Musical Statements of Identity

I’ve been working out and still listening to my alphabetical listings of songs, but not nearly as much as I should. My posting has fallen off a cliff…if a woman found out she was pregnant the day of my last post, she could be reading this entry holding her newborn child. But it’s a new year, and time for resolutions of improved activity. Both exercising and writing would be excellent choices for promises that I’d ultimately break, but I think I’ll settle for just exercising and writing today and then seeing how tomorrow goes.


January 4, 2014

1.75 miles of treadmill work plus upper arm weight work.


  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow–The Soggy Bottom Boys
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow–The Soggy Bottom Boys
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)–John Hartford
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)–John Hartford
  • I Am a Paleontologist–They Might Be Giants with Danny Weinkauf
  • I Am a Rock–Simon & Garfunkel
  • I Am a Scientist–Guided by Voices
  • I Am a Town–Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • I Am Africa–The Book of Mormon Soundtrack
  • I Am an Animal–Pete Townsend
  • I Am Here for You–The Book of Mormon Soundtrack
  • I Am Mine–Pearl Jam
  • I Am Superman–R.E.M.

For Christmas, I got my wife the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis and we are just starting to get into it. I think it will ultimately be a successful release, particularly as the movie sees wider release. It is similar to me to an older Coen brother film O Brother, Where Art Thou? While the movie had a great soundtrack, four variations of the same song is a bit of a bother when you are listening to your entire music collection alphabetically. At least two were only instrumental versions. Back to Llewyn Davis; both my wife and I are excited to see the movie–it’s one of two “Oscar bait” movies we’d like to see, with American Hustle being the other. Those are it for theater needs; the rest can wait for Blu-Ray, Netflix, or TV as far as I’m concerned.

There aren’t enough songs that serve as effective job descriptions, but “I Am a Paleontologist” certainly fits the bill. It’s of extra interest to me these days, as my company is releasing two sets of Dinosaur-themed books, so the term is coming up repeatedly in manuscripts these days. They Might Be Giants went with the specificity of position, while Guided by Voices were more general, speaking only of the broad category of Scientist. Every time I get a Guided by Voices song, I try to remember how we added Bee Thousand to our collection, as I think it was a gift to my wife. I don’t have much time to think about it, as all the album’s songs tend to be a bit on the short side. I have no problem remembering how Simon & Garfunkel, who contributed “I Am a Rock” between the two job songs, got into the collection–they are all mine. I was hoping a new generation of fans would come to Paul and Art when the Rock Band video game released the aforementioned song plus “Sounds of Silence” as downloadable content, but I am guessing it didn’t ultimately matter.

After a song by the underrated Mary Chapin Carpenter, I got the first of my two songs from the musical The Book of Mormon. That soundtrack is from the Maggie wing of our musical museum. It’s an interesting path of parenting. When your  kids are young, they like and listen to either the music you expose them to or what corporate marketing machines like Disney serve to them. We tried to find music that we liked that also was accessible to youngsters, like the Beatles, Barenaked Ladies, and They Might Be Giants (and this was before TMBG smartly started releasing targeted children’s albums. However, this didn’t stop the occasional Jonas Brothers or Aly & AJ from sneaking through. As the kids get a little older (say middle school and early high school), pop music becomes the must-listen. Again, this is completely understandable, as all their peers are listening to the same radio- and TV- (and now internet-) generated content, and everyone wants to fit in. But for your children, at some point they will start listening to something just because it’s what they like, and not because someone in their family or circle of friends told them to like it. For my youngest, I think musicals got her there.


Strong ending with three great artists, including Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Pete Townsend. I think “I Am Superman” is a great song to push cardio to the next level of speed or incline, at least for a few minutes. After all, after doing some solid exercise, that’s exactly how I feel.




