Musical Candy and Commentary everybody wants

Nice to see the Red Sox reeling off some victories these days that have forced me to add two-mile walks to my daily routines, so that on days when I don’t get to the gym, I still get out and do something. It was particularly important this past weekend after I took Friday off from exercising and had to eat out twice in a row. I know what you’re thinking–“Had to? Right…” but it’s true. As I continue to look for work, I have applied for managerial work at Plan B Burger, an outstanding Burger, Beer, and Bourbon chain here in Connecticut (but coming soon to DC and Boston), and as part of the application process, I had to eat at two locations. I was so excited to do so that I ate both lunch and dinner at the chain Friday. I highly recommend Plan B–their burgers are outstanding, and everything else I’ve tried on the menu has been a distinct treat as well. In particular, you should get the Disco Fries–french fries covered in cheese and gravy (probably not the best thing to discuss in an exercise column, but treating yourself every once in a while is important in life, right?).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2+ mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #36 of the 2012 season

  • Can’t Stand It–Wilco
  • Can’t Stand Losing You–The Police
  • Can’t Stop–Maroon 5
  • Can’t Stop the Rain–Cascada
  • Can’t Stop This Thing We Started–Bryan Adams
  • Can’t Take It–The All-American Rejects
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You–Lauryn Hill
  • Can’t Tell Me Nothing–Kanye West
  • Canadian Idiot–“Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Canajoharie–They Might Be Giants
  • Canary in a Coalmine–The Police
  • Canceled Check–Beck
  • Candle in the Wind–Elton John
  • A Candlelit Dinner with Inamorta–Asking Alexandria
  • Candles–Hey Monday
  • Candles–Glee
  • Candy–Jackson Brown
  • Candy–The Presidents of the United States
  • Candy Everybody Wants–10,000 Maniacs

I mentioned recently that Wilco’s collaboration with Billy Bragg was when I first became interested in the band, and that initial spark grew when I started listening to my wife’s copy of Summerteeth. I enjoyed the album enough that I bought the next Wilco album, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, on its release, which turned out to be an excellent decision, if I do say so myself. But “Can’t Stand It” is from the previous album, and while I love the song, I do understand why it wasn’t a mainstream hit for the band, despite their record label’s best efforts. During this walk I would get two different early Police songs, with the first, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, being the bigger hit of the two, but as I get older in life, I’m finding myself enjoying the less-known “Canary in a Cole Mine” more.

I hit a run of pop hits starting with Maroon 5. One thing I’ve noticed about Maroon 5 songs is that they all sound like hit singles even if they were never released as singles. The Cascada song was a hit single, but one my kids enjoyed more than me. The last pop hit in the run was from Bryan Adams. In the 80’s I was a big fan pf the Canadian superstar, but as he released later albums, I was less interested in the songs. I think this was equal parts of my musical interests changing and Adams’ music getting a little more soft rock than it had been. The All-American Rejects broke me out of my top 40 run with an album cut from their breakout album “Move Along”. By the way, if you get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend them. In fact, they are the last act I’ve seen in concert.

While I enjoy Lauryn Hill’s version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (she gives it, like all her songs, an ethereal soulful quality), I still can’t hear the song without thinking of Heath Ledger’s performance of the song in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, a teen romance version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, (see, learning the classics can be fun), which gives the song a sad edge. Kanye ends the “Can’t…” portion of my list with “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, which is such a great song that I’m willing to overlook the double negative.

Things take a turn for the humorous and offbeat with a Weird Al parody of Green Day, and a They Might Be Giants song, “Canajoharie”, which I thought at first was a made-up name, but is in reality a town in New York. The Beck song reminded me of how much I like listening to Beck and that I let too much time go between album plays for the group. I’m glad the only version of “Candle in the Wind” that we own is the original version–I found the newer version tweaked for Princess Di a little bit tacky. I got to hear another Asking Alexanderia song (still not a fan), followed by original and Glee versions of “Candles”.

Three versions of “Candy…” songs closed the list, and each approached a different take on the subject. The Jackson Browne version is about a woman named Candy, while the Presidents of the United States are singing about literal candy. 10,000 Maniacs sings about metaphorical candy in their song (television), which was even better when the Kinks did it a decade earlier in “Give the People What They Want”.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #37 of the 2012 season

  • Candy Everybody Wants–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Everybody Wants [live]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Everybody Wants [single version]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Floss-Wilco
  • Candy’s Boy–Bruce Springsteen
  • Candy’s Room–Bruce Springsteen
  • Candy’s Room–Crazysloth
  • Cannibal Resource–Dirty Projectors
  • Cannonball-The Breeders
  • Cannonball–Supertramp
  • The Cap’n–They Might Be Giants
  • Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa–Vampire Weekend
  • Capri–Colbie Caillat
  • Captain Jack–Billy Joel
  • Caramel–Suzanne Vega
  • Caramel–Suzanne Vega
  • Carbon Monoxide–CAKE
  • The Card Cheat–The Clash
  • Careful–Paramore

