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.



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.

Weekend Worrier

The weekend’s theme was twofold. First it was father-son gym time as on both days my son went to the gym with me. Ironically, the Saturday visit was a shorter one (less than 45 minutes), and it was conceived of to “beat the heat”, as my son wanted to get in an air-conditioned area for some time before he had to go to work, and my gym has excellent AC. The other piece was this weekend saw the calendar turn from June to July and my next-job anxiety increase accordingly. While I do understand the need to be patient and that things will happen in their own time, but I can’t help but wish things would speed up a bit–I don’t do well with uncertainty.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

2 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Chanson Pour Les Petits Enfants–Jimmy Buffett
  • Chapter 13–+44
  • Chapter Four–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Charge of the Batmobile–Danny Elfman
  • Charlie–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Charlie, The Methadone Man–Fastball
  • Chase The Fire–The Fixx

I tend to not listen to much Jimmy Buffett in English, so putting a song title in French, and completely out of my area of knowledge and understanding, really ups the degree of difficulty. Through Google and consultation with my daughter, I think the title of the song is “Song for the Children”, but don’t hold me to that please. Through the magic of Apple’s alphabetizing, this is one of the few places where chapter 13 will come before chapter four. If ranking those two chapters by artist, I’d probably split my vote in two, with +44 being a preferred choice during normal listening situations, but Avenged Sevenfold receiving the nod when working out, particularly when going for some intensity to my cardio.

Danny Elfman’s Batman score was perfect for the film (I know, duh! that’s what he’s supposed to do when scoring the film, but his style of music and Tim Burton’s filmmaking vision is such a natural pairing) and I still enjoy listening to the soundtrack from time to time, even if Nolan’s Batman has surpassed Burton’s in just about every way possible. The Red Hot Chili Peppers tell us about “Charlie”, but I’m pretty sure that Fastball had another “Charlie” in mind, which is why they provided such a helpful qualifier, “…The Methadone Man”.  This short visit to the gym ended with a nice live track from the Fixx–not one of their big hits, but still a fun song anyway.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • The Chase, Part 2–A Tribe Called Quest
  • Chasing Cars–Snow Patrol
  • Chasm–Flyleaf
  • Chavito Ardiente–WWE
  • Cheap Day Return–Jethro Tull
  • Cheap Sunglasses–ZZ Top
  • Cheap Sunglasses [live]–ZZ Top
  • Cheatin’–Gin Blossoms
  • Check It Out–John Mellencamp
  • Check On It–Beyonce & Slim Thug
  • Check Yes Juliet–We The Kings
  • Check Yes Juliet–We The Kings
  • Check Your Time–Westbound Train
  • Checkout Time in Vegas–Drive-By Truckers

Strong start to the Sunday workout with a bit of A Tribe Called Quest. I only have one of their albums, Midnight Marauders, an oversight I need to correct. However, if I’m going to buy another 90s rap album, I will be getting De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising first. It’s frustrating that it’s not available on iTunes and I will have to get it through a used CD store to add it to my collection. The next song is a more modern number, the big Snow Patrol pop hit, “Chasing Cars”. As I’ve mentioned before, Flyleaf is a band that my kids like more than me, but like A7X, their tracks can be pretty invigorating when working out. The WWE song was the theme music for Chavo Guerrero; I think he would be better off with Jethro Tull in that role.

I only own one ZZ Top album–a greatest hits compilation, but that one collection produced two different versions of their classic “Cheap Sunglasses” (studio and live). I expect that more with dance/pop acts who fill an album with remixes of existing songs, but getting the same song (or variations thereof) twice by a classic rock act seems rare. Not that I mind that much–as ZZ Top songs go, “Cheap Sunglasses” is one of their better numbers. Speaking of better numbers, I love “Cheatin’ “, the final track from the Gin Blossoms’ New Miserable Experience. The entire album is outstanding and the country-flavored “Cheatin’ ” is a nice bow on the package. The lyrics like “You can’t call it cheatin’ if she reminds me of you” are a wee bit cynical, but that’s rock music, right? Rock with a tiny country edge continued on my list with John Hoosier Mellancamp’s “Check It Out”, a song that also continued the theme of cynicism as well as the theme of great songs.

A pair of pop hits cover the next three songs on my list, starting with the first Beyonce appearance. I’ve got to believe that no matter where your musical tastes lie, you have to enjoy the works of Ms. Beyonce Knowles. Her songs are so entertaining–earworms if you will. “Check Yes Juliet” also had a great hook and was worth hearing more than once, which worked out well for me as we own two copies of the song, obtaining it once when it was the iTunes Free Song of the Week and getting a second version when we got the entire album. I’m not sure who added the Westbound Train number to the family collection, but it fulfills the occasional need for Ska music. I do know the Drive-By Truckers came from me, and it helps fulfill my constant need for awesome music.


