1 New Book, 8 Is Not Enough, and 10 More Songs! (part 5 of 10)

So, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter you might know that I have a new book that came out Tuesday. If you aren’t sick of saying so, then perhaps I am not doing my job guerrilla marketing enough. So I may as well add a blog post about the book before I get to the 5th group of 10 songs in my top 100 list.

The Book: WWE 100 Greatest Matches. I got to be part of some amazing books during my seven years working at WWE. (Hell, I got to be part of a few amazing wrestling books before my time at WWE. The three books I did at Sports Publishing LLC probably helped me get the WWE gig in the first place.) While I did write one book while working at corporate (10 Count Trivia) and contributed to several others, this is the first book I wrote solo. We solicited authors, wwe.com contributors, Superstars, and more to get a vast range of opinions of the greatest matches in WWE history. I built the list of 100 using these lists as a guide. For each match, I then rewatched them a few times, and wrote about the leadup to the match, the match action, and then the aftermath. Each match is a two-page spread accompanied by several awesome photographs from the WWE library. I also was super lucky, because Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, who’s match with Macho Man Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania III was a no-brainer addition to the list, wrote the introduction, giving the book’s authoring team some much needed star power.

Are you already interested? The book should be at your local Barnes & Noble in the sports section, or you can order it from Amazon Here!

Cover

The reviews: Still not convinced that this should top your summer reading list? How about some awesome reviews that really stoked my ego at a time that my self-esteem could use the boost. Here’s one and here’s another! The real kicker is that WWE even made a video promo for the book. If you ask me honestly, the WWE Encyclopedia is still the project I am most proud of working on, but this is pretty darn close.

The real heroes: Other than my involvement, what is the primary similarity between my new book and the Encyclopedia? The editors, designers, production team of DK/Brady/Prima. I’ve worked in the publishing industry for decades, so I already knew of the magic Rube Goldberg  machine that took text to finished product, but it’s even more stunning when it’s my crappy words that get turned into a spectacular visual product.

I am sure I won’t continue to bring up this book–hopefully, I will soon have another project to announce and I can move on. Worst case scenario, it’s only 3 to 300 more blogs tied to the book. But let’s make this one a best seller in the meantime by buying this book for dads, moms, brothers, sisters, your letter carrier, Seth Green, Bill Simmons, that lady who lives down the street–it’s the perfect gift for anyone.

Back to my music list and the reason for the music list in the first place–listening while exercising. My previous blog, Renewing My Fitbit Vows (part 4 of 10), mentioned that I was back to hitting my 11,000 step, 5.5 mile goal–with 5 straight days. I am now on an 8-day streak, although upping it to 9 will be a challenge, as we are driving to North Carolina tomorrow for a First Communion weekend.

  • Falling in Love (Uh-Oh)–Miami Sound Machine
  • No Myth–Michael Penn
  • Heroes–David Bowie
  • Hip Hop Is Dead–Nas (featuring Will.I.Am)
  • Rapper’s Delight–Sugarhill Gang
  • And She Was–Talking Heads
  • Let’s Go Crazy–Prince
  • I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)–Hercules Soundtrack
  • Crazy For You–Madonna
  • Us and Them–Pink Floyd

I always thought a “Guilty Pleasure” album featuring acclaimed music acts doing covers of  songs you wouldn’t expect them to perform would be a great concept album. If I was such an artist,  I have no doubt that Miami Sound’s Machine’s “Falling in Love (Uh-Oh)” would be my contribution to the project. I’ve always had a soft spot for soft rock. I love Air Supply for example, but I did not put any of their songs on my 100. There is another song that represents this side of my personality to come, but there is no guiltier pleasure than this Gloria Estefan number. The other candidate from this batch is the romantic song from the animated movie Hercules. This song was already on my list, but then my daughter made me love it even more by using it for a college film project.

For a long time, Michael Penn was the ultimate one-hit wonder as I absolutely adored “No Myth” from the first time I heard it. “What if I was Romeo in black jeans?” is a question I can hear sung any time and it makes me smile. The driving chords from the acoustic guitar are also so distinctive. But I had not heard another song from Penn, the brother of actors Sean and Chris Penn, since (by the way, that seems like a brutally talented trio of siblings–what are my kids going to do to match that? No pressure!) But 12 years later, Penn performed a duet with the incredible Aimee Mann (his wife and the former lead singer of ‘Til Tuesday) of the Beatles song “Two of Us” for the I Am Sam soundtrack. (I cannot recommend the movie at all, but the soundtrack is definately worth owning.) That’s a song  that just missed this list.

The two music giants that we lost this year are represented on this group of ten. I had already talked in some detail about Prince in the blog entry Royal Discography but David Bowie was another crushing loss in 2016. Like Prince, I do not ever remember a time in my life when Bowie wasn’t cool. He was making his “comeback” so to speak in 1983 when I first started really paying attention to music.  His three hits from the Let’s Dance album were mainstays on American Top 40 that year, and they are such incredible songs to sing along with anytime they play on the radio. Loving those songs inspired me to work backwards on his catalog, and I was so delighted to discover his earlier work. Again, any number of songs could make a favorites list, but “Heroes” is theone that makes the cut for me.

I am glad that the premise of the Nas song that makes my list, “Hip Hop is Dead,” is decidedly not true. Not only is this a song that I love hearing any time it comes up, but often I have to tilt the randomness of my ipod by specifically selecting the song to play. The sampling of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is inspired and the wordplay on the song about the commercialization of the genre is fantastic. I can’t say I am a hip-hop/rap expert, but I have loved having it in my life back to the days of “Rapper’s Delight.” I remember being obsessed with that song in 1980. I was in fifth grade and I would constantly rap the lyrics anywhere and everywhere. I have a lasting memory of (I thought) quietly doing them at my school desk and the girl sitting in front of me turning around and hissing the request that I please shut up.

My favorite band for years was the Talking Heads. They were my first real break from Top 40 music, even if “Burning Down the House” was a top ten hit. Seeing the concert movie Stop Making Sense as well as listening to “And She Was” and the rest of the Little Creatures album did it for me. Not seeing them in concert was one of my great musical regrets. I am not proud to finally admit that the only reason I started to listening to them in the first place was to impress a woman. I was a bus boy in high school and Danielle, two years older than me, was a big fan of the band. I wanted to impress her, so I started listening to their music to have something to discuss. While my initial reasons were not pure, I loved what I heard and they remain a favorite of mine. In fact, another song will be coming as well as a song featuring David Byrne.

The first of two Madonna songs to make my list was the absolute greatest slow dance songs from my high school years. We used to have dances in our church basement, and my friend Aaron and I would DJ them (this is not to say we were DJs in the way people DJ now–we just played one song after another and would come up with idiotic prizes for dance contests–thank god cameras were not so ubiquitous back then–I would not liked to have seen my moves preserved on  YouTube for the rest of my life. But “Crazy for You” was an excellent tune to slow dance to if you could convince a girl to do so. Looking back, it is amazing I ever got anyone to do so. I was a dork back then, not the dashing and suave hero I am now.

Finally, my love of pop music, American Top 40 (or more specifically Billboard  magazine charts), numbers, and records intersected with the amazing fact that Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd spent more than a decade on the Top 200 album charts. Don’t get me wrong–like all white American middle schoolers, I eventually got into Pink Floyd and love that album, as well as the song “Us and Them” in particular. But that is just an amazing number–more than 700 weeks and 15 years on the chart. I’d settle for 700 readers or 15 straight Fitbit goal days in a row.

Fixing the Presidential Debates with a little help from Community

So we’re going to have a bit of a temporal shift today. I’d like to talk about my time at the gym last night (Wednesday, October 3rd) even though the songs being discussed are from earlier in September. I just feel it would have a bit more impact to be more timely in my openings. Wednesday night I was working out at the gym from 9:30 to 10:30, and while I was listening to my music, I was reading the debates on the overhead TV screens. It felt like my childhood a bit, as the televisions at my end of the gym are set to ABC, NBC, and CBS, the three networks from the first 15 years of my life (this always comes as a complete surprise to my children when I tell them there was a time when Fox was not a network–well, surprise or boredom; I can’t always read their expressions when I’m telling them stories about the olden days). So all three networks were showing the debate, and while I had no sound, I was able to follow the close captioning.

While I agree with the general consensus that Romney outperformed Obama, my larger question is “Who Cares?” For years, debates have been worthless, a test of who can memorize pithy platitudes about why their position is beneficial to the American people and their opponent is looking to destroy our country. It’s not a true debate because there’s no true back-and-forth, no discussion of key issues/topics, in fact, I’d argue that neither side truly listens to what his opponent even says–each is too busy feeding red meat to his party base.

So how to fix? You can’t just eliminate the debates, but maybe we could radically restructure them. Then I thought about Community. Last season they had an episode where two students were each trying to form a school Model UN club, and to settle which group would get the school’s charter, a “Model UN off” was held. A moderator would pick random crisis topics out of a fishbowl and each group had to work out how to solve the proposed problem. (Trust me, it was very funny.) Comedy aside, wouldn’t this make a better format for a debate. Each candidate, and perhaps 3-5 advisors on stage with them, would have scenarios that might happen over the next four years tossed their way that they then have to suggest how they would solve. Wouldn’t that better inform us of the Presidential mettle of each man? Now, the moderator would probably be some venerable journalist, but I would prefer they use Erik Charles Nielsen from that episode of Community, just to re-create his awesomely shrill cries of “Crisis Alert!” before announcing each topic–“Crisis Alert! Russia declares war on Germany!” or “Crisis Alert! A large-scale hurricane devastates Houston, Texas”. It’d be better than what we’ve got right?

Thursday, September, 6, 2012

3.15 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Die, All Right!–The Hives
  • Diesel Blues (Diesel)–WWE
  • Different Finger–Elvis Costello
  • The Difficult Kind–Sheryl Crow
  • Dig A Little Deeper–Peter Bjorn & John
  • Dig A Pony–The Beatles
  • Dig A Pony–The Beatles
  • Dig For Fire–The Pixies
  • Dig It–The Beatles
  • Dig My Grave–They Might Be Giants
  • Digging in the Dirt [Live]–Peter Gabriel
  • Dignity–Bob Dylan
  • Dime–CAKE
  • Dime Mi Amor–Los Lonely Boys

While there are some out there, it’s not often you get a song with a really mean title, but I think the Hives telling me to “Die, All Right!” certainly qualifies. I am willing to forgive the brusque nature of the title because it is a kick-ass song, like just about every offering from the group. It’s a return of a pair of music-list standards next, starting with another WWE theme, this one for the Kevin Nash persona Diesel and then Elvis Costello. I can make a mental tie from Costello to the next artist on the list, Sheryl Crow, as I believe the two performed at a online concert before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis. I remember watching it on my laptop so that my wife could see her favorite, Costello, do his thing.

I enjoyed the next seven songs, starting with my favorite track from Peter Bjorn & John’s most recent album (which if you think you’ve never heard of the band but you watch 2 Broke Girls, well, then you have heard the band, as the opening theme is performed by them. Thanks to Let It Be and Let It Be Naked, I got three Beatles songs about digging, with a Pixies number snuck in there as well.  Things got even better with a fun They Might Be Giants song, and then a live track from Peter Gabriel. Speaking of Peter Gabriel live, he’s apparently coming to Connecticut for a concert later this year. I’m getting to an age where I think going to a concert seems like a hot of hassle, but for some reason I’d like to see Gabriel (although finances make it unlikely).

For the last three songs, I get “Dignity” from Bob Dylan, which I find a little ironic seeing that when I saw Dylan perform live a few years back, his voice was so shot that if he had any dignity, he wouldn’t be touring any more. I enjoy CAKE so much, but often forget about this enjoyment, so I forget to listen to their music at times.  The final number in today’s list was a Spanish-language track from Los Lonely Boys.