My senior moment times two

Well, in the “I feel really old” department, these two gym visits covered today occurred on the last day of summer vacation for my kids and their first day of school (my forced vacation continues unabated, but I do have some hopeful prospects cooking). For my twins, they are starting their senior year in high school, but to make this about me and not them, it means I have two children that are less than a year from completing their high-school education. That of course means figuring out where they’re going next in terms of college and career. It’s strange to think that at this time next year, our household will be down to three. It’s also another reason to get healthy–the desire to see where their journey takes them next.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

3.29 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • December–Collective Soul
  • December–Norah Jones
  • Decent Days And Nights–The Futureheads
  • Deciever–Disturbed
  • Deck the Rooftop–Glee
  • Deck the Stills–Barenaked Ladies
  • Decode–Paramore
  • Dedicated To The One I Love–The Mamas and The Papas
  • Deep–Pearl Jam
  • Deep & Wide & Tall–Aztec Camera
  • Deep Blue Sea–Grizzly Bear
  • Deep Dark Truthful Mirror–Elvis Costello
  • Deep Dark Truthful Mirror [unplugged]–Elvis Costello
  • Deeper And Deeper–The Fixx
  • Deeper And Deeper–Madonna

The first two songs are two takes on the last month of the year, which will be extra significant this year if those Mayans were right. I don’t know how much stock I’d put into a society that you could probably enrapture with an Etch-a-Sketch or Silly Putty. The Collective Soul number is one of their normal songs, while the Norah Jones track feels like a pseudo-holiday number. It was also a great bargain, one of the free songs of the week on iTunes. The Futureheads’ song was part of one of the OC soundtracks, which as I’ve mentioned before, really helped to broaden my musical spectrum at a time I wasn’t listening to radio (which was inexcusable as I was living in Champaign, Illinois, so I’m sure there had to be some good college stations at the time). After the  Disturbed track, I went from Jones’ kind-0f-holiday music to two actual numbers, although the Glee one is the more earnest of the two, with Barenaked Ladies paying winter tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

“Decode” is a track from the soundtrack to Twilight. Back when the movie came out, it felt like both the film series and the artist performing the number (Paramore) were pop-culture stalwarts my oldest daughter would stick with, and it turned out I was half right. She is still a fan of Paramore, but has seemed to lose interest in the Twilight saga  (and that is a trade-off I will take any day of the week). Things went rock old school next with a Mamas & the Papas tune, and then grunge old-school with Pearl Jam. The Aztec Camera song is a deep album cut (at least as deep as a cut on a greatest hits album can be).

I think all the indy rock band fans tend to love Grizzly Bear, so I probably should give them a deeper listen. As it currently stands, this track from the Dark Was The Night is one of only two songs we own by the band, with the other, a duet with Feist, also on the same album. The Elvis tune that followed is one I remember well pre-marriage as I purchased Spike while in college. Two acts that launched in the 80’s complete the list with two distinct takes on the title “Deeper and Deeper”, although neither is the original studio track–the Fixx version is a live recording and Madonna’s is a dance remix on my MTV Party to Go CD.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Deeper Understanding–Kate Bush
  • Deez Nuuuts–Dr. Dre
  • Defenders of the Flag–Bruce Hornsby & The Range
  • Defy You–The Offspring
  • Defying Gravity–Wicked Cast
  • Defying Gravity–Glee
  • Deja Vu–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Deja Vu–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Deja Va (All Over Again)–John Fogerty
  • Delirious–Prince
  • Deliver Me–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Deliver Us–Elvis Costello; Brodsky Quartet
  • The Delivery Man–Elvis Costello
  • Demolition Man–The Police

Crazy fans of the world rejoice! Kate Bush is back (on my list, not with a new album or anything–sorry if I got your hopes up there). I don’t want to get into a celebrity blogger/rapper feud with Dr. Dre, but he really should have proofread his song list on The Chronic–“Deez” is not a word, and the spelling of “Nuts” is off by two additional ‘u’ ‘s (one I could get a chalk up to a simple typo, but the double is a little hard to take). I got into Bruce Hornsby & The Range thanks to their The Way It Is album and single (although I ironically never purchased the first album, I started with the Scenes From The Southside album).  I get a trio of “Defy..” songs, starting with an Offspring number from their greatest hits and two takes on the Wicked signature song Defying Gravity, which my youngest daughter recently ranked as one of her top five all-time songs.

If you have to hear a song two times in a row, “Deja Vu” is an appropriate title for such a pairing, right? Of course, you don’t get the feeling when you hear the third song titled “Deja Vu” when Fogerty’s song is a completely different number with the same name (although they do use a parenthetical to better differentiate). “Delirious” is a great Prince single from 1999 that doesn’t get its deserved credit, as the title track and “Little Red Corvette” have had a longer lasting impact. Three solid songs out of the final four close the list, with a Tom Petty number from Long After Dark, an experimental Elvis Costello instrumental interlude before his “Delivery Man” number and then a great old Police track.


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.


I can “C” some progress here!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Hope your special day was as nice as mine. We had a delicious bacon-and-egg brunch, I watched a family movie with my wife and kids (Better Off Dead, which none of my children had ever seen, but it’s one that stands both the test of time and works on repeated viewings–I highly recommend it, although perhaps it would work better on Mother’s Day, because you would be wise to listen to Mother, as Ricky would say). On the exercise front, it was a great weekend, as I really feel like I started to get back on track, pulling a rare weekend double-double (3+ mile neighborhood walks both mornings and 45-minute gym sessions both afternoons). All in all, I believe I covered 12 miles in total over the two days–not bad at all! (In the “going against my healthy ways department”, I did eat my first Twinkie in several years, but I don’t see that becoming a habit, as even in my junk-food junkie days, Twinkies were a rare choice for me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

2+ mile (actually 3!) neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #31 of the 2012 season

  • Bushleager–Pearl Jam
  • Business On You–Richard Thompson
  • Bust A Move–Glee
  • Bust Your Windows–Glee
  • Busted–Ray Charles
  • Busy Bees–Silversun Pickups
  • But It’s Better If You Do–Panic! At The Disco
  • But Tonight We Dance–Rise Against
  • Butterfly–Jason Mraz
  • Butterfly–Para Para Dance No. 1
  • Butterflyz–Alicia Keys
  • Button My Lip–Elvis Costello
  • Buy You A Drink (Shawty Snappin’)–T-Pain featuring Young Joc
  • Buzz Aldrin: Poster Boy For Second Place–The Wonder Years
  • Buzz Aldrin: The Poster Boy For Second Place–The Wonder Years


I hadn’t given Pearl Jam’s “Bushleaguer” a close listen, which is a shame as it’s one of my favorite groups making a song filled with baseball references (for those not familiar with baseball, a bushleaguer is a minor-league player. A mother/daughter combo followed next with Richard Thompson (the mother half of the equation), followed by two Glee songs from Season 1. When I get Glee songs, I now ask my daughter to guess which ones I heard, and she can generally guess correctly with few to no hints. She loves her Glee. When I first saw the song title for the Ray Charles’ number “Busted”, I assumed it referred to him being caught cheating on his woman;  however, Ray zigged when I thought he would zag and the song is about being broke (something I certainly get).

One of my most recent musical additions to the library is the new Silversun Pickups album Neck of the Woods. I’d only heard “Bloody Mary” (which did not make my list because I had passed its alphabetical position before getting the release) on the radio, but I’m liking the rest of the album, including this track “Busy Bees”. I know some people compare the band to the Smashing Pumpkins, which I get, I just enjoy the group on their own merits, style, and songwriting.  Panic! At The Disco had the next song, “But It’s Better If You Do” and frankly they (or just about any other band) seemed a more likely candidate to be the artist behind the song “But Tonight We Dance” as opposed to the actual artist, Rise Against. The title just doesn’t scream Rise Against, but then again, as my son says, once you listen to the lyrics, you think “yep, this is a Rise Against song!

