Who wants apple spit in their face?

The two days covered today represent the 10th and 11th days of consecutive gym visits–one of my best runs in months. And I feel fine with the reason the streak ended, as my wife, kids, and I got to visit my parents, sister, and nephew on Sunday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Contact–Rent
  • Contagious–Avril Lavigne
  • Continental Drift–The Rolling Stones
  • The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill–The Beatles
  • Contrecoup–They Might Be Giants
  • Control–Metro Station
  • Control–Glee
  • Controversy–Prince
  • Conversation 16–The National
  • Cook’s County–The Who
  • Cooksferry Queen [live]–Richard Thompson
  • Cooksferry Queen–Richard Thompson
  • Cooksferry Queen–Richard Thompson
  • Cool–WWE

If you ask me the best way to start a workout playlist, “Broadway showtune” is not high on my list of options. Now my youngest daughter would strongly disagree with me, particularly when said track is from Rent, one of her favorite musicals (and she’s into them enough that she could do a top 10, and really have to consider all the candidates). I don’t know much about “Contagious” but I should give it more of a chance because I do find myself enjoying most Avril Lavigne I hear. That is also true of Rolling Stones content, including today’s song from their Steel Wheels album. Now while all Beatles songs, particularly their later works, are awesome, some are less useful as workout numbers. Luckily, “The Continuing Adventures of Bungalow Bill” works well in that capacity.

Once again, They Might Be Giants has me looking up information on a song title of theirs. Apparently “Contrecoup” is a head injury, specifically an injury that occurs on the opposite side of the injury’s impact. What a great group–one that entertains and educates! Two different “Control” songs followed with Metro Station giving their own version of the song, while the cast of Glee covered the Janet Jackson hit. I then got to hear a trio of artists I love, starting with an early Prince hit, “Controversy”, which is now more that 30 years old, which I consider the true controversy. Next up was one of my favorite more recent acts, The National, with a track from their most recent album. This trio closed with the Who, which is always welcome. Speaking of trios, I got a trio of “Cooksferry Queen”s from Richard Thompson, with one live and two studio versions. The song was originally on Mock Tudor, a favorite album of the family. When he was young, my son loved “Crawl Back” in particular, which I’ll be visiting soon enough. This list closes with one of the most baffling WWE theme songs ever, that belonging to Carlito. The song opens with Carlito speaking and he states “I spit in the face of people who don’t want to be cool.” Here’s my question. Who doesn’t want to be cool? Particularly if the consequences are getting chucks of pre-chewed apple spat at you? I never got that at all. Wouldn’t it have been better and made more sense if he just said “I spit in the face of people who are not cool” or something like that?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

3.15 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cool, Cocky Bad–WWE
  • Cool Dry Place–Traveling Wilburys
  • Cool For Cats–Squeeze
  • Cool Front–Digable Planets mashup with The Who
  • Cool Jerk–The Go-Gos
  • Cool Places–Sparks & Jane Wiedlin
  • Cool the Engine–Boston
  • Cool Water–Talking Heads
  • Cool, Cool River–Paul Simon
  • Cooties–Hairspray
  • Copacabana (At the Copa)–Barry Manilow
  • Corporate Ministry–WWE
  • Corrina, Corrina–Bob Dylan
  • Corrina, Corrina–Pete Townshend
  • Cosmic Love–Florence & The Machine
  • Cosmic Thing–The B-52’s

It’s another paired bracket as I get another WWE theme to open this list after one closed the last. It’s actually the first of two WWE theme songs I heard today, with the Honky Tonk Man’s Elvis tribute coming first and the mashup of Vince McMahon and Undertaker themes coming later in the list. Speaking of mashups, a message-board friend created (or just shared, I’m not entirely sure) “Cool Front”, which mashes Digable Planet’s “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” with the Who’s “Eminence Front” (easily one of my top 10 Who songs).  The combo is outstanding. The two songs before the mashup were great as well, as I will never tire of the Traveling Wilburys or Squeeze.

I love the Go-Go’s (saw them in concert my senior year in college), but “Cool Jerk” is my least favorite song by the group. If I want to hear a “Cool…” song involving a Go-Go, I’d much prefer the next track “Cool Places” with Jane Wiedlin of the group teaming up with Sparks. I loved the song when it first came out (the only year of junior high/high school that I had MTV), and was happy that I was able to add the single to my collection thanks to a compilation album. “Cool the Engines” is probably one of the biggest “no duh” songs for the group Boston as it seems like all their album covers were built around giant guitar-shaped spaceships. Coming back to Earth, the Talking Heads sang of “Cool Water”, and if you were looking for a location for such a thing, Paul Simon would correctly suggest a “Cool, Cool River”.

