3-Day Workout Weekend!

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

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

  • The Democratic Circus–The Talking Heads

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 1, 2012

3.21 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

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

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

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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

3.30 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

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

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

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

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



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.


Dr Dre’s Christmas Glaze!

It’s the moment (none of) you have been eagerly discussing and speculating about–I am going to catch up on a number of of exercise days by lumping a number of songs together–normally I wouldn’t do this, but the overwhelming majority of songs are “Christmas…” songs (great for working out!) and there really isn’t much to say about a dozen variations on “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

The Week of 9, 2012

4 miles of walking to commemorate Red Sox victories #39 and #40 of the 2012 season plus several gym sessions

  • Chorale–Richard Thompson + Danny Thompson
  • Chow Down–The Lion King Cast
  • Christ for President–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Christian’s Inferno–Green Day
  • Christie Lee–Billy Joel
  • Christine Sixteen–Gin Blossoms
  • Christmas–Blues Traveler
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)–U2
  • Christmas All Over Again–Tom Petty
  • Christmas At 22 (featuring Laura Borucki)–The Wonder Years
  • Christmas Bells–the Rent cast
  • Christmas Canon–The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • Christmas Day–Dido
  • Christmas Don’t Be Late (Chipmunk Song)–Powder
  • Christmas Eve Montage–RJD2
  • Christmas Eve Without You–Glee Cast
  • Christmas Everyday–The Temptations
  • Christmas in Hollis–Run D.M.C.
  • Christmas in Hollis–Run D.M.C.
  • Christmas in the City–Mary J. Blige
  • Christmas Is–Run D.M.C.
  • Christmas Is All in the Heart–Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Christmas Is Coming–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Christmas Is My Favorite Time of the Year–Kenny Rogers
  • Christmas Is Now Drawing Near at Hand–Stevie Winwood
  • Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You–SR-71
  • Christmas Pics–Barenaked Ladies
  • The Christmas Song–Christina Aguilera
  • Christmas Song–Dave Mathews & Tim Reynolds
  • Christmas Song–Dave Mathews Band
  • The Christmas Song–Hootie & The Blowfish
  • The Christmas Song–Luther Vandross
  • The Christmas Song–The Nylons
  • The Christmas Song–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)–Celine Dion
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)–John Denver
  • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)–Martina McBride
  • Christmas Time–Smashing Pumpkins
  • Christmas Time Again–Extreme
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Toni Braxton
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Dianne Reeves
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Christmas Time Is Here–Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • A Christmas To Remember–Amy Grant, Beverly Darnall, Christopher Eaton
  • Christmas Wish–Stacie Orrico
  • Christmas Wrapping–Glee Cast
  • Christmastime (Oh Yeah)–Barenaked Ladies
  • Christmastime Is Here–Sixpence None the Richer
  • The Chronic (Intro)–Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg & Colin Wolfe
  • Chronomentrophobia–Andre 3000
  • Chump–Green Day
  • The Church of Hot Addiction–Cobra Starship
  • The Church of Hot Addiction–Cobra Starship

It’s not all Christmas, all the time–there’s a handful of songs at the beginning and end of the list that fall out of the category. The starting song was a reminder of my messed-up “fun fact” from yesterday, as I got another Richard Thompson and Danny Thompson collaboration. With a title like “Chorale”, you’d think it was from a Broadway show, so it served as a bit of a harbinger for the next song, which comes from the Broadway version of The Lion King. 

Before we get into a whole bunch of songs celebrating his birthday, Christ gets a little political love from Billy Bragg & Wilco, who suggest Christ should run for president. I’m assuming he’d have to run as an Independent, as his “actually helping the poor and not bombing the country’s enemies” would run counter to the Christian Right’s platforms and Christ seems like a man of action which wouldn’t jive well with the Left either. But the song does give me a chance to once again implore you to get any of the Mermaid Avenue releases. The song was the first of four to name someone in their title, as it led to a Green Day song about “Christian…”, a Billy Joel song about “Christie Lee” (it must be tough to have a song in your musical catalogue that you wrote about a love, only to have that love go bad. Does the song become unplayable?), and then the Gin Blossom’s excellent cover of “Christine Sixteen”.

