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.

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Midseason Replacement

The fan campaign was an amazing success! For those that didn’t know, I haven’t posted a blog for two months because my blog was put on hiatus. The WordPress network wanted to give their new fall blogs a chance, so I got pushed off the schedule. But the legion of devoted fat-to-fit-with-music fans would not stand it. They wrote impassioned emails, staged sit-ins, threatened sponsor boycotts, wore their FTFWM apparel in signs of solidarity and finally had their voices heard, particularly when a number of the new blogs failed to get big ratings.

That’s the story and I am sticking with it…plus it makes so much more sense than I got lazy first on the writing front and second on the exercise front, right? So it’s great to be back–while gone, I finished up the D’s, so today’s gym visit featured some music early in the E-starting section.

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

3.40 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Earth Angel–Death Cab for Cutie
  • Earth Stopped Cold at Dawn–Hootie & The Blowfish
  • Ease Off the Liquor–Timbaland
  • Easier To Walk Away–Elton John
  • East Jesus Nowhere–Green Day
  • East Northumberland High–Miley Cyrus
  • East of Eden–Lone Justice
  • East St. Louis Toodle-oo–Steely Dan
  • Easy–Barenaked Ladies
  • Easy Money–Billy Joel
  • Easy Money–Bruce Springsteen
  • Easy on Yourself–Drive-by Truckers
  • Easy Silence–Dixie Chicks
  • Easy Skanking–Bob Marley
  • Easy There, Steady Now–Richard Thompson

What better way to get back into the swing of things than with a 50’s cover from my favorite obscure soundtrack! I’m fairly certain that I’ve shared the tale of my Stubbs the Zombie album, but as a quick recap–I was at a partner meeting at my last job and they took us into their sample closet and let us do some free shopping. There I found a single copy of the soundtrack to a video game I’d never heard of, but I was interested to hear what Death Cab for Cutie and the Dandy Warhols would do with rock ‘n roll standards, so it was the only item I took. It has been in heavy rotation ever since (and we’ll get to it later, but my favorite number comes from an artist that I did not know before, Clem Snide–although the Flaming Lips track is pretty good too.

I am not as familiar with the Hootie numbers from their second album, but I enjoyed today’s selection. All three of my kids are taking substance abuse classes this year in high school, and I think Timbaland’s “Ease Off the Liquor” would be an excellent addition to the syllabus. It is great advice, after all–and maybe the kids would listen to a music star like him as opposed to a teacher. Elton John followed with a deeper cut off his box set, and that was followed by a more recent track from Green Day, one that would have been from their most recent album until they released the 3 CDs of Uno-Dos-Tre in the past few month. While I admire the creativity of Green Day’s album-releasing strategy, it makes me sad as I lament the loss of the double (or in this case) triple album. Remember Sandinista by the Clash? These days, there seems like there’s no way a triple album like that will be released.

The packrat in me really needs to let up so I can remove some of the Disneyish music from our collection that I believe our children would no longer miss. I don’t mean to denigrate Miss Miley Cyrus, and I’d probably keep some of her hits, but the deep album cuts are not something I’d miss. If I got rid of any Lone Justice, I would miss them–they are another one of those bands that I tend to ignore, but really enjoy when I take the time to listen to them. My directional section ended with the long instrumental number from Steely Dan, one that reminds us how rarely you hear the term “toodle-oo” these days.

The list gets “Easy”, starting with old friends the Barenaked Ladies. I believe the Billy Joel song “Easy Money” is from the movie of the same name starring the late, great Rodney Dangerfield (in an acting stretch, Dangerfield plays a goofy slob who runs afoul of uptight rich people). The Springsteen version of “Easy Money” comes from his most recent album, and it’s a candidate for my “Best of 2012” mix CD, which I am in the process of creating.

The next two songs come from two of the musical acts I have been most excited to add to my rotation in the last seven years. I’m sorry that Shonna Tucker has left Drive-By Truckers, as I enjoyed her vocal additions to the band. But if I want country-themed music driven by strong women, I can always put on the Dixie Chicks. “Easy Silence” is from their (to-date) last album, Taking the Long Way. It’s a great album and I highly recommend it. Bob Marley followed and taught me that “skank” can be part of a gerund (Who Knew!) and my list closed with Fran-favorite Richard Thompson.

