How much Lai-Lai-Lai can one boy take?

Can I just say one again that it sucks not working? My latest reminder comes courtesy of Memorial Day. When you’re working full time, 3-day weekends are gold–you look forward to them, counting the hours and then everything about the weekend is awesome. Saturday ends and you remember that you’ve still got two more days! Sunday ends and you get excited because you don’t have to wake up early tomorrow to go to work, and after the bonus of Monday, you head back to work for a shorter week. To compound it, I’m getting sick (summer cold) so my exercise and blogging may slow down over the next few weeks. All-in-all, not a great Memorial Day weekend.

May 26, 2012

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

  • The Boxer–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Boxer–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Boxer [live]–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Boy Blue–Cyndi Lauper
  • The Boy in the Bubble–Paul Simon
  • The Boy is Mine–Glee Cast
  • A Boy Like That–Glee Cast
  • Boy With a Problem–Elvis Costello
  • Boy with the Thorn in his Side–The Smiths
  • Boyfriends, Girlfriends–The Byrds
  • The Boys Are Back–High School Musical Cast
  • Boys Boys Boys–Lady Gaga
  • Boys Cry Tough–Bad Company
  • The Boys of Mutton Street–Richard Thompson
  • The Boys of Summer–Don Henley

When you have  three copies of “The Boxer”, you get a lot of chorus, specifically the duo’s “lai lai lai, lai lai lai lai lai, lai lai lai,…” (well, you get the idea. It’s probably the second-most famous non-word chorus in music history, trailing only all the “na’s” in the “Hey Jude” chorus. (I guess you could make another “na” argument with the chorus of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” because of how often it gets used in sporting events, but I’m still going with “The Boxer”). By the way, the live version of the song is from my The Concert in Central Park album and if you’ve seen the video, this song contains the second-most awkward moment in the show, when Art comes in a little too early with the second line of the song. (The most awkward of course is Garfunkel’s introduction to “A Heart in New York.”) The other cool element to the live version is the introduction of a new verse. Not many musical acts would put in the effort to update a standard like that.

Cyndi Lauper’s “Boy Blue” is a remarkably personal song Lauper wrote about a friend that died from AIDS. People (at least I do) tend of overlook the power of Lauper’s songs–I think I put her in a specific bucket thanks to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and never rethought things. After three “Boxer” songs, you’d think I’d be sick of Paul Simon and not be wanting more just yet. But when the more is “The Boy in the Bubble”, one of my favorite songs from Graceland, more is definitely not a problem. While I don’t want to upset my youngest daughter, I do have to admit that more Glee can be a problem, particularly when it’s two songs from episodes I don’t even think I saw, so I can’t make any kind of connection between the story and the music.

The Glee songs should have served as a bit of a harbinger as much of the rest of the list, as I mostly good musical acts I’m not a big fan of or songs I don’t enjoy by acts I do enjoy. The next three songs on the list, by Elvis Costello, The Smiths, and The Byrds, fall in the latter category, leading me to have little to add (as opposed to the quality I usually add, so sorry folks!)  I should have enjoyed these songs while I could as things took a turn for the saccharine when the boys from High School Musical sang of their return, followed by Lady Gaga, then Bad Company (not one of their greatest hits, but a single from my ill-reasoned CD purchase of their 1990 album Holy Water. I cannot honestly tell you why I purchased the CD except that I was enjoying their greatest hits and wanted to give them another shot. Back then we didn’t have iTunes, youtube, and music services to sample music; you had to take a leap of faith, and in some cases you were jumping into a swimming pool with no water. Richard Thompson and Don Heley closed this list, but there are still some “Boys…” to come in my next walk.




The Musical Circumstances of One’s Birth

Opening graf

May 24, 2012

2+ miles walking (behind a lawnmower!) to commemorate Red Sox victory #22 of the 2o12 season

