06 November 2015

6 November 2015 - The Weeknd - Can't Feel My Face

I know, this may come as a surprise, but I don't think that all music has to be deep and substantive to be good.  There's room for fluff on the radio.

This song doesn't fall into that category.  It's catchy, funky, and has pretty decent imagery.  And Mr. Weeknd (real name: Abel Tesfaye) has a huge voice that this song perfectly showcases. 

Plus, he's on fire at the end of this video.  So there's that.

01 October 2015

1 October 2015 - My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade

For MONTHS - MONTHS! - my daughter Juliana has begged to take over my blog.  She keeps wanting to post one song.

This is that song.  It's hard-rocking while retaining its goth feel. It wouldn't normally be a song I would post - it's not terrible, mind you, but c'mon, I'm mostly posting pop music here - but I'm glad I did.

Also, it's Juliana's birthday, so if you see her, wish her a happy birthday.

30 September 2015

30 September 2015 - Eddie Rabbitt - I Love A Rainy Night

Every once in a while, there's a song that transcends genre.  Eddie Rabbitt released one of these in 1980, with "I Love A Rainy Night".  The song topped both the Billboard Country and Hot 100 (which is pop) charts.

I mean, the song is catchy, even all these years later.  Admit it - you started singing it as soon as you saw the title of this post.

Also, I, too, love a rainy night. 


So catchy, even Quagmire loves it!

29 September 2015

29 September 2015 - Ty Dolla $ign feat. Charli XCX & Tinashe - Drop That Kitty


I mean, we know what Ty Dolla $ign ACTUALLY means here.  He isn't talking about cats here, despite the prominent feline heads here.  He wants the ladies to drop it like it's hot.  That doesn't mean he didn't perform a very catchy song.  He seems to be competing with T-Pain in the Autotune sweepstakes (and winning).

He's kind of wasting Charli XCX and Tinashe (who both co-wrote the song - Charli was working on it for another artist before Ty came on board), though.  And they STILL manage to steal the show and get you to not notice Wiz Khalifa in the background.  I'd actually like to see what these ladies could do without anyone with a dollar sign in his name. 

But back to this subtle performance.   I mean, the real message kind of sneaks in there.....

28 September 2015

28 September 2015 - Beyoncé - Single Ladies

You like it?

Then you should have put a ring on it.

Let's face it - this isn't a flashy video.  It was cheap to produce.  And yet everyone - EVERYONE - knows this song and this dance.

And I do mean everyone.

23 September 2015

23 September 2015 - Demi Lovato - Cool For The Summer

Back when Scott Colvin was my co-author, there's NO WAY I would have been able to beat him to this song.

Well, times have changed.  And this is the best thing she's ever done.

And so, on this first day of autumn, I give you an ultimate summer anthem.

(Update: 6 June 2023) Because we posted about the rock version of this song, I felt it was important to note that a sped up version of this song was released last March - and it's not just some YouTuber doing this.  It's an official release.

No idea why she did this.  It's fun, though.

19 September 2015

19 September 2015 - Fifth Harmony (feat. Kid Ink) - Worth It

The day has come.  I've broken down.

First of all, I'm posting something on a Saturday.  That's because my daughter Isabella loves this song, and today is her birthday.

But really, this is exactly the type of song you're coming to this blog to see.  And Fifth Harmony has.. well, harmonies... that I haven't seen since the days of En Vogue.  These ladies will have a great career as long as they can hold themselves together.  So I'm going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.

31 August 2015

31 August 2015 - Major Lazer & DJ Snake Feat. MØ - Lean On

I almost didn't post this.   Not because it isn't a great song - it really is.  Because it is so damned hard to type MØ.

(Alt-0216, by the way, which I would have remembered had I just read my own post).

Ultimately, I determined it was worth the extra effort.  MØ (that's the woman dancing in the video, but you already knew that) is an amazing talent, and Major Lazer backs her up nicely.  Far and away the biggest hits yet for all concerned (even DJ Snake, although that's arguable), and deservedly so.

Also, the Bollywood homage is awesome.

19 August 2015

19 August 2015 - Eminem feat. Dr. Dre - Guilty Conscience

I did see the movie Straight Outta Compton, which was excellent.  And mostly unflinching.