 

Where’s Waldo? (Exercising Dean Edition)

I have been horrible about updating this blog recently. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, for the first half of the month of September, my updating became horribly spotty, but I was still regularly exercising. So again, less than one month after I did a massive song list entry to clean out the queue, I’ve built things back up again (I am in the “Do’s, a bit of distance from today’s “Devil…”-starting list.) But at least I was still getting in gym time and that is the primary goal of this undertaking. But over the last week and a half, the gym time has started to fade (not completely disappear,just down to 3 times a week as opposed to 5 or 6). I’d argue that at least it slowed down the buildup in my song queue, but as I just stated, the first goal is to exercise, so this is bad, not good. If I’m looking for reasons why this happened, I’d probably point to my continued search for my next job. Although it’s probably better to categorize that as an excuse and not a reason. Calling it an excuse can push me to overcome it. Or at least, that’s the October plan!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3.28 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Devil in the Wishing Well–Five for Fighting
  • Devil Inside–INXS
  • Devil Song–Camper Van Beethoven
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia–The Charlie Daniels Band
  • Devils & Dust–Bruce Springsteen
  • Devotion–Indigo Girls
  • Dharma Lady–Geronimo Jackson
  • Dial Up–Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  • Diamond Dogs–David Bowie
  • Diamonds in the Rough–Social Distortion
  • Diamonds and Pearls–Prince
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes–Paul Simon

The “Devil…” wasn’t done with me on Labor Day weekend, as Satan appeared on five final songs, starting with the Five for Fighting’s “Devil in the Wishing Well”. I think it’s a fair assumption that if the Devil got caught in a well, townspeople wouldn’t be lining up to save him–they’d probably leave him down there, unlike when a child gets caught in the well. Now if it’s a child devil, people might want to help, even if they knew the identity of the child. (Like when Bart got caught in the well in an early episode of The Simpsons (if I remember right, Sting was a guest voice that week, contributing to a benefit song for the “boy stuck in the well, halfway down to hell”. Of the remaining four “Devil…” numbers, my favorite is the INXS number, but far and away, the most iconic selection is from the Charlie Daniels band. I have to say a solid-gold fiddle would come in handy right now. I wonder how much the “Cash for Gold” mall stores would give for one of those–it probably would cover several month of living expenses, even with the addition of COBRA.

After the Boss and the perennially underrated Indigo Girls, I got a blast from my TV-watching past with “Dharma Lady”, a song and musical group (Geronimo Jackson) created for the show Lost. The song isn’t bad, particularly considering that it was free on iTunes, and it was always entertaining listening to the show’s creators try and convince the world that the band was real, an obscure ’70’s act that broke up after an album or two. Maybe twenty years down the road, people will again think the band is real, or at least as real as Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. After all, which of the two sounds more like a made-up band name?

The riches continue after Charlie Daniel’s golden fiddle, as I then hit a cluster of “diamond…” song, and a strong quartet at that. David Bowie tracks are just intrinsically cool, and worth repeated listens, and frankly I would also put the music of Social Distortion and Prince in the same category. I was always partial to “Diamonds and Pearls” by his royal purpleness as well. It has always been one of my favorite ballads by Prince.  The list ended with a strong number from Paul Simon’s Graceland album, a release that if it doesn’t make my desert-island discs list, is certainly in the honorable mention section.

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.

 

Letters to my Parents, God, the President, and The Man

Well, it hasn’t happened for some time, but nobody’s perfect, as I demonstrated by publishing this post with the placeholder [opening graf] before the exercise lists. So this is an edited second edition! Labor Day weekend is coming to an end, and hopefully so is my summer at home. I’d like to hear from prospective employers and I’m thinking that the odds of it increase after Labor Day as tons of people took the last week or two of August off and now places should be running at full capacity again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Deadbeat Club–The B-52’s
  • Deadly Game–Theory of a Deadman
  • Deadly Game (“Survivor Series” Theme)–WWE
  • Dear Agony–Breaking Benjamin
  • Dear God–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Dear John–Cyndi Lauper
  • Dear John–Taylor Swift
  • Dear John (I Sent Your Saddle Home)–John Prine
  • Dear Mary–Linda Thompson
  • Dear Mr. Man–Prince
  • Dear Mr. President–4 Non Blondes

Today’s list began with my last three “Dead… songs, with a B-52’s number from Cosmic Thing and two versions of the WWE theme song “Deadly Game”. I’d say that it’s nice to see a cover of a WWE song indicating it’s general success, but seeing that the cover also appears on a WWE album, that seems to be a bit of a stretch. Next up was the title track to Breaking Benjamin’s fourth album and another band my kids love, Avenged Sevenfold. (Although I will admit that in certain moods and situations I enjoy A7X–awesome abbreviation, by the way–songs as well, including “Dear God”).

