Back into a routine

Boy that was quite the list of songs I dumped on you last time, and if it got to a point where your eyes glazed over and you skipped to the bottom, I understand completely and apologize. I’m attempting to make sure that doesn’t happen again, although I am now six visits behind again, although it’s for a good reason–while I was preparing that massive list, I’ve found my exercise inspiration and have gone to the gym each of the last six days (so I have to go tonight to make it a solid week!). It feels great to be back on an exercise routine–it may be my imagination, but when looking in the mirror this morning, my face looked thinner. I think I’ll have a cheeseburger to celebrate!

Friday, August 24, 2012

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

  • Day Tripper–The Beatles
  • Day Tripper–The Beatles
  • Daybreak–Barry Manilow
  • Daylight–Drive-By Truckers
  • Days/This Time Tomorrow–Ray Davies
  • Days Go By–Keith Urban
  • Days Like These–Asia
  • Daysleeper–R.E.M.
  • Dazed and Confused–Led Zeppelin

There’s certainly no problem hearing a song two consecutive times when it opens with an amazing guitar riff like “Day Tripper”, which is certainly my favorite Beatle opening and is in the all-time running as well. As an added bonus, hearing the name of the song makes me think of The Daytrippers, a great independent movie from the 90’s featuring Parker Posey. (Boy, she truly was the Queen of the Indys back then–Party Girl, Clockwatchers, The House of Yes, and more.) If you are looking for a musical talent to pair with the Beatles, there aren’t many candidates that can hang with the power of Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starr, but Manilow is one that works, right? (I kid, I kid, for the most part, but I still enjoy the occasional Manilow number.)

Two of the next three songs fit into the broad “country” label, with my preferred group being the Drive-By Truckers. The Keith Urban song is one I’m less familiar with, even though it was on one of my daughter’s first CDs she ever owned, Now That’s What I Call Music 17. Those modern-day K-Tel collections always collect 20 songs and 18-19 are pop, rock, or hip-hop, with one of two country songs thrown in, and Urban filled the quota on Volume 17. Sandwiched between the songs was one of my favorite numbers from the Ray Davies compilation of re-imagined Kinks numbers See My Friends, the medley of “Days” and “This Time Tomorrow” with Mumford & Sons. The Asia song “Days Like These” was an add-on song to their greatest hits collection (isn’t releasing a best of album after three studio albums a little ridiculous?).

After the R.E.M. song “Daysleeper”, it was time for some live Led Zeppelin. Usually I get to hear 12-15  songs during a gym workout, but today was only nine, owing to the 26-minute length of “Dazed and Confused”, meaning I thought this song would never end. (I guess when The Song Remains the Same was released as a double-record, this song was a side unto itself–easier to skip!)

Saturday, August 25, 2012 

3.12 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da–The Police
  • De Todo Un Poco–Michael Lloyd & Le Disc
  • Deacon Blues–Steely Dan
  • Dead–The Pixies
  • Dead–They Might Be Giants
  • Dead End Street–Ray Davies
  • Dead Hearts–Stars
  • Dead Horse–Guns N’ Roses
  • Dead Letter–Elvis Costello
  • Dead Man (Undertaker)–WWE
  • Dead Melodies–Beck
  • Dead Men Tell No Tales–Set Your Goals
  • Dead of the Night–Bad Company
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead or Alive–Journey

Old school Police is an excellent way to get the exercise ball rolling, even if an instrumental number from the second Dirty Dancing soundtrack follows and attempts to kill all forward momentum. When I play the “worst CD purchase I ever made” game, that secondary bonus soundtrack is a strong, strong contender. It’s so bad that I even feel guilty trying to pass it off as something my wife brought into our relationship. I have to take full responsibility for it. I will also take credit for the Steely Dan in our collection, although it is only a greatest hits collection, which I think is more than enough for me.

The music of the “Dead..” starts next, and I’m talking literal titles, not selections from Jerry Garcia’s band. I own two simple “Dead” songs from great sources–The Pixies and They Might Be Giants. I’m more attached to the TMBG song historically, but who doesn’t love the source of the Pixies’ number, the amazing album Doolittle?  I then got another Ray Davies offering from See My Friends (it seems like an inordinate number of tracks on the album start with ‘D’–3 of 14 to be exact). I highly recommend this album, which has received a significant bump in plays in the family household recently.

