In Some Particular Order (part 1 of 10)

I’ve enjoyed expanding the topical reach of this blog, but I also liked last weekend’s column where I pontificated about Prince songs throughout the years after listening to a playlist of them. It was a throwback to the original point of this blog, where I was going through all my family’s music in alphabetical order by song title. I actually got pretty far into it before life got in the way of constant exercise and constant posts. Now I am back to exercising–particularly thanks to my Fitbit as nothing is more frustrating that looking at the number of steps I have on a particular day and thinking how far I am from 10,000 steps/5 miles. But I use my iPhone as my electronic workout buddy, and it is harder to fit music on it, forcing me to be a bit more selective in my choices.

However, one playlist that is a staple on my phone is DEAN100. This is a list I created of my 100 favorite songs of all time. It’s the kind of idea that starts off easily enough–50-70 songs absolutely have to go on it. Then as the remaining number of slots dwindle, difficult choices have to be made. However, once I settled on the 100, it has remained solid. I think there was only 1 or 2 changes due to me remembering a song I had completely forgotten. One quick note–there was no limit on the number of songs from a particular artist or album. I never understand these types of artificial constraints on these lists. If you are picking the 10 greatest movies of all time, and want 5 of the Fast & Furious films there, go for it! So several artists are represented more than once.

I also started to put them in order 1-100. This proved to be a frustrating experience, and once I realized that I listen to my list in shuffle, I decided it was pointless. However, my top 10 or so did stay up high, so seeing that I will be walking through the list in groups of 10 starting from the bottom, my absolute favorites will only appear at the end of this–properly building up your anticipation. So this batch is not 91-100 by any stretch of the imagination, just the first group.

  • My Way–Frank Sinatra
  • Secret Separation–The Fixx
  • Don’t Answer Me–The Alan Parsons Project
  • The Magic Number–De La Soul
  • Head Over Heels–The Go Go’s
  • (Keep Feeling) Fascination–The Human League
  • Do You Believe in Love?–Huey Lewis & The News
  • Slip Slidin’ Away–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Nuthin’ But a “G” Thing–Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Dog
  • Word Up!–Cameo

My father died in a car accident when I was seven years old, so my memories of him are spotty at best. One of the things I never really knew about him was his pop-culture touchstones. What movies did he like? What TV shows did he try not to ever miss? (Well, I can guess that there was almost nothing on that second list as he was a bartender so he tended to work nights, and this was before one recorded shows with a VCR, let alone DVR.) I do remember him liking certain hymns at church (“Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “Go Forth” in particular) and I remember being told “My Way” by Frank Sinatra was his favorite song. For this simple reason, I always had an affinity for the song, and I purchased a Sinatra CD to make sure I could always listen to it. Before I bought the CD, the only Frank Sinatra song I owned was his duet of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” with Cyndi Lauper on A Very Special Christmas 2.

I mentioned having to tweak my 100 list a couple of times because of a sudden realization that I had forgotten a song. The first one of those was “Secret Separation” by the Fixx. I think I’d even put a different Fixx song on the list–“Stand or Fall.” I even listened to it on the list once or twice before realizing I meant to include a different Fixx song–“Oh yeah! Secret Separation!” These both come from the same CD, and the only Fixx album I own, React. I had purchased it thinking it was a greatest hits album, not knowing it was a live album until I got it home. I kept it, as their live versions of all their songs are pretty great.

I am hoping this blog is a safe space, one where I can freely admit to some potentially embarrassing choices without being mocked too badly. I would think that having “Don’t Answer Me” is possibly a choice like that. My first encounter with the Alan Parsons Project was winning a 45 of “Eye in the Sky” at a Bar Mitzvah, but it was “Don’t Answer Me” that really caught my ear. It also caught my eye, as the goofy animated video was a favorite of mine as well.

