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.

 

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Road Trip! or dealing with Bob Dylan’s massive Bob Dylan ego

Did you miss me? A weekend featuring interstate travelling led to me not posting a blog entry over the last two days. On the bright side, travel did not prevent me from getting in a great workout at the gym on Saturday morning before we left. On the downside, I was not able to exercise yesterday, which means I owe 4 miles of walks thanks to the Red Sox taking two games from the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. That will be done today, if the rain lets up.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victory #18 of the 2012 season

  • Blue Moon Revisited (A Song for Elvis)–Cowboy Junkies
  • Blue Morning, Blue Day–Foreigner
  • Blue Orchid–The White Stripes
  • Blue Period–The Smithereens
  • Blue Period–The Smithereens
  • Blue Ridge Mountains–The Fleet Foxes
  • Blue Skies–Willie Nelson
  • Blue Sky–The Allman Brothers Band
  • Blue Telescope–John Hiatt
  • Blue Train–John Coltrane
  • Blues Before & After–The Smithereens
  • Blues Before And After–The Smithereens

There are worse ways to spend time than walking outside on a nice day while listening to the Cowboy Junkies, particularly their great opening track to their 200 More Miles live album. My first interest in music in the early 80s was driven by the American Top 40 radio countdown show, and as a result my knowledge and interest in musical acts was driven by facts, numbers, and trivia. As an example, while I wasn’t a Foreigner fan growing up, I was always interested that their song “Waiting for a Girl Like You” was the most successful (as defined by Billboard) song to not hit #1 on the charts–it spent ten weeks at #2, largely due to the success of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”. Luckily both songs were able to set aside their animosity and long-standing rivalry and both be covered on Glee. Perhaps the folks in the Middle East could take a clue from these bitter, bitter foes.

The White Stripes followed with “Blue Orchid”, which is both a great song, and a great flower (I know, I know–pretty controversial opinion that latter one is). Four of the next nine songs come from the Smithereens as “Blue Period” and “Blues Before and After” were hits off their album 11 so they also showed up on the greatest hits collection I own as well. I saw the Smithereens in concert my senior year in college and while it was a great show, I think my ears were ringing for days after. After the driving rock of the Stripes and Smithereens, the folk sounds of Fleet Foxes was an excellent change of pace, and it started a nice run with Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers.

While owning a telescope seems like something cool, getting to see the planets and stars and all, owning a blue telescope would increase the awesomeness by a factor of 10. It makes you wonder why electronics and gadgets have to be black–why can’t they be bright and vibrant colors instead? John Hiatt is really on to something there. Thank goodness I still had half a mile to go, as “Blue Train” takes a bit of time to hear, but as with all Coltrane, it’s worth finishing off.

