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.

 

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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.

Who wants apple spit in their face?

The two days covered today represent the 10th and 11th days of consecutive gym visits–one of my best runs in months. And I feel fine with the reason the streak ended, as my wife, kids, and I got to visit my parents, sister, and nephew on Sunday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Contact–Rent
  • Contagious–Avril Lavigne
  • Continental Drift–The Rolling Stones
  • The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill–The Beatles
  • Contrecoup–They Might Be Giants
  • Control–Metro Station
  • Control–Glee
  • Controversy–Prince
  • Conversation 16–The National
  • Cook’s County–The Who
  • Cooksferry Queen [live]–Richard Thompson
  • Cooksferry Queen–Richard Thompson
  • Cooksferry Queen–Richard Thompson
  • Cool–WWE

If you ask me the best way to start a workout playlist, “Broadway showtune” is not high on my list of options. Now my youngest daughter would strongly disagree with me, particularly when said track is from Rent, one of her favorite musicals (and she’s into them enough that she could do a top 10, and really have to consider all the candidates). I don’t know much about “Contagious” but I should give it more of a chance because I do find myself enjoying most Avril Lavigne I hear. That is also true of Rolling Stones content, including today’s song from their Steel Wheels album. Now while all Beatles songs, particularly their later works, are awesome, some are less useful as workout numbers. Luckily, “The Continuing Adventures of Bungalow Bill” works well in that capacity.

Once again, They Might Be Giants has me looking up information on a song title of theirs. Apparently “Contrecoup” is a head injury, specifically an injury that occurs on the opposite side of the injury’s impact. What a great group–one that entertains and educates! Two different “Control” songs followed with Metro Station giving their own version of the song, while the cast of Glee covered the Janet Jackson hit. I then got to hear a trio of artists I love, starting with an early Prince hit, “Controversy”, which is now more that 30 years old, which I consider the true controversy. Next up was one of my favorite more recent acts, The National, with a track from their most recent album. This trio closed with the Who, which is always welcome. Speaking of trios, I got a trio of “Cooksferry Queen”s from Richard Thompson, with one live and two studio versions. The song was originally on Mock Tudor, a favorite album of the family. When he was young, my son loved “Crawl Back” in particular, which I’ll be visiting soon enough. This list closes with one of the most baffling WWE theme songs ever, that belonging to Carlito. The song opens with Carlito speaking and he states “I spit in the face of people who don’t want to be cool.” Here’s my question. Who doesn’t want to be cool? Particularly if the consequences are getting chucks of pre-chewed apple spat at you? I never got that at all. Wouldn’t it have been better and made more sense if he just said “I spit in the face of people who are not cool” or something like that?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

3.15 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cool, Cocky Bad–WWE
  • Cool Dry Place–Traveling Wilburys
  • Cool For Cats–Squeeze
  • Cool Front–Digable Planets mashup with The Who
  • Cool Jerk–The Go-Gos
  • Cool Places–Sparks & Jane Wiedlin
  • Cool the Engine–Boston
  • Cool Water–Talking Heads
  • Cool, Cool River–Paul Simon
  • Cooties–Hairspray
  • Copacabana (At the Copa)–Barry Manilow
  • Corporate Ministry–WWE
  • Corrina, Corrina–Bob Dylan
  • Corrina, Corrina–Pete Townshend
  • Cosmic Love–Florence & The Machine
  • Cosmic Thing–The B-52’s

It’s another paired bracket as I get another WWE theme to open this list after one closed the last. It’s actually the first of two WWE theme songs I heard today, with the Honky Tonk Man’s Elvis tribute coming first and the mashup of Vince McMahon and Undertaker themes coming later in the list. Speaking of mashups, a message-board friend created (or just shared, I’m not entirely sure) “Cool Front”, which mashes Digable Planet’s “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” with the Who’s “Eminence Front” (easily one of my top 10 Who songs).  The combo is outstanding. The two songs before the mashup were great as well, as I will never tire of the Traveling Wilburys or Squeeze.

