06 May 2022

6 May 2022 - The Darling Buds - Let's Go Round There

Our 11th trip to the Darling Buds well is a bit of a slower jam.

Damn.  We've been doing this for a decade now.  And we aren't done yet.  Enjoy your yearly dose of the Darling Buds.  

21 April 2022

21 April 2022 - Tracy Bonham - The One

I own The Burdens of Being Upright, which was Tracy Bonham's debut album.  I know when and where I bought it.  

March 12, 1997, Circuit City, Henrietta NY.  

I still almost forgot this song existed, and that's a shame, because it's a great song. It opens with some manic VIOLIN playing by Bonham, and ping-pongs between noise-filled frenzy and quiet thoughtful verses.  It is a nearly perfect and criminally overlooked song.

20 April 2022

20 April 2022 - Curve - Already Yours

One of the biggest absences from Spotify, in my opinion is Curve's debut album, Doppelgänger.  It is a brilliant, grungy album that was overshadowed by others in its time - but it was ahead of its time.  

Co-written by Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia, who were Curve, this was the lead track from that album - and it hits in the face with its combination of overwhelming power-pop and gothic undertones.  Unlike other bands in the "shoegaze" genre that was so popular in the early 1990s, Toni Halliday's vocal is right out front, not at all mumbled. 



19 April 2022

19 April 2022 - Roky Erickson - Don't Slander Me

Roky Erickson was a pioneer of psychedelic music and founded a band called the 13th Floor Elevators, who were true pioneers.  

Then he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  Which was probably a boon to his music and the lyrical imagery, but did cause a lot of personal problems for him.  

He did get treatment, and his musical career never stopped.  In 1982, he recorded a solo album called Don't Slander Me. This, the title song, is one of my favorites by him.  This performance is one he did with a reunited 13th Floor Elevators.  

18 April 2022

18 April 2022 - Missy Higgins - Secret

Wicked Guilty Pleasures had been running at a breakneck pace for almost two years straight.  So we took a little break.

But we're back now.

And we're going to pull out this song, which was covered by both Billie Eilish and Maisy Stella.  If you are familiar with those covers (and they're on Totally Covered, so why aren't you?!), you'll notice that Higgins sings it in a different key - and the song is actually simpler than those two ladies made it.  There's only a few chords that make up this extremely sparse song (the original recording is only a little less sparse).  

Lyrically, it's so rich and powerful to hear it from the songwriter.

14 April 2022

14 April 2022 - k-os - No Bucks

Since I'm doing a bad job at writing this blog, I have to dip into my #MapleLeafMarch candy bag.  So, here you go.

Do you get the feeling that k-os wants to say a different word than "bucks"?

Well, that's not really his style.  The Canadian rapper (born Kevin Brereton) would rather reference hockey pucks than swear.  And his knowledge of self (k-os - get it?) has served him well over his long career.  

So, enjoy Kevin's original sound (there's that k-os again).

06 April 2022

6 April 2022 - Cœur de Pirate - Crier Tout Bas

I had this one song, "Crier Tout Bas", that I wrote a long time ago.  It talks about depression; it talks about opening up a conversation with somebody when you're feeling down and low and, I think, after the Paris attacks, that song took a different meaning to me.  I would see people at shows, because, you know, we toured right after that happened, and I would see people at shows comforting themselves in that song, even though it didn't really talk about that. So, I mean, that's the beauty of it, that's the beauty of feeling strongly about certain issues. You know, you get to actually navigate through them through your music without specifically talking about them. - Béatrice Martin

04 April 2022

4 April 2022 - Fairground Attraction - Perfect

While writing a bunch of stuff for Maple Leaf March, I stumbled upon a cover of this song by The Stellas, and I went to link to my existing "Perfect" post.

Turns out, I had never posted this absolutely delightful song, ever.  It was a throwback in 1988 when it was originally released, and it has a timeless sound that endures today.  Eddi Reader's vocal is unique, and the band from a different era.


Fairground Attraction didn't last long, mostly because Eddi was just too big a talent to be contained.  That doesn't mean she turned her back on her old songs.... this is a performance from 2020.

01 April 2022

1 April 2022 - GAYLE - abcdefu

I spent the last few weeks wishing GAYLE was Canadian.  I mean, it's a really really fun, angry song.  

But at least she spared the dog at the end, right?

Well, 17 year old singer-songwriter Taylor Gayle Rutherford knocked it the hell out of the park with her debut single.  And it all started when a fan asked her to write a song that incorporated the alphabet.  In this version of the alphabet, 21 comes after 6.  

That's all I can say about it.  Let the music speak for itself.


A personal pet peeve of mine is when people say there isn't still good music being made or performed - or that it's all fake.  Here, GAYLE performs an acoustic (clean) version of her hit song - just her and her guitar.


Yes, by the way, there's a "Forget You" version of the song.....


....and there's one that doesn't say fudge.  It says the word (even more).  The eff dash dash dash.


And a demo version.....

 

...and a chill version, which is.... well, it's different. 

31 March 2022

31 March 2022 - Lights - Salt and Vinegar

Is it cheating if we do an entire month dedicated to a country and make 1/4 of it about one artist?

Well, Canada should be proud of Lights.  This is a recent single and I couldn't not include it this month. The song is dark and cool and a clear potato chip reference (no indication that All Dressed was an alternate title).

So, anyway, I figured I'd end the month for real with one more Lights song.  


I'm leaving this placeholder for the later acoustic version of this song.  You know it's coming.


31 March 2022 - Alannah Myles - Black Velvet

I've already talked about how packed last March was.  Which is why I had to revisit it.  I just had TOO MUCH material to ignore this. 

I'm gonna have to do it next year, too.  You heard it here first.  We're way overbooked this year.  

I have to say, I originally intended the song I posted on last Valentine's Day to be posted as part of #MapleLeafMarch. However, this song is better known - having spent two weeks at #1 in the US - and considered to be more iconic.  The song won the 1991 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and the 1990 Juno Award for Single of the Year. 

The verses bring a sultry blues feeling, with a more rocking chorus.  The song itself being a tribute to Elvis Presley, it makes sense that it would straddle the line between blues and rock.  It has become a Canadian classic.

30 March 2022

30 March 2022 - JESSIA - I'm Not Pretty

Meet Jessia (real name: Jessika Harling).  She's from British Columbia.  She's got a TikTok account, and on January 1, 2021, she posted a video.
@jessiamusic TikTok is too beautiful 😂 #Welcome2021 #RareAesthetic #belly #🍑 #pretty #fun #fyp #neverseentwoprettybestfriends #wtf #bop #trash #newyear #new ♬ original sound - JESSIA

It would change her life. Elijah Woods saw her TikTok and, in his words, "It's a bop."

