Fixing the Presidential Debates with a little help from Community

So we’re going to have a bit of a temporal shift today. I’d like to talk about my time at the gym last night (Wednesday, October 3rd) even though the songs being discussed are from earlier in September. I just feel it would have a bit more impact to be more timely in my openings. Wednesday night I was working out at the gym from 9:30 to 10:30, and while I was listening to my music, I was reading the debates on the overhead TV screens. It felt like my childhood a bit, as the televisions at my end of the gym are set to ABC, NBC, and CBS, the three networks from the first 15 years of my life (this always comes as a complete surprise to my children when I tell them there was a time when Fox was not a network–well, surprise or boredom; I can’t always read their expressions when I’m telling them stories about the olden days). So all three networks were showing the debate, and while I had no sound, I was able to follow the close captioning.

While I agree with the general consensus that Romney outperformed Obama, my larger question is “Who Cares?” For years, debates have been worthless, a test of who can memorize pithy platitudes about why their position is beneficial to the American people and their opponent is looking to destroy our country. It’s not a true debate because there’s no true back-and-forth, no discussion of key issues/topics, in fact, I’d argue that neither side truly listens to what his opponent even says–each is too busy feeding red meat to his party base.

So how to fix? You can’t just eliminate the debates, but maybe we could radically restructure them. Then I thought about Community. Last season they had an episode where two students were each trying to form a school Model UN club, and to settle which group would get the school’s charter, a “Model UN off” was held. A moderator would pick random crisis topics out of a fishbowl and each group had to work out how to solve the proposed problem. (Trust me, it was very funny.) Comedy aside, wouldn’t this make a better format for a debate. Each candidate, and perhaps 3-5 advisors on stage with them, would have scenarios that might happen over the next four years tossed their way that they then have to suggest how they would solve. Wouldn’t that better inform us of the Presidential mettle of each man? Now, the moderator would probably be some venerable journalist, but I would prefer they use Erik Charles Nielsen from that episode of Community, just to re-create his awesomely shrill cries of “Crisis Alert!” before announcing each topic–“Crisis Alert! Russia declares war on Germany!” or “Crisis Alert! A large-scale hurricane devastates Houston, Texas”. It’d be better than what we’ve got right?

Thursday, September, 6, 2012

3.15 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Die, All Right!–The Hives
  • Diesel Blues (Diesel)–WWE
  • Different Finger–Elvis Costello
  • The Difficult Kind–Sheryl Crow
  • Dig A Little Deeper–Peter Bjorn & John
  • Dig A Pony–The Beatles
  • Dig A Pony–The Beatles
  • Dig For Fire–The Pixies
  • Dig It–The Beatles
  • Dig My Grave–They Might Be Giants
  • Digging in the Dirt [Live]–Peter Gabriel
  • Dignity–Bob Dylan
  • Dime–CAKE
  • Dime Mi Amor–Los Lonely Boys

While there are some out there, it’s not often you get a song with a really mean title, but I think the Hives telling me to “Die, All Right!” certainly qualifies. I am willing to forgive the brusque nature of the title because it is a kick-ass song, like just about every offering from the group. It’s a return of a pair of music-list standards next, starting with another WWE theme, this one for the Kevin Nash persona Diesel and then Elvis Costello. I can make a mental tie from Costello to the next artist on the list, Sheryl Crow, as I believe the two performed at a online concert before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis. I remember watching it on my laptop so that my wife could see her favorite, Costello, do his thing.

I enjoyed the next seven songs, starting with my favorite track from Peter Bjorn & John’s most recent album (which if you think you’ve never heard of the band but you watch 2 Broke Girls, well, then you have heard the band, as the opening theme is performed by them. Thanks to Let It Be and Let It Be Naked, I got three Beatles songs about digging, with a Pixies number snuck in there as well.  Things got even better with a fun They Might Be Giants song, and then a live track from Peter Gabriel. Speaking of Peter Gabriel live, he’s apparently coming to Connecticut for a concert later this year. I’m getting to an age where I think going to a concert seems like a hot of hassle, but for some reason I’d like to see Gabriel (although finances make it unlikely).

For the last three songs, I get “Dignity” from Bob Dylan, which I find a little ironic seeing that when I saw Dylan perform live a few years back, his voice was so shot that if he had any dignity, he wouldn’t be touring any more. I enjoy CAKE so much, but often forget about this enjoyment, so I forget to listen to their music at times.  The final number in today’s list was a Spanish-language track from Los Lonely Boys.



3-Day Workout Weekend!