The next three songs are “Dear John” numbers. I wonder if Dear John letters are a concept that kids today understand, or if they just think of it as a Channing Tatum movie. It was easier to know the concept when I was growing up when M*A*S*H reruns would occasionally hit the topic and Judd Hirsch starred in a sitcom named after the idea (and it had one of those “explain the concept” title songs). Of the three songs, I like the John Prine  number the most, although it was the only song from his In Spite of Ourselves that was not sung as a duet. After all the John letters (which is the name of my father), the next song was named after my mother, Mary, which is good as she would have been upset to be left out. After the personal letters, we get to letters to the people in authority, with Prince seeking out Mr. Man and flash-in-the-pan 4 Non Blondes reach out to Mr. President.

Monday, August 27, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Dear Old Man of Mine–Linda Thompson
  • Dear Old Shiz–Wicked Cast
  • Dear Prudence–The Beatles
  • Dear Sweet Filthy World–Elvis Costello
  • Dear Yoko–John Lennon
  • Dearest–Buddy Holly
  • Death and All of his Friends–Coldplay
  • Death of a Martian–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Death of Me–Crooked X
  • Death or Glory–The Clash
  • Death to My Hometown–Bruce Springsteen
  • Debaser–The Pixies

I was going to say that the letter-writing continues, but I believe the use of “Dear…” at the beginning of the first two songs is more a term of endearment that a salutation. The first is the second Linda Thompson number in this update (which is interesting as we only have one of her solo albums total) and the second comes from the Wicked soundtrack, a favorite of my youngest daughter. With all due respect to Broadway showtunes, but the list really picked up after that starting with a Beatles’ White Album track and then an Elvis Costello number.

I like to give my wife a hard time about Paul McCartney, and yesterday I was getting under her skin by referring to Sir Paul as the leader of  the Beatles. She angrily exclaimed that he was not the leader of the group, but then I continued needling by (I believe correctly) pointing out that if John was the leader, Yoko’s name would have been in so many more songs, like today’s “Dear Yoko”. I figured we would have had “Yoko’s Silver Hammer”, “Hey Yoko”, “Let It Be Yoko”, and more. She did not like that point. A great Buddy Holly song from the Juno soundtrack followed. I really liked that movie and if it helps introduce kids today to great music like Buddy Holly, the Kinks, and Sonic Youth, all the better.

After Coldplay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Crooked X, I get the excellent bonus of  London Calling and Doolittle tracks with a Bruce Springsteen number in between.

Back in Business (at least the blog business)

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

3.10 miles at the gym on the elliptical machine:

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

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

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

Thursday, August 2, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Would the real Matt Nathanson please stand up?

This week continues an excellent run of consecutive gym appearances. Lost in this streak is walks to commemorate Red Sox victories–as of this writing, I think I am 6-7 victory marches in the hole. I plan to rectify that oversight next week. Even without my promised bonus walks I am extremely happy with my level of exercise these last few weeks, and I’m back in a place where if I don’t get out and get moving, I’m angry with myself–quite the 180 from the usual sluggish “take an act of Congress to get me moving” Dean. Let’s cover three days of exercise lists in this entry:

Monday, July 23, 2012

3.20 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Colossal–Wolfmother
  • Coma–Guns N’ Roses
  • Come & Talk to Met (Radio Edit)–Jodeci
  • Come and Get Me–Timbaland featuring Tony Yayo & 50 Cent
  • Come Around (featuring Timbaland)–M.I.A.
  • Come As You Are–Nirvana
  • Come As You Are [live]–Nirvana
  • Come Back–Foo Fighters
  • Come Back Around–Feeder
  • Come Back Baby–Elton John
  • Come Back to Me–Janet Jackson
  • Come Crash–A.C. Newman

Wolfmother was another band that I knew nothing about until I heard their “Joke & The Thief” track in the Rock Band series. They’re still not a group I’d choose to listen to on most days, but their metal tracks do inspire me while I’m trying to exercise. That’s also true about the music of Guns N’ Roses, a band I do occasionally choose to listen to (and plan on putting on when I am finished with this entry). The Jodeci song is from one of my many compilation albums. If my list were like the Oscars, Timbaland would be a double nominee with Lead Performer on “Come and Get Me” and Supporting Male on the M.I.A. song “Come Around”. I obviously am a fan of Timbaland, but I enjoy the second song more because of M.I.A.

