Theme Songs from Periods of Your Life

Let’s keep the momentum of both the gym and the writing going! I’m really getting back into a musical groove–at the end of each year, I like to put together a mix CD of some of my favorite songs released in the year. I’ve got a title for this year’s collection (not ready for announcement yet), and I know of at least eight songs that will be going on the album, but I still have some listening and deciding to do. However, that will not be an excuse to not exercise and move the alphabetical journey forward. I’d like to get to ‘F’ before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3.28 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Easy’s Getting Harder Every Day–Iris DeMent
  • Eat Cannibals–Toto Coelo
  • Eat for Two–10,000 Maniacs
  • Eat for Two [live]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Ebay–Weird Al Yankovic
  • Ebony & Ivory [live]–Paul McCartney
  • Ebony & Ivory–Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
  • Echoes–Set Your Goals
  • Echos Myron–Guided by Voices
  • Eclipse–Pink Floyd
  • The Ecstasy of Gold–Metallica
  • Eddie–Rocky Horror Picture Show cast
  • Edelweiss–Sound of Music cast
  • Edelweiss [reprise]–Sound of Music cast
  • Edelweiss Waltz–Sound of Music cast
  • Eden–10,000 Maniacs

It’s ironic that I got three 10,000 Maniacs songs today because that band gave me my first taste of today’s leadoff artist, Iris DeMent. One of 10,000 Maniacs CD singles (I believe the one for “Few & Far Between”) had an unplugged cover of DeMent’s “Let The Mystery Be” by 10,000 Maniacs and David Byrne. Now at the time, the Talking Heads were my favorite band and the Maniacs were not that far behind, so I was already predisposed to like the song, and sure enough, it is a favorite to this day. The lyrics and the melding of Byrne and Merchant make it one of my favorite covers ever. Now, my love of the song did not spur me to go out and purchase any of Iris DeMent’s catalogue–my wife is the fan. But hearing her distinctive voice and gospel-tinged music has made me a fan as well, and right now, “Easy’s Getting Harder Every Day” seems like an appropriate theme song for my life.

After “Eat Cannibals”, a quintessential 80’s tune, I got to hear studio and live versions of 10,000 Maniacs song that also served as a sort-of theme for my life at one point. Both my wife and I are fans of the group, so when she was pregnant with our twins, I would play this song and sing along, only substituting “three” for “two” whenever the chorus came up–I know, I know;  an early example of the quality humor you’ve grown (or groan) to expect from reading this column. The third 10,000 Maniacs song closed my list today, and it was the pseudo-title track from “Our Time in Eden”, which was a great album from them, one that unfortunately turned out to be the Merchant version of the band’s last.

I think everyone should just take a minute and reflect on how successful “Weird Al” Yankovic has been at his niche within the music industry and for how long. 30+ years of parodying the sound and style of so many pop artists, and what’s amazing is how good a job he does getting down the sound and style of each artist (for those that haven’t heard it, “Ebay” is a parody of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys). I am typing this while watching the 12.12.12 concert, and I honestly believe Al deserved a set on this night more than some of the artists that did play.

One artist that is going to play tonight (and close the show, I think) is Paul McCartney, and I got two versions of “Ebony & Ivory”, one from his 1989 concert tour. Now I love Paul McCartney–I saw him in concert twice in college–but I think he should not sing the song live with another white guy taking Wonder’s part. I think it just defeats the purpose of the song. Another participant tonight, Roger Walters, showed up with his Pink Floyd mates for “Eclipse”, although first I got to hear one of my son’s bands, Set Your Goals, and a little Guided by Voices as well.

After some live Metallica, I got a song my daughter loves (a Rocky Horror Picture Show number) and a trio of songs my mother loves (anything from her favorite film, The Sound of Music). Luckily, neither of these two songs would have ever made appropriate theme songs for any period of my life, as I never was a rebellious biker or living in a Nazi-occupied land.

