12 April 2024

12 April 2024 - Elvis Presley - A Little Less Conversation

We don't have enough Elvis on this blog, right?  

Well, this song.... it wasn't a hit when Elvis recorded it in 1968.  It was a minor hit when rerecorded later that year for a TV special.... but it wasn't a hit, despite being a fun and energetic song.  Written by Mac Davis (who wrote and later rerecorded a lot of Elvis songs) and Billy Strange, it was perhaps more than people were expecting.

Here's a video of the original, from the movie Live a Little, Love a Little, where the song first appeared.

You likely know this song, but that version you just heard doesn't sound right, right?

Fast forward to 2001. The song was featured in the movie Oceans 11, and then Junkie XL remixed it.  

THIS SONG was a worldwide hit in 2002, everywhere... except the United States, where it was still a MINOR hit, but not to the level of everywhere else, where it was a top 5 hit. Even in the US, it was his first visit to the Billboard Hot 100 in twenty years.

11 April 2024

11 April 2024 - Chappell Roan - Naked in Manhattan

It was only a matter of time until I got to Oliva Rodrigo's opening act, right?

But Chappell Roan is so much more than just an opener.  She's a singer/songwriter from the middle of Missouri, who makes campy, poppy music with a drag-queen inspired aesthestic.  This song, a 2022 song that ended up on her acclaimed album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, co-written by Chappel Roan, Daniel Nigro and Skyler Stonestreet, and its video, with all its pop culture references and over-the-top fashion is a perfect illustation of that aesthetic.  

To be sure, she is unique, and so is this song.  I'm genuinely impressed.

I could have very easily found a GUTS tour opening act performance of this song - and I did. I chose INSTEAD to share a more intimate club perforance of this song, which sounds better anyway. She engages the crowd, and they respond.  She doesn't even need a background vocalist (she supplied her own on the album anyway).   

10 April 2024

10 April 2024 - Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

This 1978 disco classic was co-written by Sylvester and James Wirrick.  It was not more than a minor hit in the US - not nearly his biggest - and was a huge hit in Europe.

But that is only the start of the story.

The song was also a hit in discos - a club hit, as we would call it today.  It is here where his star would truly shine - and endure.  The song has been used as an anthem for LGBTQ+ pride in the years since the song was released - the magazine Time Out ranked it #8 on a list of songs to celebrate Pride all year long.  

Sylvester himself, with his androgynous looks and the fact that he was, in fact, gay, was propelled by this song into icon status within the gay communitiy, and beyond, because the man was fabulous.  Sadly, he passed away in 1988 from complications from HIV - I'm so grateful that that disease is not the killer it was in the 1980s but we still need a cure. 

We are so happy to bring you a live version of this - not every disco song has that, but Sylvester did perform live. The laser sounds in the song are replaced with horns, and my goodness, it's a fantastic sound. 

09 April 2024

9 April 2024 - Olivia Rodrigo - obsessed

I want to scream.

Olivia Rodrigo released one of my 2 or 3 favorite albums of 2023 - GUTS - in September.

Last week, she released GUTS (spilled) with five more songs.

Do I buy the new vinyl? Probably not.  But this, the first new single, is pretty spectacular.  Co-written by Rodrigo, Dan Nigro, and Annie Clark, it rocks hard and is already a top 20 hit.  Fun fact - this is the 2nd Olivia Rodrigo song on which Annie Clark is listed as a songwriter ("deja vu", which borrows heavilty from "Cruel Summer" being the first), but the first on which they truly collaborated.

Anyway, it's a banger.  Check it out.  

Even before the expanded album, the song existed - and was on some special versions of GUTS (although not the one I own, dammit).  It is included on the GUTS tour playlist.

08 April 2024

8 April 2024 - Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart (Turn Around)

Oh, come on.  You kniow we had to do this. 

This song was written and produced by Jim Steinman and was Bonnie Tyler's biggest hit by a long shot - becoming one of the hugest hits worldwide in 1983.  It is a sad song - and one that's probably going to make you cry if you are prone to that.  Originally clocking in at seven minutes, the radio version was around the four minute mark.  

The song was Grammy-nominated, and would have likely had more had it not come out the same year as Michael Jackson's Thriller album.  

Still, it's made Bonnie Tyler the name you know today.

And, oh yes, she did perform the song at the Grammys.  And it was spectacular.  Her husky voice shone strong that night.

05 April 2024

5 April 2024 - Flower Face - Cat's Cradle

I knew it was a possibility that Flower Face would come out with new music soon, and starting in late February, she started teasing a new video and a new song.  There are very few posts I would not have immeduately bumped in favor of a brand spanking new Flower Face single.   Maybe not The Beaches, but anyone else.  

I gave up waiting early and put up another of her songs for Maple Leaf March.   

Well, she would release it just after March was done.  April 4th, 9pm Eastern time.  As I am writing this post, the song has been out for less than an hour, and now I'm rescheduling my Friday post to get this out, quickly.  I just moved it to next week, so no big deal.

Seriously, she was very public on social media when she was recording her new album, and now a single is out.  It still is written and performed by Flower Face, and it still features her rich, soft voice.  It has a slightly more poppy sound - and her lyrical maturity shows through strong here.  I can't wait to hear what comes next.

I suspect this is going to be in my heavy rotation for the next several weeks.  I hope you enjoy it.  

04 April 2024

4 April 2024 - Gayle - butterflies

I seriously, SERIOUSLY debated whether this song from the Barbie movie deserved to be here - and not on Totally Covered.  

Gayle is listed as a songwriter.  She absolutely did lift the chorus from the Crazy Town song "Butterfly", The original songwriters are listed.  But what Gayle did almost could be defined more as a sample than as a cover.  

And, let's be clear. whereas the Crazy Town song is listed as one of the worst singles of all time (which means we will post about it eventually), Gayle's version absolutely slaps.  It is NOT laid back, but instead a straight-ahead hard rock song.  

Gayle has a condition called chromesthesia - in which sound invokes a color response.  We wonder what colors she sees when she performs this song.  

By the way, it's also a song that sounds absolutely terrific live.  And seems to be very pink.