31 December 2021

31 December 2021 - Cœur De Pirate - Oceans Brawl

I usually dedicate the last post of the year to a song by an artist that defined my year or otherwise was a huge song - sometimes an anticipated release.  This year, this was an easy choice, despite what I literally just said.

I started writing this in March, anticipating that this song would be the most significant one of the year for me, and this one was going to be tough to beat. Perséides, the whole album,by the same artist came close to beating it.  Also, this song beat it in significance that I spoke of at length - but it's still significant enough that I'm keeping it here.  

But also, I thought I'd give you a peek behind the curtain of my process.

While researching a post for the song "Toes", by Toronto artist Lights (aka #1000), I listened to that artist's entire Siberia albumS - as she released an acoustic version of the album a year or so after the original.  Doing THAT led me to another song of hers, "Peace Sign", which is the one that is the most dramatically different in its two versions (which I covered well on March 3rd).  The acoustic version, a highlight of Siberia Acoustic, was reimagined as a bilingual duet, with Béatrice Martin, who is also known as Cœur De Pirate, who happens to be from Montreal, doing the French translation.  I was desperate for a couple of Quebec artists for my #MapleLeafMarch that weren't Céline Dion, so I did some listening. 

That discovery changed how I had the whole MONTH laid out, beginning to end.  It also forever changed my Spotify stats, as she quickly became one of my top five listened to artists of all time, and them my MOST listened to artst, in like three weeks. 

A couple of her albums have quickly become favorites of mine, despite me not understanding a word of French.  The 2015 album Roses rises to the top, 1) probably because it's half in English and I can understand English but 2) because the songs on there in both English and French are both lyrically and aurally interesting.  

I posted a song for which there is no official video, and so I start with the original album version of "Oceans Brawl", the best song off the best album.  It is an epic piece, with a 10-second pregnant pause at about the 1:23 mark, so you can listen to the oceans.... brawl.  The song itself builds in desperation to an impassioned crescendo before rolling back with the tide. 

Any doubts about the real passion that goes into writing and performing this song need look no further than the CBC Music festival, where she cannot stay seated at her piano while performing the song.  It is not the type of song to be merely sung.  It is a whole body experience.

This live session was released prior to the release of Roses, which means it's a quieter and unproduced piece, and while it's not as bombastic at its crescendo, it's still a powerful version of the song.  

31 December 2021 - Lights - Don't Go Home Without Me

My last post of 2021, which is the biggest this blog has seen, came down to me trying to choose which artist would go last.  You see, there were two who really bubbled to the top for me, and they both got there in very much the same way.

The little project I did in March - #MapleLeafMarch - gave me a catalyst to give an artist for whom I had a serious blind spot for years.  I spoke about this at length in post #1000.  I don't need to rehash it.  

Well, unlike other artists I discovered this year, whose catalog I just dove into head first, I spent much of my year in the Lights catalog listening to Siberia.  And, about a month ago - even though I had branched out a little bit beyond that, especially to a few collaborations she did with deadmau5 and Felix Cartal, for example - and yes, I know, #1000 was from a different album, too - I realized my blind spot was still there. 

So I branched out more.  I listened to her whole catalog, end to end.  Most of it was pretty great.  A few pieces bubbled to the top.  One of them was the whole Little Machines album, which is a real gem and represents the highest US chart position to date Lights has achieved (#34 on the album chart - but she's still making music, so jury's still out on this one). 

So, what you might be curious about is, from an album that had several videos and singles, why, exactly, did I pick a non-single song that closed the album?  It's an absolutely beautiful love song about a love that lasts a very long time, written by someone who hasn't reached that far yet but knows they will.  Musically, it's unusual and compelling.  Who cares if it was a single?!!   It's a great song.  

If you've been reading all my Lights posts all year, you know that she usually does electronic and then acoustic versions of everything.  While we wait for the acoustic version of "Prodigal Daughter", why don't we just enjoy the quiet beauty of this one?

As I was researching a Totally Covered post you don't know about yet - but check back in a few hours - I found this beautiful version that was neither acoustic nor electronic.  It's mostly Lights and a piano (there's a bit of a string accompanyment, too).  However, it's one of the most beautiful versions of the song I've heard.

30 December 2021

30 December 2021 - Taylor Swift - All Too Well

Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift dated for three months.  I'm not sure if you were aware of that.

The original version of this song, which pretty much covers that relationship, was a top 20 Country hit in 2013.  It was from her Red album, which really sparked Taylor's transition from country to pop artist.  

Famously, she's rerecording her Big Machine catalog and retaining control of her catalog.  This version of "All Too Well" TOPPED the POP charts in November 2021.  This ten minute version of the song, which is now the longest #1 song in history, was accompanied by this short film.

It was also accompanied by this SNL performance of the song.  The performance was, in a word, great, and this is coming from someone who is NOT Taylor's biggest fan, like Scott Colvin.  

By the way, we've added Taylor's Version to any past post that has one: here, here, and here so far.  As this and this get rerecorded, we WILL update them.  They're honestly richer and better versions of the songs.

29 December 2021

29 December 2021 - X Ambassadors - Renegades

I was kind of thinking about saving this song for a Western/Central New York week.  It's not common for Western/Central New York bands to have top 20 hits all over the world, but that's exactly what happened with X Ambassadors, from Ithaca NY, in 2015 with this song.  

It's not surprising that this song is a hit.  It's mellow, it's cool, it builds brilliantly, it uses fiddle judiciously. The song is simply great and deserves the acclaim it received.  The band is brilliant!  It's great that they got the attention they did.

Also, #290.  Patting ourselves on the back here.  

28 December 2021

28 December 2021 - of Montreal - it's different for girls

Today's post is a milestone.  

You see, it is post #289 in 2021.   We previously reached 289 posts in a single year in 2012, the year we started this blog.  Back there, two of us were doing the writing.  While Scott has come back to contribute this year, most of the writing belongs to Tony now.  

There are three days left in the year.  Spoiler alert - Friday's writing is already done at this point.  This is going to be the biggest year we have had on Wicked Guilty Pleasures.  

I wanted to make #289 a bit of a blooper.  You see, in March, I did a thing where literally every song was by a Canadian artist.  So, I wanted to represent as many provinces as possible.  So, early on, I was looking for a Quebec artist.

So when I found out that of Montreal were from Athens, GA, I was temporarily disapponted.  Now, I happened to find another artist, thankfully, but I was bummed, because this song was so dark and witty and different.  Clearly, I saved the draft, and I'm posting it today, but, well, now you know my process.  

27 December 2021

27 December 2021 - Charli XCX - Good Ones

I have been dragging my heels posting this song.  I really overdid the Charli XCX back in the dayI mean, seriously, how much could I post?

