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. (Edit: the video can't be embedded.  Just follow the link.  It's impressive.  Also, see the movie!)

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: