Friday, February 26, 2021

Even If -- Mercy Me

I discovered this song in 2019, while Paula was sick. It expressed everything I felt then, and everything I feel now. Listen to it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Breaking Find -- Way Less Sad -- AJR

Finally, an absolutely true breaking find, because it just came out today!

I like how this works for the last year and for COVID-19: No, I'm not quite happy yet, but I'm way less sad. I like that expression. I've had days like that this last year, and I think that's my goal for 2021: if I can't be happy on any specific day, I can at least be Way Less Sad.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Kokomo - The Beach Boys

I went looking for a winter song in my playlists, but for some odd reason, I don't have one. Instead is this hit from 1988, with the Beach Boys. The song was originally written by John Phillips (of the Mamas and Papas) and Scott McKensie, and recorded (but not released) for a new touring version of the Mamas and Papas. The Beach Boys needed a song for the movie Cocktail, and Phillips pulled this out. Mike Love and Terry Melcher get writing credits for some of the changes the Beach Boys did for their version.

As much as Brian Wilson tried to give the Beach Boys depth, most of their hits are light, airy compositions with minimal depth. This one is a flashback to those early hits. (It's appropriate, as Brian Wilson wasn't able to participate in the recording because of health issues.). It's a neat song that appears on both Best Of and Worst Of lists.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Breaking Find -- No Hole In My Head -- Tom Jones

YouTube for the win again. It decided to suggest this newly released song by Tom Jones, and it's good. First, it's impressive that he's still releasing powerful songs like this into his 80s, and has kept his voice in as good a shape as he has.

Second, this song is as appropriate as ever. It seems the world is rejecting truth and wanting to substitute their own reality, and we need to resist that push.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Your Woman -- White Town

One day, I went into Kroger after work to pick up the van and talk to Paula for a couple of minutes, and I heard this song on the in-store music channel. I put it in my favorites list quickly, but Paula refused to hear it any more. It was a neat music channel for us shoppers, but those who worked at the store were suffering. They played the same 15 to 20 songs over and over again on a loop for 2 or 3 days straight. Shoppers just thought they were neat 80s one hit wonders, but they were instruments of torture to the staff.

This is one of the first techno songs I ever liked, and I was intrigued by the androdynous nature of the person singing. Ends up that it's a guy singing, but he's not directly trying to play a gay man. (It's really a panache of lots of women singing a song where the lead character is clearly a man. In this case, it's a man singing a woman's song.)

Fair warning, the video's weirder than the song. I'm not even going to try on that one.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Overland - I'm With Her

It took us a while to realize who I'm With Her even was. It's a "superband" with Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins, and Aoife O'Donovan, all incredible up-and-coming bluegrass singer-songwriters in their own rights. They started playing and writing songs together as the three worked their way through the bluegrass festival circuits, and it led to putting together a band.

Overland is a neat "newgrass" folk song about a person who's decided to leave Chicago to try their fortune in San Francisco. It's an excellent song.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

One and One - Robert Miles

Paula and I bought this album around the same time Bo was born, and we often listened to it when we brought him back from the hospital. I remember that either Paula or I asked her mother Myrtle (who stayed with us a while to help with Bo) if she liked the album. "It's not much."

Even so, I always loved this song. One and One still is One. It is an incredibly romantic example of "dream house" techno/dance music of the 90s. It features Robert Miles on the music, with Maria Nayler on vocals.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Butterfly -- Christa Wells

I got this song from NoiseTrade as an artist sampler for Escape to the Lake. It's an amazing, beautiful song that struck me about letting people grow up and do their own path; letting them be their butterfly. I'm having to let one go to Louisville and set up life there, and the other is mentioning the M word and discussing graduate schools.

Here's the song:

And here's Christa' own description of her ideas for the song (and it is about your kids growing up):

Monday, February 8, 2021

Power Windows - Billy Falcon

This is a definite "Paula" song. This came out before we were dating, but it reminded her of the white Pontiac I had that had 100k miles and parts falling off. Since then, I've had a lot of cars that had a lot of miles and not a lot of luxuries, but it was OK because Paula was with me.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Harvest Moon -- Neil Young

Recently, YouTube has been getting stale on their recommendations, nothing new has popped up. Until I managed to happen across this old gem.

