31 July 2013

31 July 2013 - Concrete Blonde - God Is A Bullet

From their 2nd album, which was a comeback of sorts, here is what I consider to be the high water mark of Concrete Blonde's tenure. Johnette Napolitano's growl matches the dark subject matter of this song, which is, pretty apparently, an indictment of gun violence.

30 July 2013

30 July 2013 - The Pipettes - Pull Shapes and Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me

I went all kinds of bonkers for The Pipettes debut album We Are The Pipettes when it came out. That record was a ridiculously fun explosion of 50s-style girl group goodness. This is probably their "biggest" hit. Just try not dancing around the room like a maniac when you hear it.

I couldn't choose just one video so here's Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me.

Wicked Guilty Pleasure? More Like Wicked Awesome Dance Party!

26 July 2013

26 July 2013 - Billy Squier - Everybody Wants You

When it came to early 1980's MTV-era hard rock, no one beat Billy Squier.  Sure, it's not Thursday, but what a great day to play some early 1980's MTV-era hard rock.  Enjoy.

25 July 2013

25 July 2013 - Natalia Kills - Problem

I thought Natalia Kills 2011 debut album was a pretty rad slice of sytnthpop with just enough edge to it to make it cool. But while I liked Perfectionist, it never really found its way into my "heavy rotation." Well Problem, the first single off her upcoming album Trouble, won't suffer from such a fate. It's killer industrial rhythms and punchy vocals make it a can't miss summer smash. Oh, by the way, it's hot as hell and I thought that way well before I saw the video . . . be warned, it's a bit racy.

23 July 2013

23 July 2013 - Hunter Hayes - I Want Crazy

Quite frankly I've been all over the map when it comes to super-talented country singer/songwriter Hunter Hayes. I really liked the 21-year-old's first single, the up-tempo and clever Storm Warning, but quickly turned on him with the boyband-worthy ballad Wanted (his first No. 1...of course). By the time his third single Somebody's Heartbreak came out I was ambivalent at first, but started to lighten up to the point where I actually kind of like it. As I said, the kid is super-talented. He plays a ton of instruments and writes his own music so I can see the potential, even when I don't like every song.

That brings us to the most recent single, I Want Crazy. Damn. This song is ridiculously catchy due in part to great lyrics co-penned by the magnificent Lori McKenna and the rolling mandolin playing throughout the song. Oh, and I really like this video too.

22 July 2013

22 July 2013 - Blur - Song 2 / Ke$ha - Woo Hoo


Even if you don't know the name of this song, or the band, you know this song.  It's fun and energetic and practically SCREAMS mid-90's shoegazing alternative music.

But why such a lousy title?

Well, it was a working title that stuck.  However, it was the 2nd track on Blur's 5th album, and also appears as the 2nd track on Blur's greatest hits album.  The song has 2 verses and two choruses.  And the running length of the song?  2:02.

You might remember we have mentioned "Song 2" previously on this post about a Big Time Rush song. That song did not sample "Song 2", as it turns out.  It did sample Ke$ha's song "Woo Hoo", which sampled "Song 2". Here's that song, here, as a bonus.

19 July 2013

19 July 2013 - Pete Droge - If You Don't Love Me (I'll Kill Myself)

One of the sweetest and most romantic songs to ever contain a suicide threat....

This song appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Dumb and Dumber. A lot of people loved that movie.  I did not love that movie.  I do love the soundtrack, thought.  The song, by singer/songwriter Pete Droge, is one of the best on a great soundtrack.  (It also appears on his fine album Necktie Second).

And really..... it is a sweet and romantic song.  Even if Pete does threaten to kill himself.

18 July 2013

18 July 2013 - Dressy Bessy - Lipstick 2013

While looking for a Dressy Bessy video to post today I got really excited coming across this one with 2013 in the title. There hasn't been a new album by this ridiculously fun Denver indie rock band since 2008. So I settled in, hit play, and then realized it was a rework of one of their early singles. Bummer (don't worry though, the song is aces, I was just hoping for new music). Curious though, I went to their website and found out that they will have a new album out next year. Cannot wait!

17 July 2013

17 July 2013 - Imperial Teen - You're One / Yoo Hoo / Shim Sham

I know what 90% of you are thinking.   Who the hell is Imperial Teen? And why the hell are they a guilty pleasure?