May 19,2012

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

  • Blues Happy–Arrested Development
  • Board Meeting–Timbaland & Magoo
  • Boat Drinks–Jimmy Buffett
  • Boat of Car–They Might Be Giants
  • Bob–Drive-by Truckers
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream–Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band
  • Bob Dylan’s Blues–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s Dream–Bob Dylan
  • Bob Dylan’s Dream–Brian Ferry
  • Bobby Jean–Bruce Springsteen
  • Bobby Jean–Jennifer Glass
  • Bodhisattva–Steely Dan
  • Bodies–Drowning Pool
  • Body–The Presidents of the United States
  • The Body of an American–The Pogues
An interesting trend in more recent albums, particularly hip-hop and rap is the linking of tracks. It’s not an issue if you’re listening to the album in its entirety, but if you’re listening to a variety of music, it can be odd or even confusing. The Arrested Development song that started my gym team had one of those transitions, but it led to the Timbaland song, and although the two acts have very different hip-hop sensibilities, the transition actually worked. Things got a little interesting at the end of the Timbaland track, which also had one of those lead-ins to the next song on the album, but here it led to Jimmy Buffett. While on the surface it seemed like a goofy pairing, Timbaland has shown on his two Shock Value albums a willingness to work with a variety of artists. It just seems unlikely to me that Jimmy Buffett will ever be on that menu. Speaking of goofy, “Boat of Car” is a silly song from They Might Be Giant’s self-titled debut.
I’m trying to decide whether to imagine the “Bob” the Drive-by Truckers are singing about Bob Dylan so I can say that a half dozen of the songs on the list were “Bob Dylan” titled-songs. I guess there’s no point in stretching things where five songs like that is plenty. Plus I love the Truckers’ story of Bob, a confirmed bachelor that takes care of his momma on its own, so it doesn’t need to enter the Bob Dylan mix. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the Dylan songs and their Chimes of Freedom covers. In fact, I’d challenge anyone to listen to “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” and not smile at some point when following the entertainingly convoluted story (and the Taj Mahal version is wonderful). I guess I should feel fortunate that I only heard about Bob’s first and 115th dreams and not songs covering the 113 in-between. No one covered “Bob Dylan’s Blues” on the four-disc compilation album, so I only had to hear that song once before hearing his unnumbered (so I’m assuming original) dream twice, once by him and once by Brian Ferry.
After I was done with Dylan, I got a Bruce Springsteen original and cover combo with “Bobby Jean”. I know I’ve got Mad Men on the brain as the fifth season is both heating up and winding down, but I derived particular pride from telling my wife that this song title is a combination of the first names of Don Draper’s two sons. I guess that makes Bruce a big (and clairvoyant) fan, seeing that it predates the show by 24 years. Or maybe Matthew Weiner is a Springsteen fan. Or maybe it is a coincidence.   While I loved the Steely Dan song that followed, I’m not sure whether I struggle to pronounce the name of the song or spell the name of the song more–thinking about that, VH1 or Fuse or one of the music television channels should have a musical spelling bee game show. If people watch preteens struggle to spell words that no one will ever use, wouldn’t people watch contestants spell things like “Lynyrd Skynyrd” or Bodhisattva” for exciting cash and prizes? I know I would.
I’ll admit to enjoying the Drowning Pool song “Bodies” and having it pump me up with exercising, giving me a rush to push through the Presidents of the United States and yet another chipper Pogues number.

A birthday bash for a bunch of birds

Time to get back on the bike–which would be an apt metaphor if riding a bike was my form of exercise either in the neighborhood or at the gym. But as phrases, “Time to get back walking” or “Time to get back on the elliptical” don’t have the same poetry or familiarity, so what are you going to do?

May 8, 2012

2+ mile walk in the neighborhood to commemorate Red Sox victory #12 of the 2012 Season

  • Billy’s Bones–The Pogues
  • Billy’s Got a Gun–Def Leppard
  • Biomusicology–Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
  • The Bird & The Worm–Owl City
  • Bird Flu–M.I.A.
  • Bird on a Wire–Willie Nelson
  • Bird on a Wire–Leonard Cohen
  • Bird on a Wire–The Lilac Time
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul–They Might Be Giants
  • Birdhouse in Your Soul [Live]–They Might Be Giants
  • Birds and Ships–Billy Bragg & Wilco
  • Birds Fly–They Might Be Giants
  • The Birds Will Still Be Singing–Elvis Costello
  • The Birth of Christ–Boys II Men

I’m not sure if the members of Def Leppard are friendly with the boys of Aerosmith, but if they are, the former should introduce their “Billy” to Aerosmith’s “Janie” as the two already have a common interest of gun ownership. However, if Billy is the one giving Janie so much trouble, then perhaps the Pogues song that started things off are referring to his bones. The Ted Leo album was a gift from a family member, and I’ve enjoyed it over the years, but have never gone deeper into the band’s discography.

One of the interesting aspects of going through my entire list in an alphabetical manner is learning little trivia bits, like the fact that we have 10 songs that begin with “bird…” in the family collection. The Owl City song comes from my kids’ addition to the library–an album we picked up after the huge hit that was “Fireflies”. The rest of the album also has his infectious beats and witty lyrics as well. “Bird Flu” was the first song that introduced me to M.I.A. and it got me to listen to the rest of Kala; for that I’ll be always thankful (if you haven’t listened to the album, you should. I am not the only one recommending that you do. I was reading the special Rolling Stone magazine on newsstands now that lists their picks for the top 500 albums of all time, and Kala made the list.

