3-Day Workout Weekend!

I’m not saying that you can jinx yourself, but I should have known better. After my last post where I practically broke my arm patting myself on the back for gym visits on six consecutive days, I casually mentioned that I had to go Thursday in order to make it a solid week. Can you guess what happened? If you chose Dean worked out for a solid hour and felt great about himself afterward, well, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but unfortunately circumstances (a nice way of referring to my laziness) prevented me from getting to the gym. To make up for it, I worked out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. (Couldn’t get to the gym on Monday as it was only open until 1PM due to the holiday and those circumstances–sleeping in–reared their ugly heads again.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

(Before the Friday list, a miss from Wednesday’s list:)

  • The Democratic Circus–The Talking Heads

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Demon’s Eye–Deep Purple
  • Demons–Guster
  • Demons Are Real–Guided by Voices
  • The Denial Twist–The White Stripes
  • Dental Care–Owl City
  • Denver–Willie Nelson
  • Deora Ar Mo Chroi–Enya
  • Depending On You–Tom Petty
  • The Deportees Club–Elvis Costello
  • Derelict–Beck
  • Derezzed–Daft Punk
  • Descent Into Mystery–Danny Elfman
  • Desecrate Through Reverence–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Desecration Smile–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Desire–The Gaslight Anthem
  • Desire–U2

I have to admit that normally, if I realized that I missed a song, I’d probably just ignore it instead of calling attention to my error. However, I decided to mention the song due to its incredible timeliness over the past two weeks. I usually get to the gym at night, and so recent workouts have been accompanied by the Republican and Democratic conventions. I’m obviously listening to music, so I didn’t get to hear the speeches, which was almost perfect conditions for viewing the conventions. The only flaw was the presence of close captioning, so I did have to read the BS on occasion.

Deep Purple has played a musical role in my life longer than most other bands, simply because I remember when I was 7 or 8 that we had a family stereo with an 8-track player and a K-Tel 8-track with “Smoke on the Water” was one of the songs in the selection. Nothing seemed dumber to me than when a song was broken across more than one section of an 8-track, and you had to hear “duh-duh-duh-duh Click-Click!” and then the song would continue. Guster is a band that has seen my interest in them grow from my introduction to them (they opened for Barenaked Ladies at a concert) to the first album of theirs I owned (Goldfly, a Christmas present) through Easy Wonderful. Another gift album track came next as a work friend of my wife and I gave us a copy of Bee Thousand.

I’d like to see a triple bill concert featuring the White Stripes, Owl City, and Willie Nelson just to see the different fanbases interact. That’s always an underrated aspect of attending concerts live–in college I saw Squeeze open for Fleetwood Mac (this was in 1990 or 1991) and while I was a fan of both, it seemed like most had chosen one side and one side only. I’m not entirely sure why I own an Enya album, and I’ll be honest–it doesn’t get a lot of play. After a trio of song regulars (Tom Perry, Elvis Costello, and Beck), it was back-to-back instrumental soundtrack numbers, starting with a Daft Punk song from the Tron reboot and then some Danny Elfman.

Of particular note from the last four songs is my first number from the Gaslight Anthem, who’s album, Handwritten, is a new addition to the music library. So far it’s excellent, and I am sure one of their tracks will make my year-end sampler for sure.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

3.21 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Desolation Row–Bob Dylan
  • Desolation Row–My Chemical Romance
  • Desolation Row [Alternate Take]–Bob Dylan
  • Desperado–Clint Black
  • Desperado–The Eagles
  • Desperados Under The Eaves–Warren Zevon
  • Despertar–Aisha Duo
  • Destination Moon–They Might Be Giants
  • Destiny–Richard Thompson
  • Destroya–My Chemical Romance

It’s not Led Zeppelin-level, but half of my workout was devoted to one song, although it was three different takes on that number. We own two long versions of “Desolation Row”, at 8+ and 11+ minutes, and a more radio-friendly 4-minute version, and as you could probably imagine, the two Dylan takes are the long takes. We also have two different versions of “Desperado”, but as anyone who watched Seinfeld can imagine, that song is more of a punchline than composition to me these days. I don’t think “Witchy Woman” ever really stuck for Elaine.

