31 January 2014

31 January 2014 - The Wreckers - Leave The Pieces

Did you know that Michelle Branch had a country career?  Indeed, The Wreckers were Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp.  This song was nominated for a 2007 Grammy, so clearly this venture was seen as respectable.  And I respect it, too - it's hard to go from a solo career, be it in pop or country, and move into a collaborative situation like this.

And, sure, this group didn't last very long, but I hope they come back. 

30 January 2014

30 January 2014 - Lucy Hale - You Sound Good To Me

Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale released her first single You Sound Good To Me a few weeks ago and it's tearing up the country charts with its breezy verses and big sing-a-long chorus. I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more from her in 2014, especially if the song hits the Top 10, which I think is very likely.

28 January 2014

28 January 2014 - Colbie Caillat - Hold On

Colbie Caillat's new song Hold On is certainly a departure from her previous California sunshine, playing an acoustic on the beach days. If Hold On, and what I've read about her new material is true, she's heading into bold new pop territory with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Tedder and Caillat previously worked together on Brighter Than The Sun off her All of You album, and of course he has written a ton of huge pop songs for artists like Adele, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and many, many more, so I'm fairly certain this new direction will be good for her. Will I may miss the coziness of Colbie's previous work? Probably, but I'm more than willing to give the new material a shot . . . and as a fan of hers, I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

24 January 2014

24 January 2014 - The Captain and Tennille - Muskrat Love

Oh, sadness!

The Captain and Tennille are divorcing!!!!!

Except they are still living together.

And The Captain doesn't know why. Although the rumors are that his failing health is the issue - she's filing to get him better access to health care as a single man.

Well, let's hope they work it out.  In the meantime, we're going to enjoy one of their biggest hits, technically a cover of a song by America, but we'll play it here anyway.

22 January 2014

22 January 2014 - Avicii - Wake Me Up

Rarely has a song been so able to mix acoustic guitar and electronica. And yet this song sounds like both a folk song and dance music.  When it was first introduced, live, the crowd of electronic music fans were reportedly confused and angered.  It's a different type of song.  But it works.

The stage name of Swedish DJ Tim Bergling, Avicii has been a prolific remixer for years.  The vocals on this song were done by Aloe Blacc, with Mike Eizinger from Incubus providing the acoustic guitar. 

20 January 2014

20 January 2014 - Bowser and Blue - The Curling Song

A simple song about curling?  That makes it clear that curlers "always get the girl"?  Yes.  Please.

Based in Montreal, George Bowser and Rick Blue have been performing together for more than 35 years, throughout Canada.  Most of their stuff is comedic.  This isn't.  This is a serious folk song about curling. 

16 January 2014

16 January 2014 - Tennis - Origins

This is the time of year when I start to really obsess over Tennis. The sport. Not the band. But they're pretty darn good too, so here's a video from their 2012 album Young & Old.

. . . and now I return to watching replays of last night's Australian Open...

15 January 2014

15 January 2014 - Chumbawumba - Tubthumping

We'll be singing when we're winning.

I get knocked down. But I get up again. You're not ever gonna keep me down.

Pissing the night away.  Pissing the night away.

He drinks a whiskey drink.  He drinks a vodka drink. He drinks a lager drink.  He drinks a cider drink. He sings the songs that remind him of the good times.  He sings the songs that remind him of the better times.

Oh Danny Boy  Danny Boy

Don't cry for me next door neighbor.

I didn't really think I could write anything better about the song than the lyrics.  I mean, I could have told you that Chumbawumba is probably the least likely bunch of anarchists to ever have a big hit song. I could have written about their political slants, and how this song wasn't really the lighthearted drinking song that it seems to be on the surface.

I could have shared the Pete Postlethwaite quote from Brassed Off that actually opened the song.(start at the :23 mark of this speech).

But why do that?  The lyrics are just so much better.

14 January 2014

14 January 2013 - St. Vincent - Actor Out Of Work

I just heard Birth In Reverse, the first single off St. Vincent's next album and it's all sorts of cool. She definitely has a unique, chaotic sound that continues to grow with each album. There's no video for Birth, so instead, we'll go with one of my favorite songs by her, Actor Out Of Work off of 2009's Actor album.

13 January 2014

13 January 2014 - Grimes - Genesis

When the main star of your video is known more for doing your video than her own music, you've truly accomplished something.

And yet, with this epic video, which prominently features Brooke Candy, Grimes has accomplished just that.  Can you blame Grimes for the casting, though? I mean, there are several other actors in this video.... and your eye keeps going back to those long, pink braids and that complete metallic costume. It's said that Ms. Candy is one of the most charismatic characters in the L.A. party scene (which is what drew Claire Boucher (Grimes) to her) so her casting was perfect.