@jessiamusic #duet with @elijahwoodsmusic TAG HIM!!! OMG OMG OMG!!!!! #fyp #pretty #belly #🍑 #new #newyear #MyStyle #omg #viral #wut #yes #duetme #music #react ♬ original sound - elijah woods

They finished building out the song and wthin a week, this TikTok account holder had a single out.  

And, last year, during #MapleLeafMarch, this Canadian released a video for this song.  Nearly 9 million views later, she is nominated for four Juno awards in 2022, including one for this song.  

The song is clearly about body image and acceptance issues - and it's pretty chill and fresh.  The video features a lot of fresh peaches.  No idea why.  

For those coming back for a second round, here's the remix featuring Bebe Rexha.  It replaces the second verse with an even more positive one.   

29 March 2022

29 March 2022 - Babygirl - You Were In My Dream Last Night

This song has been in moderate rotation for me for about three months at this point.

I was today years old when I found out, accidentally, that Babygirl was Canadian.  And by today years old, I mean a few weeks before you are seeing this - but IN MARCH.   \I was absolutely going to post this song someday - it is legitimately one of my favorites.  But I really had to do it this month when I found this out.

And, when I watched the video, I recognized a lot of places in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, a town that I can practically navigate blindfolded.  No joke.  Map in my head.  Especially the flying saucer restaurant. 

The song is a sweet ditty about missing someone who was, well, in my dream last night.  I discovered it while doing a random Spotify playlist search while on an airplane where Spotify streaming was free.  Why this song wasn't a bigger hit everywhere is a mystery to me. 


Babygirl is a two piece, and they perform this song beautifully in its acoustic form.

28 March 2022

28 March 2022 - Charlotte Cardin - Anyone Who Loves Me

Not everyone from Quebec sings in exclusively French.

Take 2014 La Voix runner up and 2022 Juno nominee Charlotte Cardin. From Montreal, she has sung songs in both English and French - and had hits outside of francophone Canada.  This song, from her fabulous nominated debut album Phoenix, was one of those hits, and it crossed over to adult contemporary radio. 

I just hope they were able to dry off the piano they used in this video.


In this live version for Virgin Radio, the lyrics are a little cleaner.  It's also a little more stripped down, showcasing Cardin's huge voice.  

27 March 2022

27 March 2022 - Brett Kissel - Make A Life, Not A Living

Canada isn't that much different from the United States.

You know, they have country music, too.

This song, released in March 2021 and nominated for the 2022 Juno Award for Single of the Year, was a #1 Canadian Country hit and a top 50 POP hit.  Lyrically, it's self-explanatory, but if you needed a sledgehammer, the video shows Kissel - from eastern Alberta, which is pretty much country - ditching an office job for life on the farm - and yes, that's his real family in the video.  

26 March 2022

26 March 2022 - Jérôme 50 - 1, 2, 3, 4

American audiences are familiar with The Voice.  The singing competition is quite popular.

Well, there's a francophone version of it in Quebec, called La Voix, and it has yielded a fairly significant number of artists. Singer-songwriter Jérôme Couture came in third on the first season of the song - and the field was so deep, even HE got a record deal with Dare To Care Records.  

Born in L’Ancienne-Lorette and now residing in the greatest bastion of francophone Canada, Quebec City, he continues to make music as Jérôme 50.  This is not a Feist cover.  This is his song.  

25 March 2022

25 March 2022 - FouKi ft. Jay Scøtt - Copilote

Meet Montreal artist FouKi.  He's a 2022 Juno nominee, and this is one of the songs from his nominated album.

What is a Juno?  Think of them as Canadian Grammys.  

Anyway, FouKi, with guest star Cœur de Pirate Jay Scøtt, bring a compelling mix of trap, hip hop, and R&B sounds... in French.


24 March 2022

24 March 2022 - Maude Audet - Tu ne mourras pas

Thanks largely to the record label Bravo Musique, formerly Dare To Care Records, there has been a revival of French-language Canadian music in my Spotify playlists.  Sure, it's dominated by œne artist, but it's by no means exclusive.

Literally translated as "You Will Never Die", it is about a lover who has, well, died.  In the narrator's heart, though, that person will never die.  It's a sad. beautiful song.


Lest you English speakers doubt me, Ms. Audet has provided a translation. You see, she is bilingual and sings in both French and English.


23 March 2022

23 March 2022 - Alex Nevsky ft. Cœur de Pirate - Jeter un sort

I'm going to open this post with a promise.  

No œ in tomorrow's post.  Not doing the Lights things again.

My intention was to do a whole French language week by Canadian artists.  And, well, so far, kinda did that.  It's just - well...

Alex Nevsky is an excellent artist in his own right.  A singer-songwriter, he's built a great career with daring music that is beautifully written.  This song - whose title literally translates as "Cast A Spell" - is a haunting, enchanting look at love.

Yes, they co-wrote this, but nothing I said in the last paragraph is untrue.


Ok, I just had to share this - it's footage of the two of them in the studio.... recording this. It's lovely to see this interaction.

22 March 2022

22 March 2022 - Roch Voisine - Hélène

Roch Voisine was born in New Brunswick - which a lot of people don't know is a truly bilingual province - they really speak French there, and not just Quebec.  

He was destined to become a Canadian treasure.  

His breakthrough came in 1989 with this song, from the album of the same name.  It was a worldwide hit, nowhere bigger than in France, where it topped the charts for two months.

Yeah.  He did an English version, too.  It wasn't nearly the hit this was.   So, here it stands, alone.   



OF COURSE HE RERECORDED IT AS A DUET WITH QUEBEC'S SWEETHEART.

That's right.  I did just call Cœur de Pirate "Quebec's Sweetheart". She retweeted me. Fight me.  

This version, a bit more orchestral than the original, did chart in France and Belgium, too. 

21 March 2022

21 March 2022 - Peter Peter ft. Cœur de Pirate - Tergiverse

Peter Peter is a French-Canadian pop-rock singer.  He used to be in a band called Post Scriptum.

I can't really think of anything else to say about this song..... hmmmm.  It'll come to me.  

The song itself is a delightful pop song that will have you singing along.  If you know French.  


Peter Peter revisited the song in 2014 as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Quebec record label Audiogram (we've seen other celebrations of this before).  This is a more stripped down, solo version, but it's still a delightful pop song.


Oh!  Right!  We forgot to mention the original is a duet.  In this version of the video, which is the identical music to the first one, you can clearly see Cœur de Pirate.  Can't believe that slipped my mind. 

20 March 2022

20 March 2022 - Spiritbox - Circle With Me

You know, we don't publish enough metal on this blog.  So, why not remedy that with some Canadian metal by Spiritbox?