I’m not saying that you can jinx yourself, but I should have known better. After my last post where I practically broke my arm patting myself on the back for gym visits on six consecutive days, I casually mentioned that I had to go Thursday in order to make it a solid week. Can you guess what happened? If you chose Dean worked out for a solid hour and felt great about himself afterward, well, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but unfortunately circumstances (a nice way of referring to my laziness) prevented me from getting to the gym. To make up for it, I worked out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. (Couldn’t get to the gym on Monday as it was only open until 1PM due to the holiday and those circumstances–sleeping in–reared their ugly heads again.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

(Before the Friday list, a miss from Wednesday’s list:)

  • The Democratic Circus–The Talking Heads

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Demon’s Eye–Deep Purple
  • Demons–Guster
  • Demons Are Real–Guided by Voices
  • The Denial Twist–The White Stripes
  • Dental Care–Owl City
  • Denver–Willie Nelson
  • Deora Ar Mo Chroi–Enya
  • Depending On You–Tom Petty
  • The Deportees Club–Elvis Costello
  • Derelict–Beck
  • Derezzed–Daft Punk
  • Descent Into Mystery–Danny Elfman
  • Desecrate Through Reverence–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Desecration Smile–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Desire–The Gaslight Anthem
  • Desire–U2

I have to admit that normally, if I realized that I missed a song, I’d probably just ignore it instead of calling attention to my error. However, I decided to mention the song due to its incredible timeliness over the past two weeks. I usually get to the gym at night, and so recent workouts have been accompanied by the Republican and Democratic conventions. I’m obviously listening to music, so I didn’t get to hear the speeches, which was almost perfect conditions for viewing the conventions. The only flaw was the presence of close captioning, so I did have to read the BS on occasion.

Deep Purple has played a musical role in my life longer than most other bands, simply because I remember when I was 7 or 8 that we had a family stereo with an 8-track player and a K-Tel 8-track with “Smoke on the Water” was one of the songs in the selection. Nothing seemed dumber to me than when a song was broken across more than one section of an 8-track, and you had to hear “duh-duh-duh-duh Click-Click!” and then the song would continue. Guster is a band that has seen my interest in them grow from my introduction to them (they opened for Barenaked Ladies at a concert) to the first album of theirs I owned (Goldfly, a Christmas present) through Easy Wonderful. Another gift album track came next as a work friend of my wife and I gave us a copy of Bee Thousand.

I’d like to see a triple bill concert featuring the White Stripes, Owl City, and Willie Nelson just to see the different fanbases interact. That’s always an underrated aspect of attending concerts live–in college I saw Squeeze open for Fleetwood Mac (this was in 1990 or 1991) and while I was a fan of both, it seemed like most had chosen one side and one side only. I’m not entirely sure why I own an Enya album, and I’ll be honest–it doesn’t get a lot of play. After a trio of song regulars (Tom Perry, Elvis Costello, and Beck), it was back-to-back instrumental soundtrack numbers, starting with a Daft Punk song from the Tron reboot and then some Danny Elfman.

Of particular note from the last four songs is my first number from the Gaslight Anthem, who’s album, Handwritten, is a new addition to the music library. So far it’s excellent, and I am sure one of their tracks will make my year-end sampler for sure.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

3.21 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Desolation Row–Bob Dylan
  • Desolation Row–My Chemical Romance
  • Desolation Row [Alternate Take]–Bob Dylan
  • Desperado–Clint Black
  • Desperado–The Eagles
  • Desperados Under The Eaves–Warren Zevon
  • Despertar–Aisha Duo
  • Destination Moon–They Might Be Giants
  • Destiny–Richard Thompson
  • Destroya–My Chemical Romance

It’s not Led Zeppelin-level, but half of my workout was devoted to one song, although it was three different takes on that number. We own two long versions of “Desolation Row”, at 8+ and 11+ minutes, and a more radio-friendly 4-minute version, and as you could probably imagine, the two Dylan takes are the long takes. We also have two different versions of “Desperado”, but as anyone who watched Seinfeld can imagine, that song is more of a punchline than composition to me these days. I don’t think “Witchy Woman” ever really stuck for Elaine.

