Wait–what was that song called again?

Here’s a little bit of good news–I’m back to creating a backlog of songs! Yes, I’ve managed to accumulate three gym visits in the last four days, so the conveyer belt of ‘D’ songs, which had slowed down to a crawl is up to capacity again. While I know it’s only three days, it feels great to be getting back into a routine. For me, that’s the key–I need to build some consecutive workout days. Also, there should be a simpler way to remember how great you feel after a 45-minute workout so that it isn’t so hard to get off   your butt and get moving.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Diarrhea Moustache–David Cross
  • The Diary–Hollywood Undead
  • The Diary of Jane–Breaking Benjamin
  • Dice–Finley Quaye & William Orbit
  • Dick in a Box–The Lonely Island & Justin Timberlake
  • Dick Wagner’s Rinse Cycle–Johnny Socko
  • Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?–Richard Thompson & Linda Thompson
  • Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby–Emmylou Harris, Alison Krause, and Gillian Welsh
  • Die–Iron & Wine
  • Die For You–Megan McCauley
  • Die Hard the Hunter–Def Leppard

I do love listening to the comedy stylings of Mr. David Cross, whose routines can stand up to repeated airings despite their political digs tied to specific timeframes, but man those odd titles for individual tracks (which, of course, never have any relation to the issues being discussed) can really throw you for a loop. If you haven’t listened to any of his albums, you may think “well today’s entry has to be the worst name, right?” I’d argue that there are some worse ones–I won’t list them here, but you can probably look them up on Amazon or iTunes.

It’s a bit ironic that we own two “Diary…” songs, and both are sung by bands my son brought to the mix (you know, because usually diaries are  normally associated with girls instead of boys. When we keep a record of our lives, it’s a journal, not a diary. Right? Right? Just me then?) Maybe it would be best if I moved on…luckily, I can move on to a great song like “Dice”, which is a track from the phenomenal first soundtrack of The OC. I’ve mentioned before that the show got me into a number of bands, and while I don’t own any additional material by Finley Quaye or William Orbit, it’s a song that is permanently in my playlist.

It was then time to go back to some unfortunately titled tracks, starting with the filthy, yet hilarious, number from the Lonely Island and frequent collaborator Justin Timberlake. Most people know it from the SNL Digital Short, but we also own a copy from their first two albums. Johnny Socko was a band friends and I used to go see live in graduate school at Indiana University, and I was happy to pick up their first album, although it did not contain my favorite song by them, a slowed-down countrified version of “You Shook Me All Night Long”. I looked for a version of it on youtube to show you how fun it was, but sadly, their heyday was in the era before everyone using smart phones to illegally record live concert performances and upload them to the internet. The next song was a tad more serious than the previous two, but it still had a odd title, although it may have been a metaphor for Richard and Linda’s upcoming marital problems and eventual divorce.

A song from one of the great soundtracks that I tend to forget about showed up next, and prompted me to listen to the entire album of O Brother, Where Art Thou? I closed with a trio of “Die” songs, none of which were using the definite German article. The first two came from compilations, one charity-based (the Iron & Wine number from the Dark Was the Night soundtrack) and the second from a movie soundtrack (the first Fantastic Four–don’t look at me that way; I got the album free at work!). My last song today came from the awesome 80’s and Def Leppard, or as my daughter would probably call them, one of those groups covered in the Rock of Ages musical/movie.




Location, Location, Location

A couple days late with this second double exercise report from the weekend, but again, better late than never, and the key once again is to do the exercising every day, even if I don’t do the writing–I am not as concerned with the mental muscles and fat as I am the rest of my (lack of) muscles and my (abundance of) fat.

Sunday, Jun 17, 2012

2+ miles (actually 3.25!) to commemorate Red Sox victory #32 of the 2012 season

  • Cajun Song–Gin Blossoms
  • The Calendar–Panic! At the Disco
  • Calico Pie–Natalie Merchant
  • California–Hollywood Undead
  • California–Hollywood Undead
  • California–Joni Mitchell
  • California–Metro Station
  • California–Phantom Planet
  • California (Hustle & Flow)–Social Distortion
  • California (Hustle & Flow)–Social Distortion
  • California (WrestleMania XVI Theme)–WWE
  • California 2005–Phantom Planet
  • California Dreamin’–The Beach Boys
  • California Dreamin’–The Mamas and the Papas
  • California English–Vampire Weekend
  • California Girls–The Beach Boys
  • California Stars–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Call And Answer–Barenaked Ladies

When they say music can take you places, it’s usually an emotional journey, not a geographical one. However, songs can take you somewhere a little more specific, and one state in particular dominated my walking list today. Before I got there however, I had a regional sidetrip thanks to the Gin Blossoms and their “Cajun Song”, although many probably only think of a style of cooking or an Adam Sandler SNL character when they hear the word Cajun. Panic! At the Disco sings about the entire year and Natalie Merchant follows up her ice-cream flavor festival last letter (“Bleezer’s Ice-Cream”) with another dessert-themed number, “Calico Pie”.

