Renewing My Fitbit Vows (part 4 of 10)

OK, fact #1–I am overweight and badly need to lose many, many pounds. Fact #2–I love numbers. This combination of facts led me to purchasing a Fitbit a little more than a year ago. Before I did, I thought the concept of “wearable tech” was a stupid fad. However, my record of exercising has been spotty at best, and the idea of hitting a number on a daily basis appealed to me. Over the next twelve months, my Fitbit has pushed me to hit daily goals on a fairly regular basis. I even upped my thresholds from 10,000 steps to 11,000 steps and 5.0 miles to 5.5 miles daily. I was regularly hitting my exercise goals 5 to 6 times a week and even had 25+ day streaks on three occasions. My cardiac procedure in early April set me back a bit with the hospital time and the recovery, but I think I’m back in business, as yesterday was the fifth consecutive day I hit both step and mile goals.

I know the Fitbit and other wearable tech is not for everyone, but if you’re on the fence, I highly recommend it. There’s nothing more motivating to me than sitting on the couch at night, ready to veg in front of the TV, but looking at your step counter and seeing you’ve done fewer than 5,000 steps is a real call to action. Particularly if you add friends and family to your Friend list. It’s the reason I’d suggest Fitbit over the other wearable tech options–it has the biggest base of current members, so you can add people and then compete against them to see who can get the most steps in a day, work week, or weekend. So when I am nowhere near my goal, it pushes me because I want to do better than others and I am sure they are looking at my lack of activity and judging (which logically, I am sure no one is doing–but leave me to my self-centered paranoia, OK?)

Now the Fitbit isn’t perfect–for example, if the arm that the device is located on is locked, the steps don’t count. So if you are pushing a grocery cart around a store, it will not give you credit for your steps. You have to be moving arms and legs to increase the counter. So in my cart example, there are two workarounds. Push the cart with one hand while continuing to swing the other arm–don’t worry,  it doesn’t make you look like an idiot to all the other shoppers (actually, it does). It also makes steering the cart a bit of an adventure. That’s why the second solution, put the tracker in your pocket, a better workaround. This also works in other armlock situations, like riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill (if you plan on holding the heart sensors for any length of time). Speaking of heart sensors, my Fitbit model does not include a heart monitor in it–that was the next model up. However, I heard from a cardiologist that he does not recommend getting an exercise tracker with heart monitor–he thinks people obsess too much about the pulse numbers. He did like the idea of an exercise tracker–so if you want to get onto the wearable tech craze–save yourself some money and get a model without heart rate checking. And let me know if you do–we can be Fitbit friends!

On to part 4 of my 100 favorite songs list. There are links to parts 1-3 at the end, but now that I’m walking more again, let’s look at the next 10 songs that come up when I listen to my top 100 playlist:

  • Welcome to the Terrordome–Public Enemy
  • Around the Dial–The Kinks
  • Eminence Front–The Who
  • Scar Tissue–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Set Adrift on Memory Bliss–P.M. Dawn
  • Floating Vibes–Surfer Blood
  • You Can Call Me Al–Paul Simon
  • Invisible Sun–The Police
  • Your Love–The Outfield
  • New Year’s Day–U2

I will admit being late to appreciated the genius that is Public Enemy. I first heard them as part of the Do the Right Thing soundtrack. It was already a powerful film, but I got to see an advanced screening of it introduced by Spike Lee while I was at MIT. Of course, I was disappointed at how the Larry Bird Celtic jersey was used in the film, but the movie blew me away. A big part of that was “Fight the Power.” One can argue that with songs like it and “911 Is a Joke,” Public Enemy was the most effective act to fix popular music and politics since the protest singers of the late 60’s. However, the Public Enemy song I enjoy the most was a different release from Fear of a Black Planet–“Welcome to the Terrordome.” All of their songs have such raw power and anger behind the lyrics, and this one is no different. I know that Flavor Flav has become a punchline in recent years, but his work on “Welcome to the Terrordome specifically and all of Public Enemy’s work in total is amazing.