 

Letters to my Parents, God, the President, and The Man

Well, it hasn’t happened for some time, but nobody’s perfect, as I demonstrated by publishing this post with the placeholder [opening graf] before the exercise lists. So this is an edited second edition! Labor Day weekend is coming to an end, and hopefully so is my summer at home. I’d like to hear from prospective employers and I’m thinking that the odds of it increase after Labor Day as tons of people took the last week or two of August off and now places should be running at full capacity again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Deadbeat Club–The B-52’s
  • Deadly Game–Theory of a Deadman
  • Deadly Game (“Survivor Series” Theme)–WWE
  • Dear Agony–Breaking Benjamin
  • Dear God–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Dear John–Cyndi Lauper
  • Dear John–Taylor Swift
  • Dear John (I Sent Your Saddle Home)–John Prine
  • Dear Mary–Linda Thompson
  • Dear Mr. Man–Prince
  • Dear Mr. President–4 Non Blondes

Today’s list began with my last three “Dead… songs, with a B-52’s number from Cosmic Thing and two versions of the WWE theme song “Deadly Game”. I’d say that it’s nice to see a cover of a WWE song indicating it’s general success, but seeing that the cover also appears on a WWE album, that seems to be a bit of a stretch. Next up was the title track to Breaking Benjamin’s fourth album and another band my kids love, Avenged Sevenfold. (Although I will admit that in certain moods and situations I enjoy A7X–awesome abbreviation, by the way–songs as well, including “Dear God”).

The next three songs are “Dear John” numbers. I wonder if Dear John letters are a concept that kids today understand, or if they just think of it as a Channing Tatum movie. It was easier to know the concept when I was growing up when M*A*S*H reruns would occasionally hit the topic and Judd Hirsch starred in a sitcom named after the idea (and it had one of those “explain the concept” title songs). Of the three songs, I like the John Prine  number the most, although it was the only song from his In Spite of Ourselves that was not sung as a duet. After all the John letters (which is the name of my father), the next song was named after my mother, Mary, which is good as she would have been upset to be left out. After the personal letters, we get to letters to the people in authority, with Prince seeking out Mr. Man and flash-in-the-pan 4 Non Blondes reach out to Mr. President.

Monday, August 27, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Dear Old Man of Mine–Linda Thompson
  • Dear Old Shiz–Wicked Cast
  • Dear Prudence–The Beatles
  • Dear Sweet Filthy World–Elvis Costello
  • Dear Yoko–John Lennon
  • Dearest–Buddy Holly
  • Death and All of his Friends–Coldplay
  • Death of a Martian–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Death of Me–Crooked X
  • Death or Glory–The Clash
  • Death to My Hometown–Bruce Springsteen
  • Debaser–The Pixies

I was going to say that the letter-writing continues, but I believe the use of “Dear…” at the beginning of the first two songs is more a term of endearment that a salutation. The first is the second Linda Thompson number in this update (which is interesting as we only have one of her solo albums total) and the second comes from the Wicked soundtrack, a favorite of my youngest daughter. With all due respect to Broadway showtunes, but the list really picked up after that starting with a Beatles’ White Album track and then an Elvis Costello number.

I like to give my wife a hard time about Paul McCartney, and yesterday I was getting under her skin by referring to Sir Paul as the leader of  the Beatles. She angrily exclaimed that he was not the leader of the group, but then I continued needling by (I believe correctly) pointing out that if John was the leader, Yoko’s name would have been in so many more songs, like today’s “Dear Yoko”. I figured we would have had “Yoko’s Silver Hammer”, “Hey Yoko”, “Let It Be Yoko”, and more. She did not like that point. A great Buddy Holly song from the Juno soundtrack followed. I really liked that movie and if it helps introduce kids today to great music like Buddy Holly, the Kinks, and Sonic Youth, all the better.

After Coldplay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Crooked X, I get the excellent bonus of  London Calling and Doolittle tracks with a Bruce Springsteen number in between.