“Dead Hearts” is an excellent number from the Montreal-based band who, if you’re looking for a new album to enjoy, will be releasing their latest, The North, next week (9/4/12).  This was followed by a hate/love combo for my wife, as she cannot stand Guns N’ Roses, but I think I could have gotten her to hang on through the song with the promise that Elvis was coming up next. Of course, a WWE theme following would have gotten her to leave post haste, even if it is one of the many cool variations on the Undertaker’s music. She’d eventually regret leaving, as she would then miss an awesome Beck number (it’s like the alphabetical list is playing tennis with my wife’s musical emotions!)

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Set Your Goals, one of the many new musical acts my son got into this past summer. I probably need to give their work more attention before making a decision. I do feel fine about one of my daughter’s groups, Fall Out Boy, but they’ve been part of our library for a much longer timeframe. (Although I’m not a big enough fan that hearing “Dead on Arrival” three times in a row made me happy.) My list closed with some Raised on Radio Journey, the album that made us realize that group was effectively “Dead…” and is now just a touring nostalgia act.



Would the real Matt Nathanson please stand up?

This week continues an excellent run of consecutive gym appearances. Lost in this streak is walks to commemorate Red Sox victories–as of this writing, I think I am 6-7 victory marches in the hole. I plan to rectify that oversight next week. Even without my promised bonus walks I am extremely happy with my level of exercise these last few weeks, and I’m back in a place where if I don’t get out and get moving, I’m angry with myself–quite the 180 from the usual sluggish “take an act of Congress to get me moving” Dean. Let’s cover three days of exercise lists in this entry:

Monday, July 23, 2012

3.20 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Colossal–Wolfmother
  • Coma–Guns N’ Roses
  • Come & Talk to Met (Radio Edit)–Jodeci
  • Come and Get Me–Timbaland featuring Tony Yayo & 50 Cent
  • Come Around (featuring Timbaland)–M.I.A.
  • Come As You Are–Nirvana
  • Come As You Are [live]–Nirvana
  • Come Back–Foo Fighters
  • Come Back Around–Feeder
  • Come Back Baby–Elton John
  • Come Back to Me–Janet Jackson
  • Come Crash–A.C. Newman

Wolfmother was another band that I knew nothing about until I heard their “Joke & The Thief” track in the Rock Band series. They’re still not a group I’d choose to listen to on most days, but their metal tracks do inspire me while I’m trying to exercise. That’s also true about the music of Guns N’ Roses, a band I do occasionally choose to listen to (and plan on putting on when I am finished with this entry). The Jodeci song is from one of my many compilation albums. If my list were like the Oscars, Timbaland would be a double nominee with Lead Performer on “Come and Get Me” and Supporting Male on the M.I.A. song “Come Around”. I obviously am a fan of Timbaland, but I enjoy the second song more because of M.I.A.

There are worse things in life than getting a double shot of Nirvana, particularly a studio/live combo of anything off Nevermind and Live in Reading. If you haven’t heard the latter (I’m kind of assuming that everyone has at least listened to, if not a proud owner of, the former), do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Always a bit fitting when Dave Grohl’s band the Foo Fighters comes after Nirvana. “Come Back Around” is yet another song (and by extension, band) to be introduced to me via soundtrack, specifically, the American Wedding compilation. I’m not sure if it puts me in the mood to own more Feeder–any Feeder fans out there willing to argue the group’s cause? As for Elton John, I’d argue I have the perfect amount of his music–a 4-disc boxed set I purchased while in college.

Monday’s list closed with a Janet Jackson number from Rhythm Nation 1814. (It was amazing that the album managed to produce *7* top 10 hits, including “Come Back to Me”), and a track from A.C. Newman, who I love, but would guess will not produce 7 top 10 hits in his entire career, even if you include the New Pornographers (which is a shame).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3.10 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Come Dancing–The Kinks
  • Come Dancing [live]–The Kinks
  • Come Go With Me–The Beach Boys
  • Come Monday–Jimmy Buffett
  • Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)–Bruce Springsteen
  • Come On Eileen–Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Come On Eileen–Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Come On Get Higher–Matt Nathanson
  • Come On Home–Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Come On, Come In–Velvet Revolver
  • Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)–The Offspring
  • Come Sail Away–Styx
  • Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)–Hairspray Cast
  • Come Together–The Beatles

The opening two tracks for Tuesday’s exercise are my studio and live versions of the Kink’s “Come Dancing”, the song that first got me into the group, and seeing how awesome their earlier work is, makes that song an important and beloved touchstone in my musical education. Plus it’s a great story song that is fun to sing along with whenever it plays. The next two songs are appropriate summer numbers from the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett. The Springsteen number is a previously unreleased track from his Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions, which leads into my first-ever “favorite song” Dexy’s Midnight Runners only US hit, “Come on Eileen”. I didn’t really listen to music until I was 14, when I started listening to popular radio. “Come on Eileen” started rising up the charts, and it was my first go-to radio song.

