Self Tributes, and the Reason for the Star Wars Season

 

Happy May the 4th! I do hate how commercialized this holiday has become. With all this starkiller base and pod-racer shopping, as well as Alderan key parties, people forget the true meaning of Star Wars Day–how many midi-chlorians you have in your bloodstream. Also, remember today is more than just Earth Day–remember that the Bluths also set it as Cinco de Quatro.

In honor of such a momentous day on so many levels, it’s time for the third set of songs from my top 100 list. If you missed the first two, well I’m making a sad frowny face in your direction, but I will help you overcome such an oversight with the help of the two links below to parts 1 and 2.

In Some Particular Order (part 1 of 10)

Mission Entirely Possible (part 2 of 10)

  • Mercy–TV on the Radio
  • Ruby Tuesday–The Rolling Stones
  • Smoking Gun–Robert Cray
  • Love, Reign O’er Me–The Who
  • Another Tricky Day–The Who
  • Mandinka–Sinead O’Connor
  • Days/This Time Tomorrow–Ray Davies
  • Man on the Moon–R.E.M.
  • Amie–Pure Prairie League
  • Silent Lucidity–Queensryche

The 2013 song “Mercy” by TV on the Radio is far and away the most recent song to make my list. It’s not even from an album–it’s a single they released that did not hit any charts. The song starts off great and intense, but it kicks it up a notch or twelve as the song goes on–the beat is relentless. I am not a big concert goer these days, but I think I’d go see TV on the Radio just to see this song performed live.

The British Invasion’s Fab 4 bands (the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and the Kinks) are a prominent part of this group of 10, with every group but the Beatles showing up in this list of 10. Of the four, the Rolling Stones is probably the group I listen to the least, but “Ruby Tuesday” is my favorite song of theirs (although I would probably have another three to five Stones songs if the list expanded to 500 or so–I just would be adding many more Beatles, Who, and Kinks songs).

When I first started listening to music, I was more about singles than albums. If I would listen to an album, it was often because three or more “hits” from the record had received radio airplay. The first album for me that was different was Strong Persuader. Sure, the song “Smoking Gun” first attracted me to the album, but it was the first album I remember liking from beginning to end. I think the fact that it was this blues sound I was not hearing in most pop songs that day. I loved listening to that cassette tape over and over, and would even say it was my first “Desert Island Disc.” It even resulted in me buying Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark on its release date. I will admit that I did not enjoy that album as much as Strong Persuader, but I still love Robert Cray, with his cover of “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” being my favorite number from the Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll soundtrack.

Back to the standard bearers of the first wave of the British Invasion. I love the Beatles in total the most, but I think there’d be more Who songs on my favorites list in total. I know that I’ve said this repeatedly, but a longer list would be dominated by even more Who songs. A top 200 list would have 2 songs from Quadrophenia for example, but only 1, “Love Reign O’er Me”, made the top 100. (The other song that almost made the list was “5:15”.) I think most people would list Tommy as their favorite Who rock opera, but I am more of a Quadrophenia man myself. When doing some followup research for this blog posting, I was surprised that “Another Tricky Day” was never a chart hit. In my opinion, it is a much stronger single from Face Dances than “You Better, You Bet.”

Speaking of songs that weren’t hits, I was exposed to “Mandinka” through college radio airplay. I was the cliche kid who learned more about alternative music once I went to college. My freshman year in college saw the music acts 10,000 Maniacs, R.E.M., and Sinead O’Connor added to my musical rotation. After The Lion and The Cobra came out, I would have expected Sinead to be a much bigger artists, but her only big hit was the Prince-penned “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

My Kinks entry in this batch is more of a Kinks-related entry. Ray Davies released an album in 2011 in which he re-imagined Kinks songs by performing them with other artists. The album has an eclectic batch of contributors, including Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Lucinda Williams, Black Francis [of the Pixies], Jon Bon Jovi, Paloma Faith, and more. But to me, the strongest pairing on the album is the work with Mumford & Sons on the medley of “Days” and “This Time Tomorrow.” Those that have been following this blog know I have a real soft spot for tribute albums (and my number two song of all time is from a tribute album–how’s that for a teaser?), and this is one of the more unique tribute albums as it seems to be an artist paying tribute to himself.