Except for one piece.  Dr. Dre came out looking pretty clean.  I mean, even Eminem mentioned Dee Barnes (at about the 3:05 mark of this song)! I remember admiring Dre for letting that happen back then - like maybe he was facing his bad choices honestly for a minute.

Now, let's talk about this song, which was an early Eminem single.  The call and response between him and Dre is masterful. I'm not personally the biggest fan of Mr. Mathers, but this is a high water mark for him.  Enjoy this good vs. evil masterpiece.

11 August 2015

11 August 2015 - Alesso - Heroes (We Could Be)

Let's talk about Alesso.  He actually appears in his own video.... even though he's a DJ.  Hey, David Guetta, Skrillex, Avicii, and all you other DJs who like to remain anonymous - knock it off.  Alesso is seen as the future of Swedish EDM, the direct result of Swedish House Mafia and their demise.  I'm looking forward to hearing more from him.

But c'mon.  If you've been paying attention, you know I really posted this song because it features Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson on vocals.  This song was most people's first exposure in the US to Tove Lo, including mine. Of course, "Habits" would (pretty much concurrently) become a bigger hit, but this song shows a different, more impassioned side of her.  She's a true talent.

Let's not even mention that David Bowie got a songwriting credit here.

10 August 2015

10 August 2015 - Smashing Pumpkins - Rocket

For a lot of years, I wouldn't have dared called Smashing Pumpkins a guilty pleasure.  They seriously rocked....

....and then they didn't.  They got wimpy.  Billy Corgan made his band into a guilty pleasure.

This song, from their 2nd album Siamese Dream, remains to this day one of my favorites of theirs.  Only recently have I learned that this was a song with a message.  You see, every grungy sounding band in the early to mid 1990's was compared, fairly or not, to Nirvana, and Billy Corgan was pretty adamant that he was not Kurt Cobain. 

30 July 2015

30 July 2015 - Sia - The Girl You Lost To Cocaine

It's been too long.

So I decided to go a little old school.

This song was the 2nd single from her 2008 studio album Some People Have Real Problems.  Seeing that album displayed for sale at my local Starbucks was my first introduction to Sia.  Of course, I didn't actually hear her until years later.  And it is, of course, fantastic pop music that was criminally overlooked in this country, and really around the world.

No wonder she retired!

Also, notice that Sia is facing the camera - a lot! and smiling - and not relying on Maddy Ziegler as a stand-in.  That whole stage-fright assumption is a bunch of crap.

24 June 2015

24 June 2015 - Dolly Parton - Here You Come Again

Did you know they did dirty country songs?

Dolly's been doing them for years.  I mean, she didn't need to build her career on her boobs - she is a brilliant songwriter, even to this day - but they sure helped.  This song isn't QUITE dirty, but she's certainly looking at an ex like a piece of meat here.  Still, entertaining. It's a song of regret and falling back into prior relationships....it's more subtle than I expect from a country song, and it makes for an enjoyable song.

23 June 2015

23 June 2015 - Kacey Musgraves - Biscuits

Today, the great Kacey Musgraves releases her 2nd album, Pageant Material.  My former co-author, Scott, and I agree on the greatness of Kacey Musgraves, which is kind of a rarity.

I've not necessarily a huge country music fan.

Kacey Musgraves doesn't get much radio airplay (which is criminal)

Do you want any more reasons why it's strange that I would be posting this?  No?  Good.  I don't have any more.  This is just a fun song, the 1st single from album #2.  So enjoy a well-written, fun song.

18 June 2015

18 June 2018 - Tove Lo - Talking Body

Queen of the Clouds might be the greatest album of the past few years that I've listened to from end to end.  (Yes, people - better than True Romance - happy?)  Before I listened to the whole album and just had heard this song, I thought it was a weak follow-up to "Habits" (and, to be fair, that's on my list of Best Singles of 2014, so I did think highly of it).  I just wasn't a great big fan.  It wasn't a bad song.  It just wasn't great.....

Until I heard it in the context of the whole album - a concept album going through a relationship, from early lust and passion (where this song lies), to the middle part where it gets real and the people in it start thinking about their futures, to the breakup and the aftermath (which is where you would find "Habits").  Then it made more sense to me.

Now I want to hear the next album.

04 June 2015

4 June 2015 - David Guetta feat. Sia (and Mary J. Blige) - Titanium

It's amazing that I took this long to post such a powerful song.  And it has a great story!