After things were cool for such a long time, I guess the antidote would be some “Cooties”, which arrived courtesy of the Hairspray soundtrack. I think my wife would argue that the list continued moving in a non-cool direction with “Copacabana” (she is most assuredly not a Fan-a-low), but I do find the song fun and will sing along whenever it comes on. If my singing has the chance to embarrass my wife and kids, well it’s always nice to get a bonus like that, right? While most of the Chimes of Freedom cover artists are newer acts, some of the album’s tributes come from stars as revered and longstanding as Dylan himself, and on “Corrina, Corrina”, Pete Townsend provides one of the best of those pairings. I may have to borrow Boston’s guitar rocket for the last two songs, as things get a bit “Cosmic…” with a Florence & The Machine number and the title track from the B-52’s album.

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Charlize Theron introduces Teenage Fanclub to me

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the blogging discipline to post entries on two consecutive days, but that’s today’s goals. Now to ensure that I do it, I may only write about one day’s list, but with a list as varied and awesome as the mix I got on 7/26, I think it’s worthwhile. By the way, on a real-time front, I am excited to report that I’m nearing a number of exciting milestones in both the song list and the blog. I’ve kept pushing my exercise routines, so I am less than a dozen songs from completing ‘C’ and moving on to the fourth letter in the alphabet, which is always an exciting time–only 25 letter switches after all. I’m also closing in on 2,000 songs. I will have to calculate my pace to see how I’m doing, but I think things are moving well. On the blog front, I’m within 20 views of quadruple digits–that’s right 1,000 views! I still need to consider new and exciting ways to promote the blog, but I’m happy with the direction over the first 85 posts.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Commotion–Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Complicated–Avril Lavigne
  • Complicated Girl–The Bangles
  • Complicated Shadows–Elvis Costello
  • Complicated Shadows–Elvis Costello
  • A Complicated Song–“Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Computer Assisted Design–They Might Be Giants
  • The Concept–Teenage Fanclub
  • Concrete and Clay–Unit 4 + 2
  • Conga–Miami Sound Machine
  • Congratulations–Traveling Wilburys
  • Conquest–The White Stripes
  • The Consequences of Falling–k.d. lang
  • Conspiracy–Paramore
  • Constant Craving–Glee Cast
  • Constructive Summer–The Hold Steady

This was one of my favorite exercise lists to date–there was something was everyone! (Well, except for people that don’t like music at all. In that case, I’m fairly certain that nothing would satisfy you.) CCR is always an excellent opener to any music list, including exercise-based selections. I’m trying to remember whether “Complicated” or “Sk8ter Boi” was our first exposure to Ms. Lavigne. My oldest daughter doesn’t remember either, but she did remind me that she heard a song in Circuit City (RIP), really liked it, and I ended up buying her the CD–her first music CD ever. Luckily, she’s not so connected to Avril that she can’t see the humor in the parody song “A Complicated Song” from Weird Al that shows up later in the list, and I, of course, love the number despite it opening with a stanza devoted to constipation.

I think Everything by the Bangles is a great and overlooked album and “Complicated Girl” is an excellent track from the release. As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, my wife is the Elvis Costello fan, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying his work as well. I mostly know his more famous tracks, but “Complicated Shadows” is a fun number as well. Back when I was doing computer books in the 90s for Sams, I was always baffled by the lack of pop songs about CAD (Computer Aided Design). Thankfully, They Might Be Giants stepped in and corrected this oversight on their Here Comes Science album. Luckily, you don’t need a dongle to enjoy the album (about 3 people are going to get that reference!).

We all have pop culture blind spots and clearly Teenage Fanclub sat in one of mine. It took seeing Young Adult to draw my attention to “The Concept”. I was highly impressed with both, and immediately purchased the song on iTunes. If you haven’t seen the film, get it. Charlize Theron’s work in the movie is outstanding, and I thought both she and Patton Oswalt deserved Oscar nominations for their work in the film. (I will warn you that there’s almost nothing redeeming about the story’s central character, and I know that some can find that off-putting, but it really works for me.) My wife did not enjoy the film as much as I did, but the next song, “Concrete and Clay”, comes from the soundtrack of one of her favorite films of all time, Rushmore.