One of the other college alternative artists I began listening to as a freshman (thanks to my record album purchase of Document) was R.E.M. I have come to love their early work, but the two songs that make this list are later releases. The one in this group is from another desert-island disc candidate for me–Automatic for the People. Every song on the album is phenomenal, but “Man on the Moon” is my favorite. I also loved hearing it on the trailer for the movie by the same name. That’s a movie I have not seen in years, but I think it might be worth revisiting with my kids this summer when they are home from college.

When making these kinds of lists, it’s always interesting to think about when I first really connected with a song. For the Pure Prairie League’s “Amie,” it was thanks to Freaks and Geeks. (If you have not watched that show, go an do it RIGHT NOW, and not just because it launched the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Siegel, Busy Phillips, and Linda Cardellini. Every one of the 18 episodes is so powerful and raw–it was the first show that got the high school experience perfectly down. I believe it is on Netflix instant, so go and watch it. One episode featured them going to the local planetarium for a laser Pink Floyd show, but show up on the wrong date and end up seeing a country and western show instead. Sorry for the spoiler, but I promise it will not lessen your enjoyment of the entry. Over the closing credits, “Amie” plays–by the way, the acting and writing are the best thing about the show, but the soundtrack is also pitch perfect.

The last song on this batch is a power ballad and one of three songs that makes me think of my father. I already mentioned “My Way” by Frank Sinatra in part one, and “The Living Years” probably the most on-the-nose choice, by Mike + the Mechanics, did not make my 100 (but would make the 200). “Silent Lucidity” in specifics and the album Empire more broadly, feels like the closest another band got to re-creating the Pink Floyd sound. This song is one of my go-to numbers if I want something to help me drift off from a stressful day–it is the perfect capper to a tough day, and the perfect ending to a group of ten songs.

 

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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.

Can’t get through all the Can/Can’t songs in a day…but did get the pseudo-Stones!

After taking a exercise breather on Tuesday because we were running all over the place with it being the last day of school. To celebrate, my twins went to see Prometheus and my youngest  (not a fan of scary films or TV shows unless they feature the brothers of Supernatural) attended Rock of Ages. Combine that with my wife working and my oldest daughter participating in her high school’s graduation ceremony, and it led to a lot of running around. To make up for the lack of movement Tuesday, Wednesday was a double-activity day, particularly with the Sox winning Tuesday night:

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #34 of the 2012 season

  • Campus–Vampire Weekend
  • Can I Have This Dance?–High School Musical
  • Can I Sleep in Your Arms?–Willie Nelson
  • Can You Be True?–Elvis Costello
  • Can You Dig It?–WWE
  • Can You Feel It–Timbaland feauturing Esthero & Sebastian
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight?–The Lion King Cast
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight?–S Club
  • Can You Find It?–They Might Be Giants
  • Can You Hear What I’m Saying?–Toto
  • Can You Rock It Like This?–Run D.M.C.
  • Can You Tell–Ra Ra Riot
  • Can’t Be Seen–The Rolling Stones

Always nice starting off a walk with an artist you really enjoy, and for me, Vampire Weekend certainly fits that description. They seem like the perfect band to discover when you get to college, so “Campus” seems like a apt first-album song. Getting through the High School Musical song as quickly as possible is fine by me, particularly when there’s so many more musical questions that need to be asked, starting with Willie Nelson’s “Can I Sleep in Your Arms?”, followed by Elvis Costello’s “Can You Be True?” It seemed like the start of a nice theme, as the questions (even the High School Musical one) seemed like the type you would progressively ask the same person. Not sure if the next question kept the theme going. I listed the artist as WWE as it came from a WWE album, but it was WWE Originals, a release featuring Superstars performing their own hits,so this was Booker T’s first (I think) and last (hopefully) rap number. Nothing against the guy personally, I just don’t think his talents lay in the musical arena.

I heard a Timbaland number from Shock Value II (which I did not enjoy nearly as much as the first) before getting two versions of the famous Lion King ballad “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” Ironically, neither is the original film version–one is from the Broadway adaptation and one is from one of Disney’s bubblegum pop cover collections. While I know the latter is targeted more at kids, particularly toddlers and preteens, if you’re looking for music for that group, They Might Be Giants is a much better bet. “Can You Find It?” comes from their second “kids” album, Here Comes the ABCs, and is an excellent example of why they’re a much better kid’s act than most–their songs are intelligent and both kids and adults can enjoy them.