Back into a routine

Boy that was quite the list of songs I dumped on you last time, and if it got to a point where your eyes glazed over and you skipped to the bottom, I understand completely and apologize. I’m attempting to make sure that doesn’t happen again, although I am now six visits behind again, although it’s for a good reason–while I was preparing that massive list, I’ve found my exercise inspiration and have gone to the gym each of the last six days (so I have to go tonight to make it a solid week!). It feels great to be back on an exercise routine–it may be my imagination, but when looking in the mirror this morning, my face looked thinner. I think I’ll have a cheeseburger to celebrate!

Friday, August 24, 2012

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

  • Day Tripper–The Beatles
  • Day Tripper–The Beatles
  • Daybreak–Barry Manilow
  • Daylight–Drive-By Truckers
  • Days/This Time Tomorrow–Ray Davies
  • Days Go By–Keith Urban
  • Days Like These–Asia
  • Daysleeper–R.E.M.
  • Dazed and Confused–Led Zeppelin

There’s certainly no problem hearing a song two consecutive times when it opens with an amazing guitar riff like “Day Tripper”, which is certainly my favorite Beatle opening and is in the all-time running as well. As an added bonus, hearing the name of the song makes me think of The Daytrippers, a great independent movie from the 90’s featuring Parker Posey. (Boy, she truly was the Queen of the Indys back then–Party Girl, Clockwatchers, The House of Yes, and more.) If you are looking for a musical talent to pair with the Beatles, there aren’t many candidates that can hang with the power of Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starr, but Manilow is one that works, right? (I kid, I kid, for the most part, but I still enjoy the occasional Manilow number.)

Two of the next three songs fit into the broad “country” label, with my preferred group being the Drive-By Truckers. The Keith Urban song is one I’m less familiar with, even though it was on one of my daughter’s first CDs she ever owned, Now That’s What I Call Music 17. Those modern-day K-Tel collections always collect 20 songs and 18-19 are pop, rock, or hip-hop, with one of two country songs thrown in, and Urban filled the quota on Volume 17. Sandwiched between the songs was one of my favorite numbers from the Ray Davies compilation of re-imagined Kinks numbers See My Friends, the medley of “Days” and “This Time Tomorrow” with Mumford & Sons. The Asia song “Days Like These” was an add-on song to their greatest hits collection (isn’t releasing a best of album after three studio albums a little ridiculous?).

After the R.E.M. song “Daysleeper”, it was time for some live Led Zeppelin. Usually I get to hear 12-15  songs during a gym workout, but today was only nine, owing to the 26-minute length of “Dazed and Confused”, meaning I thought this song would never end. (I guess when The Song Remains the Same was released as a double-record, this song was a side unto itself–easier to skip!)

Saturday, August 25, 2012 

3.12 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da–The Police
  • De Todo Un Poco–Michael Lloyd & Le Disc
  • Deacon Blues–Steely Dan
  • Dead–The Pixies
  • Dead–They Might Be Giants
  • Dead End Street–Ray Davies
  • Dead Hearts–Stars
  • Dead Horse–Guns N’ Roses
  • Dead Letter–Elvis Costello
  • Dead Man (Undertaker)–WWE
  • Dead Melodies–Beck
  • Dead Men Tell No Tales–Set Your Goals
  • Dead of the Night–Bad Company
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead or Alive–Journey

Old school Police is an excellent way to get the exercise ball rolling, even if an instrumental number from the second Dirty Dancing soundtrack follows and attempts to kill all forward momentum. When I play the “worst CD purchase I ever made” game, that secondary bonus soundtrack is a strong, strong contender. It’s so bad that I even feel guilty trying to pass it off as something my wife brought into our relationship. I have to take full responsibility for it. I will also take credit for the Steely Dan in our collection, although it is only a greatest hits collection, which I think is more than enough for me.

The music of the “Dead..” starts next, and I’m talking literal titles, not selections from Jerry Garcia’s band. I own two simple “Dead” songs from great sources–The Pixies and They Might Be Giants. I’m more attached to the TMBG song historically, but who doesn’t love the source of the Pixies’ number, the amazing album Doolittle?  I then got another Ray Davies offering from See My Friends (it seems like an inordinate number of tracks on the album start with ‘D’–3 of 14 to be exact). I highly recommend this album, which has received a significant bump in plays in the family household recently.

“Dead Hearts” is an excellent number from the Montreal-based band who, if you’re looking for a new album to enjoy, will be releasing their latest, The North, next week (9/4/12).  This was followed by a hate/love combo for my wife, as she cannot stand Guns N’ Roses, but I think I could have gotten her to hang on through the song with the promise that Elvis was coming up next. Of course, a WWE theme following would have gotten her to leave post haste, even if it is one of the many cool variations on the Undertaker’s music. She’d eventually regret leaving, as she would then miss an awesome Beck number (it’s like the alphabetical list is playing tennis with my wife’s musical emotions!)

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Set Your Goals, one of the many new musical acts my son got into this past summer. I probably need to give their work more attention before making a decision. I do feel fine about one of my daughter’s groups, Fall Out Boy, but they’ve been part of our library for a much longer timeframe. (Although I’m not a big enough fan that hearing “Dead on Arrival” three times in a row made me happy.) My list closed with some Raised on Radio Journey, the album that made us realize that group was effectively “Dead…” and is now just a touring nostalgia act.

 

Back in Business (at least the blog business)

Been a few days since I last updated the blog, as I got sidetracked helping a friend out with a project. But I can’t ignore my public any longer, particularly with my list of songs continuing to backlog. (While I didn’t blog over the weekend, I did get to the gym both days, so the list continues!) So today’ list will blow through the week (or at least the Monday through Thursday portion) of 7/30 through 8/2, which featured a pair ofT gym visits sandwiched around hosting Indiana in-laws. The visit was great–everyone had a relaxed, fun time, so I didn’t mind missing the workouts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

3.10 miles at the gym on the elliptical machine:

  • Cotton Alley–10,000 Maniacs
  • Cough Syrup–Young the Giant
  • Could I’ve Been So Blind–The Black Crowes
  • Could It Be Magic–Barry Manilow
  • Could You Be Love–Bob Marley
  • Couldn’t Call It Unexpected No. 4–Elvis Costello
  • Couldn’t Call It Unexpected No. 4 [live]–Elvis Costello
  • Counterfeit Fake–They Might Be Giants
  • Countin’ On A Miracle–Bruce Springsteen
  • Counting Airplanes–Train
  • Country Comfort–Elton John

Monday began with a selection from 10,000 Maniacs (sort-of) first album. (I know they released Secrets of the I Ching first, but I tend to ignore that album, and I’d argue they do as well, seeing that they re-recorded three of the songs for inclusion on The Wishing Chair.) Things get a little more recent and trendy with “Cough Syrup”, although I dodged a bullet when I only had to hear the original and not the Glee cover. I then got to hear a song from the debut album of the Black Crowes. I’ll admit that for Black Crowes, one album is more than enough for me. I think I’m supposed to like the Black Crowes more, but they’re a group that a little goes a long way in my musical sentiments. That sentiment is also true for both of the next artists as well, although there aren’t many other reasons to group Manilow and Marly.

My next four songs come from three of the family’s most represented artists, starting with studio and live versions of an Elvis Costello number. I am trying to wrap my mind around the title of the They Might Be Giants’ song–is a “Counterfeit Fake” the genuine article? The only thing that might have improved the title was adding the Elvis Costello flair and calling it “Couterfeit Fake No. 4”. My trio of familiarity ends with the Boss and a song from “The Rising”. That’s not to say I’m not familiar with Train or Elton John–I just don’t own the same large percentage of their musical catalogue.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

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

  • Country Comforts–Rod Stewart
  • Country Darkness–Elvis Costello
  • Country Feedback–R.E.M.
  • Country Girl: Whisky Boot Hill/Down, Down/Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)–Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Cousins–Vampire Weekend
  • The Coventry Carol–Alison Moyet
  • Cover Me–Bruce Springsteen
  • Coward Of The County–Kenny Rogers
  • Cowboy Killers–The Wonder Years
  • Cowboy Romance–Natalie Merchant
  • Cowboy Take Me Away–Dixie Chicks
  • Cowboy Take Me Away [live]–Dixie Chicks
  • Cowtown–They Might Be Giants
  • Coyotes–Jason Mraz
  • Crab–Weezer
  • Crackin’ Up–Paul McCartney
  • Crackity Jones–Pixies
  • Cracklin’ Rosie–Neil Diamond
  • Crank It Up–WWE