OK, Scott posted that last one, but do you see my point?  Luckily I don't do that anymore.  

OK, enough schtick.    

I really REALLY like this song.  I wasn't dragging my heels because I didn't like the song. (I probably had a Cœur de Pirate song to post or something.) (OK, NOW enough schtick) Post #288 of 2021 is the new Charli XCX single, and it's a banger that reminds me of the Sucker album.  The core of the song is a throwback synth that sounds like it is suited more for 1987 keytar and less like 2021 pop charts. This song is great musically, and great lyrically.  Give it a go.  

25 December 2021

25 December 2021 - Lights - Deck The Halls

Why exactly are you reading my blog on Christmas morning?!

Well, since you're here, Merry Christmas!  Here's Lights, one of our #MapleLeafMarch highlights, with her take on a Christmas classic.

24 December 2021

24 December 2021 - Cœur de Pirate and Adam Cohen - Silent Night

I have this œ on my clipboard from when I wrote another post you haven't seen yet, so I didn't want to waste that.  

And I decided this should be a Christmas post, because this beautiful bilingual version by two bilingual Canadians is perfect for this very holy night.  

23 December 2021

23 December 2021 - Cyndi Lauper - I Drove All Night

This song was originally intended for Roy Orbison.  And he recorded it - first!!!!!!!!   So, I guess this should be on Totally Covered?

I didn't put it there.  I put it here.  I did that for two reasons.  

First, this version was released first, by several years.  It was a big hit for Cyndi Lauper in 1989, and it was written by frequent songwriting partners Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg.  

Second, it's so lyrically brilliant that it warrants the higher visibilty that this blog brings.  I know people are going to read this here.  And, it's lyrically brilliant, if I wasn't clear.  Because it illustrates the desperation of love - what someone in love might actually do.  We've all been there.  

22 December 2021

22 December 2021 - The Church - Under The Milky Way

A lot of people think that this song contains a bagpipe solo.  It does not.  A combination of two guitars - one played with an EBow - and its recording on a Synclavier generated that bagpipe-like sound.  

Co-written by Steve Kilbey - yep, two days of him in a row - and Karin Jansson, the song gets its title not from a group of stars, but from an Amsterdam music club.  It was well recevied at the time of its release, and remains their signature song today.

In the absence of the Synclavier, you can hear in this 2011 live recording that those bagpipes are really guitars.  

21 December 2021

21 December 2021 - Hex - Ethereal Message

Steve Kilbey - of The Church - and Donnette Thayer - of Game Theory and an absolutely lovely human being - were Hex, an atmopheric duo.  This song, from their 1989 eponymous self-titled debut, is likely their best known.  

The song, co-written by the duo and produced by Kilbey, featured a sparse keyboard and guitar arrangement with electronic percussion that didn't overpower Thayer's dreamy voice.  It is a work of underappreciated art, and I hope my short description of it gives it just a little more attention.  

20 December 2021

20 December 2021 - Liz Phair - Never Said

Liz Phair's first single, in 1993, was this complete denial.  If you believe the lore, this was the response to The Rolling Stones's song "Tumbling Dice", but really, it was a Girly-Sound rerecording.  If you don't know what Girly-Sound was, go here and read all about it - but it was basically Liz Phair's pre-major label mixtapes).  Originally titled "Clean", it was rewritten to be the fifth track on Exile In Guyville, a track number Phair considered to be the most important.  

The song was about the rumors that travel throughout the music scene, but in a broader sense, it DOES make sense to be the female mirror for "Tumbling Dice", as it is a woman's take on not being accountable - by keeping her mouth shut.  

Actually, what she said verbatim, to Rolling Stone in 2010, was:
“Never Said” was one of those times where I was showing I could be just as unaccountable. “Tumbling Dice” is really about, again, I’m picturing all the guys from Urge Overkill, hey man, you may get to go home with me tonight, you may not. I may show up at the bar and be available, and I might not. You gotta roll me and see how it’s going to roll. I was playing that same game. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I never said nothing, you can’t pin that on me.” I was playing the female version. 

The song itself is great. It's a fun romp about keeping your damn mouth shut that endures to this day.  

Because I know you're interested, here's the Girly-Sound version.

For a while, Phair performed this song live in this manner  with a key change in the middle of the second verse.  I always loved this version - it kind of amped up the indignation and desperation that the lyrics were trying to capture.

17 December 2021

17 December 2021 - Pink Floyd - Fearless

The fans of the Liverpool Football Club contributed to this recording.  That's them singing "You'll Never Walk Alone", an unofficial anthem of the club, in an on-field recording.  It's the type of thing that could give you goosebumps.  And does, for me, every single time.

The song itself is a great illustration of how innovative and ground-breaking the band actually was.  Nick Mason's ecclectic drumming, Roger Waters's odd guitar tuning, Richard Wright's orchestral piano, and David Gilmour's quiet vocal, with practically Sisyphythian lyrics, all combine for a unique, compelling, and inspiring song.  

Although only released as a B-side, "Fearless" has become a fan favorite song, and is my favorite Pink Floyd song.  It is not, however, a song they performed live - save for some dates by Roger Waters in 2016, nearly 50 years after its release.  

16 December 2021

16 December 2021 - Alanis Morissette - Head Over Feet

This is a song that was scheduled for Maple Leaf March and got bumped for a lesser known artist.  I still wanted to share it with you, though, so I saved it.  I didn't want it to wait until March.  The song is good on its own, and doesn't need to be Canadian to be good. 

By the time the fifth single from the album Jagged Little Pill, this song, was released, a lot of people thought they knew what to expect from Alanis Morrissette.  

Boy, were people way off base.

The video itself is a closeup of Alanis's face, never changing focus no matter how much she moves.  But, really, given how bankable she was at that point, her face was all MTV needed to make this a huge hit song, hitting #1 on the pop chart in the US and also becoming her first #1 adult contemporary song.  It would also be one of the biggest hits of the year in her native Canada.

The song is considered to be one of the first pop culture uses of the term "friend with benefits".  I don't know about that, but I do consider it to be a sweet - one of the sweetest ever written - soft song that still resonates a quarter century later.

15 December 2021

15 December 2021 - Transvision Vamp - (I Just Wanna) B with U

Transvision Vamp were a huge band in the UK, and this was a huge hit for them.  They did not catch fire stateside as much, but they still had their fans.

Including me. 

This was the lead single from their third and final album, Little Magnets Versus The Bubble of Babble.  I swear, we aren't just stacking up the ridiculous album titles here.  The song itself, co-written by lead vocalist and self-proclaimed loudmouth Wendy James, is a relatively sweet love song that is unexpected from a band known for a fair bit of anger.  It was NOT a song I enjoyed when it came out, but it has grown on me of late.

