Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I Go To Extremes — Billy Joel

I have to admit: I have been on a multi-year burnout of Billy Joel. If I hear Piano Man on the radio, I turn the channel. However, I have this song in my playlist, and I heard it pop up for this list, and I refused to skip it on the list. So, let's go face the man.

Listening to the song again, it's an interesting package that wraps Billy Joel up in a bow. It's definitely a 80s/90s borderland pop hit, and it's prretentious like a lot of songs were. Joel says he wrote it to apologize to Christie Brinkley about how he was all over the place; a lot of critics point out it identifies undiagmosed bipoloar disorder.

If you like Billy Joel, you'll like this one. If not, you won't.

(I will come back later with a purchase link; I am away from the computer.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Wake Me Up -- Avicii

Wesley turned me on to this song, and I adored it from the start. I was too old to be the target audience, but I like the lines:
So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn't know I was lost
There's times even today when I wish I could wait until I'm wiser and older. Like I tell the High School class at church sometimes, "Somehow I turned around and people started thinking I was a responsible adult."

Amazon Associates Links for True: CD MP3

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Better in the Video -- Crazy -- Gnarls Barkley

The song: I love this song. The imagery is strong, and it gets its point across without dragging out. I have to respect someone brave enough to sing "You're crazy, just like me"....

The video: Someone tripped on acid while looking at an inkblot test. It's the only explanation.

The video takes images of Ceelo and Danger Mouse (the two people in Gnarls Barkley), as well as the anamorphic mouse character representing Danger Mouse, and mix them in with ink blot madness. It's the perfect mix of imagery to go with the song's message that living the way that his heros were is crazy.

Amazon Associates Links for St. Elsewhere: CD MP3

Friday, September 25, 2020

Radioactive -- Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling

I was following Lindsey Stirling on YouTube when this video popped up. It was the first time I'd ever heard of Pentatonix, and it certainly isn't the last.

I am not a fan of the original version of Radioactive, but this version is incredible. Pentatonix yields their "no instruments" general rule to allow Kevin (a Kentucky native and GSA alum) to play his cello along with Lindsey's violin. It makes an incredible combination.

Amazon Associates Links for PTX: CD MP3

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Desert Rose -- Sting featuring Cheb Mami

(Looks like this didn't show up right Thursday night...)

I have to agree with the YouTube commentators who complain that Cheb Mami (the Arabic singer) didn't get even a Featuring credit on this song. His singing ability makes this song, and he easily keeps up with Sting. He should have received official credit, and I'm giving it here.

The mix of Arabic and Sting's lyrics make a very beautiful song that stands the test of time.

Amazon Associates Links for Brand New Day: CD MP3

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Electric Avenue -- Eddy Grant

I suppose this is one of the earliest electronica songs I can remember. Reading Wikipedia, it was apparently inspired by the 1981 Brixton Riots and the poverty in the immigrant neighborhoods around Electric Avenue in the London, England area.

Amazon Associates Links for The Very Best Of Eddy Grant - Road To Reparation: MP3

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

As I Lay Me Down -- Sophie B Hawkins

I adore the dream imagery in the song. We've all had to be away from loved ones from time to time, and Ms. Hawkins manages to capture the optimistic melancholy of that feeling. According to Wikipedia, she thought of the good memories of her father (who had passed away) while writing the song.

It's a pretty song that I'm happy to hear again and again.

Amazon Associates Links for Whaler: CD MP3

Monday, September 21, 2020

Better Class of Losers -- Randy Travis

I try to pretend that I can get away with singing along with this song. In reality, we used to grind our coffee beans (I don't drink coffee, Paula did), I pay my bills on home computers, and I can't drink cheap wine.... Even so, I still feel closer to the Better Class of Losers that Randy Travis feels part of than the upper middle class to which I technically belong.

Amazon Associates Links for High Lonesome: CD MP3

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Worse in the Video - Red Solo Cup - Toby Keith

The Song: It's stupid. It's so stupid that it loops around past cute and cult classic right back to stupid. But it's MEANT to be stupid and silly, and it works.

