17 May 2021

17 May 2021 - Throwing Muses - Pearl

Throwing Muses, as I have stated elsewhere, is my favorite band ever.  I've seen them live twice (1989, 1995) and neither time did they disappoint.

And if there was ever a post I had been dying to write, it was this one.  

This song, from 1992's Red Heaven, is almost every Muses's fan's favorite song.  It has been compared to "Stairway To Heaven", and I get that comparison - it's epic and pulls on a wide range of emotions.  Essentially a fever dream, Kristin Hersh's vocals and unaccompanied opening guitar give me chills every time.  In the middle, it moves to a very bass-and-drum heavy song


Live, the song has a slightly different feel, with Hersh on an electric instead of acoustic guitar... but Bernard Georges and David Narcizo still don't accompany her until nearly two minutes into the song, which opens a bombastic two and a half minutes before it becomes a soulful solo again. Simply beautiful, it is a song that you need to listen to until the end.

14 May 2021

14 May 2021 - Liz Phair - Spanish Doors & Divorce Song

Liz Phair has written songs about divorce before. 

This, the first single from her new album Soberish, her first album in over a decade, is nuanced and layered and beautiful.  Anyone who has been through divorce, or any breakup, can relate to the feeling of wanting to be alone and just hiding in the bathroom.  This song illustrates that in such a artful way.


Contrast that with an also excellent, but less beautiful and more gritty, song from her 1993 debut album Exile In Guyville, and the Girlysound tapes before that. In 2016, she called this one of her favorite songs, and I agree.  It's sad, and dark, but also jangly and hard not to relate to.  

13 May 2021

13 May 2021 - Mark Morrison - Return of the Mack

This song leans heavily on the beat from "Genius of Love" by the Tom Tom Club.  Samples are a hallmark of hip hop music, and this entertaining song uses it well - changing the key on the sample ever so slightly.  

This song, which went to #2 on the pop charts in 1997. would be British R&B singer Mark Morrison's only hit.  Which is OK, since he is now a politician challenging to be the mayor of Leichester, in his native UK.  

12 May 2021

12 May 2021 - The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

That famous guitar rift at the beginning of this 2003 song was the first part written by Jack White in 2002.  The rest of the song flowed pretty easily after that.  Jack plays both traditional and slide guitar on this song, as well as providing vocals.  Meg White's drum beat keeps time.

But the song is more than that.  It's an anthem at sporting events.  It's a rallying cry for political rallies.  It was a catalyst for a growing garage band movement, based on how incredibly sparse the song actually is - able to be played by a band of 2 or 3 people.  


Of course, the White Stripes broke up in 2011, but we still have these songs and performances to remember them by.  Take this show from 2005, in Brazil - proof positive that you can play this song with a band of 2.  

Also, can we talk about how happy Meg looks on the drums?

11 May 2021

11 May 2021 - MAMAMOO - 딩가딩가 (Dingga)

We just can't stop the K-Pop.  I feel like I short-change y'all last week because, well, Darling Buds Day, so I'm making up now. 

MAMAMOO have been released really good music since 2014 - music that is both poppy and critically acclaimed.  All four members have strong solo careers outside the group..  which, in K-Pop, isn't all that uncommon - but the level of success they've all had as solo artists is nearly unprecedented - all four of them have extensive solo discographies that rival the success of the group as a whole.

Still, the group stays together and makes excellent music.  This single, from late 2020, is an example of that. Not only is it entertaining - it DIRECTLY addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had (and, as of this writing, still has) on social life.


As is not uncommon in K-Pop, a Japanese version of the song was released in early 2021.  I'd like to point out that this isn't just a redubbing - there are a lot of portions of this video that were recorded to reflect Japanese lipsync.  

10 May 2021

10 May 2021 - aespa - Black Mamba

I was originally going to post this during the two weeks of K-Pop, but, you know, the Darling Buds annual celebration interrupted that.  So, you get an extra day of K-Pop.  Not like I don't have literally three months worth of solid K-Pop to post.....

And when I first saw aespa, I thought they looked a lot like BLACKPINK - but theirs is a unique sound.  

aespa, however, doesn't need uppercase letters.  This was their debut single, premiering in November 2020. It is an bass-heavy song that has become a worldwide hit.   

The video definitely does NOT shy away from the snake imagery.  The song itself is meant to explain the concept of aespa.....yes, there's a whole concept about avatars and experience.... you see, a lot of K-Pop is focused on performance and entertainment, and not the actual music.  

However, this one's a banger, DESPITE the high concept.  The four women in the group (I promise you there's only four) are clearly talented at singing, and the music here allows each of them to highlight their vocals.  

07 May 2021

7 May 2021 - BLACKPINK ft. Selena Gomez - Ice Cream

How do artists clearly in two different countries collaborate in the middle of a pandemic?

Clearly, via Zoom.  


Yes, they made an actual video for the song, but I wanted to show off the Zoom version first.  However, even in this version, you notice that BLACKPINK is very much not in Selena Gomez's area, as their scenes were recorded in Korea, whereas Ms. Gomez filmed in the States.  

The song was teased before its release, with BLACKPINK fans hoping the mystery collaborator not initially mentioned would be Ariana Grande.  As it turns out, Grande was a co-writer of this song, but Selena Gomez was chosen to perform. 

The song is nothing more than a huge double entendre, mostly in English, save for Lisa's Korean rap near the end.  I mean, it was partly in Korean - not that it wasn't filled with double entendres.  The song is BLACKPINK's biggest in the US to date, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

06 May 2021

6 May 2021 - The Darling Buds - Isolation

We interrupt this K-Pop bonanza to bring you the Darling Buds.

And thank God for the Darling Buds.  They last year recorded an update to one of the tracks from their 2020 album, Erotica. Which, of course, was a really timely update.  

They even recorded it in May, but too late for our 2020 Darling Buds Day.  However, something tells me it's still going to be somewhat appropriate this year.  At any rate, Andrea Lewis's dog steals the show here.  

05 May 2021

5 May 2021 - Jessi - What Type of X

While I am writing a blog post, I tend to like to listen to the songs I'm writing about.   Sometimes, I get into the writing and I let the song go to the next song.   Usually, especially these couple of weeks, the next song is one I know well.  As I wrote yesterday's post, the next song came on, and it was one I had not heard before.... nor did the artist sound familiar.

So, that isn't the typical way I get to posts for this blog.  But Jessi is not your typical K-Pop artist.  

Because she was born in Queens.  In New York.  The Korean-American rapper was raised in New Jersey until age 15, when she moved to South Korea in search of her music career.  After early problems aclimating to the Korean culture, the hard-edged hip-hop artist has gained some momentum.  

This song was released in March 2021 and is her latest single, cowritten by PSY.  Yes.  That PSY.  I promise that wasn't planned.

04 May 2021

4 May 2021 - HyunA - I'm Not Cool

HyunA is one of the grand dames of K-Pop.  And, so we are clear, she turns 29 in June.  So, she's got a lot of career ahead of her.

You see, she debuted long ago - in 2007, as a member of the Wonder Girls.  Do the math, people.  She was 14 when she joined them.  She did leave that group and go on to 4Minute and a very successful solo career as well. 

This song, released in January 2021, was co-written by HyunA, Dawn (from Pentagon and her boyfriend) and Psy.  Yes, THAT Psy.  It's fun and does poke fun at her long-standing image as something of a bad girl.  