As I said when I first started talking about my 100 list, I refused to place artificial constraints like one song per artist on the list, and a few artists have more than one song from the same album. One such album is Give The People What They Want by the Kinks. I remember my older sister listening to the cassette tape of the album all the time when she got a boom box for Christmas along with it, Working Class Dog, Escape, and Candy-O. I enjoyed all four albums, but the Kinks release was the best. A second song from the album cracks my top 10, but “Around the Dial” has always been a favorite, right from its radio-tuning opening. I’d argue that the message of the song–the corporatizing of radio stations–is more apt today in the Clear Channel era than it was at time of its release, although to make it more timely, we’d have to change the lyric “FM, AM, where are you?” to “FM, XM, where are you?” as you only find political, religious, and sports zealots on AM these days.

After two Who songs in the previous group of 10, they are right back with a third entry on my list. There were almost two versions of this song on the list, as a member of Sons of Sam Horn shared with us a mashup of “Eminence Front” and “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That)” by Digable Planets. He called it “Cool Front” and it’s an amazing combination of two distinctly different tunes. I would recommend it, but I know it’s unavailable and I shouldn’t share it for copyright reasons. The Red Hot Chili Peppers then make their first, and only, appearance on the list with “Scar Tissue,” which like many songs by the Peppers effectively mixes rock and mourning.

Remember cass-singles? When I was carless in graduate school, I rode with a friend from Bloomington, Indiana to Tampa, Florida for holiday break. Three of those cass-singles dominated our listening time during the trip–“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “O.P.P.” by Naughty by Nature, and “Set Adrift in Memory Bliss” by P.M. Dawn. The new age-i-ness of the song always drew me in, although the song was almost permanently ruined by the parody of it done in Fear of a Black Hat. By the way, if you haven’t seen the film, I cannot recommend it enough–it’s a rap version of This Is Spinal Tap, but it really nails the different song styles, the gangster culture, and more. The soundtrack is top notch and the parody/homage to the NWA Detroit situation portrayed in Straight Outta Compton is dead on. It’s a hard movie to find, but worth the effort.

I mentioned Sons of Sam Horn earlier, and for those that don’t know, it is a online community devoted to fans of the Boston Red Sox. However, the site is not limited to baseball talk or even just sports. The site has many members knowledgeable about a number of different topics, and thanks to some, I have received some great new music recommendations. It was on the site that I learned about an indie band named Surfer Blood. Looking at the name, I would have assumed they were some sort of heavy metal group, but their sound is more pop, more surf music than blood music. I’ve become a big fan, owning all three of their albums as well as their EP. I can listen to their music at any time, but “Floating Vibes” from their first album is still my favorite.

The list has multiple Simon & Garfunkel songs, but it also has a solo song from Paul Simon. Almost anything from Graceland could have made the list, but I chose the hit, “You Can Call Me Al” (with “Boy in the Bubble” being a close runner-up). Another 80’s group that could have had numerous songs on the list, but just got one, was the Police. I love their hits, but I seem to gravitate toward their odd, darker songs like “Invisible Sun” and “King of Pain.” I’d probably put “Synchronicity II” in that category as well. But the dystopian world presented in “Invisible Sun” takes it to the top for me.

The last two songs in this batch are also 80’s entries, and from opposite bands for a number of reasons. Most guys I know that went to high school in the 80’s loved the Outfield’s album Play Deep and their hit song “Your Love.” Unfortunately for the band, most guys I know did not buy any of their subsequent albums. However, their big hit has had a bit of a resurgence recently, as the Patriots play it in their stadium and the song was part of the soundtrack for Rock Band 4. That game also is the first game of its type to have U2 songs in it. Unfortunately, you can’t play “New Year’s Day” yet, but “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from the same album is available. This is the only U2 song on the top 100, a surprisingly small number, but when you’re this limited, you have to make some tough choices. Sorry “Grace”!