But then the multi-day run of Christmas songs began. The first three songs come from my favorite series of holiday albums, the Very Special Christmas series. I loved the first few, as it was current artists giving their spin on classics or new songs (like the Blues Traveler, U2, and Tom Petty selections that start this run), but I haven’t given volume 7 a listen as it seems like a collection of Disney/Kids Bop artists. That may not be fair–after all, they’re just looking to support the Special Olympics as well. But it will be hard to top that first album (which produced the U2 track) and the second (Tom Petty). The Wonder Years song is a recent addition (post holiday 2011), so I haven’t given it a listen yet. I had never heard the Rent song until recently–we rotate who gets to pick the films for family movie night, and my youngest recently chose the film version of Rent. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I did find the Christmas scenes moving.

It’s strange that I own as many Christmas CDs as I do, and do not own a single Trans-Siberian Orchestra release (this track is from a compilation). It seems like in recent year, TSO (do people use that acronym?) is the go-to group for holiday tunes–probably because the instrumental pieces are good background music as you’re doing something else. The Dido song would also do a nice job filling that role of unobtrusive tunes. Powder did an excellent job covering the Chipmunk’s signature song, although it wasn’t grouped with the originals because when the Chipmunks perform the song they get the main title and the “Christmas…” portion is the parenthetical, but for Powder the two were reversed. The “Christmas Eve Montage” number comes from my favorite Christmas/not Christmas movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, a film my youngest has grabbed and completely run with. She’s also the Glee fanatic, as mentioned before, but I did enjoy their cover of “Christmas Wrapping”, but it makes me sad that I don’t own the original version by the Waitresses.

Nice run of The Temptations and Mary J Blige surrounding three tracks from Run D.M.C., including “Christmas in Hollis”, a favorite new Christmas classic for me, particularly for the line “But I never steal from Santa, cuz that ain’t right…” which seems to indicate that stealing from others is a-OK. I think Run D.M.C. was the first repeat artist in the Very Special Christmas series, as they came right back for Volume 2 with another great new holiday number that probably gets overlooked because of just how awesome “Christmas in Hollis” is.

The next batch of six songs contains mostly innocuous numbers that again serve as excellent background music for Christmas parties and gatherings, including the first of four appearances on the list from the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the composer and group responsible for the instrumental score for the Charlie Brown Christmas special, including the great original number “Christmas Time Is Here”, which is covered later by a few artists, including Toni Braxton and Sixpence None The Richer. One of the more rocking Christmas songs is in this section, the SR-71 cover o f Billy Squier’s “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You”.

Then we get our run of Mel Torme’s classic song. Now when I edit lines of books, it’s important to have a style guide in order to maintain consistency. Clearly Christmas songs could benefit from this as well. There’s three different titling styles for this song alone, as some use the parenthetical, some do not, and for some reason Dave Mathews is not a fan of the definite article as a title opener (I guess that is consistent with his band name at least). I didn’t realize I had two versions of his cover of the song and wasn’t paying complete attention while I was exercising to it, so at one point I thought he had done an 8-minute version of the song, which seemed a bit excessive. I think the Hootie version is my favorite cover of the song.

After all these Christmas songs, I knew whatever followed was probably going to be a bit jarring, and having Dr. Dre’s opening track from The Chronic is about as jarring as you’re going to get, and it served as a perfect way to move on from the Holiday run. Andre 3000 stayed in thematic line with Dre, and then I got a little punky with Green Day’s second appearance on the list (both non-holiday related) before closing with two copies of the Starship Cobra hit.

Twin gym times two

So after two days of taking my daughter to the gym and one day of bringing my son, I knew there’d be days when both wanted to go with me. However, with my gym membership, I can only take one guest at a time, so what to do? The solution that keeps them exercising and is best for my health–two gym visits! So far, it’s only happened once (today), but it led to almost six miles of elliptical work for me! It also led to a real sense of pride in my kids–exercising for the sake of exercise is not something I did enough in my teen years, and if I had, I might not have the fitness hill to climb. (Although my devotion to eating extremely large portions of bad food wasn’t the smartest decision either!)