I love the Go-Go’s (saw them in concert my senior year in college), but “Cool Jerk” is my least favorite song by the group. If I want to hear a “Cool…” song involving a Go-Go, I’d much prefer the next track “Cool Places” with Jane Wiedlin of the group teaming up with Sparks. I loved the song when it first came out (the only year of junior high/high school that I had MTV), and was happy that I was able to add the single to my collection thanks to a compilation album. “Cool the Engines” is probably one of the biggest “no duh” songs for the group Boston as it seems like all their album covers were built around giant guitar-shaped spaceships. Coming back to Earth, the Talking Heads sang of “Cool Water”, and if you were looking for a location for such a thing, Paul Simon would correctly suggest a “Cool, Cool River”.

After things were cool for such a long time, I guess the antidote would be some “Cooties”, which arrived courtesy of the Hairspray soundtrack. I think my wife would argue that the list continued moving in a non-cool direction with “Copacabana” (she is most assuredly not a Fan-a-low), but I do find the song fun and will sing along whenever it comes on. If my singing has the chance to embarrass my wife and kids, well it’s always nice to get a bonus like that, right? While most of the Chimes of Freedom cover artists are newer acts, some of the album’s tributes come from stars as revered and longstanding as Dylan himself, and on “Corrina, Corrina”, Pete Townsend provides one of the best of those pairings. I may have to borrow Boston’s guitar rocket for the last two songs, as things get a bit “Cosmic…” with a Florence & The Machine number and the title track from the B-52’s album.

Charlize Theron introduces Teenage Fanclub to me

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the blogging discipline to post entries on two consecutive days, but that’s today’s goals. Now to ensure that I do it, I may only write about one day’s list, but with a list as varied and awesome as the mix I got on 7/26, I think it’s worthwhile. By the way, on a real-time front, I am excited to report that I’m nearing a number of exciting milestones in both the song list and the blog. I’ve kept pushing my exercise routines, so I am less than a dozen songs from completing ‘C’ and moving on to the fourth letter in the alphabet, which is always an exciting time–only 25 letter switches after all. I’m also closing in on 2,000 songs. I will have to calculate my pace to see how I’m doing, but I think things are moving well. On the blog front, I’m within 20 views of quadruple digits–that’s right 1,000 views! I still need to consider new and exciting ways to promote the blog, but I’m happy with the direction over the first 85 posts.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Commotion–Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Complicated–Avril Lavigne
  • Complicated Girl–The Bangles
  • Complicated Shadows–Elvis Costello
  • Complicated Shadows–Elvis Costello
  • A Complicated Song–“Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Computer Assisted Design–They Might Be Giants
  • The Concept–Teenage Fanclub
  • Concrete and Clay–Unit 4 + 2
  • Conga–Miami Sound Machine
  • Congratulations–Traveling Wilburys
  • Conquest–The White Stripes
  • The Consequences of Falling–k.d. lang
  • Conspiracy–Paramore
  • Constant Craving–Glee Cast
  • Constructive Summer–The Hold Steady

This was one of my favorite exercise lists to date–there was something was everyone! (Well, except for people that don’t like music at all. In that case, I’m fairly certain that nothing would satisfy you.) CCR is always an excellent opener to any music list, including exercise-based selections. I’m trying to remember whether “Complicated” or “Sk8ter Boi” was our first exposure to Ms. Lavigne. My oldest daughter doesn’t remember either, but she did remind me that she heard a song in Circuit City (RIP), really liked it, and I ended up buying her the CD–her first music CD ever. Luckily, she’s not so connected to Avril that she can’t see the humor in the parody song “A Complicated Song” from Weird Al that shows up later in the list, and I, of course, love the number despite it opening with a stanza devoted to constipation.

I think Everything by the Bangles is a great and overlooked album and “Complicated Girl” is an excellent track from the release. As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, my wife is the Elvis Costello fan, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying his work as well. I mostly know his more famous tracks, but “Complicated Shadows” is a fun number as well. Back when I was doing computer books in the 90s for Sams, I was always baffled by the lack of pop songs about CAD (Computer Aided Design). Thankfully, They Might Be Giants stepped in and corrected this oversight on their Here Comes Science album. Luckily, you don’t need a dongle to enjoy the album (about 3 people are going to get that reference!).

We all have pop culture blind spots and clearly Teenage Fanclub sat in one of mine. It took seeing Young Adult to draw my attention to “The Concept”. I was highly impressed with both, and immediately purchased the song on iTunes. If you haven’t seen the film, get it. Charlize Theron’s work in the movie is outstanding, and I thought both she and Patton Oswalt deserved Oscar nominations for their work in the film. (I will warn you that there’s almost nothing redeeming about the story’s central character, and I know that some can find that off-putting, but it really works for me.) My wife did not enjoy the film as much as I did, but the next song, “Concrete and Clay”, comes from the soundtrack of one of her favorite films of all time, Rushmore.