The Video: The video for Red Solo Cup takes everything silly and stupid about the song, and puts it in video form. It's a cliche presentation of that one party in college that everyone says rocked, but no one quite remembers the details about. At least those of us over 30 don't have to worry about cell phone videos of our indiscressions....

Amazon Associates Links for Clancy's Tavern: MP3

Friday, September 18, 2020

St. James Infirmary (1928 version) -- Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five

There is a lot of dispute about the history of St. James Infirmary before 1928. It may have a history of decades or more before Louis' version, and it may be that the song is the merging of two different songs, one about a woman's death, and the second a gambler's death.

No matter the pre-history of this song, we can be sure that Louis and his band put a stake in the ground in 1928, and that stake is "St. James Infirmary". Everyone (including Louis) who covered the song after this recording are trying to recapture the glory that Louis made in this recording. I went and bought the Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings in no small part because of this recording.

Even in 2020, there's nothing wrong with wanting to have a $20 gold piece on your watchchain, so the boys will know you died standing pat.

Amazon Associates Links for Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings: CD MP3

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Spinning Wheel -- Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Just when I thought we were stuck in the 90s and later, the iTunes shuffle decided to give us a classic song again. While I got this as a freebie on Google Play, it's still a good song that I love to listen. I have a soft spot for a trumpet-playing band, and this song is happy and peaceful to listen to, even if the end is a bit discordant...

Amazon Associates Links for Blood, Sweat, and Tears: MP3

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Away From You - The OC Supertones

We're back to another Christian ska tune by The OC Supertones. I adore the "island" feel of the song, even if they're all Californian white guys (and at least one lady). This has been in my collection a very long time, and I still adore it as much as the first time I heard it.

Amazon Associates Links for Chase the Sun: MP3

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Creepin' In - Norah Jones (with Dolly Parton)

This is one of my favorite songs from Norah Jones' second album, Feels Like Home. She was originally billing herself as a jazz singer, but you can feel the love of country that she finally took ownership of. This song is fun and light, a good one for putting on repeat and listening to a bunch when you don't want a heavy song.

Amazon Associates Links for Feels Like Home: CD MP3

Monday, September 14, 2020

I Love You Baby - Aldo Vanucci

This is another Amazon freebie that I never quit listening to. I adore the 60s jazz feeling of this song. It's also incredibly romantic, and I like that too. It's hard to quantify, but it's stayed on my playlist for 12 years now.

I can't tell you much about "Aldo Vanucci", the singer's incredibly resistent to Google, apparently.

Amazon Associates Links for Straight Lift: MP3

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Better in the Video -- I Drove All Night -- Roy Orbison

The Song: This song was originally written for Roy Orbison, not Cyndi Lauper, and Roy recorded it in 1987. I think Roy Orbison is the best singer who has ever lived, but I'm glad they put this recording on the shelf. It took Jeff Lynne's work in 1992 to make something worth listening to, and even then, it's just not as good as Cyndi's version. If I didn't have the experiences I did with a long-distance relationship with Paula, this version would probably stay on the shelf for me, Roy or no Roy.

The Video: An incredible video rescues a middle-shelf song. The video features Jason Priestley and Jennifer Connelly as the two lovers in the song. They picked two incredibly attractive, skilled actors who had an outstanding chemistry with each other. They sell a sensuous, romantic, sexy relationship while staying PG to PG-13.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cry To Me - John Hiatt

Paula and I loved John Hiatt during our early married days, but I had lost track of him. Then the 2018 Americanafest Mixtape came around, and I found this song from him. I love one of the lines "I'm probably going to let you down, but I swear I won't keep you down". That has to be a classic husband's line...

I hadn't watched the video for this song until now, and John Hiatt looks old. (Then I look in the mirror, and I'm not surprised why...)

Amazon Associates Links for The Eclipse Sessions: CD MP3

Thursday, September 10, 2020

No Place to Hide -- Alison Krauss and Union Station

This is a banjo and mandolin masterpiece off of an excellent album by Alison Krauss and Union Station. There's been many a day or night that this entire album's been on rotation. Adam Steffey takes vocals for this song. It's an interesting song about how hard it is to have to adult when bad stuff starts to happen.

There's no video unfortunately, so you'll have to make do with the album version of the song.