Friday, June 29, 2012

2.5 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Champagne Supernova–matt pond PA
  • Champagne Supernova–Oasis
  • Chances–Air Supply
  • The Change–Evanescence
  • Change–Taylor Swift
  • Change–Tears for Fears
  • A Change is Gonna Come–Neville Brothers
  • A Change is Gonna Come–Sam Cooke
  • Change It–Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Change My Needs–Scars on 45
  • Change Of Heart–Cyndi Lauper

Often it’s great to start with a cover of a signature song followed by the original, so you get the “this is how it’s really done” vibe, but matt pond PA does “Champagne Supernova” and Oasis credit. In fact, he does so well that I hope it helps his self confidence enough that he starts using capital letters on the first letters of his name in the band. Listening to the two versions clocked in at almost 15 minutes, taking more than a third of my gym time, and setting the tone for this entire list–soft rock. Almost all of the songs on this list cold easily be played on one of those “lite fm” radio stations. The next song, from Air Supply,  is one of those obvious exceptions (I kid! I kid!) Shameful confession time–in the early 80’s, when I was a young teenager, I really loved Air Supply (I still enjoy their music, but I was a big fan back then–by the way, why do I insist on these embarrassing revelations on this blog? This is a permanent record after all!). My uncle took me to Hershey Park in PA and I was so mad because Air Supply was performing at the park the following week–I was a teenaged boy upset that he was missing an Air Supply concert by a week. What was wrong with me?

Now if I was a teenager now, perhaps Evanescence or Taylor Swift could have played that Air Supply role. Frankly, with the attractive female singers both acts present, that would have been a better choice overall. But these are acts for my youngest daughter, not me. Tears for Fears is my act, and “Change” is a song I don’t think of when I consider their greatest hits, and that’s a shame, as it is an excellent song and it deserves more attention from me–and from you, readers! My opening remark about hearing the cover first and then proceeding to the superior original really hits the mark with the next two songs, and I don’t mean that as a slight to the Neville Brothers; I just don’t think anyone will ever come close to Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”. There’s a reason it’s such an appropriate close to my Sam Cooke compilation. The song had so much meaning when it first came out, and it continues to be timely.

The last three songs from my afternoon workout started with the blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn, followed by Scars on 45, a group who’s debut album I’m enjoying on a regular basis and who almost assuredly will make an appearance on my best of the year mix CDs I make for relatives at the end of the year. Things close with the pop queen of the 1980’s (non-Madonna and Whitney edition), Cyndi Lauper.

3.2 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Change of Heart–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Change of Season–Hall & Oates
  • A Change Would Do You Good–Sheryl Crow
  • Change Your Mind–The All-American Rejects
  • Change Your Mind–Camper Van Beethoven
  • Change Your Mind–The Killers
  • The Changeling–The Doors
  • Changes–David Bowie
  • Changes–Stars
  • Changes–Yes
  • Changes in Lattitude, Changes in Attitude–Jimmy Buffett
  • Changing of the Guards–Gaslight Anthem
  • Channel Z–The B-52’s

After the milder tunes of the first gym visit, it was nice to kick the evening session off with a rocking tune from Tom Petty, particularly when it’s one of my favorite songs of theirs (not my absolute favorite–we won’t be getting to that for another 12-18 months, as it starts with ‘W’–feel free to guess its identity. Hall & Oates was another favorite of mine in the 80’s. I remember starting my new high school and seeing a girl in a Hall & Oates H2O concert shirt and being so jealous that I didn’t get to see them live. I did correct that when a saw them play an acoustic show on Valentine’s Day my senior year in college (dateless, sadly–although at the time, I’m not sure taking a girl to see Hall & Oates on a first date would have led to a second date). It’s amazing the number of hits Sheryl Crow has strung together over the years, and I am a fan of almost all of them, including “A Change Will Do You Good”.