"Titanium" started off life as a demo.... written by Sia, recorded by Sia, and sent to David Guetta, possibly for a collaboration with Katy Perry, or Alicia Keys.  Sia had retired from performing and recording her own music, since she was meeting with little to moderate success, and, as a pop star, she was done....

03 June 2015

3 June 2015 - Madonna - Borderline

My least favorite days are when I can't think of something to post.  I mean, I love guilty pleasure music.  If my well is running dry, even for a minute, it's time to worry.

Thank GOD for Madonna. She's been making this music for so long, I will always have a deep catalog as a go-to. This is the first Madonna song I ever heard, and I was instantly hooked, even at a time when I was fighting against my love of commercial music.

02 June 2015

2 June 2015 - Jason Derulo - Want To Want Me

Jason Derulo's new album Everything Is 4 is out today.  The first single from that album is today's post.... and despite being about what every Jason Derulo song is about (being naked with a member of the opposite sex), it's a fun throwback that shows off Jason's vocal abilities.  And it's lyrically damned catchy.

Also, if you look up the phrase "guilty pleasure" in the dictionary, Jason Derulo's picture is right there.

As an added bonus, here's a live performance of the song, from The Ellen Show.  Even in this performance, you can hear the song starts with a whispered "Derulo".

06 May 2015

6 May 2015 - The Darling Buds - Please Yourself

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st 
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

21 April 2015

21 April 2015 - Charli XCX - Famous (& Sucker)

I have a problem.

I know this.

But c'mon.  This song is fun, and this might be the most bizarre, inventive and awesome video in the last few year.  And as much as I just wanted to let this one go, and stop it with the Charli XCX posts...
  1. She is one of the most original pop artists today.
  2. She's a reasonably prolific songwriter.
  3. Charli XCX posts are usually the most widely read ones on this blog.
So, yeah, I am a fan.  I won't deny that. But this is all about pandering.  And enjoying what is a truly great pop song.

Also, check at about 2:38, to hear the one song off the Sucker album - the title track - that can never be a single.

You know I always like to give you a bonus.  So how about a live version?   Here ya go!

And, here is "Sucker" live...... Completely different style... less pop... very angry... and she pulls it off.

30 March 2015

30 March 2015 - Echosmith - Cool Kids

I've been seriously deficient on the recent pop hits, haven't I?

Well, deficiency, be gone!

I think the song is a little strange.  After all, by virtue of being in a band, they are already the cool kids.  But it's a fun song - a bit of an 80's throwback, in my opinion.  It's fun, and I like that an unknown little band of kids suddenly had a top 20 hit.

Little known fact: that was actually the 2nd video for this song.  Turns out the song was almost two years old before it was a big hit.... and I like the performing-in-the-living-room aspect of this one a little better......

But, they're still a bunch of cool kids.

(22 August 2023: Update)

Echosmth rerecorded their own song.  It's different and amazing. There isn't a lot more we can say about it.  The band is a trio now, but they still slap.

27 March 2015

27 March 2015 - Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman

A lot of people ask me, "Tony, what is your favorite song?"   It's a fair question.  It is a tough question, and something of a moving target.  I usually give an answer that is my favorite song of the moment.

I do, however, have a favorite song of all time. You might have seen me mention it - on Totally Covered.  Yes.  This is a repost.  Of a cover. 

But it's more than that. 

It's a reminder of my childhood.  During the 70's, I had a lot of Glen Campbell's music foisted upon me by my parents.  Well, many years later, I revisted some of it, and, to my surprise, I was a fan.  And now, it's a go-to song for me.

And it's a reminder of my musical failings.  Glen Campbell no longer tours.  I will never see him live.  But at least I have this recording.

26 March 2015

26 March 2015 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion

This song has been my earworm for the past two weeks. In fact, I cannot remember hearing this song, from 2006, ever, before two weeks ago.   Before two weeks ago, I was not a fan of any Yeah Yeah Yeahs music. 

However, this is not your typical Yeah Yeah Yeahs song.  It's generally slower and more deliberate than their other material, with more acoustic guitar than you might be used to when thinking of their sound.  Lyrically, it's simple - not all that many lyrics.  It doesn't need them.   It's musically compelling enough.

25 March 2015

25 March 2015 - MØ - Walk This Way

How the hell am I supposed to pronounce an O with a line through it?