I’m not sure how I feel about Jason Mraz in general and his song “Butterfly” specifically. I get that he’s got a great voice and some of his lyrics are pretty clever, but in this song, it feels like he’s trying too hard to be cool and sexy. Our second “Butterfly” track comes from the Dance Dance Revolution series, one that my youngest daughter liked enough to purchase the song on iTunes. Alicia Keys ends our session in lepidopterology with more than one butterfly, although she uses the not-so-scientific method of creating a plural noun by ending the word in ‘z’. It’s a good thing she’s got an amazing voice, otherwise I might hold that grammatical faux pas against her (which I’m sure she’d find crushing).

After an entertaining Elvis Costello number, I get T-Pain’s handy guide to picking up ladies in the club. I do have to say that I find the whole “shawty” term confusing, as it seems to possibly refer to both youngsters and hot women, so couldn’t someone misunderstand the context and think you are interested in getting with kids? Wouldn’t it just be better to avoid any potential confusion? The walking list concluded with two different versions of a Wonder Years song from my son’s almost complete collection of the band’s work.

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

  • Buzzards And Dreadful Crows–Guided by Voices
  • By My Side–INXS
  • By Surprise–Gemini Club
  • By the Time I Get to Arizona–Public Enemy
  • By Your Side–Sade
  • Bye Bye Love–Simon & Garfunkel
  • C is for Conifers–They Might Be Giants
  • C Moon–Paul McCartney
  • C.O.D–AC/DC
  • C’Etait Toi (You Were The One)–Billy Joel
  • C’mon–Sonic Chaos
  • C’mon Girl–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Caffeinated Consciousness—TV on the Radio
  • Cage and Aquarium–They Might Be Giants
  • Caged Bird–Alicia Keys


Things started of with a Guided by Voices track from its Bee Thousand album (a gift my wife received from a family friend and fellow music afficianado). Normally I’m hoping for a good rocking song to start my gym workout off in a great direction, but the tempo and style of the opening song was fairly irrelevant on this occasion as the fact that my ‘B’ songs were coming to a close was pumping me up–I always get a charge when I know a new letter will be starting soon. “By…” started with an INXS ballad and continued with a Gemini Club release. Next was a great political screed from Public Enemy about Arizona’s (and to a lesser extent, New Hampshire’s) wrongheaded decision to not recognize Martin Luther King Day in the late 80’s. I lived in New Hampshire at the time and remember feeling a deep shame about the choice, but I also remember feeling annoyed that almost all the anger and protest was directed at Arizona. I get that it was (and of course, still is) the much bigger state, but it made me feel like New Hampshire wasn’t worth the attention and effort.

I got a blast from the past with Sade’s “By Your Side”, a track we own courtesy of the Japan relief album. I remember their hits from the 80’s, but apparently they kept making music through the next decade, but their sound was far more successful in the UK. ‘B’ closes with the most successful duo of all time (Simon & Garfunkel) covering a hit of one of the original great rock duos (The Everly Brothers). The song is a live track from the pair’s last studio album, which was an unusual choice that still stands out to this day.

They Might Be Giants manage to entertain and educate (edutain or entercate) with “C is for Conifers”, a song that teaches us all about pine trees. Thanks to their alphabet album, They Might Be Giants get to lead off several letters like this one. The ‘C’ silver medal goes to Paul McCartney for one of his less remembered tunes (at least by me) off his greatest hits collection. AC/DC sings about a concept that’s (other than food) virtually non-existent these days, “C.O.D”. For those that don’t know, “C.O.D.” stands for “Cash On Delivery” and I guess you used to be able to mail-order products and when the postman would deliver the item, you’d pay for it then. I remember as a kid, when I’d watch TV commercials for things like K-Tel records, they’d always clearly state “No C.O.D. please!” Frankly, as society becomes more cashless, I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more food options demand you pay via electronic payment when you order.