De La Soul came into my life during my year of graduate school as a friend had Three Feet High and Rising on cassette and played it fairly constantly in his car. The album is entertaining beginning to end, but the group’s tribute to Schoolhouse Rock is my favorite track. Years later, I tried to buy the album on iTunes or at a store, but could not find it anywhere. Luckily it was available on Amazon.com, so now the CD is a proud part of my collection. It even came with a second disc of rare tracks and outtakes.

Seeing that I started listening to Top 40 music on the radio in the 1980’s and seeing that 80’s music is awesome, it should come as no surprise that my 100 list has a significant number of 80’s tracks and groups represented, including the next three songs. I figured most people would pick one of “We Got the Beat”, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, or “Vacation” if asked to name their favorite Go Go’s song, but for me it’s “Head Over Heels” and it’s not even close. (Side note–when the Go Go’s reunited and toured in 1991, I got to see them play in Boston. I went with someone from my college, but she was joyless at the show, refusing to sing along or dance to the music. Meanwhile, about five rows in front of me were other friends who I did not know would be at the show and they were having a great time with audience participation. To this day, I wish I had gone with them.) I remember loving “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” when I first heard it back in 1983, and it has remained one of my favorite songs ever since. Finally, I was a Huey Lewis fan, owning both Picture This and Sports on cassette back in the day, but their first chart hit is the one that has most stuck with me.

The second live song in this initial group comes from the famous Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park. (Spoiler alert–this will not be the only appearance of a song on this list, but you will have to wait to the final group–my top 10–before you see them again. I have always said that I think Paul Simon continued to write Simon & Garfunkel songs for the first decade after the duo broke up, and “Slip Slidin’ Away” is a perfect example. The Paul Simon version of the song is good enough, but when he performs it with Art Garfunkel, it becomes transcendent. It just sounds like it was written specifically for their combined vocal styles. To be fair, this may be true of all music and not just 70’s Paul Simon.

My relationship with West Coast rap got off to a rocky start. I remember not wanting to listen to Straight Outta Compton because the song “Fuck tha Police” seemed disrespectful. (I was a bit of a toe-the-line kind of teenager.) However, thanks to MTV I was able enjoy the first few releases from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. After purchasing the album on CD, I have made it a regular part of my listening rotation, and the track “Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” almost made the top 100 as well, and would certainly make the top 200 list. But “Nothin’ But a ‘G’ Thing” was a lock for this list, and if I had order the top 100, it would have been much higher, in the top 50 for sure. By the way, thanks to the film last year, I finally picked up Straight Outta Compton and I regret not doing it sooner. The album is dynamite from top to bottom, and “Express Yourself” is just below the top 100 for me.

The last song from this first group is another 80’s hit and another song that’s been in my favorites since I first heard it on the radio 30 years ago. (Do you ever find yourself catching your breath when you realize how long ago something happened? Here’s one–next year is the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.) I just knew that “Word Up” was completely unlike any other pop song I’d ever heard, so I bought the album back in high school and still own this track to this day. I am all for this song getting as much exposure as possible, and I often love covers, but I think it is a crime that the Korn version of this song is the one available in the Rock Band video game franchise. It should be Cameo all the way.

 

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My senior moment times two

Well, in the “I feel really old” department, these two gym visits covered today occurred on the last day of summer vacation for my kids and their first day of school (my forced vacation continues unabated, but I do have some hopeful prospects cooking). For my twins, they are starting their senior year in high school, but to make this about me and not them, it means I have two children that are less than a year from completing their high-school education. That of course means figuring out where they’re going next in terms of college and career. It’s strange to think that at this time next year, our household will be down to three. It’s also another reason to get healthy–the desire to see where their journey takes them next.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