On a personal note, this album was purchased by me in August 1992 at a little record store in Northampton, MA called Main Street Records.  This was an important place for me in my teen years, as I bought a lot of independent music and import vinyl there - by a lot of bands you've seen me post about frequently.  Main Street Records helped mold me into the music fan I stil am today. I didn't expect that visit in 1992 to be my last one to the place - but it was, as it has since closed.  

14 December 2021

14 December 2021 - Fiona Apple - Paper Bag

This song, the debut single from Fiona Apple's second album, When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right, is a true story of the artist mistaking a paper bag for a bird.  

You bet I posted this for that album title.

That, and it is a bluesy song in a Beatles vein that shows Apple's true musical depth.  It is quite possibly the coolest song she ever wrote.  

Unfortunately, I wore out my keyboard typing out that album title, so that's all I'm gonna say about this one.

13 December 2021

13 December 2021 - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - The Message

When did hip hop turn from being all about which MC was the best and get into political messaging?

I'd argue that this happened with Grandmaster Flash and "The Message", written in response to the state of the group's neighborhood. It is considered to be one of the most important singles of early hip-hop music, as it moved the genre from boasting to social commentary, paving the way for the likes of Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions. The song also moved the emcee to the front and center, and not the DJ, as had been previously commonplace. 

The song was and is a critical darling, and was also a commercial success. 

10 December 2021

10 December 2021 - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?

From the 2005 album Naturally, this is probably the best known song by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.  Written by Bosco Mann, it has a classic 60s funk/soul feel, but retains a modern sensibility.  

Lyrically, the song is about a woman waiting for her man to come back to her.  Jones sings it with soul and with heart - a true throwback.  Musically, the Dap-Kings bring a huge sound, not unlike the old time Memphis soul.  

This live performance only serves to amp up the funky soul of the tune.

09 December 2021

9 December 2021 - The Traveling Wilburys - Handle With Care

What happens when five legends of rock get together and write and perform a love song about being hurt in the past and talking about those feelings with a new love?  

You get this song, a classic of modern music and a big hit in 1988.  Initially recorded on acoustic guitars with a drum machine backing, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison produced a masterpiece, primarily written by Harrison and released as a throwaway European B-side.  Clearly, the song became a lot more than that.

08 December 2021

8 December 2021 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

Part of the story of this song is absolutely the video.  Singer and principal songwriter Karen O cries during the video, for a song written about her relationship with Angus Andrew from the Liars.  He was supposed to come to the shoot, and was quite late - so when he showed up, it was an emotional moment.  

But really, like all of these songs on this blog, it's about the song.  And this one is a mostly vague, emotional tour de force, with the strong anguish and outpouring declaration of an unequaled love serving as the chorus.

The song's title is a mystery.  Some thing it's an abbreviation for "My Angus Please Stay", and others think it's a allusion to the places they visited on tour.  I don't think it matters.  I think it's a great song.

07 December 2021

7 December 2021 - Nouvelle Vague ft. Julie Delpy - La La La

If you know who Nouvelle Vague are, then you know they're best known for their covers. 

This isn't a cover. It's a collaboration they did with actress Julie Delpy. "La La La" is a sweet song about holding onto a real love - without airs or pretense - and realizing how lucky one is to be in this situation.  Delpy's delivery is deadpan and beautiful in a song that comes off as a slightly gimmicky throwback to an older time.


06 December 2021

6 December 2021 - Plastic Bertrand - Ça Plane Pour Moi

In 1978, Plastic Bertrand - the nom de stage of Belgian personality Roger François Jouret - had a worldwide hit with this nonsensical French language song.  The song is something of a fever dream - it's pseudo punk/early new wave with lyrics that don't match either genre, as they are both disjoined and way too chipper.  

That's it.  That's the post.  Just listen to the song and dance. 

03 December 2021

3 December 2021 - Nirvana - You Know You're Right

Our third HoF inductee was Nirvana.  And this is probably the last Nirvana post we will ever make, because we did such a complete job covering them last year.   

You see, because they were a short-lived band, due to the untimely death of Kurt Cobain.... well, they aren't making any new music.  But this song was released in 2002, eight years after Cobain's death.  It was the last song the band ever recorded, in 1994.  You can hear the anguish in Kurt's voice throughout.

02 December 2021

2 December 2021 - P!nk - Just L!ke F!re

Our 2nd HoF !nductee was P!nk.  And P!nk has been busy.

Th!s song, a 2016 Grammy nom!nee, is P!nk's most recent Top 10 h!t !n the US as of th!s wr!t!ng.  A t!e !n to the D!sney f!lm Al!ce Through The Look!ng Glass, the v!sual !s very Wonderland-y.  

Mus!cally, !t's P!nk.  C'mon now.  Sure, she has a b!t of a breakdown partway through, wh!ch !s atyp!cal for her mus!cally. Lyr!cally, !t's P!nk, wh!ch means you can count on a lot of empowerment throughout.  The song does not d!sappo!nt on that front, br!ng!ng a really pos!t!ve message.  

01 December 2021

1 December 2021 - Katy Perry ft. Juicy J - Dark Horse

Last week, we inducted our fourth Hall of Fame artist - INXS.  For the rest of this week, I figured we could revisit the other three, because each of them had deeper catalogs than this little blog could tap into during just one week.

We start with the original, Katy Perry, who has also been the most active in releasing music.  This song came soon after her HoF induction, in 2013.  Co-written by Ms. Hudson, the song has elements of pop, but also trap and hip-hop.  Lyrically, it's full of clichés - cold, unfeeling, and still full of passion despite the clichés.  

The song ended up being one of her biggest hits - and gave Juicy J his first #1 in the US.   

30 November 2021

30 November 2021 - The Cars - You Might Think

Did you know that "Thriller" did not win Best Video at the MTV Video Music Awards?

No, no.

That honor went to "You Might Think", a video that was one of the first to use computer graphics.  The song, written and sung by Ric Ocasek, is a straightforward love song - and the song was one of their biggest hits to date, so the sweet lyrics resonated with a worldwide audience.

29 November 2021

29 November 2021 - The Velvet Underground - Ride Into The Sun

A lot of you are travelling home today from your Thanksgiving festivities.  Please travel safely.

I decided to provide you with a classic Velvet Underground song for your travelling pleasure.  In its best known version, it is a haunting instrumental classic, written by Lou Reed.  It gives the feeling of riding into the sun - not into the sun per se, but more into the sunSET to start anew, brighter.

In this rare vocal version, Lou Reed punctuates that feeling with words specific to New York City, which is what a lot of their music was about - but it can apply to any city.  Or even small town.