  • Born As Ghosts–Rage Against the Machine
  • Born at the Right Time–Paul Simon
  • Born for This–Paramore
  • Born Free–M.I.A.
  • Born in the U.S.A.–Bruce Springsteen
  • Born of a Broken Man–Rage Against the Machine
  • Born on the Bayou–John Fogerty
  • Born this Way–Glee Cast
  • Born this Way–Lady Gaga
  • Born this Way–Lady Gaga
  • Born this Way [starsmith remix]–Lady Gaga
  • Born To Be My Baby–Bon Jovi
  • Born To Hand Jive–Sha-Na-Na
  • Born To Love Volcanos–The Dead Milkmen
  • Born To Run–Bruce Springsteen
When you’re at the gym, it’s nice to start a workout with Rage Against the Machine to kick things off and get you moving. You don’t need to move this way when you’re pushing a lawnmower however. Slow and steady wins the race with mowing, and moving too fast can lead to problems like running over a rock or clogging the mower deck. However, even though I don’t want to move too quickly, it’s still nice to get not one but two Rage songs from The Battle of Los Angeles. It’s the first of many “born” decisions and scenarios this list covers. Which would be better–to be born as a ghost or born of a broken man? I would say the latter, because although your dad may be broken, you can still make something of yourself.
I probably don’t give the Paul Simon album The Rhythm of the Saints enough credit simply because it followed Graceland and there was no way I could love the new album as much as that one. It’s not fair, as the album is still excellent, particularly with songs like “Born at the Right Time”.  Paul gives way to a couple of modern women-led songs, first Hayley Williams with Paramore, then M.I.A. “Born Free” was the first single from her album Maya, and it’s a song that I didn’t find appealing at first, but it grew on my with additional listens. Speaking of additional listens, I still find it humorous that the Reagan people clearly didn’t give Bruce’s “Born in the U.S.A.” enough listens to actually understand the lyrics in order to ascertain that it wouldn’t be an appropriate campaign song. My iPod listed “Born on the Bayou” as a John Fogerty song, but it’s clearly Creedence.
Seeing that I got almost twenty minutes worth of “Born this Way”, it’s a good thing I’m a fan of the song. Every once in a while you hear a song and know that it will remain popular for years to come and not fade into the “remember this one?” category. This song, with its amazing message, should fall into the first category. Not necessarily the Glee version that started things off, but the Lady Gaga song that I heard three times (the original twice and a dance remix). She really does channel 80’s Madonna on the number.  After Bon Jovi, I got another Sha-Na-Na song from the Grease soundtrack. I remember hearing the song as a kid and being convinced that “hand jive” is a euphemism for something dirty.
My mowing session ended with the Dead Milkmen giving me the strangest “Born…” scenario (and who wasn’t born to love volcanoes?) and  another Bruce Springsteen classic.
May 25, 2012
3.44 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper arm weight work at the gym
  • Born To Run–Cowboy Mouth
  • Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)–The Talking Heads
  • Borrowed Time–Richard & Linda Thompson
  • Borrowing Time–Aimee Mann
  • Bossy Boots Song–Spongebob SquarePants
  • Boston–Augustana
  • Both Crosses–The Hold Steady
  • Bottle and a Gun–Hollywood Undead
  • Bottle of Blues–Beck
  • Bottle of Smoke–The Pogues
  • Bottom of the Ocean–Miley Cyrus
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams–Green Day
  • Bounce–Timbaland featuring Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott & Justin Timberlake
  • Bouncing Off the Walls–Sugarcult
  • Bound–Suzanne Vega
  • Bout to Get Fruit Punched, Homie–The Wonder Years
  • Box Set–Barenaked Ladies

My gym time began with the same song that closed my mowing time, as Cowboy Mouth covered “Born to Run” as well. It is a straight cover, perhaps a little more rocking than the the Boss’s version. The final “Born…” song is courtesy of the Talking Heads from the awesome Remain in Light album. With my weight-loss aspirations right now, this last “born…” song might be the one for me, as I’d love to be able to say “I’m so thin”. The next two songs are in the proper order alphabetically, but it seems like they’d make more sense thematically if they were reversed. After all Aimee Mann’s “Borrowing Time” should com before Richard and Linda Thompson sing of the time they borrowed. Thanks to my kids, SpongeBob was once again part of my exercise routine.

I love Augustana’s “Boston” as it makes me think of my college days. “Both Crosses” is the first song I’ve heard from the Hold Steady’s 2008 album Stay Positive, which is a great collection of music and one I’d highly recommend to anyone.  I then jumped into a run of three “Bottle…” songs, first from Hollywood Undead, then Beck gave me a “Bottle of Blues” before old friend the Pogues finished things off with their bottle filled with smoke. Miley Cyrus then took me to the bottom of the ocean, before Green Day hit it with the awesome “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” from American Idiot. While I do love the album, I don’t have much interest in seeing the musical. Green Day does not scream musical theater to me for some strange reason.

Timbaland delivered a track from “Shock Value”, one that is incredibly over the top with its sexuality, and I also heard another track from the American Wedding soundtrack (the Sugarcult song, not the Suzanne Vega selection) followed by a number from The Wonder Years, a pop punk band my son is really into these days. I haven’t given them enough of a listen to decide where I land opinion-wise, but with the volume of music my son has picked up by the band, I’m going to have a chance to do so. My last song of the day was a clever number from Barenaked Ladies’ first album Gordon that spoofs career-spanning retrospectives of musicians, which is particularly enjoyable when you think about where the band would be going over the next few years.

6 miles at a blistering pace with a stop for boiled goose

Finally got caught up on Red Sox walks the last two days–my preference is always to walk outside but we’ve had consistent and frustrating rain for most of the beginning of this week, so Tuesday night I was able to get some treadmill time in at the gym before I had to race my daughter home for the third season finale of Glee (you may not have been able to tell she was a big fan if you ignored the clue that we own about 300 songs from the show). Then yesterday finally saw the much-needed break in the rain that allowed some extended outside walking. By the way, no need to call Guinness about the title–it referred to the blister I got from walking too much in a single day. But don’t worry about me–I’ll soldier on, and I’m only needing to walk 2 miles for yesterday’s Red Sox victory.

