Mission Entirely Possible (part 2 of 10)

What better way to spend the weekend (or the weekend time between going for exercise walks and getting your car stuck in mud) than to follow up the last post with the second group of songs from my 100 favorites of all time playlist? So on to the second batch of songs!

What? You actually care about how I got my car stuck in the mud? It is a treacherous tale that involves high-speed chases, attempts on my life, homemade explosives, stolen government defense plans, illicit love affairs, and a wisecracking robot sidekick. Unfortunately, if I shared the details with you dear reader, I would be putting your life in danger–they will stop at nothing to silence anyone that knows the truth. So instead, I will share the cover story. I was heading to our local branch library to return a book (Stephen King’s The Dark Half), CDs by the Gin Blossoms and Pistol Annies, and the movie Furious 7. Unfortunately, the library had some sort of fair going on in the parking lot, so parking was limited. However, a number of cars were parked in the grass in front of the library, so I parked there and ran in with my returns. (My wife was with me, but she stayed in the car. She had also suggested that I pull up to the front, drop her off with the returns, and circle around, eliminating the need to park. I nixed this solution as I wanted to go in and make the dead drop see if I wanted to check anything else out.) When I returned and tried to leave, the wheels started spinning–we were stuck. My wife got behind the wheel while I pushed. In a terrific visual bit of luck , the wheel threw some mud up and over my legs, which were now caked with wet dirt (and not the blood of the countless ninjas and assassins trying to steal the plans). I was able to move the car a bit, but luckily some young men helped us push and get the car back on firm asphalt. I know this story makes me look like an idiot, but if that is the price I have to pay for our nation’s security, so be it.

  • For What It’s Worth–Buffalo Springfield
  • Smoke–Ben Folds Five
  • Against All Odds–Phil Collins
  • Secret Garden–Tom Cochrane and Damhnait Doyle
  • Gypsy–Suzanne Vega
  • Shadow of the Day–Linkin Park
  • Dirty Work–Steely Dan
  • How Deep Is Your Love?–The Bee Gees
  • Africa–Toto
  • Out of Touch–Hall & Oates

Is there a Vietnam movie out there that doesn’t feature “For What It’s Worth” on its soundtrack? Until today, I always assumed this song was a protest number about the war. However, according to the never-wrong folks at Wikipedia. the song is about the Sunset Strip Riots (also known as the “Hippie Riots” Read Wikipedia if you don’t believe me!). Really saps a lot of power from the song, right? I did not know this information when I put it on my top 100, but I don’t think it’s enough to bump it off, unless Beyonce writes an amazing tune about Jay-Z actually cheating on her with Rachel Ray.

Before the advent of iTunes/steaming music services, it was fun to occasionally make a “roll the dice” album purchase. You know, you hear one song from an artist you don’t know and decide to buy the whole album because of it. I think the first time I did that was after hearing “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits and deciding to grab Brothers in Arms. That clearly worked out great, and it got me to work backward on their musical catalog. In fact, an old song from the band will be appearing later on this list. One of the other great leaps for me was buying Whatever and Ever Amen by Ben Folds Five based on the strength of “Brick” (now there’s a song to listen to anytime you want to feel good!). Again, I loved the album and “Smoke” is my favorite track from it.

Like “Don’t Answer Me” from the last list, “Against All Odds” might be another ashamed to admit favorite. It was also one of two Phil Collins soundtrack hits from the 80’s I am ashamed to admit liking. The other “Separate Lives” (a duet with Marilyn Martin) is not even part of my music collection these days–I had the 45 but have not added the song in the digital era. If I was going to add a Phil Collins duet to my collection, it would be “Easy Lover” with Phillip Bailey from Earth, Wind, and Fire, a song that would probably make my Top 200. The interesting thing about these two soundtrack hits is that while I love the songs, I have not seen either movie (Against All Odds and White Knights). Ironically, I haven’t seen three other movies that Collins contributed soundtrack songs to either–Tarzan, Brother Bear, or Buster. The first two are odd misses as my kids were right in that Disney animation sweet spot when they were first released, while the last miss makes complete sense.