03 May 2021

3 May 2021 - PSY ft. CL - Daddy

Clearly, without knowing anything else, you know this song owes a huge debt to the will.i.am song "I Got It From My Mama".  What may surprise you, however, is that it was not only openly authorized, but will.i.am is a co-writer and co-producer of this 2015 single by the king of K-Pop.

That's right.  will.i.am is on board.  So, you should be, too.  After all, it's just a fun, goofy song that verges on parody.  Not like PSY knows a damn thing about parody.  

CL from 2NE1 provides the female vocal for the chorus.  


Also, he's still not quite getting the hang of what Gangnam Style actually is......

30 April 2021

30 April 2021 - TWICE - Likey

Is there anything remarkable about TWICE when comparing them to other Korean girl idol groups?

No, not especially.  

I mean, there's nine of them.  That's pretty remarkable in and of itself.

This song is also pretty remarkable.  On the surface, it seems pretty shallow - but really, it's about the struggles of maintaining a social media image.  It is not unlike a future song we are going to post on here, "#Selfie" by The Chainsmokers, in that it is direct social commentary.

The video was filmed on location in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  


The group has experienced some worldwide success, including strong support in North America.  However, they are more successful in Japan, so they did record a Japanese version of this single.

29 April 2021

29 April 2021 - Marmello - Wake Me Up

You had to know, if you actually read this blog, that Marmello was making an appearance here.  They are inevitable.

Why did we feature this song, though?   There's two things about this that are unique in Korean pop music. 

1) Instruments as opposed to a focus on performance and dancing.
2) Minor chords

This is just fun and happy po-rock music, different than anything else that was coming out of Korea in the mid-to-late 2010s.  They disbanded in 2019, but I still hope for a comeback. 

28 April 2021

28 April 2021 - BTS - Dynamite

OK, people, we were going to obviously get to BTS.  How could we not?  Their harmonies are absolutely infectious.

You will notice over the next couple of weeks that we are talking in a lot of superlatives - biggest, best, first.  We are also using words like "influenced by" or "a throwback to".  And, a lot of those do apply here.  This is the band's first all-English language song, and it is both their first #1 hit in the US and the first #1 hit by any all-South Korean group.  It earned the band their first Grammy nomination.

But this song isn't influencED.  It is influenTIAL.  It is a fresh, modern pop hit.  The country of origin doesn't matter.  Other artists are now looking to South Korea for influence.  This song is a great example of that.  


I mentioned the Grammys.  BTS performed this song at the 2021 Grammy Awards broadcast... and gave a hell of a performance.

27 April 2021

27 April 2021 - Wonder Girls - Nobody

Wonder Girls are true pioneers of K-Pop.

You see, in 2009, this song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 76.  Modern K-Pop fans take for granted that there will be South Korean artists on the pop charts.  Here's the list of all the artists that were on the Billboard Hot 100 from South Korea before Wonder Girls:

1)

Oh.  Wait.  There weren't any.

NOT ONLY was this the FIRST South Korean song to be a US pop hit, it would go on to become the best selling physical single of 2009 (in an era when the physical single was dying a quick death).  The song itself is a bit of a Motown throwback in its harmonies.


The version above is the one that hit the US charts.  Of course they did a Korean version, and of course it was a hit in their home country.

26 April 2021

26 April 2021 - Rosé - On The Ground

Roseanne Park was born 11 February 1997.... in Auckland, New Zealand.

She lived in New Zealand, and then Australia, until she was 15, and she had an audition with YG Entertainment, the famed K-Pop label.  Two weeks later, she was in Seoul, and she hasn't really looked back.  

The way K-Pop works, when a label signs you, you usually train with them in singing and acting and dancing until you are ready to join a group.  With Rosé , that happened four years later, in 2016, when she was paired with Jennie, Jisoo and Lisa - which the world knows better as BLACKPINK, who are likely in your area.  

K-Pop groups often have a set beginning, middle, and end.  I don't think BLACKPINK is done, and since the debut of Rosé as a solo artist happened AT a BLACKPINK concert, I think the group has a future.  

That doesn't mean that Rosé isn't a great artist in her own right.  Internationally, this song, released on 12 March, 2021, has been huge.  Its debut on YouTube has been the largest ever by a South Korean solo artist - with nearly 42 million views in its first day.  This song has so far peaked at #70 on the Billboard Hot 100, far higher than any other Korean female solo artist.   Worldwide, it's done even better.  Universally, this song is loved and respected.

Two things of note with this song.

1) The song is 100% in English.  100%.  Since it's Rosé's first language, it makes sense that she would cross over and do that.

2) Her first single probably could have been light and fun pop music.  This isn't.... and in fact, Rosé is listed as a co-writer of this deep and meaningful song.


I add this "live" performance to illustrate a piece of the K-pop machine that I don't really enjoy.  There's several videos like this. Rosé CLEARLY wants to sing her song.  She's fully capable of singing her song.  The helper track is turned up so high she can't.  When she can break through that track, you can hear the absolute passion in her voice.  


Here she is on the Tonight Show.  Pretty much the same performance.  She doesn't break through as much.  

23 April 2021

23 April 2021 - Vanessa Paradis - Tandem

Those familiar with the Spotify music platform know that they automatically create a number of daily mixes of music for subscribers.  Usually, they are broken out by genre - electronic, rock, folk, indie.

Since #MapleLeafMarch, one of my lists has been consistently French-languange pop music.  I have no idea why.  I haven't been terribly upset about it, though, because it has reintroduced me to one of my favorite French artists and Lily-Rose Depp's mom, Vanessa Paradis.  

This song, from her 1990 album Variations sur le même t'aime, never released in the States as far as I can tell, was one of the biggest hits of her career - not "Joe Le Taxi" big, mind you, but pretty big.  With its sultry, bluesy pop and Vanessa's voice belting out with passion, it's not hard to understand why it was such a hit. But it was more than that.  It was a move to a more mature sound - a sound that would continue throughout her career. 


I don't want to give the impression that her career is over.  It isn't.  Here she is in December 2019, performing the hell out of this song, live.  

22 April 2021

22 April 2021 - Ice-T ‎- I'm Your Pusher

Ice-T's story is that he was a badass gang member before he cleaned up and turned to music, and then to the Manhattan SVU.  

In this song, he's clearly pushing something that isn't drugs - which is why we didn't post this song on Tuesday, frankly.  It's a great song that gets lost in some of his harder, flashier stuff, but this is a reminder of how positive an influence on hip-hop Ice-T really was.... and is.

21 April 2021

21 April 2021 - The Go-Go's - Our Lips Are Sealed

In 1981, there were not many all-woman rock groups playing their instruments and making music like this.  Los Angeles had two prominent ones.  This was one of them.  

So when these five women burst onto the scene with a song one of them (guitarist and backup vocalist Jane Wiedlin) co-wrote with Terry Hall from The Specials, it was something of a big deal.  Despite their short tenure (they officially broke up in 1985, after only forming in 1978), they remain one of the most successful female rock bands of all time (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fall calls them "the most successful" but I'm not sure that's true), and they still reform and play together from time to time.  

This song is a tour de force, a phenomenon in its own right.  It was a top 20 hit in 1981 in the US, and a top 5 hit around the world. 