It’s good that I had excellent Warren Zevon and They Might Be Giants songs sandwiched around “Despertar” as I hadar no idea where that song came from or even who Aisha Duo is. Every time I hear “Destination Moon” I think it has been too long since the last listen–sometimes I wish iTunes had a feature that would allow you to mark certain songs on your larger playlists to increase the probability that they would show up in a shuffle. Richard Thompson make his seemingly daily appearance on my list, followed by a poorly spelled, yet enjoyable, My Chemical Romance number.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Destroyer–The Kinks
  • Destroyer–The Kinks
  • Destoyer [Live]–The Kinks
  • Details in the Fabric–Jason Mraz featuring James Morrison
  • Detroit Rock City–Kiss
  • Detroit Rock City–The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Deuce–Lenny Kravitz
  • Devil’s Arcade–Bruce Springsteen
  • The Devil’s Been Busy–The Traveling Wilburys
  • Devil’s Dance–Metallica
  • Devil’s Haircut–Beck
  • Devil in the Eye–Big Country

Nothing gets you pumped for exercising like the Kinks’ “Destoyer”, so hearing it three times in succession was just fine by me. It does remind me that I need to get some older (60s and early 70s) work by the band, and it’s not the easiest task if you’re lazy like me–none of their earlier albums are on iTunes and it’s not like modern stores carry a deep selection of older albums.   I love when I get a song that “features” a performer I’ve never heard of in my life–that is, assuming that Jason Mraz didn’t do a song with the long-assumed diseased singer of the Doors who is using a formal first name to throw us off the track.

I actually don’t own much Kiss, which is funny as they were the first musical act I ever saw in concert. I was in sixth grade at the time, living at the National Asthma Center in Denver, Colorado. A bunch of us talked the councilors into letting us go. We didn’t know the music that well–it was the makeup, breathing fire, spitting blood, and the rest of the performance art that hooked us. (I do believe the councilors that took us got into a lot of trouble for letting us see the band. For that, I am sorry.) In a rare coincidence, I then got back-to-back Kiss covers from the Kiss My Ass compilation album, and I love them both, particularly the Lenny Kravitz version of “Deuce”.

The Devil continues his musical run thanks to the Boss, the Wilburys, Metallica, and Beck. The last song today (another “Devil” number) comes from the Big Country compilation shared with me by a friend this summer. It’s quite a treat as the only work I had by the band before was their seminal “In A Big Country” (which is still my favorite), but the music in the A to Z sent to me is very different and shows the band’s range.


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.

A son ten years older than the father?

BBoy am I getting behind on this thing–I am going to have to pull some all-nighters to get back on schedule! Well, I’m also going to give a bit of the short shrift to the songs that I heard the week of July 9th–when I get to them I think you’ll completely understand. Meanwhile, I hit the gym to make up for lost missing car time.

Friday, July 7, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cheyenne Anthem–Kansas
  • Chicago Is So Two Years Ago–Fall Out Boy
  • Child In Time–Deep Purple
  • Child Star–Ron Sexsmith
  • Child’s Play–WWE
  • Childhood Memories–Iris DeMent
  • Childhood Remembered–Danny Elfman
  • Children Go Where I Send Thee–Natalie Merchant
  • Children of the Dark–Richard Thompson + Danny Thompson
  • Children Play with Earth–Arrested Development
  • Chimes of Freedom–Bob Dylan
  • Chimes of Freedom [live]–Bob Dylan

Boy isn’t “Anthem” a correct (if a bit pretentious) term when describing a Kansas song? Their songs are so sweeping and over the top–I can only take them a bit at a time and then I’m all set for quite a while (and my wife is just like me, except she can do just fine with no Kansas and then she’d be all set.) Speaking of pretentious, if the song title is long, overinvolved, too clever for its own good, and possibly not actually tied to the song itself, then you’ve probably got yourself a Fall Out Boy song. The funny thing is that I like their music; I just don’t get the titles. My list then swung back to 70s power rock with a Deep Purple track. Back in the 70s, when I wasn’t a big listener of music, I do remember hearing “Smoke on the Water” quite a bit, but that was the extent of my Deep Purple knowledge.

While my Ron Sexsmith knowledge is equally shallow, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard from the two albums a friend gave my wife years ago. “Child’s Play” is one of my least favorite WWE Entrance themes, as I never was the biggest fan of the Eugene character. It almost feels like Iris DeMent and Danny Elfman should combine the next two songs, as “Childhood Memories Remembered” makes a lot of sense, although seeing that Elfman’s piece is from the first Batman movie, and probably refers to Bruce Wayne thinking about the brutal murder of his parents, perhaps DeMent would like to stay as far away from that childhood as possible. Iris is probably a better match for the next artist, Natalie Merchant. (After all, Natalie did cover DeMent’s “Let The Mystery Be”.) Here, Merchant is contributing one of my favorite underrated Christmas songs.

