30 April 2012

30 April 2012 - Brad Paisley - Ticks

Brad Paisley is such a clean-cut looking boy with a squeaky-clean image.  Who was probably best known as Kimberly Williams(-Paisley)'s husband - she was the bride in the "Father of the Bride" movies, and I think she was on some TV series some time ago.

Until this song came out.  A clever country song with rock-n-roll sensibilities, it is quietly naughty without being overtly so.  Critics were a little skeeved out by all the smarmy pickup lines included in the lyrics, but the song was a big enough hit to be performed at the 2008 Grammys.  It even cracked the Pop Top 40 chart!

I just wonder what his wife thinks of him wanting to pick up random women in bars with butterfly tattoos and check them for ticks.

29 April 2012 - Pacha Massive - Don't Let Go

Two Latinos living in New York City were the core of Pacha Massive.  I first discovered them one day while watching MTV Tr3s, MTV's Spanglish network that features music that crosses the language barriers nicely.

This song is a particular favorite of mine, not just because it was the network's first Descubre y Download feature, but because it was creative and different than any music I had heard elsewhere, Latin or otherwise.  It seemed to me to combine aspects of Latin (the guitar), hip hop (the beats and rhythmic vocals), and early 90's college music (a female bassist who sometime sang).  So, without further ado...

28 April 2012

28 April 2012 - Dionne Warwick - Heartbreaker

Dionne Warwick was known for her R&B ballads for a very long time.  In 1982, her career had been stalled for about a decade.  The Bee Gees still believed in her, though, and wrote her this gem, the title song for her 1982 album.  It was a hit all over the world, and different than the gospel-influenced sound from earlier in her career.

It wouldn't be her last hit.  "That's What Friends Are For" was to come a few years later, partially due to the strength of this comeback.  This song has a ballad feel, still, but is far more impassioned than her earlier work.  It was an excellent song choice.

27 April 2012

27 April 2012 - Faster Pussycat - Bathroom Wall

After seeing this Faster Pussycat video for the first time in 25 years, I can only wonder, who would have won a fight between them and Poison back in the day?

26 April 2012

26 April 2012 - Vanessa Paradis - Joe Le Taxi

Vanessa Paradis was only 14 when she sang this ode to a cabbie named Joe.  Completely in her native language of French.  The surprise? It became a hit in the UK.  She was already a bit of a star in her native France, but no one else knew who she was.   They did now.  Of course, after this, she became an international model and Johnny Depp's girlfriend, but this is where it all started.

Even in French, it is clear that the song is innocent and fun and sweet. It's a shame it was never a hit on this side of the Atlantic. Enjoy it!

Update: I wanted to add this version of the song from 2009.  It's got a smokier feel, but it's still pretty cool.  More than 20 years later, she's still got stage presence.

25 April 2012

25 April 2012 - Colbie Caillat - Bubbly

When I think of Colbie Caillat, I think of summer. I think of relaxing on my deck while sipping a cold drink (and listening to music...of course). Or maybe just sitting on the beach and watching the waves crash. Either scenario would be wonderful right about now. Summer, please get here soon. Until then, I'll just have to warm up with this video from Colbie's debut record Coco.

24 April 2012

24 April 2012 - Ace of Base - All That She Wants

I remember when this song was new in 1993.  It was a comparatively minor hit - "The Sign" was its followup and it exploded - and I remember thinking about how ABBA-esque they were.  And the video!  I thought its sepia tones and somber mood matched the mellow dance beats of the song. I remembering thinking that these guys were really cool.  Then their next single came out, and all music credibility went out the window.

I find this song cool also because of the multiple key changes during the song.  It's not the easiest song to sing.  So I'm told.  I mean, I sing it perfectly.

23 April 2012

23 April 2012 - Anjulie - Boom

I hate to say it, but I really don't have much to say today. It happens. Here's a pretty cool video for a pretty cool tune.

22 April 2012

22 April 2012 - Spain - It's So True

It's Guilt-Free Sunday!  So, let's listen to Josh Haden, brother to Petra Haden (you might have seen a post about her over here) and his band, Spain, of which Petra has been an occasional member.

I really like Spain.  Their music is really quiet without being boring, somber and yet still full of emotion.  This live performance of one of my favorite songs by them shows that to the fullest.  They've recently reformed, and this performance is post-reformation.  The song, however, sounds like they never took a single day off.

They've also got a new album coming out next month, which you can preview in parts on their website. I hope you enjoy this song and also investigate their others.  You won't be sorry you did.

20 April 2012

20 April 2012 - Dokken - Breaking The Chains

I actually saw a free Dokken show a few years ago in Virginia Beach. I can confirm that they were still a Rokken.

19 April - New Kids On The Block - Tonight

Before boy bands were cool, there were five guys from Boston called New Kids On The Block.  I was the right age when they were new to be slightly annoyed by them because I was supposed to be.  Still, I could appreciate their harmonies and their sound.