After my TMBG, I traveled back to the magical world of the ’80’s for a pair of songs, first the boys of Toto, then the pioneers from Run D.M.C. As a rule, I think I’m going to love any song that uses the term “homeboy” as they do here. Things got a little more modern with Ra Ra Riot, then took a term for the confusing when things went from the positive (“Can”) to the negative (“Can’t”) with the last song on the list, “Can’t Be Seen.” When listening to my songs, I like to quiz myself with the question “who is the artist?” I’m pretty good at it, but this song had me stumped. I figured it must have been someone my wife or kids liked or an obscure artist from a soundtrack or compilation. Turns out I was way off–it was a Rolling Stones number. What threw me is that it’s the rare Stones hit not sung by Mick Jagger, which makes me argue that it’s not a true Stones song (and I’m not just rationalizing because I couldn’t get the song right…well, maybe a little).

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

  • Can’t Be Tamed–Miley Cyrus
  • Can’t Buy Me Love–The Beatles
  • Can’t Buy Me Love–The Beatles
  • Can’t Buy Me Love [live]–Paul McCartney
  • Can’t Cry These Tears–Garbage
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling–REO Speedwagon
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling–Glee
  • Can’t Get Enough–Bad Company
  • Can’t Get Around (Flash Funk)–WWE
  • (Can’t Get My) Head Around You–The Offspring
  • Can’t Get There From Here–R.E.M.

I don’t have a problem with Miley Cyrus (although I do think singing “Can’t Be Tamed” is a little problematic for someone of her age), but I was happy to get multiple listens of a Beatles classic (2 studios and then Paul McCartney live in concert). My oldest daughter has been on a Beatles run recently, which is always nice to see a new generation of fans get into the greatest band in the history of rock music.  After a track by Garbage, it was back to the 80’s and another band my wife would rather not hear, REO Speedwagon. This is the song I use to tease her the most, as I constantly tell the kids that “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was our wedding song, and it never fails to get a rise out of her. It may be to the point where she prefers the Glee version (who am I kidding–it hasn’t gotten to that point!).

Things closed with first a classic hit from Bad Company, a classic wrestling theme, and then music from the Offspring and R.E.M.

 

Welsh cottages and desert-island discs

After the cleansing update of 45 songs, I’ve reduced my musical inbox to two walks and two gym sessions, and I plan on writing two blogs to cover them (one gym and one walk per blog). That’s not to say I won’t start to bottleneck things up again, because I’m coming to the realization that while the ideal is to write and exercise every day, it’s currently more important for me to do that latter even if I don’t get around to the former despite the backlogging. The reason is simple–I feel great when I get in some daily physical activity and I’m finding that I get really upset when I miss a day. Days can get busy, but even if I don’t have an hour to exercise or walk, 20-30 minutes still gets me more than a mile, six or so songs further along into my list, and feeling good.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2.5 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Bron-Y-Aur Stomp–Led Zeppelin
  • Brooklyn Roads [live]–Neil Diamond
  • Brother John–Blues Traveler
  • Brother in Arms–Dire Straits
  • Brown Eyed Handsome Man–Chuck Berry
  • Brown Eyes–Lady Gaga
  • Brown Sugar–The Rolling Stones
  • Brown Sugar–ZZ Top
  • Bryn–Vampire Weekend
  • Bubble Beat Box–Spongebob Squarepants

Kicked my gym time off with a song from Led Zeppelin’s third album. The title refers to a vacation home in Wales where Zeppelin wrote much of  Led Zeppelin III. (To be clear, Bron-Y-Aur refers to the home, although owning a home named Stomp would be pretty cool as well.)  My wife never understood my interest and enjoyment in the music of Neil Diamond, but when I explained to her that Fenway Park played “Sweet Carolina” during each Red Sox victory, well…truth be told, she still didn’t understand my interested in the man’s music. She understands liking “Blues Traveler” much more, because she’s the bigger fan of the group of the two of us. (Although it’s not like either of us are huge fans; we only own one album by the group.)

“Brothers in Arms” is, of course, the title track of Dire Straits’ most commercially successful album, and one I’ve owned in either cassette of CD form since high school. I think it was the first album I purchased on the strength of hearing the first song (“Money For Nothing”) and it was a decision that worked out well, as I’ve always loved the album beginning to end. Now I’ll admit I bought the soundtrack to Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n Roll not based on the strength of Chuck Berry but the Robert Cray collaboration, which is what I heard today “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”, (I was really into Robert Cray at the time thanks to his Strong Persuader album, which is probably one of my ten desert-island discs to this day.), but I now know having those classic Berry songs as part of my collection is essential.