Remember what I said about them reforming?  Here they are in 2001. I always loved that Jane Wiedlin sang that bridge, and here, she absolutely BELTS the end of it.  

Incidentally, that verse you don't recognize in the middle that Belinda Carlisle shoves in was part of the original composition.  This is the full version.

20 April 2021

20 April 2021 - Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg - Nuthin' But A G Thang

This was the first single from Dr. Dre's 1992 debut solo album, The Chronic.  It also introduced the world to Snoop Dogg, famed marijuana customer.  

Warren G is pretty openly smoking a blunt in this video.

Soooooooo, that's why we're posting this today.  It's also a song that combines the "I'm the best MC" vibe of 80's hip hop with the in-your-face style of N.W.A. brilliantly.  The public responded, too - it made it all the way to #2 on the POP charts.  

19 April 2021

19 April 2021 - Billy Squier - The Stroke

Contrary to popular belief, Billy Squier is not dead.  In fact, he's still making music.  None of his new music has the same impact as "The Stroke", which is an absolute classic song.  And the fact that he's still around is not the only thing that goes against popular belief.  

This song is absolutely not about masturbation.  Of course, everyone thinks it is, but the reality is, it is about the music industry and how artists need to sell out to make it.  Ironically, the song became a top 20 hit, probably because everyone thought it was about masturbation.  

Regardless of the subject matter, it's a great song.  Breathe it in.

16 April 2021

16 April 2021 - POWERS - Dance

POWERS is a band that has not gotten a ton of attention.  I hope to change that today.

Their Wikipedia page is very sparse, but here's what I have been able to find out about the band:

1) Their two principle members, Mike Del Rio and Crista Ru, started off as songwriters for other artists, and they have a number of Wicked Guilty Pleasures to their credit.  

2) The duo got their big break when they appeared on a single with The Knocks - we'll have to feature that here sometime, but today, I wanted to give them their due.

3) Their music has been described in many multi-adjective ways.  I won't add to that pile.  I will say that a male/female vocal duo that shares the duties so evenly and so well is rare, refreshing, and energetic.  


4) They slay live.  

15 April 2021

15 April 2021 - Don Dixon - Praying Mantis

We have talked about Don Dixon a little as a producer on his blog.  But he's a musician, too, and one worthy of Wicked Guilty Pleasures.

This song, from the 1985 album Most of the Girls Like to Dance but Only Some of the Boys Like To, served as Don Dixon's debut as a musician - he had already produced some of R.E.M.'s early albums - and, let's face it.... it's a little odd. 

I grew up in Connecticut, where the praying mantis is the state insect, so we learned a little bit about them..... but for the rest of the country, this song, which got a fair amount of MTV airplay, was an education on the mating habits of the praying mantis.  Yes, it's accurate.  


Dixon is still performing.  Here he is, performing this classic, in 2017, with his wife Marti Jones supporting him on guitar and Grammy award winner (for this) Jon Carroll on keyboard.

14 April 2021

14 April 2021 - Five for Fighting - Superman (It's Not Easy)

This is a song I don't expect to enjoy. And yet, I do.  

Five For Fighting is named for the penalty given in hockey (and is a penalty I never got in my years playing hockey, because I avoided fighting on the ice.  Not a fan.)

Five For Fighting is also the stage name of John Ondrasik, This Grammy-nominated song from from 2002 was his biggest hit - and has a pretty interesting subject.  The titular narrator of the song is, of course, the famous DC Comics superhero, talking about how surprisingly hard his life is.  You wouldn't think empathy for the Man of Steel would result in an a moving hit song, but yet, it did.  

13 April 2021

13 April 2021 - The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly

In 1993, I can tell you that I thought the Flaming Lips were a fun novelty band that wouldn't endure.  Especially on the strength of this song, which to this day remains the bands biggest radio hit, if not their most recognizable song anymore.  

Boy, was I wrong.  Led by Wayne Coyne, the Lips have proven to be an interesting and inventive band who really respects, honors, and relishes its loyal fans.   Plus, the band is chock-full of excellent musicians who have all contributed both to the Flaming Lips catalog and other artists who might have once palled around with a blue dog.  

Lyrically, this song is goofy.  Musically - it's catchy and uplifting and fun and rich.  


If you doubted me in how much the band respects their fans, this 2013 performance of the song, which is highly interactive, should illustrate that.  There are fans on stage.  They are playing with the crowd, who are singing along.

12 April 2021

12 April 2021 - The Knocks ft. Foster The People - All About You

If you've been reading Totally Covered today, you know that we featured three tracks from the Knocks ft. Foster The People EP Melody and Silence.

As you may have guessed, this is track 4, which is the single.  It is both melancholic and uplifting.  Musically, The Knocks have always had a distinctive electronic sound.  Adding Mark Foster to the mix  - with whom they've collaborated in the past, and it shows - adds depth to an already rich, deep song.  

My plea to you: go encourage your local radio station to play this song.  The way music like this gets made is if music like this is supported.    

09 April 2021

9 April 2021 - DMX - X Gon' Give It To Ya

Earl Simmons was born in Westchester County, and died in Westchester County this morning.

You knew him better as DMX.  He was a groundbreaking artist, gone too soon.

DMX is still the only artist to have five consecutive albums debut at #1 on the Billboard album charts.  A lot of hip hop artists before him chose accessible or angry forms of the music.  His success showed that an artist can reach both.  

He will be missed.  He leaves a large catalog of music behind, perhaps none better known than this song.

9 April 2021 - The Wiggles - Fruit Salad / The Wiggles ft. James Harkness, Jawan Jackson, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Rakete, Taylor Symone & Victor Valdes - We're All Fruit Salad

We don't normally cover children's music here on Wicked Guilty Pleasures, especially when it wasn't music we grew up with.  

The Wiggles made sure we made an exception for them, especially since we've now featured them twice in the last month on Totally Covered.  If you didn't read yesterday's Totally Covered post, I strongly encourage you to do so.

This song, one of the signature Wiggles songs, first appeared on their 1994 album Yummy Yummy, so this version, from one of their many videos, features the classic, original Wiggles lineup.  The song is earnest and inoffensive, and at the same time, teaches kids how to make a fruit salad.


Of course, the Wiggles are known for their live shows, too, and they do perform this song live, A LOT.  You'll be happy to know that I listened to this song A LOT when I was writing this.  I know definitively how to make a fruit salad now.  This version, complete with a lot of dancing fruit, is from 2011 and their 20th Anniversary concert.


In 2013, the Wiggles changed, with only Anthony Field remaining from the original lineup.  At that time, the modern lineup, with Lachlan Gillespie, Simon Pryce, and Emma Watkins debuted, and they've been quite popular with the modern kids.  The original educational theory, 

But the history of the Wiggles endures, and, rather than just tritely talking about bananas, apples and grapes, the Wiggles did something a little different to celebrate their 30th anniversary.  They celebrated the concept that we're all like fruit salad, in the same bowl... while still acknowledging that fruit salad is, indeed, yummy yummy.  It is truly a delicious tribute to the times we in which we live.


When the Wiggles (along with a couple of OG Wiggles) appeared on Triple J's "Like A Version" to perform, well, yesterday's Totally Covered post, they also performed their new song, live.  Emma did not play drums this time.  