I think the first is most accurate, but it's not a letter we pronounce in English.  Danish, yes.  English, no. 

It was hard enough to figure out how to type it!  (Alt-0216 on a Windows keyboard, by the way).

That doesn't matter right now.  What matters is that she is making smart music - electronic pop music with teeth.  Best known in the US for singing on an Iggy Azalea tune, MØ is making good music on her own. 

19 March 2015

19 March 2015 - Juliana Hatfield - I See You

I'm not going to tell The Story again.

I am going to post this very chipper and slightly sad song that she did not perform in 1995... probably because it sounded very Blake Babies-like.   Which I would have been OK with.... except at the time, she was trying to distance herself from that period.

And if you haven't read her book, When I Grow Up, you should.  Really good book.

Anyway, the song is still sweet, more than 20 years later.   It remains an enduring favorite of mine.  At the time of its release - around about 1992, when I was still mourning the end of the Blake Babies - I remember liking her whole Hey Babe album, because it gave me hope that the classic sound would live on.  This song was a surprise (to me) single choice, but a solid one, and one that still endures for me, so many years later.

17 March 2015

16 March 2015

16 March 2015 - Letters To Cleo - Here And Now

I cannot believe I never posted this.

I mean, this song just OOZES mid-90's music.  It's happy and angry at the same time.  And, let's face it, Kay Hanley has an amazing and unique voice. And she can sing FAST.

I have to admit - I saw them live.  Water Street Music Hall, Rochester, NY, September 1995.  They were OK.  I was happy I saw them.  I wish I still had my Letters to Cleo t-shirt.

"The comfort of a knowledge of a rise above the sky above could never parallel the challenge of an acquisition in the here and now."

12 March 2015

12 March 2015 - Britney Spears - Toxic

I remember when I had a co-author.

He used to post a Britney Spears song every year on my birthday.

Which happens to be today.

So here, Scott.  Doin' your work for you. 

10 March 2015

10 March 2015 - Journey - Lights

This post is by a band I thought I would never post.  Ever.  (And I still will never post THAT song.)  This band (and THAT SONG particularly) is one that I have particularly disliked. 

As many of you know, I worked at a Xerox call center, where I was both the IT Manager and a DJ. 

09 March 2015

9 Mar 2015 - Carly Rae Jepson - I Really Like You

I kept hearing that this song was more earwormy than "Call Me Maybe".  And from this blog's standpoint, that's a big deal.  That song was the first one of our posts to crest 100 page views.  (We've done better since).

I like the song.  Let's be clear.  It's sweet and inoffensive.  But to call it with such high praise....well, that's just throwing a wish in the well.  

04 March 2015

4 March 2015 - BANKS - Before I Ever Met You

This might be the only artist on here who wants you to have her phone number...

By the way, it's (323) 362-2658.

And yes.  She answers.  Sometimes.  It's a cell phone.   So you can text her.

Bet let's not stalk our favorite buzzy musicians.  Let's talk about their great music, instead.  She didn't make a video for it or release it as a single.  But the song is so emotion-filled that I couldn't not post it.  The pain in BANKS's voice is tangible, like you can touch it, grab it with your hands.  It's a rare talent that can do that.  So, discover and enjoy.

02 March 2015

2 March 2015 - James Newton Howard (featuring Jennifer Lawrence) - The Hanging Tree

So, here it is.

The song that blew everyone away with Jennifer Lawrence's untapped abilities.  But here's what you don't know....

If you've read the book, you know that the lyrics were written by author Suzanne Collins.  Two guys from The Lumineers did the music.  And, of course, Jennifer Lawrence provided the vocals..... but she didn't want to.

No.  She wanted Lorde. 

We're glad it's Jennifer who sang this.  It gave the song a less polished feel that fit the movie better than Lorde's voice would have there, and suited the intention of the song in a far greater way than Lorde could have....

No offense, Lorde.  We still love you

24 February 2015

24 February 2015 (A Guilt-Free Extension) - Tanya Donelly - New England

It's June.
And I'm still wearing my boots.

Pretty much how you're feeling this year, right, New England?

Actually, this song just perfectly captures the dichotomy of life in the United States Northeast - New England and New York can probably be lumped together here.  Winter is hard, but the rest of the year.... just lovely and welcoming.