After closing the Saturday walking session with the unplugged version of “Candy Everybody Wants”, I opened with three more versions of the song, including the album cut, a live version that includes Michael Stipe from a CD single for “Few and Far Between”, and the version from its own CD single. Hearing this song three more times reminded me just how much I loved 10,000 Maniacs in college and the first few years out of school. Seeing that I got into the Talking Heads to impress a girl, I feel like 10,000 Maniacs were the first band I discovered without radio airplay for me. And that run of In My Tribe, Blind Man’s Zoo, Our Time in Eden, and Unplugged was just spectacular. The other amazing aspect of their run was the CD singles, particularly those mentioned earlier. I’d buy them even though I owned the album with the hit because there’d be three other songs with each, such as the group’s cover of “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” or their version of “Let the Mystery Be” done with guest David Byrne. I don’t seem to see releases like that any more.

I got another Summerteeth track from Wilco, and it helped me learn that candy floss is a synonym for cotton candy. My run of “Candy…” ended in symmetry as I got a final group of songs about “Candy…” that referred to a woman with that name. The first was from the Bruce Springsteen album The Promise, and was an earlier version of what would eventually become “Candy’s Room”, which we also own a cover version from the Light of Day album. After a Dirty Projectors number, I got to hear two different, yet both highly entertaining songs with the title “Cannonball”. If forced to pick, I’d choose the Breeders version, but I’d have no problem listening to the Supertramp song as well.  Things take a turn for the awesome with one of my favorite more recent They Might Be Giants songs and another travelogue from Vampire Weekend’s first album.

Colbie Caillet led into an early Billy Joel hit, “Captain Jack” (see how smart They Might Be Giants were to name their track “The Cap’n” so theirs came before “Captain Jack”!) Excellent close to my workout list with Suzanne Vega getting me hungry for dessert, a hunger that grew when I realized my next song was performed by CAKE–so tasty they should be in all capital letters. Any time you get a song from London Calling, one of the greatest albums of the Rock era, is a good time, and I also enjoyed the track from Paramore to close the weekend’s work.

 

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The Replacements wrote a song just for me? (is what I’d say if my name was Tim)

While my walks in the neighborhood walks are at a somewhat leisurely pace, I do like to work up a sweat in order to feel like I’m accomplishing my exercise goals. Well, when the temperature outside approaches 100 degrees like it did today, working up that sweat is not problem–in fact, my shirt was soaked through by the time I got back (isn’t that a nice visual for you all!).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #35 of the 2012 season

  • Can’t Hardly Wait–The Replacements
  • Can’t Hardly Wait (Tim Version)–The Replacements
  • Can’t Have You–Jonas Brothers
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love–Elvis Presley
  • Can’t Help Myself–Icehouse
  • Can’t Ignore the Train–10,000 Maniacs
  • Can’t Keep–Pearl Jam
  • Can’t Keep Johnny Down–They Might Be Giants
  • Can’t Let Go–Death of the Cool
  • Can’t  Let Go–Lucinda Williams
  • Can’t Let Her Get Away–Michael Jackson
  • Can’t Repeat–The Offspring
  • Can’t Run But–Paul Simon
  • Can’t Smile Without You–Barry Manilow

Great to start my walk with the Replacements, particularly two copies of a great song like “Can’t Hardly Wait.” It’s funny to think that this song shares a title with a mediocre teen movie, although when I was looking at the IMDB page for that film, I realized that it is loaded with future stars. I don’t think it’s interesting enough to make me see it again, but it is worth noting. The second version of the song was labeled on my iPod with a parenthetical “(Tim Version)”. If my name was Tim, I would show that to everyone and say it was written specifically for me. Now if some know-it-all reminded me that the Replacements had an album named Tim, I would counter that the whole album was specifically written for me as well. But my name is not Tim, so it won’t work for me. All you readers named Tim however, feel free to steal my ego trip!

Kind of appropriate to go from the Replacements to this century’s version of The Replacements, The Jonas Brothers. I’m pretty sure it’s an appropriate comparison. I think if the Disney Channel was up and creating original content in the 80’s, The Replacements would have had their own teen focused show–after all, their songs were the inspiration for Teen-focused movies, right? Wouldn’t “Bastards of Young” made for a great show theme? No? The next song is of course, a famous number by the King, but in high school, a friend and I (but him more than me) were big fans of the cover version from the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack. (For those that don’t know, it’s a John Hughes film that follows Pretty in Pink fairly closely, but with flipped gender roles and ending–plus Mary Stuart Masterson!!!) The band that did the cover was a Celtic group named Lick the Tins. I remember us always looking for more music by them back in the day, but never finding anything (it was always harder to do in the pre-Internet age, particularly when you lived in New Hampshire, which wasn’t exactly awash with good record stores).