Formed in 2017 out of the ashes of Iwrestledabearonce (Husband and wife duo guitarist Mike Stringer and vocalist Courtney LaPlante were both replacement members of the Louisiana band) , Spiritbox, from British Columbia, make music that's kind of hard to define as simply metal.  

The Canadian band is unusual in that their main fan base seems to be in the States.  They've had some success on the US Hard Rock charts, none bigger than this 2021 single of theirs.    



19 March 2022

19 March 2022 - Bonjour Brumaire - Prunelle

I promise I'm not doing a thing.  It may LOOK like I'm doing the same thing I did last week.  I am not. 

Cœur de Pirate is not in this video because she left the band prior to.... this video.  She's actually the keyboardist of record on the song.  The keyboardist in this video is Karine Novelle, who replaced Ms. Martin in the band.

But Bonjour Brumaire wasn't about their keyboardist, who was not yet wielding the heart of a pirate.  No, it is the lyrics and vocals of Youri Zaragoza, which are emotive and unusual, that really sell this song, which is yet another love song.  

18 March 2022

18 March 2022 - Jayli Wolf - Child Of The Government

In the US, we gloss over Native American issues.  

In Canada, they make relatively popular songs about them.

Jayli Wolf grew up thinking she was half-Mexican - but found out she was half First Nations at the age of eight and has reconnected with those roots as an adult.  And, with this, her breakthrough single, she took First Nations issues head on, detailing for a broad audience the atrocity known as the Sixties Scoop, when a lot of native Canadians were removed from their communities by the Canadian government, with Catholic Church assistance.

For those who can't read the text at 3:13 fast enough:

"From the 1950s into the 1990s the Canadian Government & the Catholic Church were responsible for taking, or “scooping” more than 20,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and communities; known as The Sixties Scoop. They were placed in foster homes or adopted (accounts of children even being sold) into non-Indigenous families across Canada, the United States, & beyond.

Along with the loss of cultural identity, the government went so far as to change some children’s true ethnicity on file. Many experienced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

Jayli’s father was one of these children."
The song is delivered in a somewhat detached style, but is important enough for the CBC to call it one of the top ten Canadian songs of 2021.  



17 March 2022

17 March 2022 - The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon

How the hell can I do a Maple Leaf March without the Canadian treasure that was the Tragically Hip?

This may be their best known song in Canada.  It is considered one of their greatest. Like almost every Hip song, it went nowhere in the States.  In this case, it might be a good thing.  Let me explain.

In the early 1990s, there were a series of antisemitic riots in Toronto, when members of the Neo-Nazi group the Heritage Front engaged in a street fight with a group calling themselves Anti-Racist Action.  A lot of Americans would never associate such violent antisemitism with Canada - and yet, it really happened, and this was the second time (there were similar outbursts in 1933).  

These riots didn't happen in Bobcaygeon - which was chosen just because it rhymed with "constellation" - but the video makes clear reference to them, and the themes of the song reference them so directly.


At any rate, Bobcaygeon relished the reference in the song, hosting a large viewing party for the Hip's farewell concert.

This was not Bobcaygeon.  This was Kingston.  But trust me - Bobcaygeon was watching.

16 March 2022

16 March 2021 - Maisy Stella & Lennon Stella - While You Sleep

In November 2020, Lennon Stella posted a video on Instagram of a lullaby she had written and performed with her sister Maisy.


This song ended up being fully fleshed out on the soundtrack for the 2021 critically acclaimed film The Fallout.  Maisy got top billing on the album, so she gets it here, too.

16 March 2022 - Lennon Stella - Kissing Other People

I tend to write my posts in advance.  And, for March 16th, I had a pair of posts planned and written.

Then, I got busy and, well, I had to move one of the posts to February 1st when I didn't get it posted in time.  Well, since they went together, I had to move the OTHER post to February 2nd.  

That turned out to be the best thing I could have done for this month of Canadian music.  You see, I didn't want this year to be a complete repeat of last year - I wanted new artists.  And, so, as I told you a few days ago, I went hunting through the Juno nominees list.  

Well, I wrote up the whole month of posts, and here I sit, reviewing my posts.

I had forgotten March 16th. 

Not wanting to just have music from the last year, I decided to go back a year to the 2021 Juno nominees.

And right there, under the "Single of the Year" nominees, was none other than Nashville star and Stella sister Lennon Stella.

This was the nominated song.  It's a pop gem from an artist I didn't expect to post this month.  But how could I not?


The song also works in a more countrified acoustic version. Shot at Hutton Hotel in Nashville, it's a sublime performance.

15 March 2022

15 March 2022 - The Stellas - In This House

The Stellas are a husband and wife country duo from Whitby, Ontario. Brad and MaryLynne Stella.  

This song was a 2013 Canadian Country Music Association winner for the duo, who harmonize so well. It's a beautiful love song about making room for the one you love. 


Brad and MaryLynne have two daughters.  Their names are Lennon and Maisy.  

Yeah.  I'm doing a thing.


14 March 2022

14 March 2022 - Bedouin Soundclash ft. Cœur de Pirate - Brutal Hearts

Knowing that I planned to post THIS song and NOT do what I did last week again, I did check.  No.  Bedouin Soundclash has not collaborated with Lights on anything that I could find. But they DO have an album called Light The Horizon, and today's song is from that album.

Anyway, they are a band - a Canadian band, from Toronto.  Their lead vocalist, Jay Malinowski, along with the rest of the band members, co-wrote the song, as well as all the songs from their 2010 album Light The Horizon. So, why single out this one guy?  


Anyway, the song is cool and smoky and ska-infused and audibly interesting.  


By the way, yes, they have performed it live.  And it's spectacular.

13 March 2022

13 March 2022 - MONOWHALES - All or Nothing


Then I found the Juno nominees list. Americans - Juno Awards - they're like the Grammys but they give out bowls of poutine instead of little gramophones.  

Geez, people, I was kidding.  It's not poutine.

Meet 2022 Breakthrough Group of the Year nominee MONOWHALES.  From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, they've had some success on alternative radio in a country where they are required to play a certain percentage of Canadian artists on the radio.

That's true, by the way.  15%-35%, depending on the station's content.  Wanna know why we can fill a month every year with just Canadian music?  That's a large part of the reason why.

However, it doesn't hurt that a lot of the music is really really good.  You don't get nominated for awards as an independent artist if you are making crap.  And this song, full of emotion delivered by vocalist Sally Shaar, is anything but crap.  


MONOWHALES have a habit of performing an acoustic version of this song, and here is that.


If you saw my social posts, you saw that there was a little Canadian surprise at the end.  Here it is.  It's too short for Totally Covered, but I couldn't not share it.

12 March 2022

12 March 2022 - Lights - Up We Go

Last June, I wrote the following:

"For years, I had kind of a blindspot to Lights - I had trouble getting into her music.  This is despite several friends of mine being huge fans, including the one who called her an "absolute queen".  When I was researching music for #MapleLeafMarch, though, I decided it was time to give her a second chance."