Imperial Teen is a veritable supergroup, featuring members of The Wrecks, Sister Double Happiness, and Faith No More.  They're all multiinstrumental (frequently switching instruments mid-show) and they all sing, making four part boy/girl harmonies possible.  

Take this first song, their first single (which MTV mistitled).  A song about Kurt Cobain, written in the wake of his death.  Notice how three of the four members are singing (Lynn Truell stick to drums in this case), making for a beautiful, densely-layered song.

This next song, from the Jawbreaker soundtrack and featuring a video starring Rose McGowan, showcases a four-part harmony and a different sound.  The breathy backing adds almost another instrument and definitely another dimension to a maturing band.

A little more recently, we have the four part harmonies going.... but with the previously silent Lynn Truell on lead.  This song, one of my favorites by any band, is a bit nosier than the prior ones.  Which might be why I like these guys so much - they're so versatile, and still sound like themselves.  And they're not afraid to grow.

16 July 2013

16 July 2013 - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Bellbottoms

I used to play the hell out of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in the 90s. Not so much these days though, which is a shame, because they were a fun garage rock band before fun garage rock bands were fashionable. So play this video, shake your thang, and yell BELLBOTTOMS!!!!

15 July 2013

15 July 2013 - Karmin - Acapella

It isn't on iTunes until tomorrow.  It's here today.

And c'mon.  You know I love them.  I've proven my love for them.  Time and again.

We won't even talk about the covers.  So many covers.  So, so many covers!

More than any other previous Karmin song, "Acapella" is really the Amy Heidemann show, at least on the surface.  But listen again.  The song is not QUITE a capella.  But it isn't far from that (and yes, Nick Noonan's voice is a lot of the backing instruments, so it's closer than it sounds).  The video itself, a tribute to the primary colors, is stunningly beautiful.

So, enjoy this, enjoy their new album out next month, and maybe go to iTunes and show them a little love tomorrow.

Here's a bonus.  An acoustic version of a song CALLED "Acapella".   I'm sorry.  I like the irony.

12 July 2013

12 July 2013 - Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble

Recently, we started playing music at work.  Of course, we had to choose an office friendly online radio station.  And this song seems to play every hour on the hour.  So I've had a lot of time to analyze this song.

And you know what?  It's brilliantly and subtly constructed.

Yes, Scott.  I just said a Taylor Swift song was brilliantly and subtly constructed.

Unlike this previously featured Taylor Swift song, which beats you over the head with its earwormdom and self-reference ("some indie record that's MUCH cooler than mine" was completely self-referential), "I Knew You Were Trouble" grows on you.  Really listen to this.  For example, pay close attention to the first and second choruses.  The words are the same - Taylor clearly knew you were trouble when you walked in - but there's more force, more harmony in the 2nd.  The song is subtly growing in anger and force throughout.  

Furthermore, I like how Taylor breaks out of her acoustic country comfort zone with this tune.  Some have called this song "dubstep."  It's not like she's Skrillex here, but it is refreshing to see a country-pigeonholed artist not be afraid to take influence from electronic music.  And it makes for an interesting song.

Oh, and by the way.... I also own Red, but I didn't have to embarrass myself at Target to get it.  (I have daughters.  No shame there)

(update: 26 December 2021)

Adding Taylor's Version to all these posts.  1) please listen to these instead 2) I find this version less dubsteppy.

11 July 2013

11 July 2013 - Sheryl Crow - Easy

As a long-time Sheryl Crow fan I was unsure of Easy the first time I heard it (actually the first few times if I'm going to be honest). I was certainly surprised that it was playing on the country station and not on the adult-alternative pop station (or whatever the hell they call that format these days). And when I heard the line "We'll play Jack Johnson he's the new Don Ho" I couldn't help but wonder if Don Ho should be insulted -- that is of course, if he was still alive. Despite all that nonsense, Easy's chill summer groove grew on me and I look forward to her new album coming out this September.

10 July 2013

10 July 2013 - Ofra Haza - Galbi

Ofra Haza had a nearly perfect voice - a mezzo-soprano, for those who are musically inclined. She is to this day one of the most sampled artists in history.