The Icehouse song is from the second album of theirs I purchased, Great Southern Land. I liked it, but was ultimately disappointed, as I loved, loved, loved Man of Colors (one of my desert-island discs) and was hoping I’d enjoy more of the band’s work as well, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.  I then got a nice run of three enduring bands from my favorite acts pantheon, starting with a 10,000 Maniacs song from The Wishing Chair, which I had to go back to buy after hearing and loving In My Tribe so much. Pearl Jam came next, and then I got to finish with a track from They Might Be Giants’ most recent album. Despite the negativity of them all being “Can’t…” songs, I felt good hearing them all. Now the next two songs not only share a common title, but they also were both available to play in Rock Band, with the Death of the Cool song being on the original game’s soundtrack, and the superior Lucinda version being available as downloadable content. My wife has always been a huge Lucinda Williams fan, and I think she found it stunning that her music would appear in a video game. But that’s what I love the most about Rock Band, the sheer variety of musical styles and genres in the game.

With so many hits, it’s rare to find an “album cut” from Michael Jackson, but “Can’t Let Her Get Away” qualifies as one. An incredible 9 of the 14 tracks off Dangerous were released as singles, and all were top 10 hits somewhere in the world. The Offspring track was a new song included on their Greatest Hits album, a time-honored trick to ensure that fans who own all the group’s previous recordings still have to buy the compilation, even just to get one or two new songs. Things closed with a Paul Simon track from his Rhythm of the Saints album, and a classic ballad from Barry Manilow that I have to hide from the world–particularly if I want to sing along with him.

 

Can’t get through all the Can/Can’t songs in a day…but did get the pseudo-Stones!

After taking a exercise breather on Tuesday because we were running all over the place with it being the last day of school. To celebrate, my twins went to see Prometheus and my youngest  (not a fan of scary films or TV shows unless they feature the brothers of Supernatural) attended Rock of Ages. Combine that with my wife working and my oldest daughter participating in her high school’s graduation ceremony, and it led to a lot of running around. To make up for the lack of movement Tuesday, Wednesday was a double-activity day, particularly with the Sox winning Tuesday night:

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #34 of the 2012 season

  • Campus–Vampire Weekend
  • Can I Have This Dance?–High School Musical
  • Can I Sleep in Your Arms?–Willie Nelson
  • Can You Be True?–Elvis Costello
  • Can You Dig It?–WWE
  • Can You Feel It–Timbaland feauturing Esthero & Sebastian
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight?–The Lion King Cast
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight?–S Club
  • Can You Find It?–They Might Be Giants
  • Can You Hear What I’m Saying?–Toto
  • Can You Rock It Like This?–Run D.M.C.
  • Can You Tell–Ra Ra Riot
  • Can’t Be Seen–The Rolling Stones

Always nice starting off a walk with an artist you really enjoy, and for me, Vampire Weekend certainly fits that description. They seem like the perfect band to discover when you get to college, so “Campus” seems like a apt first-album song. Getting through the High School Musical song as quickly as possible is fine by me, particularly when there’s so many more musical questions that need to be asked, starting with Willie Nelson’s “Can I Sleep in Your Arms?”, followed by Elvis Costello’s “Can You Be True?” It seemed like the start of a nice theme, as the questions (even the High School Musical one) seemed like the type you would progressively ask the same person. Not sure if the next question kept the theme going. I listed the artist as WWE as it came from a WWE album, but it was WWE Originals, a release featuring Superstars performing their own hits,so this was Booker T’s first (I think) and last (hopefully) rap number. Nothing against the guy personally, I just don’t think his talents lay in the musical arena.

I heard a Timbaland number from Shock Value II (which I did not enjoy nearly as much as the first) before getting two versions of the famous Lion King ballad “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” Ironically, neither is the original film version–one is from the Broadway adaptation and one is from one of Disney’s bubblegum pop cover collections. While I know the latter is targeted more at kids, particularly toddlers and preteens, if you’re looking for music for that group, They Might Be Giants is a much better bet. “Can You Find It?” comes from their second “kids” album, Here Comes the ABCs, and is an excellent example of why they’re a much better kid’s act than most–their songs are intelligent and both kids and adults can enjoy them.

After my TMBG, I traveled back to the magical world of the ’80’s for a pair of songs, first the boys of Toto, then the pioneers from Run D.M.C. As a rule, I think I’m going to love any song that uses the term “homeboy” as they do here. Things got a little more modern with Ra Ra Riot, then took a term for the confusing when things went from the positive (“Can”) to the negative (“Can’t”) with the last song on the list, “Can’t Be Seen.” When listening to my songs, I like to quiz myself with the question “who is the artist?” I’m pretty good at it, but this song had me stumped. I figured it must have been someone my wife or kids liked or an obscure artist from a soundtrack or compilation. Turns out I was way off–it was a Rolling Stones number. What threw me is that it’s the rare Stones hit not sung by Mick Jagger, which makes me argue that it’s not a true Stones song (and I’m not just rationalizing because I couldn’t get the song right…well, maybe a little).

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

  • Can’t Be Tamed–Miley Cyrus
  • Can’t Buy Me Love–The Beatles
  • Can’t Buy Me Love–The Beatles
  • Can’t Buy Me Love [live]–Paul McCartney
  • Can’t Cry These Tears–Garbage
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling–REO Speedwagon
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling–Glee
  • Can’t Get Enough–Bad Company
  • Can’t Get Around (Flash Funk)–WWE
  • (Can’t Get My) Head Around You–The Offspring
  • Can’t Get There From Here–R.E.M.

