Wait–what was that song called again?

Here’s a little bit of good news–I’m back to creating a backlog of songs! Yes, I’ve managed to accumulate three gym visits in the last four days, so the conveyer belt of ‘D’ songs, which had slowed down to a crawl is up to capacity again. While I know it’s only three days, it feels great to be getting back into a routine. For me, that’s the key–I need to build some consecutive workout days. Also, there should be a simpler way to remember how great you feel after a 45-minute workout so that it isn’t so hard to get off   your butt and get moving.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Diarrhea Moustache–David Cross
  • The Diary–Hollywood Undead
  • The Diary of Jane–Breaking Benjamin
  • Dice–Finley Quaye & William Orbit
  • Dick in a Box–The Lonely Island & Justin Timberlake
  • Dick Wagner’s Rinse Cycle–Johnny Socko
  • Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?–Richard Thompson & Linda Thompson
  • Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby–Emmylou Harris, Alison Krause, and Gillian Welsh
  • Die–Iron & Wine
  • Die For You–Megan McCauley
  • Die Hard the Hunter–Def Leppard

I do love listening to the comedy stylings of Mr. David Cross, whose routines can stand up to repeated airings despite their political digs tied to specific timeframes, but man those odd titles for individual tracks (which, of course, never have any relation to the issues being discussed) can really throw you for a loop. If you haven’t listened to any of his albums, you may think “well today’s entry has to be the worst name, right?” I’d argue that there are some worse ones–I won’t list them here, but you can probably look them up on Amazon or iTunes.

It’s a bit ironic that we own two “Diary…” songs, and both are sung by bands my son brought to the mix (you know, because usually diaries are  normally associated with girls instead of boys. When we keep a record of our lives, it’s a journal, not a diary. Right? Right? Just me then?) Maybe it would be best if I moved on…luckily, I can move on to a great song like “Dice”, which is a track from the phenomenal first soundtrack of The OC. I’ve mentioned before that the show got me into a number of bands, and while I don’t own any additional material by Finley Quaye or William Orbit, it’s a song that is permanently in my playlist.

It was then time to go back to some unfortunately titled tracks, starting with the filthy, yet hilarious, number from the Lonely Island and frequent collaborator Justin Timberlake. Most people know it from the SNL Digital Short, but we also own a copy from their first two albums. Johnny Socko was a band friends and I used to go see live in graduate school at Indiana University, and I was happy to pick up their first album, although it did not contain my favorite song by them, a slowed-down countrified version of “You Shook Me All Night Long”. I looked for a version of it on youtube to show you how fun it was, but sadly, their heyday was in the era before everyone using smart phones to illegally record live concert performances and upload them to the internet. The next song was a tad more serious than the previous two, but it still had a odd title, although it may have been a metaphor for Richard and Linda’s upcoming marital problems and eventual divorce.

A song from one of the great soundtracks that I tend to forget about showed up next, and prompted me to listen to the entire album of O Brother, Where Art Thou? I closed with a trio of “Die” songs, none of which were using the definite German article. The first two came from compilations, one charity-based (the Iron & Wine number from the Dark Was the Night soundtrack) and the second from a movie soundtrack (the first Fantastic Four–don’t look at me that way; I got the album free at work!). My last song today came from the awesome 80’s and Def Leppard, or as my daughter would probably call them, one of those groups covered in the Rock of Ages musical/movie.




A birthday bash for a bunch of birds

Time to get back on the bike–which would be an apt metaphor if riding a bike was my form of exercise either in the neighborhood or at the gym. But as phrases, “Time to get back walking” or “Time to get back on the elliptical” don’t have the same poetry or familiarity, so what are you going to do?

May 8, 2012

2+ mile walk in the neighborhood to commemorate Red Sox victory #12 of the 2012 Season

  • Billy’s Bones–The Pogues
  • Billy’s Got a Gun–Def Leppard
  • Biomusicology–Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  • The Bird & The Worm–Owl City
  • Bird Flu–M.I.A.
  • Bird on a Wire–Willie Nelson
  • Bird on a Wire–Leonard Cohen
  • Bird on a Wire–The Lilac Time
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul–They Might Be Giants
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul [Live]–They Might Be Giants
  • Birds and Ships–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Birds Fly–They Might Be Giants
  • The Birds Will Still Be Singing–Elvis Costello
  • The Birth of Christ–Boys II Men

I’m not sure if the members of Def Leppard are friendly with the boys of Aerosmith, but if they are, the former should introduce their “Billy” to Aerosmith’s “Janie” as the two already have a common interest of gun ownership. However, if Billy is the one giving Janie so much trouble, then perhaps the Pogues song that started things off are referring to his bones. The Ted Leo album was a gift from a family member, and I’ve enjoyed it over the years, but have never gone deeper into the band’s discography.