I assume that almost anyone who creates this list will have a few songs that most people would say “who or what is that” when they see it listed. The “Secret Garden” song is probably that. It is a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song featured in Jerry Maguire. Now I love the Boss, but I am telling you this duet version from Light of Day, a double album of Bruce Springsteen covers, is an incredible improvement over the original. The male/female duet makes the lyrics seem more poignant and sadder. Another one people might not know is “Gypsy” by Suzanne Vega, the first of two songs by her on my list. This one is on her Solitude Standing album, which also has her most famous hit, “Luka.” That is her only top 80 hit in the United States, which I find crazy. She has a rich selection of songs, but none are as beautiful as “Gypsy,” with the chorus

Oh, hold me like a baby
That will not fall asleep
Curl me up inside you
And let me hear you through the heat

(I know I haven’t quoted lyrics until now, but I’d like to make a secondary mission of this particular blog entry to get people to sample more Suzanne Vega.)

My list is skewed to older songs, but I do have a few post-2000 entries, including “Shadow of the Day” by Linkin Park. But my list jumps back four decades after it with a pair of 70’s efforts that feature in films too. Obviously “Dirty Work” was originally just an album cut from Steely Dan’s debut album Can’t Buy a Thrill. But after seeing it in the opening credits of American Hustle, I added it to my digital music collection and listened to it enough to add it to my top 100. The other 70’s song, “How Deep Is Your Love?” probably gets a little lost in the anti-disco fever that erupted at the end of the decade. Actually, I am not sure where we stand these days–is disco awful, cool, retro, kitsch–where do we stand? Regardless of that answer, “How Deep Is Your Love?” is a generational ballad that transcends the genre anyway.

It will almost always come back to the 80’s for me, and the last two songs on this list are square in that wheelhouse. I started listening to top 40 music regularly in 1983, so I missed the peak of the album Toto IV by a year. (Side question–who’s four was better? Toto IV with “Rosanna” and “Africa” or Foreigner 4 with “Urgent”, “Waiting for a Girl Like You”, and “Juke Box Hero? Do you give bonus points to Toto for its fancy use of Roman numerals? Or do you vote for Chicago IV? That last on is a trick–Chicago’s fourth album, between Chicago III and Chicago V, is titled Chicago at Carnegie Hall. So they are out of the running!) Anyway, I didn’t need to hear it on the radio daily to appreciate the joy of the song “Africa” and it has been a list candidate for decades. My last song is the only top 100 entry from one of my favorite bands, Hall & Oates. They were, along with Men at Work, my first favorite artists. I think if I made a top 500 list, they’d have a dozen songs, but “Out of Touch” has always been my favorite from the group.

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.

Listening to a musical 45 (songs, not a song)

Well, I told you in my last column that I had been walking, and that I’d just fallen behind in the blogging side of the equation. As I went to the gym on Saturday, I did a count of the songs that I’d listened to over the past week, and was shocked that it was 45, representing 8 miles of walking (which still puts me two Red Sox victories behind the pace, but that will be taken care of by midweek. So I could have engineered 4 mini-posts or one mega-post.  As you will see from the following list, I went big, partially due to the cool symbolism of the number 45.

June 5-8, 2012

8+ miles to commemorate Red Sox victories #24-#27 of the 2012 season

  • Breathe–Taylor Swift
  • Breathe–U2
  • Breathe [2AM]–Anna Nalick
  • Breathe Me–Sia
  • Breathing–Yellowcard
  • Breed–Nirvana
  • Breed [live]–Nirvana
  • Brian Wilson [live]–Barenaked Ladies
  • Brian Wilson–Barenaked Ladies
  • Brian Wilson [live]–Barenaked Ladies
  • Brick–Ben Folds Five
  • Brick By Boring Brick–Paramore
  • Brick By Brick–Train
  • Bricks–Rise Against
  • The Bride–Dirty Projectors
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water [live]–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Bright As Yellow–The Innocence Mission
  • Bright Red–Laurie Anderson
  • Brighter–Paramore
  • Brilliant Disguise–Bruce Springsteen
  • Brilliant Disguise–Elvis Costello
  • Brilliant Mistake–Elvis Costello
  • Brilliant Mistake–Elvis Costello
  • Bring It (Snakes on a Plane)–Cobra Starship
  • Bring It On Home–Led Zeppelin
  • Bring In On Home To Me–Sam Cooke
  • Bring Me To Life–Evanescence
  • Bring On The Dancing Horses–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Bring On The Dancing Horses–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Bring On The Night–The Police
  • Bring Tha Noise–Public Enemy
  • Bring The Noise–Public Enemy
  • The Broad Majestic Shannon–The Pogues
  • Broadway–Old 97’s
  • Broke In Two–They Might Be Giants
  • Broken–Elvis Costello
  • Broken [home demo]–Elvis Costello
  • Broken Bicycles/Junk–Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello
  • Broken Glass-Cyndi Lauper
  • Broken Man–Boys Like Girls
  • Broken Mirrors–Rise Against
  • The Brokenhearted–Bruce Springsteen
  • Brompton Cocktail–Avenged Sevenfold