08 April 2021

8 April 2021 - Tame Impala - Elephant

Sometimes, a song is so mind-blowing and transcendent that I have to drop everything and reschedule posts just to make sure I fit them into these blogs as soon as possible. 

This 2013 song from Australian psychedelic band Tame Impala is not that song.  It is, however, a great song, that combines blues and psychedelic elements with a fantastic guitar riff that defies understanding.  One of Kevin Parker's oldest songs, it was pulled out and recorded in 2013, and ended up being one of the band's most successful songs.  

Lyrically, the song is a bit naughty - the trunk of the elephant is clearly metaphoric-  and not just a tribute to Death From Above 1979 - and, for that reason, Kevin Parker found the song "shallow", but it isn't.  It's rich and deep and sultry, a musical and lyrical journey.

(Also, when you go over to Totally Covered and see who sings about "shakin' his big grey trunk for the hell of it", your jaw is going to hit the floor.)


Here is the band playing an extended version of the song, readily admitting how appropriate the song is for getting "down and dirty."  

07 April 2021

7 April 2021 - DJ Khaled ft. Cardi B & 21 Savage - Wish Wish

DJ Khaled is a very humble man.

But in this song, 21 Savage and ESPECIALLY Cardi B steal the show.  Between the two of them, there is not a single low moment - no down time, no pause - in this song.  And yet, the song does not feel rushed. 

To his credit, Khaled is happy to give the spotlight to artists he clearly respects.  This is the second time he had collaborated with each of them.

The three featured artists co-wrote the song with producer Tay Keith.  "Wish Wish" peaked at #19 on the US pop charts.

06 April 2021

6 April 2021 - Phantogram - Running From The Cops

I felt like this excellent tune, from the Phantogram album Eyelid Movies, is an appropriate post in a week when Derek Chauvin is currently on trial for his part in the death of George Floyd in police custody.

That's as political as we are going to get with this post.  

Clearly, the protagonist in this song - sung by Josh Carter and not Sarah Barthel - is not a fan of the cops.  Neither is the guy who made the video, Naje Lataillade, who very much thought through the imagery used.  In Naje's words:
"...a sexy police woman comes into frame and gives chase to the crowd. The hipster wearing the PHANTOGRAM shirt is scared for his life. As we watch, we think, "Oh I get it, the song is called 'Running From The Cops'", but there is only one cop, not plural cops. Well, here in Brooklyn, cops equal pigs. So the next character to come out is a freak with a pig nose, dressed in all pink, carrying a bottle of swine flu. He looks angry and like he wants to raise hell. This explains why the people in the beginning were wearing medical masks, as he's spraying the swine flu everywhere. Even the cop is running from because swine flu kills 'pigs'."

The video is mostly in black in white, but there are splashes of blue and red/pink in the black and white.  Those two colors are what are required to make a phantogram, the technology you may have seen in your 3D glasses of the 1980s.


It is interesting to watch the performance of this song from 2009.  It is a song that is not only performed, but constructed and looped, synthesized to the nth degree to create something noisy and chaotic and beautiful.  Second note:  they're both multiinstumental.


With a fuller band, like they had in 2014, the song is still chaotic, but less electronic and looped, and more direct.  If you happen to have one of those old pairs of 3D glasses, now might be a good time to put them on.

05 April 2021

5 April 2021 - St. Vincent - Los Ageless / The Melting of The Sun

Even though we've featured Annie Clark here before - yes, Scott beat me to St. Vincent just like he beat me to Lights - it's likely none of you know who she is.  

Or, at least, until you watched Saturday Night Live this weekend, right?  Full disclosure, I'm writing this the day BEFORE she's scheduled to appear, and I didn't know about it until I started doing research for this post.  In fact, because I discovered that fact, I moved this post to Monday.  You deserve instant gratification.

It's a shame it took SNL to bring her to your attention, but here we are. Her music is poppy yet dark.  Her 2017 album MASSEDUCATION is a revelation of sorts. This song, the second single from that album, is a commentary on the culture of Los Angeles, purposefully layered on top of distorted guitar and synth lines.   


It's somewhat easy to lose the message in the synth of the song, but in 2018, St. Vincent released an piano version of the album, calling it MassEducation - see what she did there?  She also performed the song live in an acoustic guitar version - here's an example of that. Notice how she retains the desperation of the third verse, even with a sparser accompaniment.   


If you are here to hear the song St. Vincent performed on SNL this weekend, here it is.  Her new album, Daddy's Home, is due to be released May 14th, and, since it's the first since MassEducation, we're pretty excited for it.

02 April 2021

2 April 2021 - Urge Overkill - Sister Havana

I promise you I didn't intend to wean you off of a month of Canadian music with back-to-back 1993 songs by Chicago bands.  

It just happened this way.  

What also just happened on the whole Saturation album was that Nash Kato, who wasn't the band's normal lead vocalist, sang lead vocals.  I wasn't a huge fan of the band before this album, so it was a good thing for me....

01 April 2021

1 April 2021 - The Smashing Pumpkins - Today

Welcome back to the the United States.  

As your reward, here's the power ballad 2nd single from the Smashing Pumpkins' epic 1993 album, Siamese Dream.  I remember sitting with my girlfriend (at the time) watching them perform this song on SNL.  They were becoming a big deal then.  I didn't think I'd be talking about this band nearly thirty years later.  

But here I am, and it remains one of my favorite song by the band. 

31 March 2021

31 March 2021 - Sarah McLachlan - O Canada / Céline Dion - O Canada

Good evening. This is Wicked Guilty Pleasures, an owned and operated blog of the Wicked Guilty Pleasure Broadcasting Corporation, with a picture signal strength of 77,000 watts and a sound signal strength of 7,500 watts. Our principal transmitter is somewhere inside a Google datacenter, which broadcasts to metropolitan Toronto and areas throughout the world. Repeat transmitters extend our broadcast area to include Wawa, White River, Hornepayne, Manitouwadge, Beardmore, and Geraldton. If you have any comments or suggestions about our programs, please address them to info@wickedguilty.com. We hope you've enjoyed this month's programming. 

And now, our national anthem.


Bonsoir. Il s'agit de Wicked Guilty Pleasures, un blog détenu et exploité par Wicked Guilty Pleasure Broadcasting Corporation, avec une puissance de signal d'image de 77 000 watts et une puissance de signal sonore de 7 500 watts. Notre émetteur principal se trouve quelque part dans un centre de données Google, qui diffuse vers la métropole de Toronto et des régions du monde entier. Les émetteurs de répétition étendent notre zone de diffusion pour inclure Wawa, White River, Hornepayne, Manitouwadge, Beardmore et Geraldton. Si vous avez des commentaires ou des suggestions sur nos programmes, veuillez les adresser à info@wickedguilty.com. Nous espérons que vous avez apprécié la programmation de ce mois.

Et maintenant, notre hymne national.


(Special thanks to CLBT-TV, whose sign-off from the 1990s we shamelessly lifted)

31 March 2021 - Armistice - Mission Bells & City Lights Cry

We are closing this month of nothing but Canadian music the same way we started.

Not just with a band the American audience here had never heard.   I mean, yes, that.  