3.29 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • December–Collective Soul
  • December–Norah Jones
  • Decent Days And Nights–The Futureheads
  • Deciever–Disturbed
  • Deck the Rooftop–Glee
  • Deck the Stills–Barenaked Ladies
  • Decode–Paramore
  • Dedicated To The One I Love–The Mamas and The Papas
  • Deep–Pearl Jam
  • Deep & Wide & Tall–Aztec Camera
  • Deep Blue Sea–Grizzly Bear
  • Deep Dark Truthful Mirror–Elvis Costello
  • Deep Dark Truthful Mirror [unplugged]–Elvis Costello
  • Deeper And Deeper–The Fixx
  • Deeper And Deeper–Madonna

The first two songs are two takes on the last month of the year, which will be extra significant this year if those Mayans were right. I don’t know how much stock I’d put into a society that you could probably enrapture with an Etch-a-Sketch or Silly Putty. The Collective Soul number is one of their normal songs, while the Norah Jones track feels like a pseudo-holiday number. It was also a great bargain, one of the free songs of the week on iTunes. The Futureheads’ song was part of one of the OC soundtracks, which as I’ve mentioned before, really helped to broaden my musical spectrum at a time I wasn’t listening to radio (which was inexcusable as I was living in Champaign, Illinois, so I’m sure there had to be some good college stations at the time). After the  Disturbed track, I went from Jones’ kind-0f-holiday music to two actual numbers, although the Glee one is the more earnest of the two, with Barenaked Ladies paying winter tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

“Decode” is a track from the soundtrack to Twilight. Back when the movie came out, it felt like both the film series and the artist performing the number (Paramore) were pop-culture stalwarts my oldest daughter would stick with, and it turned out I was half right. She is still a fan of Paramore, but has seemed to lose interest in the Twilight saga  (and that is a trade-off I will take any day of the week). Things went rock old school next with a Mamas & the Papas tune, and then grunge old-school with Pearl Jam. The Aztec Camera song is a deep album cut (at least as deep as a cut on a greatest hits album can be).

I think all the indy rock band fans tend to love Grizzly Bear, so I probably should give them a deeper listen. As it currently stands, this track from the Dark Was The Night is one of only two songs we own by the band, with the other, a duet with Feist, also on the same album. The Elvis tune that followed is one I remember well pre-marriage as I purchased Spike while in college. Two acts that launched in the 80’s complete the list with two distinct takes on the title “Deeper and Deeper”, although neither is the original studio track–the Fixx version is a live recording and Madonna’s is a dance remix on my MTV Party to Go CD.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Deeper Understanding–Kate Bush
  • Deez Nuuuts–Dr. Dre
  • Defenders of the Flag–Bruce Hornsby & The Range
  • Defy You–The Offspring
  • Defying Gravity–Wicked Cast
  • Defying Gravity–Glee
  • Deja Vu–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Deja Vu–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Deja Va (All Over Again)–John Fogerty
  • Delirious–Prince
  • Deliver Me–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Deliver Us–Elvis Costello; Brodsky Quartet
  • The Delivery Man–Elvis Costello
  • Demolition Man–The Police

Crazy fans of the world rejoice! Kate Bush is back (on my list, not with a new album or anything–sorry if I got your hopes up there). I don’t want to get into a celebrity blogger/rapper feud with Dr. Dre, but he really should have proofread his song list on The Chronic–“Deez” is not a word, and the spelling of “Nuts” is off by two additional ‘u’ ‘s (one I could get a chalk up to a simple typo, but the double is a little hard to take). I got into Bruce Hornsby & The Range thanks to their The Way It Is album and single (although I ironically never purchased the first album, I started with the Scenes From The Southside album).  I get a trio of “Defy..” songs, starting with an Offspring number from their greatest hits and two takes on the Wicked signature song Defying Gravity, which my youngest daughter recently ranked as one of her top five all-time songs.

If you have to hear a song two times in a row, “Deja Vu” is an appropriate title for such a pairing, right? Of course, you don’t get the feeling when you hear the third song titled “Deja Vu” when Fogerty’s song is a completely different number with the same name (although they do use a parenthetical to better differentiate). “Delirious” is a great Prince single from 1999 that doesn’t get its deserved credit, as the title track and “Little Red Corvette” have had a longer lasting impact. Three solid songs out of the final four close the list, with a Tom Petty number from Long After Dark, an experimental Elvis Costello instrumental interlude before his “Delivery Man” number and then a great old Police track.