28 November 2021

28 November 2021 - INXS - Beautiful Girl


"I was writing lyrics like 'Baby Don't Cry' and 'Beautiful Girl' and lyrics just about how wonderful it is to have something else in your life besides yourself to worry about and think about." - Andrew Farris

This, the fifth single from Welcome to Wherever You Are, was also penned by Andrew Farris, this about his infant daughter.  His quote says everything that needs to be said there. 

(by the way, if you're looking for the third and fourth singles, we posted them previously in 2012 and on Monday)

28 November 2021 - INXS - Baby Don't Cry


I promise, this is the last one (no it is not).

This song, the second single from Welcome To Wherever You Are, was wholly written by Andrew Farris as a sweet love song for his six year old daughter, who, not shockingly, he missed when he went on tour.  Backed by the Australian Concert Orchestra, the song is about choosing love, even when far away, in the face of adversity.  

In the words of Andrew Farris.........

28 November 2021 - INXS - Heaven Sent

As has become customary for this little blog that could, when there's a Hall of Fame artist, we give you a little extra, for the loyal readers.

Thus, "Heaven Sent", the first single from what was considered something of a comeback album, the band's eighth (save for their live album, Live Baby Live) and in my opinion, their high water mark, Welcome To Wherever You Are

This is a high water mark on an album that is already a high water mark.  It's a pretty typical INXS song - Michael Hutchence frequently goes to the megaphone vocal trope, as he does on this song, and it's straight-ahead pop-rock - but it is the band at their happiest.  They clearly enjoyed making this song, which is lyrically about the beginning of a life-altering love.  

This was a song that became a live staple throughout the 1990's for the band.  At their last show ever, in Pittsburgh, they performed what has become my favorite version of this song.  Hutchence sings the song with more passion and energy than even the original recording - or any pther live version. The rest of the band matches his vigor here.  

28 November 2021 - INXS - Don't Change

I had way too much material for just one Hall of Fame week.  This is why I'm posting on the weekend.  

And I couldn't ignore the biggest INXS anthem of all.   Initially not a big hit song, this has become one of their most played and most popular.   And it's for good reason - the song is so uplifting and sweet.  Opening with one of the most iconic synth solos of the 1980's, it erupts quickly into a full band showcase.  

The song is about a love that was lost and found again.  I like to think of it as the reclamation of a relationship after a breakup, or maybe finally finding that love after failed attempts.  The resolution of happiness and execution of bitterness in the lyrics is referring directly to that love, and the pleas to not change are a wonderful reminder and acceptance to love those who we love just as they are.  

Of course, because Michael Hutchence is no longer with us, there were a finite number of times he performed this song.  This performance, from September 27 1997 in Pittsburgh PA, is sad in hindsight, knowing that it was the final time he'd sing the song - he would be dead exactly two months later.  Still, even though it's only audio, you can hear his stage presence, even in his exhaustion.  

In 2011, Kirk Pengilly and Andrew Farris - not typically lead vocalists - took the vocal duties for a slower, deeper version of this song they co-wrote.  It is a fitting tribute.

27 November 2021

27 November 2021 - INXS - Simple Simon

Right now, most of you are wondering what the hell this is.  

This was the debut single by INXS in 1980.  Notice the more new wave sound - a little more punk-edged. Originally only released in Australia, their debut album, which featured this song and many others written by all six members of the band, made it internationally in 1984, after the band started having some hits in Europe and the US.  

This song wasn't a hit.  It was six guys looking for a sound.  It is frantic and fun and simple.  

26 November 2021

26 November 2021 - INXS - Never Tear Us Apart

This song isn't one I had ever really enjoyed by INXS.  It is NOT a song I really enjoyed all that much. It's not bad, mind you - but modern Vienna waltzes weren't my thing in the 1980s.  It was a pretty big hit, and one that was inescapable in 1988, between radio and heavy MTV rotation.  

But then, I got a girlfriend, and of course the song took on a new meaning.  The girlfriend and I didn't last forever, but the song resonated for our time together.  It's a classic love song for the ages, with a great arrangement by Andrew Farris. 

The song also resonated again in 1997, when INXS lead vocalist and lyricist for this song, Michael Hutchence, passed away.  The five remaining members of INXS, as well as Michael's brother, Rhett, served as pallbearers.  What song played as they carried the coffin from the cathedral?  This one.  

So, at the end of the day, because of its romantic meaningfulness and its meaningfulness to fans of INXS, it grew on me.  I hope it grows on you, too.  

25 November 2021

25 November 2021 - INXS - What You Need

Today, in the United States, it is Thanskgiving.  I felt it was appropriate, therefore, to share my first favorite INXS song - it isn't anymore, and wasn't as soon as I actually listened to all of Listen Like Thieves - but I loved it at the time.

The band's first US Top 10 hit, "What You Need" hit #5 on the Billboard charts.  It was written by Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farris under record label pressure - they were looking for a hit.  The men delivered in a big way.  

Lyrically, the song is a pep talk.  It's literally JUST a pep talk.  Musically, the six-piece all have their featured moments in a high-energy way.  Visually, the video is done using a rotoscope animation technique.  

24 November 2021

24 November 2021 - INXS - Pretty Vegas

In 1997, INXS lead vocalists Michael Hutchence died in what appears to have been an accidental suicide.  After a few years of hiatus, they did what any normal band would do in their circumstance.

That, of course, is hold a reality television competition to find a new lead vocalist.  And they found a vocalist that had a similar bravado to Hutchence - a homeless man from Toronto who went by the name J.D. Fortune (it wasn't his real name).  

This song, the only top 40 hot of the J.D. Fortune era, was co-written by Andrew Farris and several of the contestants, includin Fortune.  In my opinion, it absolutely holds up against the hits from 1980s-era INXS.  

23 November 2021

23 November 2021 - INXS - Need You Tonight

I'm not one to bury the lede.  This was INXS's biggest hit.  The opening single from the Kick album in 1987, the Andrew Farris/Michael Hutchence classic about living in the moment was a #1 hit around the world and set the band up for superstardom.

More than that, it moved the band a little away from the rock band mentality and more into a zone where it was OK to use electronic instruments to augment their sound.  It made them a richer, deeper, and, ultimately, more popular band.  

The song is more about the video, which won 5 MTV Video Music Award.  It was directed by Richard Lowenstein and used photocopied images to accomplish the visual effects.   

22 November 2021

22 November 2021 - INXS - Taste It

I'm pleased to induct Australian icons INXS into the Wicked Guilty Pleasures Hall of Fame.  This week will feature a LOT of INXS.

Why are they the choice this year?

Because they released in a relatively short time so many iconic songs and videos.  Were they particularly highbrow?  No.  They're a band that did release more complex and nuanced music than it might have looked on the surface, but still was mass-market sexy.   

Their 1992 album, Welcome To Whereever You Are, came at the start of the tail end of their time as a prominent band, but did account for several singles and went platinum in its own right.  It is my favorite INXS album, for a lot of reasons.  The songwriting was top notch.  Michael Hutchence had reached the pinacle of maturity in his performance.  

This video was never released in the States, and, well, it's something else. The song was the 4th single from the album, Written by Hutchence and Andrew Farris, the song is cool and sexy, with all six musicians getting their due, but no one dominating.  It is a perfect encaptualation of the genius of INXS. 

INXS famously found a new lead singer after the death of Michael Hutchence on a reality TV show. We'll talk a lot more about that over this week, but I wanted to touch on this because it's relevant. New vocalist JD Fortune came with a slightly different bravado, but still held his own with this song.

19 November 2021

19 November 2021 - The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize??

The Flaming Lips are not a band that you would necessarily associate with the word "accessible" or "popular", and yet their 2002 single, which singer/songwriter Wayne Coyne considers to be the best the band has ever written, is exactly that. 

The song, with lyrics by Coyne, was written in response to fellow bandmember Steven Drozd trying to kick his heroin addiction.  It concerns the fragility of life - and the beauty within it despite and because of that.  The song is absolutely beautiful.  

The song is one that they preform live often, and is a crowd pleaser. The band clearly appreciates how much the crowd is pleased.  

18 November 2021

18 November 2021 - The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

You probably only know one Proclaimers song, and it's this one.  It is their biggest worldwide hit, and it was a slow burn.  Originally released in 1988, it was fairly successful at the time.  It was MORE successful in 1993, when it was featured in the movie Benny & Joon and rereleased.  

Written by the Reid twins (who are The Proclaimers), the song is about the willingness to travel long distances to see the one you love, no matter what, because being by their side is the most important thing.  It is this purity of message - the sweetness of this song - that makes it one of my true favorites.  It's this I wanted to share with you today.

17 November 2021

17 November 2021 - Carole King - So Far Away

Carole King was - is - a prolific songwriter who could sing.  She released her second album, Tapestry, in 1971, and it became a worldwide sensation.  Winning several Grammys, it also spent 15 weeks on top of the Billboard Top 200 album chart, the longest any woman has held the spot.  

This song, a highlight of Tapestry, was a top 20 hit for her in October of that year.  Supported by James Taylor on guitar, the song is very straight-forward about missing someone who isn't there. However, the song isn't just about physical, but also emotional distance.  It's a song full of meloncholy on several levels.  

All these years later, she still performs the song.  Here she is, with James Taylor, in 2013, at the Boston Strong concert, doing an earnest and possibly too chipper version of the tune.  

16 November 2021

16 November 2021 - Elvis Presley - My Way

Should this be on Totally Covered?  Yeah, probably.   It was, at least lyrically, written by Paul Anka and popularized by Frank Sinatra in 1969.  

15 November 2021

15 November 2021 - Michelle Branch - Everywhere

OK, I admit it.  

I like Michelle Branch.  

She was one of the first artists I felt like I was "too old" to enjoy, a sentiment I have CLEARLY overcome.  But, in 2001, I was in a place in my life where that was a reality.  

In 2021, I realize that that is not a sentiment anyone should have.  

Especially with this song!  It's a brilliant pop-rock masterpiece, co-written by Branch, dealing with the early throes of falling in love - or so it's been intepreted. Branch herself has said that the song is ambiguous on purpose, leaving its meaning to the listener to determine.  Combined with her earnest performance, it ended up being a top 20 hit and one of her biggest worldwide.   

12 November 2021

12 November 2021 - The Beatles - Something

Written by George Harrison as a tribute to his then-wife, this was considered by John Lennon himself to be the best song on the Abbey Road album. The 1970 promotional film that followed (and is today's post) was recorded after John Lennon announced his departure from The Beatles - the four members are filmed at their homes with their respective wifes and edited together.  

The song itself is on its surface a straightforward love song - the narrator is complementary towards the source of his affection.  However, the bridge brings the straightforward love to reality - that there is a lot of things unknown for the future, but lovers will still strive together towards an unknown goal.  The guitar solo after that bridge by Harrison is considered one of the greatest of all time.

11 November 2021

11 November 2021 - Jewel - You Were Meant For Me

In 1995, Alaska native Jewel Kilcher dropped her last name and her debut album, Pieces of Me.  The album was a hit and generated several singles.   This, her 2nd single from that album, would prove to be the biggest hit of her career, reaching #2 on the US Singles chart. 

The song itself seems like a sad song - it is clearly narrated by a woman struggling with a breakup she doesn't want or now regrets. It can, however, be interpreted as happy - she's getting on with her life despite these feelings, while not losing the emotion that seems sad but is more hopeful.  

10 November 2021

10 November 2021 - Lakuna - Lemongrass

Under the Lakuna name, Newport, RI graphic artist David Narcizo has done some music - along with his wife, Melissa - that is more audio experimentation and less traditional music, but using obscure sound samples and tape loops still make for excellent and entertaining sound.  

This song, from 1999's Castle of Crime, is perhaps Lakuna's best known song. It builds from a very industrial opening into a creamy melodic center, with a stark finale.  

09 November 2021

9 November 2021 - Foreigner - I Want To Know What Love Is

This 1984 song was Foreigner's biggest hit in the United States AND the UK, the two home countries of the band.  Lead singer Lou Gramm hails from the greatest city in America, Rochester, NY.  I'm not at all biased.

Gramm's soulful voice is what makes this such a great song.  It's clearly a love song - but it's a deeper love song, which goes right to the fear of that initial love - not being sure if you can face the heartache and pain that could happen, but at the same time, love finds the narrator.  Backed by the New Jersey Mass Choir, the song gets a larger-than-life feeling that matches the subject matter.   

08 November 2021

8 November 2021 - John Waite - Missing You

This song is a complete lie.  

Well, the chorus is, anyway.  But haven't we all been there?  Our heart is broken, and we're missing someone terribly, and we're trying not to miss them, and we're insisting that we are fine and don't miss them.

Well, John Waite really was missing his lover in this 1984 #1 hit.   There is, after all, a storm raging through his frozen heart.   

John Waite extended his lie by including Alison Krause on a rerecorded version in 2007.  It hit #34 on the Country Charts.   

07 November 2021

7 November 2021 - Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence

"Mrs. Robinson" may be the song most associated with the Mike Nichols film The Graduate, but it wasn't the song used in the iconic final scene.  That song was the first Simon and Garfunkel #1 hit, "The Sound Of Silence", which Nichols convinced the duo to rerecord for the soundtrack.   Paul Simon wrote the song in the echo of his dark bathroom - hance the sound of silence.   

The song is sad and stark in its imagery, while retaining a harmonic beauty.  It picks up tempo as it roles along, ending with an abrupt deadening in tempo.   