This song was written and recorded in 1992 for Neil's wife "Pegi", and is an incredible song. I can't believe I had forgotten about it of late. I am correcting that mistake of course, having added it into the Favorites playlist for replay.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Still Not Dead -- Willie Nelson

Every so often, I start making ambitious plans. I'll go visit some foreign country. I'll get rich on some amazing stock buy. I'll write the Great American Novel.

2021 hit, and this song sumarizes my mood exactly: I woke up Still Not Dead Again today. Good enough.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

I Got You Babe -- Sonny and Cher

There is of course only one song that can be put on for Groundhog Day: I Got You Babe. This is a great romantic song, and sappy sweet.

The association with February Second is from the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. He woke up throughout the movie (every 2/2) to the same song, I Got You Babe.

(Don't go to YouTube or the Internets to find out how many days Bill Murray's character probably lived through. That'll make about the whole day disappear...)

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

I Got You Babe -- Sonny and Cher

There is of course only one song that can be put on for Groundhog Day: I Got You Babe. This is a great romantic song, and sappy sweet.

The association with February Second is from the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. He woke up throughout the movie (every 2/2) to the same song, I Got You Babe.

(Don't go to YouTube or the Internets to find out how many days Bill Murray's character probably lived through. That'll make about the whole day disappear...)

Monday, February 1, 2021

It's All Going To Pot -- Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

When I first heard this song, I thought about a certain great uncle of mine who was sure that civilization was going to end, just after he died. He was predicting oil shortages just as the US started pumping more oil than we ever had in history, so you can't take him as a prophet. He'd appreciate the overt subject Willie is claiming here.

Of course, one could accuse Willie and Merle of talking about something else than the end of the world. I can't imagine why one would think that....

Friday, January 29, 2021

I Will Find You -- Clannad

When I first started working as a co-op at Ashland Oil, one of the managers (I believe his name was Austin) had either a tape player or CD player where he would play this wonderful album, and the last song on this album had this angel of heaven singing "I will Find You". I finally had to ask him what the album was, and he showed me it was "The Last of the Mohicans" soundtrack. It is one of my "listen to a bunch" albums, and I'll turn it on in a few minutes and listen to the whole thing again.

Later, I found that angel was Maire Brennan (later to be re-Anglicized Moya Brennan), lead singer of Clannad and cousin to the rest of the band. I started picking up their music, Moya's music, and then her sister Enya's. That has been quite a rabbit hole.

One of the Clannad members has passed, and the rest are above 70 and tired of touring, so they've declared the 2021 tour their last. I bought tickets to a show in Minneapolis that they just cancelled, so the Scotland trip is getting detoured to a trip to NYC for that concert. If I can score a Dead Man Fall show while I'm in Glasgow, I'll have at least 3 concerts in 2 weeks.

Hearing Ms. Brennan in person will be worth it.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Crazy As A Loon -- John Prine

Again in honor of the weaponized autistics who are trying to take on the Hedge Funds, I present a John Prine "classic" from 2005.

It's hard to pick just one song off of Fair and Square. Eventually I'll be able to talk about Long Monday publically. Glory of True Love is glorious, and Some Humans Ain't Human is just too true.

Today, we'll talk about Crazy As A Loon. When I hear this song, I think about the character Hap Shaugnessy on Red Green, a person who knows a lot and has done everything, especially things that just can't be. We all know a Hap somewhere in our lives, and the author of Crazy As A Loon seems to be just like that. There's no way one man could have done these things, but you wish you knew him anyway.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Money for Nothing -- Dire Straits

With the directed action that people on the message board Reddit are taking against the hedge funds shorting GameStop, I couldn't help but think about this song. There are a lot of people making a lot of money for nothing by buying a stock being taken into a deliberate bubble.