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Back in Business (at least the blog business)

Been a few days since I last updated the blog, as I got sidetracked helping a friend out with a project. But I can’t ignore my public any longer, particularly with my list of songs continuing to backlog. (While I didn’t blog over the weekend, I did get to the gym both days, so the list continues!) So today’ list will blow through the week (or at least the Monday through Thursday portion) of 7/30 through 8/2, which featured a pair ofT gym visits sandwiched around hosting Indiana in-laws. The visit was great–everyone had a relaxed, fun time, so I didn’t mind missing the workouts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

3.10 miles at the gym on the elliptical machine:

  • Cotton Alley–10,000 Maniacs
  • Cough Syrup–Young the Giant
  • Could I’ve Been So Blind–The Black Crowes
  • Could It Be Magic–Barry Manilow
  • Could You Be Love–Bob Marley
  • Couldn’t Call It Unexpected No. 4–Elvis Costello
  • Couldn’t Call It Unexpected No. 4 [live]–Elvis Costello
  • Counterfeit Fake–They Might Be Giants
  • Countin’ On A Miracle–Bruce Springsteen
  • Counting Airplanes–Train
  • Country Comfort–Elton John

Monday began with a selection from 10,000 Maniacs (sort-of) first album. (I know they released Secrets of the I Ching first, but I tend to ignore that album, and I’d argue they do as well, seeing that they re-recorded three of the songs for inclusion on The Wishing Chair.) Things get a little more recent and trendy with “Cough Syrup”, although I dodged a bullet when I only had to hear the original and not the Glee cover. I then got to hear a song from the debut album of the Black Crowes. I’ll admit that for Black Crowes, one album is more than enough for me. I think I’m supposed to like the Black Crowes more, but they’re a group that a little goes a long way in my musical sentiments. That sentiment is also true for both of the next artists as well, although there aren’t many other reasons to group Manilow and Marly.

My next four songs come from three of the family’s most represented artists, starting with studio and live versions of an Elvis Costello number. I am trying to wrap my mind around the title of the They Might Be Giants’ song–is a “Counterfeit Fake” the genuine article? The only thing that might have improved the title was adding the Elvis Costello flair and calling it “Couterfeit Fake No. 4”. My trio of familiarity ends with the Boss and a song from “The Rising”. That’s not to say I’m not familiar with Train or Elton John–I just don’t own the same large percentage of their musical catalogue.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

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

  • Country Comforts–Rod Stewart
  • Country Darkness–Elvis Costello
  • Country Feedback–R.E.M.
  • Country Girl: Whisky Boot Hill/Down, Down/Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Cousins–Vampire Weekend
  • The Coventry Carol–Alison Moyet
  • Cover Me–Bruce Springsteen
  • Coward Of The County–Kenny Rogers
  • Cowboy Killers–The Wonder Years
  • Cowboy Romance–Natalie Merchant
  • Cowboy Take Me Away–Dixie Chicks
  • Cowboy Take Me Away [live]–Dixie Chicks
  • Cowtown–They Might Be Giants
  • Coyotes–Jason Mraz
  • Crab–Weezer
  • Crackin’ Up–Paul McCartney
  • Crackity Jones–Pixies
  • Cracklin’ Rosie–Neil Diamond
  • Crank It Up–WWE

I closed the previous section talking about owning a percentage of an established act’s collected works, and my Rod Stewart ownership calculation would be tiny–1 over however many albums he’s released. And again, one is more than enough for me–Rod’s a .0001 on the Simple Minds Scale, particularly once he decided to subject the aural population to his interpretations of “The Great American Songbook”.  I think I’d be far more impressed with him delivering the Great Scottish Songbook. I also made particular mention of three artists in the last section that are significant parts of our library, and as if they wanted to further the point, each shows up again on this list, starting with Elvis Costello. The Bruce and TMBG songs that follow are more familiar to me, as the Springsteen song comes from the first album of his I ever purchased (Born in the USA) and the They Might Be Giants’ number is from their second album, Lincoln.