The next two songs are 80s releases, with one being a bit pop hit (“Conga”) and the other an album track from the first Traveling Wilburys album (by the way, I hate to head things off onto a grammar and syntax tangent, but shouldn’t the plural form of “Wilbury” be “Wilburies”?). “Congratulations” was one of the Dylan-vocal driven songs from Volume 1. Things jumped ahead a few decades for one of my favorite White Stripes songs, “Conquest”. With two songs remaining, it’s a little ironic that I get one k.d. lang song and “Constant Craving” (lang’s biggest hit), but they are not the same song. Instead, I got the opening track from Invincible Summer and the Glee version of “Constant Craving”, which means I need to purchase the original version of the song. The other last two songs are a Paramore number, and my favorite Hold Steady song, “Constructive Summer”.

 

 

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.

Musical Candy and Commentary everybody wants

Nice to see the Red Sox reeling off some victories these days that have forced me to add two-mile walks to my daily routines, so that on days when I don’t get to the gym, I still get out and do something. It was particularly important this past weekend after I took Friday off from exercising and had to eat out twice in a row. I know what you’re thinking–“Had to? Right…” but it’s true. As I continue to look for work, I have applied for managerial work at Plan B Burger, an outstanding Burger, Beer, and Bourbon chain here in Connecticut (but coming soon to DC and Boston), and as part of the application process, I had to eat at two locations. I was so excited to do so that I ate both lunch and dinner at the chain Friday. I highly recommend Plan B–their burgers are outstanding, and everything else I’ve tried on the menu has been a distinct treat as well. In particular, you should get the Disco Fries–french fries covered in cheese and gravy (probably not the best thing to discuss in an exercise column, but treating yourself every once in a while is important in life, right?).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2+ mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #36 of the 2012 season

  • Can’t Stand It–Wilco
  • Can’t Stand Losing You–The Police
  • Can’t Stop–Maroon 5
  • Can’t Stop the Rain–Cascada
  • Can’t Stop This Thing We Started–Bryan Adams
  • Can’t Take It–The All-American Rejects
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You–Lauryn Hill
  • Can’t Tell Me Nothing–Kanye West
  • Canadian Idiot–“Weird Al” Yankovic
  • Canajoharie–They Might Be Giants
  • Canary in a Coalmine–The Police
  • Canceled Check–Beck
  • Candle in the Wind–Elton John
  • A Candlelit Dinner with Inamorta–Asking Alexandria
  • Candles–Hey Monday
  • Candles–Glee
  • Candy–Jackson Brown
  • Candy–The Presidents of the United States
  • Candy Everybody Wants–10,000 Maniacs

I mentioned recently that Wilco’s collaboration with Billy Bragg was when I first became interested in the band, and that initial spark grew when I started listening to my wife’s copy of Summerteeth. I enjoyed the album enough that I bought the next Wilco album, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, on its release, which turned out to be an excellent decision, if I do say so myself. But “Can’t Stand It” is from the previous album, and while I love the song, I do understand why it wasn’t a mainstream hit for the band, despite their record label’s best efforts. During this walk I would get two different early Police songs, with the first, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, being the bigger hit of the two, but as I get older in life, I’m finding myself enjoying the less-known “Canary in a Cole Mine” more.

I hit a run of pop hits starting with Maroon 5. One thing I’ve noticed about Maroon 5 songs is that they all sound like hit singles even if they were never released as singles. The Cascada song was a hit single, but one my kids enjoyed more than me. The last pop hit in the run was from Bryan Adams. In the 80’s I was a big fan pf the Canadian superstar, but as he released later albums, I was less interested in the songs. I think this was equal parts of my musical interests changing and Adams’ music getting a little more soft rock than it had been. The All-American Rejects broke me out of my top 40 run with an album cut from their breakout album “Move Along”. By the way, if you get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend them. In fact, they are the last act I’ve seen in concert.

While I enjoy Lauryn Hill’s version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (she gives it, like all her songs, an ethereal soulful quality), I still can’t hear the song without thinking of Heath Ledger’s performance of the song in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, a teen romance version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, (see, learning the classics can be fun), which gives the song a sad edge. Kanye ends the “Can’t…” portion of my list with “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, which is such a great song that I’m willing to overlook the double negative.