Things stay Brown for me with a couple of additional colored songs, first from Lady Gaga, and then the Rolling Stone’s famous “Brown Sugar” and a ZZ Top song that shares the title, but is a different song. I closed out the “br…” songs with “Bryn” from Vampire Weekend’s debut album. I’ve heard their third album could be out before the end of the year, which would make me a happy camper, as I feel they’ve been two-for-two in releasing great albums so far. The warm feeling of a Vampire Weekend song was needed for me to finish my gym list, as the new song came courtesy of Spongebob Squarepants. I don’t have anything against the yellow cartoon guy (I know some folks have banned their children from watching the show, but we never did), I just don’t want him as a workout inspiration.

Sunday June 10, 2012

2-mile walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #29 of the 2012 season

  • Bubbly–Colbie Caillat
  • Bubbly–Colbie Caillat
  • Buckets of Rain–Bob Dylan
  • Buckets of Rain–Fistful of Mercy
  • Buffalo River Home–John Hiatt
  • Buffalo Soldier–Bob Marley
  • Bugeye Jim–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Buggface–Big Boi
  • Build God, Then We’ll Talk–Panic! At The Disco
  • Building A Mystery [Live]–Sarah McLachlan
  • Building A Mystery [Live]–Sarah McLachlan

I know I’ve said it before, but I have nothing against Colbie Caillat–in fact, I think I actually latched on to “Bubbly” before my kids did, but I just don’t think the song is the best for getting you in an exercising mood. I guess it’s good that I was doing a neighborhood walk instead of hitting the elliptical machine, particularly because I heard the song two times (we really only need one, as both are ostensibly from the same source–her Coco album; we bought the single on iTunes and then I got mu daughter the CD). I also got to hear “Buckets of Rain” twice, but we really need both versions, as only one is the Dylan original and the other is an excellent cover from the Chimes of Freedom compilation.

Earlier in this post I mentioned that Robert Cray’s Strong Persuader was a candidate for my desert-island discs list. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s 10 albums that you’d take with you if you were going to be stranded on a desert island with limited access to music choices (you can also do this with books, movies, foods, or whatever floats your boat). It’s a fun exercise and sometimes people apply rules, like “no greatest hits albums” or “one album per artist”. I’ve never understood these rules–it’s your island, so if you want to take the entire Michael Bolton discography, that’s your business. That being said, the next song on my list is my favorite song from a no-brainer lock for my list, John Hiatt’s Perfectly Good Guitar. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time and it turned me into a John Hiatt evangelist.

Have you ever received a piece of information and it just locks you up–you have no idea what to do with the nugget? While writing my blog, I’ll often google songs or artists I’m discussing in order to fact check or learn more. So I wanted to know more about the buffalo soldiers in order to better discuss Bob Marley’s song by the same name. I first  decided to read the wikipedia entry about the Marley song where I learned that Vanilla Ice had covered it on his 2008 comeback album. This was the information that froze me in my tracks–Vanilla Ice covered Bob Marley? Do I want to hear it, or would it be like watching the doomed videotape of The Ring, where I’d never be able to undo the damage before I died from having experienced it?

“Bugeye Jim” is the opening track from the third disc of Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue collaborations. It’s taking me time to get into, but I can already tell I will enjoy volumes two and three as much as I do the original (which is another strong candidate for the desert-island disc list). The Big Boi song comes from the pseudosoundtrack to Idlewild (I use pseudo- because only seven tracks on the album come from the movie, and “Buggface” is not on the soundtrack). Things close with a Panic! At The Disco selection, and two different live takes of Sarah McLachlan’s Building A Mystery, with both versions coming from Lilith Fair performances.

Tough to exercise when you eat yourself silly

Took the day off with family visiting for a nice Easter dinner with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. Ham, potatoes, green beans, and a sugar coma from cake and Easter candy. It was  such a beautiful day that I intended to go for a walk, but it would have been rude to do my headphone-wearing power walk when we had company, it would have been rude to not have a second helping of my wife’s outstanding ham and from-scratch dinner rolls, and it would have been rude not to pilfer candy from my kids’ baskets and eggs. Not to mention that the Red Sox bullpen punched me in the groin twice yesterday afternoon.