After an R.E.M. song, I get a visit from CSNY and the appearance of  one of the 70’s more pretentious musical trends–the long songs with multiple parts (popularized by Yes, but then taken to new heights by Rush with songs having multiple parts that straddled different albums). You don’t see that as much these days. That’s not to say artists aren’t self important–they just express it in other manners (Thanks social media!). As I’ve mentioned before, but each Vampire Weekend song I hear mixes my enjoyment of their music and my anticipation of their upcoming third album, which I’ve heard is releasing before the end of the year. The end of the year would have been a better time to hear the Alison Moyet song, but when you listen to an entire list alphabetically, Christmas comes year round!

Do you ever think about memory–specifically, what stays in your mind and what you’ve forgotten? I ask because when I was a child, we didn’t listen to a lot of music, but one album (actually, 8-track to be precise) that received heavy rotation  was my mother’s Kenny Rogers album (one of his many greatest hits collection). Now I’m not the biggest fan of Rogers, but his story songs were easy to follow to be sure. Now, here it is, decades later and when a song like “Coward of the County” comes up (one I can honestly say that I haven’t heard for years), and I can sing along with it, remembering all the lyrics. I just have to wonder what important dates, facts, or issues have been pushed out of my brain so that “Promise me son, not to do the things I’ve done” can stick around. Moving on, it seems fitting that a Kenny Rogers song would serve as prologue for my “Cowboy…” section of songs, although truth be told, if I’m thinking about artists doing songs about the profession, the Wonder Years and Natalie Merchant do not come to top of mind. Dixie Chicks? They make more sense.

Not a lot to add about the Jason Mraz and Weezer that follow, and the Paul McCartney number almost shouldn’t count as a song–it’s more of a 45 second sorbet from his live album. Now getting a Pixies song is always a treat, particularly when I close the list with Neil Diamond and WWE.

 

The Narcotic Powers of Cocaine, Coffee, and Disney

Always a good weekend when you get two workouts in! A nice bonus was my wife made a few extra bucks making some deliveries for a business run by a friend and she used the found cash to treat me to a matinee of The Dark Knight Rises. Despite my Marvel leanings, the Nolan Batman trilogy is, without a doubt, the finest set of superhero movies in terms of consistency and enjoyment. (I feel both Spiderman and X-Men went off the rails in their third installments.) I did find Bane’s voice difficult to understand at times, but I thought Anne Hathaway was incredible at Catwoman. I’d like to see it a second time to better formulate my thought, but while I enjoyed the film, I preferred the second film more and enjoyed the Avengers more as well.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

3.10 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cocaine–Eric Clapton
  • Cocaine–Jackson Browne
  • Codes and Keys–Death Cab for Cutie
  • Coffee Eyes–The Wonder Years
  • (Coffee’s For Closers)–Fall Out Boy
  • Cold–Crossfade
  • Cold As Ice–Foreigner
  • Cold As You–Taylor Swift
  • Cold Brains–Beck
  • Cold Cold Heart–Colin Raye
  • Cold Dark World–Weezer

It’s an illicit and illegal start to things with both Eric Clapton and Jackson Browne singing songs named “Cocaine”. As an FYI, one is not a cover; they’re two different songs sharing a same title (to be completely accurate the Clapton song is a cover, but it’s a cover of a JJ Cale song). The Clapton song is the far more famous of the two, but I think I prefer the melancholy of the Browne number.  The title track from Death Cab For Cutie’s 2011 album followed, and then it was time for two songs about another drug–this time a legal one. The Wonder Years number comes from my son’s collection, and Fall Out Boy is the band of choice for his twin sister. The latter makes me happy because the title refers to Alec Baldwin’s awesome rant from Glengarry Glen Ross. Before that film, I found myself tending to find Alec Baldwin the weakest link in films I otherwise loved (for example Beetlejuice, Married to the Mob, and The Hunt for Red October). To be fair to Alec, if I’d seen Miami Blues (which came out a year before Glengarry Glen Ross) first, my opinion of the man’s work would have already started to change.