May 22-23, 2012

6+ miles treadmill/neighborhood walking to commemorate Red Sox victories #19, #20, and #21 of the 2012 season

  • Body to Body–Miami Sound Machine
  • Bogie’s Bonnie Belle–Richard Thompson
  • Bohemian Rhapsody–Queen
  • Bohemian Rhapsody–Glee Cast
  • Boho Dance–Bjork
  • Boll Weevil–The Presidents of the United States
  • Bombay–Timbaland
  • Bombers Bay–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Bone Broke–The White Stripes
  • Bones–The Killers
  • Bonfire–Childish Gambino
  • Bonny [live]–AC/DC
  • Bonus–Johnny Socko
  • Bonus–Johnny Socko
  • The Boogie Monster–Gnarls Barkley
  • Book of Dreams–Suzanne Vega
  • Book of Dreams–Dion
  • Bookends Theme–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Bookends Theme–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Bookhouse Boys–Angelo Badalamenti
  • Boom Boom Pow–Black Eyed Peas
  • Boom Box–The Lonely Island
  • Bootleg [live]–John Fogerty
  • Boots of Spanish Leather–The Airborne Toxic Event
  • Boots of Spanish Leather–Bob Dylan
  • Booyaka 619–P.O.D.
  • Bop to The Top–Sharpay & Ryan (High School Musical Cast)
  • Border Song–Elton John
  • Borderline–Alison Krauss
  • Borderline–Madonna
  • Borderline–Madonna
  • Borderline/Open Your Heart–Madonna

We all have out guilty pleasure music/tv/movies, and in the first category, I would list “Miami Sound Machine”. While I don’t own the band’s complete catalogue, I do enjoy almost everything off Primative Love, with one song in particular (which I will discuss in deeper detail when I get to it) holding a special place in my heart. Speaking of Gloria Estefan, she popped up on the season finale of Glee that I mentioned earlier (I promise I was only watching in passing!). For a woman looking to celebrate her 55th birthday this year, she looks great. She could be described as either a “bonnie” or a “belle” so she hit two-thirds of the Richard Thompson song title that followed–I would not describe her as “bogie” so she’s not the trifecta.

The defining song of Queen came next, one that gets a pop culture revival every few years. It shouldn’t need it, as with its shifting styles and tempos and grand feel, the song is a must-own for everyone. But thanks to Wayne’s World, Rock Band 3, and Glee, the song has seen popularity boosts in the last few decades (with the first being the largest boost). But man, it is a long song, and I got to hear it twice–although the Glee version doesn’t hold a candle to the original of course. Going from a Freddy Mercury song to a Bjork seems like a fairly natural transition, even if the latter’s contribution is only a tribute to Joni Mitchell.

I remember from history classes that boll weevils were a blight upon the cotton growing industry, but thanks to POTUS, they can be a blight on my musical lists as well! (Only kidding, the song, like most Presidents of the United States selections, is a fun rocking tune.) Speaking of fun, “Bombay” is probably my favorite Timbaland song. I love the exotic music mixed with his beats. Now in their song, Echo & The Bunnymen travel quite a bit, but I’m not entirely sure where “Bomber’s Bay” is located, but if we cut out the ‘ber’s ‘ in the middle, it could be Bombay as well. I’d like to visit Bombay (or Bomber’s Bay) some time, but at this point in my life, extensive travel is not on the menu. I won’t say that I’m “Bone Broke” despite the fact that it would be an awesome transition to the next song on the list. The song is another reminder that I’d like to pick up the new Jack White solo album as I’ve heard a couple of the tracks on the radio and have enjoyed them. The anatomy lesson continued with the Killers “Bones”, another excellent track from their Sam’s Town album. I then got a Childish Gambino track “Bonfire”. I know I’ve said that I’m still trying to figure out whether I like his CD, but “Bonfire” is great, and it’s received some repeat listens from me recently.

The next three tracks passed quickly, as they were all effectively transitional songs from albums. “Bonny” was from an AC/DC performance in Scotland–the band treated it as an instrumental, but the fans provide the vocals. It’s a pretty cool demonstration of the power a large crowd can have when united to accomplish something, even something as simple as a song.  That was followed by two tracks with the same “Bonus” name from the debut album of Johnny Socko. When things returned to normal songs, I heard my first Gnarls Barkley song on this list, “The Boogie Monster”. My wife recently joked that if I ever passed away, she’d consider having an affair with Billy Bragg’s voice. I think she’d also consider the voice of Cee-Lo Green as well, as she loves his dulcet tones. I do as well, but I wouldn’t go that far.