So I’m listening to “Come On Get Higher”, a song my daughter purchased on iTunes a few years back and I find I’m really enjoying the song, but I don’t know the name of the artist. When I look him up, I see that he’s also the singer of “Laid” from the third American Pie movie, American Reunion. I couldn’t believe the two songs came from the same artist (although it made a bit more sense when I learned that “Laid” was originally a James song and things made a bit more sense. We actually have a third Matt Nathanson song, a cover of a Muppets’ number “I Hope that Something Better Comes Along” from The Green Album. I have to hand it to Nathanson, able to create such different tunes and styles is quite a feat. (To be honest, the three songs I own could be the outliers–for all I know, all his other songs may sound the same,)

The hits keep “Coming…” (Ha! Get it? Anyone? Is this thing on?) with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Velvet Revolver, which I’m pretty sure was a common double bill for summer concerts tours.  Next up was a favorite of my kids (and admittedly, me as well), The Offspring and a classic 80s band, Styx. My youngest daughter added the Hairspray number to the collection, but the comparison to the next song, “Come Together”, made the Fab Four’s number even sweeter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Come Together–The Beatles
  • Come Undone–Duran Duran
  • Come Undone–Duran Duran
  • The Comedians–Elvis Costello
  • Comfortably Numb -[live]–Pink Floyd
  • Coming Around Again/Itsy Bitsy Spider [live]–Carly Simon
  • Coming Back to You–Martin Gore
  • Coming Back to You–Trisha Yearwood
  • Coming Clean–Green Day
  • Coming Home for Christmas–Kristy Starling
  • Coming Up–Paul McCartney

Just as Tuesday’s list ended with an Abbey Road classic, Wednesday’s set began with the same song, this one from the compilation album. It’s a double double as two copies of the Duran Duran song “Come Undone” comes next, followed by an Elvis Costello number. Hearing my one copy of “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd reminds me of one of the major holes in my record collection–we do not own The Wall. (it’s tough to admit, so I just need to think what Jack Black’s character Barry said in High Fidelity to the shopper that didn’t own a copy of Blonde on Blonde–it’s going to be ok). We will have to rectify the Floyd oversight at some point, however. After Pink Floyd live, I got another live number, this time from Carly Simon, a mashup of her hit “Coming Around Again” and the children’s song “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.

We own two covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Coming Back to You”, which led into Green Day and a nondescript Christmas carol. Things closed with a third live song in this list, one by Paul McCartney. I actually don’t think I’ve ever heard the studio version of “Coming Up”, but that’s not an oversight I need to correct as quickly as The Wall.


Strother Martin, Rock Star

So I am desperately hoping that my time of unemployment will end soon (please!?) and don’t want to regret not taking advantage of the time of fitness opportunity. So Wednesday, July 18th started a run of 8 (and counting) consecutive days with gym visits. It’s getting me further and further behind on the blogs, so maybe I’ll start doubling up some days here, but that may not even be enough–I may have to cover 3-4 lists per blog to truly get back and current. Nice thing is that I’m down another 4 pounds for a total of 9 since I started this blogging plan. So that makes me feel a bit better about myself.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • City of Mud–The Dead Milkman
  • City of Night–Bruce Springsteen
  • Civil War–Guns ‘N Roses
  • The Civil Wars–David Byrne
  • Clairvoyant Disease–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Clampdown–The Clash
  • Clap Your Hands–They Might Be Giants
  • Clap Your Hands–A Tribe Called Quest
  • Class–Chicago Cast
  • Cleanin’ Out My Closet–Eminem
  • Clear–Miley Cyrus
  • Cliches of The World–The Kinks

The list begins with my final two “City…” songs and they are from artists as different as day and night (or mud and night I guess). I’d argue that the Milkmen are as goofy as the Boss is earnest, but I love each in their own right. I believe that the first time I saw a “get this at midnight” promotion, which is so common now for movies, video games, and music, was for the release of the two Use Your Illusion CDs from Guns ‘N Roses. I was at Indiana University at the time, and I remember the record store on Kirkwood opening special for the release (I can’t remember the name of the store, but it was across from Nick’s.) While I did buy the CDs on the first day, I waited until after classes in the afternoon. “Civil War” opens with Strother Martin’s famous “…failure to communicate…” speech from Cool Hand Luke, which I had not seen at the time, so I found the clip baffling. I wonder if he got paid for the appearance in the song. I guess one “Civil War” wasn’t enough for David Byrne, so he went for multiple “…wars”.