Things get a little “Cold…” for the second half of the playlist, with Crossfade making their first (and I think only) appearance in our library with their hit “Cold”. I am more familiar with Foreigner song that followed and my daughters prefer the third “Cold…” song, one sung by “T Swizzle” as my oldest girl likes to call her. (Apparently that’s a legit nickname for Ms. Swift–learn something new every day!) Beck’s “Cold Brains” is an entertaining number, even if the title makes me think of a zombie heading home with a doggie bag for the next day’s snack. The Colin Raye song is one of two covers we own of the Hank Williams classic, but they’re separated because one title uses a comma between the two “cold”s and the other does not, again pointing to the need for a song title style and conventions guide. So instead of hearing another artist cover the song, Saturday’s list closed with a Weezer track from their Red album.

Sunday, July 21, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cold Day in July–Dixie Chicks
  • Cold Day in July [live]–Dixie Chicks
  • Cold Desert–Kings of Leon
  • Cold Hearted–Paula Abdul
  • Cold Kisses–Richard Thompson
  • Cold Tea Blues–Cowboy Junkies
  • Cold Turkey–John Lennon
  • Cold, Cold Heart–Lucinda Williams
  • Collapse (Post America)–Rise Against
  • Collection of  Goods–Collective Soul
  • Cologne–Ben Folds
  • The Colonial Wing–10,000 Maniacs
  • Colors and the Kids–Cat Power
  • Colors of the Wind–Vanessa Hudgens
  • Colors of the Wind–Ashanti

I wouldn’t describe my interest in the Dixie Chicks as a “guilty pleasure”–after all, they are an extremely successful musical act. I would instead use the term “unexpected” as there aren’t many country artists in my favorites, but I proudly own five of their albums and eagerly await new material from the trio. The other day I mentioned that my interest in Kings of Leon has waned recently, and “Cold Desert does not turn that tide at all. Now in the “what was I thinking” category, buying a Paula Abdul CD in college fits just fine, but I do enjoy her hits off the release (even if someone else ultimately sang them), including “Cold Hearted”. The next two “Cold…” songs were brought to the collection by my wife, the Richard Thompson and Cowboy Junkies fan. She’s also a John Lennon fan, but I think “Cold Turkey” came from me. The last “Cold…” song was our second Hank Williams cover, and I’d argue the stronger of the two–I think Lucinda Williams is an underrated talent.

Nothing like a good Rise Against song to cheer you up. I’d argue that Rise Against sings about the end result if we don’t heed the musical warnings of Bruce Springsteen. The Boss tells us things are getting bad and then Rise Against sings about where the country ends up. I wasn’t overly familiar with the Collective Soul song–they’re a band I am content to only own their greatest hits (a sold 1.0 on the Simple Minds Scale). The Ben Folds song “Cologne” is one of his great story songs, including  a verse about the killer astronaut from a few years back. After sold 10,000 Maniacs and Cat Power songs, we end with a pair of Disney covers. For your children than can’t drink coffee (and should certainly avoid cocaine, the other drug covered at the beginning of today’s lists), what addictive substance can they enjoy? Disney, right? I remember my children, particular my youngest, wanting to watch various Disney movies again and again, and that glazed look they’d get when they did. I don’t mind the Disney movies–the soundtracks are usually excellent, but I’m not the biggest fan of the covers of the originals (such as the two “Colors of the Wind” versions today), and hearing them puts a glazed look on my face, but for a far different reason.