Three distinct artists look to “Change Your Mind”, and what an eclectic trio they are. I think the Killers are the most convincing of the three, but the unique sound of Camper Van Beethoven is an underrated candidate as well. I do think their band name is a classic “trying to hard” example, one that probably sounded like a excellent idea the first time, but got a little less cool each time they heard it (or maybe that’s only how I feel about the name). I enjoy the All-American Rejects “Change Your Mind” the least of the three, but this is an example of three different takes on the same title that I enjoy listening to at any time. Ironically, the same can be said for the three “Changes” songs that followed a little bit later on my list. The Bowie version is the most famous and rightfully so–it belongs on everyone’s iPods in my opinion. The Yes “Changes” is also a fun listen, one of the many hits from their 90125 album (which to this day I far more frequently mistakenly call 90210 for obvious reasons, but hey, I get 4 of the 5 digits right and two in the proper position, so I would get two white pegs and two black pegs if we were playing Mastermind!). The Stars song is undoubtedly the least known of the three, even to me, but I still highly recommend you listen to some of Stars work; you’ll be glad you did.

Between my two sets of three, I got a Doors track and after the second grouping, it was time for Jimmy Buffett. I think I’d enjoy his songs even more if they were performed by Warren Buffett, just to see him with a Hawaiian shirt on. I don’t have anything to add about the Gaslight Anthem song, but I was particularly happy to get another track from the B-52s’ Cosmic Thing album to close my workout.


Family fitness–hey, wait up!

For the last two days of gym visits, I have brought my oldest daughter, who asked to come along. I was the kind, borderline-patronizing dad, explaining that she might want to bring a book in case she wanted to knock off before I was finished on the elliptical, and that for these first few visits she should go at an easy pace. 50 minutes later she had crushed me by going more than half a mile farther during the same time period. Perhaps I should just keep my useful tips to myself. Today my son decided to give it a whirl, and just like my daughter, he would have left me in the dust if we were out walking together at our respective cardio paces. But the key is just making sure I get in my exercise, not that I win a race.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3.25 miles on the elliptical plus upper-body weight work

  • Cello Song–The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
  • Cells–They Might Be Giants
  • Celluloid Heroes–Ray Davies
  • Celluloid Heroes [live]–The Kinks
  • Cemeteries of London–Coldplay
  • Centerfield–John Fogerty
  • Century City–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Certain Leaders in Government Look Or Act Like Certain Pop Culture References!–David Cross
  • Ch-Check It Out–The Beastie Boys
  • Chain Gang–Sam Cooke
  • Chain Gang is the Click–John Cena
  • Chain Lightning–Rush
  • Chain Of Broken Hearts–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Challenge of the Love Warriors–Tom Tom Club
  • The Chamber of Secrets–The City of Prague Chamber Orchestra
  • Champagne for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends–Fall Out Boy

“The Cello Song” comes from the Dark Was the Night compilation, one of the later compilation albums released to benefit the Red Hot Organization, an AIDS charity. I’m a proud owner of two of their albums, including the original Red Hot + Blue, which was released in 1990 and featured current (at the time) artists covering Cole Porter standards. I get a science lesson next about “Cells” from They Might Be Giants. I like the new version of “Celluloid Heroes” from Ray Davies collaboration album See My Friends (he does this song with members of Bon Jovi), although they cut the superlong instrumental opening that built and built until the lyrics began (for reference, listen to the live version done by the Kinks). The lyrics of the song are so strong and I love getting multiple listens to it.

I am on the fence about Coldplay–I enjoy their music enough, but I don’t find it particularly memorable. It’s great background music for me, but I never say, “would someone please put a Coldplay album on!” John Fogerty is more of a must-listen for me, but I prefer his CCR music to his solo works, but “Centerfield” is one of his best solo tracks, particularly in the middle of summer. The must-listen meter continues to read higher ratings as Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers top Fogerty & CCR for me, and “Century City” is a great early track from the band. There was a short break in the music as I got a comedy track from David Cross, the first track from his second album, It’s Not Funny! In a “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” manner, I can connect Cross to my next artist, as Cross played a character in the Beastie Boys’ concert film.

It’s never a bad thing when you get some Sam Cooke on your playlist, and I still find listening to John Cena tracks to be a guilty pleasure. After a Rush track, I got another Billy Bragg & Wilco Woody Guthrie track, this one from the third and most recent volume of the Mermaid Avenue releases. Thing close with the Tom Tom Club, an orchestra number from the Harry Potter films, and a Fall Out Boy overly cleverly titled song.