Well, if you look at my Spotify stats all time, in just one year, Lights is now my second-most listened to artist.  Ever.  There's no artist we've posted more in the last year than Lights (I guess I could have spaced that out a little more). Hell, we even made a Lights song post #1000 (which is where we got that quote from). So, yeah, I think I'm on board.  

This song, the lead single from the 2014 Little Machines album, represents one of the biggest hits Lights has had thus far.  The video is a one shot - single take.  No edits. 


Lights does an acoustic version of everything.


On a personal note, today is my birthday.   So, because of that, I'm going to share this INSTRUMENTAL version of the song.



11 March 2022

11 March 2022 - Lights x MYTH - Dead End

Since I screwed with you all damn week, it seems only fitting that I end this week with an actual Lights song. 

This song, a 2020 collaboration with MYTH, was the title song and lead single from a album of remixes and new songs.


Lights & MYTH also performed a lot of the songs from this album, live at Joshua Tree in California.  I have taken the liberty of queuing this song up for you - but please, listen to the whole thing.  It's incredible.

10 March 2022

10 March 2022 - Lights ft. Shad & Holy Fuck - Everybody Breaks A Glass

OK, we've screwed around with you long enough.  

Here's Shad, doing a live performance.


OK, OK, we'll stop. 

If you haven't noticed, this entire week has featured other Canadian artists collaborating with Lights.  And also, if you haven't noticed, we question your reading comprehension skills.

This song is a single, from her 2012 album, Siberia.  Like the rest of the album, it is fantastic.

10 March 2022 - Shad ft. Lights - Remember to Remember

Two days, two Canadian hip hop artists.  There's no other reason to include this post. 

From the 2013 album Flying Colours, the song is very much in your face.  It reminds me of a younger Kanye West, who has clearly had an influence on Shad's music.  The song is produced and co-written by Shad and Mike Tompkins.

Oh, there was a third songwriter, and she appears in the video.

09 March 2022

9 March 2021 - Maestro Fresh Wes ft. Lights - Desire

Straight from his Wikipedia page:

Wesley Williams (born March 31, 1968) is a Canadian rapper, record producer, actor, and author. He is known professionally by his stage names Maestro Fresh Wes.

He was born in Maple Leaf March, so how can we not feature him?  He's also one of the first Canadian hip hop artists to achieve mainstream success, so that's an achievement.   Originally from Toronto, Williams relocated to New Brunswick in 2020 - and who could blame him?

This 2013 single features vocals from another Canadian.

08 March 2022

8 March 2022 - Felix Cartal ft. Lights - Love Me

Do we have a theme this week inside the month?

Yes.

It's clearly Canadian DJs, right?  

Let's talk about Felix Cartal.  This Vancouver-based DJ and producer is best known for his splashy collaborations, and this one is among his best known and most danceable - making a splash on the US Dance charts in addition to its Canadian Top 40 splash.  Although this single was released in 2019, the album on which it is features, Expensive Sounds for Nice People, was not released until 2021. 

Lyrically, it's about unrequited love.  It doesn't get much more straight forward than that. 


Live versions of this song exist.  This one is from a December 31, 2020 CBC broadcast, and features Cartal on bass. 



this also happens to be one of my favorite Lights songs and since she does everything acoustic here you go.

07 March 2022

7 March 2022 - deadmau5 ft. Lights - Drama Free

Two deadmau5 posts?  

Well, I didn't have to do it this way, but it was more fun.  

As I alluded to earlier, without alluding to it, there's a second version of this song - with vocals provided by another Canadian artist.  This isn't their most recent collaboration (there's this, for example), but it is probably their best known.  This song was a dance hit in 2018, actually preceding the release of the Polar soundtrack.  


The great thing about this song is that there are live versions of them doing the song together.  This version is clearly a longer version - but really, the first half is "Drama Free" and the second half is "Midas Heel".  It doesn't matter.  Just enjoy it.  


I can't not post this.  We know that Lights does acoustic versions of everything. That includes this.  

7 March 2022 - deadmau5 - Midas Heel

For our second go-round of this Month o' Great White North, we weren't going to leave out deadmau5.  If you know this song, and have read this blog once or twice, you know that we aren't JUST going to talk about the pride of Niagara Falls, Ontario, but let's start there, and keep this post drama free.

Joel Zimmerman is one of the most successful electronic musicians and DJs in the world - and yeah, that's probably partially due to the mouse head.  His work is unique and critically acclaimed - and Canadian.  He's been at it for more than 20 years.

So when looking for an artist to do a soundtrack for the Netflix movie Polar, a dark and critically panned comic book adaptation, of course deadmas5 is who comes to mind.  The first single from this soundtrack was this excellent electronic piece, which is of course all we're going to talk about.  

I know this isn't really much of a video here - it's kind of dark and could use more lights - but it gives you a great idea for what the song is and what the deadmau5 sound is.  


06 March 2022

6 March 2022 - Glass Tiger - Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)

Quick, American reader - name one Glass Tiger song. 

If you grew up in the 1980s, it's probably "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)", their only hit in the States.  Sure, these guys were Canadian hitmakers - but they only got across the southern border once.  

If you didn't grow up in the 1980s, you probably are wondering who the hell Glass Tiger is.  

If you happen to be Canadian, you're probably shaking your head in disgust right now, because they actually had two top 10 hits in the States and everything I said about them being a one hit wonder was a complete lie.  

05 March 2022

5 March 2022 - Rheostatics - Bad Time To Be Poor

This #MapleLeafMarch has not been nearly as much fun as it was last year.  

Mostly because I had most of these songs in draft for a year and had to stare at them, their omissions teasing me like some siren, calling me back to Canada.

Take Rheostatics.  They're iconic, they're unique... and they didn't fit in last year (probably because I overdosed on Cœur de Pirate). Even this year, I'm slotting them in on a Saturday.  Do not take that as any reflection of their influence on Canadian music.  They're not a band that generated a lot of hits, but they DO persist, still.  

So, take this song, a classic from the 1996 The Blue Hysteria album, and enjoy it.  

04 March 2022

4 March 2022 - Grimes - Player Of Games

Is Grimes Canadian?  Yes.

Is this song about Elon Musk? Also yes.

The song itself is an emotional electronic rollercoaster that is on brand for Grimes. Of course, the visual adds to it, but it's not necessary to drive home the charged message.

03 March 2022

3 March 2022 - Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

How many songs did Gordon Lightfoot write that blew me away?  

This is a song that Lightfoot wrote that was intensely personal - in the wake of his divorce from his wife, Ingrid.   A small lyrically change requested by this daughter made this from an angry to a mournful song - and an absolutely treasure that was a worldwide hit in the early 1970's.  