Thanks to Avenged Sevenfold for giving me a song to push myself to, and while it was great in its role, “Clampdown” did an even better job due to my love of the Clash and London Calling. Both TMBG and ATCQ (not sure people use the abbreviation for A Tribe Called Quest, but I think it looks great) want me to clap my hands, and although each take a different musical approach, both cases are compelling. I’m a big fan of two of the final four songs listed–can you guess which two? Time’s up–and I hope the cast of Chicago and Ms. Cyrus do not take my choices personally. But how can you choose against the bitter payback anthem from Eminem or the rock anthem from the most overlooked of what I consider the big four of British bands that started in 60’s (with the Beatles, the Who, and the Rolling Stones).



A son ten years older than the father?

BBoy am I getting behind on this thing–I am going to have to pull some all-nighters to get back on schedule! Well, I’m also going to give a bit of the short shrift to the songs that I heard the week of July 9th–when I get to them I think you’ll completely understand. Meanwhile, I hit the gym to make up for lost missing car time.

Friday, July 7, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cheyenne Anthem–Kansas
  • Chicago Is So Two Years Ago–Fall Out Boy
  • Child In Time–Deep Purple
  • Child Star–Ron Sexsmith
  • Child’s Play–WWE
  • Childhood Memories–Iris DeMent
  • Childhood Remembered–Danny Elfman
  • Children Go Where I Send Thee–Natalie Merchant
  • Children of the Dark–Richard Thompson + Danny Thompson
  • Children Play with Earth–Arrested Development
  • Chimes of Freedom–Bob Dylan
  • Chimes of Freedom [live]–Bob Dylan

Boy isn’t “Anthem” a correct (if a bit pretentious) term when describing a Kansas song? Their songs are so sweeping and over the top–I can only take them a bit at a time and then I’m all set for quite a while (and my wife is just like me, except she can do just fine with no Kansas and then she’d be all set.) Speaking of pretentious, if the song title is long, overinvolved, too clever for its own good, and possibly not actually tied to the song itself, then you’ve probably got yourself a Fall Out Boy song. The funny thing is that I like their music; I just don’t get the titles. My list then swung back to 70s power rock with a Deep Purple track. Back in the 70s, when I wasn’t a big listener of music, I do remember hearing “Smoke on the Water” quite a bit, but that was the extent of my Deep Purple knowledge.

While my Ron Sexsmith knowledge is equally shallow, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard from the two albums a friend gave my wife years ago. “Child’s Play” is one of my least favorite WWE Entrance themes, as I never was the biggest fan of the Eugene character. It almost feels like Iris DeMent and Danny Elfman should combine the next two songs, as “Childhood Memories Remembered” makes a lot of sense, although seeing that Elfman’s piece is from the first Batman movie, and probably refers to Bruce Wayne thinking about the brutal murder of his parents, perhaps DeMent would like to stay as far away from that childhood as possible. Iris is probably a better match for the next artist, Natalie Merchant. (After all, Natalie did cover DeMent’s “Let The Mystery Be”.) Here, Merchant is contributing one of my favorite underrated Christmas songs.

The children’s section wraps up with songs from Richard and Danny Thompson and Arrested Development, both of which (I thought) have an extra touch of irony on the kid’s front. I was prepared to discuss how Danny is the son of Richard Thompson, and it’s nice to see him performing with his father, but actual research taught me that Danny is not related to Richard (and is actually 10 years older!) So thank God for research! The second “Child..” song, “Children Play With Earth” is from the Christian rap group Arrested Development, which is of course a great childhood term. My list closed with two versions of “Chimes of Freedom”, one of which closes the 4-disc Dylan tribute set we’ve been listening to often recently.