And, with the harsh winter New England is getting, I figured y'all needed a tribute.

(And yes, I did just mention Tanya Donelly.  Why do you ask?)

20 February 2015

20 February 2015 - Throwing Muses - Counting Backwards

It was only a matter of time, people.  I was going to break this seal eventually.   I just needed to find the right way and the right time.

On March 12, 1991, Throwing Muses released The Real Ramona, two weeks ahead of scheduleI walked into that record store with the full intention of purchasing R.E.M.'s Out of Time, which was also released that day.  But, as Throwing Muses was my favorite band (still is), I had to go see if, maybe, just maybe, there was a schedule change.

19 February 2015

19 February 2015 - Mary's Danish - Don't Crash The Car Tonight & It'll Probably Make Me Cry

Totally had to do a double today. But I had a good reason.  Mary's Danish was one great band with two amazing voices.  Gretchen Seager's voice was clearly well-suited for straight-ahead rock music.  Her voice was - is - raspy and powerful.  Take her lead vocal (with Julie Ritter taking background here) on their first single, "Don't Crash The Car Tonight", a drunk driving PSA waiting to happen....

Julie Ritter's voice, on the other hand, has a more bluesy feel.  Their 2nd single featured her voice (with Gretchen on background here) on a meloncholy ballad with a countryish - cowpunk, maybe - feel.

In both cases, their harmonies made the songs work, but it made for a versatile band.  Sadly, they broke up under label pressures in the early 90's, but their music lives on.

18 February 2015

18 February 2015 - Angel Olsen - Forgiven/Forgotten

So far this week, I have given you music from the 80's and called it guilt-free.  Well, guilty is in the eye of the beholder.

So I had to bring you back to today.  Well, really, last year.  2014.

Angel Olsen's album Burn Your Fire For No Witness was, inarguably, one of the best of 2014 (on my list, it tied for #1).  It is criminal how ignored by radio - country, rock, whatever - this album was.  It was certainly in my heavy rotation all year long, and it will remain there for years to come.  

The entire album reminds me a lot of another classic album - Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.  Both are angry and brilliant and occasionally profane.   Both are lo-fi masterpieces.  Both vacillate between electric fuzz and acoustic melancholy.

This was Angel Olsen's first full-band album (and only her 2nd overall).  Who knows what brilliance is to come?  

As an added bonus, here is Olsen, performing the song live in 2013, before her album was completed.  It's a little sparser, but it is amazing, still.

17 February 2015

17 February 2015 - Concrete Blonde - Still In Hollywood

You might wonder how I selected the songs for this Guilt-Free week. 

I put my iPod on Shuffle.

And Track #2 was this song, the first national single for Los Angeles band Concrete Blonde.  No one knew who they were, and then they disappeared for a few years.  This song is angry, and brilliant, and paints a much different picture of Hollywood - a more true one, if you've ever been - than you see in the movies.  

16 February 2015

16 February 2015 - The Cars - Just What I Needed

I don't mind you coming here
And wastin' all my time
'Cause when you're standing oh, so near
I kinda lose my mind

Who among us have not felt this way?  Rik Ocasek is just singing your feels.  So, I've decided to kick off Guilt-Free Week with a classic by The Cars.

13 February 2015

13 February 2014 - Special Guilt-Free Friday Edition - Blake Babies - Brain Damage

Many of you don't know who the Blake Babies are.  But you do know who Juliana Hatfield is.  Well, if you were paying attention to the cover of Sassy magazine in the 90s, you know who Juliana Hatfield is. 

Or this blog, I guess.

Before she was Juliana Hatfield, she was lead singer of a band called the Blake Babies, featuring John Strohm and Freda Boner (who recruited Juliana) and occasionally their buddy Evan Dando, who later went on to found The Lemonheads (who occasionally had Juliana and John as members).  The Blake Babies broke up in the early 90's, but the four of them (not the well-received three-piece) got back together in 2001 for one last hurrah.

By far, the best song on God Bless The Blake Babies was this duet featuring Juliana and Evan. It's a dark, cool, angry, sad song that will worm its way into your ears and hook itself into your brain.  It isn't a typical Blake Babies song - it's much darker and more mature, to be sure - but it's close enough that you know it's them. 

