28 June 2018

28 June 2018 - Seven Mary Three - Cumbersome

Few songs scream "90's" more than this one. This song, from 1995, was a big hit for them early in their career.....

Unfortunately, this great song, brilliantly constructed with alternating conventional and muted chords (that's right - we notice these things) was their only major commercial success.  And, as with a lot of one-hit wonders, the song was a monkey on their back - there was a lot of pressure to recreate that, and it's really hard to do that.



Here's a little bonus for you.  I said this song was from 1995.  So why is the band performing it in 1993?  Seven Mary Three were a local grunge band from Florida, and this song caught fire on Central Florida radio in 1993, catching the attention of Atlantic Records.



Here is that original recorded version.  Notice that 1. it's a little quieter and 2. it's got an extended bridge. Is it better?  We can't decide that for you.  It's good, though.

27 June 2018

27 June 2018 - Camila Cabello - Havana

Look, we love this song, she's touring with Taylor Swift, used to be in Fifth Harmony, X Factor, blah blah blah

I'm sorry.  I can't do this right now.  I'm just too excited.  We have a domain name now.  We're at wickedguilty.com!  Now it's going to be easier to find us!!!!



OK, so now I feel bad giving Taylor Swift's new bestie the short end of the stick.  Really, that was a fun video, and it's a fun, Latin-tinged song. 

So here, enjoy this acoustic version that somewhat proves that Ms. Cabello is really singing this one.



Aquí, para nuestros lectores en español, hay una versión en español ... ok, en spanglish de esta canción. Por qué no pudo traducir "la mitad de mi corazón está en Habana" está más allá de mí, pero una vez más, no soy una gran estrella del pop.

21 June 2018

21 June 2018 - Public Enemy - Fight The Power

From the 1989 Spike Lee joint Do The Right Thing, this song transcends the movie, which itself ends in a race riot.

This version of the video (which, yes, Spike Lee was involved with) isn't a real riot or even a rally, but it looks like one.  It IS a pretty clear demonstration of the group's political stances in the day.  Flavor Flav has moved on to a less political stance where he doesn't say "motherf*** him" about Elvis or John Wayne.  The video also featured Tawana Brawley in a cameo appearance - I won't go into her story here except to say that it was a very polarizing one in this community.

It's a great, powerful song - I'd almost say manifesto - that just happens to have been featured in a movie.

20 June 2018

20 June 2018 - Aimee Mann - Save Me

Few movie songs come with a better story than this one.

This song, along with the rest of the mostly-Aimee-Mann performed soundtrack, is from the P.T. Anderson movie Magnolia. I recommend this odd but delightful movie, just for the frog scene.  Trust me.  Right before she was approached by Anderson to do this movie, Mann had been dropped from her record label, and didn't have an easy future ahead of her in the music industry - and this is despite the huge "Voices Carry" in her past.

This song ended up being nominated for an Oscar (losing, somehow, to perhaps the worst ever Oscar-winning song, "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins, to whom she now dedicates this song when performing it live) and a Grammy (which she lost to a deserving Macy Gray).  She went on to found her own music imprint and remains a successful artist to this day.

The video - featuring Mann inserted into scenes from the movie - is even more interesting.  Perhaps the most star-studded music video of all time, this effect didn't happen by digital manipulation.  That's really Tom Cruise sitting in the same scene with Aimee Mann.  P.T. Anderson directed the video and asked the actors to stay in place at the end of shooting days while they shot this.

The song itself is a work of art.  Nearly two decades old, it sounds like it could have been written yesterday.

 

19 June 2018

19 June 2018 - Kasey Cisyk - You Light Up My Life

If you read this blog yesterday, you probably saw this coming a mile away. This is the song that denied "Nobody Does It Better" an Academy Award and a #1 spot on the Billboard charts.

If you didn't read this blog yesterday, you're probably wondering who Kasey Cisyk looks like Didi Conn (she doesn't - Cisyk sang, Conn lipsynced in a brilliant movie performance) and, more importantly, why this isn't Debbie Boone (her immense hit was a cover).

Either way, yesterday's blog got me to listening to this song, and I remembered how well-constructed it was.  Give it a listen and a chance.

18 June 2018

18 June 2018 - Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better

James Bond movie themes are a different animal than most other movie songs.

Before this one, they all shared the name of the movie. In this case, although the Marvin Hamlisch-penned song referenced the movie's title, it wasn't called The Spy Who Loved Me.

This song, although fondly remembered today, only made it to #2 on the Billboard charts... because the biggest hit of all time pre-Whitney was Debbie Boone's version of "You Light Up My Life", which spent 13 weeks at #1, in front of this song for three of them. "Nobody Does It Better" went on to also lose the Academy Award to Kasey Cisyk's version of "You Light Up My Life". AAAARRRGGGGGHH!

But enough about THAT song.  This song is great.  We should enjoy it today.  Tomorrow is another day.

15 June 2018

15 June 2018 - Coolio feat. L.V. - Gangsta's Paradise

From the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds, this was Coolio's biggest hit by far, and one that he took very seriously.  I'm sure you've heard it, but I always want to give you a fact about these songs you didn't know.