Saturday, July 8, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper-body weight work at the gym

  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • Chinese Democracy–Guns ‘N Roses
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)–The Chipmunks
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)–The Chipmunks
  • Chiquitita–ABBA
  • Chiron–All That Remains
  • Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns–Mother Love Bone
  • Chop Me Up–Justin Timberlake Feat. Timberland & Three-6 Mafia
  • Chop Suey!–System of a Down

Well, if you have to hear a song three times in a row when working out, “China Girl” isn’t that bad a candidate to fill the role. As aptly demonstrated in The Wedding Singer (the soundtrack of which produced one of the versions today), it’s a great song to sing along with, but I wouldn’t recommend doing in on an elliptical machine at the gym–people give you the strangest looks. The other interesting note on the three versions of the song is that even though they are all studio cuts, and none are extended mix versions or anything like that, each has a different song length, and while there’s only a 4-second difference between the two compilation versions, the one from Bowie’s greatest hits is 1:12 shorter–I guess he was in a hurry to get to his other classic songs.

Like many Guns ‘N Roses fans, I was so excited when they finally released Chinese Democracy, the title track of which came next. And don’t get me wrong, it is great to have Axl back in my musical life. But I think the band should have a different name, as Axl without Slash doesn’t feel like GnR. But I was pining for more from that album after having to hear the Chipmunk’s signature song twice. I do have two thoughts on this group. First of all, the Chipmunks sound awesome when you’re a kid, but one of the first signs of growing up is when you realize just how grating their songs are. Second, if the Department of Child Services also covered animated talking chipmunks, I think I’d feel obligated to call them to investigate David. He just sounds evil when pushing the boys to pay attention, sing their songs, and sing them RIGHT!

ABBA is definitely a “Greatest Hits only” band (.45 on the Simple Minds Scale), and I wasn’t even aware that “Chiquitita” was one of their biggest international hits–I honestly thought it was a song about a banana. All That Remains is a band my son likes–they’re frankly not for me. The Mother Love Bone song is great and of course two members of the band went on to form Pearl Jam, so I was probably predisposed to like the song. I also enjoyed the two songs that closed the list as Timberlake is always quality music and the System of a Down song is goofy and fun as well.

Celebrating My Musical Moralist

For the most part, I am trying to keep my bonus Red Sox walks exactly that–bonus exercise. So when I go to the gym each day, I don’t want the time I spend doing cardio to double up as the commemorative walks as well. So today I needed to pull double duty and get out and walk and go to the gym. It feels great to do both when I have the time (and right now time is something I have in abundance), but it leads to a large list of songs to discuss…

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

4+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victories #37 and #38 of the 2012 season

  • Cars–Gary Numan
  • Cartwheels–Reindeer Section
  • A Case of You–Joni Mitchell
  • A Case of You–Prince
  • Casey Jones–The Grateful Dead
  • Casey Jones–The Grateful Dead
  • Cassie–Flyleaf
  • Cast No Shadow–Oasis
  • Cat Like Thief–Box Car Racer
  • Cat’s In The Cupboard–Pete Townsend
  • The Catalyst–Linkin Park
  • Catch Hell Blues–The White Stripes
  • Catch My Fall–Billy Idol
  • Catcher in the Rye–Guns N’ Roses
  • Catching On Fire–They Might Be Giants
  • Catfish–Bob Dylan
  • Catholic Pagans–Surfer Blood
  • Caught By The River–The Doves
  • Caught By The River–The Doves
  • ‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel–Cowboy Junkies
  • Cautious Man–Bruce Springsteen
  • The Cave–Mumford & Sons

If you asked me to name a quintessential 80’s song, “Cars” has to be a strong candidate, or at least would have been for me until I just found out it was released in August of 1979. So that would have disqualified the song from being an answer and made me look foolish for even considering it as a choice, so I’m glad we never had that conversation.  I guess I could argue that the song, like car models, came out late in the previous year in order to make buyers/listeners feel like they were on the cutting edge. Perhaps it’s best to move on to the next song, another OC soundtrack selection. It’s a favorite of mine, but not one that got me into a new group, as I guess the Reindeer Section were not going to be a full-time act. Next up is an old original-and-cover combo, but the pairing of Joni Mitchell and Prince was certainly unique and worth my time.