Time to head to the library as I got two “Book of Dreams” releases, first by Suzanne Vega, which I enjoyed more, with the second being a Dion cover of a Bruce Springsteen song from “Lucky Town”, one of the rare Bruce Springsteen albums we don’t own–so we get the cover but not the original. Things stay bookish but get transitional again with the “Bookends” themes from Simon & Garfunkel that opened and closed side one of their same-titled album. The first is instrumental and the second has a small amount of lyrics. The last volume of my “Book…” collection is an instrumental piece from the television program Twin Peaks. Like much of the soundtrack album, “The Bookhouse Boys” is such a unique piece that it immediately puts me back to when I was in college and each new episode was an event. It’s too bad that cable networks didn’t exist then, as I believe an HBO or AMC could have given Lynch the time and  creative freedom to make Twin Peaks last five seasons.

Despite their lackluster Super Bowl halftime performance, I continue to be a big Black Eyed Peas fan, and will mix tracks in from The E.N.D. in any and all playlists. I’ve heard people complain that the group was overexposed on radio, but where I don’t listen to radio and instead choose my own tracks, I didn’t have to suffer through that issue. The Peas were followed by another monster rap-influenced group, the Lonely Island. Their “Boom Box” track, like most of their songs, has a great beat and hilarious lyrics, particularly their obsession with boiled goose throughout the number.

John Fogerty was the last song before a pseudo-Spanish run began, starting with two versions of “Boots of Spanish Leather”, first a cover by the Airborne Toxic Event and then the original by Bob Dylan. Listening to the song, it seems like the title should be “Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather” but Bob didn’t want redundancy in the title even if it’s in the lyrics. I guess I should just be thankful it’s not called “Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather”. P.O.D.’s theme song for Rey Mysterio keeps the Hispanic flavor coming, but then the cast of High School Musical really stretch things with the two whitest kids in the cast singing a song with lots of Spanish words and phrases. Perhaps they learned them from the household help.

I knew the list was coming to an end as I reached the border.  Elton John gave me the first clue before I reached the “Borderline”. Of course when I hear that title, I automatically assumed it was the Madonna version, but first I got a different song with the same title from Allison Krauss. I don’t remember the song, but I really enjoyed it. I then got the “Borderline” I first remembered, with two versions actually, one from her debut self-titled album and one from a greatest hits collection. Things closed with a “Borderline” mash-up with “Open Your Heart” from the Madonna-themed episode of Glee, which I feel was the strongest themed episode of the show.



Road Trip! or dealing with Bob Dylan’s massive Bob Dylan ego

Did you miss me? A weekend featuring interstate travelling led to me not posting a blog entry over the last two days. On the bright side, travel did not prevent me from getting in a great workout at the gym on Saturday morning before we left. On the downside, I was not able to exercise yesterday, which means I owe 4 miles of walks thanks to the Red Sox taking two games from the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. That will be done today, if the rain lets up.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #18 of the 2012 season

  • Blue Moon Revisited (A Song for Elvis)–Cowboy Junkies
  • Blue Morning, Blue Day–Foreigner
  • Blue Orchid–The White Stripes
  • Blue Period–The Smithereens
  • Blue Period–The Smithereens
  • Blue Ridge Mountains–The Fleet Foxes
  • Blue Skies–Willie Nelson
  • Blue Sky–The Allman Brothers Band
  • Blue Telescope–John Hiatt
  • Blue Train–John Coltrane
  • Blues Before & After–The Smithereens
  • Blues Before And After–The Smithereens

There are worse ways to spend time than walking outside on a nice day while listening to the Cowboy Junkies, particularly their great opening track to their 200 More Miles live album. My first interest in music in the early 80s was driven by the American Top 40 radio countdown show, and as a result my knowledge and interest in musical acts was driven by facts, numbers, and trivia. As an example, while I wasn’t a Foreigner fan growing up, I was always interested that their song “Waiting for a Girl Like You” was the most successful (as defined by Billboard) song to not hit #1 on the charts–it spent ten weeks at #2, largely due to the success of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”. Luckily both songs were able to set aside their animosity and long-standing rivalry and both be covered on Glee. Perhaps the folks in the Middle East could take a clue from these bitter, bitter foes.

The White Stripes followed with “Blue Orchid”, which is both a great song, and a great flower (I know, I know–pretty controversial opinion that latter one is). Four of the next nine songs come from the Smithereens as “Blue Period” and “Blues Before and After” were hits off their album 11 so they also showed up on the greatest hits collection I own as well. I saw the Smithereens in concert my senior year in college and while it was a great show, I think my ears were ringing for days after. After the driving rock of the Stripes and Smithereens, the folk sounds of Fleet Foxes was an excellent change of pace, and it started a nice run with Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers.