I closed the previous section talking about owning a percentage of an established act’s collected works, and my Rod Stewart ownership calculation would be tiny–1 over however many albums he’s released. And again, one is more than enough for me–Rod’s a .0001 on the Simple Minds Scale, particularly once he decided to subject the aural population to his interpretations of “The Great American Songbook”.  I think I’d be far more impressed with him delivering the Great Scottish Songbook. I also made particular mention of three artists in the last section that are significant parts of our library, and as if they wanted to further the point, each shows up again on this list, starting with Elvis Costello. The Bruce and TMBG songs that follow are more familiar to me, as the Springsteen song comes from the first album of his I ever purchased (Born in the USA) and the They Might Be Giants’ number is from their second album, Lincoln.

After an R.E.M. song, I get a visit from CSNY and the appearance of  one of the 70’s more pretentious musical trends–the long songs with multiple parts (popularized by Yes, but then taken to new heights by Rush with songs having multiple parts that straddled different albums). You don’t see that as much these days. That’s not to say artists aren’t self important–they just express it in other manners (Thanks social media!). As I’ve mentioned before, but each Vampire Weekend song I hear mixes my enjoyment of their music and my anticipation of their upcoming third album, which I’ve heard is releasing before the end of the year. The end of the year would have been a better time to hear the Alison Moyet song, but when you listen to an entire list alphabetically, Christmas comes year round!

Do you ever think about memory–specifically, what stays in your mind and what you’ve forgotten? I ask because when I was a child, we didn’t listen to a lot of music, but one album (actually, 8-track to be precise) that received heavy rotation  was my mother’s Kenny Rogers album (one of his many greatest hits collection). Now I’m not the biggest fan of Rogers, but his story songs were easy to follow to be sure. Now, here it is, decades later and when a song like “Coward of the County” comes up (one I can honestly say that I haven’t heard for years), and I can sing along with it, remembering all the lyrics. I just have to wonder what important dates, facts, or issues have been pushed out of my brain so that “Promise me son, not to do the things I’ve done” can stick around. Moving on, it seems fitting that a Kenny Rogers song would serve as prologue for my “Cowboy…” section of songs, although truth be told, if I’m thinking about artists doing songs about the profession, the Wonder Years and Natalie Merchant do not come to top of mind. Dixie Chicks? They make more sense.

Not a lot to add about the Jason Mraz and Weezer that follow, and the Paul McCartney number almost shouldn’t count as a song–it’s more of a 45 second sorbet from his live album. Now getting a Pixies song is always a treat, particularly when I close the list with Neil Diamond and WWE.

 

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.

A son ten years older than the father?

BBoy am I getting behind on this thing–I am going to have to pull some all-nighters to get back on schedule! Well, I’m also going to give a bit of the short shrift to the songs that I heard the week of July 9th–when I get to them I think you’ll completely understand. Meanwhile, I hit the gym to make up for lost missing car time.

Friday, July 7, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Cheyenne Anthem–Kansas
  • Chicago Is So Two Years Ago–Fall Out Boy
  • Child In Time–Deep Purple
  • Child Star–Ron Sexsmith
  • Child’s Play–WWE
  • Childhood Memories–Iris DeMent
  • Childhood Remembered–Danny Elfman
  • Children Go Where I Send Thee–Natalie Merchant
  • Children of the Dark–Richard Thompson + Danny Thompson
  • Children Play with Earth–Arrested Development
  • Chimes of Freedom–Bob Dylan
  • Chimes of Freedom [live]–Bob Dylan

Boy isn’t “Anthem” a correct (if a bit pretentious) term when describing a Kansas song? Their songs are so sweeping and over the top–I can only take them a bit at a time and then I’m all set for quite a while (and my wife is just like me, except she can do just fine with no Kansas and then she’d be all set.) Speaking of pretentious, if the song title is long, overinvolved, too clever for its own good, and possibly not actually tied to the song itself, then you’ve probably got yourself a Fall Out Boy song. The funny thing is that I like their music; I just don’t get the titles. My list then swung back to 70s power rock with a Deep Purple track. Back in the 70s, when I wasn’t a big listener of music, I do remember hearing “Smoke on the Water” quite a bit, but that was the extent of my Deep Purple knowledge.