Wait.  You did figure out the Canadian music thing before now, right?  Every artist I posted in March was Canadian - even the covers.  I was explicitly clear in every post.  EVERY post contained the word "Canada" or "Canadian" - except for the one that contained the word "canadien" and was all in FRENCH.  I spelled the word "favourite" several times.  I pretty much beat you over the head with the damn maple leaf.

Which also brings us back to ending this month exactly like we started. You see, Armistice was a group - a duo, really, comprised of a man from Toronto band Bedouin Soundclash, named Jay Malinowski, and his girlfriend at the time, a Montreal musician named Béatrice Martin.


This collaboration was very much has a 60's mariachi band feel, which is very different than the reggae/ska sound of Bedouin Soundclash and the sound (although not the lyrical depth) of the chanson française of Cœur de Pirate (are you happy that I had to write the œ AGAIN?!).   


Jay and Béatrice, while on tour together in 2011, performed a couple of songs on the streets of Paris.  For reasons that will become clear in a minute and you can already guess, I decided to feature their song "City Lights Cry", which also tells a story in mariachi.  The couple clearly had a lot of fun doing this.  


And they were a couple - meeting at the Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver - but when that relationship ended, Armitice persisted long enough for some promotion of their EP, and then they went their separate ways.  Thankfully, the songs didn't die with the relationship, as they have been performed by Cœur de Pirate regularly.  Granted, they don't sound quite as mariachi on a piano.... but the songs still work.  

30 March 2021

30 March 2021 - The Weeknd - Save Your Tears

I know many of you were underwhelmed by The Weeknd's Super Bowl performance.

It is difficult, however, to be underwhelmed by the impact this Canadian singer has had on music.  His combination of soul and electronic music is somewhat groundbreaking - and I can understand that not translating well to a weird national broadcast performance.

So we're clear, this was his current single during that Super Bowl, and it is a top 20 hit worldwide, so I think he's doing something right.  The song initially charted in April 2020, a full 8 months before it was released as a single - because it is such an infectious song.


The Weeknd also performed the song during the 2020 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball.  In a few years, we're going to look back upon performances like this, without crowds, and remember our little pandemic.  For now, just enjoy this live performance. 

29 March 2021

29 March 2021 - Drake ft. Majid Jordan - Hold On, We’re Going Home

I'm a little surprised it took me this long to post anything by this Degrassi: The Next Generation alum.   That's right.  Aubrey Drake Graham was best known for his role on the Canadian drama before he was a musician.  

Yes.  He was billed as Aubrey Graham.  

On this song, which is more soul and less hip-hop than some of Drake's other tunes, he is joined by R&B duo (singer + producer) and fellow Canadians Majid Jordan - and had a worldwide hit, both commercially and critically.  

 

In case it isn't clear, here are Drake and Majid Jordan on Ellen, with Majid Al Maskati clearly singing significant vocals on this song.  

28 March 2021

28 March 2021 - Barenaked Ladies - Be My Yoko Ono

I couldn't in good conscience let Klaatu stand as your Wicked Guilty Pleasure today.

For a good percentage of you, this was your first exposure to BNL.

For me, this was the song, playing on CFNY, a radio station from Toronto.  It's clearly a tongue-in-cheek love song, referring to the romance of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in somewhat amusing terms.  Their debut single, it was a minor Canadian hit and cemented their charm and appeal across the country.  

By the way, Yoko Ono has heard the song, and enjoyed it.

28 March 2021 - Klaatu - Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

The Carpenters did a lot of covers.  This was one of them.

But we're not talking about the cover.  We're talking about the Klaatu original.  You see, Klaatu was a band, formed in 1973, whose style had them dubbed "the Canadian Beatles".  It was even rumoured that they WERE The Beatles for a while.  Clearly, they weren't, but they had a few hits in their own right.  

And they sure did write some offbeat music.  However, the title was lifted from an actual 1950's UFO society who used that phrase to start every transmission.  

27 March 2021

27 March 2021 - Stompin' Tom Connors - The Hockey Song

I dare you not to smile during this song. 

A classic played at many many hockey games, especially in Canada (as it references a Canadian win, and I don't think he means the Canadiens), the single, released in 1973, became a posthumous Canadian Top 30 hit for Connors in 2013. 

And me standing in the Saddledome in Calgary at a Flames game in late 2019 singing this song with a lot of Canadians is among my best memories of Canada.  It's truly moving to hear thousands of people singing such a joyous song.

26 March 2021

26 March 2021 - Jann Arden - Insensitive

On December 29, 2017, Arden was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for her 'achievements as a singer-songwriter and broadcaster, and for her extensive charitable work.

I literally copied that from the Jann Arden Wikipedia page.  I also learned from her Wikipedia page that she was born in Calgary, but at an early age, moved to Springbank, Alberta.  Having spent some significant time in Calgary, I can tell you 1) great city.  Go there when you can. 2) That's barely leaving Calgary.  

This was Arden's only big US hit, reaching #12 on the pop charts, but she's a superstar in Canada. This song might sound like a sweet ballad, but it's actually kind of angry - which is part of the brilliance of Arden's performance.   


The song was released in the mid 1990s, but she still sounded amazing playing the song live in 2018.

25 March 2021

25 March 2021 - Neil Young - Helpless

After we posted that brilliant k.d. lang cover of this Neil Young song yesterday, we could not help but post the original performing his own song.

From Farm Aid 1993, the Canadian legend belts his classic song, originally performed with his band Crazy Horse but was more famously recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Alone, the power and ache of Young's voice shines through.  

24 March 2021

24 March 2021 - k.d. lang - Constant Craving

You know, we haven't had anything resembling country yet this month, so let's go with it today.

k.d. lang did start off as a country artist in the late 80's, finding success in both the US and her native Canada.  However, when she embraced a slightly poppier sound in the early 90's, she achieved her biggest hit outside of Canada - today's feature.  By moving away from country, she found a larger audience - and earned a Grammy.

The song itself - which lang co-wrote - is a song about, well, constant craving.  It features both her rich voice alone, and multi-part harmonies.   In kind of a funny coincidence, the Rolling Stones were (perhaps not consciously) inspired by this song when writing their 1997 single "Anyone Seen My Baby" - so much so that they gave lang a co-writing credit.  This was not due to a lawsuit.   This was due to Keith Richards being that big a fan of the song.  

Also, I hear this song on in-store radio literally every time I go to Wegmans.   Not a joke.  

23 March 2021

23 March 2021 - The East Pointers - Two Weeks

For me, personally, the greatest musical discovery I made in 2020 is PEI band The East Pointers.  It's not even close.  They are a delight, and everything that trio has done is delightful.  I love their dedication to folk music and to Atlantic Canada.  

For those outside Canada, YYG is the code for Charlottetown Airport, on Prince Edward Island.  And yes, WestJet does fly from YYG to and from YYC - that's the code for Calgary, an airport I know very well - on a seasonal basis.  

22 March 2021

22 March 2021 - Gordon Lightfoot - Song For A Winter's Night

Gordon Lighhtfoot is a Canadian treasure.  On this, there can be no debate.

Of course, the song was written on a hot summer's night in Cleveland, Ohio in the mid-1960, as Gordon was missing his wife while on tour.  It is a sweet song that is now a winter staple in my house.  I hope it is in yours as well.  