While owning a telescope seems like something cool, getting to see the planets and stars and all, owning a blue telescope would increase the awesomeness by a factor of 10. It makes you wonder why electronics and gadgets have to be black–why can’t they be bright and vibrant colors instead? John Hiatt is really on to something there. Thank goodness I still had half a mile to go, as “Blue Train” takes a bit of time to hear, but as with all Coltrane, it’s worth finishing off.

May 19,2012

3.32 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper-arm weight work at the gym

  • Blues Happy–Arrested Development
  • Board Meeting–Timbaland & Magoo
  • Boat Drinks–Jimmy Buffett
  • Boat of Car–They Might Be Giants
  • Bob–Drive-by Truckers
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream–Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band
  • Bob Dylan’s Blues–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s Dream–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s Dream–Brian Ferry
  • Bobby Jean–Bruce Springsteen
  • Bobby Jean–Jennifer Glass
  • Bodhisattva–Steely Dan
  • Bodies–Drowning Pool
  • Body–The Presidents of the United States
  • The Body of an American–The Pogues
An interesting trend in more recent albums, particularly hip-hop and rap is the linking of tracks. It’s not an issue if you’re listening to the album in its entirety, but if you’re listening to a variety of music, it can be odd or even confusing. The Arrested Development song that started my gym team had one of those transitions, but it led to the Timbaland song, and although the two acts have very different hip-hop sensibilities, the transition actually worked. Things got a little interesting at the end of the Timbaland track, which also had one of those lead-ins to the next song on the album, but here it led to Jimmy Buffett. While on the surface it seemed like a goofy pairing, Timbaland has shown on his two Shock Value albums a willingness to work with a variety of artists. It just seems unlikely to me that Jimmy Buffett will ever be on that menu. Speaking of goofy, “Boat of Car” is a silly song from They Might Be Giant’s self-titled debut.
I’m trying to decide whether to imagine the “Bob” the Drive-by Truckers are singing about Bob Dylan so I can say that a half dozen of the songs on the list were “Bob Dylan” titled-songs. I guess there’s no point in stretching things where five songs like that is plenty. Plus I love the Truckers’ story of Bob, a confirmed bachelor that takes care of his momma on its own, so it doesn’t need to enter the Bob Dylan mix. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the Dylan songs and their Chimes of Freedom covers. In fact, I’d challenge anyone to listen to “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” and not smile at some point when following the entertainingly convoluted story (and the Taj Mahal version is wonderful). I guess I should feel fortunate that I only heard about Bob’s first and 115th dreams and not songs covering the 113 in-between. No one covered “Bob Dylan’s Blues” on the four-disc compilation album, so I only had to hear that song once before hearing his unnumbered (so I’m assuming original) dream twice, once by him and once by Brian Ferry.
After I was done with Dylan, I got a Bruce Springsteen original and cover combo with “Bobby Jean”. I know I’ve got Mad Men on the brain as the fifth season is both heating up and winding down, but I derived particular pride from telling my wife that this song title is a combination of the first names of Don Draper’s two sons. I guess that makes Bruce a big (and clairvoyant) fan, seeing that it predates the show by 24 years. Or maybe Matthew Weiner is a Springsteen fan. Or maybe it is a coincidence.   While I loved the Steely Dan song that followed, I’m not sure whether I struggle to pronounce the name of the song or spell the name of the song more–thinking about that, VH1 or Fuse or one of the music television channels should have a musical spelling bee game show. If people watch preteens struggle to spell words that no one will ever use, wouldn’t people watch contestants spell things like “Lynyrd Skynyrd” or Bodhisattva” for exciting cash and prizes? I know I would.
I’ll admit to enjoying the Drowning Pool song “Bodies” and having it pump me up with exercising, giving me a rush to push through the Presidents of the United States and yet another chipper Pogues number.

Counting down the top Blue Christmases

I’d like to open with a couple of music recommendations, one free and one that’ll cost ya! First, the free–the free iTunes single of the week is “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon. I cannot more strongly recommend that you go and grab it–it’s an awesome song. I like it so much that I’m not even that bitter that I paid for it a few weeks back and it’s now free because I got to enjoy it these past few weeks. For the casual music fan, it’s worthwhile to stop at iTunes every week (I promise I’m not an Apple evangelist) and see what the free songs are–I’ve discovered a few new interesting acts that way. The not-so-free recommendation is to head to Best Buy, Amazon, wherever you buy music, and get Billy Bragg & Wilco–Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions. I’ve lauded the first CD by this collaboration, but this have three volumes plus a DVD on the making of the music collection. I didn’t even know this existed until I was at the store today, and now I’m so excited to explore the later volumes of this set. If you’re not familiar with the albums, Billy Bragg and Wilco took some unreleased lyrics by Woody Guthrie, set them to new music, and released them. And not only do Billy Bragg and Wilco sing these songs, they have Natalie Merchant performing on them as well.