There are worse things in life than getting a double shot of Nirvana, particularly a studio/live combo of anything off Nevermind and Live in Reading. If you haven’t heard the latter (I’m kind of assuming that everyone has at least listened to, if not a proud owner of, the former), do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Always a bit fitting when Dave Grohl’s band the Foo Fighters comes after Nirvana. “Come Back Around” is yet another song (and by extension, band) to be introduced to me via soundtrack, specifically, the American Wedding compilation. I’m not sure if it puts me in the mood to own more Feeder–any Feeder fans out there willing to argue the group’s cause? As for Elton John, I’d argue I have the perfect amount of his music–a 4-disc boxed set I purchased while in college.

Monday’s list closed with a Janet Jackson number from Rhythm Nation 1814. (It was amazing that the album managed to produce *7* top 10 hits, including “Come Back to Me”), and a track from A.C. Newman, who I love, but would guess will not produce 7 top 10 hits in his entire career, even if you include the New Pornographers (which is a shame).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3.10 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Come Dancing–The Kinks
  • Come Dancing [live]–The Kinks
  • Come Go With Me–The Beach Boys
  • Come Monday–Jimmy Buffett
  • Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)–Bruce Springsteen
  • Come On Eileen–Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Come On Eileen–Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Come On Get Higher–Matt Nathanson
  • Come On Home–Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Come On, Come In–Velvet Revolver
  • Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)–The Offspring
  • Come Sail Away–Styx
  • Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)–Hairspray Cast
  • Come Together–The Beatles

The opening two tracks for Tuesday’s exercise are my studio and live versions of the Kink’s “Come Dancing”, the song that first got me into the group, and seeing how awesome their earlier work is, makes that song an important and beloved touchstone in my musical education. Plus it’s a great story song that is fun to sing along with whenever it plays. The next two songs are appropriate summer numbers from the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett. The Springsteen number is a previously unreleased track from his Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions, which leads into my first-ever “favorite song” Dexy’s Midnight Runners only US hit, “Come on Eileen”. I didn’t really listen to music until I was 14, when I started listening to popular radio. “Come on Eileen” started rising up the charts, and it was my first go-to radio song.

So I’m listening to “Come On Get Higher”, a song my daughter purchased on iTunes a few years back and I find I’m really enjoying the song, but I don’t know the name of the artist. When I look him up, I see that he’s also the singer of “Laid” from the third American Pie movie, American Reunion. I couldn’t believe the two songs came from the same artist (although it made a bit more sense when I learned that “Laid” was originally a James song and things made a bit more sense. We actually have a third Matt Nathanson song, a cover of a Muppets’ number “I Hope that Something Better Comes Along” from The Green Album. I have to hand it to Nathanson, able to create such different tunes and styles is quite a feat. (To be honest, the three songs I own could be the outliers–for all I know, all his other songs may sound the same,)

The hits keep “Coming…” (Ha! Get it? Anyone? Is this thing on?) with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Velvet Revolver, which I’m pretty sure was a common double bill for summer concerts tours.  Next up was a favorite of my kids (and admittedly, me as well), The Offspring and a classic 80s band, Styx. My youngest daughter added the Hairspray number to the collection, but the comparison to the next song, “Come Together”, made the Fab Four’s number even sweeter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Come Together–The Beatles
  • Come Undone–Duran Duran
  • Come Undone–Duran Duran
  • The Comedians–Elvis Costello
  • Comfortably Numb -[live]–Pink Floyd
  • Coming Around Again/Itsy Bitsy Spider [live]–Carly Simon
  • Coming Back to You–Martin Gore
  • Coming Back to You–Trisha Yearwood
  • Coming Clean–Green Day
  • Coming Home for Christmas–Kristy Starling
  • Coming Up–Paul McCartney

Just as Tuesday’s list ended with an Abbey Road classic, Wednesday’s set began with the same song, this one from the compilation album. It’s a double double as two copies of the Duran Duran song “Come Undone” comes next, followed by an Elvis Costello number. Hearing my one copy of “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd reminds me of one of the major holes in my record collection–we do not own The Wall. (it’s tough to admit, so I just need to think what Jack Black’s character Barry said in High Fidelity to the shopper that didn’t own a copy of Blonde on Blonde–it’s going to be ok). We will have to rectify the Floyd oversight at some point, however. After Pink Floyd live, I got another live number, this time from Carly Simon, a mashup of her hit “Coming Around Again” and the children’s song “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.

We own two covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Coming Back to You”, which led into Green Day and a nondescript Christmas carol. Things closed with a third live song in this list, one by Paul McCartney. I actually don’t think I’ve ever heard the studio version of “Coming Up”, but that’s not an oversight I need to correct as quickly as The Wall.