The next two songs are 80s releases, with one being a bit pop hit (“Conga”) and the other an album track from the first Traveling Wilburys album (by the way, I hate to head things off onto a grammar and syntax tangent, but shouldn’t the plural form of “Wilbury” be “Wilburies”?). “Congratulations” was one of the Dylan-vocal driven songs from Volume 1. Things jumped ahead a few decades for one of my favorite White Stripes songs, “Conquest”. With two songs remaining, it’s a little ironic that I get one k.d. lang song and “Constant Craving” (lang’s biggest hit), but they are not the same song. Instead, I got the opening track from Invincible Summer and the Glee version of “Constant Craving”, which means I need to purchase the original version of the song. The other last two songs are a Paramore number, and my favorite Hold Steady song, “Constructive Summer”.

 

 

Killing two birds with one lawnmower

Getting to the gym yesterday proved to be impossible, so I had to improvise my music exercise time. My back yard needed some mowing, and seeing that it was the first mow of the season and about two weeks later than it should have happened, it was, in addition to plenty of walking, a solid upper-body workout as well.

(By the way, I was trying to play off the old “killing two birds with one stone” saying in my title, but we do live in a hysterical and overly sensitive time so I probably should specifically state that no birds were harmed with my lawnmower, although I did bother a neighborhood cat that was hoping to lounge in the tall grass of my back yard and was forced to move when I started the mower.)

April 30, 2012

Walking behind a mower

  • Below the Beams–Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
  • Bennie and the Jets–Elton John
  • The Best Damn Thing–Avril Lavigne
  • The Best Day–Taylor Swift
  • Best in Me–???
  • The Best is Yet to Come–Frank Sinatra
  • The Best of Both Worlds–Hannah Montana
  • The Best of Everything–Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers

“Below the Beams” is a short number by Grace Potter, but it’s still highly enjoyable. I only own the one album by her, but listening to it makes me want to get more. The only problem is that I’ve got about 20 artists in that bucket, plus new artists that I’d like to sample as well.  I’d say that my music collection is like a shark–it needs to keep moving forward or it will die, but that would give short shrift to the classic artists, like Elton John who followed next with one of his great 70’s hits.

Three of my next five songs come from pop princesses of different styles, starting with the punk pop of Avril Lavigne. I must say she writes catchy tunes with excellent hooks  and I find myself adding more and more of her work to my personal playlist. The country-tinged song “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift  is enough to move any parent to tears as Swift sings about her love of her parents (her mother in particular) as a child. The last girl power entry is the theme to the Disney program Hannah Montana, “The Best of Both Worlds” sung by Hannah Montana, who we later learned was Miley Cryus in a shocking twist.

I love to play the “who is this” game when I get a song without an artist listed, but for now “Best in Me” has me stumped. Online, the most famous song with this title (no ‘the’ at the beginning) is by an artist named Blue, and while Blue’s my boy, I don’t think he is the winner here. I will report later after I consult with my kids. There’s something so right about hearing a Frank Sinatra song from time to time, and I’d actually say the same about Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as well.

My Secret Icehouse Shame

Busy day today–well, as busy as a day where I’m not working can be. (I was hoping that now that Easter has come and gone, the job offers would come pouring in, but alas no. Perhaps HR departments are filled with Greek Orthodox types, and I need to wait until next week.) In addition to my first Red Sox victory walk and gym time, I went to our local mall and saw American Reunion. I liked (but didn’t love) the film–I think it was a little too busy as they had to give everyone (Jim and Michelle, Kevin and Vicky, Oz and Heather, Finch, Stifler, Jim’s Dad) their own story arc, so there were too many threads to be resolved, occasionally at the expense of comedy. But it did make me laugh, at I still enjoy the characters.

Now we’re getting closer and closer to Friday, and my daughter’s departure to Europe. She’s getting so excited, and so am I (with a dash of nervousness thrown in).