 

1111–Make a Wish

For my kids, any time they see 11:11 on a digital clock face, they say “11:11–make a wish!” When setting up my post for today, I noticed that I’ve now had 1,111 total page views, so I decided to make some wishes concerning this blog. I don’t believe I can share the specifics of the wishes if I want them to come true, but with the wishes topic being the blog, it’s probably pretty easy to guess their general direction. (And let’s just say I’d like to be making the 11,111 views wish sooner than later).

I have finally decided to catch back up, so this entry is going to be for the last several weeks, as well as 5 Red Sox victories (which will not catch me up with them, but will get me closer seeing that they’ve kindly decided to win only one game in the last week). There will be less total commentary, but you will see that I’m now over 2,000 songs and have crossed into the ‘D’ entries. (I apologize for hitting so many songs at once, but I figure it’s the only way to get back on track and on time, particularly with how little blogging I’ve done the last week, first from excitement that my job hunt may have finally ended, and then my sadness that the job hunt has to continue, and there doesn’t seem to be anything imminent).

August 4-23, 2012

Multiple gym visits plus 5 2+ mile walks to commemorate Red Sox victories 44 through 48 of the 2012 season

  • Crazy For You–Madonna
  • Crazy For You–Madonna
  • Crazy In Love–Beyonce
  • Crazy Life–Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love–Queen
  • Crazy Love, Vol. II–Paul Simon
  • Crazy Man Michael–Fairport Convention
  • Crazy Ones–John Mellencamp
  • Cream–Prince
  • Creatures of Love–Talking Heads
  • The Creep–Lonely Island
  • Creeping Death–Metallica
  • Creeping Out Sara–NOFX
  • Creeque Alley–The Mamas and the Papas
  • Cremation–Lou Reed
  • Crescent Moon–Cowboy Junkies
  • Cressida–Richard Thompson
  • Crime of the Century–Supertramp
  • Crimes of Paris–Elvis Costello
  • Crimes of Paris [Electric Edition]–Elvis Costello
  • Criminal–Disturbed
  • Crimson and Clover–Joan Jett
  • Crocodile Rock–Elton John
  • Cropduster–Pearl Jam
  • Cross Bones Style–Cat Power
  • Cross My Fingers–John Hiatt
  • Cross The Border–Icehouse
  • Cross-Eyed Mary–Jethro Tull
  • Crosseyed And Painless–Talking Heads
  • Crosseyed And Painless–Talking Heads
  • Crosseyed And Painless–Talking Heads
  • Crossroads–Cream
  • Cruella De Vil–Los Lobos
  • Cruella DeVille–The Replacements
  • Cruisin’ in the ATL (Interlude)–Outkast
  • Crumbs From Your Table–U2
  • Crunchy Granola Suite [Live]–Neil Diamond
  • Crush–Glee Cast
  • Crushcrushcrush–Paramore
  • Cry Baby Cry–The Beatles
  • Cry Freedom–Dave Mathews Band
  • Cry If You Want–The Who
  • Cry on My Shoulder–Bonnie Raitt
  • Cry To Me–Solomon Burke
  • Cry, Little Sister (Theme From The Lost Boys)–Gerard McMann
  • Crying–TV on the Radio
  • Crying in the Chapel–Elvis Costello
  • The Crying Scene–Aztec Camera
  • Crying, My Little One…–Natalie Merchant
  • Crystal–Fleetwood Mac
  • Crystal Ball–Styx
  • The Crystal Ship–The Doors
  • Cup of Coffee–Garbage
  • Cupid–Sam Cooke
  • Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast in America (Radio Edit)–Gym Class Heroes
  • Curiosity–k.d. lang
  • The Curse–Disturbed
  • Curtain Calls–Old 97’s
  • Cut Flowers–The Smithereens
  • Cut My Hair–The Who
  • Cuts Like a Knife–Bryan Adams
  • The Cutter–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Cutting Corners–Transit
  • Cuyahoga–R.E.M.
  • Cuyahoga–R.E.M.
  • Cyclone–Baby Bash featuring T-Pain