I don’t have a problem with Miley Cyrus (although I do think singing “Can’t Be Tamed” is a little problematic for someone of her age), but I was happy to get multiple listens of a Beatles classic (2 studios and then Paul McCartney live in concert). My oldest daughter has been on a Beatles run recently, which is always nice to see a new generation of fans get into the greatest band in the history of rock music.  After a track by Garbage, it was back to the 80’s and another band my wife would rather not hear, REO Speedwagon. This is the song I use to tease her the most, as I constantly tell the kids that “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was our wedding song, and it never fails to get a rise out of her. It may be to the point where she prefers the Glee version (who am I kidding–it hasn’t gotten to that point!).

Things closed with first a classic hit from Bad Company, a classic wrestling theme, and then music from the Offspring and R.E.M.

 

Who ya gonna call? Dr. Love!

It’s a new week, and a big one–just two more days and my kids will be finished with school for the year. Then we’ll be together in the house, spending quality time in a house without central air with temperatures set to reach triple digits by the end of the week…good lord, will someone please help me get a job as soon as possible!

Monday, June 18, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #33 of the 2012 season

  • Calling All Nations–INXS
  • Calling All the People–4 Non-Blondes
  • Calling Dr. Love–Shandi’s Addiction
  • Calling For You–Iris DeMent
  • Calling You–Blue October
  • Calm Before The Storm–Fall Out Boy
  • Calm Inside The Storm–Cyndi Lauper
  • Calm Like A Bomb–Rage Against The Machine
  • The Calvary Cross–Richard Thompson
  • Calypso–Suzanne Vega
  • Calypso–Suzanne Vega
  • Came Out Swinging–The Wonder Years
  • The Camera Eye–Rush
  • Camisado–Panic! At the Disco
  • A Campfire Song–10,000 Maniacs
  • Campfire Song Song–Spongebob Squarepants

I own and enjoy both Kick and by INXS, but have never bothered to purchase the group’s earlier albums or the later ones before they tragically lost lead singer Michael Hutchence. I know the band eventually added a new lead singer thanks to the power of reality TV, but I never bothered watching the show or listening to the new band that resulted from the show–I think I’d like to keep them preserved as the lineup from the late 80’s and early 90’s. I’ve spoken in the past about albums I’ve purchased on the strength of a first song, and whether it turned out to be a wise decision or not. I’d probably categorize the purchase of Bigger, Better, Faster, More! by 4 Non-Blondes decidedly in the “not” side of the ledger. The look of the group and their sound feels like an early 90’s time capsule that has not aged well.

I like the “Calling Dr. Love” cover, but apparently the band, Shandi’s Addiction, was a one-time gathering, featuring artists from Tool, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and Faith No More. So don’t waste your time looking for that 20th Century Masters Collection featuring all the band’s hits–you’re more likely to find Dean Miller’s greatest hits (that joke doesn’t actually work because there is a country artist that has tried to steal my identity–I had it first, and just because I wasn’t doing much with it (and the fact that you were born four years earlier) mean that you can take it from me.

I don’t own a lot of Blue October (in fact, this song and “Into The Ocean” are it), but I do enjoy what I’ve heard. This song comes from the American Wedding soundtrack, and is one of my favorite tracks from the movie. The next two songs create an interesting debate–which would be better to be in–Fall Out Boy’s “Calm Before the Storm” or Cyndi Lauper’s “Calm Inside The Storm”? While in Lauper’s version you’re already halfway through the storm, you still have more storm to go. If you are in the calm before the storm, there’s always a chance the storm will miss you. I’d suggest the best is “Calm After the Storm” because you know that there’s no more storm to come. Of course, if your calm is “…Like a Bomb” as Rage Against the Machine suggests, there’s not much difference between it and the storm.

Richard Thompson goes and gets all religious on us, singing about the “Calvary Cross”. I remember playing Calvary Christian in basketball my senior year. I was the last player off the bench, going in when the game was way out of hand. Calvary Christian had a player who was bragging before the game that he was going to dunk on us, a rare talent in small-school New Hampshire basketball. He just needed the right circumstances, a breakaway, which he finally got in the last few minutes of a blowout. I was heading back on D, realizing the crowd was on the feet, knowing what was to come. Not on my watch–he wasn’t going to dunk on me. I knocked him dow from behind to prevent the layup, but really angered the crowd and the opposing team. And there I thought they were good Christians…

After two slightly different versions of Suzanne Vega’s “Calypso”, the tempo certainly increased, first to pop punk from The Wonder Years, followed by a track from the seminal Rush album Moving Pictures. After a Panic! At the Disco song, I got a track from the album that introduced me to 10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe. Michael Stipe guests on “A Campfire Song”, and I guess early 10,000 Manic tours were with R.E.M. and he’d come out and sing it with Natalie and the boys. When I saw 10,000 Manics on their Blind Man’s Zoo tour, they were the headliners and Stipe was nowhere to be seen, so she picked someone out of the audience, and the idiot didn’t even know the lyrics. If you think I was bitter in the back, knowing how much I would have wowed the group with my musical stylings, you are way off…time for the next (last on this list) song…oh, it’s another Spongebob song, the “Campfire Song Song”. I just mentioned it to my daughter, specifically my 18-year-old daughter, and she immediately sang it to me. Ahh, to be young…

 

Location, Location, Location

A couple days late with this second double exercise report from the weekend, but again, better late than never, and the key once again is to do the exercising every day, even if I don’t do the writing–I am not as concerned with the mental muscles and fat as I am the rest of my (lack of) muscles and my (abundance of) fat.