Road Trip! or dealing with Bob Dylan’s massive Bob Dylan ego

Did you miss me? A weekend featuring interstate travelling led to me not posting a blog entry over the last two days. On the bright side, travel did not prevent me from getting in a great workout at the gym on Saturday morning before we left. On the downside, I was not able to exercise yesterday, which means I owe 4 miles of walks thanks to the Red Sox taking two games from the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. That will be done today, if the rain lets up.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #18 of the 2012 season

  • Blue Moon Revisited (A Song for Elvis)–Cowboy Junkies
  • Blue Morning, Blue Day–Foreigner
  • Blue Orchid–The White Stripes
  • Blue Period–The Smithereens
  • Blue Period–The Smithereens
  • Blue Ridge Mountains–The Fleet Foxes
  • Blue Skies–Willie Nelson
  • Blue Sky–The Allman Brothers Band
  • Blue Telescope–John Hiatt
  • Blue Train–John Coltrane
  • Blues Before & After–The Smithereens
  • Blues Before And After–The Smithereens

There are worse ways to spend time than walking outside on a nice day while listening to the Cowboy Junkies, particularly their great opening track to their 200 More Miles live album. My first interest in music in the early 80s was driven by the American Top 40 radio countdown show, and as a result my knowledge and interest in musical acts was driven by facts, numbers, and trivia. As an example, while I wasn’t a Foreigner fan growing up, I was always interested that their song “Waiting for a Girl Like You” was the most successful (as defined by Billboard) song to not hit #1 on the charts–it spent ten weeks at #2, largely due to the success of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”. Luckily both songs were able to set aside their animosity and long-standing rivalry and both be covered on Glee. Perhaps the folks in the Middle East could take a clue from these bitter, bitter foes.

The White Stripes followed with “Blue Orchid”, which is both a great song, and a great flower (I know, I know–pretty controversial opinion that latter one is). Four of the next nine songs come from the Smithereens as “Blue Period” and “Blues Before and After” were hits off their album 11 so they also showed up on the greatest hits collection I own as well. I saw the Smithereens in concert my senior year in college and while it was a great show, I think my ears were ringing for days after. After the driving rock of the Stripes and Smithereens, the folk sounds of Fleet Foxes was an excellent change of pace, and it started a nice run with Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers.

While owning a telescope seems like something cool, getting to see the planets and stars and all, owning a blue telescope would increase the awesomeness by a factor of 10. It makes you wonder why electronics and gadgets have to be black–why can’t they be bright and vibrant colors instead? John Hiatt is really on to something there. Thank goodness I still had half a mile to go, as “Blue Train” takes a bit of time to hear, but as with all Coltrane, it’s worth finishing off.

May 19,2012

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

  • Blues Happy–Arrested Development
  • Board Meeting–Timbaland & Magoo
  • Boat Drinks–Jimmy Buffett
  • Boat of Car–They Might Be Giants
  • Bob–Drive-by Truckers
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream–Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band
  • Bob Dylan’s Blues–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s Dream–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s Dream–Brian Ferry
  • Bobby Jean–Bruce Springsteen
  • Bobby Jean–Jennifer Glass
  • Bodhisattva–Steely Dan
  • Bodies–Drowning Pool
  • Body–The Presidents of the United States
  • The Body of an American–The Pogues
An interesting trend in more recent albums, particularly hip-hop and rap is the linking of tracks. It’s not an issue if you’re listening to the album in its entirety, but if you’re listening to a variety of music, it can be odd or even confusing. The Arrested Development song that started my gym team had one of those transitions, but it led to the Timbaland song, and although the two acts have very different hip-hop sensibilities, the transition actually worked. Things got a little interesting at the end of the Timbaland track, which also had one of those lead-ins to the next song on the album, but here it led to Jimmy Buffett. While on the surface it seemed like a goofy pairing, Timbaland has shown on his two Shock Value albums a willingness to work with a variety of artists. It just seems unlikely to me that Jimmy Buffett will ever be on that menu. Speaking of goofy, “Boat of Car” is a silly song from They Might Be Giant’s self-titled debut.
I’m trying to decide whether to imagine the “Bob” the Drive-by Truckers are singing about Bob Dylan so I can say that a half dozen of the songs on the list were “Bob Dylan” titled-songs. I guess there’s no point in stretching things where five songs like that is plenty. Plus I love the Truckers’ story of Bob, a confirmed bachelor that takes care of his momma on its own, so it doesn’t need to enter the Bob Dylan mix. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the Dylan songs and their Chimes of Freedom covers. In fact, I’d challenge anyone to listen to “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” and not smile at some point when following the entertainingly convoluted story (and the Taj Mahal version is wonderful). I guess I should feel fortunate that I only heard about Bob’s first and 115th dreams and not songs covering the 113 in-between. No one covered “Bob Dylan’s Blues” on the four-disc compilation album, so I only had to hear that song once before hearing his unnumbered (so I’m assuming original) dream twice, once by him and once by Brian Ferry.
After I was done with Dylan, I got a Bruce Springsteen original and cover combo with “Bobby Jean”. I know I’ve got Mad Men on the brain as the fifth season is both heating up and winding down, but I derived particular pride from telling my wife that this song title is a combination of the first names of Don Draper’s two sons. I guess that makes Bruce a big (and clairvoyant) fan, seeing that it predates the show by 24 years. Or maybe Matthew Weiner is a Springsteen fan. Or maybe it is a coincidence.   While I loved the Steely Dan song that followed, I’m not sure whether I struggle to pronounce the name of the song or spell the name of the song more–thinking about that, VH1 or Fuse or one of the music television channels should have a musical spelling bee game show. If people watch preteens struggle to spell words that no one will ever use, wouldn’t people watch contestants spell things like “Lynyrd Skynyrd” or Bodhisattva” for exciting cash and prizes? I know I would.
I’ll admit to enjoying the Drowning Pool song “Bodies” and having it pump me up with exercising, giving me a rush to push through the Presidents of the United States and yet another chipper Pogues number.