The song itself is a dreamy electronic marvel that, despite not completely understanding the lyrics - Grimes has a unique, pixie-like voice that makes me smile.  Which is strange, because the lyrics are kind of sad, but beautiful.  Musically, it's a lot of sample loops and keyboard work, which means that Grimes is doing it all herself, which is impressive.

Also, she is carrying a flaming sword at about the 4:48 mark of the video.  Also impressive.

10 January 2014

10 January 2014 - Imagine Dragons - Radioactive

There are a lot of songs out there that I don't want to like.  This is one of them.  I mean, it's over the top, preachy, and somewhat annoying.

And yet, these very aspects that make the song one that I don't want to like are exactly what make it likeable.  The over-the-top nature of the song gives it an epic feel, different than a lot of other stuff on pop radio.  For sure, it's percussion-heavy, and Dan Reynolds needs to have a big enough voice to overcome that, which he does successfully. It's preachy, sure, but it does so in such a way that is catchy.

OK, I can't explain away annoying.  I guess it just grew on me.  Either that, or I'm a sucker for a music video with Lou Diamond Phillips and stuffed animals.

Still not convinced?  I urge you to check out this live version of the song.  First of all, it's in a slightly different key and it still works.  Second of all, the big arena environment really lends itself well for such a huge, epic song.  Finally, the band added both dubstep-y elements and a strings solo to the song, which, in my opinion, really enhance it. 

08 January 2014

8 January 2014 - CHVRCHES - The Mother We Share

I'm late, and I'm lazy.  Perfect combination for a post by one of the buzziest bands of 2013.  Even if they can't spell "churches".   Anyway, the buzz is deserved - this song is a pop gem, and their album The Bones Of What You Believe, one of the best of 2013 (I didn't like it at first, but it's growing on me), is one you should check out.  Here's the first single from that album.  Enjoy.

07 January 2014

7 January 2014 - Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You

I was pretty shocked to read yesterday that Wicked Guilty Pleasures just turned two years old. It sure seems like we've been doing this for A LOT longer. Since Tony took us back yesterday with his first WGP artist Ashlee Simpson, I figured I'd enter the terrible twos with mine. Here's Kelly Clarkson and the wicked fun video for My Life Would Suck Without You.

It goes without saying, but I just want to thank y'all for reading, tweeting, retweeting etc. My life truly would suck without you! (like you really didn't see that one coming?)

06 January 2014

6 January 2014 - Ashlee Simpson - Shadow

On the 5th of January, 2012, a blog celebrating all that is bad for us musically but we don't care about because we love it anyway was born, with this Ashlee Simpson song.  Together, Scott and I have been bringing you Wicked Guilty Pleasures for two years.  We're happy to do it, and we will continue to do so, at least for the foreseeable future.

We continue that Ashlee Simpson love with her 2004 single about being the lesser sister to Jessica. Which, of course, we all know isn't true. They've each had an equal number of hits, and Jessica has been the musical guest on Saturday Night Live at least one less time than Ashlee.  On second thought, maybe we shouldn't talk about that.


Now, we are running out of Ashlee Simpson music to post, so if she could publish something new, that would be just great.....

03 January 2014

3 January 2014 - Amy Grant - Thy Word

I was very surprised, when I first heard this song, how much I loved it.  I was surprised not because it was Amy Grant - the woman can sing, and I already knew that - and not because it was so openly religious - this wasn't the first Amy Grant song I ever heard - but because it was lifted almost straight out of Psalm 119:105.  I didn't expect a song with lyrics so ancient could sound so lovely, and yet she and Michael W. Smith took those words and made them into a beautiful song.

Of course, they added lyrics - it's said that the added lyrics came to Amy when she was lost in the Colorado mountain darkness - but the base of this song was still biblical.

"Thy Word" is from Amy's 1984 album Straight Ahead, her last as a pure Myrrh Records artist.  Christian record labels have such distinctive names.  It would be the first ever Myrrh Records album - first Christian pop/rock album, in fact - to ever hit the Billboard Top 200 album chart.   I did not discover this song then, but several years later, on The Collection, which was her first "greatest hits" album and a monstrous commercial success.  This was my favorite song on the entire compilation, and remains to this day my favorite Amy Grant song.

The version below is from a live performance in 2004, with the two songwriters collaborating. Amy tells a nice story before they start playing.

01 January 2014

1 January 2014 - The Lumineers - Ho Hey

We kick off a new year on Wicked Guilty Pleasures with a surprise hit from 2013.  It's a song that starts very sparse, but picks up in excitement as it rolls on, while still keeping the folky feel.  Lyrically, it's perhaps the sweetest song about unrequited love we've seen in years.  While we know that songs like this are not always going to be hits, but we will enjoy it while they are.