May 16, 2012

4+ miles walking in the neighborhood to commemorate Red Sox victories #16 and #17 of the 2012 season

  • Blue–R.E.M.
  • Blue–Sarah McLachlin
  • Blue Blue Ocean–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Blue Chair–Elvis Costello
  • Blue Chair–Elvis Costello
  • Blue Chair–Elvis Costello
  • Blue Christmas–Ann & Nancy Wilson
  • Blue Christmas–Glee Cast
  • Blue Christmas–Johnny Cash
  • Blue Christmas–Jon Bon Jovi
  • Blue Chrismas–Sheryl Crow
  • Blue Christmas–Wynonna
  • Blue Collar Man–Styx
  • Blue Eyes Blue–Eric Clapton
  • Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain–Willie Nelson
  • Blue Jay Way–The Beatles
  • Blue Jean–David Bowie
  • Blue Jean Blues–ZZ Top
  • Blue Letter–Fleetwood Mac
  • Blue Minute [demo]–Elvis Costello
  • Blue Monday–New Order
  • Blue Monday (’88)–New Order
  • Blue Moon–Sha-Na-Na
  • Blue Moon of Kentucky–Paul McCartney

I continue to get “Blue” songs after they started on my last list.  While the R.E.M. version is an original composition, the Sarah McLachlin song is a cover of the Joni Mitchell song, giving Sarah two famous covers in the past week or so, following up on “Blackbird.”  I’m finding that each Echo song I hear grows on me, making me wish I’d paid more attention to the band in the 80s, but then again, that would have taken away valuable Hall-and-Oates-listening time (which I will NOT apologize for!). I’m a little embarrassed that I asked my wife her opinion of the Elvis Costello song “Blue Jail” when he was singing “Blue Chair”. To make matters worse, it’s not like I can say it was a simple, one-time mistake, as thanks to her extensive collection of Elvis albums, I heard the song three times in a row–you’d think I would have eventually gotten it right. Perhaps I shouldn’t beat myself up; after all, listening to “Blue Christmas” six times seems like an equitable penance. (And for the record, my preferences were 1. Johnny Cash 2. Ann & Nancy Wilson 3. Sheryl Crow 4. Glee Cast 5. Jon Bon Jovi 6. Wynonna. And not that I want a seventh version, but it seems odd to not own the Elvis Presley version of the song.

An interesting pairing of songs came next, as the first, “Blue Collar Man” is a song that is definitively Styx, while “Blue Eyes Blue” doesn’t feel like an Eric Clapton song–the sappy ballad feels more like an Eric Carmen number. It’s probably not a well-known selection from his canon as I got it from the soundtrack to the Runaway Bride (in my defense, I only borrowed it from the library for the Dixie Chicks cover of “You Can’t Hurry Love”, but ended up keeping all the songs because, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a digital hoarder). I don’t often look to the music of Willie Nelson as a first choice, but there’s something soothing and enjoyable about his work.

I’ve known some hardcore Beatles fans throughout my life, and if you were truly a Beatlemaniac, wouldn’t you attempt to live on Blue Jay Way (I mean Penny Lane is way too obvious.) Actually, some real estate developer should create the ultimate Beatles subdivision with parks named Strawberry Fields and Norwegian Wood, a playground named Octopus’s Garden, charge a premium saying it’s the ultimate homes for the ultimate Beatles fans–they could sell out a subdivision, right? I liked “Blue Jean” as a followup to the Bowie hits from Let’s Dance, and it can be strange to reconcile that the band that released “Blue Jean Blues” is the same that gave the world the Eliminator album, but that’s growth, right?

I know when it comes to Fleetwood Mac and the mid-to-late 70s, Rumours is universally accepted as their pinnacle release, but I prefer the previous album, Fleetwood Mac. I enjoy every song, including today’s entry “Blue Letter”. I will admit that I can’t imagine what it was like to be a fan of the band’s previous lineup and then to get this new sound and direction once Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks came on board. But from a commercial standpoint, it was clearly a successful shift. The Elvis demo was a bonus track on a remastered CD, and then I got two different versions of “Blue Monday”, with the first coming from the Wedding Singer (my favorite Adam Sandler comedy) soundtrack and the second being an updated version of the track from a greatest hits compilation.

Thanks to the Grease soundtrack, I own Sha-Na-Na songs, including “Blue Moon”. I never was a big fan of the group, and I even remember actively disliking them as a child, particularly when I would want to watch some TV after school and their show was on the local UHF station (the only non-network Soap Opera choice back then in the days before cable) as opposed to something I’d prefer like cartoons or The Monkees. For a minute I thought the last song on the list was a secret double song, as after McCartney plays “Blue Moon of Kentucky” he launches right into “We Can Work It Out”. However, he halts realizing that he screwed up the lyrics and jokes about it with the crowd, pointing out that he can restart, and then the song ends because his singing it the right way is its own track, one I won’t hear for a year and a half.