The children’s section wraps up with songs from Richard and Danny Thompson and Arrested Development, both of which (I thought) have an extra touch of irony on the kid’s front. I was prepared to discuss how Danny is the son of Richard Thompson, and it’s nice to see him performing with his father, but actual research taught me that Danny is not related to Richard (and is actually 10 years older!) So thank God for research! The second “Child..” song, “Children Play With Earth” is from the Christian rap group Arrested Development, which is of course a great childhood term. My list closed with two versions of “Chimes of Freedom”, one of which closes the 4-disc Dylan tribute set we’ve been listening to often recently.

Saturday, July 8, 2012

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

  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • Chinese Democracy–Guns ‘N Roses
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)–The Chipmunks
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)–The Chipmunks
  • Chiquitita–ABBA
  • Chiron–All That Remains
  • Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns–Mother Love Bone
  • Chop Me Up–Justin Timberlake Feat. Timberland & Three-6 Mafia
  • Chop Suey!–System of a Down

Well, if you have to hear a song three times in a row when working out, “China Girl” isn’t that bad a candidate to fill the role. As aptly demonstrated in The Wedding Singer (the soundtrack of which produced one of the versions today), it’s a great song to sing along with, but I wouldn’t recommend doing in on an elliptical machine at the gym–people give you the strangest looks. The other interesting note on the three versions of the song is that even though they are all studio cuts, and none are extended mix versions or anything like that, each has a different song length, and while there’s only a 4-second difference between the two compilation versions, the one from Bowie’s greatest hits is 1:12 shorter–I guess he was in a hurry to get to his other classic songs.

Like many Guns ‘N Roses fans, I was so excited when they finally released Chinese Democracy, the title track of which came next. And don’t get me wrong, it is great to have Axl back in my musical life. But I think the band should have a different name, as Axl without Slash doesn’t feel like GnR. But I was pining for more from that album after having to hear the Chipmunk’s signature song twice. I do have two thoughts on this group. First of all, the Chipmunks sound awesome when you’re a kid, but one of the first signs of growing up is when you realize just how grating their songs are. Second, if the Department of Child Services also covered animated talking chipmunks, I think I’d feel obligated to call them to investigate David. He just sounds evil when pushing the boys to pay attention, sing their songs, and sing them RIGHT!

ABBA is definitely a “Greatest Hits only” band (.45 on the Simple Minds Scale), and I wasn’t even aware that “Chiquitita” was one of their biggest international hits–I honestly thought it was a song about a banana. All That Remains is a band my son likes–they’re frankly not for me. The Mother Love Bone song is great and of course two members of the band went on to form Pearl Jam, so I was probably predisposed to like the song. I also enjoyed the two songs that closed the list as Timberlake is always quality music and the System of a Down song is goofy and fun as well.

Celebrating My Musical Moralist

For the most part, I am trying to keep my bonus Red Sox walks exactly that–bonus exercise. So when I go to the gym each day, I don’t want the time I spend doing cardio to double up as the commemorative walks as well. So today I needed to pull double duty and get out and walk and go to the gym. It feels great to do both when I have the time (and right now time is something I have in abundance), but it leads to a large list of songs to discuss…

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

4+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victories #37 and #38 of the 2012 season

  • Cars–Gary Numan
  • Cartwheels–Reindeer Section
  • A Case of You–Joni Mitchell
  • A Case of You–Prince
  • Casey Jones–The Grateful Dead
  • Casey Jones–The Grateful Dead
  • Cassie–Flyleaf
  • Cast No Shadow–Oasis
  • Cat Like Thief–Box Car Racer
  • Cat’s In The Cupboard–Pete Townsend
  • The Catalyst–Linkin Park
  • Catch Hell Blues–The White Stripes
  • Catch My Fall–Billy Idol
  • Catcher in the Rye–Guns N’ Roses
  • Catching On Fire–They Might Be Giants
  • Catfish–Bob Dylan
  • Catholic Pagans–Surfer Blood
  • Caught By The River–The Doves
  • Caught By The River–The Doves
  • ‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel–Cowboy Junkies
  • Cautious Man–Bruce Springsteen
  • The Cave–Mumford & Sons

If you asked me to name a quintessential 80’s song, “Cars” has to be a strong candidate, or at least would have been for me until I just found out it was released in August of 1979. So that would have disqualified the song from being an answer and made me look foolish for even considering it as a choice, so I’m glad we never had that conversation.  I guess I could argue that the song, like car models, came out late in the previous year in order to make buyers/listeners feel like they were on the cutting edge. Perhaps it’s best to move on to the next song, another OC soundtrack selection. It’s a favorite of mine, but not one that got me into a new group, as I guess the Reindeer Section were not going to be a full-time act. Next up is an old original-and-cover combo, but the pairing of Joni Mitchell and Prince was certainly unique and worth my time.

