to the samples of newer alternative bands. That’s how I found the Vaccines last year, and after hearing pieces of several songs, I bought their debut album. What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? I’ve really enjoyed the album, and I expect their popularity to grow as fans discover this and later releases.

With more than 10,000 songs, the likelihood of two different songs in a row by the same band seems remote, but Echo & The Bunnymen (one of the more ridiculous names in pop music history) managed to achieve the feat. For years, the only Echo we owned was from a pair of soundtracks, Pretty in Pink and The Lost Boys. But after playing “Lips Like Sugar” in Rock Band 3, and finding a couple Echo albums at my local library, we’ve managed to expand our collection.

I had to be self motivated for a period of time on the cardio trail, as it’s not like Kenny Rogers or a Linda Ronstadt/Aaron Neville duet is likely to get you fired up. Even the Led Zeppelin song that followed didn’t really do it for me. In other circumstances, I enjoy all three songs; I just wouldn’t recommend adding them to an ultimate workout playlist (something that may be fun to build in the next few months). Luckily for me, Willie Nelson performing a 1930’s jazz standard like “All of Me” is sure to get the adrenaline flowing. Pearl Jam and Tom Petty do get me moving, giving me the momentum I needed, as my adult contemporary festival continued with the Chairman of the Board and Air Supply (a band I was way, way too into in high school). Thank goodness I was able to reclaim a little street cred by closing with the Pixies, right? Right? (Maybe I should have taken another day off…)

Happy Hunger Games to You All!

My wife, youngest daughter, and I just got back from seeing The Hunger Games, tying us with my son with one viewing. The family’s clubhouse leader is my oldest daughter, who saw it at its midnight premiere, went to school 3 1/2 hours later, and then saw it a second time at a matinee twp hours after she got out of school> And I don’t think she’s done–in fact, if she hadn’t gone to a birthday party tonight, I assume she may have racked up a third viewing already. To go all Roger Ebert on you (or Pauline Kael for certain members of my wife’s family), I enjoyed the film, finding it a solid adaptation of the book. If you haven’t read the trilogy, I highly recommend them. They’re entertaining, and anything that get kids to read is solid in my book. For the film, the casting is spot on. Woody Harrelson is having an outstanding month, as Game Change, the HBO film about the Sarah Palin selection is another feather in Woody’s cap.

I also still managed to hit the gym for some cardio time…

March 24, 2012

3.12 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • All Day and All of the Night/Destroyer–Ray Davies
  • All Fired Up–Pat Benatar
  • All For Leyna–Billy Joel
  • All For One–High School Musical 2 cast
  • All Grown Up–Elvis Costello
  • All Grown Up (Home Demo)–Elvis Costello
  • All Grown Up (Stephanie McMahon)–WWE Themes
  • All He Wants to Do is Fish–The Replacements
  • All I Can Do–Jump5
  • All I Care About–Richard Gere & Cast
  • All I Have to Do is Dream–The Dandy Warhols
  • All I Need is Everything–Aztec Camera
  • All I Really Want–Alanis Morissette

The list starts with a new compilation, and a unique one in my collection. I own a number of tribute compilations where modern artists cover songs of respected bands, including Leonard Cohen (2), Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, Kiss, Richard Thompson, and more. See My Friends is the first one to involve the original artist, as its a 2011 release by Ray Davies where he re-recorded Kinks songs with new collaborators. For this song, it’s Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins.

I was sad that my high school didn’t have three Pat Benatars, but what are you going to do? The nice thing about “All for Leyna” is that the band in Stepbrothers can perform the song at a Catalina Wine Mixer, as it just sneaks in with a 1980 release.

There’s two songs on today’s list that are tributes to my daughters’ early music taste and one is a result of current interest. Soundtracks to High School Musical 2 gave us “All For One” and Lizzy McGuire led to “All I Can Do”, Disney properties that my daughters wholly enjoyed. The Richard Gere song is also from a soundtrack, the musical Chicago. I still can’t believe that won best picture, but the fact that a Nic Cage movie would have been a better choice is an even greater upset.

Again, thanks to the extensive Elvis Costello collection, we get a double shot of “All Grown Up”, followed by another song with that name–Stephanie McMahon’s theme music. I must say that juxtaposing the two and having Elvis Costello perform a WWE theme, has given me a few hours of enjoyment today. Another way to increase your day’s enjoyment is to get a Replacements song, so things were really rolling at the gym today.

Back when I first started with WWE, Sony was responsible for the distribution of our DVDs. One time, a few of us went into New York city for a meeting at their offices. At the end of the day, the let us look through their sample closet to see if we wanted anything. I found a single copy of a soundtrack to a video game I’d never heard of–Stubbs the Zombie. Apparently, it’s the story of a zombie back in the 50’s or something, but it lead to this collection of standards from the beginning of the rock era performed by current alternative artists. I grabbed it, ironically for the Dandy Warhols cover of “All I Have to Do is Dream”, as I loved their song “We Used to Be Friends”, which was used in Season1 of The OC, and later became the theme song for Veronica Mars. I wasn’t a big fan of the song on the soundtrack, but entries from Clem Snide, The Flaming Lips, Oranger, CAKE, Rogue Wave, and more made the acquisition a great one. That day, the odds were definitely in my favor.