Fifty years after the song's initial release - yes, that's 50 with a five - Lightfoot performed the song from his front porch in celebration of Canada Day 2020.  The 81-year-old singer/songwriter brings a different, more knowledgeable feel to the song.  It is still an absolute work of art and still blows me away.  

02 March 2022

2 March 2022 - Drake - Hotline Bling

Let's just get the Drake out of the way this month.  

We chose a doozy, though.  Canada's rap king came through big on this worldwide hit, which also won two Grammy Awards.  And Drake brings the emotion, too - he has a presence that few others can reach, and yet can still pull off the angry sadness that goes with the lyrics of this song.  

Cowritten by Drake, Timothy Thomas, and producer Nineteen85, I wasn't joking when I said it was a worldwide hit - and a top 30 year-end hit in BOTH 2015 AND 2016.  It was a big hit with legs.   Not bad for the guy from DeGrassi.

01 March 2022

1 March 2022 - Cœur de Pirate - Carry On / Oublie-Moi


I made it quite clear how I feel about her Roses album at the end of last year.


What I have not yet mentioned is that she's been compared to London Grammar - basically, a "London Grammar for Quebec".  Canada does not need London Grammar.  They have Cœur de Pirate.  Even though France and Belgium have made her a bigger hitmaker than Canada has....

There's probably a lot of other stuff I haven't mentioned, either.  But I digress.  Carry on. 


Roses was a bilingual album.  This is the song that tied the two halves of the album together (as a bonus track that's included in literally every streaming service's version of the album).   Lyrically, they aren't exactly the same - "Oublie-Moi" is not nearly as cheery.  However, bookending the album with two versions of the same song - it gives the album a cohesive feel, almost like a Mobius strip.  


Don't worry.  She'll be back this month.  

1 March 2022 - Arcade Fire - Ready to Start

I had SO MUCH Canadian music queued up for last March, I could not nearly fit it all in.   

Arcade Fire is one band I really wanted to fit in, but I was way too busy cramming in as much Sarah McLachlan and Cœur de Pirate as I possibly could, I just didn't have room.  No, seriously, I bumped them from March 31st to literally fit both of those artists in again.  

But that's fine. We'll let them open this month.  Welcome to the 2nd annual #MapleLeafMarch.  Now enjoy your Arcade Fire.
 

28 February 2022

28 February 2022 - Death From Above 1979 - Black History Month

This song would have fit in February OR March.  We didn't have time in either month to fit it in last year, but I sure wasn't going to miss the opportunity this year.  

When I stumbled upon this tune by Canadian indie-rock darlings DFA 1979, I began to think that I should have done a thing for February last year, like I did for March.  I feel like we missed an opportunity there.  So, even though this song really doesn't fit this month's theme, it makes for a nice transition between months.

This song got its title not because it was about black history, but because it was written in February... maybe it was meant to be plugged in exactly where it was this year.  

No elephant masks were harmed in the making of this video.  Mostly because they left them out, for some reason.  

25 February 2022

25 February 2022 - Squeeze - Hourglass

Quick, what was Squeeze's biggest hit?

Did you immediately think "Tempted"?  Or "Black Coffee In Bed"?

Nope.  This song reached #15 on the Billboard charts in 1986, making it the biggest hit the band ever had in the US.   A rare songwriting collaboration by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the song is lyrically word salad.  Musically, it's typical Squeeze.

24 February 2022

24 February 2022 - INXS - The One Thing

I was really late writing this today.   So, yeah, I dipped into my leftover Hall of Fame bag for this one.  Enjoy what was the first major international hit by INXS, Australia's greatest export.  Of course, after Vegemite.  And Paul Hogan.  And koala bears.  

The strength of this song in Australia led to record deals for INXS outside of Australia - and their worldwide fame.  

23 February 2022

23 February 2022 - twenty one pilots - Heathens

This song, from the 2018 movie Suicide Squad, is the biggest hit twenty one pilots have had thus far, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for five weeks in 2016.

The song is a fusion of straight-ahead rock and hip-hop. It's a dark song, for sure.  It is likely the best thing to come out of the Suicide Squad movie - and it ain't just me saying this.  

22 February 2022

22 February 2022 - XTC - Dear God

On this palindromic day, we bring to you a letter to God.

Written in the voice of an agnostic questioning his own existence, the song is an indictment of organized religion - mostly on the atrocities man has done in the name of God throughout history.  Eight year old girl Jasmine Veillette provides vocals for the opening and closing of the song, but most of it is normal XTC vocalist and songwriter Andy Partridge.  

The song was quite controversial, left off initial pressings of the Skylarking album over what ended up being completely founded (although misguided - threats of violence over disagreement are, in my opinion, really stupid) concerns over backlash. Its popularity got it added to subsequent pressings, and it is one of XTC's best remembered songs, even though others were bigger hits.



21 February 2022

21 February 2022 - Destiny's Child - Bootylicious

I'm not going to lie to you.  I almost did a double on Friday with "Edge of Seventeen" and this song.  They share a 16th note-filled riff - which co-writer Beyoncé heard on a plane and loved.  Originally, it was going to be recreated in-studio, but a decision was made to go with a sample instead.  

The song is primarily sung by Kelly Rowland (who hates the song, by the way), with Beyoncé taking the lead on the chorus and Michelle Williams on the bridge.  I know, in 2022, it's hard to think of Beyoncé being overshadowed by anyone - but these were three women who could harmonize and all sound great together.  

The release of this song resulted in the word "bootylicious" being added to the Oxford Dictionary.  I'm serious. Go look if you want.  

By the way, whether or not Stevie Nicks was on board with Destiny's Child sampling her famous guitar riff should be answered if you watch the first ten seconds of the video.... but she's also a credited writer. 

18 February 2022

18 February 2022 - Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen

This song was Stevie Nicks's third solo single, from her first solo album.  It just narrowly missed being a top 10 hit - peaking at #11 - but endures to this day.  The song was written as a reaction to the deaths of Nicks's uncle and also John Lennon - the "white winged dove" was representative of death, in this case.  

But c'mon.  We're here to talk about that guitar riff, right?  It's a bunch of 16th notes strung together, and it unrelenting throughout the song.  Those familiar with The Police know that the riff is remarkably similar to one featured in one of their songs, "Bring On The Night", but it wasn't a straight lifting and was done with complete authorization - as Andy Summers and Stevie Nicks had discussed it in 1981.  

17 February 2022

17 February 2022 - Dire Straits - Skateaway

In 1980, roller-skating was really cool.  

Trust me.  

So it was a good time to release a skate-themed song...  

But a rock band like Dire Straits releasing a song at the tail end of the disco era about something that was tied into the disco theme.....THAT was an achievement.  Sure, it was light rock, with pop overtones - and ended up being a minor radio and major MTV hit - but still.  Achievement.  