I was just thinking about when I was young and used to object to songs that had the wrong message in them. Now that could pretty much wipe out half of all music to me, as sex, cheating, drugs, etc. are all open season, but I am talking about a time when I was really young and subtlety was generally lost on me. The song had to really hit you on the head for me to understand. As a result, three songs really bothered me back then, starting with the Grateful Dead’s cautionary tale “Casey Jones” (how much clearer can ‘Driving that train, high on cocaine’ be?) As an FYI, the other two were Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Woman # 12 & #25, which I was sure was about smoking pot (and may be more  concerning the literal meaning of stoned), and the Carpenters’ “Top Of the World”, and I’m sure this one takes some explaining, but when Karen sang of being ‘on top of the world, looking down on creation’, my young Catholic mind thought she was equating herself with God and I knew that was wrong. Those were the three biggest offenders in my mind. “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones? They were right, it did taste so good–particularly on oatmeal!

Flyleaf led into my first Oasis song from their incredible (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? album. I was not an Oasis fan when I started watching Lost back in 2004, so I didn’t initially get the Oasis/Driveshaft links that I get now. Box Car Racer is a Blink-182 spinoff band my son loves, but if I met them, I’d have to chastise what I think is their poor syntax. I believe they need a hyphen in the title “Cat Like Thief” between the first two words unless they are expressing the affection their feline has for a burglar. The Pete Townsend song is from his Empty Glass album, a particular favorite of my wife, and the Linkin Park song is from one of my son’s albums. I like the band, but I’m finding that a number of their songs are bleeding together in my opinion. I was able to push myself on the walk thanks to the rocking efforts of the White Stripes, Billy Idol, and Guns N’ Roses.

They They Might Be Giants song is one of their quick numbers from the “Fingertips” section of the Apollo 18 album. There was certainly a flavor to the closing of the list that my wife would enjoy, as she has always been the family’s biggest fan of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and the Cowboy Junkies, but her current interest (or I may go so far as to say obsession is Mumford & Sons. Their CD is being worn out in the car and she has finally learned that youtube can be used for band videos and live performances. When I played for her the Ray Davies and Mumford & Sons collaboration from the former’s recent See My Friends album, the joy in her face was evident. The remaining songs were favorites of mine, with a Surfer Blood selection from their first album and two versions of the Doves’ “Caught By The River” (we own it on both an OC soundtrack and an MTV compilation album)

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

  • Cave In–Owl City
  • Cecilia–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cecilia–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cecilia Ann–The Pixies
  • Cedars of Lebanon–U2
  • Celebrate Me Home–Kenny Loggins
  • Celebration–They Might Be Giants
  • Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin
  • Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin
  • Celebration of the Lizard–The Doors
  • Celebrity–Barenaked Ladies
  • Celebrity Skin–Hole
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago

Gym time began with the techno pop of Owl City. While it’s not the catchy hook of “Fireflies”, it’s still a fun song to both listen to in stationary mode or while working out. I got to hear two copies of “Cecilia”, which I think is the biggest Simon & Garfunkel song to not make the Concert in Central Park. It did however, get a nice mention in an episode of How I Met Your Mother a few years back, complete with a visual aid to the gag. (I will not spoil it for those who haven’t seen it). I guess the Pixies felt like it wasn’t enough for there to be a song celebrating girls named Cecilia, they wanted to be a bit more specific with their tribute to gals with the moniker “Cecilia Ann”. I think I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t given a close enough listen to U2’s newest album, so I wasn’t familiar at all with “Cedars of Lebanon”, the album’s closing tracks.

Time to celebrate! (Not that I have good news yet, I’m just to the four “Celebration…” songs on my list!) The first is by decades the most recent, and the one I like listening to the most from old friends They Might Be Giants. I also have studio and live versions of Led Zeppelin’s song, and apparently the Doors track was a previously unreleased number from the group, although it’s nice to see our friend the Lizard get his proper celebratory due, particularly as he makes his film debut in The Amazing Spiderman, out today in theaters. (Of course my daughter saw it at midnight and loved it!)  I heard two songs that cover the pitfalls of fame, with Barenaked Ladies singing about how amazing it would be to be famous and Hole covering the darker side of it all. My last three songs were from the film adaptation of the musical Chicago. Now I don’t want to get your hopes up if you haven’t seen it–it’s not like Mama Mia, only with the songs of Peter Cetera and Chicago. It’s a musical about jail, fame, and jazz. It’s supposed to be a great film (it won the Oscar for Best Picture), but to date I have had no interest in seeing it.