If you want to read any of the earlier parts of this series, the links are below:

In Some Particular Order (part 1 of 10)

Mission Entirely Possible (part 2 of 10)

Self Tributes, and the Reason for the Star Wars Season (part 3 of 10)

Where’s Waldo? (Exercising Dean Edition)

I have been horrible about updating this blog recently. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, for the first half of the month of September, my updating became horribly spotty, but I was still regularly exercising. So again, less than one month after I did a massive song list entry to clean out the queue, I’ve built things back up again (I am in the “Do’s, a bit of distance from today’s “Devil…”-starting list.) But at least I was still getting in gym time and that is the primary goal of this undertaking. But over the last week and a half, the gym time has started to fade (not completely disappear,just down to 3 times a week as opposed to 5 or 6). I’d argue that at least it slowed down the buildup in my song queue, but as I just stated, the first goal is to exercise, so this is bad, not good. If I’m looking for reasons why this happened, I’d probably point to my continued search for my next job. Although it’s probably better to categorize that as an excuse and not a reason. Calling it an excuse can push me to overcome it. Or at least, that’s the October plan!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3.28 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Devil in the Wishing Well–Five for Fighting
  • Devil Inside–INXS
  • Devil Song–Camper Van Beethoven
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia–The Charlie Daniels Band
  • Devils & Dust–Bruce Springsteen
  • Devotion–Indigo Girls
  • Dharma Lady–Geronimo Jackson
  • Dial Up–Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  • Diamond Dogs–David Bowie
  • Diamonds in the Rough–Social Distortion
  • Diamonds and Pearls–Prince
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes–Paul Simon

The “Devil…” wasn’t done with me on Labor Day weekend, as Satan appeared on five final songs, starting with the Five for Fighting’s “Devil in the Wishing Well”. I think it’s a fair assumption that if the Devil got caught in a well, townspeople wouldn’t be lining up to save him–they’d probably leave him down there, unlike when a child gets caught in the well. Now if it’s a child devil, people might want to help, even if they knew the identity of the child. (Like when Bart got caught in the well in an early episode of The Simpsons (if I remember right, Sting was a guest voice that week, contributing to a benefit song for the “boy stuck in the well, halfway down to hell”. Of the remaining four “Devil…” numbers, my favorite is the INXS number, but far and away, the most iconic selection is from the Charlie Daniels band. I have to say a solid-gold fiddle would come in handy right now. I wonder how much the “Cash for Gold” mall stores would give for one of those–it probably would cover several month of living expenses, even with the addition of COBRA.

After the Boss and the perennially underrated Indigo Girls, I got a blast from my TV-watching past with “Dharma Lady”, a song and musical group (Geronimo Jackson) created for the show Lost. The song isn’t bad, particularly considering that it was free on iTunes, and it was always entertaining listening to the show’s creators try and convince the world that the band was real, an obscure ’70’s act that broke up after an album or two. Maybe twenty years down the road, people will again think the band is real, or at least as real as Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. After all, which of the two sounds more like a made-up band name?

The riches continue after Charlie Daniel’s golden fiddle, as I then hit a cluster of “diamond…” song, and a strong quartet at that. David Bowie tracks are just intrinsically cool, and worth repeated listens, and frankly I would also put the music of Social Distortion and Prince in the same category. I was always partial to “Diamonds and Pearls” by his royal purpleness as well. It has always been one of my favorite ballads by Prince.  The list ended with a strong number from Paul Simon’s Graceland album, a release that if it doesn’t make my desert-island discs list, is certainly in the honorable mention section.

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.