And yes, that's a steel guitar in this rock/disco song.  So, even more fusion.

16 February 2022

16 February 2022 - Fetchin Bones - Stray

This song isn't actually about a dog.  No no, it's about a guy.

This song, the lead track from their 1987 album Galaxy 500, is one of my favorites by them. Produced by the great Don Dixon, it's kind of like a country grunge romp - that, in 1987, the world was not ready to hear yet.   

The version here is a later live version of the song, which captures perfectly the energy that Hope Nichols brought to literally everything she did. 

15 February 2022

15 February 2022 - The Jody Grind - Eight Ball

The Jody Grind were from Atlanta.   They made a couple of great albums and then their band was struck by tragedy, when they lost two members in a car crash.

This ended the band.  It didn't end the music - a group called Kick Me rose out of the ashes, and then vocalist Kelly Hogan (Hogan Murray at the time) has had a solid solo career on the strength of her smoky vocals since.  

However, the music of The Jody Grind lives on.  They did a lot of wild and obscure covers, but this original song has something of an old-timey feel, which felt fresh and new in 1990. 

14 February 2022

14 February 2022 - The Judybats - Daylight

It's amazing to me that The Judybats - from Knoxville, TN - weren't a bigger deal than they were. Their music was delightful and deep.

This song, which wasn't a hit for them at all, is a sweet song about depression.  The subject matter is a woman who has recently 'up and disappeared' - presumably by suicide.  The tailspin she fell into is captured in this song that seems a little too chipper for the subject matter. 

Mental health is a real problem, and holidays such as the one being celebrated today can be a trigger. If you or a loved one finds yourself in a situation where suicidal ideations are apparent, please call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

11 February 2022

11 February 2022 - Louane - Aimer à mort

This song, by French star Louane, is about a love that doesn't die, even without touching, even without breathing, even from afar, and is so strong it hurts.  You don't need to speak French to feel the emotion of this song. 

From her 2020 album, Joie de vivre, the song became yet another hit single for the French hitmaker, who in 2020 also gave birth to her first child, Isabel - which drove a lot of the subject matter of this album.   

10 February 2022

10 February 2022 - Madonna - Crazy For You

Do you remember the movie Vision Quest?  Released in 1985, it was a romantic drama starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino.  It was a moderate success, grossing $13 million at the domestic box office, with rental revenue doing a little better than that.

However, it wasn't called Vision Quest everywhere in the world.  In some countries, the movie was titled Crazy For You, and this song was the reason.  A young Madonna appeared in the movie and performed this song, which ended up being her 2nd number one hit in the US and her biggest hit to date.  The title change was put in place to capitalize on the success of the song.

When the song was recorded, Madonna was an unknown, but by the time of its release, she had a couple of big pop hits under her belt.  This was her first ballad - and broadened her appeal.  The song itself is a sweet, straightforward love song that captures that feeling that so many have experienced.  

09 February 2022

9 February 2022 - Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale

What happens when Bach's "Air on a G String" is turned into a popular song?

Apparently, it becomes an anthem that's considered one of the greatest anthems of the 20th Century, and one of the theme songs of the Summer of Love of 1967.  Procol Harum's debut single, it is one of the best selling physical singles of all time - selling more than 10 million copies - and was one of the first SONGS induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  

All this, from a little song about drunk sex.  

08 February 2022

8 February 2022 - Beyoncé - Hold Up

Some days, I have a clear plan for what I'm going to post.   Sometimes, I don't.  Today's post is the latter.  

I'm not generally a huge fan of Beyoncé.  I mean, she's all right.  However, when I was writing this post about the song "Maps", by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I found that this song made a direct reference to it.  Repeatedly.  "They don't love you like I love you."  Karen O and the rest of the songwriters got a songwriting credit on this.  This song also interpolates "Turn My Swag On" by Soulja Boy, who ALSO gets a songwriting credit.

Since the song was Grammy nominated, that would have been a lot of statues had it won.  

The song is something of a joyful calypso.... musically.   It's really chill, really cool.  Lyrically, though.... whoa.  It's angry and heavy and, well, it explains why Bey is walking around with a goddamn baseball bat beating the shit out of everything.

Anyway, I'm a huge fan of this song.   Check it. 

07 February 2022

7 February 2022 - Rage Against The Machine - Freedom

This song, an early hit single by Rage Against The Machine, clearly states "anger is a gift."  It's a great song, and you should enjoy it.  

That's not what we're going to talk about here, though.  

No, we're going to talk about Leonard Peltier, Native American activist and mainstay of the American Indian Movement.  On June 26, 1975, two unmarked cars - which were driven by FBI agents who were investigating AIM - drove onto private property on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  A fire fight began, with two FBI agents and one Indian killed.  

A huge manhunt followed, and three AIM members were arrested.  Two were acquitted, but Peltier was extradited from Canada - based on documents supplied by the FBU that contained false information - and convicted, sentenced to two life sentences in 1977.  Key witnesses did assert that their testimony was coerced and later recanted their testimony against Peltier.  Evidence of Peltier's innocence has been brought to light, but ignored by the appellate courts and by Presidents Clinton and Obama, both of whom denied Peltier's appeals for clemency. 

There is worldwide support for clemency for Peltier, including from Pope Francis, the attorney who supervised the prosecution of Peltier, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the Dalia Lama, and many others.  

So, Rage Against The Machine used their MTV platform to bring attention to the Peltier case, and I'm going to honor that by bringing that attention here as well. 

04 February 2022

4 February 2022 - The Cure - Lovesong

The Cure were a leading alternative band in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  They didn't really get a lot of mainstream success..... until this single in 1989 vaulted them into the Billboard Top 10.  

It's not like they altered their style to get that hit.  The song was someone morose-sounding, but its subject matter.... well, it was a love song.  This wasn't a typical Cure song, because it was lyrically upbeat, and not trying to be clever - it was just a straightforward love song.  

And, it's one of the most beautiful, lyrically simple songs ever written and performed.  

03 February 2022

3 February 2022 - Kelly Willis - Baby Take A Piece Of My Heart

In hindsight, MCA Records did a really REALLY bad job marketing Kelly Willis.  She recorded three albums for them, plus there was a compilation (which included her fantastic version of Dave Alvin's "Little Honey").

Take this video, which was a minor country hit in 1991.  The song is an emotional powerhouse, about an imminent breakup, with some significant snark included.  How many wardrobe changes does she need for that?  Because there are no less than six of them, and probably a lot more. 

Still, the video does NOT detract from the great musical performance that is typical of Kelly Willis.  

02 February 2022

2 February 2022 - Lennon Stella - Older Than I Am

Yeah, I felt guilty about yesterday's post, because there are two Stella sisters and they are both fantastic.