April 10, 2012

1st 2-mile walk to commemorate a Red Sox victory in 2012:

  • Anybody’s War–Icehouse
  • Anyone Else But You–Michael Cera & Ellen Page
  • Anyone Else But You–The Moldy Peaches
  • Anyone’s Ghost–The National
  • Anything But Ordinary–Avril Lavigne
  • Anything For Your Love–Eric Clapton
  • Anything Goes–Guns N’ Roses
  • Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do–Glee Cast
  • Anytime You Need a Friend–The Beu Sisters
  • Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere–The Who
  • Anywhere But Here–Rise Against
  • Anywhere’s Better Than Here–The Replacements
  • Apache Rose  Peacock–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Apartment Song–Tom Petty

Icehouse is my primary guilty pleasure. I love Man of Colors, and listen to the album in its entirety at least once a month, but it’s not something I admit to publicly (at least until this blog. Now my half-dozens of readers know, and it is sure to spread like mildfire through the internets). Two versions of the same song from the Juno soundtrack follow, with actors Michael Cera and Ellen Page acquitting themselves nicely, although musically, The Moldy Peaches are not the highest bar one needs to clear. DOn’t get me wrong–it is a fun song (both versions).

I then got a National song from High Violet, before another guilty pleasure showed up. I think Let Go by Avril Lavigne was the first CD my oldest daughter ever owned, and it turns out that it’s a great album, and I enjoy listening to every song on it. So Icehouse has a little company today. Eric Clapton and Guns ‘N Roses helped me reclaim my man card before songs from Glee (a musical theater mashup, no less!) and a Disney collection threw things in doubt once again. To make matters worse, it was about at this time in my walk that it started to rain.

Luckily, I would get a tremendous 5-song run to finish my two-mile trek. I started with a classic Who hit, and then got Rise Against (one of the better bands of the past few years, in my opinion), The Replacements, RHCP, and a Tom Petty track from Full Moon Fever. Also nice was the fact that the rain tapered off during this run and allowed me to enjoy the end of my walk.

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

  • Apartment Story–The National
  • Apeman [live]–The Kinks
  • The Apologist–R.E.M.
  • Apologize–Timbaland featuring OneRepublic
  • Apple Tree–Wolfmother
  • The Approaching Curve–Rise Against
  • April After All–Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello
  • April After All–Ron Sexsmith
  • April Come She Will [live]–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Aqualung–Jethro Tull
  • Aranjuez (Mon Amour)–Herb Albert
  • Arbor Day–10,000 Maniacs
  • Arc–Pearl Jam
  • Architects–Rise Against
  • Architects & Engineers–Guster
  • Are We Ourselves? [Live]–The Fixx
  • Are We The Waiting–Green Day
  • Are You A Man or a Muppet?–Dialogue from the Muppets
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl–JET

I always know what is going to start my next run of music when I shut down my iPod at the end of an exercise period. And when I know I’m getting a song like a National song from Boxer, it gets me really excited for my next gym time. I believe “Apartment Story” was the first time I heard the National and it eventually inspired me to get the whole album, a decision I continue to be happy with to this day. I then got “Apeman” a great classic Kinks song, and an R.E.M. offering, making me think my 5-song lucky streak to end my walk was now at eight. It went to nine with a Timbaland song from the Shock Value album (sue me, I like Timbaland). Wolfmother is a band I think my son is into more than me, and I didn’t know this song very well, so I felt the streak ended before it hit double digits.

I did get another great rock anthem with the second of the three different Rise Against songs I heard today, and then the mood and tempo changed dramatically with first a cover of Ron Sexsmith’s “April After All” by Anne Sofie van Otter and Elvis Costello and then Sexsmith’s original (How cool would it be to become a musician because of the influence of some great artist, only to have that artist eventually cover one of your songs. That would have to be the peak, bigger than any award, right?)

The best live album of all time is still Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park, and I got a track from that. Then things really got eclectic, with Jethro Tull’s biggest hit (and remember the words of Owen Wilson from Armageddon–Tull is a group, not a man), followed by some instrumental magic from Herb Albert, a wonderful track from the 10,000 Maniacs album The Wishing Chair, and some kickass rock from Pearl Jam. I then got one of the hits from last year’s Rise Against (and if you haven’t heard Architects, I suggest you do) and a catchy pop number from Guster.

My 80s needs were attended to today by the Fixx, and Green Day is always a welcome artist on a workout list. The dialogue from The Muppets is a little misleading, as it is just Amy Adams asking Gary to decide if he’s a man or a muppet, and not the Oscar-winning song, which I won’t get until I get to the “M” section, or to be more exact, some time in 2013. JET was a band that the first Rock Band video game allowed me to enjoy, and led me to purchasing the single. No guilty pleasure there, but then again Icehouse, Avril, and Timbaland is probably more than enough for one day, even a double-up day like today.