The massive catch-up entry starts with pop country star Taylor Swift. I find it a bit funny that Swift is categorized as country, when to me she’s pure pop, just with a southern accent. My second “Breathe” song comes from U2’s most recent album release, No Line On The Horizon. There’s supposed to be a new U2 album, the follow-up to No Line, coming out this year, and with Danger Mouse the producer, I’m very excited to hear it. The Anna Nalick song is one I don’t really know, but that’s the consequences of not listening to current pop radio. For fans of the HBO series Six Feet Under, the song “Breathe Me” played during the series finale of Claire driving to New York intercut with the fates of each major character. I always thought it was one of the better and more emotional sequences to ever end a show, and it convinced me to buy the song.

Yellowcard apparently falls into a genre known as pop punk, and it’s a style I’m getting to know well, as it has become a favorite of my son. Other than the super obvious first choice, “Breed” may be my favorite song from Nevermind, so I certainly enjoyed hearing both the studio and live versions of the track. I loved when 2K sports used the song as part of their ad campaign for their baseball video game–any time a song like that is getting played for the general public is a great thing.

Thanks to our extensive collection of Barenaked Ladies albums, I got to hear “Brian Wilson” three times. It’s one of the rare songs that the live version seems to be more famous than the studio cut (as the live version is on the greatest hits collection we own), so I heard the song live, studio, live. I was looking up the discography of BNL when writing this entry and I was surprised to learn that they’ve only had one top 10 hit in the US (“One Week”), and only one other top 40 hit. Their music is so good? What is wrong with people?

After hearing “Brian Wilson”, a song about a man dealing with depression, three times, I sure needed a pick-me-up, and boy did Ben Fold’s “Brick” really deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I love “Brick”, particularly for the fact that it deals with a difficult issue in a sensitive manner, but that the song directly led me to purchase Whatever and Ever Amen. And my wife and I absolutely love that album. But it is a real bring down of a song and you need to be in the right mood to listen to it. It also is the only “single brick” song on my list, as the next three songs deal with multiple building blocks. Train is more interested than Paramore in masonry I guess, as they go brick by brick without editorializing that said bricks are “boring”. Meanwhile, Rise Against doesn’t believe in taking things one at a time, so they just go for all the “Bricks” at once. My load of bricks ended with a Dirty Projector’s song “Bride.”

Just as I recently had to hear a classic Simon & Garfunkel song “The Boxer” three times, I got it again, this time with three copies of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, two studio and then one from the classic Central Park show. I once read years ago that Paul Simon originally wrote it as a two-verse song, and that the third verse, the “Sail on, Silvergirl” verse, was added later. That final verse is nowhere near as strong as the first two entries, and while it would have been a shorter song, Simon maybe should have stuck with his original version.

A pair of primary colors follow in their “bright” form. First, I got yellow from the Empire Records soundtrack in the form of “Bright As Yellow” by the Innocence Mission, a fun alternative song from an awesome soundtrack. I tend to overlook some of the other tracks on the album because of my undying love of “Free” and “‘Til I Hear It From You” but everything is on the album is worth listening to over and over again. The red entry is part of a bizarre number from Laurie Anderson, “Bright Red”. Listening to her music leaves me with a “what the hell did I just hear?” feeling, and this song was no exception. Just as Paramore joined the brick brigade, they also wanted in on bright, with their song “Brighter”. It’s too bad they couldn’t add the color blue to their title, which would have given me all three primary colors. While they don’t have a color in their title, they do try to top the other songs by going superlative, and “brighter” than “bright”.

It’s not that I don’t love Elvis Costello, I just don’t feel as passionately about his work as my wife. I have, however, noticed that if he’s singing a “Brilliant…” song, I am definitely on board. The first of these is his cover of “Brilliant Disguise” by Bruce Spingsteen, a song that came off the first Bruce CD I ever purchased, Tunnel of Love. I always liked the Boss’s version of the song, but I actually enjoy Elvis’s cover even more. He makes the song more mournful than the original. I also really like the Elvis original “Brilliant Mistake”, which I got to hear two times. It does remind me of a funny story. When the computer book company I worked for in the 90’s was originally purchased by Pearson, they had a consultant come in to discuss future direction. As I sat with her and told her of our publication plans, she kept saying “brilliant”. I thought she was really impressed by what I was saying–after all, “brilliant” is such a superlative term. I later found out she was saying it like I might say “ok” when hearing a long presentation. My ego, after being so pumped up, was popped like a child’s balloon.