One of the interesting aspects of going through my entire list in an alphabetical manner is learning little trivia bits, like the fact that we have 10 songs that begin with “bird…” in the family collection. The Owl City song comes from my kids’ addition to the library–an album we picked up after the huge hit that was “Fireflies”. The rest of the album also has his infectious beats and witty lyrics as well. “Bird Flu” was the first song that introduced me to M.I.A. and it got me to listen to the rest of Kala; for that I’ll be always thankful (if you haven’t listened to the album, you should. I am not the only one recommending that you do. I was reading the special Rolling Stone magazine on newsstands now that lists their picks for the top 500 albums of all time, and Kala made the list.

We only own one Leonard Cohen album strictly speaking (a greatest hits collection), but we also own two tribute albums where other artists cover his work. This leads to three versions of some of his more popular tunes, like “Bird on a Wire”. His lyrics are so well crafted, it’s a joy to hear the song repeatedly from the well-known Willie Nelson to the Lilac Time, who I was not familiar with despite the face that they’ve had a 20-year career. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” was They Might Be Giants’ first hit off Flood, their major-label debut, and the live version is a nice bonus. I had one more “Bird…” song from TMBG, a short, 90-second number from their earlier days.

My collection of “Bird…” songs gives me yet another chance to laud Mermaid Avenue, the masterful album that Billy Bragg & Wilco put together and “Birds and Ships” prominently features Natalie Merchant on vocals.  Hearing the song inspired me to listen to the entire album this morning. The last “Bird…” song comes from on of Elvis Costello’s experimental albums, The Juliet Letters, that he did with the Brodsky Quartet. My walking list concluded with a Christmas song from Boys II Men.

3.41 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • The Birth of the True–Aztec Camera
  • Birth Ritual–Soundgarden
  • Birthday–The Beatles
  • Birthday [Live]–Paul McCartney
  • Birthday Boy–Drive-By Truckers
  • Birthday Gal–The Replacements
  • Biscuits & Gravy–WWE
  • The Bitch is Back–Elton John
  • Bitches Ain’t Shit–Dr. Dre
  • A Bite Out of My Bed–The New Pornographers
  • Bitter End–Dixie Chicks
  • The Bitter End–Sum-41
  • Bitter Tears–INXS
  • Bittersweet–Panic! At the Disco
  • Bizarre Love Triangle–New Order

Nothing like the navel-gazing sounds of Aztec Camera to get a workout started! Although if I was truly looking for something edgy to get the blood flowing, the second entry in the list from Soundgarden fits the bill. But I’ll be honest, almost any music works for me, so don’t think I got all mopey and was only moving at 2.1 miles per hour during the first song.

I’ve mentioned before my love of the music game Rock Band, and it should go without saying my love of the Beatles, so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement three years ago when Rock Band: Beatles was announced. It even was going to be released on a special day (9-9-9, tied to the Beatles “Revolution #9”), which was also my youngest daughter’s birthday. I had high hopes to quietly set up the game and awaken her for school that morning with a rocking rendition of the Beatles’ song “Birthday”, but while it could have worked on a technical level (the song is part of the game), it didn’t work on a logistical level (no stores sold it at midnight, so I couldn’t get it before she woke up that day). Speaking of birthdays, we own songs to commemorate the occasion for both genders, although they’re not the cheeriest numbers. “Birthday Boy” is about a group interacting with a stripper, and while it would have been awesome if the Replacement’s “Birthday Gal” was about a male stripper, it’s about a woman facing the ravages of age.