  • Cyclops Rock–They Might Be Giants
  • D & W–They Might Be Giants
  • D Is for Drums–They Might Be Giants
  • D-7 [Live]–Nirvana
  • D.F. [Interlude]–Outkast
  • Dad’s Gonna Kill Me–Richard Thompson
  • Daddy Can I Turn This?–Elvis Costello
  • Daddy Come Home–Tom Tom Club
  • Daddy Go Down–David Byrne
  • Daddy Learned To Fly–Drive-By Truckers
  • Daddy Needs A Drink–Drive-By Truckers
  • Daffodil Lament–The Cranberries
  • Daft Punk Is Playing At My House–LCD Soundsystem
  • Daktari–10,000 Maniacs
  • Damaged By Love–Tom Petty
  • Damaged Goods–Fastball
  • Damnit–Blink-182
  • Damnit–Blink-182
  • Damnit Janet–The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Damn Girl–Justin Timberlake
  • Damn Girl–The All-American Rejects
  • Damn Good Times–They Might Be Giants
  • Damn It, Janet–Glee
  • Damnation’s Cellar–Elvis Costello
  • Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)–All Time Low
  • Dance–Soul II Soul
  • Dance Hall Drug–Boys Like Girls
  • Dance Inside–The All-American Rejects
  • Dance of the Dream Man–Angelo Badalamenti
  • Dance of the Reeds–Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy–Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Dance On Vasoline–David Byrne
  • Dance This Mess Around–The B-52’s
  • Dance With Me–Drew Seeley featuring Belinda
  • Dance With the Devil–Breaking Benjamin
  • Dance, Dance–Fall Out Boy
  • Dance, Dance–Fall Out Boy
  • Dance, Dance [live]–Fall Out Boy
  • Dance, Dance, Dance–The Beach Boys
  • Dance, Dance, Dance–The Steve Miller Band
  • Dancing Bear–The Mamas and The Papas
  • The Dancing Bear–Natalie Merchant
  • Dancing Choose–TV on the Radio
  • Dancing For Rain–Rise Against
  • Dancing in the Dark–Bruce Springsteen
  • Dancing in the Street–Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
  • Dancing Queen–ABBA
  • Dancing Queen–ABBA
  • Dancing Queen–Glee Cast
  • Dancing Through Life–Wicked Cast
  • Dancing With Myself–Billy Idol
  • Dancing With Myself–Glee Cast
  • Dangerous–The Who
  • Dangerous Games–The Byrds
  • Dangerous Politics–WWE
  • The Dangling Conversation–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Dangling Conversation–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Dani California–The Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Daniel–Elton John
  • Danny Says–Foo Fighters
  • Dare You To Move–Switchfoot
  • Dark Hand Over My Heart–Richard Thompson
  • The Dark I Know Well–Spring Awakening Cast
  • The Dark Of the Sun–Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • Dark Side (Undertaker)–WWE
  • Dark Sneak Love Action–Tom Tom Club
  • Dark Street–Fastball
  • Dark Was The Night–Kronos Quartet
  • The Darkest Side (Remix)–WWE
  • Darkness–Peter Gabriel
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town–Bruce Springsteen
  • Darkness Surrounding–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Darlin–Avril Lavigne
  • Darlington County–Bruce Springsteen
  • Date To Church–The Replacements
  • Daughter–Pearl Jam
  • Daughters–The Story So Far
  • Daughters of Sorrow–The New Pornographers
  • Dave’s Possessed Hair/It’s What We’re All About–Sum 41
  • David Watts–Ray Davies
  • Dawn of the Dreads–Arrested Development
  • Dawn’s Ballet–Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast
  • Dawn’s Lament–Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast
  • The Day–They Might Be Giants
  • The Day I Tried To Live–Soundgarden
  • A Day in the Life–The Beatles
  • The Day That Love Come To Play–They Might Be Giants
  • The Day The Niggaz Took Over–Dr Dre featuring  RBX, Snoop Dogg, Dat Nigga Daz