While my Ron Sexsmith knowledge is equally shallow, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard from the two albums a friend gave my wife years ago. “Child’s Play” is one of my least favorite WWE Entrance themes, as I never was the biggest fan of the Eugene character. It almost feels like Iris DeMent and Danny Elfman should combine the next two songs, as “Childhood Memories Remembered” makes a lot of sense, although seeing that Elfman’s piece is from the first Batman movie, and probably refers to Bruce Wayne thinking about the brutal murder of his parents, perhaps DeMent would like to stay as far away from that childhood as possible. Iris is probably a better match for the next artist, Natalie Merchant. (After all, Natalie did cover DeMent’s “Let The Mystery Be”.) Here, Merchant is contributing one of my favorite underrated Christmas songs.

The children’s section wraps up with songs from Richard and Danny Thompson and Arrested Development, both of which (I thought) have an extra touch of irony on the kid’s front. I was prepared to discuss how Danny is the son of Richard Thompson, and it’s nice to see him performing with his father, but actual research taught me that Danny is not related to Richard (and is actually 10 years older!) So thank God for research! The second “Child..” song, “Children Play With Earth” is from the Christian rap group Arrested Development, which is of course a great childhood term. My list closed with two versions of “Chimes of Freedom”, one of which closes the 4-disc Dylan tribute set we’ve been listening to often recently.

Saturday, July 8, 2012

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

  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • China Girl–David Bowie
  • Chinese Democracy–Guns ‘N Roses
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)–The Chipmunks
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)–The Chipmunks
  • Chiquitita–ABBA
  • Chiron–All That Remains
  • Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns–Mother Love Bone
  • Chop Me Up–Justin Timberlake Feat. Timberland & Three-6 Mafia
  • Chop Suey!–System of a Down

Well, if you have to hear a song three times in a row when working out, “China Girl” isn’t that bad a candidate to fill the role. As aptly demonstrated in The Wedding Singer (the soundtrack of which produced one of the versions today), it’s a great song to sing along with, but I wouldn’t recommend doing in on an elliptical machine at the gym–people give you the strangest looks. The other interesting note on the three versions of the song is that even though they are all studio cuts, and none are extended mix versions or anything like that, each has a different song length, and while there’s only a 4-second difference between the two compilation versions, the one from Bowie’s greatest hits is 1:12 shorter–I guess he was in a hurry to get to his other classic songs.

Like many Guns ‘N Roses fans, I was so excited when they finally released Chinese Democracy, the title track of which came next. And don’t get me wrong, it is great to have Axl back in my musical life. But I think the band should have a different name, as Axl without Slash doesn’t feel like GnR. But I was pining for more from that album after having to hear the Chipmunk’s signature song twice. I do have two thoughts on this group. First of all, the Chipmunks sound awesome when you’re a kid, but one of the first signs of growing up is when you realize just how grating their songs are. Second, if the Department of Child Services also covered animated talking chipmunks, I think I’d feel obligated to call them to investigate David. He just sounds evil when pushing the boys to pay attention, sing their songs, and sing them RIGHT!

ABBA is definitely a “Greatest Hits only” band (.45 on the Simple Minds Scale), and I wasn’t even aware that “Chiquitita” was one of their biggest international hits–I honestly thought it was a song about a banana. All That Remains is a band my son likes–they’re frankly not for me. The Mother Love Bone song is great and of course two members of the band went on to form Pearl Jam, so I was probably predisposed to like the song. I also enjoyed the two songs that closed the list as Timberlake is always quality music and the System of a Down song is goofy and fun as well.