Her voice is most associated in this country with the M/A/R/R/S song "Pump Up The Volume".  But, as an international superstar, she had her own songs, too.  Here is one of her biggest hits.  As it typical with her music, it combines traditional Hebrew and Yemeni - reflecting her culture - and modern (at least to the late 1980's) elements.

Sadly, her voice was snuffed out too soon, a victim of AIDS.  Because she was (culturally) embarrassed, she delayed getting tested and treated for the disease.  But, thanks to her death, which was controversially publicized by Israeli news, Middle Easterns get tested more now.  It's not worth her death, but it is a positive to the loss of someone who so publicly promoted her culture.

09 July 2013

9 July 2013 - Donna Lewis - I Love You Always Forever

I usually have a hard time coming up with artists to feature here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures. Then last week it hit me -- LOOK TO THE PEACH PIT AFTER DARK. It didn't matter who was running the hottest club in Beverly Hills (Valerie, David, Noah, or Dylan) there were plenty of guilty pleasures taking the stage back in the 90s. Like Donna Lewis, for example. Here she is with her hit song from 1996.

08 July 2013

8 July 2013 - Smithereens - Yesterday Girl

For about 10 minutes in the late 80's, people cared about The Smithereens.  I mean, I always did, but I don't count.  The pride of Carteret, NJ, they've been making great rock music for over thirty years.  But in 1989 and 1990, they finally broke through to the mainstream for a little bit.

This song, which combined the rock and power pop the band was so well known for writing and performing, was the third single from their album 11.  It wasn't their eleventh album, but their fifth - the title was an homage to the movie Ocean's 11. Actually, they still haven't done 11 albums..... OK, I'm off on a tangent.  Enjoy the music.

05 July 2013

5 July 2013 - Ricky Martin - La Copa De La Vida / The Cup Of Life

For each Football - oh, sorry, Americans.  Soccer - FIFA World Cup tournament, a song is commissioned.  This practice started with in 1998.  This song by Ricky Martin was the official song of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, held in France - although it was previously released on one of his albums.  It's a fun, energetic song with an uplifting message.  Plus, it's got a convenient cup metaphor.

Why yes, there is an English version, too!  Why do you ask?

04 July 2013

4 July 2013 - Martina McBride - Independence Day

I got a feeling Scott will like this more than I will, but here's an Independence Day song.  Enjoy the song and your day!

03 July 2013

3 July 2013 - Animotion - Obsession

For a brief time in the 80's, this was one of my favorite songs.  I was a big fan of the keyboard riff.  Of course, I had no idea what the lyrics were about.

Now I do, and I have a deeper appreciation for this song.  The call-and-response harmony, rare outside of hip-hop, really works for this song, musically and lyrically.  And, once again, it's one of my favorite songs.

02 July 2013

2 July 2013 - Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

We're no strangers to love.

You know the rules

So do I.

No, you haven't been RickRolled.  You're enjoying one of the brightest pop hits of the late 1980's.  Admit it. You just smiled.  The song doesn't suck.  It's happy and fun and full of energy and even a little jazzy.  Don't be ashamed.  Just enjoy it.

01 July 2013

1 July 2013 - Charli XCX - Nuclear Seasons / You (Ha Ha Ha)

I am going to try to go through this entire post without referencing Charli XCX's biggest hit, which just hit #1 in the UK on 30 June 2013. I mean, I love it, but I don't care, even if she wrote it.  No, we are going to talk about her terrific debut album - True Romance - with which I am totally and completely obsessed.  Originally slated for release in April 2012, it was eventually released in 2013, after, well, you know, that little hit song we aren't talking about.

The first track is a throwback of a song, very heavy on the synth, that would have worked just as well in 1985 as it does today.  Charli's strong voice reminds me of Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons in this song.

Whereas the first track is a throwback, the second, while retaining heavy synth, is far more modern in its pacing and mix.  It's somewhat hard to follow on first listen.  I urge you to try it twice.  It grows on you.  It's definitely different than anything you've heard on the radio, to be sure.

Aw, what the hell.  Here's Charli with Icona Pop at SXSW 2013, performing The Song That Shall Not Be Named.  As far as I know, this is the only time they've performed it together.  Scott did a more complete post about this song here - and I covered it here on Totally Covered.  As I wrote here, Charli XCX co-wrote the song (and probably should have kept it for herself).