Well, that is a *lot* of songs–and there’s no way I’ll be able to provide my usual (arguable) high-quality analysis per number that I usually give, so let’s hit some high (and low) points. “Crazy For You” is one of my favorite Madonna songs for a couple of reasons–first of all, I fully admit to being a sap for the slow numbers, second, it’s part of the soundtrack of a great movie, and finally, it was a big slow-dance song during high-school dances back in the day. I finish up the “Crazy…” section of my list with diverse superstar artists including Beyonce, Queen, John Mellencamp, and Paul Simon. When writing the artist for “Crazy Man Michael”, I initially assumed it was Richard Thompson thanks to the album cover, but it was actually a track from Thompson’s early band Fairport Convention–that’s the nice thing about a boxed set; you get the full spectrum of an artist’s career.

I always have had a bit of a soft spot for the Joan Jett version of “Crimson and Clover” as I won the 45 of the song at a Bar Mitzvah I attended in 8th grade. I wasn’t into music yet (that would come a year later), but I was excited to play it and “Juke Box Hero” but had to wait until I could get to the record store as my mother’s record player did not have an adapter for 45’s. So I think I had to wait until the following weekend until we could get to the Strawberries at the mall to listen to my new music. The John Hiatt song is just one of many from the awesome Perfectly Good Guitar album, a decade-plus staple on my “Desert Island Discs” list. As I have shared before, the Icehouse album Man of Colors is also on that list, which led me to purchase another selection from the group, Great Southern Land, which contains “Cross the Border”, but I did not connect with that album as much.

One effective test of a good song is how much you can tolerate consecutive listens, and three “Crosseyed and Painless” copies worked just fine for me. (Full disclosure, one was from the Stop Making Sense soundtrack, so there was some variety.) But I can honestly proclaim that I would have enjoyed a few more listens. “Cuyahoga” works with two listens for me as well. By the way, I can’t be the only person stunned that the Replacements covered a Disney song, right? I can always count on They Might Be Giants to open a letter with something from their ABCs album, but here the hit double duty, as their “Cyclops Rock” got to close ‘C’ before we started on the ‘D’ songs.  Another funny double-up happened when the Drive-By Truckers hit consecutive “Daddy…” songs as apparently he “…Learned to Fly” and “…Needs a Drink” (hopefully in that order as I assume drunk flying is just as bad as drunk driving.

I’d like to call attention to “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” by LCD Soundsystem. When it first came out, I was drawn to the song through a pair of unusual methods, with one (OC soundtracks) being a bit more unusual than the other (a video-game soundtrack, specifically an SSX game for my PSP). I will admit loving the song has yet to inspire me to purchase more LCD Soundsystem, although I did enjoy the song and video for their “Drunk Girls” song. I had another one of those grammar choices splitting to versions of a song when the Glee folks broke from the soundtrack of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and turned Damn it into two words. I’d tend to side with the original source material, but I will say that every time I type
“Damnit” as one word, I get the annoying red squiggle underline indicating a misspelling.

It’s always fun to see how quickly a new acquisition shows up in this alphabetical endeavor. My oldest daughter recently purchased the Once More With Feeling soundtrack from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and two days later I get a pair of “Dawn…” songs from the release. The irony is that she’s my least favorite character from the show. The “Day…” song that must be mentioned is the amazing “Day in the Life” by the Beatles. I’m happy that iTunes has the rights to the Beatles catalogue because otherwise I’d be afraid that Billy Crystal’s joke about kids not knowing who the Beatles are will come true. (It probably does have a kernel of truth these days–after all, the Beatles have not released music in 40+ years and two of them are no longer with us.) The last song and artist was a bit problematic for me. I love the album “The Chronic”, and I of course want to faithfully record the song and artist, but one of the words on each side is a bit problematic to type (I think it’s fairly obvious which word I mean.) But type it I did, but just don’t ask me to say it.