I’ll have to play the Billy Joel track for my daughters so see how much of the French they understand (I never took it, so the answer for me is none). Sonic Chaos sounds like a cool band name for an alternative or rock outfit, but the song comes from the Cheetah Girls soundtrack, so don’t get your hopes up–in fact, just stick to Sonic Youth in the Sonic band category. Things do take a turn for the alternative with the return of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my first track from TV on the Radio. “Caffeinated Consciousness” is the last track from their 2011 Nine Types of Light album, which may be the group’s final album as a member of the band passed away from cancer soon after its release.

They Might Be Giants followed with a song from their second album, Lincoln, and I then got my second track today from Alicia Keys to close things out.

Excuses, power ballads, and the Queen’s misspellings

Ok, ok…I’ve said for two weeks that I need to catch up (which every time I state, I think about stepping on a baby tomato thanks to a recent viewing of Pulp Fiction), but I really mean it this time. I started off so strong, with 6-7 entries per week. I’ve fallen off recently, first blaming my getting sick and then blaming getting busy. Neither is acceptable, but talking about it won’t change things. Diving in and getting some writing and exercising will…luckily, I’ve actually been doing some walking and working out, going back to last Saturday, and I just need to record it, so let’s jump right in!

June 2, 2012

3.31 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Breaking the Rules–AC/DC
  • Breaking Their Hold–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Breaking Up The Girl–Garbage
  • Breakout–Foo Fighters
  • Breakout–Miley Cyrus
  • Breakthrough–Hope 7
  • Breakthru–Queen
  • Breath–Breaking Benjamin
  • Breath–Pearl Jam
  • Breath After Breath–Duran Duran
  • Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song)–Amy Grant

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure that over the next 10,000+ songs I will say it again and again until you’re sick of it, but when you’re exercising, the harder the rock, the more you get pumped up, even if you’re not familiar with the song. So began my gym session today, with two “A” bands (AC/DC and Avenged Sevenfold) delivering a pair of “Breaking…” songs. Now I’m not overly familiar with either song, so there was always the chance that either song could be the “one power ballad per hard rock album” token track, although I don’t think AC/DC ever did such a song, and the Avenged Sevenfold number was a driving number as well. “Breaking Up The Girl” comes from the only Garbage album we currently own. Garbage is another band that the Rock Band video game franchise introduced me to, and I’m glad to have added them to the catalogue.

There’s two different “Breakout” songs on our list, each coming from distinctly different artists. The first of the two comes from the Foo Fighters, a band I continue to enjoy, although with a tinge of sadness, as each time I heard one of their songs, it makes me think about what Nirvana could have achieved if only. Now I could go for the easy joke about the sadness I get hearing a Miley Cyrus song, but in honor of her impending nuptials that were announced this week, I will lay off Miss Montana. For those who ignore the celebrity scene, she’s engaged to Thor’s real-life brother Liam (as opposed to his on-screen sibling Loki). Now if you asked me which artist would misspell Breakthrough, and my choices were Queen and a band from the Cheetah Girls soundtrack, I’d assume that Queen would use (pardon the pun) the Queen’s English, but they were the ones to take liberties with spelling. Seeing that I like their song better (despite the blatant similarities to Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”), so I’m willing to overlook the poor grammar/syntax.

I then got a third straight pairing of songs that share a title with both Breaking Benjamin and Pearl Jam giving their versions of “Breath” songs. I’ve been getting a lot of Breaking Benjamin recently and I do enjoy their songs–I just don’t actively seek them out and most are not on my personal playlist; the band is more for my kids than me. Pearl Jam is a band I seek out, and their “Breath” song comes from the soundtrack to Singles, which is a great collection of bands representing the Seattle grunge sound, with the omission of the previously mentioned Nirvana. Things closed with a Duran Duran song from their self-titled 1993 album (called the “Wedding Album” for the cover photographs) and a religious Christmas song from the first big pop act that was associated with Christian music (at least in my eyes), Amy Grant.