Sunday, Jun 17, 2012

2+ miles (actually 3.25!) to commemorate Red Sox victory #32 of the 2012 season

  • Cajun Song–Gin Blossoms
  • The Calendar–Panic! At the Disco
  • Calico Pie–Natalie Merchant
  • California–Hollywood Undead
  • California–Hollywood Undead
  • California–Joni Mitchell
  • California–Metro Station
  • California–Phantom Planet
  • California (Hustle & Flow)–Social Distortion
  • California (Hustle & Flow)–Social Distortion
  • California (WrestleMania XVI Theme)–WWE
  • California 2005–Phantom Planet
  • California Dreamin’–The Beach Boys
  • California Dreamin’–The Mamas and the Papas
  • California English–Vampire Weekend
  • California Girls–The Beach Boys
  • California Stars–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Call And Answer–Barenaked Ladies

When they say music can take you places, it’s usually an emotional journey, not a geographical one. However, songs can take you somewhere a little more specific, and one state in particular dominated my walking list today. Before I got there however, I had a regional sidetrip thanks to the Gin Blossoms and their “Cajun Song”, although many probably only think of a style of cooking or an Adam Sandler SNL character when they hear the word Cajun. Panic! At the Disco sings about the entire year and Natalie Merchant follows up her ice-cream flavor festival last letter (“Bleezer’s Ice-Cream”) with another dessert-themed number, “Calico Pie”.

Now it’s time to go west. I’d assume that it’s a fair bet that more songs have been written with “California” in the title than any other state and probably by a wide margin. I actually had no idea that we had so many “California” songs in our library (and this list only includes songs that start with the state–other songs, like Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” will pop up later). In fact, when I heard the Hollywood Undead song “California”, I thought to myself; “Excellent, I’ll be getting “California Stars” soon, but I had to hear 14 other songs first, and I probably would have guessed 4-6. I clearly was way off, particularly when I have five songs just called “California” and only one is a repeat (we have studio and live versions of the Hollywood Undead track).

When I get two or more versions of a song that share a common title, I like to think about one artist covering the other’s namesake track.  Pairing Hollywood Undead with Joni Mitchell is a humorous combination in either direction, although if I had to pick, hearing Joni perform the Hollywood Undead song would be a surreal experience, as her musical themes seem to be the antithesis of Hollywood Undead’s,

Metro Station’s “California” has more of a pop sensibility before I got to the “California” I most enjoy. I loved The OC when it aired (earning me scorn and derision from an old boss–in a loving way, of course) and so the theme song was I loved as well. In fact, the music of the show was a big part of what made me love it, and we owned four of the soundtracks, as well as purchasing additional music from the artists featured in the show. As a side note, while I loved the original version of the theme song, I did not like the updated version from the fifth soundtrack (“California 2005”, which came later in the list).

I got to hear two versions (single and album) of Social Distortion’s 2011 return to the music scene–a fun number that is worth repeated listens. The last California only (with or without parenthetical) was the theme song from WrestleMania XVI (or WrestleMania 2000, as it’s also called). After that, it was time for California to become an adjective instead of a noun, starting with a classic rock anthem, “California Dreamin’ “. The Beach Boys remake comes before the far superior Mamas and Papas version. I love the Beach Boys, but this comparison isn’t close. I  think the male-female dynamic (as well as the outstanding vocal talent of the group) is what makes the song work so well, plus I have fond memories of the song from junior high when we performed the song in vocal ensemble. The better Beach Boys “California…” song comes two numbers later, with their stellar “California Girls”, a song that ironically also was later covered, this time by Diamond Dave, David Lee Roth. The remade song was good, but the video was over-the-top hilarious, a teenaged boy’s dream.

I finally got my Billy Bragg & Wilco song, the song that got me into both Mermaid Avenue and Wilco. Back when I had my first MP3 player, a Nomad that could store 100 or so songs, “California Stars” was a permanent part of my song-list. I wish Vampire Weekend would have taken the time to answer whether the Oxford Comma is a key portion of “California English”, seeing that they’re the only band to compose songs on the subject. The walk closed with a Barenaked Ladies song from the first of their albums we owned, Stunt. We originally purchased the album on the strength of their group-defining hit, “One Week”, but everything on the album is awesome.