Things take a turn for the humorous and offbeat with a Weird Al parody of Green Day, and a They Might Be Giants song, “Canajoharie”, which I thought at first was a made-up name, but is in reality a town in New York. The Beck song reminded me of how much I like listening to Beck and that I let too much time go between album plays for the group. I’m glad the only version of “Candle in the Wind” that we own is the original version–I found the newer version tweaked for Princess Di a little bit tacky. I got to hear another Asking Alexanderia song (still not a fan), followed by original and Glee versions of “Candles”.

Three versions of “Candy…” songs closed the list, and each approached a different take on the subject. The Jackson Browne version is about a woman named Candy, while the Presidents of the United States are singing about literal candy. 10,000 Maniacs sings about metaphorical candy in their song (television), which was even better when the Kinks did it a decade earlier in “Give the People What They Want”.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #37 of the 2012 season

  • Candy Everybody Wants–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Everybody Wants [live]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Everybody Wants [single version]–10,000 Maniacs
  • Candy Floss-Wilco
  • Candy’s Boy–Bruce Springsteen
  • Candy’s Room–Bruce Springsteen
  • Candy’s Room–Crazysloth
  • Cannibal Resource–Dirty Projectors
  • Cannonball-The Breeders
  • Cannonball–Supertramp
  • The Cap’n–They Might Be Giants
  • Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa–Vampire Weekend
  • Capri–Colbie Caillat
  • Captain Jack–Billy Joel
  • Caramel–Suzanne Vega
  • Caramel–Suzanne Vega
  • Carbon Monoxide–CAKE
  • The Card Cheat–The Clash
  • Careful–Paramore

After closing the Saturday walking session with the unplugged version of “Candy Everybody Wants”, I opened with three more versions of the song, including the album cut, a live version that includes Michael Stipe from a CD single for “Few and Far Between”, and the version from its own CD single. Hearing this song three more times reminded me just how much I loved 10,000 Maniacs in college and the first few years out of school. Seeing that I got into the Talking Heads to impress a girl, I feel like 10,000 Maniacs were the first band I discovered without radio airplay for me. And that run of In My Tribe, Blind Man’s Zoo, Our Time in Eden, and Unplugged was just spectacular. The other amazing aspect of their run was the CD singles, particularly those mentioned earlier. I’d buy them even though I owned the album with the hit because there’d be three other songs with each, such as the group’s cover of “Don’t Go Back to Rockville” or their version of “Let the Mystery Be” done with guest David Byrne. I don’t seem to see releases like that any more.

I got another Summerteeth track from Wilco, and it helped me learn that candy floss is a synonym for cotton candy. My run of “Candy…” ended in symmetry as I got a final group of songs about “Candy…” that referred to a woman with that name. The first was from the Bruce Springsteen album The Promise, and was an earlier version of what would eventually become “Candy’s Room”, which we also own a cover version from the Light of Day album. After a Dirty Projectors number, I got to hear two different, yet both highly entertaining songs with the title “Cannonball”. If forced to pick, I’d choose the Breeders version, but I’d have no problem listening to the Supertramp song as well.  Things take a turn for the awesome with one of my favorite more recent They Might Be Giants songs and another travelogue from Vampire Weekend’s first album.

Colbie Caillet led into an early Billy Joel hit, “Captain Jack” (see how smart They Might Be Giants were to name their track “The Cap’n” so theirs came before “Captain Jack”!) Excellent close to my workout list with Suzanne Vega getting me hungry for dessert, a hunger that grew when I realized my next song was performed by CAKE–so tasty they should be in all capital letters. Any time you get a song from London Calling, one of the greatest albums of the Rock era, is a good time, and I also enjoyed the track from Paramore to close the weekend’s work.

 

Can’t get through all the Can/Can’t songs in a day…but did get the pseudo-Stones!