 

Am I a bad parent?

So, for the seventh straight day, I went to the gym, listened to my list in alphabetical order while working out, and came here to write the results.

While that is good “character witness” material, it is irrelevant to the question at hand.

The reason I ask is that I just dropped my 17-year-old daughter off at our local mall in order for her to see a midnight (actually 12:15) showing of The Hunger Games. Now, she and I have an agreement that the only way midnight premieres can happen is if she still attends school the next day, and she’s always been good about getting up with only three or so hours of sleep and getting her student on. But I know many of her friends have parents who (completely understandably) balk at the idea of their children going to midnight movies, so I do wonder if I’m being a bit too permissive. I guess I can take comfort in something a friend told me once when we discussed this very topic–in the long run, it’s nights like these that she’s going to remember. I just hope they’re not nights she’s remembering at a dead-end job because she failed a college final because she overslept having gone to see Spiderman 7.

March 22, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical and leg weight-work at the gym

  • Al Bowlly’s in Heaven (live)–Richard Thompson
  • Alabama Getaway–Grateful Dead
  • Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)–The Doors
  • Albert’s Shuffle–Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Alcohol–Barenaked Ladies
  • Alejandro–Lady Gaga
  • Alerion–Asking Alexandria
  • Alex Chilton–The Replacements
  • Ali Ali Ackbar–The Spent Poets
  • Alibi–Elvis Costello
  • Alice–Avril Lavigne
  • Alienation’s for the Rich–They Might Be Giants
  • Alison–Elvis Costello
  • Alison–Elvis Costello
  • Alison–Elvis Costello

“Al Bowlly” is a live version of the song that closed yesterday’s list, and this version came from a 4-disc Richard Thompson box set that I got my wife for her birthday last year. That is a family that just about exposed all their familial laundry in musical format over the years in a variety of combinations–Richard solo, Richard and wife Linda, Linda solo, Richard and Danny. You know when Linda is singing lines like “Better to be single than be a married wife” that that relationship did not end well. But at least we all got great art out of it, right?

The Grateful Dead is a band I’m only starting to appreciate now in my older years. I was a big believer of the old chestnut “I’ll be grateful when they’re dead” back in the day, but now I enjoy some of their work–not enough to pay hundreds of bucks for all those bootleg concert releases though. One step at a time. Meanwhile, the Doors are my musical White Castle. Every six to eighteen months a get a craving for them, gouge myself on them for a day or so, and then do not want to have anything to do with them for some time.

The Barenaked Ladies album Stunt is the anti-Crash Test Dummies album that I discussed the other day (interesting because both are Canadian bands, although I don’t see any reason to hold that against them). I bought Stunt on the strength of the first song, “One Week,” but it’s now a favorite album, and frankly I enjoy about half a dozen of the tracks more than “One Week,” and that is not intended as a slight against that song.

The other nice thing about “Alcohol” is that is started a great run of songs that really pumped me up as I pushed through my cardio. My youngest daughter is the big Lady Gaga fan, but I will admit that I enjoy her work, particularly “Alejandro.” The Asking Alexandria song started off great–the opening instrumental bit was inspiring. The closing of the song, when it became scream rock, not so much. And who doesn’t love “Alex Chilton” by the Replacements? It certainly got me to increase my pace on the elliptical.

I think a friend gave me the Spent Poets CD, and I don’t listen to it often, but I did enjoy “Ali Ali Ackbar” more than I remembered, so it may be an add to my personal playlist. Then we hit Elvis Costello, and just so you don’t think it’s a misprint on my part–we do have three versions of “Alison,” two from the deluxe edition of My Aim is True and one from a greatest hits collection I purchased before I had any idea that I’d be marrying someone that would bring every conceivable Elvis CD into the marriage. There’s even a fourth version of “Alison,” a soundcheck version also from My Aim is True, that will lead off my next exercise list.

Seeing that my oldest daughter is named Alice and is the big Avril Lavigne fan in the family, I thought it was super nice of Avril to do a song named after her, particularly when the other musical use of her name, in the band Alice in Chains, really irritates my daughter. “Alienation’s for the Rich” is from They Might Be Giants debut album, one I’ve owned on record, tape, individual CD, and the two-disc Then collection, which features their first two albums and a number of rare cuts.