09 November 2023

9 November 2023 - Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart

I'm never really sure if anyone reads any of this anymore - because Google has changed how they measure stuff.  On some metrics, it looks like people definitely read this.  Using others, it's clear they do not.

Anyway, that doesn't mean I'll stop shouting into the void.  Here's an early 1990s dance hit.  This song is widely considered a classic, but it really started when a couple of DJs - Super DJ Dmitry and Jungle DJ Towa Tei - got together with a vocalist who went by Lady Miss Kier and formed a wild collective.  

Their first single off their first album was a huge hit and is widely considered a classic.

08 November 2023

8 November 2023 - RBD - Ser O(u) Parecer

For a while about a decade and a half ago, this song somehow popped into my consciousness.  I'm not entirely sure why - despite my Spanish language studies, I don't usually listen to radio that isn't English-language based.  I don't watch much Univision or Telemundo.

And I certainly don't watch telenovelas, and since this is a band that got its start ON a telenovela, on the Televisa network in Mexico, I have absolutely no idea.

And yet this 2006 single is so damn catchy even the most fervent gringos will be singing along.  A song about unrequited love, you don't need to speak the language to understand the emotion.

The song DID end up making the Billboard Hot 100 (read: English-language charts) on its strength in markets with large Spanish-speaking populations.It was, of course, a top Latin radio hit.

Like I said, I studied Spanish.... so when I hear the Portguese version they also released in 1996, it kind of messes with me a little.  It enjoyed some success in Brazil.

RBD (short for "Rebelde") broke up for a bit, but they are back together and touring. This version was recorded a month ago in SC.   They still sound great and the crowd loves them.

07 November 2023

7 November 2023 - Suzanne Vega - Left Of Center

Today is Election Day in the United States.   Suzanne Vega's song from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack perfectly reflects a widely held political philosophy not held by either of the two major parties.  

Seriously, this was one of Suzanne Vega's first hits, reaching charts overseas but not in the US.  The piano in the background is brought to you courtesy of Joe Jackson.   

It's also one of my favorite Suzanne Vega songs.  

06 November 2023

6 November 2023 - The Decemberists - Sons and Daughters

Every day, it gets harder and harder to come up with new material for this blog.  

Thank God we have a lot of pop culture to digest.  Take the Season 9 episode of the popular NBC sitcom The Office - titled "The Farm" - where the Schrute family siblings inherit a farm.  In one poignant scene, they perform a song together as a family.

So that got me thinking - is this some sort of traditional folk song I should know?

It was not.   It was the 2006 song "Sons and Daughters" by The Decembrists, closing their fourth album, The Crane Wife.  It is a live favorite.  Which really shouldn't be a surprise - it's a beautiful song and it was on The Office.  

The song may not have been a traditional folk song, but it sure as hell is now.  The Decembrists are still bringing folk music to new and great places, and, all these years later, the Portand, Oregon band is still blazing new trails.

That doesn't mean audiences don't want to hear this song, though.....

03 November 2023

3 November 2023 - fIREHOSE - Time With You

I was bound to get here.   

fIREHOSE, which grew out of the ashes of The Minutemen after d.boon's tragic death, was never a huge band commercially, but they made a lot of great music.  This song, from their 3rd album fROMOHIO, was recorded in Ohio, which is where vocalist/guitarist Ed Crawford is from (the rest of the band is famously from San Pedro, California).  

The song is something of a love song - a simple, sweet love song.  You don't expect that out of fIREHOSE, who are usually all about the boom stick, but here we are. 

The band, which helped to bust Mike Watt out a deep depression over the death of his best friend, never really broke up - they just went into mothballs at times while everyone was doing other stuff.  In 2012, they toured and of course played this song.

Ed Crawford still looks like he's living his dream.

02 November 2023

2 November 2023 - Flower Face - Cornflower Blue

It's a little known fact that I have a lot of draft posts already written.  However, I have many MORE that are completely unwritten except for a video.  There exist a subset of those posts that have a date attached to them.

This one was in that subset.   It had "2024" attached to it.  It was slated for next March.  

And I've been staring at this post, at the top of my draft queue, thinking about busting it out early.  

Over the past two weeks, I have gotten repeated notifications that Flower Face - real name Ruby McKinnon - is recording the followup to her brilliant 2022 album The Shark In Your Water - released on Nettwork Records, her first experience with a record label  

This song, which reminds me slightly of my old Magnus Chord Organ, is beautiful and melancholy and deeply layered.   This song, which came out of a long writer's block and a depressed period for the singer/songwriter, makes me think of Mazzy Star, or even a little bit of a Cocteau Twins influence.  It's haunting, and fitting for today..   

Also, the sharp tone shift at about 1:36 will wake you up.              

The Shark In Your Water has made me a pretty big fan of what Flower Face is doing in music, and I find myself listening to her music a lot lately.   This is why I uncorked this one for post #1500.  It took me more than eight years to get to 1000.  It took me a little over two to get to 1500 - and I wanted to feature a great artist I had discovered in that time frame.  

So, I guess I need a new Flower Face post for next March.

Anyway, here she is, performing the song live.  You can see the emotion she brings to the song a lot more clearly here on her face, even as you hear it in her voice.  

01 November 2023

1 November 2023 - Wyclef Jean - Gone Till November

I have been waiting for YEARS to post this song.  

It finally happens today. 

Released in 1997, Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean, ex of the Fugees, crafted a laid-back top 10 hit for himself.   

More impressive is the video, which features a cameo from Destiny's Child (who provide backing vocals).  The best part?  Bob Dylan showing up at the very moment he's mentioned in the lyrics - at about 2:27 of the video.

Of course, it being so laid-back and mellow, the song sounds great live and stripped down, with just Wyclef singing and playing guitar like Bob Dylan.