The gym would have been impossible, as it was only open from 7AM-2PM yesterday (which I appreciate them being open at all on a holiday like that), so my streak of 13 straight days going to the gym ended. However, it’s nice to see that for the past 4 weeks, my pattern has been work out at the gym 13 days, get a Sunday off, work out another 13 days, get a Sunday off. It’s like I’m a pre-union American factory worker!

Hope today was Day 1 of another (at least) 13-day run…

April 9, 2012

3.31 miles on the elliptical plus upper arm weight work at the gym

  • Another One Bites the Dust–Glee Cast
  • Another Postcard–Barenaked Ladies
  • Another Postcard [acoustic]–Barenaked Ladies
  • Another Saturday–Stuart Murdoch
  • Another Saturday Night–Sam Cooke
  • (Another Song) All Over Again–Justin Timberlake
  • Another Spin–Barenaked Ladies
  • Another State of Mind–Social Distortion
  • Another State of Mind–Green Day
  • Another Tricky Day–The Who
  • Another Year Ends–The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
  • “The Answer Is No”–Dialogue from The Muppets
  • Answering Machine–The Replacements
  • Ant–They Might Be Giants
  • The Anthem–Good Charlotte
  • Anthem of the Angels–Breaking Benjamin
  • Anticipation [live]–Carly Simon
  • Any Colour You Like–Pink Floyd

I don’t have anything personal against Glee covers, particularly with how happy they make my daughter. I just feel that they do much better with pop and Broadway standards than rock hits, so it was probably good that I didn’t get the two versions of “Another One Bites the Dust” back-to-back. For Barenaked Ladies, I though “Another Postcard” was an attempt to re-capture the joy and charm of the hit “One Week”, and it was more successful that the previous album’s try, “Pinch Me.” In particular, I like the song bridges where he describes the different kinds of chimpanzee postcards he’s received.

When “Another Saturday” came on, I was a bit confused, as I didn’t remember purchasing that Belle & Sebastian song. It’s not, as it is a solo song for Stuart Murdoch from the AIDS benefit album Dark Was The Night, an amazing 2-disc collection that I highly recommend, as it has great Arcade Fire, Spoon, and so many more. Of course, when I think about musical “another Saturdays”, Sam Cooke’s contribution still comes to mind first, and probably always will.

I think my wife was really worried about me when I decided to purchase FutureSex/LoveSounds, but it’s a decision I defend to this day. We got it when visiting relatives in Indiana and listened to it several times on the ride back to Connecticut. Every song on it is enjoyable, and the smooth, effective transitions between them make it hard to dive in and out as opposed to hearing it all in one sitting.

I then got a BNL song sung by Kevin Hearn, followed by two versions of “Another State of Mind”–the original by Social Distortion and a cover by Green Day. The Green Day cover is fairly faithful, so I hope it gets more music fans into Social Distortion. One of my favorite Who songs (and the first Who song of the 86 I own to be heard on this project) really got me to up my speed on the elliptical. The “Another Year Ends” piece is from a Harry Potter movie–we borrowed from our local library a CD that contains instrumental score selections from multiple films. Speaking of films, a seven-second clip of dialogue from last November’s The Muppets came next. It was a great movie, and you don’t have to have kids to enjoy it.

I get two artists that I’ve already heard several songs from back-to-back, with The Replacements followed by They Might Be Giants. I love “Ant” and I do hope that someday that Ant will grow up to be President. “The Anthem” is one of two songs I heard today from the American Wedding soundtrack, a nice coincidence as I’ve watched all three American Pie films over the past three days in order to prepare for the fourth one in theaters. They all hold up well, and while the first led to some awful raunchy comedies, those films (like Tomcats) seemed to miss the point of mixing crude humor with characters you actually like.

Breaking Benjamin is more of an artist for my kids than me, but it was an excellent workout song. But then again, I enjoyed working out to “Anticipation” as well, so maybe my opinion has less value than I’d like to believe.

I knew my workout was winding down, so when I heard the beginning of a Pink Floyd song, I started to worry I was getting a 10-minute number. Luckily, it was one of their shorter songs, and I was able to finish my weight work and not have to put in an extra 10 minutes in order to complete the song.