After the Elvis section, the list began to zig and zag a bit, starting with a band my kids love, Cobra Starship. That’s probably not fair, to pass them off on my kids, where I enjoy them as well, but if you don’t think they’re cool, I can say “oh, they’re a band for my kids.” The new of Cobra Starship gave way to a couple of classic acts, first the hard rock of Led Zeppelin and then the classic soul of Sam Cooke. Both come from me, and I’ve got to say I tend to listen to the Sam Cooke music more out of the two. Then I got one of my youngest daughter’s favorite acts, Evanescence, contributing their biggest hit ever, “Bring Me To Life”, followed by two copies of the song that introduced me to Echo & The Bunnymen. The first copy came from an album I owned first on cassette and then replaced with CD, the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink. My interest in Echo was always limited to that song and their cover of “People Are Strange” from the Lost Boys soundtrack, but I recently added two of their albums thanks to my local library.

The Police’s “Bring On the Night” came next and this song was one I always associated more with Sting (as he named his live solo album this) than the Police. I love the two versions of the Public Enemy song, both Public Enemy on their own and with Anthrax. The pure Public Enemy version talks about “…The Noise” in the title, while the Anthrax collaboration is “Bring Tha Noise” so I have to wonder about the bad grammatical influence Anthrax had on Chuck D and his mates. It’s odd hearing “The Broad Majestic Shannon” as it was always a special song my wife sang to our youngest daughter at bedtime when she was young, so I identify the song more with her than the official version. Speaking of my youngest daughter, she’s such a big fan of musical theater that I need to take her to Broadway some day to see a show, but if that doesn’t work out, I can always play the Old 97’s song for her. I don’t think she’d find it to be remotely the same, however.

I believe we have more They Might Be Giants songs than any other musical act (if not, they are definitely in the top 2-3), but it feels like awhile since they’ve made an appearance on this list. “Broke in Two” comes from The Spine, an album that gets lost in the shuffle for me, as it’s not as beloved as the group’s early work, different like the children’s albums, or in the rotation like the last two albums. It’s unfortunate and it calls for an entire album listen sooner than later. After raving earlier about Elvis Costello’s “Brilliant…” songs, I get three more by him (well two by him and one where he’s like the supporting actor for an Annie Sofie von Otter. Of the three, Annie’s song is the one I enjoyed the most. I really enjoyed the Cyndi Lauper song “Broken Glass”, which was one I really hadn’t heard because I’ve given her third album, Hat Full of Stars, short shrift (well, technically, it’s her fourth album, but I got a three pack of Lauper CDs from work, and Lauper’s third album, A Night To Remember, was not included in the pack–so that album is really getting the short shrift from me.

Music my wife and children brought into our household collection closed the list, with the first selection coming from Boys Like Girls, an act primarily liked by my girls. Now all of my kids love Rise Against, and it’s a band my wife and I both enjoy listening to know, so that was an excellent reverse osmosis musical effect. (I think the musical education has generally traveled in  the opposite direction with the two of us exposing our kids to different styles of music.)  While I spoke earlier of buying Bruce Springsteen albums, make no mistake–my wife is the truer and deeper fan of the boss. I did purchase The Promise, the recent album that produced “The Brokenhearted”, but it was a Christmas present for her. After such a long and diverse collection of music, it is always nice to kick back and relax with a cocktail, although the Avenged Sevenfold song is many things, relaxing is probably not the best term to describe it.

 

I still like Hootie, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

It’s a little hard to write at this point with the slight distraction of a sudden-death overtime Game 7 featuring my hockey team. (Update–Damn…I guess I can write now.)