Amazon Associates Links for so long so wrong: CD MP3

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Sweet About Me -- Gabriella Cilmi

This was a free iTunes video, and then I was able to pick up the album in the cheap rack. It's an interesting song from a (then very) young lady who plays with the image of girls as sweet, or not so much.

The song almost qualifies for a "Better as a Video", because the video is interesting to watch.

Amazon Associates Links for Lessons To Be Learned: CD MP3

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Old Time Religion - Savae

This was an Amazon freebie from 2011. I couldn't even confirm until a few minutes ago that Savae actually was the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble. I've had trouble finding other stuff by them, but boy is their version of Old Time Religion a killer:

The sampler I got for free for them is still $0.99, it's a bargain: MP3

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Motown Song -- Rod Stewart and The Temptations

This came up on the random draw for Friday, when I thought "Didn't it have a wacky music video?" Yes, indeed, it did.

The song: It's a 90s Rod Stewart pop song. I love singing along with The Temptations, and it's really nice. I like it enough for it to be in my list of favorites. Sometimes you stick with the music you grow up with....

The video: Now this is where it gets gonzo. The trend of mixing animation and live action was in full swing (Paula Abdul and MC Stray Cat, anyone?), and Rod both turned the knob to 11 and made fun of nearly everyone in the industry. He manages to make fun of Sinead O'Connor, Madonna, Vanilla Ice, and even makes a jab at Elton John's Eisenhower hat phase, all while keeping a catchy beat going.

It's not great, and I'm not even certain it's good, but it's certainly fun and an experience.

Amazon Associates Links for Vagabond Hearts: CD MP3

Friday, September 4, 2020

Static Waves -- Andrew Belle and Katie Herzig

Sometimes I think I have too many songs in my collection; I can't pay attention to artists like I should. This is off Andrew Velle's debut album, and it's another Amazon freebie I got in a sampler (for TuneCore Records this time).

I always could relate to it because Paula and I almost didn't meet. She didn't want to come to that New Year's Eve party, and had to get talked into it. I actually left it before meeting her, because I was working with some people on a project (that I later got thrown out of...), but a guy who rode with me wanted to go back to see someone else there. God meant for us to meet, so we would have, but it could have gone so differently...

I need to go back and start looking for Andrew Belle music...

Amazon Associates Links for The Ladder: CD MP3

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Lotto -- Ingrid Michaelson and AJR

This is a NoiseTrade special, hyping Ingrid Michaelson's then-next tour (the "Hell No" tour in 2016). You know, way back in pre-history before COVID when people actually went out and heard musicians in person...

Anyway, I technically get to be a hipster here, because I became a fan of AJR before they hit it at least somewhat big.

Moreover, this was a big David and Paula song. This fit our life, since we never had a bunch of money and were happy doing free (or low priced) stuff instead of spending a lot of money.

I was going to show you a live version of the song, since they never made a video, but most had poor sound quality. Instead, you get the song-only version:

Amazon Associates Links for The Lotto: MP3

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

See Hey (I Love You) -- Michael Franti & Spearhead featuring Cherine Anderson

The iTunes Store freebies strike again. Technically, this is "Alternative", but it's a neat mix of reggae, rap, and pop. Plus, I love the basic message of romance and a guy loving a girl (and vice versa). I've kept this in my favorites rotation ever since I got it in 2009, and it's not coming out.

A bonus: Cherine Anderson is a good singer in her own right, and has a neat gospel song named Victory deserving of a listen. I'm buying it right now, and we'll cover it in more detail when it comes around on the guitar.

Amazon Associates Links for All Rebel Rockers: MP3

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Black Velvet - Alannah Myles

Technically she's not a one-hit wonder in the US, because a second song charted in the top 40, but she's pretty close to one. Alannah Myles had more success overseas and in her native Canada than in the US with her career. Here in the US, this one tune about Elvis is all the fortune she's had.

Interestingly, it isn't the only version of the song to chart at the same time. Atlantic worked with Robin Lee to release a country version of the song at the same time, and it charted as well. I'm not sure how I managed to miss this the first time around.

Amazon Associates Links for Alannah Myles: CD MP3