09 August 2019

9 August 2019 - Billie Eilish - bad guy

And now for something completely different.

So far, I don't know a lot about Billie Eilish, but what I've heard is cool and different than anything else on radio.... and SHE'S GETTING PLAYED ON RADIO and hitting the top of the charts (this was a #2 Billboard hit).  And, except when her nose is bleeding, it looks like she's having fun here.

The song itself is pretty dark and strong, even though it sounds pretty chill.  For 17, she shows a lot of maturity, and I appreciate that.  Now, let's see what's next.

05 June 2019

5 June 2019 - Pointer Sisters - Slow Hand

This song was a pretty big ballad hit in 1981 for the Pointer Sisters, with an appropriate-for-the-time country crossover twinge.  It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Charts because it ran into the juggernaut that was "Endless Love", but it was a huge hit for the year and a Grammy-nominated song.

As far as delivery, Anita Pointer takes the lead on this one, and I think that was the right choice with Ruth and June (yeah, they're actually sisters named Pointer) harmonizing.



Now, head over to Totally Covered and see what Conway Twitty has to say about this. 

04 June 2019

4 June 2019 - Missing Persons - Walking In LA

Missing Persons is a personification of everything that was right about the 1980's.

The combination of Dale Bozzio's outlandish clothing that always seemed to include clear acrylics, everyone's over-done hair, and themes that no one outside their community would care about (also, I'm sure people walk in LA) was excellent for the early Reagan years.  That's not an insult - they are fun and exciting, and came around at the right time in history....

.... for which we can thank Frank Zappa, as several of these members, including Dale Bozzio, were previously and in the future in Zappa's band, with Dale playing a significant role on the classic Joe's Garage.

 

And yes, she did, at least in name, inspire a character on iZombie

03 June 2019

3 June 2019 - Paris Hilton - I Need You

Nothing would make me happier than to not love this song.

It's freaking Paris Hilton, and while I have a lot of respect for her, and not just for "Stars are Blind", but for what she's accomplished by making herself a brand, I wouldn't have called her a musician.  The woman is much smarter than the character she plays on The Simple Life.

This song might have changed my mind on the musician part.  She's brought an old-time doo-wop feel to this song, and she executed it perfectly.  Lyrically.... well, it was released on Valentine's Day 2018, so it's perfect for that!

31 May 2019

31 May 2019 - HyunA Feat. 정일훈 - 잘나가서 그래

"Good To Go"?
"I'm A God Girl"?
"Roll Deep"?

It doesn't really matter.  It's a boastful song from Korean pop royalty.   This song was left out of last year's K-Pop week, because 1. we had already overrepresented the glorious HyunA and 2. we couldn't figure out the title. 

We think it's "Good To Go" for the record.  Google Translate says it's "I'm Good To Go" which also works. 

HyunA's guest star is from the Korean pop group BtoB, making this a K-Pop Extravaganza.

06 May 2019

6 May 2019 - The Darling Buds - It's All Up To You

You know, the Darling Buds weren't THAT prolific.

And yet we're in our EIGHTH year posting their music, in which we have seen old classics and new favorites.  This one is a 2:22 power pop wonder from their debut album.  The song is thirty years old (!) but it still sounds as fresh as yesterday.

Will we be doing this next year?  DOUBTLESS!

24 April 2019

24 April 2019 - Folk Implosion - Natural One

Chances are, if you watched MTV in the 1990s, you know this song well.  But you might not know about what Folk Implosion actually was.

The Folk Implosion was a side project from a band called Sebadoh, itself formed when founder Lou Barlow couldn't get his prior band, Dinosaur Jr., to record his songs.   This particular side project was very different - more folky - than Sebadoh.  And it was obscure.

Until a movie named Kids came out, and Lou Barlow was commissioned to build a soundtrack, dominated by Folk Implosion and Sebadoh. The movie itself was controversial - an NC-17 affair that made the Weinsteins a fair bit of money - and so got a fair bit of attention. This song got into MTV heavy rotation, which propelled this obscure little project form Amherst, MA into the Billboard Top 30. 

It was well deserved.  The song is catchy and you're singing it to yourself now.

23 April 2019

23 April 2019 - Tripping Daisy - I Got A Girl

This video is TERRIBLE.  It's awful and doesn't tell a story that at all matches the song.

And while the lyrics of the song make it pretty clear that these guys are also terrible, the song is a fun, raucous romp. 

And, of course, that pretty terrible persona is an act.  In reality, these guys were young but had a lot of respect for the punk acts that came before them - they covered Bad Religion live - and were close enough that the death of a band member broke them up (and caused the formation of Polyphonic Spree) for nearly 20 years. 

But back to this song.  It's fun, it's irreverent, and it's one that instantly brings you back to 1995.

29 January 2019

29 January 2019 - Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance

Some days, I miss having a co-author on this blog.  Scott Colvin was a great partner to write with, and he made this blog better.

Nearly seven years ago, he wrote a piece about a Canadian band that is essentially a one-hit wonder in the United States - Men Without Hats.  He wrote about a different great song.  I am telling you about the one hit wonder he didn't like as much.

"The Safety Dance" came out when I was 10 or 11.  It is the first song I can remember ever being my favorite song. I thought the song was fun, the video was fun, and the dance was fun.  Little did I know how subversive the song was - although not a call for safe sex as some think, it WAS a protest against bouncers at clubs who didn't like the pogoing a lot of new wave music fans were doing - and how indicative of future musical tastes it would be.