I was just thinking about when I was young and used to object to songs that had the wrong message in them. Now that could pretty much wipe out half of all music to me, as sex, cheating, drugs, etc. are all open season, but I am talking about a time when I was really young and subtlety was generally lost on me. The song had to really hit you on the head for me to understand. As a result, three songs really bothered me back then, starting with the Grateful Dead’s cautionary tale “Casey Jones” (how much clearer can ‘Driving that train, high on cocaine’ be?) As an FYI, the other two were Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Woman # 12 & #25, which I was sure was about smoking pot (and may be more  concerning the literal meaning of stoned), and the Carpenters’ “Top Of the World”, and I’m sure this one takes some explaining, but when Karen sang of being ‘on top of the world, looking down on creation’, my young Catholic mind thought she was equating herself with God and I knew that was wrong. Those were the three biggest offenders in my mind. “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones? They were right, it did taste so good–particularly on oatmeal!

Flyleaf led into my first Oasis song from their incredible (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? album. I was not an Oasis fan when I started watching Lost back in 2004, so I didn’t initially get the Oasis/Driveshaft links that I get now. Box Car Racer is a Blink-182 spinoff band my son loves, but if I met them, I’d have to chastise what I think is their poor syntax. I believe they need a hyphen in the title “Cat Like Thief” between the first two words unless they are expressing the affection their feline has for a burglar. The Pete Townsend song is from his Empty Glass album, a particular favorite of my wife, and the Linkin Park song is from one of my son’s albums. I like the band, but I’m finding that a number of their songs are bleeding together in my opinion. I was able to push myself on the walk thanks to the rocking efforts of the White Stripes, Billy Idol, and Guns N’ Roses.

They They Might Be Giants song is one of their quick numbers from the “Fingertips” section of the Apollo 18 album. There was certainly a flavor to the closing of the list that my wife would enjoy, as she has always been the family’s biggest fan of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and the Cowboy Junkies, but her current interest (or I may go so far as to say obsession is Mumford & Sons. Their CD is being worn out in the car and she has finally learned that youtube can be used for band videos and live performances. When I played for her the Ray Davies and Mumford & Sons collaboration from the former’s recent See My Friends album, the joy in her face was evident. The remaining songs were favorites of mine, with a Surfer Blood selection from their first album and two versions of the Doves’ “Caught By The River” (we own it on both an OC soundtrack and an MTV compilation album)

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

  • Cave In–Owl City
  • Cecilia–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cecilia–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cecilia Ann–The Pixies
  • Cedars of Lebanon–U2
  • Celebrate Me Home–Kenny Loggins
  • Celebration–They Might Be Giants
  • Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin
  • Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin
  • Celebration of the Lizard–The Doors
  • Celebrity–Barenaked Ladies
  • Celebrity Skin–Hole
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago

Gym time began with the techno pop of Owl City. While it’s not the catchy hook of “Fireflies”, it’s still a fun song to both listen to in stationary mode or while working out. I got to hear two copies of “Cecilia”, which I think is the biggest Simon & Garfunkel song to not make the Concert in Central Park. It did however, get a nice mention in an episode of How I Met Your Mother a few years back, complete with a visual aid to the gag. (I will not spoil it for those who haven’t seen it). I guess the Pixies felt like it wasn’t enough for there to be a song celebrating girls named Cecilia, they wanted to be a bit more specific with their tribute to gals with the moniker “Cecilia Ann”. I think I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t given a close enough listen to U2’s newest album, so I wasn’t familiar at all with “Cedars of Lebanon”, the album’s closing tracks.

Time to celebrate! (Not that I have good news yet, I’m just to the four “Celebration…” songs on my list!) The first is by decades the most recent, and the one I like listening to the most from old friends They Might Be Giants. I also have studio and live versions of Led Zeppelin’s song, and apparently the Doors track was a previously unreleased number from the group, although it’s nice to see our friend the Lizard get his proper celebratory due, particularly as he makes his film debut in The Amazing Spiderman, out today in theaters. (Of course my daughter saw it at midnight and loved it!)  I heard two songs that cover the pitfalls of fame, with Barenaked Ladies singing about how amazing it would be to be famous and Hole covering the darker side of it all. My last three songs were from the film adaptation of the musical Chicago. Now I don’t want to get your hopes up if you haven’t seen it–it’s not like Mama Mia, only with the songs of Peter Cetera and Chicago. It’s a musical about jail, fame, and jazz. It’s supposed to be a great film (it won the Oscar for Best Picture), but to date I have had no interest in seeing it.


Pretending to be Zac Efron

Another month is here and it’s another opportunity to push my exercise routine and hopefully finish the “B”s. That’s actually my secondary wish. My primary desire is that I obtain gainful employment before the month ends, so I can go back to enjoying three-day weekends just in time for Independence Day (the holiday, not the movie).