Cheerful songs about bullets and burning

The weekend is here! (Which, truth be told, is not that different from the rest of the week when you’re not working. Actually, I prefer the rest of the week because there’s a chance a company could call me about a job interview during the Monday-Friday time frame, something that’s highly unlikely during the weekend, as those hard-working heroes of human resources certainly deserve the time off on Saturday and Sunday [sorry for the sucking up, you never know who’s reading this]. Well, that’s enough wallowing, let’s get to some exercising and music!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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

  • Built for the Future–The Fixx
  • Built to Last–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Bull in a China Shop–Barenaked Ladies
  • Bullet the Blue Sky–U2
  • Bullet the Blue Sky–U2
  • Bulletproof–La Roux
  • Bulletproof Heart–My Chemical Romance
  • Burn–Deep Purple
  • Burn Away–Foo Fighters
  • Burn Down This Town–Rosanne Cash
  • Burn in My Light–Mercy Drive
  • Burn it Down–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Burn the House Down–Scars on 45
  • Burned (Kane)–WWE
  • Burnin’ Up–The Jonas Brothers

The thing about today’s two lists is that they started so constructive and promising–we were talking about building things. Both the Fixx and Tom Petty were on the same track–after all, if you want to build things for the future, you need to build something to last. But then things took a turn for the destructive with “Bull in a China Shop” that did not let up for the rest of either exercise period. Bull in a China Shop is one of those metaphors that only works in the poetic sense these days, as there aren’t many shops that specialize in china to my knowledge.

The violence moves from bulls to bullets, starting with studio and live versions of a U2 song that’s (this is sure to surprise you) highly political. La Roux’s “Bulletproof” follows. This was a group that my youngest daughter enjoys, but I will admit that when I first heard the song and saw the lead singer, I thought that she was actually male. However, I do find the song infectious and it’s easy to dance to (although my children would prefer that I didn’t, which only makes me want to do it more, particularly in from of their friends–yep, I’m that kind of dad). My Chemical Romance (which is one of the coolest band names ever) has the right idea–with all these literal and metaphorical bullets flying around, it’s smart to protect yourself with a “Bulletproof Heart”. Of course, their timing isn’t great as the bullets die down and the fires start, which might still put their heart in danger.

Things start off simple and slow, as Deep Purple looks to just “Burn”, while the Foo Fighters point out that there’s consequences to the flames with “Burn Away”. Rosanne Cash decides to stop beating around the bush (burning around the bush?) and ratchet up the destruction with “Burn This Town Down”. It seems a little much, doesn’t it? I’m not one to advocate violence, but if you really want to get someone back, wouldn’t burning their house down be enough (something Scars on 45 seem to be willing to settle on)? Do you have to take out the entire town?

“Burn in My Light”, one of my favorite WWE entrance themes, is an older Randy Orton number. His new one, “Voices”, is pretty good as well–Orton tends to get good themes, ones my kids like as well.  Two songs later, I got one of the more iconic and enduring WWE themes of the past 15 years, the instrumental Kane theme “Burned”. (As a side note, I loved meeting and working with all the WWE superstars during my years in the company, but Kane was one of my favorite people in the organization.) The last three Burn songs come courtesy of artists representing three distinct genres with Avenged Sevenfold, Scars on 45, and the Jonas Brothers.

June 13, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #30 of the 2012 season

  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House [live]–The Talking Heads
  • Burning Down The House–The Talking Heads
  • Burning In The Skies–Linkin Park
  • Burning Love–Elvis Presley
  • Burning Up–Glee Cast
  • Burnout–Green Day
  • Burns Supper–Richard Thompson
  • Burnt By The Sky–David Byrne
  • Bury Me–Guster
  • Bushfire–The B-52’s

For almost the entire first mile of my walking tour, I got to hear the Talking Heads’ only Top-10 hit, “Burning Down the House”, five times, four studio originals and a live version (the four studio copies come from the original album, a greatest hits collection, a hits of 1983 compilation, and the soundtrack to 13 Going on 30). I remember when the song first came out (I heard it often because I got most of my music from radio, including American Top 40), I kind of liked it, but it wasn’t till I decided to get into the Talking Heads (to impress a girl) that I really gave the song my attention. I must say that I enjoy the live, Stop Making Sense, version better than the original, as it’s a more driving, rocking take on the song.