In context, here is that last scene of the movie.  The song is slightly different in this version, and it matches the feeling of the scene - the unknown, not knowing what's next, the good and bad of the reality of what just happened hitting you.  There's some excitement to this, and at the same time, fear. 

05 November 2021

5 November 2021 - The Pointer Sisters - I'm So Excited

This single was released TWICE - once in 1982, and once in a remixed form in 1984, when it became a top 10 hit.  Written by the three sisters, it's a song about.... being excited.  What did you think I was going to say?

In all seriousness, it's a sexually charged song, which was atypical for a girl group in the early 1980s.  This video is for the 1982 release, but is the gold standard, featuring all three sisters getting ready for a formal event.  It also matches the lyrical content of the song. 

You all came for the Jessie Spano version.  I know this.   Here it is.  

04 November 2021

4 November 2021 - Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride

Remember when life was simpler?  Remember when songs were written just to show off a sweet new stereo?

Well, that's exactly why Steppenwolf wrote and performed this song.  Sure, there might have been some drug references in there, but at the end of the day, it was a song about a sweet new stereo.   

03 November 2021

3 November 2021 - School Of Fish - 3 Strange Days

In 1991, my friend Heather Deane and I went to see the DiVinyls.  I wrote pretty extensively about that nine years ago.  

What I left out of my original telling was the opening act, School of Fish.  They are the band that really made Heather's ears right, literally for days.  Weeks, even.

This song was one of their biggest "hits" back in the day, getting some significant MTV Buzz Bin airplay.  There's a little blast from the past for y'all.  Written by Josh Clayton-Felt & Michael Ward, the song is a trippy straight-ahead rock song that brings the listener through a psychedelic journey of.... well, three strange days, I guess.   

02 November 2021

2 November 2021 - Dr. Hook - When You're In Love with a Beautiful Woman

In 1978, Dr. Hook (which was the name of the BAND) released what would be their biggest hit worldwide and one of their biggest in the United States. Their look really gave away their easy listening/country crossover song, but for this single, penned by Even Stevens, the traditional sound gave way to one that was a little more disco-tinged.   

The song sounds like it's sweet - and in some ways, it is - but it's really about jealousy.   It's about the lingering self-doubt that comes with dating someone who is better looking than you.  

01 November 2021

1 November 2021 - John Wesley Harding - The Devil in Me

Wesley Stace is a British folksinger and author of four novels.  You might not know his name as a musician, though, because most of his music is under the stage name John Wesley Harding.   This was his debut single, from his debut album Here Comes The Groom.  

The song, as the rest of the album, draws comparisons to Elvis Costello - and since a couple of The Attractions make up part of his backing band here, that's understandable.  Lyrically, the song compares the attrocities of human behavior to, well, the devil.   It is a brilliant and sardonic take on the subject.  

29 October 2021

29 October 2021 - The Libertines - Music When The Lights Go Out

A popular album track from their second eponymous album, this song was written by Pete Doherty, who also sings the song. 

The song uses music as an analogy for love.  When you hear "I no longer hear the music", think "I am no longer in love with you."  However, the song is much more than that.  It is about the pain of loss, even if the loss is so right - but it doesn't ever erase the good times. 

Still, it's one of those songs that make me tear up just a little bit, because we've all been there.   

28 October 2021

28 October 2021 - Willie Nelson - Buddy

Let's not beat around the bush.  This deep cut was made popular on the television show Parks and Recreation.  It was one of Ron Swanson's favorite songs and appears twice during the series.

A tribute to the value of a good friend and how they can help with the pain of a heartbreak, Willie Nelson wrote it for his 1986 album, Good Times.  The whole album was meant to be a departure from the Nashville sound that had pigeonholed him for the first decade of his career.  In that respect, it was a success - Nelson became a superstar.

27 October 2021

27 October 2021 - Jessica Simpson - With You

I know what you're thinking.  

Don't worry.  I'm thinking it, too.

This song, which came out about the same time Jessica was on the MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, was accompanied by a video that kind of mirrored the action on the show.  Lachey himself appears in the video.  

The song itself was a sweet love song, extoling the good feeling when you find that one person who is perfect, with whom you can be yourself.  Written by Simpson, Billy Mann and Andy Marvel (her producers), it's not a remarkable or different pop song.  It's just a solid midtempo pop tune with an element of funk to it. 

26 October 2021

26 October 2021 - Nanci Griffith - From a Distance

You probably thought this was a Bette Midler song, didn't you.

Nope.  Nanci Griffith did it two years earlier.  It's a little bit folkier, with a different feel.   This version of the Julie Gold-penned song was a big hit in Ireland, of all places.   

Griffith passed away this past August, after two separate bouts with cancer.  Her voice will be sorely missed.

25 October 2021

25 October 2021 - 50 Foot Wave - Clara Bow

50 Foot Wave are a power-pop trio founded in 2003.  Principal lyricist Kristin Hersh (the other band members share songwriting credit), also the founder of the closest thing to open source the music industry has ever had, CASH Music, sees this project as somewhat mathematical - 50 feet is the wavelength of the lowest audible (to humans) F tone.  But it's more than that - it's very much an emotional roller coaster.

This song, an early single by the group, is very much a bombastic thrill ride from start with finish, with unabated guitar and raspy growl by Hersh, bass by Bernard Georges, and the drumming of Rob Ahlers.  The personal nature of the song - the lyricist tends to write and perform in first person - is clear.

22 October 2021

22 October 2021 - Lights - Prodigal Daughter

I was going to have a moratorium on any Lights posts for a while.  

But then she goes and releases THIS.

And if I did it for Lorde, I have to do it for #1000

But yeah. New Lights song. The video itself is... provocative. Let's call it that. Drenched in red, it matches this blog. 

The song, expected to be the first single off her next album (due next year) is described by the artist herself as "a banger about finding yourself." Which is absolutely something I would say. 

21 October 2021

21 October 2021 - Lush - Sweetness and Light

As many of you know, I was really into shoegaze music in the 90's.  Still am, in fact. When Lush started out, they were the epitome of shoegaze.  Like, open the dictionary, turn to "shoegaze", and a picture of Lush is right there.  

This was one of their first singles - and their first in the US when they finally released all their UK music here.   When released, the song was actually a turn towards shoegaze - their earlier music had more of a post-punk feeling - with a lighter sound.  In the mix, Miki Berenyi (lead) and Emma Anderson (backing (and songwriter, by the way)) were styled with slightly obscured vocals to invoke a dreamy feel.  

20 October 2021

20 October 2021 - The National - Slow Show / 29 Years

This song is a deep cut from the 2007 album Boxer by Cincinatti band The National.  It is widely considered to be one of the greatest modern love songs ever written.  And, yet, it wasn't a single.  Go figure.  