This under-appreciated song was one of their last singles, and it had a slightly different sound than most of their earlier work.  Whereas their early songs were mostly straight-ahead pop music, complete with the poppy love songs and poppy ballads, this was a full-on five-part harmony reminiscent of The Beatles and The Four Seasons.

Yes, I compared NKOTB to The Beatles.  And I meant it.  This song is their "Glass Onion".

As an added bonus, here are NKOTB, as part of their tour with Backstreet Boys, performing this song in Edmonton.  This should make my Canadian friends happy.

18 April 2012

18 April 2012 - Minnie Driver - Beloved

I miss used cd shops. There used to be about four of them in my town, but over the years they have all closed down (granted we now have a vinyl store, which is pretty rad). I used to spend hours scouring the cheap bins hoping to find some gems...and I often would. One particular day I rolled across the brand new Minnie Driver cd for $3.99. Minnie Driver sings? Who knew? Turns out it was her second record. Really? Curiosity of course set in and I had to buy it, even though all I could think was that there's no way it could be listenable (no disrespect to Ms. Driver, it's just...well, there hasn't been a ton of crossover success for actors in the music world). Happy to say though that I was wrong, and that Seastories is a perfectly pleasant listen with a bit of country, folk and pop music mixed with Driver's breathy vocals. Man, now I'm really missing used cd shops. Maybe I should head over to the Goodwill and do some cd hunting.

17 April 2012

17 April 2012 - Justin Timberlake - Rock Your Body

I admit it.  I like Justin Timberlake.  I find him to be likable and entertaining.  He makes interesting dance music that isn't like music that everyone else is making.  He's mainstream, but tries to stay just a half step ahead.  He understands the hip hop influence on his music.

I particularly like this song for several reasons.  First of all, it shed a squeaky-clean image he had previously, as a member of N*Sync (who we might examine closer another day).  He's brave enough to beat-box, which is a lot harder to do than it looks.  He went simple with the video - just a dancing light background and Justin Timberlake (and his female partner in the song, who might not have been the one who really did the singing, but that's not important right now).  And, to be perfectly honest, the boy can dance.

Oh, and it's the song he was singing when he ripped Janet Jackson's top off at the Super Bowl.  Everyone forgets that he was involved with that little scandal, albeit unwittingly.

16 April 2012

16 April 2012 - Liz Phair - Why Can't I?

Critics and old fans alike were not kind to Liz Phair's major label debut. Foolishly, I believed the hype and didn't even bother to buy it when it came out. A few years ago, I decided to pick it up on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. If you were like me and so many others who "protested" this album, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's a mighty fine pop record.

15 April 2012

15 April 2012 - The Like - June Gloom

One night, my daughter - 7 years old - and I were watching TV, flipping channels.  We don't have cable, but we do get about 16 channels.  One of them - a -2 on another channel - was a music video channel called TheCoolTV.  It played an eclectic mix - still does.  This particular song was on when we got there.  Both of us were instantly mesmerized, not only by the song, but by the visually challenging video.

The Like started off as three daughters of music industry insiders - producers and musicians.  So it's no surprise they had chops of their own.

The group in its current incarnation is a four-piece, with a different bassist.  Well, sort of.  They're on indefinite hiatus since last May.  I hope they reform.  They're really good, even in their 2nd incarnation.

14 April 2012

14 April 2012 - Enrique Iglesias featuring Ludacris - Tonight (I'm Lovin' You) / Tonight (I'm F***ing You)

I'm pretty sure Julio's son has made a better career for himself than Julio did himself.  This song, with all its swagger, is the latest in a number of high water marks in his career that has earned him a long-term relationship with Anna Kournikova and international fame.  It didn't hurt that he partnered with Ludacris on this one and instantly raised the ire of Bill O'Reilly.

Of course, had Enrique released THIS version to radio, which turns up the swagger a few notches by throwing obscenity into the mix, it might not have been such a high-water mark.  I give him credit for knowing the difference.

13 April 2012

13 April 2012 - L.A. Guns - Sex Action

Sure, I could've gone with the obvious L.A. Guns song -- The Ballad of Jayne -- but that wouldn't be any fun. Besides, I always thought Sex Action was much cooler.

12 April 2012

12 April 2012 - Amy Grant - Lead Me On

I could fill an entire blog with songs by Amy Grant that I enjoy.  I was a fan of hers long before "Baby Baby" (which I also considered including here).  The album that directly preceded Heart In Motion, the album with all her hits, was an album called Lead Me On.  It was a decidedly Christian album, but less so than any of her previous ventures.  In my opinion, it is her best work to date.

While I think the great Lead Me On album was foreshadowing things to come, the sound of this album was more rock and less pop than her later work would be.  The album is widely considered to be the greatest Christian album of all time.