April 25, 2012

2-mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victoy #6 of the 2012 season

  • The Battle for Straight Time–A.C. Newman
  • The Battle March Medley–The Pogues
  • The Battle Of Evermore–Led Zeppelin
  • Battle of Evermore–The Lovemongers
  • Battle of Who Could Care Less–Ben Folds Five
  • Battleship Chains–Hindu Love Gods
  • BB Good–Jonas Brothers
  • Be Good to Yourself–Journey
  • Be My Baby–The Ronettes
  • Be My Escape–Relient K
  • Be My Escape–Relient K
  • Be My Yoko Ono–Barenaked Ladies
  • Be My Yoko Ono–Barenaked Ladies
  • Be Prepared–Lion King (movie version)

I “discovered” A.C. Newman thanks to the television show, The OC, when his “On the Table” song was included on the fourth soundtrack from the show. However, I then learned that a family friend had already given my wife Newman’s The Slow Wonder album as a gift. So I guess it’s hard to say I discovered him when his music was already in my collection–I just didn’t know it. The Pogues song is just a short instrumental interlude, which was great to hear some kickin’ Irish music and even greater that I didn’t have to hear depressing Shane McGowan lyrics.

Heard both the original Zeppelin and Lovemonger cover of “The Battle of Evermore”, a song that seems like should be playing during D&D marathons sessions. My final “Battle…” song is my favorite, the Ben Folds Five song from Whatever and Ever Amen, an album I initially purchased for “Brick” but found myself liking more and more with each listen. My wife rarely purchases iTunes singles, but “Battleship Chains” from the Warren Zevon-fronted Hindu Love Gods (a cover of a Georgia Satellites song) is one of the few, the proud, the last “Ba..” song on my list.

I don’t have a lot to contribute about the Jonas Brothers song that came next, but I did enjoy torturing my wife (who was walking with me at the time) with the Journey song that followed–as I’ve mentioned, she’s a bit of a musical snob, and Journey seems to be the band that gets under her skin most, although Duran Duran, Asia, and REO Speedwagon are also contenders for that crown. She was much happier to hear the classic pop song “Be My Baby” that followed, before we heard two copies of a Relient K song. Like the Jonas Brothers earlier, Relient K is an act my oldest daughter brought to out musical melting pot, and of the two, I prefer Relient K.

A favorite by Barenaked Ladies, “Be My Yoko Ono” got two plays (original album and greatest hits collection), which meant I had to hear their version of Yoko’s shriek singing twice, a painful process. Speaking of painful, I closed my walk with a Disney song from the film The Lion King. I have nothing against the movie (it’s great) or the music (an excellent soundtrack), I just an not sure how we came to own this song and would prefer not to exercise to it.
1.30 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Be Prepared–Lion King (Broadway version)
  • Be Somebody–Kings of Leon
  • Be The One–Hootie & The Blowfish
  • Be True to Your School–Beach Boys
  • Be With You–The Bangles
  • Be-Bop-a-Lula [Live]–Paul McCartney
  • Beantown–John Cena  Tha Trademark

Seeing that I can’t explain why I own the first, film version,of “Be Prepared”, I think it’s safe to say that I have no idea why I own the Broadway version of the number. although I think one of my kids may have borrowed the CD from our library. The Kings of Leon song confused me at first as I thought I was going to hear their follow-up hit to “Sex on Fire” but that is “Use Somebody”, not “Be Somebody”, although if you ask me, the latter is the better advice if not song.

Did the world turn on a band faster than the backlash that Hootie & The Blowfish got? Everyone loved Cracked Rear View, and then everyone hated Cracked Rear View. Listening to it and the followup album, Fairweather Johnson, which produced “Be The One”, even today would lead me to argue that they’re good albums and you don’t have to be ashamed if you like them…come on and say it “I’m a Hootie fan and damn proud!” If you’re not going to be true to Hootie, at least be true to your school as the Beach Boys say. It leads to an interesting conundrum: to which school are you most true? Is it your college or your high school? I can see arguments for both, as college sets your career and represents your first true independence, but high school also has key developmental milestones as well.

Speaking of picking high school or college, the Bangles are a group that straddled both time frames for me. Their more known hits, “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” came while I was in high school, but the album of theirs that I love and still listen to through today, Everything, came out while I was in college. I also purchased the Paul McCartney Unplugged album while in college. It’s great hearing Paul cover early Rock ‘n Roll songs like “Be-Bop-a-Lula”. It’s also great hearing John Cena rap about his love of all things Boston, including the Red Sox (although that feels a little hollow now, as Cena has proclaimed himself a Tampa Bay Rays fan now–I actually had an argument with him about it at SummerSlam a couple years ago).

My gym time got cut short here as my son needed to be picked up from work 45 minutes earlier than he thought. At least I got home in team to see the end of the Bruins game–crap!