We only own one Leonard Cohen album strictly speaking (a greatest hits collection), but we also own two tribute albums where other artists cover his work. This leads to three versions of some of his more popular tunes, like “Bird on a Wire”. His lyrics are so well crafted, it’s a joy to hear the song repeatedly from the well-known Willie Nelson to the Lilac Time, who I was not familiar with despite the face that they’ve had a 20-year career. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” was They Might Be Giants’ first hit off Flood, their major-label debut, and the live version is a nice bonus. I had one more “Bird…” song from TMBG, a short, 90-second number from their earlier days.

My collection of “Bird…” songs gives me yet another chance to laud Mermaid Avenue, the masterful album that Billy Bragg & Wilco put together and “Birds and Ships” prominently features Natalie Merchant on vocals.  Hearing the song inspired me to listen to the entire album this morning. The last “Bird…” song comes from on of Elvis Costello’s experimental albums, The Juliet Letters, that he did with the Brodsky Quartet. My walking list concluded with a Christmas song from Boys II Men.

3.41 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • The Birth of the True–Aztec Camera
  • Birth Ritual–Soundgarden
  • Birthday–The Beatles
  • Birthday [Live]–Paul McCartney
  • Birthday Boy–Drive-By Truckers
  • Birthday Gal–The Replacements
  • Biscuits & Gravy–WWE
  • The Bitch is Back–Elton John
  • Bitches Ain’t Shit–Dr. Dre
  • A Bite Out of My Bed–The New Pornographers
  • Bitter End–Dixie Chicks
  • The Bitter End–Sum-41
  • Bitter Tears–INXS
  • Bittersweet–Panic! At the Disco
  • Bizarre Love Triangle–New Order

Nothing like the navel-gazing sounds of Aztec Camera to get a workout started! Although if I was truly looking for something edgy to get the blood flowing, the second entry in the list from Soundgarden fits the bill. But I’ll be honest, almost any music works for me, so don’t think I got all mopey and was only moving at 2.1 miles per hour during the first song.

I’ve mentioned before my love of the music game Rock Band, and it should go without saying my love of the Beatles, so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement three years ago when Rock Band: Beatles was announced. It even was going to be released on a special day (9-9-9, tied to the Beatles “Revolution #9”), which was also my youngest daughter’s birthday. I had high hopes to quietly set up the game and awaken her for school that morning with a rocking rendition of the Beatles’ song “Birthday”, but while it could have worked on a technical level (the song is part of the game), it didn’t work on a logistical level (no stores sold it at midnight, so I couldn’t get it before she woke up that day). Speaking of birthdays, we own songs to commemorate the occasion for both genders, although they’re not the cheeriest numbers. “Birthday Boy” is about a group interacting with a stripper, and while it would have been awesome if the Replacement’s “Birthday Gal” was about a male stripper, it’s about a woman facing the ravages of age.

“Biscuits and Gravy” was the entrance theme for a WWE tag team, Jesse & Festus, that didn’t quite work out. “Bi..” is winding down with two songs that feature a bad word as the opening. I was discussing it with my wife, and I assume that Elton John’s song is the first to have the word “bitch” in the title, a phrase that became much more prevalent in the gangsta rap of the 90’s through the rap of today, including one track from the Dr Dre album The Chronic, which includes a second bad word (but if you asked my wife, she’s probably find “ain’t” the most offensive term in the title). So does that made Elton the godfather (or based on the outfits and makeup, godmother) or gangsta rap?

After another New Pornographers song (and I wonder how many people will refuse to give the band a chance because of their name), I got a track from the Dixie Chicks’ most recent album, which I love and leaves me hoping the trio will eventually get back in the studio to produce a new album. Sum-41 also had a song with the same title, but I still prefer the Dixie Chicks song.

INXS and Panic! At the Disco followed and my gym list then concluded with my favorite New Order song.

 

And on Sunday, I rested

I knew the run had to end at some point, and thanks to a family visitor, pulled pork, a selection of pastries, and an inviting couch, things stopped just short of double digits. But I knew I only wanted it to be a 1-day break and I wanted to make sure I pushed myself a little harder on my day back. So I decided to hit the gym and do a more extensive outdoor walk. The latter activity demonstrated some exceptional timing, as after a solid week of 65-75 degree, record-setting temperatures, I decide to walk 2 1/2 miles when it’s back to the 50’s with a strong chilly wind. I just tell myself it was all part of the plan to walk in cooler temperatures and push myself in the bracing air.