Goin’ Streaking!

Coming soon to the Milford town square…

I have been out of it. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I got hit with a nasty cold that kept me on the couch feeling crappy. While I was recuperating, a few streaks started. On the good side, the Red Sox won three straight against the Tigers to finally get on the good side of .500 (although that run ended last night). But the other streak, the not-so-good one of me not exercising while sick puts be figuratively behind in blog postings and literally behind in Red Sox commemorative victory walks. (4 behind to be exact). So in order to catch up this weekend, I’ll have to do some streaking! Both of the exercise and blogging variety! Before an amber alert is sounded throughout Connecticut, I will be clothed, although in shorts so you can spy my sexy gams if that’s your cup of tea!

May 31, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #23 of the 2012 season

  • Boys on the Radio–Hole
  • Boyz–M.I.A.
  • Brackett, WI–Bon Iver
  • Brain Damage–Pink Floyd
  • Brain of J.–Pearl Jam
  • Brain Stew–Green Day
  • Brainy–The National
  • Brand New Cadillac–The Clash
  • Brandy Alexander–Feist
  • Brass in Pocket–The Pretenders
  • Brat–Green Day
  • Brat in the Frat–The Dead Milkmen
  • Bravest Face–Rush
  • Brawl for All Theme–WWE
  • Break Down the Walls (Chris Jericho Theme)–WWE
  • Break It Down (D-Generation X)–WWE
  • Break My Fall–Breaking Benjamin
  • Break On Through (To the Other Side)–The Doors
  • Break The Spell–The Rolling Stones
  • Break the Walls Down–WWE
  • Break Through–Colbie Caillat
  • Break Your Heart–Barenaked Ladies
  • Break Your Little Heart–All Time Low
  • Breakaway–Bruce Springsteen
  • Breakaway–Kelly Clarkson

Courtney Love and her band started things off. Back when I was working at WWE, a coworker and I used to discuss whether you can enjoy music if the artist has done something reprehensible. At the time, we were discussing Michael Jackson, as my coworker felt he couldn’t enjoy Jackson’s music because of the charges against the King of Pop. I felt (at least with Jackson) that I could separate the art from the artist. (Which also is relevant right now as my daughter and I just finished Chinatown, and I still can enjoy Roman Polanski films, although I completely understand the people that cannot). The reason I bring this up is every time I hear a Hole song, I cannot help but think about the conspiracy theories about Courtney Love’s involvement in Kurt Cobain’s death and it takes me out of the song–so that may be a case where I can’t separate the art from the artist. It’s hard to understand, as the charges against Jackson were far more heinous.

“Boyz” allows me to once again sing the praises of M.I.A. Do yourself a favor and go and get Kala and Maya, and look incredibly smart and hip when her next album comes out this summer and (hopefully) blows up. I think I’m supposed to like Bon Iver more than I do, and I don’t even own either of the album as the group’s only contribution to my music library is this song from the Dark Was The Night compilation album. That was followed by “Brain Damage”, the penultimate (love that word) track from Dark Side of the Moon, an album I still most associate with its long stay on Billboard magazine’s album chart (more than 10 consecutive years). The excellent music run I was on continued for some time with the lead track from the Pearl Jam album Yield up next (“Brain of J.”). I need to listen to that album more. I love the songs individually, so I’m assuming I’d really enjoy hearing the album beginning to end. I got two terrific Green Day tracks in my next six songs (always welcome), as well as selections from The National, The Clash, Feist, and the Pretenders. It felt like when you are listening to an alternative radio station and just get a magic run of music (a streak, if you will) and you just get so excited with each new track that builds the momentum even though you know it’s eventually going to end, but The Dead Milkmen and Rush kept the party going.