On one hand, this song is heavily anacronistic. MTV is long gone. The appliance store that Knoffler was in is probably closed as well, because the chains all but own the field.

On the other, the basic principle's still the same. I've heard many a working class person exclaim similar ideas about those of the "non-productive" classes. The idea will generally be eternal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Hit The Spot - Leslie Mendelson

I love this light, breezy, happy song of Leslie Mendelson's debut album. This is another of my free songs that I collected in 2009, and it's stayed in my free collection.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Sixteen Tons -- Tennessee Ernie Ford

While this song was written and recorded by Merle Travis, the most famous recording is by Tennessee Ernie Ford, who took the song to number one in the US and multiple other nations. The concept that "I owe my soul to the company store" can still strike those of us who aren't independently wealthy and have a job to attend. I've loved this song since I was quite young, and it was one of the first songs in my favorites list.

When I got my first MP3 players and even my first small iPod, they barely held anything. I figured out that most songs could compress down to a bitrate of 32 kbps, and I couldn't tell the difference with the cheap earbuds I had. However, this song couldn't compress that low, so I had to keep it bigger. Now phones are big, and I can have a full-bitrate version of the song with me at all times.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Conga -- Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine

Rather than one favorites playlist, I have two: the main list I listen to normally, and an Exercise list reserved for higher energy songs that make one go just a bit faster at the work. This song is the first song in that playlist.

This was the English breakout hit for the Miami Sound Machine, before they "just" became Gloria Estefan's backup band. I love the upbeat song, and Gloria Estefan is one of the best singers of the 80s and 90s.

I dare you to try to listen to this song without wanting to dance.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Cheeseburger in Paradise -- Jimmy Buffett

This is of course the ultimate dieter's song. After a week or two of calorie depravation, that cheeseburger (or much of anything else non-diet) looks really good.

This song is based on how hard and how expensive cheeseburgers are in the islands. Beef and cheese have to be flown in frozen, and that's expensive. One time Paula went with her niece to one of the Islands, and the four of them decided to get a pizza. It ended up being $50 in the 90s.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Non-Music Post -- Either Let Statcounter work or comment here.

I mentioned this on Facebook, but I'll mention it here for anyone who is reading the blog directly:

I've turned Statcounter on so I can try to figure out if anyone is reading this blog. I used to get a lot of numbers, but I don't know if people started ignoring me on Facebook (or I entered Facebook jail). If I can't tell that anyone's reading the blog, I'm stopping.

I either need for you to let Statcounter work, or to comment on this blog post. If you comment here, I will count the comment and then delete it, so you don't have to worry about someone picking it up to spam, etc.

However, I'd really like to be able to count people long-term. If you don't know how to block counters, the rest of this paragraph doesn't apply to you. If you do, please turn off the blocker for this site only.

I've turned off all the ads because no one bought anything. Without any money coming in, the only incentive left is views. If I can't see views, then I have no incentive to keep going.

Nobody - Casting Crowns Featuring Matthew West

I can't remember who recommended Nobody now (it may have been Eric Vanover...), but whomever it is, thank you. I absolutely LOVE this song. It's easy to think that something in one's life can't happen because one is Important. It's good to remember that we're just a Nobody who wants to tell about Somebody who can save their soul.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

New Soul -- Yael Naim and David Donatien

I've had minor reoccurring insomnia most of my life. When I was in college, it led to a night owl lifestyle. When the kids were born and I went to full-time work, that lessened, but IBM often had me up at random times in the night. When I switched to UK, my nights got more stable, so I would occasionally wake up randomly at night or in the early morning.

By the time New Soul came out, MTV and VH1 had abandoned playing actual music except during the very early morning hours. One day, I was up, and heard this song. It never hit the radio, and I had a hard time finding the album (I finally found it during my bargain hunting years later).

I love the innocence, the "stranger in a strange land" that the song portraits. Yael has a beautiful voice. The video is also inventive.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Missing (Todd Terry Remix) -- Everything But The Girl

There are actually two versions of this song, the jazz-ish original (released in 1994), and the (IMHO) vastly superior electronica-dance remix by Todd Terry in late 1995. I thought I understood loneliness in 1994, having had some relationships but nothing stable then, so I thought this song spoke to me.