My racial obligation to Coldplay

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

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical at the gym

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 20th, 2012

3,00 miles on the elliptical at the gym

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

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

 

The Replacements wrote a song just for me? (is what I’d say if my name was Tim)

While my walks in the neighborhood walks are at a somewhat leisurely pace, I do like to work up a sweat in order to feel like I’m accomplishing my exercise goals. Well, when the temperature outside approaches 100 degrees like it did today, working up that sweat is not problem–in fact, my shirt was soaked through by the time I got back (isn’t that a nice visual for you all!).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #35 of the 2012 season

  • Can’t Hardly Wait–The Replacements
  • Can’t Hardly Wait (Tim Version)–The Replacements
  • Can’t Have You–Jonas Brothers
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love–Elvis Presley
  • Can’t Help Myself–Icehouse
  • Can’t Ignore the Train–10,000 Maniacs
  • Can’t Keep–Pearl Jam
  • Can’t Keep Johnny Down–They Might Be Giants
  • Can’t Let Go–Death of the Cool
  • Can’t  Let Go–Lucinda Williams
  • Can’t Let Her Get Away–Michael Jackson
  • Can’t Repeat–The Offspring
  • Can’t Run But–Paul Simon
  • Can’t Smile Without You–Barry Manilow

Great to start my walk with the Replacements, particularly two copies of a great song like “Can’t Hardly Wait.” It’s funny to think that this song shares a title with a mediocre teen movie, although when I was looking at the IMDB page for that film, I realized that it is loaded with future stars. I don’t think it’s interesting enough to make me see it again, but it is worth noting. The second version of the song was labeled on my iPod with a parenthetical “(Tim Version)”. If my name was Tim, I would show that to everyone and say it was written specifically for me. Now if some know-it-all reminded me that the Replacements had an album named Tim, I would counter that the whole album was specifically written for me as well. But my name is not Tim, so it won’t work for me. All you readers named Tim however, feel free to steal my ego trip!

Kind of appropriate to go from the Replacements to this century’s version of The Replacements, The Jonas Brothers. I’m pretty sure it’s an appropriate comparison. I think if the Disney Channel was up and creating original content in the 80’s, The Replacements would have had their own teen focused show–after all, their songs were the inspiration for Teen-focused movies, right? Wouldn’t “Bastards of Young” made for a great show theme? No? The next song is of course, a famous number by the King, but in high school, a friend and I (but him more than me) were big fans of the cover version from the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack. (For those that don’t know, it’s a John Hughes film that follows Pretty in Pink fairly closely, but with flipped gender roles and ending–plus Mary Stuart Masterson!!!) The band that did the cover was a Celtic group named Lick the Tins. I remember us always looking for more music by them back in the day, but never finding anything (it was always harder to do in the pre-Internet age, particularly when you lived in New Hampshire, which wasn’t exactly awash with good record stores).

The Icehouse song is from the second album of theirs I purchased, Great Southern Land. I liked it, but was ultimately disappointed, as I loved, loved, loved Man of Colors (one of my desert-island discs) and was hoping I’d enjoy more of the band’s work as well, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.  I then got a nice run of three enduring bands from my favorite acts pantheon, starting with a 10,000 Maniacs song from The Wishing Chair, which I had to go back to buy after hearing and loving In My Tribe so much. Pearl Jam came next, and then I got to finish with a track from They Might Be Giants’ most recent album. Despite the negativity of them all being “Can’t…” songs, I felt good hearing them all. Now the next two songs not only share a common title, but they also were both available to play in Rock Band, with the Death of the Cool song being on the original game’s soundtrack, and the superior Lucinda version being available as downloadable content. My wife has always been a huge Lucinda Williams fan, and I think she found it stunning that her music would appear in a video game. But that’s what I love the most about Rock Band, the sheer variety of musical styles and genres in the game.

With so many hits, it’s rare to find an “album cut” from Michael Jackson, but “Can’t Let Her Get Away” qualifies as one. An incredible 9 of the 14 tracks off Dangerous were released as singles, and all were top 10 hits somewhere in the world. The Offspring track was a new song included on their Greatest Hits album, a time-honored trick to ensure that fans who own all the group’s previous recordings still have to buy the compilation, even just to get one or two new songs. Things closed with a Paul Simon track from his Rhythm of the Saints album, and a classic ballad from Barry Manilow that I have to hide from the world–particularly if I want to sing along with him.

