My racial obligation to Coldplay

I was on my own at the gym this evening as the twins purchased tickets for a Batmanathon at the local cinema. Their night started at 6:00PM with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight followed, leading up to a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. I didn’t want to see the film at midnight, instead deciding to wait to see it at a lower-priced matinee and with my wife. I was just lucky enough to wake up at 2:45AM and drive to the theater to pick up my children. (At the time, I was blissfully ignorant of the Colorado tragedy–as it should go without saying, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims from that senseless tragedy.) The kids loved the movie and were so adamant that I needed to see it as soon as possible. I’ll get to my thoughts on the film in the next blog, so instead let’s jump into some exercise-fueled music!

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Cliff Diving–+44
  • Climb Ev’ry Mountain–Peggy Wood
  • Climbing The Walls–They Might Be Giants
  • Clocks–Coldplay
  • Cloissone–They Might Be Giants
  • Close (To The Edit)–The Art of Noise
  • Close To the Borderline–Billy Joel
  • Closer–Kings of Leon
  • Closer To Fine–Indigo Girls
  • Closer To Fine–Indigo Girls
  • Closing–Danny Elfman
  • Closing Time–Semisonic
  • Closure–The Story So Far
  • Cloud Nine–Evanescence

I was pretty sure +44 is a band that my kids enjoy, and when I looked them up on the interwebs, I learned they were a spin-off from Blink 182, so that’s a big yes. That’s not to say I don’t like their music–in fact I found it a great exercise soundtrack, particularly when it is compared to the song that followed, a nun song from the film version of The Sound of Music. Luckily, the next “Climbing…” song was one I enjoy more and started a two out of three They Might Be Giants songs, with both coming from later albums, their last two “adult” studio albums in fact. It is amazing the long and distinguished career the band has carved for itself and I certainly hope the parents that purchased their kid’s albums decided to sample their other music as well. In between the two TMBG songs I got a Coldplay number. According to Donald Glover, I have to like Coldplay because I am white (it’s a punchline to a joke about people asking him if he likes Barrack Obama). Luckily “Clocks” is a pretty good song.

As I got close to the middle of my list, I heard my first “Close…” song, one that I used to listen to far more often in college. The Art of Noise doesn’t seem to pop into the nostalgia rotation nearly as much as other 80s/90s artists (like a proto-Spin Doctors–that’s not fair; I like the Art of Noise more than that and they don’t deserve the cheap shot). I’m not a big fan of the Billy Joel number, and after “Sex on Fire”, Kings of Leon got a little tired for me. I’ll never be tired of “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls, so having to hear it twice was not a problem for me.

After a short Danny Elfman instrumental piece from the Nightmare Revisted compilation, I got Semisonic’s biggest hit of all time “Closing Time”, followed by a Story So Far song my song loves and an Evenescence song my youngest daughter loves.

Friday, July 20th, 2012

3,00 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • The Cloud Prayer–A.C. Newman
  • Clouds–The Jayhawks
  • Cloudy–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Clown Attack–Danny Elfman
  • Clown in Broad Daylight–Ron Sexsmith
  • Clowntime is Over–Elvis Costello
  • Clubland–Elvis Costello
  • Clubland–Elvis Costello
  • Clumsy–Fergie
  • The Coast–Paul Simon

Before I go on, I’ve got a bit of a confession. With my run of (now 10 straight days and counting) of gym visits leading me to falling behind on my song-list blog posts, I have started to forget the start and stop points of my list. I promise that I’ve listened to every song listed, but one or two may be off by a day. I’ve fixed the problem by creating a word document that lists the range of songs each day to keep me on target when I fall behind. That being said, this was an excellent run of songs (if not exactly an ideal workout playlist). My Cloud trio of A.C. Newman, the Jayhawks, and Simon & Garfunkel kept things ironically sunny, particularly the Jayhawks number. Like the earlier list, I got a Danny Elfman instrumental number, but this one was from the Batman soundtrack. After indy singer Ron Sexsmith, Elvis Costello made three appearances covering two songs, and Fergie’s pop hit Clumsy followed. The list closes with a bit of serendipity as I am sitting in my living room watching a tribute to Paul Simon when he won the Gershwin prize (it’s on Netflix instant if you’d like to see it), but I don’t believe the coincidence  will extend to the extent of “The Coast” showing up on the special as well.



Who does Michael Jackson better, Fall Out Boy or Fergie?

Before I get things rolling here, I’d like to ask for a moment of silence for Starburns…his name is Alex! (For those confused by the reference, Community killed it  again tonight with an awesome Law & Order parody that dropped character development for a series of jokes that killed it, with a great Wire reference thrown in as well. It was nice to laugh after a tough day, but at least I had a third straight day of double exercise, and tomorrow is going to be a fourth straight day. Go Sox!

