26 November 2013

26 November 2013 - Scotty McCreery - See You Tonight

Season 10 American Idol champ Scotty McCreery released his sophomore album See You Tonight last month. I think those who are tiring of the current trend of "frat boy" country performed by mostly 30-somethings will be pleasantly surprised to hear this remarkably mature set, ironically enough, by a 20-year-old college student. Go figure. Anyway, it's a solid album and I'd highly recommend it to fans of country artists like Josh Turner or Easton Corbin. Check out the video for the very catchy first single See You Tonight.

22 November 2013

22 November 2013 - The Timelords - Doctorin' The Tardis

A song that heavily samples the Doctor Who theme and references that show in both band and song title?  Yeah, there was no other choice for today, Day of the Doctor Eve.

21 November 2013

21 November 2013 - World Party - Ship of Fools

As is the case with many of my 80s Thursday posts, World Party is hardly a guilty pleasure. They were a great band and the music still sounds good today. But, as is the case with many of my 80s Thursday's posts, this video is SOOOOOO cheesy (those special effects, are certainly . . . ummm special) that it kind of becomes a guilty pleasure. I'm sure it was cutting edge back in 1987.

20 November 2013

20 November 2013 - Cher Lloyd - I Wish (feat. T.I.) / Skee-Lo - I Wish

Cher Lloyd will release her new album, "Sorry I'm Late" next year.  However, in advance of that, her new single is already out. 

And it's clever and humble, even with T.I. guest starring.  It's not quite as bombastic as "Want U Back", and not nearly as full of itself as "Swagger Jagger", but it certainly suits her well.

Of course, when I first heard the title of the new song, I thought "Hey, is this a cover of the Skee-Lo song?"  It isn't, but the two songs share a similar humility.

19 November 2013

19 November 2013 - Machines of Loving Grace - Butterfly Wings

While I was a much bigger fan of Machines of Loving Grace's self-titled debut, I have to admit that their second album Concentration had their best song - Butterfly Wings. And yeah, it does sound a little bit dated today, but then again it should, seeing that it came out 20 years ago.

18 November 2013

18 November 2013 - Ke$ha - Your Love Is My Drug

So, picture that you are in 2010.  You're familiar with "Tik Tok" and that drunk girl with the dollar sign in her name.  You're listening to the radio... and this song, full of emotion but still light and fun, comes on the radio.

You, like I, are probably a little surprised you're listening to the same artist.  You probably aren't as offended as I was by the similarity in title to a Roxy Music title, but you're probably at least a little impressed.... even if she does refer to herself as a "lovesick crackhead."

One thing you probably didn't know about this song - Kesha (Sebert - it's her real name, without the dollar sign) co-wrote this song with her mother, Pebe.  Ke$ha actually started off as a songwriter for other people, and so she is the rare pop artist who writers her own music.  Which I would find more impressive, I guess, if she didn't have the lyric "Brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack" to her credit.

Anyway, I was eventually sold on Ke$ha as a truly talented artist who, thanks in large part to her first single, doesn't get enough credit for her talent.  So, enjoy this.

By the way, here is her SNL performance of the song.  Very little AutoTune appears to have been used (she does some vocal playing pretty openly at about 1:48 for effect, not correction)..... just a lot of Day-Glo body paint.  My point is, pretty strong performance for someone who doesn't get credit for her talent....

(Update: 18 Dec 2020) Sometimes, YouTube takes down videos.  So I replaced this one with a version in which Ke-Dollar Sign-Ha is still singing, clearly.

15 November 2013

15 November 2013 - The Cardigans - Been It

Most people can name the biggest U.S. hit by The Cardigans.


On both its original issue in Europe and its reissue in the United States, this was the follow-up single.   In both cases, it didn't do well on the charts - it did OK in the UK, but not elsewhere.  My theory is that most people were expecting a light, fluffy song (even though their 2nd biggest hit here is far far darker), and they didn't get it.

Either that, or the use of the word "whore."

But what everyone missed was a gem of a dark pop hit that broke the mold of all expectations of a female-fronted band. A woman-driven pop sound that could be dark and bass-heavy - who knew that could happen?!?  The song tells a story of someone who is regretting a lot of the stupid things she has done in relationships, and owning what she has been.  Enjoy!

Update (10 July 2016) - All these years later, we found another version of this video!!!!