Blind and Bleeding, but at least there’s ice cream!

Happy Mother’s Day to the tens of thousands of moms that read this every day! As a special aside, I’d like to also wish a happy anniversary to my wonderful bride of 17 years.  It’s been a tremendous adventure for me, and although things are a little scary and open-ended these days, I do look forward to where the journey takes us and our children in the next decade and beyond. One final note, a special birthday salute to a sister-in-law hitting a big milestone that I cannot specifically name out of simple fear for my life if I do.

May 13, 2012

Bonus walking while mowing my front and side yards

  • Blee Blop Blues–The Manhattan Transfer
  • Bleed–Collective Soul
  • Bleed It Out–Linkin Park
  • Bleeding Love–Leona Lewis
  • Bleeding Me–Metallica
  • Bleezer’s Ice-Cream–Natalie Merchant
  • Blessed Assurance–Iris Dement
  • A Blessing and a Curse–Drive-By Truckers

It seems that no matter where they appear on my lists, the Manhattan Transfer are always quite the curveball compared to the music that proceeded them (or in this case, the songs that follow). I think that’s an important subcategory of music that everyone show own–the change-up. If you love thrash metal, throw a country song in the mix. Break up your rap with a show tune, and vice-versa. It makes you appreciate your favorites all the more, and you might find yourself liking what you hear. (If you need this message delivered in a more entertaining method, read Green Eggs and Ham, only available in book format until it’s made into a blockbuster live-action movie starring Jim Carrey.)

A quartet of “Bleeding…” songs, by four distinctly different artists followed, with Collective Soul coming first. They’re a group perfect for a greatest hits collection, and I don’t feel I need their individual studio releases (truth be told, I might not have even added their greatest hits to my collection, except the CD was at my local library and I thought “why not”). Linkin Park and Metallica seem like the groups far more likely to have songs about bleeding, but the most famous song in this grouping that I own is the Leona Lewis number, which is a great, memorable pop hit.

Every year I make a mix CD of that year’s songs I enjoyed the most to send to family at holiday times and the 2010 version included “Bleezer’s Ice-Cream” by Natalie Merchant from her Leave Your Sleep album. The listing of the goofy and somewhat disgusting flavors really won me over the first time I heard it, and I still enjoy the song and the combinations, although I’d be hard pressed to pick one to eat.  I’m not hard pressed to name a gospel singer I enjoy–I have found myself gravitating toward a favorite of my wife’s, Iris DeMent (although I still enjoy calling her “Irish” DeMent just for the rise it gets out of my wife. I can be a jerk–who knew?) I closed by grass-cutting exercise with the title track of one of the Drive-By Truckers albums.