The song was so good, and the chemistry between the two singers so strong, that they toured together as solo acts without the rest of the band and reprised this song. Check out the ad lib in this one!!!!!!

09 February 2015

9 February 2015 - Charli XCX - Need Ur Luv

You all wanted a Charli XCX post.

You aren't getting the one you expected.

This isn't yet a single.  I really hope that it is.  The song that closes Sucker, it is, in this writer's opinion, the best song on the album.  It is full of ache and angst and hurt and love. It deserves to be a gigantic hit, and I hope it is.

This live performance from The Late Show With David Letterman begs two questions:

1. When did Charli stop getting dressed for public appearances?


2. Why did Dave give Charli a Cat Paw?

04 February 2015

4 February 2015 - T.I. feat. Iggy Azalea - No Mediocre

On the surface, this song is hugely misongynistic.  Gee, T.I. has pretty high standards in women...

....until Iggy Iggy turns it into a brilliant call-and-response rap.   There are few people who T.I. would allow to knock him down a few pegs.  Iggy Azalea is one of them.

03 February 2015

3 February 2015 - Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin'

I was NOT a fan of "All About That Bass", which was a body shaming song against body shaming wrapped up in some back pride.

I AM a fan of "Lips Are Movin'", which has a lot of the same do-wop sensibilities, white-girl rapping.... and a kitty cat dress.  Let's face it.  We all love the kitty cat dress.

Truthfully, it's an angrier song, but it's a lot more fun.  And I am truthfully happy to see someone with a lick of songwriting talent become more than a 1-hit wonder.

02 February 2015

2 February 2015 - Sam Phillips - I Don't Want To Fall In Love

It was a brilliant idea.

Get an unsung, excellent musician to score the TV show Gilmore Girls. Best show ever, by the way.  But that's for another day;

Sam Phillips was that musician.

This song is from her first album as Sam (her real name is Leslie, under which moniker she performed as a Christian artist), and it is brilliant and quiet while still conveying the ache of the song.

30 January 2015

30 January 2015 - The Pierces - Secret

Let's just open right up with a fact:

This song is the theme song to the television series Pretty Little Liars.

That's pretty much the only reason these two ladies are on this blog.  This song, away from the context of the show (the song predates the show), is dark and sinister and devilish.  It's got a different feel - different harmonies - than some of their other work.

And it's delightful fun.  So enjoy it.

29 January 2015

29 January 2015 - Guided By Voices - Hold On Hope

I started off writing this not knowing exactly what song I would choose.  It's the first time I knew I wanted to do a blog post, but I didn't know what I wanted to write.  You see, it's been a tough day. I had a lot on my mind today.

But I came out of today with one thing, and that was hope.  And this song, which might be the most beautiful thing Guided by Voices ever did.... this song popped in my head.  It was on an episode of Scrubs, so it totally counts.   And if I am being honest... it makes me teary, every time.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

26 January 2015

26 January 2015 - Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Sigh.  Yes.  I am posting this.

I can't help it.  The song is damned catchy.  Admit it.

22 January 2015

22 January 2015 - Luscious Jackson - Citysong

When I'm about to go crazy, 'cause I'm still livin' here
I just get my friends together and we dance, dance, dance.

I find it slightly ironic that Kate Schellenbach left The Beastie Boys, over creative differences surrounding the hip hop direction that band was taking, to join Luscious Jackson, a group that's for more hip hop than punk.

I mean, I'm glad she did.  First of all, I like Luscious Jackson a hell of a lot more than I ever liked The Beastie Boys.  The contrasts in this song between Gabby Glaser's cool verses and Jill Cuniff's frantic chorus are not atypical in Luscious Jackson's style.  Even through there's a significant Curtis Mayfield sample here, Kate's drum beat is important. 

(I am not discounting Vivian Trimble here.  Don't worry, keyboard fans.  She's important, too.)

Anyway, this is a group that sat in the shadow of the Beasties for a very long time, and didn't get proper recognition.  Today, we are here to give them proper recognition.

21 January 2015

21 January 2015 - Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

It's a cheap throwaway song about getting high and being in a bad relationship.  And it's an instant classic.

20 January 2015

20 January 2015 - Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - Do You Sleep

Part of the point of this blog is to shine a light on all that music that we really do like, whether we want to admit it or not.

A lot of my friends really like Lisa Loeb.  Almost all of them are afraid to admit it.  So, this post is my duty, a public service to all those friends.