Dr Dre’s Christmas Glaze!

It’s the moment (none of) you have been eagerly discussing and speculating about–I am going to catch up on a number of of exercise days by lumping a number of songs together–normally I wouldn’t do this, but the overwhelming majority of songs are “Christmas…” songs (great for working out!) and there really isn’t much to say about a dozen variations on “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

The Week of 9, 2012

4 miles of walking to commemorate Red Sox victories #39 and #40 of the 2012 season plus several gym sessions

  • Chorale–Richard Thompson + Danny Thompson
  • Chow Down–The Lion King Cast
  • Christ for President–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Christian’s Inferno–Green Day
  • Christie Lee–Billy Joel
  • Christine Sixteen–Gin Blossoms
  • Christmas–Blues Traveler
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)–U2
  • Christmas All Over Again–Tom Petty
  • Christmas At 22 (featuring Laura Borucki)–The Wonder Years
  • Christmas Bells–the Rent cast
  • Christmas Canon–The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • Christmas Day–Dido
  • Christmas Don’t Be Late (Chipmunk Song)–Powder
  • Christmas Eve Montage–RJD2
  • Christmas Eve Without You–Glee Cast
  • Christmas Everyday–The Temptations
  • Christmas in Hollis–Run D.M.C.
  • Christmas in Hollis–Run D.M.C.
  • Christmas in the City–Mary J. Blige
  • Christmas Is–Run D.M.C.
  • Christmas Is All in the Heart–Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Christmas Is Coming–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Christmas Is My Favorite Time of the Year–Kenny Rogers
  • Christmas Is Now Drawing Near at Hand–Stevie Winwood
  • Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You–SR-71
  • Christmas Pics–Barenaked Ladies
  • The Christmas Song–Christina Aguilera
  • Christmas Song–Dave Mathews & Tim Reynolds
  • Christmas Song–Dave Mathews Band
  • The Christmas Song–Hootie & The Blowfish
  • The Christmas Song–Luther Vandross
  • The Christmas Song–The Nylons
  • The Christmas Song–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)–Celine Dion
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)–John Denver
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)–Martina McBride
  • Christmas Time–Smashing Pumpkins
  • Christmas Time Again–Extreme
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Toni Braxton
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Dianne Reeves
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • A Christmas To Remember–Amy Grant, Beverly Darnall, Christopher Eaton
  • Christmas Wish–Stacie Orrico
  • Christmas Wrapping–Glee Cast
  • Christmastime (Oh Yeah)–Barenaked Ladies
  • Christmastime Is Here–Sixpence None the Richer
  • The Chronic (Intro)–Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg & Colin Wolfe
  • Chronomentrophobia–Andre 3000
  • Chump–Green Day
  • The Church of Hot Addiction–Cobra Starship
  • The Church of Hot Addiction–Cobra Starship

It’s not all Christmas, all the time–there’s a handful of songs at the beginning and end of the list that fall out of the category. The starting song was a reminder of my messed-up “fun fact” from yesterday, as I got another Richard Thompson and Danny Thompson collaboration. With a title like “Chorale”, you’d think it was from a Broadway show, so it served as a bit of a harbinger for the next song, which comes from the Broadway version of The Lion King. 