March 26, 2012

2 1/2 miles walking outside

  • All I See–Linda Thompson
  • All I Wanna Do–Sheryl Crow
  • All I Want–Joni Mitchell
  • All I Want–The Offspring
  • All I Want for Christmas is You–Glee
  • All I Want Is You–Barry Louis Polisar
  • All I Want Is You (Live)–Carly Simon
  • All I Want Is You–U2
  • All I Want to Be (Is By Your Side) [live]–Peter Frampton
  • All I Wanted–Paramore
  • All I’m Thinkin’ About–Bruce Springsteen

Girl power abounds to kick off today’s list, with two of my wife’s favorites sandwiched around a CD from my collection. Linda Thompson has a great voice, and I really like sometimes to fall asleep to some of the Richard and Linda collaborations, like “Dimming of the Day,” so I do enjoy Fashionably Late. Meanwhile, Sheryl Crow is a pop bubblegum for me. I proudly own her Greatest Hits album. Blue is of course and album everyone should own and listen to at least once a year (a sort of musical Strunk & White.)

Same song title (“All I Want”) but a polar opposite musical act in The Offspring. My twins both decided to pool money and bring their Greatest Hits into our collection, a decision I secretly endorsed.

One of the things that’s going to happen when you listen to your entire list alphabetically, is that you get your entire list alphabetically. This includes holiday music, a genre I own quite a bit of. I never got the Mariah version of the song, but my youngest got a Glee cover of it on one of the two holiday CDs we own from that show. She’s also a big fan of the movie Juno, which produced a kicking soundtrack that starts off strong with the Barry Louis Polisar and gets even better.

So I wonder if after Katrina, Carly Simon ever regretted singing about a “sexy hurricane” on “All I Want is You”. For me, it starts a “live album” run, with each album being progressively more famous, as Simon’s live release is dwarfed by the soundtrack to the U2 concert release Rattle and Hum, but it can’t hold a candle to Frampton Comes Alive, one of the musical pillars of the 70’s. It’s then back to studio releases with another favorite band of all three of my kids, Paramore, and a Bruce Springsteen track from Devils & Dust, a release I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I get older.

3.29 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • All in White–The Vaccines
  • All in Your Mind–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • All My Life–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • All My Life–Kenny Rogers
  • All My Life–Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
  • All My Love–Led Zeppelin
  • All of Me–Willie Nelson
  • All or None–Pearl Jam
  • All or Nothin’–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • All or Nothing At All–Frank Sinatra
  • All Out of Love–Air Supply
  • All Over the World–The Pixies

It’s always fun to find to find a new band. There’s plenty of ways to introduce myself to new music–sometimes, I just explore iTunes, listening to the samples of newer alternative bands. That’s how I found the Vaccines last year, and after hearing pieces of several songs, I bought their debut album. What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? I’ve really enjoyed the album, and I expect their popularity to grow as fans discover this and later releases.

With more than 10,000 songs, the likelihood of two different songs in a row by the same band seems remote, but Echo & The Bunnymen (one of the more ridiculous names in pop music history) managed to achieve the feat. For years, the only Echo we owned was from a pair of soundtracks, Pretty in Pink and The Lost Boys. But after playing “Lips Like Sugar” in Rock Band 3, and finding a couple Echo albums at my local library, we’ve managed to expand our collection.

I had to be self motivated for a period of time on the cardio trail, as it’s not like Kenny Rogers or a Linda Ronstadt/Aaron Neville duet is likely to get you fired up. Even the Led Zeppelin song that followed didn’t really do it for me. In other circumstances, I enjoy all three songs; I just wouldn’t recommend adding them to an ultimate workout playlist (something that may be fun to build in the next few months). Luckily for me, Willie Nelson performing a 1930’s jazz standard like “All of Me” is sure to get the adrenaline flowing. Pearl Jam and Tom Petty do get me moving, giving me the momentum I needed, as my adult contemporary festival continued with the Chairman of the Board and Air Supply (a band I was way, way too into in high school). Thank goodness I was able to reclaim a little street cred by closing with the Pixies, right? Right? (Maybe I should have taken another day off…)