Linkin Park takes the burning to the air, but ironically, I could have had a second Linkin Park “Burn…” song if I had their latest single, as “Burn It Down” has been on the radio recently, and has been featured as the musical accompaniment to some highlight packages on ESPN. I always thought the Elvis Presley song was called “Hunka Hunka Burning Love”, but it’s just the last two words. When I saw that Glee had a song titled “Burning Up” that I would hear soon, I assumed at first it was a cover of the Jonas Brothers song I’d heard earlier, but it was in fact a Madonna cover, and I can now tell the difference as Madonna’s version features the proper spelling of “burning”, including the ending ‘g’. I’m not sure how much it will help me, as I’m unlikely to listen to either song willingly.

The list ends strongly for me, starting with a Green Day track from Dookie, and then running into my wife’s favorite artist (non-Elvis Costello division) Richard Thompson. I actually saw him in concert with her in Bloomington, Indiana, but it probably was wasted on me, as I don’t remember which songs he performed, save a rousing cover of “Oops! I Did It Again”. I will say that not knowing the specific songs did not blind me to the amazing virtuoso skill he has with the guitar. If I hadn’t heard enough of his voice with the five renditions of “Burning Down the House”, I got one more “burn” track from Mr. Byrne (ahh, homonyms!) before the fires finally burned out–or so I thought–as after the Guster song “Buried” (keeping with the violence I guess), things flamed up one last time with the B-52’s giving me a “Bushfire”, a song that inspired me to listen to Cosmic Thing in its entirety tonight.


Killing two birds with one lawnmower

Getting to the gym yesterday proved to be impossible, so I had to improvise my music exercise time. My back yard needed some mowing, and seeing that it was the first mow of the season and about two weeks later than it should have happened, it was, in addition to plenty of walking, a solid upper-body workout as well.

(By the way, I was trying to play off the old “killing two birds with one stone” saying in my title, but we do live in a hysterical and overly sensitive time so I probably should specifically state that no birds were harmed with my lawnmower, although I did bother a neighborhood cat that was hoping to lounge in the tall grass of my back yard and was forced to move when I started the mower.)

April 30, 2012

Walking behind a mower

  • Below the Beams–Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
  • Bennie and the Jets–Elton John
  • The Best Damn Thing–Avril Lavigne
  • The Best Day–Taylor Swift
  • Best in Me–???
  • The Best is Yet to Come–Frank Sinatra
  • The Best of Both Worlds–Hannah Montana
  • The Best of Everything–Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers

“Below the Beams” is a short number by Grace Potter, but it’s still highly enjoyable. I only own the one album by her, but listening to it makes me want to get more. The only problem is that I’ve got about 20 artists in that bucket, plus new artists that I’d like to sample as well.  I’d say that my music collection is like a shark–it needs to keep moving forward or it will die, but that would give short shrift to the classic artists, like Elton John who followed next with one of his great 70’s hits.

Three of my next five songs come from pop princesses of different styles, starting with the punk pop of Avril Lavigne. I must say she writes catchy tunes with excellent hooks  and I find myself adding more and more of her work to my personal playlist. The country-tinged song “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift  is enough to move any parent to tears as Swift sings about her love of her parents (her mother in particular) as a child. The last girl power entry is the theme to the Disney program Hannah Montana, “The Best of Both Worlds” sung by Hannah Montana, who we later learned was Miley Cryus in a shocking twist.

I love to play the “who is this” game when I get a song without an artist listed, but for now “Best in Me” has me stumped. Online, the most famous song with this title (no ‘the’ at the beginning) is by an artist named Blue, and while Blue’s my boy, I don’t think he is the winner here. I will report later after I consult with my kids. There’s something so right about hearing a Frank Sinatra song from time to time, and I’d actually say the same about Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as well.