 

How much Lai-Lai-Lai can one boy take?

Can I just say one again that it sucks not working? My latest reminder comes courtesy of Memorial Day. When you’re working full time, 3-day weekends are gold–you look forward to them, counting the hours and then everything about the weekend is awesome. Saturday ends and you remember that you’ve still got two more days! Sunday ends and you get excited because you don’t have to wake up early tomorrow to go to work, and after the bonus of Monday, you head back to work for a shorter week. To compound it, I’m getting sick (summer cold) so my exercise and blogging may slow down over the next few weeks. All-in-all, not a great Memorial Day weekend.

May 26, 2012

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

  • The Boxer–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Boxer–Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Boxer [live]–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Boy Blue–Cyndi Lauper
  • The Boy in the Bubble–Paul Simon
  • The Boy is Mine–Glee Cast
  • A Boy Like That–Glee Cast
  • Boy With a Problem–Elvis Costello
  • Boy with the Thorn in his Side–The Smiths
  • Boyfriends, Girlfriends–The Byrds
  • The Boys Are Back–High School Musical Cast
  • Boys Boys Boys–Lady Gaga
  • Boys Cry Tough–Bad Company
  • The Boys of Mutton Street–Richard Thompson
  • The Boys of Summer–Don Henley

When you have  three copies of “The Boxer”, you get a lot of chorus, specifically the duo’s “lai lai lai, lai lai lai lai lai, lai lai lai,…” (well, you get the idea. It’s probably the second-most famous non-word chorus in music history, trailing only all the “na’s” in the “Hey Jude” chorus. (I guess you could make another “na” argument with the chorus of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” because of how often it gets used in sporting events, but I’m still going with “The Boxer”). By the way, the live version of the song is from my The Concert in Central Park album and if you’ve seen the video, this song contains the second-most awkward moment in the show, when Art comes in a little too early with the second line of the song. (The most awkward of course is Garfunkel’s introduction to “A Heart in New York.”) The other cool element to the live version is the introduction of a new verse. Not many musical acts would put in the effort to update a standard like that.

Cyndi Lauper’s “Boy Blue” is a remarkably personal song Lauper wrote about a friend that died from AIDS. People (at least I do) tend of overlook the power of Lauper’s songs–I think I put her in a specific bucket thanks to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and never rethought things. After three “Boxer” songs, you’d think I’d be sick of Paul Simon and not be wanting more just yet. But when the more is “The Boy in the Bubble”, one of my favorite songs from Graceland, more is definitely not a problem. While I don’t want to upset my youngest daughter, I do have to admit that more Glee can be a problem, particularly when it’s two songs from episodes I don’t even think I saw, so I can’t make any kind of connection between the story and the music.

The Glee songs should have served as a bit of a harbinger as much of the rest of the list, as I mostly good musical acts I’m not a big fan of or songs I don’t enjoy by acts I do enjoy. The next three songs on the list, by Elvis Costello, The Smiths, and The Byrds, fall in the latter category, leading me to have little to add (as opposed to the quality I usually add, so sorry folks!)  I should have enjoyed these songs while I could as things took a turn for the saccharine when the boys from High School Musical sang of their return, followed by Lady Gaga, then Bad Company (not one of their greatest hits, but a single from my ill-reasoned CD purchase of their 1990 album Holy Water. I cannot honestly tell you why I purchased the CD except that I was enjoying their greatest hits and wanted to give them another shot. Back then we didn’t have iTunes, youtube, and music services to sample music; you had to take a leap of faith, and in some cases you were jumping into a swimming pool with no water. Richard Thompson and Don Heley closed this list, but there are still some “Boys…” to come in my next walk.