11 April 2012

11 April 2012 - Indigo Girls - Least Complicated

I'm seeing Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls play tonight. It was kind of a last minute thing so our seats aren't awesome, but it's only a 300-seat venue so they will be good enough. Seeing that my wife has already "dragged" me to two Indigo Girls shows over the years, I guess we can say that after tonight I'll have seen them two and a half times. By the way, I joke when I say "dragged," as I was a fan of theirs before I met her, although I probably wouldn't have gone to two Lilith Fair concerts over the years if she wasn't around...just a hunch.

09 April 2012

9 April - 2012 - Good Charlotte - Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous

As a pop punk fan, I never really had a problem with Waldorf, Maryland's Good Charlotte. I thought their first two records were kind of fun and they put on a great live show. And while they were a big hit with modern rock radio, the punk community made them butt of almost every joke...oh those punks can be so cruel. I think it's pretty safe to say though that Good Charlotte got the last laugh in the end.

08 April 2012

8 April 2012 - Electric Six - Synthesizer

I struggled with the decision of putting this on a Sunday.  It isn't a pure guilty pleasure - these guys have some serious Detroit rock chops - but this song is, itself, a throwback to the era of the keytar.  Electric Six are a goofy bunch, but they are solid in their music and lyrically clever.

See how many references to real 80's and 90's music videos you can find.

07 April 2012

7 April 2012 - T'Pau - Heart and Soul

T'Pau was a Vulcan who turned down her position on the Federation Council.  That's about all the Star Trek you're going to get out of me.

This T'Pau, however, was a British pop group from the mid-80's who had one hit in this country.  In fact, only two of their three albums - not their 2nd! - were released in the States.  Yes, I have the 2nd album, and yes, I had to go to Canada to get it. Their sound, thanks to lead vocalist Carol Decker, had the ability to be both soft and hard-edged.  This particular song, their biggest (and only) US hit, reached #4 on both the US and UK charts.

And for some reason, I've always loved this song.  So hopefully, you love it, too!

06 April 2012

6 April 2012 - Dangerous Toys - Teas'n, Pleas'n

Happy Hair Metal Friday!!!

Hadn't thought about Dangerous Toys in a LONG time. But then their name popped up in the book I'm reading (We Are The Road Crew by Ken Barr) and that zany little light bulb appeared over my head...So, here they are in their hair metal glory. Enjoy!

04 April 2012

4 April 2012 - Snow Patrol - Run

Sometimes I really wonder what the hell is wrong with me (and for those of you with any guesses, please keep 'em to yourselves...thanks). While I have no problem admitting to liking pop musicians like Kelly Clarkson or country stars like Taylor Swift, I sometimes get squeamish admitting that I like a band like Snow Patrol. I know that sounds ridiculous, but to me it's almost like admitting to liking Coldplay (which I don't). Regardless, it took some time, but local radio pounded this Scottish band's songs into my head to the point where I HAD to start buying their records. Here's one of the finer tracks off of their Final Straw record -- the first record by them that I was brainwashed -- yes, that's it, brainwashed -- into buying.

03 April 2012

3 April 2012 - Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe

Our first By Request post goes out to the Rochester Institute of Technology Curling Team, who had a great weekend at a bonspiel, but came back with this song stuck in their heads.

Ms. Jepsen was a third place winner on Canadian Idol a few years ago.  This single, from her 3rd album, is her current one, and currently ranks at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100!  Enjoy this fresh-faced artist performing a current song!

Update (3 May 2012): This song is currently at #5 on the pop charts, with a bullet!

Update (15 May 2012): #4 with a bullet on the Billboard charts.  And, as you can see here, the memes are a-comin'!

Update (24 May 2012): #2 with a bullet.  This song will likely be the next #1.  Also, Carly performed the song on the 2012 Billboard awards this past weekend.  Enjoy this!

Update (11 June 2012): #2 still, but, having been declared The Song of The Summer, what better way to celebrate than to do a version of your song with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots?   Also, can someone please explain to me why the hell this song isn't #1 yet?!

Update (23 August 2012): Well, the song spent 9 weeks at #1, and is the longest tenured song at #1 for the year.  And guess who was on The Today Show today, performing that biggest hit of the year?  Well, here it is. Enjoy it!

02 April 2012

2 April 2012 - Taylor Swift - Ours & Back to December

Last night, Taylor Swift won the Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Second year in a row. Not bad for a 22-year-old.

I suppose the timing is right to finally post a couple of videos by one of my favorite country singers at the moment. Yup, you read that right...and I don't feel guilty about it at all.

First up is Ours, which just spent a remarkable NINE weeks atop the CMT Top 20 Countdown.

And finally, here's the stunning video for Back To December.

01 April 2012

1 April 2012 - Röyksopp - Eple

Since the World Men's Curling Championship started yesterday, and my favorite Norwegians are among the frontrunners, I wanted to find you Norwegian music to enjoy that wasn't a-ha. So I chose Röyksopp, a great electronic duo who keeps reinventing themselves.

This particular song and video is from their 2001 debut album. It is perhaps the most well-organized video postcard, set to music that is sure to make you smile. And visit Norway.