 

 

The Elliptical Fallacy

The gym is great and all, but there’s nothing like taking your hard work outdoors. So we decided that an incredibly hot and humid Sunday would be a perfect day to go on a family hike at Sleeping Giant State Park. Normally, we take the nice-and-easy trail to the tower at the top of the mountain, but the last time we went, the twins split off and found a path that traveled by some stone arches, a scenic valley, and wound along a stream before coming out in the parking lot. So we decided to mix things up and try the route. Now my kids did warn me that it was a bit more challenging than the normal flat path, but why should I worry? I’ve been going to the gym regularly, doing 3+ miles on the elliptical, even setting it on steep settings. So I should be fine, right? Well, the soaked shirt I was sporting 30 minutes into the hike would indicate otherwise, although the extreme heat and humidity probably had something to do with it as well.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

4+ mile hike to commemorate Red Sox victories #41-42 of the 2012 season

  • Church of the Poison Mind–Culture Club
  • Cigarette–Ben Folds Five
  • Cinderella–The Cheetah Girls
  • Cinderella–Play
  • Cinema–Yes
  • Cinnamon Girl–Prince
  • Circle–Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
  • Circle–Flyleaf
  • Circle Dream–10,000 Maniacs
  • Circle of Fire–Sam Phillips
  • Circle of Friends–Better Than Ezra
  • Circle of Life–Lion King Cast
  • Circle of Life–Disney Channel Circle of Stars
  • Circle of Life–Ronan Keating
  • Circles and X’s–Lucinda Williams
  • Cities–Talking Heads
  • City–Hollywood Undead
  • City Lights–Rick Trevino
  • City Love–John Mayer
  • City of Angels–10,000 Maniacs
  • City of Blinding Lights–U2
  • City of Delusion–Muse
  • City of Dreams–Talking Heads
  • City of Love–Yes

So the previous list closed with the “Chruch…” of my kid’s pop music generation (courtesy of Cobra Starship), and this list opened with the “Church…” of my generation, Culture Club’s “Church of the Poison Mind”. (Shouldn’t it be “Poisoned”?) That was followed by a great Ben Folds Five number from their amazing Whatever and Ever Amen. Now I’m sure everyone is particularly interested in which version of “Cinderella” I prefer–the Play version or the Cheetah Girls. (I believe the Play version came first then the Cheetah Girls). My answer is that I do not have a favorite among the two (that’s a nice political way of putting it, right?)  Today’s list had early and late Yes songs, both from their 90125 album–“Cinema” and “City of Love”.

Prince’s “Cinnamon Girl” is completely unrelated to the Neil Young song, so it makes me wonder why use that title a second time. Reading about the song on wikipedia, it apparently had a highly controversial video attached because Prince had the gall to suggest that we treated US-based Muslims shabbily post 9/11. The next set of songs all fit within the same “Circle…”, and interestingly enough, the first four “Circle…” songs are performed by female-fronted bands or solo artists. My least favorite of the batch is the 10,000 Maniacs number “Circle Dream”. My wife always argues that I’m too hard on the song, but I just find the repetition of “I dreamed of a circle…” so tiring, particularly when compared to the rest of the album. The first “Circle…” number sung by a male comes from the family favorite soundtrack to Empire Records. I then got to hear three different versions of the “Circle of Life”, but none were the original from the film–I got the Broadway version and two from the Disney compilations. Just as women started the “Circle..”, they closed it as well, as Lucinda Williams provided an excellent topper to the theme.

After the circle theme, things took an urban turn with nine “City…” themed songs to close the list (and it’s not an exhaustive list, as my next list will continue with “City of…” songs). Two of the songs are two of my favorite Talking Heads selections. “Cities” comes from Fear of Music, an album I used to listen to every night the summer after my senior year, and the only Talking Heads release I owned as an LP. Meanwhile, “City of Dreams” is one of my favorite songs of all time (not just Talking Heads) and I think it’s one of the greatest closing credits songs in film history when used at the end of True Stories.

After disappointing me with “Circle Dream”, 10,0o0 Maniacs comes back strong with their brutal condemnation of Los Angeles, “City of Angels”. As they describe it, that’s not a city I’d want to visit, a theme shared by “City of Blinding Lights” by U2.

Cherubs, Chess, and Chewing Gum (maybe Cherry flavored!)