Entering my Blue Period

Well, it’s been a while, but I’ve hit another milestone! With today’s list, I’ve now heard more than 1,000 songs. The milestone song would have made my son happy, as it was a Sum 41 song, “Blood in My Eyes”. Looking at the songs in the vicinity, there wasn’t one I’d have been excited to be the one, which is sad as milestones should always be special.

May 14, 2012

2+ miles on the treadmill to commemorate Red Sox victory#15 of the 2012 season

  • Blinuet–Zoot Sims
  • Blood–Pearl Jam
  • Blood (Gangrel)–WWE
  • Blood & Roses–The Smithereens
  • Blood Doll–Anarchy Club
  • Blood in My Eyes–Sum 41
  • Blood is Thicker Than Water–Wyclef Jean featuring G&B
  • Blood Makes Noise–Suzanne Vega
  • Blood on My Hands–The Sundays
  • Blood Orgy of the Atomic Fern–The Dead Milkmen
  • Blood Pt. 2–Buck 65
  • Blood Sugar Sex Magik–Red Hot Chili Peppers

While you may not recognize “Blinuet” by name, if you’re a fan of the Wes Anderson movie Rushmore, you may remember this distinctive jazz track from the man who’s name inspired the Muppet character. Pearl Jam must be all about simple titles–when I started the “Black…” section of my list, they led off with the simple song “Black” and now they also begin the “Blood…” section with another one-word title. I guess the like getting to the point, or they’re a fan of the “Yankee Taciturnity” that my first writing teacher in college used to talk about. The other simply titled “Blood” song is the theme used by WWE Superstar Gangrel and the Brood. I always thought they were a cool group (and Edge and Christian obviously went on to bigger and better things) and I wished they (the Brood) could have stuck around longer.

I’m already a fan of the music of the Smithereens, and I particularly enjoyed the visual imagery of the song “Blood & Roses”. While Rock Band led to my children and me discovering new musical likes, some of the artists in the game didn’t connect. Anarchy Club, who’s “Blood Doll” is included in the original game, is an example. As I mentioned earlier, “Blood in My Eyes” was my 1,000th song–and as I guessed, my son was happy to hear it, telling me that he really liked the song, so at least it worked for someone in the family. Speaking of families, “Blood is Thicker than Water” gave me a chance to remember how much I enjoyed watching the Sopranos (the song is from the soundtrack) and it might be time to start rewatching the entire arc.

It’s interesting to think that to many music fans, Suzanne Vega is a one-hit wonder, particularly if the remake of “Tom’s Diner” goes to DNA. Her catalogue of songs is so strong and diverse, yet most will only think of  “Luka” when her name comes up, which is truly a shame. After the Sundays, and yet another serious “Blood…” song, we finally got a tongue-in-cheek “Blood…” number courtesy of the Dead Milkmen. My favorite part of the song is when he deadpans “God I hate poetry” in the middle of the lyrics, ironic because all pop music is a form of poetry, including the Dead Milkmen. Things get a little serious once again with Buck 65, but the Chili Peppers are another band that brings a little fun and joy to their music.

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

  • Blood to Bleed–Rise Against
  • Bloodbuzz Ohio–The National
  • Bloodbuzz Ohio–The National
  • The Bloodmobile–They Might Be Giants
  • Bloody Mary–Lady Gaga
  • Bloody Well Right–Supertramp
  • Blow it Up–The Vaccines
  • Blow Me Away–Breaking Benjamin
  • Blowin’ in the Wind–Bob Dylan
  • Blowin’ in the Wind–Joan Baez
  • Blowin’ in the Wind–Ziggy Marley
  • Blowin’ in the Wind [live]–Bob Dylan
  • Blown Away–Pixies
  • Blue–The Jayhawks
  • Blue–The Jayhawks
  • Blue–Joni Mitchell

Nice start to my elliptical work with Rise Against and then two copies of a National Song. (I really should delete one of them, which I got free from iTunes when I preordered their last album High Violet. I just have trouble getting rid of tracks, but when there’s nothing unique about it, it makes no sense to keep the second copy.) Things took a turn for the educational with a They Might Be Giants song about the circulatory system. I’ve probably said it before, but if you have children, nephews, nieces, grandkids, friends of the family, any children you want to introduce to awesome music, you should pick up the They Might Be Giants albums about the 123s, ABCs, and Science. You will learn something and love the songs as well.

The flow of blood finally ended after the dyamic duo of Lady Gaga and Supertramp. I need to listen to the Lady Gaga song more carefully to figure out whether she’s singing about the drink or the urban legend. The Supertramp boys are pretty clear in their meaning. I then got a number from one of the new acts I enjoyed discovering this past year, the Vaccines. I think their work has charted in their native UK, but has not seen much traction here in America, but I’m hoping that will change soon.