Welsh cottages and desert-island discs

After the cleansing update of 45 songs, I’ve reduced my musical inbox to two walks and two gym sessions, and I plan on writing two blogs to cover them (one gym and one walk per blog). That’s not to say I won’t start to bottleneck things up again, because I’m coming to the realization that while the ideal is to write and exercise every day, it’s currently more important for me to do that latter even if I don’t get around to the former despite the backlogging. The reason is simple–I feel great when I get in some daily physical activity and I’m finding that I get really upset when I miss a day. Days can get busy, but even if I don’t have an hour to exercise or walk, 20-30 minutes still gets me more than a mile, six or so songs further along into my list, and feeling good.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2.5 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Bron-Y-Aur Stomp–Led Zeppelin
  • Brooklyn Roads [live]–Neil Diamond
  • Brother John–Blues Traveler
  • Brother in Arms–Dire Straits
  • Brown Eyed Handsome Man–Chuck Berry
  • Brown Eyes–Lady Gaga
  • Brown Sugar–The Rolling Stones
  • Brown Sugar–ZZ Top
  • Bryn–Vampire Weekend
  • Bubble Beat Box–Spongebob Squarepants

Kicked my gym time off with a song from Led Zeppelin’s third album. The title refers to a vacation home in Wales where Zeppelin wrote much of  Led Zeppelin III. (To be clear, Bron-Y-Aur refers to the home, although owning a home named Stomp would be pretty cool as well.)  My wife never understood my interest and enjoyment in the music of Neil Diamond, but when I explained to her that Fenway Park played “Sweet Carolina” during each Red Sox victory, well…truth be told, she still didn’t understand my interested in the man’s music. She understands liking “Blues Traveler” much more, because she’s the bigger fan of the group of the two of us. (Although it’s not like either of us are huge fans; we only own one album by the group.)

“Brothers in Arms” is, of course, the title track of Dire Straits’ most commercially successful album, and one I’ve owned in either cassette of CD form since high school. I think it was the first album I purchased on the strength of hearing the first song (“Money For Nothing”) and it was a decision that worked out well, as I’ve always loved the album beginning to end. Now I’ll admit I bought the soundtrack to Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n Roll not based on the strength of Chuck Berry but the Robert Cray collaboration, which is what I heard today “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”, (I was really into Robert Cray at the time thanks to his Strong Persuader album, which is probably one of my ten desert-island discs to this day.), but I now know having those classic Berry songs as part of my collection is essential.

Things stay Brown for me with a couple of additional colored songs, first from Lady Gaga, and then the Rolling Stone’s famous “Brown Sugar” and a ZZ Top song that shares the title, but is a different song. I closed out the “br…” songs with “Bryn” from Vampire Weekend’s debut album. I’ve heard their third album could be out before the end of the year, which would make me a happy camper, as I feel they’ve been two-for-two in releasing great albums so far. The warm feeling of a Vampire Weekend song was needed for me to finish my gym list, as the new song came courtesy of Spongebob Squarepants. I don’t have anything against the yellow cartoon guy (I know some folks have banned their children from watching the show, but we never did), I just don’t want him as a workout inspiration.

Sunday June 10, 2012

2-mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #29 of the 2012 season

  • Bubbly–Colbie Caillat
  • Bubbly–Colbie Caillat
  • Buckets of Rain–Bob Dylan
  • Buckets of Rain–Fistful of Mercy
  • Buffalo River Home–John Hiatt
  • Buffalo Soldier–Bob Marley
  • Bugeye Jim–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Buggface–Big Boi
  • Build God, Then We’ll Talk–Panic! At The Disco
  • Building A Mystery [Live]–Sarah McLachlan
  • Building A Mystery [Live]–Sarah McLachlan

I know I’ve said it before, but I have nothing against Colbie Caillat–in fact, I think I actually latched on to “Bubbly” before my kids did, but I just don’t think the song is the best for getting you in an exercising mood. I guess it’s good that I was doing a neighborhood walk instead of hitting the elliptical machine, particularly because I heard the song two times (we really only need one, as both are ostensibly from the same source–her Coco album; we bought the single on iTunes and then I got mu daughter the CD). I also got to hear “Buckets of Rain” twice, but we really need both versions, as only one is the Dylan original and the other is an excellent cover from the Chimes of Freedom compilation.

Earlier in this post I mentioned that Robert Cray’s Strong Persuader was a candidate for my desert-island discs list. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s 10 albums that you’d take with you if you were going to be stranded on a desert island with limited access to music choices (you can also do this with books, movies, foods, or whatever floats your boat). It’s a fun exercise and sometimes people apply rules, like “no greatest hits albums” or “one album per artist”. I’ve never understood these rules–it’s your island, so if you want to take the entire Michael Bolton discography, that’s your business. That being said, the next song on my list is my favorite song from a no-brainer lock for my list, John Hiatt’s Perfectly Good Guitar. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time and it turned me into a John Hiatt evangelist.