14 November 2013

14 November 2013 - Stray Cats - Rock This Town

I've got the perfect* video for today's 80s Thursday post. Here's the Stray Cats with Rock This Town off of their self-titled debut from 1981.

*Please note the self-control I showed by not saying the "purrfect video." Of course by making this point, I am admitting that I considered it and instead felt that this "footnote" would be more amusing.

13 November 2013

13 November 2013 - Terence Trent D'Arby - Wishing Well

Sure, he was really cocky when he came on the scene.

Sure, he changed his name to Sananda Maitreya, a name that came to him in a dream.

Sure, he had a ridiculous hairdo.

But damn, this was, and still is, a catchy song.

11 November 2013

11 November 2013 - MNDR - #1 In Heaven

I love doing this blog.   Because of some of the guilty pleasures that have been posted here, I have actually learned about new artists that I would not have otherwise heard.  Today's artist is one of these examples.

A few weeks ago, I posted a song by RAC, called "Let Go."  Excellent song.  Go ahead and listen to it.  At the time, I noted that the song featured two additional artists, Kele and MNDR - the stage name/band name of Amanda Warner.  I was familiar at the time with neither artist, and so I started making myself familiar.

Now, let's talk about this video.  It is a bit of a throwback, visually, and also very much in-your-face.  MNDR has very much created an in-your-face electronic sound, with a young, fresh, happy sound. And clearly, Amanda has a fair amount of swagger, which helps her sell a song that a lesser artists might not have been capable of.

As I frequently like to do, here is MNDR performing this song live at SXSW 2012. Notice how, whereas in the video she has a band, here she is alone on stage.  She has made it very clear that she is MNDR, and it is not a band, even though she has a collaborator.

08 November 2013

8 November 2013 - OneRepublic - Counting Stars

I didn't really think I'd like this song at first.  But, really, I don't know why not.  It's a song that starts slow and works to a frantic pace, pretty quickly, which is exactly what I go for musically. These guys also mix traditional electric rock with acoustic instruments, which makes for a rich, interesting sound.

Finally, this song seems to have a higher purpose - almost like they're trying to be the next U2.  Other stuff they've done - using heartbeats of children in need for the rhythm of songs and doing PSAs about that, for example - point to a social awareness higher than their contemporaries.

07 November 2013

7 November 2013 - Moonpools & Caterpillars - Hear

I've wanted to post this Moonpools & Caterpillars video for some time, but it was "unavailable to embed" which likely means that it will be blocked very shortly due to some sort of record label nonsense. Enjoy this 1995 feel-good song while you can. I know I will.

05 November 2013

5 November 2013 - Avril Lavigne - Rock N Roll

Well, well, well, it appears that Canada's oldest teenager Avril Lavigne has a brand new self-titled record out today which I'm sure will find it's way into my collection (they all seem to now, don't they?). The self-titled album's second single Rock N Roll is classic Avril at her bratty pop punk (mostly pop of course) best. As for the Tank Girl inspired video . . . you need to see it to believe it. Oh yeah, it also features Winnie Cooper so it's got that going for it as well. Before playing the video, please note that Avril uses a couple naughty words so make sure to crank it up for your bosses, coworkers or kiddies.

04 November 2013

4 November 2013 - Lorde - Royals

This might be the most unlikely #1 hit song of the year.  A sixteen-year old woman from New Zealand - no New Zealander has ever had a #1 hit in the US, by the way - and the song is really percussion-heavy, with some synth in for highlight.  But it's brilliant, and I am really proud of commercial pop radio for embracing such a different song.

Scott and I have been kind of dragging our heels on posting this one.  For me, it's because I didn't really like the song.  It bored me.  But it grew on me.  And then I caught this live performance, as played in the studios of the legendary KCRW.

Pretty much indistinguishable from the studio version, isn't it?  That's the mark of a solid artist. This version of the video is the one for the rest of the world, and not the US......

.....and this is the US version.  Not much different.

Update: 21 June 2014: The Japanese version..... well, that's VERY different.

01 November 2013

1 November 2013 - Bertie Higgins - Key Largo

Here's lookin' at you, kid!  Perhaps the cheesiest song and video of the last thirty-five years.... it's a classic.  Full of emotions, and truly evocative of an era gone by.  

But did you know it was also an homage to a movie of the same name? Strangely enough, that movie stared Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. 

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.