And I really didn't know that such subversion would be allowed in the US Billboard Top 5.



The official video, which only featured one band member - lead singer Ivan Doroschuk - was built around the short single version of the song.  This fan cut version is the longer, more synth-forward version that a lot of people have heard nowadays.  Compare, contrast, enjoy.

25 January 2019

25 January 2019 - Iggy Azalea - Mo Bounce

It's been a while since we checked in with Iggy Iggs. Let's see what she's up to.

It had been awhile since she had released music, and she actually delayed the release of new music after her engagement to Nick Young went south.  But just because she was down, it doesn't mean she was out. 

In 2017, she released this very bouncy single.  While it wasn't a huge hit in the United States, it was worldwide.  She does use a particular word repeatedly (motherf***in') that didn't really make this accessible to US radio.  It doesn't mean that it's not a great song to twerk to, though.

 

24 January 2019

24 January 2019 - Trisha Yearwood - She's In Love With The Boy

When the first single off your first album is a gigantic hit, you've probably got a good career ahead of you.  This was the case of Trisha Yearwood, who would ring the #1 bell four more times after this single. 

But in 1991, she was just a country artist with a huge voice and a great song that told a simple story.  Give it a listen. 

23 January 2019

23 January 2019 - John Lennon - Watching the Wheels

This was the second single released after the assassination of John Lennon, which was supposed to be part of a comeback after a five year hiatus to help raise his son, Sean.  This song, in fact, directly addresses that hiatus, with the video showing what he did for those five years.... including riding an actual merry-go-round (listen to the song, and you will understand).

It's sad that he wasn't alive to enjoy that this simple little song was a top 10 hit.

10 January 2019

10 January 2019 - ZZ Top - Sleeping Bag

In the 1980's, Texas beard band ZZ Top had a comeback of sorts.  MTV loved their videos.  With the 1983 release of Eliminator, they were not only back, they were bigger than ever.

This particular song, and accompanying video, the first single from the Afterburner album,  represents the apex of that comeback.  This was the biggest hit of their career, surprisingly, because the song isn't one that is frequently referenced or thought of fondly in the ensuing years....



....until, of course, Margot Robbie's turn as Tonya Harding in the movie I, Tonya (which I cannot recommend enough if you haven't seen it yet).  In this movie, Tonya skates to the song at SkateAmerica, and it very clearly illustrates the renegade spirit that Harding exhibited in her skating.



By the way, this really happened. 1991 SkateAmerica, Which she won with this program. The video starts at the 3:15 mark for you because of the subject of this post, but I encourage you to watch the rest, because she was truly incredible.



09 January 2019

9 January 2019 - Phoenix - Lisztomania

French band Phoenix released this song in 2009, as the second single from their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.  The title refers to a term used to describe the intense fandom of Franz Liszt during his performances. You didn't come for any of that, but I feel honor-bound to tell you about that.

08 January 2019

8 January 2019 - Captain & Tennille - Do That To Me One More Time

I was remiss in not posting this last week.  Daryl Dragon, The Captain, passed away last week.  I usually pay tribute to artists who pass, especially ones that mean so much to me.  As long time readers of this blog know, I had a significant conversation with the man many years ago.  I'd like to say it somewhat guided my chosen IT career (he was a huge proponent of technology) and while that's probably overstating the impact, it is a conversation I remember and recall regularly.



The song was the duo's last #1 hit, and they sang it in Spanish, too. Even though they divorced a couple of years ago (it's rumored this was to get Daryl better access to health care), it's still a beautiful love song, a throwback to a simpler time, even when it was new. 

07 January 2019

7 January 2019 - Bonde do Rolê- Picolé

It took 45 directors to make this video.  That's probably about 43 more than they needed, but the song itself is fantastic.

The title itself, in Portuguese, loosely translates to "popsicle" in English.  But you probably figured that out.  More likely, it is referring to a Brazilian-style of frozen treat with alcohol and fruit.

They're also not really talking about popsicles.  But you probably figured that out, too.

04 January 2019

4 January 2019 - Ashlee Simpson - Invisible

Tomorrow is the 7th anniversary of this blog - I know it's gotten a lot more occasional than it used to be, but we're going to do better in 2019.

We started the blog - I say we, because there were two of us, although Scott Colvin has moved on - because two college radio DJs bonded over a love of pop music, specifically Ashlee Simpson.  Which is why "Boyfriend" was the first song we posted here. I called it "one of the guiltiest pleasure songs ever to be performed."

I also said, and I quote,
It's really hard to say "Ashlee Simpson" and "bad-ass" in the same sentence while keeping a straight face.
To end our seventh year and kick off our eighth, I felt it right to visit a song where Ashlee Simpson tried to be even more bad-ass.  Nope, time doesn't make that any easier to say. 

03 January 2019

3 January 2019 - Poppy - X

Look, I don't understand Poppy any more than you do, and that's saying something for a woman who has her own church.  We've all seen and not understood her videos like this:


However, she is a decent EDM artist in her own right, and that weirdness plays well for that very specific job.  This song cleverly mixes metal with folk.... with some very strange lyrics.  But her very odd personality makes it actually WORK!



One of the most enigmatic things about Poppy?  She doesn't just live in a YouTube channel.  She does live shows and is fact on tour right now.  Here she is, performing what was a surprisingly hard-edged song live on Halloween 2018.

And yeah, she's apparently exactly like that live.



Those of you who are true Poppy fans were probably hoping I'd add this little gem in.  Those of you who are just learning about her for the first time, let her introduce herself, in her own words: