23 December 2016

23 December 2016 - The Chainsmokers ft. ROZES - Roses

2016 was The Chainsmokers' year.  This was the first big hit of 2016 for this DJ duo.  It only seemed fitting that we'd feature them for our last post before Christmas.

Written by Elizabeth Roze Mencel, she also provided vocals to the song.  Yes, ROZES is actually a person.  She's also a pretty solid songwriter, and the pride of Mongomeryville, PA. Enjoy!

21 December 2016

21 December 2016 - The Amps - Pacer

This was supposed to be The Breeders.

But Kim Deal decided to do things a little differently.  She put The Breeders on hiatus for a year - mostly because her sister Kelley was in rehab and Jo Wiggs was off doing other things - and called herself Tammy Ampersand.

And made a brilliant album.

And then got tired of waiting and reformed the Breeders without her mates... or rather, renamed the Amps to the Breeders.

But we still have that one Amps album. 

07 December 2016

7 December 2016 - Liz Phair - Stratford-on-Guy & Stratford-on-Guy (Girlysound)

I've been on a bit of a Liz Phair binge lately.  But when I binge, I BINGE.  I listen to everything, end to end. Every live performance, every pretentious interview.  And there are a LOT of them.

30 November 2016

30 November 2016 - Taylor Swift - Wildest Dreams

It actually hurts a little to post Taylor Swift songs. I'm not exactly her #1 fan.  That was - still is - Scott Colvin.

But damn.  This song is epic.  Even I can't deny its genius and expert execution.

(update: 26 December 2021)

We added Taylor's Version here.  It's better anyway.  They all are.

21 November 2016

21 November 2016 - Mazzy Star - Halah

Some songs and sounds stick with you forever, and you never get sick of them.  This, for me, is one of those songs.

Mazzy Star were (still are, in fact) a duo - Hope Sandoval and David Roback (ex-Rain Parade) - who started off together in a band called Opal, with Kendra Smith (ex-Dream Syndicate) as lead vocalist.  When Smith left, abruptly - like, slammed her guitar on the ground during a gig and left - Sandoval took over lead vocals to finish the tour. 

After that tour ended, the two of them formed Mazzy Star. Mazzy Star had a minor hit song in 1993 - "Fade Into You".  This is not that song.  This song is from their influential and tone-setting 1990 debut album, She Hangs Brightly.  Kurt Cobain called the album one of his favorites of all time. 

Hope Sandoval is notoriously shy during live shows - she performs only under dim lighting and interacts little with the crowd.  You can kind of hear it in this song.  That's the best description I can give for this haunting song, one I list among my favorite songs of all time. 

The band is actually still together.  They released their fourth album in 2013, and had reformed for a couple of tours before that.  Here's a performance from 2012, where you can see the dim lighting. 

13 October 2016

13 October 2016 - Justin Bieber - Sorry

Boy, did I ever want to hate this song.

I REALLY wanted to hate it.

But it's charming.  And cute.

So here you go.

08 September 2016

8 September 2016 - Dolly Parton - Jolene

You know, now that Scott Colvin doesn't write for this blog, we have a lot less country.  (Yes, I know - I posted this last week.  That was the first country I had posted in a year, at least.)

Over the next several weeks, I am looking to remedy that.  We start with a song about the woman at a Nashville bank who was trying to take care of Dolly Parton's husband while she was on the road.  As the story goes, Jolene (probably not her real name) the bank clerk knew damn well the song was about her, and yeah, there was a catfight.

Dolly kept her man.  And also had a huge hit single that branched her into both pop music and the UK pop charts.

As an added bonus, here's a live duet version of the song that Dolly did with her goddaughter.

Did I mention her goddaughter happens to be Miley Cyrus? (If you read Totally Covered, you already knew that, and that Miley does a pretty damn good version of the song herself)

07 September 2016

7 September 2016 - Meghan Trainor - Me Too

I have to be honest.  I like myself a little less for liking this song.

But I think that's the point.   It's somewhat narcisistic..... but, most likely, M-Train was going for positive image.  Which makes it ironic that the original video for this song was Photoshopped to make her look thinner.  Ridiculously, by the way.

It's a pretty simply constructed song, really.  And still, it's got a nice beat.  So I will appreciate it.

(and like myself a little less)

02 September 2016

2 September 2016 - Sia - Elastic Heart

With her new album out, I've been on a Sia kick lately.  And for the big hit that this song was, it was completely underappreciated, even by me.  So I decided to give it a second look.

And you know what?  It's full of raw emotion, like a lot of her music.  It's smart and full of interesting metaphor, like a lot of her music.  And she's got a huge voice to carry the song, like all of her music.