“Biscuits and Gravy” was the entrance theme for a WWE tag team, Jesse & Festus, that didn’t quite work out. “Bi..” is winding down with two songs that feature a bad word as the opening. I was discussing it with my wife, and I assume that Elton John’s song is the first to have the word “bitch” in the title, a phrase that became much more prevalent in the gangsta rap of the 90’s through the rap of today, including one track from the Dr Dre album The Chronic, which includes a second bad word (but if you asked my wife, she’s probably find “ain’t” the most offensive term in the title). So does that made Elton the godfather (or based on the outfits and makeup, godmother) or gangsta rap?

After another New Pornographers song (and I wonder how many people will refuse to give the band a chance because of their name), I got a track from the Dixie Chicks’ most recent album, which I love and leaves me hoping the trio will eventually get back in the studio to produce a new album. Sum-41 also had a song with the same title, but I still prefer the Dixie Chicks song.

INXS and Panic! At the Disco followed and my gym list then concluded with my favorite New Order song.


Back to Back

I believe the key to weight loss is consistency of effort. Well, first I needed to learn the key to weight loss was to not eat four doughnuts in a single sitting, but assuming I had embraced the simple but effective big three of weight loss (i.e. eat less, eat better, and exercise), then consistency of effort becomes the key. When I string together 14-21 straight days of 1+ hour of exercise–that’s when I will see the weight start to shed.

Well, to get to 2 consecutive weeks of effort, you have to first put two days together, so I went back to the gym today, and watched a little NCAA basketball while on the elliptical machine. The weather is getting nice enough for my 3 1/2 mile neighborhood walking loop, so that will be back in the rotation soon as well.

March 17th, 2012

3+ miles at the gym on the Elliptical as well as some upper-body weight lifting.

  • Across the Border–Bruce Springsteen
  • Across the Line–Robert Cray
  • Across the Lines–Tracy Chapman
  • Across the Nation (Theme From Raw)–The Union Underground
  • Across the Ocean–Our Last Night
  • Across the Universe–The Beatles
  • Across the Universe–The Beatles
  • Across The Universe–The Beatles
  • Across The Universe–Rufus Wainwright
  • Act Naturally–The Beatles
  • Act of War–Elton John
  • Acting this Way–Robert Cray
  • Action Not Words–Def Leppard
  • Ada–The National
  • Adam Raised a Cain–Bruce Springsteen
  • Adam’s Apple–Aerosmith

I almost began and ended with Bruce, making it a Bruce-themed day, as we also added “Wrecking Ball,” his newest album, to our musical library today. “Across the Border” is from The Ghost of Tom Joad, an album I didn’t listen to very much when it first came out but have enjoyed more and more over time. Another album that fits this theme is Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, the Robert Cray album that produced both “Across the Line” and “Acting this Way.” I bought this album when it came out because I loved, loved, loved his previous album Strong Persuader. My affection for that album is so deep that when we play desert-island discs (what five or 10 albums would you take on a desert island with you), it is always either on the list or in contention. The follow-up didn’t live up to my sky-high expectations, so it didn’t get its proper due from me for years.

When I hear any Tracy Chapman song from her first, self-titled release, I can’t help but think of the In Living Color sketch where they portrayed her standing with the guitar in her squalid apartment, jumping back and forth between her two windows, writing and singing songs based on the horrible sights she was witnessing. I still love the album though.  Until recently, I worked at WWE, and while there I managed to acquire a number of their albums, one of which included the theme I still most associate with Monday Night Raw. I have no idea who Our Last Night is, but I assume it is music from my son’s collection.

Sometimes exercising on a cardio machine can be dull, and music can lighten the mood. Hearing the same song four times can make it seem as if time has stood still. But we have three Beatles versions of “Across the Universe”–the Past Masters version, the Let it Be version, and then the Let it Be Naked version. If it wasn’t for the Rufus Wainwright cover of the song from the I Am Sam soundtrack, Beatlemania would have continued with one of the rare Ringo songs, “Act Naturally.”

Act of War came from the first CD box set I ever bought, the 4-disc Elton John …To Be Continued collection. Some times you have to question purchases you made when you were younger. I don’t have anything against Elton John, and I’m glad to have a number of these songs–I just don’t know what made me say “Elton John box set–that is a must  have!”  I may have said the same thing about the Def Leppard CD, but I borrowed that from my library (a good place to expand the musical collection). Boxer introduced me to the National, and at some point I want to go back and get their earlier work. Then I closed with the American Idol judge and Sunapee resident Steven Tyler and his boys.