Finding Out Who’s Alive

In the past, a day like today would have found me skipping exercise, using the full-on taxi excuse. All my kids needed rides to movies, parties, work, and delivery times were staggered to the point of making gym time difficult to map out. So that usually leads to “it’s ok, I’ll go tomorrow.” Instead, it led to “even if I can’t do 3+ miles, I can go and do 2+ miles” and “no reason I can squeeze a 1-mile walk in here.” I can’t promise I’ll always escape the tractor beam of convenient laziness, but today was a small victory.

March 23, 2012

1-mile neighborhood walk

  • Alison (Soundcheck August 7, 1977)–Elvis Costello
  • Alive–??
  • Alive–Black Eyed Peas
  • Alive–Pearl Jam
  • Alive and Kicking–Simple Minds

At first I thought the best thing about the specific title of the final version of Alison that we own is that if you were at that concert, it would feel so personal to you. But then I realized that fans aren’t there for the Soundcheck–that happens before the concert. There are some live albums of course where you could say “I was there!” For me, it’s a track of Tripping the Live Fantastic, the double-disc Paul McCartney live release. I was so excited when I learned that he took different songs from different venues and of course hoped it was a sing-along number from my night in Worcester, Ma, so I could tell my kids/grandkids/strangers on the bus, “Yep, that’s me singing along to ‘Hey Jude.” Want to hear an encore?” Unfortunately, the song  from my night “Eleanor Rigby” isn’t a big audience participation number.

Three different songs with the title “Alive,” and the first one proved to be a bit of a mystery. It just said “Alive” without the artist’s name, and as I started to listen to the song, I realized I had no idea who was singing the song, as I’d never heard it in my life. I didn’t want to leave it a loose end, so I re-listened to the song, entered some of the lyrics in google, and found out it was by a group named SR-71. Then, the only mystery that remained is who put the song on our iTunes, but that was quickly resolved when my son said he did. I’m a regular Mister Marple! I’m also the one that added the Black Eyed Peas and Pearl Jam to our collection. I’m more open about liking one of those two bands. Can you figure out which?

Like many, The Breakfast Club led me to Simple Minds, and I purchased Glittering Prize,their greatest hits collection. “Alive and Kicking” is one of the more fun songs from the CD, and is great for that last push.

2.16 miles on the elliptical and weight work

  • All Again for You–We the Kings
  • All Alone by Myself–They Might Be Giants
  • All Along the Watchtower–Bob Dylan
  • All Along the Watchtower–U2
  • All Along the Watchtower–Dave Mathews Band
  • All Apologies–Nirvana
  • All Apologies (Live)–Nirvana
  • All Around Me–Flyleaf
  • All Around the World–Lisa Stansfield
  • All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints–Paul Simon
  • All Because of You–U2
  • All But One–Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

The free song of the week on iTunes can be a bit of a crapshoot, but “Check Yes Juliet” was a nice introduction to We The Kings. It led my daughter to borrowing one of their albums from a friend, so we now have their self-titled album in rotation. The tough thing about going through all the songs alphabetically is when you hit a 15-20 minute song (I’m looking at you Led Zeppelin). Depending on the positioning within a workout, it can lead to some tough decisions whether to extend your exercise time; not always possible if you have something else to do. The opposite type of song exists as well, and They Might Be Giants included more than a dozen of them on their Apollo 18 album. It’s fun to listen to that album (or the entire TMBG catalogue) in shuffle mode to have them serve as musical sorbets between their hits.

It’s strange that we own three different versions of “All Along the Watchtower,” and not one of them is the classic Jimi Hendrix version. Obviously having a version done by Dylan, the writer of the song, makes sense. The U2 version is from “Rattle and Hum,” for me the first indication that Bono’s ego had perhaps exploded like an apple inside his head (reference courtesy of last night’s Community). The third version, by the Dave Mathews Band, is from our new Amnesty International “Chimes of Freedom” compilation.

It’s hard to hear Nirvana and not think about what could have been if Kurt Cobain had not been lost to us. Hell, the release of the Live at Reading album a few years ago felt like an unexpected gift–the album was so raw and powerful. Both Flyleaf and Lisa Stansfield return with two very different styles of female vocalization. While it’s not an meant as an overall generalization, between these two artists and these two particular songs, I enjoy Stansfield a bit more.

Being a big Simon & Garfunkel fan, and listening to The Concert in Central Park with great regularity, I (perhaps incorrectly) felt that for the first several years of his solo career, Paul Simon was still writing Simon & Garfunkel songs–meaning “American Tune”, “Slip Slidin’ Away”, “Late in the Evening”, and so many others sounded better when performed by the duo. In my opinion, Graceland changed all that–while Art Garfunkel might be able to belt out the songs of this album as well, to me, it feels distinctly Paul Simon alone.

U2 returns with a second song, and speaking of U2 returning, I’ve heard that they’ve got a new album coming this year, and that Danger Mouse is producing it. This is a combination that has me very excited. I have to thank a former co-worker and the collapse of Borders for introducing me to Grace Potter. I used to constantly talk music with a friend and former co-worker named Sam, particularly when she’d give me a ride to the Stratford train station. She used to sing the praises of Grace Potter, eliciting a promise from me that I’d give her a listen. Fast forward a few months to me perusing a Borders during a going out of business sale, meaning I could get quite a deal of Potter’s Nothing But the Water album. As usual, Sam’s taste was spot on.