01 September 2016

1 September 2016 - Charli XCX - Vroom Vroom

I have to open up with this: I have serious misgivings about this post.


This is a sharp departure from any of her previous work.  In fact, I absolutely hated this..... until I went back and listened to the Icona Pop theft, and realized that, although this is far MORE heavy electronica than we've heard, it's still Charli.  And it's still good to see her making more music.

Still, not too much of this, OK?

30 August 2016

30 August 2016 - Troye Sivan (ft. Alessia Cara, and not) - Wild

I first heard this song when Troye Sivan released it as a solo song last year.  I didn't post it then, because while it was interesting, it didn't quite reach the heights I needed it to for inclusion here.

Adding Alessia Cara, on the other hand, and making it a duet... that made it a whole new song, and I love it.  I hope you do as well.

As a frame of reference, here is the original, which is at least being performed live....

29 August 2016

29 August 2016 - Madonna - Don't Tell Me

This seems like a very Libertarian song.

Don't tell me what to do.

This is probably my favorite Madonna song.... but not because of this version.  I mean, this version is fantastic.  There's no doubt about it.  It's nice to see Madonna discover a little bit of Nashville sound and mix it seamlessly with her own.  And what a mix it is!!!!!

No, it's because of this version. Where the quintessential dance artist of her generation PLAYS HER OWN GUITAR.  Because it was important to her.  Fantastic!

26 August 2016

26 August 2016 - Tove Lo - Cool Girl

EASILY the most anticipated song by me so far this year.  I've been waiting for this for a very long time.

And the words at the end of this video gives me hope for a album deserving to follow the modern classic Queen of the Clouds, which to follow in October, when Lady Wood is released.

Ultimately, the song is the same catchy dance-pop with lyrical depth that Tove Lo does so damned well.  And that's OK.  That's what she SHOULD be doing.  She's very good at it.

And yeah.  It does look like she shaved her head for real.

25 August 2016

25 August 2016 - Ke$ha - TiK ToK

Tonight, I get to see Kesha live.

Notice how I didn't use the $.  She dumped that.

Still, for historic purposes, this post will still use it.

Anyway, back to Kesha.  I have not been this excited for a show in years.  YEARS!!!!!!  And I admit, as a 44-year-old man, I'm slightly embarrassed.  But only slightly.  I mean, you're smiling just listening to this song, aren't you?   I'm smiling writing this post. How can you not????

And if you are in Central New York, come to the New York State Fair.  It's $3 today, and it comes with a Kesha concert!

24 August 2016

24 August 2016 - Pistol Annies - Hell On Heels

THIS is the textbook definition of a long overdue post.

We really should feature Angaleena Presley's solo work at some point - she's the sublime singer that goes first in this song.  Anyone who can hold her own on a stage with the huge voices of Miranda Lambert, who I will not talk about any more in this post because everyone just gave her credit for this being HER side project despite the two other tremendously talented women who were with her on this record, and the woefully underappreciated Ashley Monroe (who WILL get some play on here) deserves some spotlight.

But rather than complain about what I should and should not post, why not enjoy this fantastic song by three immensely talented women?!  That's what I'm going to do.

23 August 2016

23 August 2016 - Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling

It was only a matter of time, people.

This is an intensely danceable song, and it's got a catchy chorus.  How Justin Timberlake has kept his energy so high for so many years, while allowing his music to both mature and still be fun, is a mystery for the ages.

Also, smart move on the part of the makers of the movie Trolls, out later this year and from which this song is, to release this song in the summer.  All they're doing is kicking off their buzz early.

11 July 2016

11 July 2016 - Regina Spektor - Us

By the end of this post, no matter what your political leaning, you will love Regina Spektor.

I wanted to post this for the very cool looking video.  And it is cool.  Watch it.  It was her very first video.

But then listen.

Strings and piano.  And Regina Spektor's voice.  And very deep, meaningful lyrics that you won't hear from any other songwriter.  "The sculptor's marble sends regards."  It's a cool song, full of deep meaning.  And her delivery is so genuine and heartfelt.

But now watch it live.   EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE.  That's just whatever piano Barnes and Noble had lying around.   And she's cramming a lot of piano notes in along with those very complex lyrics.

But what about something more impressive?

How about at the White House, in front of the President and Vice President, without the strings, and she screws up because even SHE gets nervous!!???  And recovers BEAUTIFULLY,  in a self-effacing way.  How awesome and genuine is that?!

And now you love her.

08 July 2016

8 July 2016 - Everclear - Santa Monica

Let me put this right out there.  Art Alexakis wrote a brilliant song here.

The song starts off kind of quiet, but grows angrier as it continues.  Even in its anger, this three-minute masterpiece still stays controlled, and, dare I say, fun.  But back to that buildup.  The band is a three-piece.  They get a lot of sound out of that three-piece.