Have you ever received a piece of information and it just locks you up–you have no idea what to do with the nugget? While writing my blog, I’ll often google songs or artists I’m discussing in order to fact check or learn more. So I wanted to know more about the buffalo soldiers in order to better discuss Bob Marley’s song by the same name. I first  decided to read the wikipedia entry about the Marley song where I learned that Vanilla Ice had covered it on his 2008 comeback album. This was the information that froze me in my tracks–Vanilla Ice covered Bob Marley? Do I want to hear it, or would it be like watching the doomed videotape of The Ring, where I’d never be able to undo the damage before I died from having experienced it?

“Bugeye Jim” is the opening track from the third disc of Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue collaborations. It’s taking me time to get into, but I can already tell I will enjoy volumes two and three as much as I do the original (which is another strong candidate for the desert-island disc list). The Big Boi song comes from the pseudosoundtrack to Idlewild (I use pseudo- because only seven tracks on the album come from the movie, and “Buggface” is not on the soundtrack). Things close with a Panic! At The Disco selection, and two different live takes of Sarah McLachlan’s Building A Mystery, with both versions coming from Lilith Fair performances.

6 miles at a blistering pace with a stop for boiled goose

Finally got caught up on Red Sox walks the last two days–my preference is always to walk outside but we’ve had consistent and frustrating rain for most of the beginning of this week, so Tuesday night I was able to get some treadmill time in at the gym before I had to race my daughter home for the third season finale of Glee (you may not have been able to tell she was a big fan if you ignored the clue that we own about 300 songs from the show). Then yesterday finally saw the much-needed break in the rain that allowed some extended outside walking. By the way, no need to call Guinness about the title–it referred to the blister I got from walking too much in a single day. But don’t worry about me–I’ll soldier on, and I’m only needing to walk 2 miles for yesterday’s Red Sox victory.

May 22-23, 2012

6+ miles treadmill/neighborhood walking to commemorate Red Sox victories #19, #20, and #21 of the 2012 season

  • Body to Body–Miami Sound Machine
  • Bogie’s Bonnie Belle–Richard Thompson
  • Bohemian Rhapsody–Queen
  • Bohemian Rhapsody–Glee Cast
  • Boho Dance–Bjork
  • Boll Weevil–The Presidents of the United States
  • Bombay–Timbaland
  • Bombers Bay–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Bone Broke–The White Stripes
  • Bones–The Killers
  • Bonfire–Childish Gambino
  • Bonny [live]–AC/DC
  • Bonus–Johnny Socko
  • Bonus–Johnny Socko
  • The Boogie Monster–Gnarls Barkley
  • Book of Dreams–Suzanne Vega
  • Book of Dreams–Dion
  • Bookends Theme–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Bookends Theme–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Bookhouse Boys–Angelo Badalamenti
  • Boom Boom Pow–Black Eyed Peas
  • Boom Box–The Lonely Island
  • Bootleg [live]–John Fogerty
  • Boots of Spanish Leather–The Airborne Toxic Event
  • Boots of Spanish Leather–Bob Dylan
  • Booyaka 619–P.O.D.
  • Bop to The Top–Sharpay & Ryan (High School Musical Cast)
  • Border Song–Elton John
  • Borderline–Alison Krauss
  • Borderline–Madonna
  • Borderline–Madonna
  • Borderline/Open Your Heart–Madonna

We all have out guilty pleasure music/tv/movies, and in the first category, I would list “Miami Sound Machine”. While I don’t own the band’s complete catalogue, I do enjoy almost everything off Primative Love, with one song in particular (which I will discuss in deeper detail when I get to it) holding a special place in my heart. Speaking of Gloria Estefan, she popped up on the season finale of Glee that I mentioned earlier (I promise I was only watching in passing!). For a woman looking to celebrate her 55th birthday this year, she looks great. She could be described as either a “bonnie” or a “belle” so she hit two-thirds of the Richard Thompson song title that followed–I would not describe her as “bogie” so she’s not the trifecta.

The defining song of Queen came next, one that gets a pop culture revival every few years. It shouldn’t need it, as with its shifting styles and tempos and grand feel, the song is a must-own for everyone. But thanks to Wayne’s World, Rock Band 3, and Glee, the song has seen popularity boosts in the last few decades (with the first being the largest boost). But man, it is a long song, and I got to hear it twice–although the Glee version doesn’t hold a candle to the original of course. Going from a Freddy Mercury song to a Bjork seems like a fairly natural transition, even if the latter’s contribution is only a tribute to Joni Mitchell.