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

  • Call And Answer–Barenaked Ladies
  • Call It What You Want–Foster The People
  • Call Me the Breeze–Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Call Me When You’re Sober–Evanescence
  • Call My Name–Prince
  • The Call of Ktulu–Metallica
  • The Call of Ktulu [live]–Metallica
  • Call of the Wild–Tom Tom Club
  • Call on Me [demo]–Elvis Costello
  • Call the Law–Outkast featuring Janelle Monae
  • Calling All Angels–Train

Just as I ended my morning walk with an awesome ballad from Barenaked Ladies, I get to start my afternoon gym time with the same song. When it’s “Call and Answer”, that’s fine by me. The funny thing about the song is that it was also on the soundtrack to the poor man’s Truman Show, the Matthew McConaughey vehicle EDtv (which I’ve never seen). Next up was one of the hits from last year’s sensation Foster the People.  That’s one of the rare albums that every member of the family loves and has added to their personal playlists. I’m probably the only one that has Skynyrd on regular rotation, while my youngest daughter is the Evanescence fan in the family.

The Prince song is from his 2004 album Musicology. I have to admit that I’m woefully behind the times with my Prince music knowledge, as I had no idea that he’s released four additional albums since then. It looks like none of the albums produced top 40 songs, so that may be why I’m so ignorant on the subject. After Prince, it was almost 20 solid minutes of Metallica instrumental glory in the form of live and studio versions of “The Call of Ktulu”, a Lovecraft-inspired title. I enjoyed the Tom Tom Club song from their underrated Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom album (in fact, it’s the opening track). After a demo track from Elvis Costello, I got an Outkast song from their Idlewild album that featured a little-known at the time, Janelle Monae, who blew up this year thanks to her participation in Fun’s everywhere hit, “We Are Young”. Speaking of hits, I got a 2003 Top 20 hit to close my list, courtesy of Train.

I can “C” some progress here!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Hope your special day was as nice as mine. We had a delicious bacon-and-egg brunch, I watched a family movie with my wife and kids (Better Off Dead, which none of my children had ever seen, but it’s one that stands both the test of time and works on repeated viewings–I highly recommend it, although perhaps it would work better on Mother’s Day, because you would be wise to listen to Mother, as Ricky would say). On the exercise front, it was a great weekend, as I really feel like I started to get back on track, pulling a rare weekend double-double (3+ mile neighborhood walks both mornings and 45-minute gym sessions both afternoons). All in all, I believe I covered 12 miles in total over the two days–not bad at all! (In the “going against my healthy ways department”, I did eat my first Twinkie in several years, but I don’t see that becoming a habit, as even in my junk-food junkie days, Twinkies were a rare choice for me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

2+ mile (actually 3!) neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #31 of the 2012 season

  • Bushleager–Pearl Jam
  • Business On You–Richard Thompson
  • Bust A Move–Glee
  • Bust Your Windows–Glee
  • Busted–Ray Charles
  • Busy Bees–Silversun Pickups
  • But It’s Better If You Do–Panic! At The Disco
  • But Tonight We Dance–Rise Against
  • Butterfly–Jason Mraz
  • Butterfly–Para Para Dance No. 1
  • Butterflyz–Alicia Keys
  • Button My Lip–Elvis Costello
  • Buy You A Drink (Shawty Snappin’)–T-Pain featuring Young Joc
  • Buzz Aldrin: Poster Boy For Second Place–The Wonder Years
  • Buzz Aldrin: The Poster Boy For Second Place–The Wonder Years

 

I hadn’t given Pearl Jam’s “Bushleaguer” a close listen, which is a shame as it’s one of my favorite groups making a song filled with baseball references (for those not familiar with baseball, a bushleaguer is a minor-league player. A mother/daughter combo followed next with Richard Thompson (the mother half of the equation), followed by two Glee songs from Season 1. When I get Glee songs, I now ask my daughter to guess which ones I heard, and she can generally guess correctly with few to no hints. She loves her Glee. When I first saw the song title for the Ray Charles’ number “Busted”, I assumed it referred to him being caught cheating on his woman;  however, Ray zigged when I thought he would zag and the song is about being broke (something I certainly get).

One of my most recent musical additions to the library is the new Silversun Pickups album Neck of the Woods. I’d only heard “Bloody Mary” (which did not make my list because I had passed its alphabetical position before getting the release) on the radio, but I’m liking the rest of the album, including this track “Busy Bees”. I know some people compare the band to the Smashing Pumpkins, which I get, I just enjoy the group on their own merits, style, and songwriting.  Panic! At The Disco had the next song, “But It’s Better If You Do” and frankly they (or just about any other band) seemed a more likely candidate to be the artist behind the song “But Tonight We Dance” as opposed to the actual artist, Rise Against. The title just doesn’t scream Rise Against, but then again, as my son says, once you listen to the lyrics, you think “yep, this is a Rise Against song!