If you are - were, I guess - a fan of the ABC/CMT television show Nashville, then you already recognize Lennon Stella.  She and her sister Maisy played sisters on the show - and are sisters and musicians in real life.  We featured them several years ago on Totally Covered.  

Well, these sisters, from Ontario, Canada, like so many of our greatest actors, still perform together, but they also have solo careers in their own rights.  Here is one of the great singles from the elder Stella sister's solo debut, Three. Two. One. Perhaps surprisingly, her music isn't generally seen as country music, but more quiet pop music.  This song's video features a lot of home movies featuring both Stella sisters.

01 February 2022

1 February 2022 - Maisy Stella - Riding Free

The Stella Sisters got way more than their share of musical talent. Her older sister has the more current record as of this writing, but Maisy Stella has multiinstrumental and vocal talent in spades.   

This was the younger Stella's debut single, her take on the theme for the Dreamworks series Spirit Riding Free.  It is an uplifting, happy song, and her youthful voice (she was 13 when it was recorded) is perfect for the feeling the song is trying to convey.  

I know it's technically a cover - she took over the existing theme song in season 3 of the show - but it's here.  Don't @ me.  

31 January 2022

31 January 2022 - The Clique - Superman

This song was recorded in 1969 by The Clique, who hailed from Austin, TX.  Their sound was a little trippy, and this song was originally a B-side.  

The song is a little combative.  The narrator is expressing his feelings for a girl, who happens to be with someone else.  

The Clique were not at all keen on recording "Superman", which they did not write (Gary Zekley and Mitchell Bottler get the songwriting credits).  They saw it as a bubblegum pop song, but also, they wanted a hit, so, there you go.  The music industry was no less seeking sellouts in 1969.  

But, anyway, it was important to me that you didn't think this was R.E.M.'s song.   

28 January 2022

28 January 2022 - Liz Phair - H.W.C.

This is very much not a post we've done before, but I felt like you all deserved something hot and fresh this week. 

So, here are Liz Phair's beauty tips.  

Was this a spunky choice for a post? Maybe.  But come on.  

We couldn't not post this.  

Needless to say, this was never a single, but it's a fan favorite song.  Because who doesn't love a song about semen?

This isn't a post we'll ever revisit.  I think we've said enough.  

28 January 2022 - Liz Phair - Why Can't I?

For my final entry in WGP:Revisited Week, I decided not to revisit one of my posts, but one of Scott's.  Why did I choose this song?  Two reasons.

1)  Scott did a short post about it and I thought it deserved a better write-up
2)  I was pretty disrespectful of it in the comments.

When this song was released in 2003, it was widely touted as a sellout - a label that Phair EMBRACED.  She wanted a hit.  And, with this song hitting #32 on the Billboard Hot 100, she got a hit.  But the reason she wanted a hit was not your typical reason, which she explained to Vice on the occasion of the 25th anniversary reissue of her debut Exile in Guyville:
"Despite all the horrible things people were saying—I didn’t even think they were horrible, I honestly thought I was doing therapy. I would do interview after interview and I’d try to talk them down off the ledge because they were so mad. I just had to calibrate, explaining that I was on a major label, that’s where I got left, and I had to sink or swim and so I swam. In actuality, promoting that record exposed me to far bigger audiences and I learned how to get my sea legs on stage and learned how to do a ton of things. Those were heavy times but that was really fun, to be part of a band, and that camaraderie, and our tours were so great. I just experienced so much that I would never, ever give back. So I don’t have regrets."
In essence, this "sellout" caused a spike in sales of her three previous albums, which means more people were exposed to her pre-"sellout" music.  

The song itself is one I have gained an appreciation for in my old age.  It is a sweet love song that isn't afraid to use the word "fuck".  This version of the video does censor that.


Here she is, performing a completely acoustic version of the song.  Sure, it sounds less like a sellout on acoustic guitar.  She did shy away from the F bomb in this version.


THERE WE GO, LIZ!

27 January 2022

27 January 2022- Bonde do Rolê - Picolé

I originally posted about this song, and really about its video with 45 directors, more than three years ago.  

I stated that the word "picolé" loosely translated to popsicle in English, although a picolé tends to be alcoholic.  I also inferred that the song might not be about popsicles.  Mostly because I didn't want to overtly make a sexual reference - and I still don't.

What I did NOT say is that this was part of a larger effort, from their album Tropical/Bacanal, to move away from the funky sound of With Lasers and into a sound that more represented their Brazilian roots.  They did so quite successfully and to great critical acclaim.  

Also, this song is really, REALLY dirty.  Yes, it is about exactly what you think it is. If you can't figure it out from the video, I can't help you here.    

26 January 2022

26 January 2022 - The White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl

Not all my short changes were long ago.  This one happened in 2020

It wasn't hard to short-change it, though.  The song is less than two minutes long.  How much can you say about a song by a drum/guitar duo that is so short? 

A lot, actually.  

The song is incredibly fast - Jack White fits a LOT of words - breathlessly at times, which give the song a desperate feeling - in those two minutes.  Despite the frantic guitar and dense drumming, the vocals are the highlight of the song - the music is there for rhythm, with the guitar taking a rhythm guitar role, rather than lead.  

Lyrically, it's somewhat beautiful, illustrating perfectly the feeling of falling in love, hard.

Also, about that video.  It is mostly REALLY Lego bricks, purchased by Jack White.  There is a small computer animated section of the video, but it's mostly really Lego bricks.  Don't call them Legos.  That's a brand.  


This alternate interpretation of the song, from a live performance in Nova Scotia... I'm going to not focus on Jack, but on Meg White.  She's got such subtly to her drumming - she doesn't get enough credit for that - but it certainly shows here.

25 January 2022

25 January 2022 - Toto - Africa

I know, it's surprising, but in 2012, I shortchanged this song.  
.
In my original post, I talked about the lyrical gymnastics of the 2nd verse of the song.  They are great, but what is greater is the story of the composition of this love letter to a continent.  David Paich wrote the lyrics, which came to him in a flash, and initial brassy flutey synth intro.  Jeff Porcaro wrote the rest of the music - and it was a long process..... to write a love letter to a continent.  

You see, the song is not romantic.  It is about Africa.  And it was their biggest hit - even as others got more critical acclaim - and it is still beloved.


A sound installation in the Namib Desert in Africa plays this song on an infinite loop.  It is run by solar batteries and designed to be durable against the environment, and although the desert landscape will eventually swallow it whole, it will, until then, play for eternity.   

24 January 2022

24 January 2022 - Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite

This week, I'm revisiting songs that I gave not nearly attention to on the first go around.  

I originally posted about this song in 2013, after I heard it in a Food Lion in Delaware.  I wrote a really short post about it, with a couple of small details, such as chart position.  