The song is classic indie-pop, with a dark and brooding accompanyment alongside the sweet lyrics about what real love looks like. 

A personal joy I get is when the live performance sounds so much like the studio one.  On one hand, you want to see some unique elements - and you get that with this 2010 live performance - but also, you can see how tight the band is, and how much an extension of themselves this performance is.

"Slow Show" incorporated lyrics from their 2001 song, "29 Years", which was a more country-tinged song, but you can hear the future sound starting to develop.

19 October 2021

19 October 2021 - We The Kings - Check Yes Juliet

It's pretty common that a band's debut single is their biggest.  This is the case with We The Kings, a Florida power pop-rock band that hit glod - no, platinum - with their very first single.  Released in 2008, the song spent THREE YEARS on charts all over the world.  

Anyone who knows the Romeo and Juliet story - about a strong new love - can figure out the plot of this song without too much thought.  The boy knows what he has with the girl and is fighting so hard for it.  Not only lyrically, but the rises and falls of the pop-punk song in a musical manner convey the feeling of urgency and desperation.  

18 October 2021

18 October 2021 - Vance Joy - Missing Piece

Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy wrote a song that spoke to a lot of us as we were forcibly separated during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  In his words:
“Missing Piece is a song about being separated from someone you love. It can be tough but when what you have is good you know that these separations are just small stuff; you’re both holding the line. It’s about the stillness you find when you are together." - Vance Joy
Written on a Zoom call with Joel Little - how pandemic of them - the song and video both capture that feeling of separation and the joy of reunion with the person that completes you.  

15 October 2021

15 October 2021 - Phantogram - Into Happiness

The pride of Saratoga Springs, Phantogram, have evolved throughout their history.  Their fourth album, Ceremony, released in 2020, was richer and more nuanced than their previous work, while still retaining an electronic edge.  

This song, the first single of that album, was co-written by the two members of Phantogram - Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter - along with producer Boots and William Patrick Corgan - he usually goes by Billy - and was something of an alternative radio hit.  Both Carter and usual vocalist Barthel contribute lead vocal to this song.

Lyrically, the song is brighter than most prior Phantogram fare, although it still teeters strongly on the dark side.  It shows a maturity not seen before. 

14 October 2021

14 October 2021 - BØRNS - Electric Love

I am sitting here, writing this a week in advance.  I have a very busy week next week, so I want to make sure I get every last post to you.  

This 2014 song - which was certified platinum and has hit the charts a FEW times - was the debut single by BØRNS, who is, with that special character, American.  Go figure.  More recently, this song was featured in a TikTok challenge to kiss your best friend.  That is something I wholeheartedly recommend.  

The song has been described as "viral".  It is a funky, strangely beautiful love song, a throwback to the days of glam rock.  It grabs the listener with a haunting rhythm and drops right into a throbbing bassline.

Somehow, with a full band in a live performance, the song is even funkier and grander.

13 October 2021

13 October 2021 - The Box Tops - The Letter

Do you know that feeling when your baby is back at home and you're not, and she lets you know she's missing you as badly as you are missing her, and you have to just get to her as fast as possible - so fast that a train won't cut it?

So does Alex Chilton, who perfectly put that feeling to music. He didn't write the song - Wayne Carson did - but the gruff, bluesy take that Chilton had on the song is the first and still the greatest.  

12 October 2021

12 October 2021 - MGMT - Electric Feel

Look, I still say the Katy Perry version is better.  It objectively is. 

That does not make the MGMT version of this song, the original, not good.  It is.  Really good.  It is a trippy, fuzzed up trip that served as the group's first worldwide hit.  

The song - an electric tale of love - is incredibly complex, and takes a fair bit of skill to perform.  Which is why it's really impressive to see performed live.  

11 October 2021

11 October 2021 - Carpenters - Top Of The World

This song, co-written by Richard Carpenter, went to #1 for 2 weeks in 1973.  And, it wasn't even supposed to be a single -  it was an album cut that ended up being a COUNTRY hit for Lynn Anderson when she covered it herself.   

Lyrically, it's little more than a really simple love song - but isn't that what love is all about?  Musically, although there's a full orchestra as part of the backing band, the song is dominated by the Wurlizer electric piano.  Karen Carpenter's earnest, wholesome delivery really sells the song.  

08 October 2021

8 October 2021 - Love Positions - Into Your Arms

However, Robyn St. Clare of Australian jangle-pop band The Hummingbirds wrote the song.  She and fellow Hummingbird and future Lemonhead (he brought the song with him) Nic Dalton recorded this song as part of their side project, Love Positions.  The song is incredible simple.  It's a love song that succintly expresses the feeling of warmth and security one finds in true love.

The original arrangement of the song is sparse - St. Clare on vocal, Dalton on guitar.  There's a lot of beauty in the light arrangement.

07 October 2021

7 October 2021 - Berlin - Take My Breath Away

When this song came out, Berlin hadn't been heard from much in a couple of years - and had never had a top 20 hit, although a few of their songs (most recently "No More Words") had been minor US hits. 

This song was different.  The love theme from the movie Top Gun, it won the Academy Award for songwriter Giorgio Moroder - who was asked by Jerry Bruckheimer to write the song for the film.

Berlin was not the first choice for the song - The Motels, actually - but when they passed, Moroder thought of Berlin - he had produced "No More Words".  and, frankly, he made the right choice. Teri Nunn was more than capable of what is considered to be one of the greatest key changes in music history (time code: 2:48), something Martha Davis of The Motels could not do. 

The song itself is one that is well known to this day.

06 October 2021

6 October 2021 - Lights - Timing Is Everything

I wasn't planning on a Lights post for a while.  I mean, #1000

Then she posted this on Instagram:

HOW can I ignore this?  Even if I'm a couple of days late.  

You see, Lights's sophmore album, Siberia, was released on October 4th, 2011.  It's ten years old. And I had a complete blind spot to it - largely because I didn't really (at the time) love her first album.  My former co-author Scott quite famously called me out on this.  In fact, I didn't discover this record until THIS YEAR

Before I wrote this post, I did something I don't do very often anymore to any album.  I listened to Siberia end to end.   It has quickly become one of my favorite albums, ever, and this listening didn't do anything to change that.  It is both dark and, well, light at the same time.  The music is stark and brooding at points, but Lights's vocal and lyrics bring the tone way up.

This is a song I often forget is on Siberia and was reminded of on my listening. The title gives the subject away - often in life, things happen - LOVE happens - when the timing is right and two people with different trajectories come together in the same point in time.  It is a beautiful and meaningful work of art.

05 October 2021

5 October 2021 - Barry Manilow - Can't Smile Without You

Let's not bury the sotry here.