April 26, 2012

2-mile walk to commemorate Red Sox Victory #7 of the 2012 season

  • Beast and the Harlot–Avenged Sevenfold
  • The Beast in Me–Nick Lowe
  • Beast of Burden–The Rolling Stones
  • The Beat–Elvis Costello
  • The Beat [Live]–Elvis Costello
  • The Beat–Elvis Costello
  • Beat It–Fall Out Boy featuring John Mayer
  • Beat It–Michael Jackson
  • Beat It–Michael Jackson
  • Beat It 2008–Michael Jackson featuring Fergie
  • Beat the Retreat–June Tabor

It was a bit cold and windy for my outside walk, so to hear something by Avenged Sevenfold was a great was to push me right away. A7X is not a band I listen to often, but they are pretty entertaining when I’m in the right mood. So I was happy with the first of my “Beast…” trilogy. The middle section is a Nick Lowe contribution to the Sopranos soundtrack, and it’s like a treat as I don’t recollect hearing it before, and I enjoyed the song. I have, of course, heard “Beast of Burden” many times, and the Stones deliver as always.

The next seven entries on the list are only two songs, starting with three different versions of “The Beat” by Elvis Costello. Then I got four versions of the Michael Jackson classic, “Beat It”. Ironically, the first version is not by the King of Pop, but instead Fall Out Boy, with John Meyer trying to fill the drug-addled shoes of Eddie Van Halen. I like covers that bring something new to a classic song, but this one felt like a tribute band more than an artist giving a new rendition. The next two versions were two copies of the original before my last “Beat It” being the 2008 update of the song, which once again, didn’t feel like anything special, just Fergie taking some of Michael’s lines so it was more of an alternating duet than collaborative. I wondered if this was because it was released after Michael had died, but the album came out in 2008 (the 25th anniversary of Thriller) and Jackson passed in 2009, so it was just his career that was dead.

The last song of my walk was a cover that I enjoyed a bit more, with June Tabor giving her spin on Richard Thompson for the title track of the tribute compilation.

3.61 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Beat the Retreat–Richard Thompson
  • Beat the Retreat [Live]–Richard Thomspn
  • Beat the Time–Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
  • Beatbox (Diversion One)–The Art of Noise
  • Beaten to The Punch–Elvis Costello
  • Beating Around The Bush–AC/DC
  • Beatnik Beach–The Go-Go’s
  • Beats to the Rhyme–Run D.M.C.
  • Beautiful–Barenaked Ladies
  • Beautiful–Christina Aguilera
  • Beautiful–Glee Cast
  • Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)–John Lennon
  • Beautiful Bride–Flyleaf
  • Beautiful Day–U2
  • Beautiful Disaster [Live]–Kelly Clarkson

After closing my walk with the cover, I get to open gym time with studio and live versions of “Beat the Retreat” by the original artist, Richard Thompson. Mrs. Paul Simon’s group follows before we get to one of those “Why did I buy this CD again” songs. The Art of Noise CD was a college purchase that was probably driven by either “Paranomia” or  the “Peter Gunn Theme”. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy the Art of Music, but when I do hear on of their songs, a little goes a long way, particularly when you consider the length of some of their songs (“Beatbox” clocks in at longer than eight and a half minutes).

From the “didn’t see that coming” file, I got another Elvis Costello song, then my pizza group, AC/DC returned. Now I enjoy the Go Go’s a great deal; I even saw them in concert in college, although the only album of theirs I own is their greatest hits, and I’m pretty content with just the one album (1 Mind on the Simple Minds scale). However, of all their tracks on that compilation, “Beatnik Beach” is my least favorite. I just feel they were trying for something and didn’t quire hit the mark with the song.

Like the Go Go’s, another “greatest hits only” act for me is Run D.M.C. I love their music–they were my second-ever rap group (I do remember being obsessed with “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang back in 1980 to the point where I’d constantly be singing/chanting the lyrics to myself, event getting a fellow 5th grader to once chastise me “enough already!”) I had no follow-up with the Sugarhill Gang, never buying an album, cassette, or single. But once I heard “Walk this Way” by Run D.M.C., I had to own the album, and I remember wearing out my cassette copy of Raising Hell. I finally got them on CD (their greatest hits), allowing me to explore other tracks from different periods of their career.

The Barenaked Ladies song “Beautiful” is a different than the more famous Christina Aguilera version. The BNL song is a serenade to a loved one, while the latter is a truly moving song for female self-image, even when Glee does it. It’s sad hearing the John Lennon tribute to his son as it makes me realize that the boy lost his father at too early an age, a pain I understand. The “Beautiful…” festival continued with Flyleaf and then U2, although that song still makes me think of the countdown to Triple H’s return from injury at the Royal Rumble years ago. I closed with the inaugural winner of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, singing one of her infectious pop numbers that show she was the right choice all those years ago. I just hope she never tries to cover “Beat It”.