After taking a exercise breather on Tuesday because we were running all over the place with it being the last day of school. To celebrate, my twins went to see Prometheus and my youngest  (not a fan of scary films or TV shows unless they feature the brothers of Supernatural) attended Rock of Ages. Combine that with my wife working and my oldest daughter participating in her high school’s graduation ceremony, and it led to a lot of running around. To make up for the lack of movement Tuesday, Wednesday was a double-activity day, particularly with the Sox winning Tuesday night:

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #34 of the 2012 season

  • Campus–Vampire Weekend
  • Can I Have This Dance?–High School Musical
  • Can I Sleep in Your Arms?–Willie Nelson
  • Can You Be True?–Elvis Costello
  • Can You Dig It?–WWE
  • Can You Feel It–Timbaland feauturing Esthero & Sebastian
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight?–The Lion King Cast
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight?–S Club
  • Can You Find It?–They Might Be Giants
  • Can You Hear What I’m Saying?–Toto
  • Can You Rock It Like This?–Run D.M.C.
  • Can You Tell–Ra Ra Riot
  • Can’t Be Seen–The Rolling Stones

Always nice starting off a walk with an artist you really enjoy, and for me, Vampire Weekend certainly fits that description. They seem like the perfect band to discover when you get to college, so “Campus” seems like a apt first-album song. Getting through the High School Musical song as quickly as possible is fine by me, particularly when there’s so many more musical questions that need to be asked, starting with Willie Nelson’s “Can I Sleep in Your Arms?”, followed by Elvis Costello’s “Can You Be True?” It seemed like the start of a nice theme, as the questions (even the High School Musical one) seemed like the type you would progressively ask the same person. Not sure if the next question kept the theme going. I listed the artist as WWE as it came from a WWE album, but it was WWE Originals, a release featuring Superstars performing their own hits,so this was Booker T’s first (I think) and last (hopefully) rap number. Nothing against the guy personally, I just don’t think his talents lay in the musical arena.

I heard a Timbaland number from Shock Value II (which I did not enjoy nearly as much as the first) before getting two versions of the famous Lion King ballad “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” Ironically, neither is the original film version–one is from the Broadway adaptation and one is from one of Disney’s bubblegum pop cover collections. While I know the latter is targeted more at kids, particularly toddlers and preteens, if you’re looking for music for that group, They Might Be Giants is a much better bet. “Can You Find It?” comes from their second “kids” album, Here Comes the ABCs, and is an excellent example of why they’re a much better kid’s act than most–their songs are intelligent and both kids and adults can enjoy them.

After my TMBG, I traveled back to the magical world of the ’80’s for a pair of songs, first the boys of Toto, then the pioneers from Run D.M.C. As a rule, I think I’m going to love any song that uses the term “homeboy” as they do here. Things got a little more modern with Ra Ra Riot, then took a term for the confusing when things went from the positive (“Can”) to the negative (“Can’t”) with the last song on the list, “Can’t Be Seen.” When listening to my songs, I like to quiz myself with the question “who is the artist?” I’m pretty good at it, but this song had me stumped. I figured it must have been someone my wife or kids liked or an obscure artist from a soundtrack or compilation. Turns out I was way off–it was a Rolling Stones number. What threw me is that it’s the rare Stones hit not sung by Mick Jagger, which makes me argue that it’s not a true Stones song (and I’m not just rationalizing because I couldn’t get the song right…well, maybe a little).

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

  • Can’t Be Tamed–Miley Cyrus
  • Can’t Buy Me Love–The Beatles
  • Can’t Buy Me Love–The Beatles
  • Can’t Buy Me Love [live]–Paul McCartney
  • Can’t Cry These Tears–Garbage
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling–REO Speedwagon
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling–Glee
  • Can’t Get Enough–Bad Company
  • Can’t Get Around (Flash Funk)–WWE
  • (Can’t Get My) Head Around You–The Offspring
  • Can’t Get There From Here–R.E.M.

I don’t have a problem with Miley Cyrus (although I do think singing “Can’t Be Tamed” is a little problematic for someone of her age), but I was happy to get multiple listens of a Beatles classic (2 studios and then Paul McCartney live in concert). My oldest daughter has been on a Beatles run recently, which is always nice to see a new generation of fans get into the greatest band in the history of rock music.  After a track by Garbage, it was back to the 80’s and another band my wife would rather not hear, REO Speedwagon. This is the song I use to tease her the most, as I constantly tell the kids that “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was our wedding song, and it never fails to get a rise out of her. It may be to the point where she prefers the Glee version (who am I kidding–it hasn’t gotten to that point!).

Things closed with first a classic hit from Bad Company, a classic wrestling theme, and then music from the Offspring and R.E.M.