Before we get into a whole bunch of songs celebrating his birthday, Christ gets a little political love from Billy Bragg & Wilco, who suggest Christ should run for president. I’m assuming he’d have to run as an Independent, as his “actually helping the poor and not bombing the country’s enemies” would run counter to the Christian Right’s platforms and Christ seems like a man of action which wouldn’t jive well with the Left either. But the song does give me a chance to once again implore you to get any of the Mermaid Avenue releases. The song was the first of four to name someone in their title, as it led to a Green Day song about “Christian…”, a Billy Joel song about “Christie Lee” (it must be tough to have a song in your musical catalogue that you wrote about a love, only to have that love go bad. Does the song become unplayable?), and then the Gin Blossom’s excellent cover of “Christine Sixteen”.

But then the multi-day run of Christmas songs began. The first three songs come from my favorite series of holiday albums, the Very Special Christmas series. I loved the first few, as it was current artists giving their spin on classics or new songs (like the Blues Traveler, U2, and Tom Petty selections that start this run), but I haven’t given volume 7 a listen as it seems like a collection of Disney/Kids Bop artists. That may not be fair–after all, they’re just looking to support the Special Olympics as well. But it will be hard to top that first album (which produced the U2 track) and the second (Tom Petty). The Wonder Years song is a recent addition (post holiday 2011), so I haven’t given it a listen yet. I had never heard the Rent song until recently–we rotate who gets to pick the films for family movie night, and my youngest recently chose the film version of Rent. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I did find the Christmas scenes moving.

It’s strange that I own as many Christmas CDs as I do, and do not own a single Trans-Siberian Orchestra release (this track is from a compilation). It seems like in recent year, TSO (do people use that acronym?) is the go-to group for holiday tunes–probably because the instrumental pieces are good background music as you’re doing something else. The Dido song would also do a nice job filling that role of unobtrusive tunes. Powder did an excellent job covering the Chipmunk’s signature song, although it wasn’t grouped with the originals because when the Chipmunks perform the song they get the main title and the “Christmas…” portion is the parenthetical, but for Powder the two were reversed. The “Christmas Eve Montage” number comes from my favorite Christmas/not Christmas movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, a film my youngest has grabbed and completely run with. She’s also the Glee fanatic, as mentioned before, but I did enjoy their cover of “Christmas Wrapping”, but it makes me sad that I don’t own the original version by the Waitresses.

Nice run of The Temptations and Mary J Blige surrounding three tracks from Run D.M.C., including “Christmas in Hollis”, a favorite new Christmas classic for me, particularly for the line “But I never steal from Santa, cuz that ain’t right…” which seems to indicate that stealing from others is a-OK. I think Run D.M.C. was the first repeat artist in the Very Special Christmas series, as they came right back for Volume 2 with another great new holiday number that probably gets overlooked because of just how awesome “Christmas in Hollis” is.

The next batch of six songs contains mostly innocuous numbers that again serve as excellent background music for Christmas parties and gatherings, including the first of four appearances on the list from the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the composer and group responsible for the instrumental score for the Charlie Brown Christmas special, including the great original number “Christmas Time Is Here”, which is covered later by a few artists, including Toni Braxton and Sixpence None The Richer. One of the more rocking Christmas songs is in this section, the SR-71 cover o f Billy Squier’s “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You”.

Then we get our run of Mel Torme’s classic song. Now when I edit lines of books, it’s important to have a style guide in order to maintain consistency. Clearly Christmas songs could benefit from this as well. There’s three different titling styles for this song alone, as some use the parenthetical, some do not, and for some reason Dave Mathews is not a fan of the definite article as a title opener (I guess that is consistent with his band name at least). I didn’t realize I had two versions of his cover of the song and wasn’t paying complete attention while I was exercising to it, so at one point I thought he had done an 8-minute version of the song, which seemed a bit excessive. I think the Hootie version is my favorite cover of the song.

After all these Christmas songs, I knew whatever followed was probably going to be a bit jarring, and having Dr. Dre’s opening track from The Chronic is about as jarring as you’re going to get, and it served as a perfect way to move on from the Holiday run. Andre 3000 stayed in thematic line with Dre, and then I got a little punky with Green Day’s second appearance on the list (both non-holiday related) before closing with two copies of the Starship Cobra hit.