June 1, 2012

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

  • Breakdown–Breaking Benjamin
  • Breakdown–Guns ‘N Roses
  • Breakdown–Scars On 45
  • Breaker Breaker–Peter Bjorn and John
  • Breakfast in America–Supertramp
  • Breakfast in Bed–Train
  • Breakin’ At The Cracks–Colbie Caillat
  • Breakin’ Up–Rilo Kiley
  • Breakin’–The All-American Rejects
  • Breaking Free–High School Musical Cast
  • Breaking Free [instrumental version]–High School Musical Cast
  • Breaking Point–Eric Clapton
  • Breaking The Girl–Red Hot Chili Peppers

Just as I closed yesterday with multiple interpretations of a single-word title, I open today with three (instead of two) versions of “Breakdown.” The first is the most obvious, as a group named Breaking Benjamin doing a song that begins with “Break…” (In fact, it’s so obvious that this is the second Breaking Benjamin song to begin that way, as I got one yesterday.) The Guns ‘N Roses “Breakdown” is a 7+ minute opus from the Use Your Illusion CDs, and once again, seemed like a no-brainer as Axl, Slash, and company seem like the type that would “break” things. The last “Breakdown” is the most recent and my favorite of the three, a Scars on 45 single from their self-titled album release this past April. This song was the free iTunes song of the week awhile back and I was already hearing Scars on 45 on our local alternative radio station and liking what I was hearing, downloading this song convinced me to get the entire album.

The Peter Bjorn and John song makes me think of my childhood. Not the sound–they are distinctly modern–but the title. I remember there being a bit of a CB radio craze in the late 70’s with music (“Convoy”), movies (the Smokey and the Bandit series) and TV (BJ and the Bear) among those contributing, and I remember if we’d play CB radio, you had to start your transmitions with “breaker, breaker…” (or “breaker 1-9…”). Keeping the 70’s theme was Supertramp with “Breakfast in America”, a song today’s kids more readily know as “Cupid’s Chokehold”. I hadn’t heard the Train song before, but really enjoyed it. The same can be said for just about any Colbie Caillat song–her voice is just soothing and enjoyable; it’s the embodiment of Light FM.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d read that Rilo Kiley is no more, which adds a level of sad irony to their song “Breakin’ Up”–it is clearly written about a romantic coupling, but there’s really no reason the lyrics cannot be about a musical bond as well. I guess that makes all of us music fans the children of this messy musical divorce.  I’d say that happily for my kids in particular, the All-American Rejects are still together, but currently none of them are into the band these days. That can obviously change, as we all have musical acts that, while I don’t want to say that we fall in and out of love with them, we do have periods when we listen to their songs intently and other periods where we ignore them.  For some acts, they are lost forever.

I’m guessing that “Breaking Free” was considered one of the big hits from the first High School Musical as our CD of the soundtrack had two versions. I got to hear the normal (with lyrics) version first before then getting an instrumental version (according to the description, it is a karaoke track, so if I ever want to break out the karaoke machine we got some years back as a Christmas present, I could do my best Zac Efron impersonation, and who wouldn’t want that? Luckily I got to close things with an Eric Clapton song from him Journeyman CD and an awesome Red Hot Chili Peppers number. Perhaps I should pretend to be a member of the Peppers, but then again, I think it would be better for everyone if I kept my shirt on.


Things are about to get “Big…” around here!

Got May off to a great start by hitting the double exercise today. If I want to do it tomorrow, it will be a freebie as the Sox couldn’t get over .500.

Another side movie note: I was (well, I still am) all excited for The Avengers to release this weekend, thinking it was going to be the summer movie of the year, but then yesterday saw the release of a new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Returns.  I feel this was deliberately put out this week to remind the world who is still the king of the superhero movies until proven otherwise.

May 1, 2012

2+ mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #11

  • The Best of My Love–Brooks & Dunn
  • The Best of My Love–The Eagles
  • The Best of Times–Styx
  • Best of You–Foo Fighters
  • Bet On It–High School Musical Cast
  • Beth–Glee Cast
  • Betrayed–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Better–Guns ‘N Roses
  • Better Days–Elliott Murphy
  • Better in Time–Leona Lewis
  • Better Live–Keith Urban
  • Better Than It Was–Fastball

I was really disappointed with the Brooks & Dunn cover of the Eagles hit “The Best of My Love”–it felt like a simple aping of the song, a feeling even more profound when I hear the two songs back-to-back. It doesn’t help much that while I’m a big fan of the Eagles, it’s one of my least favorite songs of theirs. I actually already had Styx on my mind recently as yesterday when driving to the store, “Come Sail Away” came on and my wife admitted to actually liking it. This was quite the moral victory for me, as my wife is not a fan at all of the late 70s arena rock bands like Styx, REO, Journey, etc.