But that's not why I think it's brilliant.

The lyrics are powerful and heartfelt and angry and poignant and eloquent.  And, for a three-minute song, there are a lot of lyrics.

But that's not why I think it's brilliant.

It's all of it together. And even more than twenty years later, this is a song that sticks with me.  It's a song I enjoy more with every listen. Which isn't something I would have thought in the mid 90's.  It's a surprising piece of genius.

14 June 2016

15 June 2016 - twenty one pilots - Stressed Out

I didn't like this song at first.

In fact, I found it insufferable.

I no longer feel that way.  When it gets to the chorus, it really picks up steam and feels like a throwback to an earlier time.  And not just because the song itself is about being a throwback.

At any rate, I felt that it warranted sharing.  So enjoy it.

06 May 2016

6 May 2016 - The Darling Buds - Tiny Machine

Dear Andrea Lewis,

I see that your little band did some one-off shows in 2014 and 2015. I even saw some video from those shows.  You've lost nothing - none of your zip, none of your talent, none of your excitement.  I thoroughly enjoyed every song

I had, of course, hoped that you would all see my posts, and see that I was trying to rally support for an international holiday commemorating your band's three fantastic albums.  I wasn't really ALL that hopeful that I would be successful.   But my posts have been popular.  You still have fans - fans who miss you.  You proved that you still have the talent you always did.

So, please.  Don't make this one-off.  Make this a permanent reformation.  You won't be sorry.  We will keep Darling Buds Day going.

Best regards
Wicked Guilty Pleasures.

01 March 2016

1 March 2016 - Iggy Azalea - Bounce

I was thinking today that it had been too long since we had a little Iggy action.  So let's go ahead and fix that right now.

The video may be a Bollywood homage, but the song is all about shaking it, breaking it, and making it bounce.  Enjoy!

15 February 2016

15 February 2016 - Monster Magnet - Negasontic Teenage Warhead

Did you see the Deadpool movie this weekend?

No.  I didn't.  But those who did know why I am posting this, without reading on.  But you will read on, because I am about to drop knowledge.

02 February 2016

2 February 2016 - Tinashe - 2 On

My assertion is that Tinashe is the future of R&B.   She's got the right attitude for it, she's got a great voice for it, and she's got the perfect mind to craft a solid classic song.

Take this one.  Her performance in this song and video (mostly the backlighting)  has been compared to the great Aaliyah.  At such a young age, she has perfectly captured a song that will stay with you for years.  More impressive, it's a song that would live just fine a capella - the musical backing is sparse at best, and yet the song appears deep on the strength of her vocal.

28 January 2016

28 January 2016 - Selena Gomez - Same Old Love

Do you know how hard it is not to type "feat. Charli XCX" on this?

You aren't imagining things.  That's her, on the chorus, uncredited.  It's obvious.  Some critics have even been critical of it, calling it a Sucker outtake (which may or may not be true). 

It's also the rawest song Selena Gomez has ever sung, and it shows real musical maturity.  I, for one, am proud of her growth as an artist.  The song, as performed, isn't catchy because some hip songwriting Brit decided to allow her backing vocal to remain on the final cut.  It's catchy because it's expertly delivered by Selena Gomez.

27 January 2016

27 January 2016 - Elle King - Ex's and Oh's & Kocaine Karolina

I assume that, if you are reading this, you are probably not a first-time reader of this blog.  If you are, catch up.  I'll wait.

Now that you are a long-time reader, you cannot be possibly surprised I am going to like a throw-back, big-female-vocal, straight-ahead pop song like this. I'm not saying I like every huge female vocal ever, but Elle King just looks like she's having so much fun with this.

Let's not even get into the fact that she's Rob Schneider's daughter (her mother is model London King).  I could go on for days on that one.

I'd like to add that I am very happy to see a young singer/songwriter who is getting heavy pop radio rotation not afraid to play a guitar. We need to see more of that!

But what I really made you scroll down for was to see her play a banjo. And also to see that she's been around awhile.  Overnight sensations don't always happen overnight.  And yes, this song feels a lot more country (the banjo might have something to do with that), but that's part of the appeal of Elle King - she's a versatile artist with a depth of influence.

11 January 2016

11 January 2016 - David Bowie - China Girl

I couldn't NOT pay tribute to the great David Bowie.  And, normally, I would have called for a guilt-free edition, but by not doing so, I can share with you....

This is the first David Bowie song I remember hearing.  The original video and song use imagery that is of another time period.  There's no doubt about that.  And yet, it's still a deep, dark, and compelling song, just like everything else the man did in his career. 

The original video was so borderline offensive, I cannot find it.  But here is the song.