21 March 2021

21 March 2021 - Dream Warriors - My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style

Captial Q and King Lou were just a couple of friends from Toronto who came together to sample an old Quincy Jones song that was a television theme song.  I suspect it is this song that caused "Soul Bossa Nova" to be the theme for the Austin Powers movies, although Mike Myers is Canadian, so he'd probably have seen the Canadian game show Definition.  

And now you know where the chorus for this song comes from.  And why the song has such a long title.  


In case you were wondering about Definition, here's a 1982 episode.  YES, that's the guy from Card Sharks

20 March 2021

20 March 2021 - Len - Trillion Daze

Every one knows that Len is a one hit wonder.   That doesn't mean they didn't release other music, or even that "Steal My Sunshine" was their first single.  The Canadian band preceded that huge hit with this single, and a video that features some sweet snowboarding.  

"Trillion Daze" is much less hip hop and much more straight-ahead rock with punk sensibilities.  I like this incarnation of the band.

19 March 2021

19 March 2021 - The Weakerthans - Sun In An Empty Room

We have featured The Weakerthans before.  "Tournament of Hearts" is absolutely the greatest song ever written about the uniquely Canadian sport of curling.  

The single that followed that great song was this one, a working man's anthem from a working class band.  The band, proud of their hometown of Winnipeg, filmed this video there.  Together, they make a fitting tribute to life in the middle of Canada. 

18 March 2021

18 March 2021 - Loreena McKennitt - The Mummers' Dance

Who would have thought that an song that sounds like a traditional Irish folk composition would be a top 20 hit?

And yet, that's exactly what happened to Canadian Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt in 1997.  A tribute to the mummers' plays of spring, it is an odd but sweet song, bolstered by her sharp soprano vocal.  It would be her only hit outside of her native Canada, as she did take a hiatus from music following a deep personal tragedy in 1998 - but she has returned to music and is still releasing new material.  

17 March 2021

17 March 2021 - Spirit Of The West - Home For A Rest

Spirit Of The West aren't a band most Americans have heard, but were wildly successful with their Irish-tinged music in their native Canada.  So, this article is going to hit a certain number of you more in the feels than others.

That statement should sound familiar, and yeah, this story doesn't end better.

In 2014, the band's frontman, John Mann, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.  He continued with the band as long as he could, but it clear he was not long for the music industry.  He passed away in 2019, at the age of just 57.  

This song was an anthem of the band from 1990, but wasn't released as a single until 2014, when it was released in a limited manner on Record Store Day.  In the wake of the announcement of Mann's illness, it was quite a bit more poignant than the drinking song it was originally intended to be.  


The first time the band played at the famous Massey Hall was on June 6, 2015 - and it was one of their last shows.  Mann actually forgets the lyrics for a bit during the song - but the audience had his back.  It is one of the greatest moments in Canadian music history.

16 March 2021

16 March 2021 - Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel

This song was recorded straight to 2-track in a Toronto church, as was the rest of the Trinity Sessions album - although one of the songs was recorded on a 2nd day, despite the mythology of the song.  Famously, they ran out of time during the recording session - which famously featured Margo Timmins singing into a PA - and had to bribe a security guard to let them stay long enough to record this unrehearsed song - which they recorded in ONE TAKE.

This is the DEMO. And it is beautiful.


Of course, the Canadian band is best known for a cover they did, which you can heard today over on Totally Covered.

15 March 2021

15 March 2021 - Robbie Robertson - Somewhere Down The Crazy River

When Robbie Robertson of The Band went solo, no one expected such a soulful song like this to come out of him.

And yet, this sultry masterpiece is exactly what he came up with.  But it happened accidentally.  As Robertson was playing with chord progressions, he was telling a story, which producer and fellow Canadian Daniel Lanois secretly recorded.  The chorus and backing vocals by Sam Llanas of The BoDeans were added later.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the video.  There's three people in the video - Robertson, Llanas, and Maria McKee, who at the time was wrapping up her time with Lone Justice and embarking on a solo career. McKee herself sings some background vocals on other Robertson songs on his debut album, but her appearance her is solely visual. 

14 March 2021

14 March 2021 - Stampeders - Sweet City Woman

The Stampeders had several hits, but this 1971 tune was their biggest hit by far outside of Canada - or even INSIDE Canada.  The Calgary trio - who started as a quintet in the mid-1960 - broke up in the late 1970's, but reformed at the 1992 Calgary Stampede, and has not stopped touring since.

By the way, the Calgary Stampede is something I barely missed in my time in Alberta, and remains on my bucket list.  It probably won't happen for me in 2021, but it will sometime soon.  

13 March 2021

13 March 2021 - Moxy Früvous - King of Spain

I recently have been looking into my family tree, and have traced some of my genealogy back to 9th Century Europe.  In fact, I have a branch of my tree that is, indeed, descended from Ferdinand III, king of Castile, Toledo, León and Galicia.... a real life King of Spain, I sincerely doubt that Moxy Früvous had me in mind when they wrote their prince/pauper tale in the 1990's, mostly because I never worked at the Pizza Pizza... but that's the story I'm telling everyone now.

Seriously, Moxy Früvous were a fun and satirical band, frequently poking fun at their native Canada and making a lot of "inside the Queensway" jokes.   This is their biggest hit outside of Canada, which got some radio play in Western New York.

12 March 2021

12 March 2021 - Grimes - You'll Miss Me When I'm Not Around

I have been a fan of Canadian electronic artist Grimes for many years now.  She continuously reinvents herself, and yet still sounds fresh and exciting.  

But this video is boring as heck on purpose, and it's because she loves her fans.  

You see, she released this video on April 1, 2020, with a green screen background, alongside the raw audio from the recordings, specifically so fans could remix the song and make their own versions of the video - #GrimesArtKit.  What a terrific pandemic art project!

The song itself is fairly soulful while not forgetting the electronic power Grimes has consistently brought to her music.

Here is the original video, in all its chromakey glory.  I think it's important to note that Grimes was seven months pregnant when she released this.


I wanted to highlight some of my favourite fan versions of this video.  

YouTube user Brent Bonacorso describes this version of the video as "(a) quarantine dream of digital conception and creation, broadcast from the heavens in a gamma-burst of love and code."  I pretty much think that nails it.  Starting with a roar, it builds into the music.


I thought YouTube user Jonathan Hernández made a visually interesting video.   He doubled up on the Grimes and put her in space.  


Rather than use the Grimes video, YouTube user Red Dawn went with footage from a bunch of 1980s movies and a radical electronic remix.  It works, well.  This is the only video on that channel, but I personally hope that changes.  

11 March 2021

11 March 2021 - The Tragically Hip - New Orleans Is Sinking

The Tragically Hip never got to be the superstars that they were in Canada south of the border.  So, this article is going to hit a certain number of you more in the feels than others.

I grew up in Connecticut - but my extended family lived in the Buffalo, NY area, so I would visit them often.  As I visited the area, I became accustomed to Canadian radio - and because of the rules governing Canadian radio that required a certain percentage of Canadian artists to be played, I got to hear a lot of artists that weren't generally played in the States.

One of these bands was The Tragically Hip.  

When this song became a minor hit in the US for The 'Hip in the early 1990s, I already knew who this "new" band was, and I was pretty excited.  


The Tragically Hip are no more.  Their lead vocalist, Gord Downie, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2016.  Their last show, in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, was broadcast to the entire nation by the CBC in August 2016 - a show that 1/3 of Canadians watched.  