While working at WWE, when meeting with prospective licensing partners or retailers, we used to open the presentation with a “sizzle reel”, a video that showed WWE’s global reach, our superstars in and out of the ring, their charitable efforts with the military, Make a Wish, literacy, anti-bullying, as well as the spectacle of WrestleMania, international shows, and more. The productions always gave me goose bumps as our TV people did an outstanding job setting the footage to popular rock songs. One of my favorite sizzle reels was set to “Best of You” and it always set a great tone for meetings and presented WWE in the best possible light.

TV films and shows that got kids back into musical theater contributed the next two songs on my list, starting with a Zac Effron-led number from High School Musical 2 and then a Glee cover of a Kiss song performed by the boys in show choir. Kiss was the first concert I ever saw, back in 1980. The funny thing is that I really wasn’t into their music; I loved their theatricality and stage show. I actually own more covers of their hits than originals.

After a sanitized power ballad from one of the classic hard rock bands of all-time, I got back-to-back harder rock songs from the real McCoy’s, although there’s still a little something untrue about that label on the latter group. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Chinese Democracy album, but I don’t view it as a Guns ‘N Roses album. I feel Axl should have left the band name in the past and created something new.

After nondescript songs from Elliott Murphy, Leona Lewis, and Keith Urban, I closed with a Fastball song from All the Pain Money Can Buy, a favorite of both my wife and I. We originally got it just for the song “The Way” but soon found that we liked the rest of the album as well.

3.46 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Better Than Most–A.C. Newman
  • Better Than Revenge–Taylor Swift
  • Better That We Break–Maroon 5
  • Better Things–The Kinks
  • Better Things–The Kinks
  • Better Things–Ray Davies & Bruce Springsteen
  • Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight–Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
  • Between a Man and a Woman–Kate Bush
  • Between My Legs–Rufus Wainwright
  • Between the Lines–Debbie Gibson
  • Between Two Lungs–Florence & The Machine
  • Between Two Worlds–Tom Petty
  • Beyond Belief–Elvis Costello
  • Beyond Belief–Elvis Costello
  • BFFF–Bowling for Soup
  • Bicycle Race–Queen
  • Big Bad World–Plain White T’s

Another track from A.C. Newman’s The Slow Wonder kicks off my gym session. If you’re a fan of A.C. Newman, I’d suggest the albums of his group, The New Pornographers, as well (and the reverse is true, too). Just a day after Taylor Swift moved me with one of her songs, she tried to hit me with a follow-up that didn’t generate the same emotional response. Too soon, Taylor, too soon. Not much to say about Maroon 5 again–I promise that will change in the future.

“Better Things” is one of my favorite songs of all time, and it’s a message that I need to hear now more than ever, and hearing the song three times re-enforces the message. The first two versions are the original Kinks song, while the third is an entertaining duet between Ray Davies and Bruce Springsteen from Davies See My Friends album of last year, and it’s one of my favorite tracks from the album. I got a live track from Bob Seger next.

As mentioned earlier, I can always count on my wife to dislike certain rock acts, but she is not a fan of one of the biggest alternative acts of the 80s either. The thing is, I’m not a huge Kate Bush either, but something possessed me to buy The Sensual World CD during college.  It doesn’t get a ton of play these days, but I do enjoy the musical callback of hearing one of her songs from time to time. Another artist that I own some material from but do not usually listen to is Rufus Wainwright, who followed Bush. Then I got another track from a CD that I purchased in college (and there’s far more regret on this one), Debbie Gibson’s “Between the Lines.”

Florence & The Machine is a newer act that all members of the family, particularly my twins, love. I’m always trying to get my kids to love some of my favorites (like Tom Petty, who contributed a track from his Long After Dark album) and my wife probably feels the same way, so she would champion Elvis Costello (who followed Petty with two version of “Beyond Belief”). The music education goes both ways, as my youngest loves to extol the virtues of Bowling For Soup (and as I’ve said before, some times their songs connect (and “BFFF” is one of them), but some times it doesn’t work for me.

It’s always nice to have a Queen song in the rotation, and things closed with the Plain White T’s.