It’s good that I had excellent Warren Zevon and They Might Be Giants songs sandwiched around “Despertar” as I hadar no idea where that song came from or even who Aisha Duo is. Every time I hear “Destination Moon” I think it has been too long since the last listen–sometimes I wish iTunes had a feature that would allow you to mark certain songs on your larger playlists to increase the probability that they would show up in a shuffle. Richard Thompson make his seemingly daily appearance on my list, followed by a poorly spelled, yet enjoyable, My Chemical Romance number.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Destroyer–The Kinks
  • Destroyer–The Kinks
  • Destoyer [Live]–The Kinks
  • Details in the Fabric–Jason Mraz featuring James Morrison
  • Detroit Rock City–Kiss
  • Detroit Rock City–The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Deuce–Lenny Kravitz
  • Devil’s Arcade–Bruce Springsteen
  • The Devil’s Been Busy–The Traveling Wilburys
  • Devil’s Dance–Metallica
  • Devil’s Haircut–Beck
  • Devil in the Eye–Big Country

Nothing gets you pumped for exercising like the Kinks’ “Destoyer”, so hearing it three times in succession was just fine by me. It does remind me that I need to get some older (60s and early 70s) work by the band, and it’s not the easiest task if you’re lazy like me–none of their earlier albums are on iTunes and it’s not like modern stores carry a deep selection of older albums.   I love when I get a song that “features” a performer I’ve never heard of in my life–that is, assuming that Jason Mraz didn’t do a song with the long-assumed diseased singer of the Doors who is using a formal first name to throw us off the track.

I actually don’t own much Kiss, which is funny as they were the first musical act I ever saw in concert. I was in sixth grade at the time, living at the National Asthma Center in Denver, Colorado. A bunch of us talked the councilors into letting us go. We didn’t know the music that well–it was the makeup, breathing fire, spitting blood, and the rest of the performance art that hooked us. (I do believe the councilors that took us got into a lot of trouble for letting us see the band. For that, I am sorry.) In a rare coincidence, I then got back-to-back Kiss covers from the Kiss My Ass compilation album, and I love them both, particularly the Lenny Kravitz version of “Deuce”.

The Devil continues his musical run thanks to the Boss, the Wilburys, Metallica, and Beck. The last song today (another “Devil” number) comes from the Big Country compilation shared with me by a friend this summer. It’s quite a treat as the only work I had by the band before was their seminal “In A Big Country” (which is still my favorite), but the music in the A to Z sent to me is very different and shows the band’s range.

 

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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.

 

A birthday bash for a bunch of birds

Time to get back on the bike–which would be an apt metaphor if riding a bike was my form of exercise either in the neighborhood or at the gym. But as phrases, “Time to get back walking” or “Time to get back on the elliptical” don’t have the same poetry or familiarity, so what are you going to do?

May 8, 2012

2+ mile walk in the neighborhood to commemorate Red Sox victory #12 of the 2012 Season

  • Billy’s Bones–The Pogues
  • Billy’s Got a Gun–Def Leppard
  • Biomusicology–Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  • The Bird & The Worm–Owl City
  • Bird Flu–M.I.A.
  • Bird on a Wire–Willie Nelson
  • Bird on a Wire–Leonard Cohen
  • Bird on a Wire–The Lilac Time
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul–They Might Be Giants
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul [Live]–They Might Be Giants
  • Birds and Ships–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Birds Fly–They Might Be Giants
  • The Birds Will Still Be Singing–Elvis Costello
  • The Birth of Christ–Boys II Men

I’m not sure if the members of Def Leppard are friendly with the boys of Aerosmith, but if they are, the former should introduce their “Billy” to Aerosmith’s “Janie” as the two already have a common interest of gun ownership. However, if Billy is the one giving Janie so much trouble, then perhaps the Pogues song that started things off are referring to his bones. The Ted Leo album was a gift from a family member, and I’ve enjoyed it over the years, but have never gone deeper into the band’s discography.