One of the greatest rock songs of all time, and probably one of the most covered, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, followed. We have four versions of the song, including original and live cuts by the man, Bob Dylan, as well as a Joan Baez cover from back in the day and a more recent version performed by Ziggy Marley. This is such a great song, one who’s lyrics are even more apt and important today than when the song was first released 40 years ago (and I wonder how Mr. Dylan would have reacted to hearing that back then).

After a Pixies song from Bossa Nova, things got “Blue…” around here, starting with two copies of the amazing Jayhawks. I completely understand that when the average music fan hears the song title “Blue”, they are far more likely to think of the Joni Mitchell number (which closed today’s list, and is an awesome song as well), but I do think the mournful number from the Jayhawks is getting the short shrift and deserves more attention.


Blind and Bleeding, but at least there’s ice cream!

Happy Mother’s Day to the tens of thousands of moms that read this every day! As a special aside, I’d like to also wish a happy anniversary to my wonderful bride of 17 years.  It’s been a tremendous adventure for me, and although things are a little scary and open-ended these days, I do look forward to where the journey takes us and our children in the next decade and beyond. One final note, a special birthday salute to a sister-in-law hitting a big milestone that I cannot specifically name out of simple fear for my life if I do.

May 13, 2012

Bonus walking while mowing my front and side yards

  • Blee Blop Blues–The Manhattan Transfer
  • Bleed–Collective Soul
  • Bleed It Out–Linkin Park
  • Bleeding Love–Leona Lewis
  • Bleeding Me–Metallica
  • Bleezer’s Ice-Cream–Natalie Merchant
  • Blessed Assurance–Iris Dement
  • A Blessing and a Curse–Drive-By Truckers

It seems that no matter where they appear on my lists, the Manhattan Transfer are always quite the curveball compared to the music that proceeded them (or in this case, the songs that follow). I think that’s an important subcategory of music that everyone show own–the change-up. If you love thrash metal, throw a country song in the mix. Break up your rap with a show tune, and vice-versa. It makes you appreciate your favorites all the more, and you might find yourself liking what you hear. (If you need this message delivered in a more entertaining method, read Green Eggs and Ham, only available in book format until it’s made into a blockbuster live-action movie starring Jim Carrey.)

A quartet of “Bleeding…” songs, by four distinctly different artists followed, with Collective Soul coming first. They’re a group perfect for a greatest hits collection, and I don’t feel I need their individual studio releases (truth be told, I might not have even added their greatest hits to my collection, except the CD was at my local library and I thought “why not”). Linkin Park and Metallica seem like the groups far more likely to have songs about bleeding, but the most famous song in this grouping that I own is the Leona Lewis number, which is a great, memorable pop hit.

Every year I make a mix CD of that year’s songs I enjoyed the most to send to family at holiday times and the 2010 version included “Bleezer’s Ice-Cream” by Natalie Merchant from her Leave Your Sleep album. The listing of the goofy and somewhat disgusting flavors really won me over the first time I heard it, and I still enjoy the song and the combinations, although I’d be hard pressed to pick one to eat.  I’m not hard pressed to name a gospel singer I enjoy–I have found myself gravitating toward a favorite of my wife’s, Iris DeMent (although I still enjoy calling her “Irish” DeMent just for the rise it gets out of my wife. I can be a jerk–who knew?) I closed by grass-cutting exercise with the title track of one of the Drive-By Truckers albums.

2+ mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #14 of the 2012 Season

  • Blew–Nirvana
  • Blew [Live]–Nirvana
  • Blind–The Talking Heads
  • The Blind Men and the Elephant–Natalie Merchant
  • Blind Willie McTell–Bob Dylan
  • Blind Willie McTell–The Nightwatchmen
  • Blinded by Love–The Rolling Stones
  • Blinded in Chains–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Blinding–Florence & The Machine
  • Bling (Confession of a King)–The Killers

It’s a real treat when you realize a band you like did earlier material that you haven’t sampled yet–it can be like they’ve released a whole new album. I know that this will make the hipsters groan, but I didn’t know anything about Nirvana until Nevermind. While my love of that album led me to move forward with future albums, it also gave me the opportunity to go back and enjoy Bleach, including the lead song from the album “Blew” (a nice homonym for the color, which I should be getting to fairly soon). The live version is excellent as well. The same concept worked for the Talking Heads, where I moved forward from Speaking in Tongues, but also went backwards. The only album I picked up at the release date was Naked, and like “Blew”, “Blind” is the lead song off that album as well.

I got another fun and visually imaginative song from Natalie Merchant’s most recent album that tells the story of the six blind men with the elephant, a favorite of mine. Bob Dylan doesn’t need five others to paint a complete picture of “Blind Willie McTell” and the cover from this year’s Chimes of Freedom does an excellent job with the song as well. The Rolling Stones song was one I thought was a cover for some reason, but I guess it’s a Jagger/Richards original. I go back and forth on my feelings for Avenged Sevenfold, but “Blinded by Chains” is one of their songs I really like. I’m also liked the last two numbers today from Florence & The Machine as well as The Killers.