This song opened the first of three encores and was the 22nd of 30 songs they would perform.


Downie passed in November 2017.  He was so beloved, his death so mourned, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed it, emotionally.

10 March 2021

10 March 2021 - Nickelback - How You Remind Me

I know, I know.

It's popular to hate on Nickelback nowadays. 

No matter how you feel about them, the Canadian band does have a few solid tunes.  This song, from 2001, TOPPED the POP charts in the United States.  

Topped.  The.  Pop. Charts.   With a heavy rock song. 

The song is an emotional roller-coaster, written by Chad Kroeger about a dysfunctional relationship he had once had.  It remains the signature Nickelback song to this day.  

09 March 2021

9 March 2021 - Carly Rae Jepsen - Want You In My Room

So, I guess she decided that the coy approach wasn't working?

In all seriousness, the one-time 3rd place Canadian Idol finisher really stepped up her game here. This 2019 single, which combined a childlike exuberance with sexual themes, received an abundance of critical acclaim, applauding both the fun sound and maturity of theme, so well-balanced.  If you missed this 1980's throwback song in 2019 - the horns! the synth! - I encourage you to check it out now.  


As an added bonus, here she is, performing the song in her hometown of Vancouver.  Three things of note: 

1)  She is really enjoying herself.
2)  Flying V.
3)  The synth sticks around live.

08 March 2021

8 March 2021 - Rush - The Spirit Of Radio

Rush was, of course, a band made up of three of the greatest rock musicians on their respective instruments (yes, I know.  Neil Peart joined after the first album.  Don't @ me).  Sone might call them egotistical, with numerous bass, guitar, and especially drum solos featured on many of their songs. 

This song, the big single from their 1980 album Permanent Waves, is a great example of that, where you can hear all three members of the band taking a lead in the music at some point.  It remains the band's biggest UK hit, also hitting the charts in the US and their native Canada.

Lyrically, the song is a lament of the loss of radio formats of the 1970's, having been replaced with more commercial formats.  The band specifically have cited Toronto radio station CFNY - one of the first stations to play the band - as a catalyst for this song.  They also pay tribute to several of their favourite artists in the song - the tribute to Simon and Garfunkel is pretty obvious, but the reggae feeling that portion of the song takes on is a tribute to up-and-coming band The Police.  

It's where the song title came from.

The song was featured on the album Permanent Waves, which has a catalogue number of 1021 - in tribute to the CFNY FM frequency - 102.1.  This video was commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the song in 2020.  

07 March 2021

7 March 2021 - k-os - Crabbuckit

My American audience isn't going to know k-os very well.  k-os is a Canadian "alternative hip-hop artist", according to his Wikipedia page.  I wish he was known better south of the border, because his sound is soulful and innovative.

This song, which won Single of the Year at the 2005 Juno Awards (which, for those unaware, are kind of like the Canadian Grammys - and this was the first time a hip-hop song won that award), referred to the crab-in-the-bucket syndrome.  Basically, if you throw a bunch of crabs in a bucket, the mob will work to pull down anyone who tries to escape - a metaphor for someone trying to escape a particular socioeconomic situation.  

06 March 2021

6 March 2021 - Martha And The Muffins - Echo Beach

Martha and the Muffins are a rock band from Toronto - ARE.  Not WERE. Formed in the mid-1970s, they had a lot of hits in their native Canada, but only one real big hit outside their homeland.   That hit, of course, was "Echo Beach", a horn-filled electronic romp to a place far removed from the ennui of everyday life.


To commemorate the 30th anniversary of their biggest international hit, Martha and the Muffins rerecorded the song, imagining it at a much slower tempo with a somber tone.  It's a far sadder song.... and still works as such.

05 March 2021

5 March 2021 - Sarah McLachlan - Into The Fire

As a snooty music fan in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I discovered some music before it hit the mainstream. 

Sarah McLachlan was one such artist.  I discovered this song - her first alternative radio hit in the US (it was a bigger hit in her native Canada) and instantly loved it - her huge voice, and unusual lyrical content.  

And yes.  That's her naked and covered in mud in the video.  


Fast forward to the late 1990's.  McLachlan is now a huge hitmaker worldwide.... but as of this point, she still remembered her roots.  Here she is, performing the song in her 1999 concert film Mirrorball.  

Sadly, she stopped performing this song live in 1999.  Which is a shame.  It remains one of my favourites by her.

04 March 2021

4 March 2021 - Bran Van 3000 - Everywhere

Bran Van 3000, from Montreal, Quebec, did have some success stateside.  Probably best known for "Drinking In L.A.", they actually have a rich, deep catalog.

Take this song, which is less hip-hop and more straight-ahead pop-rock.  A follow up to their aforementioned hit, it was a pretty big, sweet Canadian hit in its own right. Bear in mind, those two very different songs were from the SAME album - Glee, which is a truly underrated piece of art.  

03 March 2021

3 March 2021 - Lights - Peace Sign / Lights feat. Cœur de Pirate - Peace Sign

I couldn't let this little synergy go unnoticed.  So I'm doing a 2nd post.  

"Peace Sign" was Track 8 on the Lights album Siberia, which was released in 2011.  It was not a single, but is still an excellent song.


Here is Lights performing the song live.  Excellent, energetic, and something of a dark song.  But clearly, an exciting highlight when performed live.    


Following along so far?

Literally the day after this song was written, the G20 riots in Lights's hometown of Toronto, and that had quite an impact on her.  So, as the story goes, she started corresponding and collaborating on a bilingual version of this song with an artist she was a fan of, for Siberia Acoustic, which was released in 2013. 

That artist, of courses, was Montréal artist Cœur de Pirate

And here is that finished product.  It's a lot less energetic, but the lyrics shine so much stronger.  


Lights tells the rest of the story live in 2013 - as of this recording, she had never MET Cœur de Pirate in person - and didn't know the French part of her own song.  Thankfully, the audience did and helped.  Say what you want about the politeness of those from Québec, but it's my opinion and experience that French Canadians are just as polite, helpful and wonderful as just about every other Canadian.  

3 March 2021 - Lights - Toes

Yes, Scott beat me to Lights.  By nine years.  

But here I am.

And that's the Canadian singer-songwriter's real first name (not by birth, but still).  Which is super convenient when it comes to having a stage name.   

This song was released in 2011 to mostly positive reviews, and, really, it's kind of got an infectious beat and some intelligent lyrics.   Which makes me wonder why I was so late to the party.    

The video was filmed in Lights's hometown of Toronto.  


Lights has been known to do an acoustic version of this song live - and in fact did an acoustic version of the entire Siberia album.  Here she is, performing it live in 2019.  The audience knows the words.  It's a slightly different feel, but still just as heartfelt.

02 March 2021

2 March 2021 - Anne Murray - You Needed Me / Shania Twain & Anne Murray - You Needed Me.

Anne Murray hit #1 on the US pop charts for the her first and only time in 1978 with this song - ironically missing the top spot on the Country and Adult Contemporary charts on which she had much more success.  She also won the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal for this song, the first time a Canadian had done that.  


In 2007, |Murray would rerecord the song as a duet with fellow Canadian Shania Twain.  It's essentially the same song - but just with two people singing it.  


By the way, I know you came here to hear Stewie Griffin sing this.