One of the interesting aspects of going through my entire list in an alphabetical manner is learning little trivia bits, like the fact that we have 10 songs that begin with “bird…” in the family collection. The Owl City song comes from my kids’ addition to the library–an album we picked up after the huge hit that was “Fireflies”. The rest of the album also has his infectious beats and witty lyrics as well. “Bird Flu” was the first song that introduced me to M.I.A. and it got me to listen to the rest of Kala; for that I’ll be always thankful (if you haven’t listened to the album, you should. I am not the only one recommending that you do. I was reading the special Rolling Stone magazine on newsstands now that lists their picks for the top 500 albums of all time, and Kala made the list.

We only own one Leonard Cohen album strictly speaking (a greatest hits collection), but we also own two tribute albums where other artists cover his work. This leads to three versions of some of his more popular tunes, like “Bird on a Wire”. His lyrics are so well crafted, it’s a joy to hear the song repeatedly from the well-known Willie Nelson to the Lilac Time, who I was not familiar with despite the face that they’ve had a 20-year career. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” was They Might Be Giants’ first hit off Flood, their major-label debut, and the live version is a nice bonus. I had one more “Bird…” song from TMBG, a short, 90-second number from their earlier days.

My collection of “Bird…” songs gives me yet another chance to laud Mermaid Avenue, the masterful album that Billy Bragg & Wilco put together and “Birds and Ships” prominently features Natalie Merchant on vocals.  Hearing the song inspired me to listen to the entire album this morning. The last “Bird…” song comes from on of Elvis Costello’s experimental albums, The Juliet Letters, that he did with the Brodsky Quartet. My walking list concluded with a Christmas song from Boys II Men.

3.41 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • The Birth of the True–Aztec Camera
  • Birth Ritual–Soundgarden
  • Birthday–The Beatles
  • Birthday [Live]–Paul McCartney
  • Birthday Boy–Drive-By Truckers
  • Birthday Gal–The Replacements
  • Biscuits & Gravy–WWE
  • The Bitch is Back–Elton John
  • Bitches Ain’t Shit–Dr. Dre
  • A Bite Out of My Bed–The New Pornographers
  • Bitter End–Dixie Chicks
  • The Bitter End–Sum-41
  • Bitter Tears–INXS
  • Bittersweet–Panic! At the Disco
  • Bizarre Love Triangle–New Order

Nothing like the navel-gazing sounds of Aztec Camera to get a workout started! Although if I was truly looking for something edgy to get the blood flowing, the second entry in the list from Soundgarden fits the bill. But I’ll be honest, almost any music works for me, so don’t think I got all mopey and was only moving at 2.1 miles per hour during the first song.

I’ve mentioned before my love of the music game Rock Band, and it should go without saying my love of the Beatles, so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement three years ago when Rock Band: Beatles was announced. It even was going to be released on a special day (9-9-9, tied to the Beatles “Revolution #9”), which was also my youngest daughter’s birthday. I had high hopes to quietly set up the game and awaken her for school that morning with a rocking rendition of the Beatles’ song “Birthday”, but while it could have worked on a technical level (the song is part of the game), it didn’t work on a logistical level (no stores sold it at midnight, so I couldn’t get it before she woke up that day). Speaking of birthdays, we own songs to commemorate the occasion for both genders, although they’re not the cheeriest numbers. “Birthday Boy” is about a group interacting with a stripper, and while it would have been awesome if the Replacement’s “Birthday Gal” was about a male stripper, it’s about a woman facing the ravages of age.

“Biscuits and Gravy” was the entrance theme for a WWE tag team, Jesse & Festus, that didn’t quite work out. “Bi..” is winding down with two songs that feature a bad word as the opening. I was discussing it with my wife, and I assume that Elton John’s song is the first to have the word “bitch” in the title, a phrase that became much more prevalent in the gangsta rap of the 90’s through the rap of today, including one track from the Dr Dre album The Chronic, which includes a second bad word (but if you asked my wife, she’s probably find “ain’t” the most offensive term in the title). So does that made Elton the godfather (or based on the outfits and makeup, godmother) or gangsta rap?

After another New Pornographers song (and I wonder how many people will refuse to give the band a chance because of their name), I got a track from the Dixie Chicks’ most recent album, which I love and leaves me hoping the trio will eventually get back in the studio to produce a new album. Sum-41 also had a song with the same title, but I still prefer the Dixie Chicks song.

INXS and Panic! At the Disco followed and my gym list then concluded with my favorite New Order song.