This is a cover.   

It should be on Totally Covered.

It's here.  Here is where it's going to stay.   

The Barry Manilow version of this song was not the first - David Martin did that.  But Manilow made this song his own, and this is how he did it. First, he sang the hell out of it.  He just did.  No argument.  But what he added - the sweet whistle at the beginning, a few lyrical changes - really made the song into the classic song that it is.  

Credit, however, needs to go to the original songwriters - Christian Arnold, Geoff Morrow, and David Martin - who really captured in their lyrics what being in love really is.  It is one of the most pure and beautiful representations of this in music.

04 October 2021

4 October 2021 - Cher Lloyd - Sirens

It's been a long time since we visited Cher Lloyd, performer of the most perfect pop song.   Fight me.  

But she actually did that twice, because with her second album, Sorry I'm Late, the 3rd place finisher on X Factor really found a new maturity and strength in her already strong voice.  It was a little weird to hear the words "Cher Lloyd" and "critical acclaim" in the same sentence, and yet, with this song.....

So, maybe I have to say she's got two perfect and very different pop songs.  

So, I was curious.  I mean, this is a great and emotional tour de force of a song - that, by the way, she co-wrote.  But, what happens if you strip all the production out - if you have Cher and a microphone and a sparser accompanyment?

You hear her emotion more.  You hear everything she threw into this song so much more.

01 October 2021

1 October 2021 - Lucinda Williams - Changed the Locks

In 2017, I wrote a post about one of the songs that made me start the Totally Covered blog.  I wrote it from the cover perspective.   Today, I wanted to give you the other side.   

In 1988, Austin TX singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams released a self-titled album.  There were a lot of great songs you know (The Grammy-winning "Passionate Kisses", famously covered by Mary Chapin Carpenter, comes to mind). However, few songs reach the influence of this song, released as a single in 1989.  

The story of the song, with harmonica, guitar and a sharp drum backing, is simple - a woman is taking increasingly absurd measures to prevent herself from falling in love with someone.  The brilliance of this song is that the object of her affection is not assigned any fault, anywhere - it's just an internal fight she's having with herself.  It is the truest musical representation of fighting one's personal feelings I've ever heard.

I called the song "achy" and "desperate" when I wrote about it on the covers blog.  Both are accurate terms, but it's a lot more than that.  

30 September 2021

30 September 2021 - Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

This might be the first spoken word piece I've ever posted here.   

What a lot of people don't know is that this poem, written and performed by Gil Scott-Heron, was a response to someone else's poem.  Poetry group The Last Poets had released a piece called "When The Revolution Comes", in which they implied, and by implied, I mean, said right out, that most people will watch the revolution on TV.

What Gil Scott-Heron didn't realize is that he had written a rallying cry, using a phrase from the 1960's Black Power movement.  He wrote a poem that resonated far greater than Black Power, or any one movement.  He wrote and performed a piece that is used to this day to motivate crowds and drive protests, despite its dated 1970 references.  

Listen to the line repeated twice at about 1:30 and tell me this song doesn't still resonate today.

29 September 2021

29 September 2021 - Julia Volkova - Didn't Wanna Do It

We've spoken in the past about the ladies of t.A.T.u.  We've spoken about the solo career of Lena Katina. Julia Volkova has one as well.   Unfortunately, this is where we have to jump break......

28 September 2021

28 September 2021 - Bonjour Brumaire - Brooklyn

Let's start with the obvious reason I'm posting this.  

It's a Quebec band writing about Brooklyn.  There is no other reason

Youri Zaragoza is an excellent and unusual vocalist who brings a pained tone to this interesting and deep song.  The song was co-written by the four gentlemen/band members, and it's not so much about one of the four best boroughs of New York City, but more of a love song.  

Here's the band performing the song live in 2008.  From what we can tell from social media and subsequent videos, the keyboardist left soon after to do other things.  

27 September 2021

27 September 2021 - The Easybeats - Good Times

The Easybeats were the first Australian band to have a hit outside of Australia.  

This was not that hit, but it was a minor international hit for another band.  This version, featuring a guest vocal by Steve Marriott of the group Small Faces, hit #22 in Australia in 1968.  The song itself is a lot of fun and oft-covered for that very reason.

It's also one of my favorite songs from the 1960's, and not just because of INXS and Jimmy Barnes.  

24 September 2021

24 September 2021 - Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust

Billy Joel followed up his huge HUGE hit album An Innocent Man with a greatest hits album, which, for someone supposedly in the prime of their career, is a lame move.  But, at that time, I considered Billy Joel to be pretty lame.   

When he followed that with 1986's The Bridge, I didn't consider him quite so lame.  You see, this song came out at a time when I was starting to branch out in musical taste - and discovering new artists that were outside the mainstream.  I had already rejected Billy Joel's music as pretty boring and bland.  When I first heard this song, however, it changed my perception a little.  It was a song with a little soul - a little emotion.  Perhaps it's the fact that it's a guitar-driven and not piano-driven song - but it resonated with me.  

I'm not a Billy Joel fan to this day.  This song, however, still hits.

23 September 2021

23 September 2021 - Fine, It's Pink - Sailor

Last week, my favorite Romanian band, Fine, It's Pink, released a new single.   

Isn't it natural to have a favorite Romanian band?  It isn't?  Well, maybe we need to normalize that. 

Anyway, they're a terrific band no matter where they are from.  Ioana Lefter has a unique, rich voice unlike any other I've heard.  The song is deep and also accessible. I hope this is the song that is their bridge to acceptance outside of Romania, but if not, at least you can enjoy it.

22 September 2021

22 September 2021 - Fugazi - Waiting Room

This is probably Fugazi's best known song.  The band's debut single is an absolute classic, still remembered fondly more than 30 years after its initial release.  

Written by Ian MacKaye about not making the same mistakes he made with his previous band, Embrace (you hear it now, don't you), it combines elements of punk, ska, and straight ahead rock.  Fugazi helped define the Washington DC hardcore scene of the 80s and 90s, with this song being a major reason for that.  

21 September 2021

21 September 2021 - Foo Fighters - Big Me

Look, sometimes, the post is about the song - and this one, an early single by Dave Grohl's post-Nirvana band is certainly a gem in and of itself.  It's a lighthearted pop-rock song, and a top 20 hit in the US at that.

But c'mon.  This post is all about this video.  It's a huge Mentos commercial parody, and a damned near perfect one at that.  

To compare, here's the 2nd commerical they parody.

And here's the first.

The band certainly played this fun and happy song live, but they stopped for a while.  If you watched this live video, you can probably understand why, as many rolls of Mentos are thrown on stage.  I don't know if you've ever had a roll of Mentos thrown at you, but they hurt.

They do perform it now, probably because people don't get the reference anymore.