I’m not sure how I feel about Jason Mraz in general and his song “Butterfly” specifically. I get that he’s got a great voice and some of his lyrics are pretty clever, but in this song, it feels like he’s trying too hard to be cool and sexy. Our second “Butterfly” track comes from the Dance Dance Revolution series, one that my youngest daughter liked enough to purchase the song on iTunes. Alicia Keys ends our session in lepidopterology with more than one butterfly, although she uses the not-so-scientific method of creating a plural noun by ending the word in ‘z’. It’s a good thing she’s got an amazing voice, otherwise I might hold that grammatical faux pas against her (which I’m sure she’d find crushing).

After an entertaining Elvis Costello number, I get T-Pain’s handy guide to picking up ladies in the club. I do have to say that I find the whole “shawty” term confusing, as it seems to possibly refer to both youngsters and hot women, so couldn’t someone misunderstand the context and think you are interested in getting with kids? Wouldn’t it just be better to avoid any potential confusion? The walking list concluded with two different versions of a Wonder Years song from my son’s almost complete collection of the band’s work.

2.75 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper-arm weight work

  • Buzzards And Dreadful Crows–Guided by Voices
  • By My Side–INXS
  • By Surprise–Gemini Club
  • By the Time I Get to Arizona–Public Enemy
  • By Your Side–Sade
  • Bye Bye Love–Simon & Garfunkel
  • C is for Conifers–They Might Be Giants
  • C Moon–Paul McCartney
  • C.O.D–AC/DC
  • C’Etait Toi (You Were The One)–Billy Joel
  • C’mon–Sonic Chaos
  • C’mon Girl–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Caffeinated Consciousness—TV on the Radio
  • Cage and Aquarium–They Might Be Giants
  • Caged Bird–Alicia Keys

 

Things started of with a Guided by Voices track from its Bee Thousand album (a gift my wife received from a family friend and fellow music afficianado). Normally I’m hoping for a good rocking song to start my gym workout off in a great direction, but the tempo and style of the opening song was fairly irrelevant on this occasion as the fact that my ‘B’ songs were coming to a close was pumping me up–I always get a charge when I know a new letter will be starting soon. “By…” started with an INXS ballad and continued with a Gemini Club release. Next was a great political screed from Public Enemy about Arizona’s (and to a lesser extent, New Hampshire’s) wrongheaded decision to not recognize Martin Luther King Day in the late 80’s. I lived in New Hampshire at the time and remember feeling a deep shame about the choice, but I also remember feeling annoyed that almost all the anger and protest was directed at Arizona. I get that it was (and of course, still is) the much bigger state, but it made me feel like New Hampshire wasn’t worth the attention and effort.

I got a blast from the past with Sade’s “By Your Side”, a track we own courtesy of the Japan relief album. I remember their hits from the 80’s, but apparently they kept making music through the next decade, but their sound was far more successful in the UK. ‘B’ closes with the most successful duo of all time (Simon & Garfunkel) covering a hit of one of the original great rock duos (The Everly Brothers). The song is a live track from the pair’s last studio album, which was an unusual choice that still stands out to this day.

They Might Be Giants manage to entertain and educate (edutain or entercate) with “C is for Conifers”, a song that teaches us all about pine trees. Thanks to their alphabet album, They Might Be Giants get to lead off several letters like this one. The ‘C’ silver medal goes to Paul McCartney for one of his less remembered tunes (at least by me) off his greatest hits collection. AC/DC sings about a concept that’s (other than food) virtually non-existent these days, “C.O.D”. For those that don’t know, “C.O.D.” stands for “Cash On Delivery” and I guess you used to be able to mail-order products and when the postman would deliver the item, you’d pay for it then. I remember as a kid, when I’d watch TV commercials for things like K-Tel records, they’d always clearly state “No C.O.D. please!” Frankly, as society becomes more cashless, I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more food options demand you pay via electronic payment when you order.

I’ll have to play the Billy Joel track for my daughters so see how much of the French they understand (I never took it, so the answer for me is none). Sonic Chaos sounds like a cool band name for an alternative or rock outfit, but the song comes from the Cheetah Girls soundtrack, so don’t get your hopes up–in fact, just stick to Sonic Youth in the Sonic band category. Things do take a turn for the alternative with the return of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my first track from TV on the Radio. “Caffeinated Consciousness” is the last track from their 2011 Nine Types of Light album, which may be the group’s final album as a member of the band passed away from cancer soon after its release.

They Might Be Giants followed with a song from their second album, Lincoln, and I then got my second track today from Alicia Keys to close things out.

