20 November 2020

20 November 2020 - Men At Work - Overkill

Everyone remembers the first single.    

In 1983, this second single from the second album for Men at Work reached #3 on the Billboard chart. The song, written by lead vocalist Colin Hay (who would later cover it himself).  

The song itself is about a guy who has insomnia because he can't stop overthinking everything.  I feel personally attacked by these relatable lyrics.  For a hit song, it's a little dark, especially since this is the same band who had just smiled and made you a Vegemite sandwich.  

19 November 2020

19 November 2020 - Olivia Newton-John - Xanadu

We have billed this song, the title song to the 1980 disaster of a roller-skating movie, as being an Olivia Newton-John song, but that's not entirely true. 

The Xanadu soundtrack was split in two parts.  Side A was written by John Farrar - principle songwriter for Olivia - and performed by ONJ, with several guests backing her.  Side B was written by Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra and performed by ELO - but the closing song was this one, with a guest lead vocalist.  

So really, it's an ELO song.   And the single - ELO's biggest hit - was billed to both of them.  

At any rate, the song is a delightful coda to an abysmal movie.  

Of course, we also published an ELO-only version on Totally Covered.  Go check it out.  

18 November 2020

18 November 2020 - Sam Phillips - Holding Onto The Earth

Today, we are doing something very different than we have ever done before.  

We are posting the same song by the same artist on Wicked Guilty Pleasures and Totally Covered.  

We are doing this for three reasons.  The first two are over here.   

The third is that this is a great song that didn't get nearly enough attention, despite the fact that it an emotional powerhouse of a song.   This was Sam's first single as Sam - she had previously gone professionally by her legal name, Leslie - and her first single as a secular, and not Christian, artist.  Keep that conflict in mind as you listen to this.   

14 November 2020

14 November 2020 - Nirvana - Lithium

We finish our week with one of the band's biggest hits.  

I have to admit, when I first heard Nevermind, this was my favorite song on the album, and I was thrilled it was released as a single.  It isn't still my favorite, but it's still great. 

We've done a good job highlighting all the members of the band this week except for Krist Novocelic - and this is a great song to point out the bassist, who tends to not get a ton of attention.  He's an excellent bassist in a band with a genius in front - and this song highlights just how reliable his work was.  

14 November 2020 - Nirvana - Verse Chorus Verse

In case you wanted to hear what the real "Verse Chorus Verse" sounded like.

14 November 2020 - Nirvana - [hidden track]

Yep.  We posted this in the middle of the night, on an early Saturday morning, JUST TO HIDE IT.  And we probably won't share this on Twitter.

There are at least two times that Nirvana had a hidden track on albums featuring them.  The first one we will mention is from the 1993 AIDS fundraising album No Alternative.  Most versions of the album feature this song, titled "Sappy" as a hidden track, although some bill it as "Verse, Chorus, Verse."  After Kurt Cobain's death, it was discovered that there was another song called "Verse, Chorus, Verse" in the Nirvana unreleased catalog, and so subsequent releases of this song on various compilations do restore its original title.

The second is well known for those of us who one day decided to just leave their Nevermind CD running after "Something In The Way" was done.  10 minutes of silences are followed by this very loud and forceful song.

It was not my first listen to the album when I discovered it.  And yes, I did have a "what the f***" response when I did.  

13 November 2020

13 November 2020 - Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box

Thus far, we have avoided In Utero, Nirvana's followup to Nevermind.

That was not purposeful.  Nirvana had a short catalog, but it was deep, and so it's hard to fit everything into one week.  We're trying, though.  

This song wasn't actually a single, because DGC, their record label, didn't want to cannibalize album sales.  Nevertheless, the song got an awful lot of airplay.  But what's it about?  It is said that it is about children with cancer... but some, and by some, we mean Courtney Love, think the song is about her.... and her vagina.  

Kurt's not here to tell us what this song is about, but he did leave the song behind for all of us to question and ponder.... and enjoy.

Let's look at the song live, where you can really hear Kurt belt the song. More apparent here are Dave Grohl's harmonies (with Pat Smear adding some vocal assistance).   Most apparent to me is Kurt's reluctance to be in the spotlight.    

12 November 2020

12 November 2020 - Nirvana - In Bloom

By the time "In Bloom" was released as a single, Nirvana was about ready to give a middle finger to corporate rock and roll.

Except they were corporate rock and roll.  So that posed an issue.

This video was their temporary solution.

Longtime fans of Nirvana know that this was the 2nd time they had recorded the song.  It was originally released as a single - with this video - in 1990.  The song was originally recorded before Dave Grohl joined the band - and the video recorded right after.  Whereas the later single and Nevermind version includes Grohl on harmonies - the scream going into the chorus and the chorus itself is actually two voices - this version contains no such harmony vocal.  

11 November 2020

11 November 2020 - Nirvana - Sliver

From the B-sides compilation Incesticide, this song was a great single all by itself.   

Let me say that again.

This was a non-album single, not deemed good enough for Nevermind.  It was a throwaway song.  It's also a perfect Nirvana song - showing the time before the band got so large.   

Two notes on the video.  First, the song doesn't actually feature Dave Grohl on drums, as it was recorded before he joined the band. Rather, Dan Peters from Mudhoney was the drummer on this single.  Second, and cutest, that's Frances Bean Cobain dancing at the beginning of the video.


However, just because Dave Grohl didn't appear on the original single, it doesn't mean he didn't perform the song......

10 November 2020

10 November 2020 - Nirvana - About A Girl

Most of you know this version of this song.  It was recorded before Kurt Cobain's death as part of an MTV Unplugged special, and released as a single in late 1994, after his death.  It's a pretty sounding song....

.....that was actually on their debut album, Bleach, in a very different version.  What I find amazing, though, is that the same emotion shines through in BOTH versions.  

09 November 2020

9 November 2020 - Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

It's been a long time since we've used the Hall of Fame label.  

I decided that Nirvana deserved it.  

I don't usually open a Hall of Fame week with a band's biggest hit, but this one was so intensely genre-breaking I wanted it to go first.   I want to put it in 1991 context, though.

In 1991, when Nirvana made this video, which completely mocks music videos in general, they were big in Seattle, but not really anywhere else.  They had major label money, but they didn't spend a lot of money on this video, in relative terms.   And we know the day the video was made - August 17, 1991 - because they advertised for it.

Actual casting call for "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Turns out this little video, which Kurt called his attempt to "rip off the Pixies", struck a chord with the youth of America, including me.    Here's the song that started it all.   

07 November 2020

7 November 2020 - Miley Cyrus - Party In The U.S.A.

We rarely post on Saturday.  But when a decade-old song reenters the Billboard charts..... well, we notice.  

And, according to Variety, that's exactly what's happened today   The song last was on the charts in 2009, when it peaked at #2.  We will be watching closely to see how high it goes this time.  

Now, it's important to note that we are not posting this song as a political statement (feel free to PM this page if you want to know how we voted.  We are not shy), but we DO recognize that a lot of people are happy about today's news, so we're happy to share music we enjoy.

And, because we love the song (written by a Brit, Jessie J, no less!) and we love live alternate versions, here you go.