2+ mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #14 of the 2012 Season

  • Blew–Nirvana
  • Blew [Live]–Nirvana
  • Blind–The Talking Heads
  • The Blind Men and the Elephant–Natalie Merchant
  • Blind Willie McTell–Bob Dylan
  • Blind Willie McTell–The Nightwatchmen
  • Blinded by Love–The Rolling Stones
  • Blinded in Chains–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Blinding–Florence & The Machine
  • Bling (Confession of a King)–The Killers

It’s a real treat when you realize a band you like did earlier material that you haven’t sampled yet–it can be like they’ve released a whole new album. I know that this will make the hipsters groan, but I didn’t know anything about Nirvana until Nevermind. While my love of that album led me to move forward with future albums, it also gave me the opportunity to go back and enjoy Bleach, including the lead song from the album “Blew” (a nice homonym for the color, which I should be getting to fairly soon). The live version is excellent as well. The same concept worked for the Talking Heads, where I moved forward from Speaking in Tongues, but also went backwards. The only album I picked up at the release date was Naked, and like “Blew”, “Blind” is the lead song off that album as well.

I got another fun and visually imaginative song from Natalie Merchant’s most recent album that tells the story of the six blind men with the elephant, a favorite of mine. Bob Dylan doesn’t need five others to paint a complete picture of “Blind Willie McTell” and the cover from this year’s Chimes of Freedom does an excellent job with the song as well. The Rolling Stones song was one I thought was a cover for some reason, but I guess it’s a Jagger/Richards original. I go back and forth on my feelings for Avenged Sevenfold, but “Blinded by Chains” is one of their songs I really like. I’m also liked the last two numbers today from Florence & The Machine as well as The Killers.

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.


Can’t skip my 43rd birthday, can I?

Well, a big part of my self-inspection and decision to step up my activity became official today, as I reached my 43rd birthday, or as I like to call it, the day I am reminded of all my facebook friends. I knew there would be meatloaf (excellent) and cake (red velvet) waiting for me tonight, so it seemed fairly imperative that I get some preemptive calories burned earlier in the day to minimize the self-loathing that would come later when I kept eating more of the sacred birthday meal.

March 19th, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • After Midnight–Blink 182
  • After Midnight–Danny Elfman (from the Chicago soundtrack)
  • After Midnight–Eric Clapton
  • After Party–The Lonely Island
  • After the Fall–Elvis Costello
  • After the Flood–Lone Justice
  • After the Scene Dies–Drive-By Truckers
  • After the Storm–Mumford & Sons
  • After the Thrill is Gone–The Eagles
  • After You Who–Jody Watley
  • After You’re Gone–Iris Dement
  • The (After)Life of the Party–Fall Out Boy
  • Afterlife–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Aftermath USA–Drive-By Truckers

It’s entertaining to get three different songs that share a title. When one is known to you, and older than the others, you always wonder if the other songs are covers of the original. The Blink 182 is certainly not a cover, but a song from their 2011 release. My son was really excited in 2011, as three of his favorite bands, Rise Against, Sum 41, and Blink 182, all released new albums, and the latter two were the first releases by those bands in years. The second “After Midnight” also came from one of my children–my youngest daughter, who in addition to being a big Glee fan, also loves musicals. At some point, I need to take her to a Broadway show (but don’t tell her that I want to do that. I don’t need to worry about her reading this, as it isn’t Kurt-Blaine fan fic, it’s just her lame dad’s lame blog.) The last “After Midnight” is the one I know and love, the Eric Clapton version.

I’m not sure if this is disturbing or not, but everyone in my family is a huge Lonely Island fan–me, my three kids, and my wife. In fact, when we take long car trips, we rotate control of music–people can either choose to hear 10 random songs from their own playlist or an album and my wife chose Turtleneck and Chain on one of her rounds. Speaking of my wife, thanks to her we have so much Elvis Costello music that you’re going to have to excuse me if I just list him and not whichever backing band has accompanied him on the album, be it the Attractions, Impostors, or the Duran Durans. I am thankful that my wife introduced me to Lone Justice, so I have to give credit there.

Two different Drive-By Truckers songs this workout session. If you haven’t listened to the band, I highly recommend them. The Mumford & Sons song came from their album last year, which I received as a birthday gift from my family. This year I got the Childish Gambino release, so that will be showing up in the future. While I like “After the Thrill is Gone,” the thing I most remember about the song is the jarring piano piece at the end. It sticks out, and not in a good way. I wish that could have been isolated as its own track on the CD.

I mentioned the Red, Hot + Blue Cole Porter compilation yesterday, and got to hear the Jody Watley song today.I love a good compilation, particularly one that has a number of artists giving their take on a artist or composer. We just got the 4-disc Chimes of Freedom set, so that will take some time to absorb, but along with Beat the Retreat, the Cole Porter songs of Red, Hot + Blue is one of my favorite collections.

The last three songs come from family members–my wife (Iris DeMent), daughter (Fall Out Boy), and son (Avenged Sevenfold). They certainly are three significantly different styles, and are indicative of what makes music so entertaining–no matter what mood you are in, there will always be something for you to enjoy, whether you are 7 or 70 (or just turning 43).