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.