I didn't have a clue.

I still adore this song for Tracey Thorn's voice. EBTG has been on hiatus way too long.

Bonus fact: the band is "Everything But The Girl" because of a department store near where Ben Watt lived, who advertised that they sold everything a man needed to set up perfect housekeeping, "everything but the girl".

Bonus Fact 2: Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, the two in EBTG, were in a "committed relationship" for years before finally registering in 2009, and as best I can tell are still married.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Just Breathe -- Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

This is a breaking find because I didn't know how well Lukas Nelson could sing. I'm going to spend the weekend listening to his stuff.

Again, another cover. Unlike Johnny Cash, Willie isn't guaranteed to take a song by singing it. I like Willie's take on Gravedigger (even if it's not better than Dave Matthews), but Come On Up To the House (off Heroes) shouldn't have happened. This song is another excellent cover. I had never heard Pearl Jam's version of this song until just now.

As I've said before, a cover must improve on the original or take it somewhere new. Here, it's the presence of Lukas, and the love the two have for each other. Also, this song (and several others) show an awareness of Willie's own mortality (he was having lung problems that were helped by stem-cell therapy in 2015).

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Skylar Grey - Stand By Me

Yet another breaking of my rule about covers, but I don't care. This lady is good, and so is this song. I'm marking it as a breaking find, because I just found the song and the video today. It's an excellent deconstructed yet complex version of the song. The video is also a beautiful statement about helping people in hurricane territory.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Comedians - Roy Orbison

Elvis Costello rewrote his song The Comedians for Roy Orbison's comeback (and last) album, Mystery Girl. It deserved to be a hit, but it got overshadowed by You Got It (which was worthy itself) and the Traveling Wilburys' songs. The video below is from the Roy Orbison and Friends concert "A Night in Black and White". This really shows off the power of this song.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Roll Me Up -- Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, and Jamey Johnson

I could call this a breaking find, because I just heard about it, but Willie put this album out in 2012. I've tried a couple of times to describe how awesome this song is. There is only one way: Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, and Snoop Dogg are singing with Willie about smoking, and it's not tobacco. And it works.

You really just have to listen to it. I haven't laughed this hard for months.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Walk of Life — Dire Straits

The video for this song is an MTV staple, from when MTV actually meant Music Television. I love the imposition of the sports footage into an excellent song. It's still on my favorites list.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Revolution - Alice Cooper ft. Johnny Depp

With the politics abounding this week, I had to break out the Beatles standard, but I had to go find a cover.

Someone wanted a Color Revolution in the USA this election, and they've tried their best to get it. However, like John said, "We all want to change your head". Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

On to the song. I am a heretic; I don't like listening to the Beatles. I like a lot of their music when someone else does it, breaking my general "no cover" rule. When I wanted to put this one up, I searched YouTube and up popped both Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp. I just couldn't resist. It's pretty good.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A Change Would Do You Good -- Sheryl Crow

This is definitely not a Better In the Video song. I love this song by Sheryl Crow, and I know a lot of people who would benefit from a change. However, the official video is bad, so you're getting the plain version.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit

This was a free Amazon song I downloaded in 2014. This song is by a pair of sisters who (with their parents' support) quit high school to enter the music scene early. I adore this song and the message the girls sing in it.

As the song says:

Something good comes with the bad
A song's never just sad
There's hope, there's a silver lining
Show me my silver lining
Show me my silver lining

Monday, January 4, 2021

Breaking Find -- Dust In The Wind -- Caroline Jones

I am not fond of covers in general. They had a bigger place in music history when the original might have been in a different genre, or was no longer in print or easy to find. In the modern era, you really need to bring something different to a song to make it worth skipping the original and listening to your version.

I think Caroline Jones has managed to do it. I love Kansas' Dust In The Wind, but Ms. Jones has managed to provide a fresh, simple (almost acoustic) interpretation of the song.

(I know it's not very new, but I found it last weekend.)