But let's talk about this song, a clear breakup song, which is most likely the 2nd song you every heard by the band (I mean, we keep talking about Lisa Loeb like Nine Stories isn't in the room), after the huge, HUGE hit song "Stay".  This song is far more complex than that one, as is the video - no one-take wonders on this one.

What many of you do not know, however, is that this song predates "Stay" by a fair bit.  It appears on their self-released Purple Tape, which was literally a purple cassette tape demo (reissued years later, of course, because that's how things go).  That really was Lisa Loeb, and here it is.

19 January 2015

19 January 2015 - Lorde - Bravado

Before there was Pure Heroine, there was The Love Club EP.  That was an EP that Lorde released on Soundhound... featuring a little song that ended up being a big hit.  This post is not about that song.

This post is about "Bravado", a song about someone who is withdrawn, doesn't want to be, and breaks out of her shell.  Kind of seems to me like Lorde might be talking about herself.  I personally love how this song starts out quiet and builds huge with her confidence.

I'd like to remind all of you that this was released in 2013 and recorded in 2012.  She turned 16 in 2012.  She was barely 16 when she recorded this, and obviously already had it written.  And yet, the maturity in both music and lyic are amazing. 

(Edit: 13 Nov 2020)  The official video disappeared, so here's a fan-made one featuring scenes from the movie Moonlight.  


When Lorde went to Live on Letterman, she didn't forget this song, even if it didn't make her album.  Her live performance built up just as much as the song does on record.

16 January 2015

16 January 2015 - Suzanne Vega - Tired of Sleeping

How does one follow up an unexpected hit song ("Luka") and album (the great Solitude Standing)?  That's always a challenge. 

Suzanne Vega did it in 1990 with a Grammy-award winning album (Days of Open Hand) that went a little further from her acoustic roots and more to piano and organ music. And, at the time, I liked it, but didn't love it.  Some songs, however, jumped out at me and wouldn't let go.  Even 25 years later, this song, which was not released as a single, but was the lead song on the album, still haunts me.  There's no video, but you can hear the richness of the song, the layers, the depth.  Lyrically, it's about dreams, but it's also a scary, haunting song about being a daughter having bad dreams.

This is a live version from Sessions on West 54th.  It's quieter and doesn't have the pipe organ part (clearly replaced with a concertina).  It's slightly less haunting, but well performed.

As Suzanne Vega has commonly done, she's gone back and, rather than just release a greatest hits album, and rerecorded and reinvented her songs.  This one was done in a completely different key, and only acoustic, with a mandolin accompaniment replacing the organ.  

12 January 2015

12 January 2015 - Steve Aoki & Angger Dimas ft. Iggy Azalea - Beat Down

Did you even know this was a thing?

It's a thing from 2012 is what it is.  Way before anything that resembled a hit single.  But it's amazing and it is awesome and this song is what paved the way for the Iggy Iggs we all know and love today.

(Update: 8 June 2021):  In tribute to the greatness that is this blog, I thought I'd give you guys a treat - Iggy Azalea performing this song, live in 2016.  Even after she was a big hit maker, she never forgot where it all began.

07 January 2015

7 January 2015 - Röyksopp and Robyn - Do It Again

What happens when you mix a pop artist from Sweden with Norway's greatest electronic export?

Arguably the best single of 2014. 

It's just that simple.

06 January 2015

6 January 2015 - Ashlee Simpson - Little Miss Obsessive

It was three years ago that Scott and I opened this blog with this song, professing our adoration for all things Ashlee Simpson.  It only makes sense that we post her last song to chart in the United States (#96 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2008) from her third album to kick off Year 4.

By the way, not an easy video to find.  Almost as if she wants us to forget about this song.  I don't know why - it isn't her best work, but that doesn't mean it's bad.

02 January 2015

2 January 2015 - Marina and the Diamonds - Froot

I always end the year with something remarkable from the prior year - an artist that made a difference to me over the year.  I don't usually post a brand new single.

So, I just didn't post an end of year song.  I decided to start fresh in 2015. 

Thank you, Marina, for forcing me to bend my rules slightly.  It's been a long time since Electra HeartFroot is almost certain to be the 2nd ever album I ever preorder (Sucker being the first).  But this song is just too, too cool to ignore.