I remember from history classes that boll weevils were a blight upon the cotton growing industry, but thanks to POTUS, they can be a blight on my musical lists as well! (Only kidding, the song, like most Presidents of the United States selections, is a fun rocking tune.) Speaking of fun, “Bombay” is probably my favorite Timbaland song. I love the exotic music mixed with his beats. Now in their song, Echo & The Bunnymen travel quite a bit, but I’m not entirely sure where “Bomber’s Bay” is located, but if we cut out the ‘ber’s ‘ in the middle, it could be Bombay as well. I’d like to visit Bombay (or Bomber’s Bay) some time, but at this point in my life, extensive travel is not on the menu. I won’t say that I’m “Bone Broke” despite the fact that it would be an awesome transition to the next song on the list. The song is another reminder that I’d like to pick up the new Jack White solo album as I’ve heard a couple of the tracks on the radio and have enjoyed them. The anatomy lesson continued with the Killers “Bones”, another excellent track from their Sam’s Town album. I then got a Childish Gambino track “Bonfire”. I know I’ve said that I’m still trying to figure out whether I like his CD, but “Bonfire” is great, and it’s received some repeat listens from me recently.

The next three tracks passed quickly, as they were all effectively transitional songs from albums. “Bonny” was from an AC/DC performance in Scotland–the band treated it as an instrumental, but the fans provide the vocals. It’s a pretty cool demonstration of the power a large crowd can have when united to accomplish something, even something as simple as a song.  That was followed by two tracks with the same “Bonus” name from the debut album of Johnny Socko. When things returned to normal songs, I heard my first Gnarls Barkley song on this list, “The Boogie Monster”. My wife recently joked that if I ever passed away, she’d consider having an affair with Billy Bragg’s voice. I think she’d also consider the voice of Cee-Lo Green as well, as she loves his dulcet tones. I do as well, but I wouldn’t go that far.

Time to head to the library as I got two “Book of Dreams” releases, first by Suzanne Vega, which I enjoyed more, with the second being a Dion cover of a Bruce Springsteen song from “Lucky Town”, one of the rare Bruce Springsteen albums we don’t own–so we get the cover but not the original. Things stay bookish but get transitional again with the “Bookends” themes from Simon & Garfunkel that opened and closed side one of their same-titled album. The first is instrumental and the second has a small amount of lyrics. The last volume of my “Book…” collection is an instrumental piece from the television program Twin Peaks. Like much of the soundtrack album, “The Bookhouse Boys” is such a unique piece that it immediately puts me back to when I was in college and each new episode was an event. It’s too bad that cable networks didn’t exist then, as I believe an HBO or AMC could have given Lynch the time and  creative freedom to make Twin Peaks last five seasons.

Despite their lackluster Super Bowl halftime performance, I continue to be a big Black Eyed Peas fan, and will mix tracks in from The E.N.D. in any and all playlists. I’ve heard people complain that the group was overexposed on radio, but where I don’t listen to radio and instead choose my own tracks, I didn’t have to suffer through that issue. The Peas were followed by another monster rap-influenced group, the Lonely Island. Their “Boom Box” track, like most of their songs, has a great beat and hilarious lyrics, particularly their obsession with boiled goose throughout the number.

John Fogerty was the last song before a pseudo-Spanish run began, starting with two versions of “Boots of Spanish Leather”, first a cover by the Airborne Toxic Event and then the original by Bob Dylan. Listening to the song, it seems like the title should be “Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather” but Bob didn’t want redundancy in the title even if it’s in the lyrics. I guess I should just be thankful it’s not called “Bob Dylan’s Boots of Spanish Leather”. P.O.D.’s theme song for Rey Mysterio keeps the Hispanic flavor coming, but then the cast of High School Musical really stretch things with the two whitest kids in the cast singing a song with lots of Spanish words and phrases. Perhaps they learned them from the household help.

I knew the list was coming to an end as I reached the border.  Elton John gave me the first clue before I reached the “Borderline”. Of course when I hear that title, I automatically assumed it was the Madonna version, but first I got a different song with the same title from Allison Krauss. I don’t remember the song, but I really enjoyed it. I then got the “Borderline” I first remembered, with two versions actually, one from her debut self-titled album and one from a greatest hits collection. Things closed with a “Borderline” mash-up with “Open Your Heart” from the Madonna-themed episode of Glee, which I feel was the strongest themed episode of the show.