This song doesn't have a clean version - because it doesn't need one.  There's no profanities in it, at all.  This is because the song leans heavily on a sample of the song "Pasttime Paradise" by Stevie Wonder, who wouldn't approve the sample unless there was no profanity used in the song (which, by the way, was loved by Stevie in its last version).

So, feel confident that Stevie Wonder is keeping your kids safe.

14 June 2018

14 June 2018 - Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

It's a little hard to believe it's taken us THIS LONG to post The Bee Gees, arguably the most underrated group in history. Because of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack that they put together, and largely because of this song, the group is remembered for their dated disco work. However, they were producers and hitmakers long BEFORE and long AFTER this song.

Unfortunately, they also did that ill-advised Sgt. Pepper movie, which probably hasn't helped with their reputation.

Back to this song, though.  It set the mood for the whole movie and, really, the entire disco era.  It's now remembered fondly, although Barry Gibb's extreme falsetto was frequently ridiculed in the years immediately following the death of disco.  Now, I wish I had his voice.

 

The song is so awesome, they did a 2nd video for it, in a pre-MTV era where a video wasn't a foregone conclusion.



13 June 2018

13 June 2018 - B.J. Thomas - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

If you've seen Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, you know this song comes as a jarring and unexpected but pleasant surprise in that movie.  If you haven't, you might be surprised to learn that this song was written for a movie, by the famed songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It would be the first of many Number 1 hits for B.J. Thomas as well.

It's justifiably considered one of the greatest movie songs of all time, even winning the Academy Award for Best Song in 1970.

12 June 2018

12 June 2018 - Dolly Parton - 9 To 5

This song (and movie) was the first that a lot of people outside of country music fans had heard of the well-established Dolly Parton. The movie itself was the brainchild of co-star Jane Fonda, but Dolly's song (and acting) propelled the working-class movie to another level.  It was a huge crossover hit - one of the biggest of 1980 - and remains a pop-country classic to this day.

11 June 2018

11 June 2018 - Olivia Newton John - Twist Of Fate

This was ONJ's last US Top 10 hit, and it was a doozy.....

 A synth-pop classic to accompany a movie she did with the-fading-star John Travolta, in kind of a Grease reunion. Two of a Kind was a terrible film - and everyone knows it - but this soundtrack, which was a bigger hit than the film, saved it.

08 June 2018

8 June 2018 - Lea Thompson and Cherry Bomb ー Howard The Duck

Yes.

That is REALLY Lea Thompson singing this song. The "band" is mostly Thomas Dolby in a studio.

And it was nominated for a Razzie. Which is pretty much the exact opposite of the Oscars.  The movie itself was a critical and commercial flop.  The movie itself did win the Razzie for Worst Picture - it's abysmal reception led Thompson to accept a role in the movie Some Kind of Wonderful, which she had initially rejected, just to get the stink of Howard the Duck off her career.  (I like both movies.  I liked Howard the Duck more).  The movie has gained a greater cult following now, but not off the evenness of story or quality of Tim Robbins' acting.

Is it a great song?  Hell, no.  But it's fun, and you can just look at the title bar on this blog to see that we don't really care about greatness here. 

07 June 2018

7 June 2018 - Irene Cara - Fame & Flashdance (What A Feeling)

Fame was a 1980 movie about a high school for the performing arts in New York City. While this song - Irene Cara's first hit - won an Academy Award for Best Song, that's a songwriter's award, so Irene Cara didn't win this one.



She DID win one for this song, which she performed and wrote for the movie Flashdance. Cara, however, did not ACT in this movie, despite a rumor that she was the lead actress. Jennifer Beals (the actual lead actress in that movie) was not thrilled with that rumor. No matter - the movie, while critically panned, was a huge hit. And so was this song.

06 June 2018

6 June 2018 - Joe Esposito - You're The Best

Most people think this song is called "You're The Best AROUND", but it isn't.  It was originally written for Rocky III (which you learned yesterday) and was also rejected for the movie Flashdance, in favor of Michael Sembello's "Maniac".

That's OK.  It suits Daniel-san better anyway. It makes for the perfect fight montage theme song (even if it doesn't completely work in this case lyrically.  Just don't listen too closely).



Magically, it also works in this It's Always Sunny In Philadephia montage, where the gang takes a LOT of steroids.

05 June 2018

5 June 2018 - Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger

The famed song for the theme from Rocky III, now in video format.

While not the first choice of song for this movie (Joe Esposito's "You're The Best"), it ended up being a huge hit for the fledgling band.  And it was all because Sylvester Stallone liked their early stuff.  That's quite the endorsement!

It's a reasonably standard straight-ahead rock-and-roll song, but it kick-started the band's career, as they went on to have a number of hits after this initial burst of great.

04 June 2018

4 June 2018 - Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me)

It probably won't surprise you that Simple Minds wasn't the first choice to perform this song. The Fixx and Billy Idol both turned it down.... and so did Simple Minds! They didn't like performing songs they did not write, and they did NOT write this.

It ended up being their biggest hit by far, propelled by, of course, The Breakfast Club. So, at the end of the day, it ended up being a good thing they changed their minds.