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.



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

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

May 26, 2012

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

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

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

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

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



The “Bad” luck of the Spent Poets and finding the elusive musical triples

I don’t know what makes me happier–the fact that I was so disappointed with only hitting the gym for 1.27 miles yesterday, or that I was so pumped to get back today and push myself for three-and-a-half miles today. I may have to go off the board and pick the fact that my oldest daughter is coming home from Europe tomorrow, which has the twin value of getting to see her and the end of April vacation for the kids. Overall, today was  a bit of a hit and miss sort of day–pretty happy to work out and to watch the emotional return of so many Red Sox from 40 years of watching the team during the 100th anniversary ceremony before the game today, but then watching the team drop its fourth straight game really undid a lot of the good will.

April 20, 2012

3.52 miles at the gym plus upper-arm weight work at the gym

  • Backyard–Natasha Bedingfield
  • Bad–Michael Jackson
  • Bad–U2
  • Bad Apples–Guns ‘N Roses
  • Bad Bad World–Guster
  • Bad Boy–The Beatles
  • Bad Boy–Cascada
  • Bad Boy–Miami Sound Machine
  • Bad Boy [Live]–Cowboy Junkies
  • Bad Boy (Razor Ramon)–WWE
  • A Bad Case of Melancholy–The Spent Poets
  • Bad Company–Bad Company
  • Bad Day–Daniel Powter
  • Bad Girls–M.I.A.
  • Bad Is Bad–Huey Lewis & The News
  • Bad Kids–Lady Gaga
  • Bad Love–Eric Clapton

Natasha Bedingfield’s CD belongs to my oldest daughter, and while I don’t mind her songs when they come on, I don’t actively seek them out. (For a food analogy, her songs are like biscotti, an enjoyable snack, but if I get to choose, I’ll always pick something else.)  Obviously when it comes to picking the more memorable “Bad”, Michael Jackson is going to be the choice, but thanks to Weird Al, I enjoy the U2 version more, as I cannot hear “Bad” without thinking of Yankovic’s parody “Fat”. The funny thing is that I don’t have this issue with most Weird Al parody songs; I can usually enjoy each version separately, but “Bad”/”Fat” seems to be the exception. For the second time in three days, I got a track from the first Use Your Illusion Guns N’ Roses CD, a group that, like AC/DC, is great for pumping you up for a workout. Plus, as an added bonus, it makes for an awesome contrast when infectious pop like Guster follows. (If you haven’t given Guster a chance, please give Easy Wonderful a listen–it’s a tremendous album from beginning to end.)

I then get five songs named “Bad Boy”, although two are the same, with the Cowboy Junkies a live cover of the Beatles song that is also a cover of a Larry Williams song. The Cascada song is purely an act for my daughters–I knew nothing about them until I just looked them up to discover they’re a German pop act. I can’t pass the blame on the Miami Sound Machine–that’s a CD I purchased and continue to listen to from time to time. The last “Bad Boys” is a WWE instrumental theme song for Razor Ramon. I have little to nothing to add about the Spent Poets, whose CD I received from a friend while I was in college. Sometimes I look up the acts and songs in these lists on the web and wikipedia for inspiration. I was drawing a blank on the Spent Poets and when I found that they don’t even have a Wikipedia entry, I knew I’d be floundering here. It does make me feel sorry for them. Perhaps we should have a charity drive for them.

At my first job, I had a co-worker who was obsessed with a specific sort of musical triples, namely when a band released a song from an album that all had the same name (his example was always “Living in a Box” by Living in a Box from the album Living in a Box. I tried to get They Might Be Giants included, but while the band’s first album was named They Might Be Giants, the single with that name was on their third album Flood.  On today’s list I got to hear another example of that triple, as Bad Company’s song “Bad Company” was on their self-titled first album, although in the interest of full disclosure, I own it courtesy of their greatest hits CD, 10 From 6. 

As a struggling artist looking to break though, there must be nothing like having one of your songs picked to play weekly on one of the biggest TV shows. However, I wonder if having “Bad Day” constantly play as contestants were booted from American Idol ended up getting fans sick of the song. (The funny thing is that is the only season of Idol that I watched–my kids wanted to watch an early-season episode while we were in a motel room on a road trip and we ended up watching it weekly. We never really got into any subsequent seasons.)

There’s two upcoming CDs that I am specifically looking forward to getting. The first, by the Silversun Pickups, has a specific release day (May 8th–just days after The Avengers hits theaters, so I’m hoping it’s a week of meeting high expectations), while the second, the fourth album from M.I.A., does not–just Summer 2012. Both Kala and Maya continue to get heavy play from me (“XXXO” is  my primary ringtone), and I’m really enjoying “Bad Girls”, so the excitement for that album is at its peak.

Three last songs took me in different directions, starting with a trip back to the 80’s for Huey Lewis and the News, before I was rushed forward three decades for a Lady Gaga song from her most recent album. I got to close today’s musical book with the guitar god Eric Clapton.