01 March 2021

1 March 2021 - Cœur de Pirate - T'es belle

....2) Cette chanson, de fin 2020, est clairement sortie sous le nom Cœur de Pirate.  

C'est clairement étiqueté

Je ne me soucie pas particulièrement du nom que Béatrice Martin a choisi d'utiliser pour faire de la musique à l'avenir. Tant qu'elle continuera à faire de la musique révolutionnaire qui est intéressante, je vais rester heureuse.

Je ne suis pas canadien, donc je n'ai pas eu à apprendre le français à l'école. En fait, dans mon apprentissage des langues, c'est mon talon d'Achille. Permettez-moi de vous assurer que tout cela est une gracieuseté de Google Translate.  

1 March 2021 - Cœur de Pirate - Undone

I told you she didn't sing EXCLUSIVELY in French.  

Canada is a bilingual country, after all.

This is from her 2015 album Roses, which features songs in French and English.  

In 2018, Béatrice Martin announced she planned to no longer make music under the name Cœur de Pirate, which I guess would mean I'd be able to stop trying to type œ on my English-language keyboard..... but 1) she would continue to make music, which is amazing.....

1 March 2021 - Cœur de Pirate - Comme des enfants

It is refreshing to hear an artist so fresh and not-so-well-known outside their home country like Cœur de Pirate.  However, what is really unusual is that Béatrice Martin has actually had more hits in France than in her native Canada.

You see, she is a francophone from Montreal, and primarily sings in French.  Not exclusively, mind you - but mostly.  And yet, despite having the heart of a pirate (that's what her name translates to, people), the songs are just enchanting.  Without knowing French, you can hear the love and longing in her voice, in the music.  

This song, her debut single, won the 2010 Victoires de la Musique (French-language music) award for Original Song of the Year. 


It almost sounds more soulful live. Check out this performance from Massey Hall in Toronto from 2014.   The acoustics threaten to drown her out, but Cœur de Pirate's full voice wins in the end.

26 February 2021

26 February 2021 - Domenico Modugno - Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu

Modern audiences know this song by another title.

"Volare".  And Bobby Rydell's English language version is better known today.

But Domenico Modugno wrote the song.   And, in 1958, it spent five weeks at #1 in the US, in THIS version, and was the biggest hit of 1958.. all while remaining faithful to its original Italiamn.  To compare, Rydell's version hit #4 in 1960 - this was the bigger hit.  

25 February 2021

25 February 2021 - Nena - 99 Luftballons / 99 Red Balloons

Almost certainly the best-known German language song outside of German, this little warning of the apocalypse was a big hit in the 1980s.  Yes, people in the US were singing along to their death from nuclear attack. 

And who would blame them??  This song is damned catchy.


In a bit of an oddity, an English language version of the song - slightly changing the narrative to be even a little darker - was released  THIS VERSION DID NOT CHART, meaning the US audience preferred not to know what they were singing about, I guess.   

24 February 2021

24 February 2021 - Marmello - Moonlight / Moment of Glory

Marmello were a K-Pop group with a twist - they played their own instruments.  They were a bona fide band.  Although they disbanded in 2019, we hope for a comeback, which isn't unprecedented in the K-Pop world - because they actually rocked kind of hard for a K-Pop group.   I mean, this ain't metal - it's pop-rock - but it's not usual to see.   


Less than three weeks after this single was released, the band reimagined the song, slightly changing the lyrics and title to be a rally song for the 2018 World Cup.  It rocks just a little harder.

23 February 2021

23 February 2021 - Gloria Trevi - Que Me Duela

Let's get it out of the way.

Gloria Trevi spent almost five years in a Brazilian prison on charges of endangering a minor.  She was released due to lack of evidence.  She has maintained her innocence (and divorced her DNA-provably guilty husband as a result of this).  

My point on mentioning this up front is that she missed several years of her very successful music career, and when she was released from prison, she jumped right back in, feet first.  She went away a crooner, and came back an EDM hitmaker - and let's be clear.  In Mexico, she was welcomed back with open arms, with this and just about every other single she's released being a pretty big hit there.  

In Brazil, not so much.

What did NOT change was Trevi's in-your-face style and bold lyrics, which she exhibits here.

22 February 2021

22 February 2021 - Superbus - Apprends-moi

For my English-language speaking audience, the title translates roughly to "Teach me".  That is about the limit of the amount of French I speak.  

Superbus is a French band, and this was a top 20 hit in that country in 2012.  However, the band got its start because their lead vocalist, Jennifer Ayache, came to America to perfect her English, after which she wanted to start a band.  I suppose the rationale was that English-language songs would sell better?  At any rate, this isn't an English-language song (although some of their stuff is) and it did pretty well.

This song, as is a lot of this band's music, is heavily influenced by 1980's music, with a synthesizer playing a strong role.  

19 February 2021

19 February 2021 - Charly Bliss - DQ

This is the 900th post on Wicked Guilty Pleasures.  It wasn't supposed to be our 900th post.  

In fact, this was not a band I had heard OF before I posted #899 yesterday.  

I first heard Charly Bliss on February 18th, 2021.  They've been around for several years, but for some reason, I only stumbled upon them today.  They are now in heavy rotation.   This fun, perky, punky song that contains the line "I bounced so high I peed the trampoline" is perhaps my early favorite. 

The band has been compared to Weezer, and I hear it.  But they're somehow even quirkier than Weezer, and that's a good thing. 


You know that I am going to add a live version of this song, right?  From the 2017 Audiotree Music Festival in Kalamazoo, MI, you can see that the whole band is full of cohesive energy, with Eva Hendricks a solid frontwoman, and not just a vocalist.


Also, everything I hear about this band is that they are all very nice.  

For all these reasons, I rewrote post #900.  And I will revisit this band.  They are incredible.

18 February 2021

18 February 2021 - The Smithereens - Miles From Nowhere

This isn't the first time I've posted about New Jersey Music Hall of Famers The Smithereens.  

It IS the first time I have posted my absolute favorite song of theirs.  Released in 1994 in support of their album A Date With The Smithereens, the Pat DiNizio-penned song is perfectly on brand for the band, if not a little more grungy.  This was because we were living in a post-Nirvana world in 1994, and since Butch Vig - the guy who produced Nevermind - was supposed to produce this album, it makes a lot of sense.   

However, a couple of weeks before recording was to start, Vig decided to drop the project, which prompted Capitol Records to drop the band.  RCA picked them up quickly, and with great producer Don Dixon - who had produced their first two albums - the album was back on. 

The song was far from a big hit, but it is a beautiful, angry, desperate breakup song.    


Even though DiNizio has passed away, the band lives on with guest vocalists.  Here they are in 2019 with special guest Marshall Crenshaw.

17 February 2021

17 February 2021 - Sonic Youth - Kool Thing

"I don't think so" is a line right out of "Going Back To Cali", and this song was supposedly about LL Cool J's misogyny following an interview Kim Gordon did with him for SPIN Magazine.  Read it.  It's really cringeworthy.  

Clearly, Chuck D was OK coming along for the diss - although he seems to be friendly with LL Cool J.  

There are a lot of other LL references in this song, which was Sonic Youth's major label debut.  All in all, it's a short, digestible song that introduced the bombast of Sonic Youth to a wider audience, and it was their biggest success to date.