1-mile walk

  • Any Man of Mine–Shania Twain
  • Any Other Girl–N.U.
  • Any Time At All–The Beatles
  • Any Way You Want It–Journey
  • Any Way You Want It/Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ Another–Glee Cast
  • Anybody Seen My Baby–The Rolling Stones

I took advantage of a nice day and walked about a mile outside as well (and as I’m writing this, I’m excited to report that tomorrow I will have to do my first additive 2-mile Red Sox win walk in addition to my regular exercise!). There’s the CDs you love and the CDs you regret buying, and then there’s the third category–the CDs you don’t remember getting.  Apparently, at some point we got a CD collection of 1996 Grammy nominees, including a Shania Twain song (she was up for Best New Artist that year). It’s not a bad collection of pop hits, and serves as a nice reminder of what was big that year. I then got my second American Wedding song and a Beatles release, before getting an awesome Journey hit and the Glee medley cover of the song. This one didn’t bother me as much as the Queen cover from earlier in the day–perhaps the mashing of the two songs is why. The Rolling Stones then led me to the end of Monday’s exercise, a day for undoing the overeating damage of the holiday.

Vote Squeeze in 2012!

Still no required bonus 2-mile walks after Red Sox victories. Only two games in, but I’d like to see them get that first win.

If you’re travelling for the holiday, I hope you get where you’re going safe and sound. If you’re going to be with family, I hope it goes as smoothly as possible.

April 7, 2012

3.31 miles on the elliptical plus upper body weight work at the gym

  • Annie Get Your Gun–Squeeze
  • Annie’s Stoned Rush–Annie Lennox (with samples of the Rolling Stones and Rush)
  • Anniversary Song–Cowboy Junkies
  • Another Brick in the Wall [Live]–Pink Floyd
  • Another Christmas Song–Stephen Colbert
  • Another Christmas Song–Stephen Colbert
  • Another Day–Rent Cast
  • Another Day–Paul McCartney
  • Another First Kiss–They Might Be Giants
  • Another Girl–The Beatles
  • Another Girl, Another Planet–Blink-182
  • Another Girl, Another Planet–The Replacements
  • Another Heart Calls–The All-American Rejects
  • Another Man’s Done Gone–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Another Nail in My Heart–Squeeze
  • Another Night in Tunisia–The Manhattan Transfer
  • Another One Bites the Dust–Queen

Squeeze is an interesting band to me. First of all, the only Squeeze I own is a Greatest Hits collection, and it’s not a CD I listen to very often. But when I do listen to them, I absolutely love every song, including today’s entries “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Another Nail in My Heart”.  Now that I think about it, I even saw them in concert in college (they opened for Fleetwood Mac, and while I enjoyed both acts, the people there to see Squeeze were not the biggest Fleetwood Mac fans, so to speak). So first of all, I would rate them 5 Minds on the Simple Mind scale. I’d like to explore more of their catalogue. I wonder with which album I should start.

Here’s a first–A reader poll. Which Squeeze album should I get? (I’ve included six of their albums,):

The next song takes a little bit of explaining. I am a member of a Red Sox fan board, and members their discuss more than just the Sox–in the media section, a Sox fan that worked as a DJ posted some song mash-ups he’s done. I saved two of them, including this combination of Annie Lennox, The Rolling Stones, and Rush. I then hit the second half of a girl power back-to-back with a Cowboys Junkies song from Pale Sun Crescent Moon. 

In a bit of a surprising revelation, I do not own the Pink Floyd album The Wall, so my only version of “Another Brick in the Wall” is a live version.  The odd thing is that I am a boy and I once turned 13, so I can’t believe that I never purchased the album. I do own two copies of another artistic masterpiece, Stephen Colbert’s new holiday standard, “Another Christmas Song”.

Broadway came to my list next, with “Another Day” from my daughter’s Rent soundtrack. The version of “Another Day” that I’m more familiar with, the Paul McCartney song, then followed. It’s a song I always think is a Beatles song, but I did get to hear the Fab Four two songs later before first hearing a They Might Be Giants number, one of their more traditional songs.

At first I thought Blink-182 had covered the Replacements’ song “Another Girl, Another Planet”, but it turns out they are both covering The Only Ones hit. The All-American Rejects song is from what was their most recent album, until last month when Kids in the Street was released. I’m assuming that one of my kids will use iTunes money to add it to our mix sooner than later.

Mermaid Avenue is one of those albums that I’m assuming most readers have never heard of, and I cannot recommend highly enough that people change this. It’s an amazing album, and everyone should listen to it. Billy Bragg and Wilco are good on their own, but they are dynamic together, and the songs are the lyrics of Woodie Guthrie and their music. Things closed with a non-workout number (performed by The Manhattan Transfer) followed by a classic sports song (“Another One Bites the Dust”)

Again, happy Easter to everyone!

A Talking Heads Sorbet

21 posts in 22 days–not sure if I can keep this going, and I certainly hope that soon I’ll have the distraction of a job competing with gym and exercise time (with Easter this Sunday ending, perhaps my joke about giving up work for Lent will end up being prescient). There’s a “grass is always greener” thing going on for sure; when you’re working, you think “I’d love to take some time off” but when work is gone, you really want to be back in the grind (and I assure you I felt this way before today and the fact that my kids were off from school for Good Friday isn’t pushing me in this direction (although their April vacation starts next Friday, so I’ve got that to look forward to!)

April 6, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical plus arm and leg weight work

  • Angels We Have Heard On High–Glee Cast
  • Angels With Dirty Faces–Sum 41
  • Angelyne–The Jayhawks
  • Angie–The Rolling Stones
  • Angry People–Barenaked Ladies
  • Angry Young Man [Live]–Billy Joel
  • Animal–Neon Trees
  • Animal–Pearl Jam
  • Animal–Toto
  • Animal–Glee Cast
  • Animal Bar–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Animal I Have Become–Three Days Grace
  • Animals–Nickelback
  • Animals–Talking Heads
  • Animals [Live]–Nickelback
  • Ankle Deep–Tom Petty
  • Ann Song–Mouse Rat

Got to complete my “Angels We Have Heard on High” run with the Glee cast version, which may actually be my favorite of the 5. (I know! I’m just as surprised as you are.) It’s a nice change of pace to hear a Christmas song in April, particularly two days before Easter, but I don’t foresee me making a habit of it.

Now I’d like to clear up what is probably a common misconception. “Angels With Dirty Faces” is not the theme song from the 1938 Bogart/Cagney film with the same name; in fact, it would be 42 years after the film’s release that a member of Sum 41 was even born! Meanwhile, “Angelyne” is slowly becoming one of my favorite Jayhawks songs of all time. And the Rolling Stones may not be right for Heinz, but they are right for work-out lists, even the slower songs like “Angie”.

I tended not to give the albums Barenaked Ladies are Me and Barenaked Ladies are Men much credit when they first came out, perferring the band’s previous three albums, but now that they are effectively dead (as I’ve mentioned, I can’t enjoy them without Steven Page), I’ve been giving the albums closer listens, as they may be the last BNL I ever get, and some of the stuff, including “Angry People” has started to stick. Billy Joel is like meatloaf (the food, not the artist)–it’s almost never spectacular, but it is always solid and enjoyable.

The three different songs with the title “Animal” made for entertaining contrasts–with the Neon Trees version being a fun pop hit (one that I was initially introduced to thanks to Glee), while the Pearl Jam song is so powerful and angry. The 80s sensibility of Toto almost split the middle between the two, but then I got to loop back to fun pop original, as the Glee cast version of “Animal” closed the run (again, I may actually enjoy it to the Neon Trees version).

We don’t have a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers (I think just two albums), and this may be an undeserved short shrift as I love listening to both Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Stadium Arcadium. I have not given their most recent album a listen, so that may be my next move. Three Days Grace is a band my kids all love, although I think, like a toy from a few Christmases ago, their work is being pushed to the back of my kids’ musical closet these days. But there’s no denying the strong musical hook of “Animal I Have Become”.

Now I like to not judge the musical taste of others. I once heard a quote to the effect of “there’s no bad music, there’s just music you don’t like”, but some times Nickelback does push the line for me on this front. I’m not sure why–they haven’t wronged me in any way, and “Rockstar” is an enjoyable anthem, but hearing two songs from them, studio and live versions of “Animals” was fairly rough sledding. Luckily I had a delicious musical sorbet, the Talking Heads “Animals”, between the two. Now that’s a great song, and it’s high time someone had the courage to call the animals out on all their BS. I also was happy to have a underrated Tom Perry song, “Ankle Deep”, post-Nickelback.

Just as I opened today with music from a TV show, I closed that way as well, although from a very different TV show and artist. My love of all things Parks and Recreation les me to search the web for Mouse Rat, and it turns out that you can download for free a number of their songs. I actually put “5,000 Candles in the Wind” on my “Best of 2011” CD I made for family and friends, and the “Ann Song” is my second-favorite of their songs, as it is particularly instructive on where to look for someone if they’re missing.