Eighth straight day visiting the gym, but for the first time in a week, it was a solo trip, as my kids were both working. As I was working out, I remember thinking, “this is great–I wonder how many consecutive days I can visit the gym?” In literature, that would be foreshadowing. In a character study, that would be hubris. In real life, that would be my car’s alternator conking out the next afternoon and the repair shop not being able to get a new one until Thursday, so we’d go more than 48 hours (including the 4th of July holiday) without a car. So the streak ended the very next day, as it’s hard to get to the gym without a vehicle. Now that’s not to say I didn’t get exercise over the three-day gymless span–Tuesday I walked home from the gym and then walked another mile, Wednesday my wife and I walked to the grocery store to get some needed staples, including milk, and Thursday I walked to pick up the car. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to music during the walks, so after Monday’s list, the next list came on Friday.

Monday, July 2, 2012

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

  • Cheeseburger in Paradise–Jimmy Buffett
  • Cheetah Sisters–The Cheetah Girls
  • Cheetah Sisters (Barcelona Mix)–The Cheetah Girls
  • Chelsea Hotel–Lloyd Cole
  • Chelsea Hotel No. 2–Leonard Cohen
  • Cherish–Madonna
  • Cherish the Moment–The Cheetah Girls
  • Cherry Bomb–John Mellancamp
  • Cherry Bomb–Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
  • Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)–Garbage
  • Cherry Red–John Hiatt
  • Cherry Tree–10,000 Maniacs
  • Cherry, Cherry-Neil Diamond
  • Cherub Rock–Smashing Pumpkins
  • Chess Piece Face–They Might Be Giants
  • Chewing Gum–Elvis Costello

I was never a big Jimmy Buffett fan for the longest time (I’m still not a big fan, but I’ve mellowed enough to occasionally enjoy a track or two from the man), and my parrot-head enmity began in college, where several big Buffett fans treated the rest of our dorm to constant loud playings of the man’s music, with “Cheeseburger in Paradise” being a particular offender. But I can say that I enjoyed hearing that song more than the three Cheetah Girls numbers that were part of today’s mix. “Wait a minute Dean,” you’re probably saying right now. “How can that be true? After all, you saw the Cheetah Girls in concert!” First of all, how did you know that? Second, it was an event for my daughters, who were like 12 and 10 at the time. Finally, it was Cheetah Girls lite, as that Raven Simone wasn’t even with them. (I won the tickets on Optimum Online and took my daughters to the show).

A Leonard Cohen original song and cover followed, and it was a song and its sequel. That let to a Madonna hit, and then two different songs with the title “Cherry Bomb”. I’m far more familiar with the John Mellancamp version and after hearing both, it is still my favorite of the two. We own a Joan Jett greatest hits collection, and I don’t know much of her music besides her big hits, but the Greatest Hits collection is more than enough for me (perhaps .75 on the Simple Minds Scale). The Cherry festival continues with Garbage and John Hiatt, followed by 10,000 Maniacs and Neil Diamond. The 10,000 Maniacs song is the one with the least to do with cherries, it’s one of the group’s many “message” songs, this one about illiteracy. Luckily it doesn’t get lost in a sea of messages, as the previous and following songs are more standard musical fare–love songs. Please don’t think I’m saying those songs are lesser because they don’t have a strong moral. In fact, I may actually prefer those two, particularly the John Hiatt song.

The last three songs on the list deviate from the “Cherry…” theme and instead cover three objects that don’t often get their due in pop songs–cherubs, chess, and chewing gum. The Smashing Pumpkins hit the first topic, and of course when cherubs grow into fully-formed angels, they appear all over pop songs. I do own one song from the original Chess soundtrack, but we’ll get to that later. (Plus Chess records was a label from the early days of rock.) But this They Might Be Giants song has nothing to do with either; it’s just a clever (if unfortunate) way to describe someone’s looks from their first album. My last song comes from Elvis Costello and was from the first album of his that I ever purchased, Spike.

 

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.

 

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.