Now it’s time to go west. I’d assume that it’s a fair bet that more songs have been written with “California” in the title than any other state and probably by a wide margin. I actually had no idea that we had so many “California” songs in our library (and this list only includes songs that start with the state–other songs, like Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” will pop up later). In fact, when I heard the Hollywood Undead song “California”, I thought to myself; “Excellent, I’ll be getting “California Stars” soon, but I had to hear 14 other songs first, and I probably would have guessed 4-6. I clearly was way off, particularly when I have five songs just called “California” and only one is a repeat (we have studio and live versions of the Hollywood Undead track).

When I get two or more versions of a song that share a common title, I like to think about one artist covering the other’s namesake track.  Pairing Hollywood Undead with Joni Mitchell is a humorous combination in either direction, although if I had to pick, hearing Joni perform the Hollywood Undead song would be a surreal experience, as her musical themes seem to be the antithesis of Hollywood Undead’s,

Metro Station’s “California” has more of a pop sensibility before I got to the “California” I most enjoy. I loved The OC when it aired (earning me scorn and derision from an old boss–in a loving way, of course) and so the theme song was I loved as well. In fact, the music of the show was a big part of what made me love it, and we owned four of the soundtracks, as well as purchasing additional music from the artists featured in the show. As a side note, while I loved the original version of the theme song, I did not like the updated version from the fifth soundtrack (“California 2005”, which came later in the list).

I got to hear two versions (single and album) of Social Distortion’s 2011 return to the music scene–a fun number that is worth repeated listens. The last California only (with or without parenthetical) was the theme song from WrestleMania XVI (or WrestleMania 2000, as it’s also called). After that, it was time for California to become an adjective instead of a noun, starting with a classic rock anthem, “California Dreamin’ “. The Beach Boys remake comes before the far superior Mamas and Papas version. I love the Beach Boys, but this comparison isn’t close. I  think the male-female dynamic (as well as the outstanding vocal talent of the group) is what makes the song work so well, plus I have fond memories of the song from junior high when we performed the song in vocal ensemble. The better Beach Boys “California…” song comes two numbers later, with their stellar “California Girls”, a song that ironically also was later covered, this time by Diamond Dave, David Lee Roth. The remade song was good, but the video was over-the-top hilarious, a teenaged boy’s dream.

I finally got my Billy Bragg & Wilco song, the song that got me into both Mermaid Avenue and Wilco. Back when I had my first MP3 player, a Nomad that could store 100 or so songs, “California Stars” was a permanent part of my song-list. I wish Vampire Weekend would have taken the time to answer whether the Oxford Comma is a key portion of “California English”, seeing that they’re the only band to compose songs on the subject. The walk closed with a Barenaked Ladies song from the first of their albums we owned, Stunt. We originally purchased the album on the strength of their group-defining hit, “One Week”, but everything on the album is awesome.

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

  • Call And Answer–Barenaked Ladies
  • Call It What You Want–Foster The People
  • Call Me the Breeze–Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Call Me When You’re Sober–Evanescence
  • Call My Name–Prince
  • The Call of Ktulu–Metallica
  • The Call of Ktulu [live]–Metallica
  • Call of the Wild–Tom Tom Club
  • Call on Me [demo]–Elvis Costello
  • Call the Law–Outkast featuring Janelle Monae
  • Calling All Angels–Train

Just as I ended my morning walk with an awesome ballad from Barenaked Ladies, I get to start my afternoon gym time with the same song. When it’s “Call and Answer”, that’s fine by me. The funny thing about the song is that it was also on the soundtrack to the poor man’s Truman Show, the Matthew McConaughey vehicle EDtv (which I’ve never seen). Next up was one of the hits from last year’s sensation Foster the People.  That’s one of the rare albums that every member of the family loves and has added to their personal playlists. I’m probably the only one that has Skynyrd on regular rotation, while my youngest daughter is the Evanescence fan in the family.

The Prince song is from his 2004 album Musicology. I have to admit that I’m woefully behind the times with my Prince music knowledge, as I had no idea that he’s released four additional albums since then. It looks like none of the albums produced top 40 songs, so that may be why I’m so ignorant on the subject. After Prince, it was almost 20 solid minutes of Metallica instrumental glory in the form of live and studio versions of “The Call of Ktulu”, a Lovecraft-inspired title. I enjoyed the Tom Tom Club song from their underrated Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom album (in fact, it’s the opening track). After a demo track from Elvis Costello, I got an Outkast song from their Idlewild album that featured a little-known at the time, Janelle Monae, who blew up this year thanks to her participation in Fun’s everywhere hit, “We Are Young”. Speaking of hits, I got a 2003 Top 20 hit to close my list, courtesy of Train.

I still like Hootie, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

It’s a little hard to write at this point with the slight distraction of a sudden-death overtime Game 7 featuring my hockey team. (Update–Damn…I guess I can write now.)

April 25, 2012

2-mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victoy #6 of the 2012 season

  • The Battle for Straight Time–A.C. Newman
  • The Battle March Medley–The Pogues
  • The Battle Of Evermore–Led Zeppelin
  • Battle of Evermore–The Lovemongers
  • Battle of Who Could Care Less–Ben Folds Five
  • Battleship Chains–Hindu Love Gods
  • BB Good–Jonas Brothers
  • Be Good to Yourself–Journey
  • Be My Baby–The Ronettes
  • Be My Escape–Relient K
  • Be My Escape–Relient K
  • Be My Yoko Ono–Barenaked Ladies
  • Be My Yoko Ono–Barenaked Ladies
  • Be Prepared–Lion King (movie version)

I “discovered” A.C. Newman thanks to the television show, The OC, when his “On the Table” song was included on the fourth soundtrack from the show. However, I then learned that a family friend had already given my wife Newman’s The Slow Wonder album as a gift. So I guess it’s hard to say I discovered him when his music was already in my collection–I just didn’t know it. The Pogues song is just a short instrumental interlude, which was great to hear some kickin’ Irish music and even greater that I didn’t have to hear depressing Shane McGowan lyrics.

Heard both the original Zeppelin and Lovemonger cover of “The Battle of Evermore”, a song that seems like should be playing during D&D marathons sessions. My final “Battle…” song is my favorite, the Ben Folds Five song from Whatever and Ever Amen, an album I initially purchased for “Brick” but found myself liking more and more with each listen. My wife rarely purchases iTunes singles, but “Battleship Chains” from the Warren Zevon-fronted Hindu Love Gods (a cover of a Georgia Satellites song) is one of the few, the proud, the last “Ba..” song on my list.

I don’t have a lot to contribute about the Jonas Brothers song that came next, but I did enjoy torturing my wife (who was walking with me at the time) with the Journey song that followed–as I’ve mentioned, she’s a bit of a musical snob, and Journey seems to be the band that gets under her skin most, although Duran Duran, Asia, and REO Speedwagon are also contenders for that crown. She was much happier to hear the classic pop song “Be My Baby” that followed, before we heard two copies of a Relient K song. Like the Jonas Brothers earlier, Relient K is an act my oldest daughter brought to out musical melting pot, and of the two, I prefer Relient K.

A favorite by Barenaked Ladies, “Be My Yoko Ono” got two plays (original album and greatest hits collection), which meant I had to hear their version of Yoko’s shriek singing twice, a painful process. Speaking of painful, I closed my walk with a Disney song from the film The Lion King. I have nothing against the movie (it’s great) or the music (an excellent soundtrack), I just an not sure how we came to own this song and would prefer not to exercise to it.
1.30 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • Be Prepared–Lion King (Broadway version)
  • Be Somebody–Kings of Leon
  • Be The One–Hootie & The Blowfish
  • Be True to Your School–Beach Boys
  • Be With You–The Bangles
  • Be-Bop-a-Lula [Live]–Paul McCartney
  • Beantown–John Cena  Tha Trademark

Seeing that I can’t explain why I own the first, film version,of “Be Prepared”, I think it’s safe to say that I have no idea why I own the Broadway version of the number. although I think one of my kids may have borrowed the CD from our library. The Kings of Leon song confused me at first as I thought I was going to hear their follow-up hit to “Sex on Fire” but that is “Use Somebody”, not “Be Somebody”, although if you ask me, the latter is the better advice if not song.

Did the world turn on a band faster than the backlash that Hootie & The Blowfish got? Everyone loved Cracked Rear View, and then everyone hated Cracked Rear View. Listening to it and the followup album, Fairweather Johnson, which produced “Be The One”, even today would lead me to argue that they’re good albums and you don’t have to be ashamed if you like them…come on and say it “I’m a Hootie fan and damn proud!” If you’re not going to be true to Hootie, at least be true to your school as the Beach Boys say. It leads to an interesting conundrum: to which school are you most true? Is it your college or your high school? I can see arguments for both, as college sets your career and represents your first true independence, but high school also has key developmental milestones as well.

Speaking of picking high school or college, the Bangles are a group that straddled both time frames for me. Their more known hits, “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” came while I was in high school, but the album of theirs that I love and still listen to through today, Everything, came out while I was in college. I also purchased the Paul McCartney Unplugged album while in college. It’s great hearing Paul cover early Rock ‘n Roll songs like “Be-Bop-a-Lula”. It’s also great hearing John Cena rap about his love of all things Boston, including the Red Sox (although that feels a little hollow now, as Cena has proclaimed himself a Tampa Bay Rays fan now–I actually had an argument with him about it at SummerSlam a couple years ago).

My gym time got cut short here as my son needed to be picked up from work 45 minutes earlier than he thought. At least I got home in team to see the end of the Bruins game–crap!