What I neglected to address was the subject matter of the song.  Overtly, it's about the Apollo missions to the moon - the moon being the titular satellite.  And, there are a lot of moonscape references - the eagles fly, the dry seas.   However, the song is also a metaphor for anything one might want to shoot for - the stars, a goal, anything.  

It is also one of those songs that is a persistent favorite of mine, since its release in 1992.   


I wanted to include a live version here - Tasmin Archer is still performing, and of course performs her biggest hit.  I did not find a more beautiful version than this one from 1993, with less production and a simple acoustic accompaniment.  

21 January 2022

21 January 2022 - Ringo Starr - It Don't Come Easy

Nothing worth having comes easy.  Life is a tough trial, and so is love, but it gets better.  Push forward.  "Use a little love and we will make it work out better."

So is the message from Ringo Starr's first post-Beatles single, produced by George Harrison.  It remains one of Ringo's biggest solo hits - and no one expected him to have solo hits.  Starting and ending somewhat quietly, the tune gets more bombastic, becoming a beautiful, uplifting song - and one of my personal favorites.


Ringo Starr and George Harrison famously performed this song at the Convert for Bangladesh, the first time that any two Beatles had performed together since the breakup.  Ringo did forget the words..... but everyone still loved him, because how could you not?

20 January 2022

20 January 2022 - Aimee Mann - Wise Up

From the Paul Thomas Anderson movie Magnolia, for which Aimee Mann did most of the soundtrack, this song comes at a sad, emotional crossroad in the movie. In fact, let's open this post with that very sad, emotional crossroad.  The moment could have been absurd, but it wasn't.  


But this song is so so much more than a soundtrack song - especially since it wasn't written for the soundtrack and had PREVIOUSLY appeared on the Jerry MaGuire soundtrack.  It is in and of itself an emotional powerhouse with a real downer of an ending.  P.T. Anderson has said that Aimee Mann's music inspired Magnolia, so it is likely that this song was part of that inspiration. 

Listen to Aimee sing it herself, without the cast accompaniment.   


She still performs the song, which is a fan favorite. Because of course it is.  

19 January 2022

19 January 2022 - The Replacements - I'll Be You

The Replacements had been indie darlings for the better parts of a decade in 1989.  This song was the closest they got to breaking out of that.

From the album Don't Tell A Soul, this video was in heavy MTV rotation, even during the day.  Which is good.  Because The Replacements were actively seeking a hit after many years of that indie fame.  They didn't quite make it there - this song peaked at #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 - but it did spread their sound to a broader audience.

18 January 2022

18 January 2022 - Roberta Flack - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

This might be one of the most beautiful songs ever written.  Written by Ewan MacColl about his third wife, Peggy Seeger (he was still married to his second wife), this is a cover - but a cover that was the biggest hit of 1972 and won the Grammy for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. 

What was written as a folk song was reinvented with soul by Flack, and for that, the song was her own. Originally released in 1969, it went nowhere until Clint Eastwood found it and used it in his movie Play Misty For Me.  After that, Atlantic Records released it as a single and it exploded. 

17 January 2022

17 January 2022 - The Pursuit of Happiness - I'm An Adult Now

Moe Berg and Dave Gilby moved from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and formed a band called The Pursuit of Happiness in 1985.  Since then, they've been making fun, power-pop music.

One of their first singles was this one.  This song was self-produced and self-pressed, and became a grassroots hit.  This led to their major label record deal and some measure of success.  It was eventually released in 1989 as a single in the US, and amazingly, it was a minor hit.  

Also, it's great to be an adult.  

14 January 2022

14 January 2022 - Guided by Voices - Bulldog Skin

 Do you know who would be really happy to be called a guilty pleasure?

Robert Pollard.

From the Dayton, OH band's 1997 album, Mag Earwhig!, this song and video are probably about as close as Guided by Voices has gotten to actual guilty pleasure territory.  It's a song that clocks in at 3:00 on the dot, has a significant guitar solo, and a video with significant production value.  

The title is in reference to being tough - having a thick skin.  Clearly, the video's protagonist, Larkey Parka, had to have a thick skin as he was bullied in his pursuit of the girl, eventually winning her over at the Rock Show Tonight.  


Thankfully, after all these years, Guided by Voices is a band that still tours, and still performs this song.  Here they are in 2017, with Bob Pollard acting like the rock star he absolutely is.  


13 January 2022

13 January 2022 - Iggy Azalea - Iam The Stripclub

Amethyst Kelly is back.  And she came back with a really good album in 2021 - The End of an Era - preceded by three good singles.  The best was this, the third single that was a short club banger.   

Admit it, you're dancing right now.   I am!  

By the way, watch for the "Work" throwbacks in the video.  This album in general and this song in particular was meant to bookend the first phase of her career - kind of a recap of the last decade, if you will.  In that context, it really works.  

12 January 2022

12 January 2022 - Hoobastank - The Reason

In 2004, this song was absolutely everywhere.  It's a hard rockin' song that brings the melancholy hard.  A worldwide hit, it was Hoobastank's high water mark from a chart success standpoint - reaching #2 in the US and #1 in several other countries. 

Nominated for two Grammys, the song was probably made more popular by the iconic video, which tells an elaborate story of what looks like an accident but ends up being a heist.  It, of course, has zero to do with the subject matter of the song - but it's a cool story.  

11 January 2022

11 January 2022 - Georgio feat. Cœur de Pirate - Concept Flou

For once, I'm going to ignore the œ here - and it's for this reason I've held off on posting this. How much Cœur de Pirate do you actually need?  She adds a little to the song, but it's Georgio's song.  

The song is about the uncertainty of love in the modern era - a fuzzy concept in the narrator's eyes.  He's been waiting for a sign from the girl he loves - someone he should probably just let go of.  He eventually gets there, but the song is painful and sad while he does.  

10 January 2022

10 January 2022 - Olivia Newton-John - Magic

Most of you know that I am a huge ONJ fan.  Always have been. Perhaps part of it is the greatest movie musical involving roller-skating.  I am, of course, speaking about Xanadu

This song, a huge hit for Newton-John in 1980, was used in the movie when her character, Kira, whose origin you don't know at the time, meets Sonny, the Michael Beck character, and they fall in love.  The song, although, in the context of the movie, is a lot more than this, stands alone as a love song - a love that's always been there, predestined.  

Wikipedia considers this song "disco" and "soft rock".  OK, I guess so, but it came at the tail end of the disco era, and still spent 4 weeks at #1 - finishing 1980 as the 3rd biggest hit of the year.  


DJ Dan Murphy and Steve Peach remixed the song in 2011, for ONJ's charity, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.  She did reenter the studio to rerecord the vocals for this project, which also featured a music video with a large cast.