Cheerful songs about bullets and burning

The weekend is here! (Which, truth be told, is not that different from the rest of the week when you’re not working. Actually, I prefer the rest of the week because there’s a chance a company could call me about a job interview during the Monday-Friday time frame, something that’s highly unlikely during the weekend, as those hard-working heroes of human resources certainly deserve the time off on Saturday and Sunday [sorry for the sucking up, you never know who’s reading this]. Well, that’s enough wallowing, let’s get to some exercising and music!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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

  • Built for the Future–The Fixx
  • Built to Last–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Bull in a China Shop–Barenaked Ladies
  • Bullet the Blue Sky–U2
  • Bullet the Blue Sky–U2
  • Bulletproof–La Roux
  • Bulletproof Heart–My Chemical Romance
  • Burn–Deep Purple
  • Burn Away–Foo Fighters
  • Burn Down This Town–Rosanne Cash
  • Burn in My Light–Mercy Drive
  • Burn it Down–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Burn the House Down–Scars on 45
  • Burned (Kane)–WWE
  • Burnin’ Up–The Jonas Brothers

The thing about today’s two lists is that they started so constructive and promising–we were talking about building things. Both the Fixx and Tom Petty were on the same track–after all, if you want to build things for the future, you need to build something to last. But then things took a turn for the destructive with “Bull in a China Shop” that did not let up for the rest of either exercise period. Bull in a China Shop is one of those metaphors that only works in the poetic sense these days, as there aren’t many shops that specialize in china to my knowledge.

The violence moves from bulls to bullets, starting with studio and live versions of a U2 song that’s (this is sure to surprise you) highly political. La Roux’s “Bulletproof” follows. This was a group that my youngest daughter enjoys, but I will admit that when I first heard the song and saw the lead singer, I thought that she was actually male. However, I do find the song infectious and it’s easy to dance to (although my children would prefer that I didn’t, which only makes me want to do it more, particularly in from of their friends–yep, I’m that kind of dad). My Chemical Romance (which is one of the coolest band names ever) has the right idea–with all these literal and metaphorical bullets flying around, it’s smart to protect yourself with a “Bulletproof Heart”. Of course, their timing isn’t great as the bullets die down and the fires start, which might still put their heart in danger.

Things start off simple and slow, as Deep Purple looks to just “Burn”, while the Foo Fighters point out that there’s consequences to the flames with “Burn Away”. Rosanne Cash decides to stop beating around the bush (burning around the bush?) and ratchet up the destruction with “Burn This Town Down”. It seems a little much, doesn’t it? I’m not one to advocate violence, but if you really want to get someone back, wouldn’t burning their house down be enough (something Scars on 45 seem to be willing to settle on)? Do you have to take out the entire town?

“Burn in My Light”, one of my favorite WWE entrance themes, is an older Randy Orton number. His new one, “Voices”, is pretty good as well–Orton tends to get good themes, ones my kids like as well.  Two songs later, I got one of the more iconic and enduring WWE themes of the past 15 years, the instrumental Kane theme “Burned”. (As a side note, I loved meeting and working with all the WWE superstars during my years in the company, but Kane was one of my favorite people in the organization.) The last three Burn songs come courtesy of artists representing three distinct genres with Avenged Sevenfold, Scars on 45, and the Jonas Brothers.

June 13, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #30 of the 2012 season

  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House [live]–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning In The Skies–Linkin Park
  • Burning Love–Elvis Presley
  • Burning Up–Glee Cast
  • Burnout–Green Day
  • Burns Supper–Richard Thompson
  • Burnt By The Sky–David Byrne
  • Bury Me–Guster
  • Bushfire–The B-52’s

For almost the entire first mile of my walking tour, I got to hear the Talking Heads’ only Top-10 hit, “Burning Down the House”, five times, four studio originals and a live version (the four studio copies come from the original album, a greatest hits collection, a hits of 1983 compilation, and the soundtrack to 13 Going on 30). I remember when the song first came out (I heard it often because I got most of my music from radio, including American Top 40), I kind of liked it, but it wasn’t till I decided to get into the Talking Heads (to impress a girl) that I really gave the song my attention. I must say that I enjoy the live, Stop Making Sense, version better than the original, as it’s a more driving, rocking take on the song.

Linkin Park takes the burning to the air, but ironically, I could have had a second Linkin Park “Burn…” song if I had their latest single, as “Burn It Down” has been on the radio recently, and has been featured as the musical accompaniment to some highlight packages on ESPN. I always thought the Elvis Presley song was called “Hunka Hunka Burning Love”, but it’s just the last two words. When I saw that Glee had a song titled “Burning Up” that I would hear soon, I assumed at first it was a cover of the Jonas Brothers song I’d heard earlier, but it was in fact a Madonna cover, and I can now tell the difference as Madonna’s version features the proper spelling of “burning”, including the ending ‘g’. I’m not sure how much it will help me, as I’m unlikely to listen to either song willingly.

The list ends strongly for me, starting with a Green Day track from Dookie, and then running into my wife’s favorite artist (non-Elvis Costello division) Richard Thompson. I actually saw him in concert with her in Bloomington, Indiana, but it probably was wasted on me, as I don’t remember which songs he performed, save a rousing cover of “Oops! I Did It Again”. I will say that not knowing the specific songs did not blind me to the amazing virtuoso skill he has with the guitar. If I hadn’t heard enough of his voice with the five renditions of “Burning Down the House”, I got one more “burn” track from Mr. Byrne (ahh, homonyms!) before the fires finally burned out–or so I thought–as after the Guster song “Buried” (keeping with the violence I guess), things flamed up one last time with the B-52’s giving me a “Bushfire”, a song that inspired me to listen to Cosmic Thing in its entirety tonight.