The next part of my list had a sports entertainment feel to it, as four of the next seven songs were WWE themes, including three in a row. Brawl for All was such a strange and unique direction for WWE before WrestleMania XV where they added some MMA flair to Raw with a tournament that Bart Gunn won. He was going to be a new star until Butterbean destroyed him.  The Jericho and D-X themes are so classic and recognizable, although they have tweaked and updated Chris Jericho’s theme over the years as the later song on the list “Break The Walls Down” is a newer version . The two themes have a definite rock sensibility, and that would continue on the list with both modern (Breaking Benjamin) and classic (The Rolling Stones and Doors) entries to follow. Obviously of the three, the Doors song is the  most memorable hit.

Things finally slowed down a bit with a Colbie Caillat ballad followed by some Barenaked Ladies. All Time Low is a band my kids like (and I think my daughter saw them in concert), so I wasn’t that familiar with their sound, but I really enjoyed “Break Your Little Heart” and it will be added to my playlist for sure. Two very different takes on the title “Breakaway” closed my list. While I’m sure more people would know the Kelly Clarkson song (and it is a great pop tune), I was a bigger fan of the Boss’s entry, although I’d love to hear him cover Kelly’s version as well.

And I ask, how much more black could this list be? And the answer is none. None more black.

Another pretty exciting milestone today–this is my 50th post since starting the blog in mid-March. I’m thinking about providing links for the songs to iTunes, which would allow readers to easily sample the listings and decided if they’d like to add them to their collection.

May 9, 2012

  • Black–Pearl Jam
  • Black & White World–Elvis Costello
  • Black & White World–Elvis Costello
  • Black 47–Black 47
  • Black and White–Jackson Browne
  • Black Book–Peter Bjorn and John
  • Black Cadillac–Rosanne Cash
  • Black Cat–Janet Jackson
  • Black Coffee in Bed–Squeeze
  • Black Cowboys–Bruce Springsteen
  • Black Dahlia [live]–Hollywood Undead
  • Black Dahlia–Hollywood Undead
  • Black Diamond–The Replacements
  • Black Diamond–YOSHIKI

The next considerable chunk of my list (if you couldn’t already tell) is “Black…” songs, starting with the single-word song from Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten. If you have Netflix instant, I’d highly recommend watching Cameron Crowe’s documentary Pearl Jam Twenty. The older footage from the band’s early years is comprehensive and amazing. Two copies of another Elvis Costello song followed, then I got two thirds of an elusive triple with the song “Black 47” by the band Black 47. That is not the album name however, so close, but no cigar. Despite that, it’s a great song that tells the story of the band’s early history.

Jackson Browne chooses both colors, black and white, as opposed to Michael Jackson (who I believe I’ll hear later on), who makes us choose either black or white. People may know Peter Bjorn and John’s most recent album from the use of the instrumental opening of “Second Chance” as the theme to 2 Broke Girls. I hope this doesn’t dissuade you from listening to the entire album (Gimme Some). It’s worth it. Two distinctive female singers follow with the daughter of Johnny Cash, Rosanne, singing about a “Black Cadillac” (a car I’d prefer owning to Springsteen’s pink version) and the pop tune “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson.

Still deciding what additional Squeeze album I should add to my collection, a decision that moves up in priority ever time I hear one of their hits, like “Black Coffee in Bed”. It’s been a little while since I’ve heard a Springsteen song, and like many of his best, “Black Cowboys” tells a moving story, and you have to listen to it multiple times to truly appreciate it. I only heard it on the list once, unlike the Hollywood Undead number “Black Dahlia”, of which we own both studio and live recordings.

I’ve said many times that I like covers of original songs to take the piece in a new direction, and no one understood that better than YOSHIKI (all caps is how it shows up on my iPod) when he covered the Kiss song “Black Diamond” for the tribute album Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved. This song has been turned into an orchestral instrumental piece, amazing on its own, but particularly noteworthy when compared to the original. It’s so unique that at first I didn’t realize that the previous track on this list by The Replacements was also a cover of the same song. Now that is bringing some creativity to your industry.