01 February 2023

1 February 2023 - Aya Nakamura - Baby

Most of my readers are from the United States.  So, you've likely never heard of French/Malian singer Aya Nakamura.  In Europe, though - she's huge, without a doubt. Nakamura isn't her real last name (she lifted that from a character on the TV show Heroes, which I can't recommend enough unless you want to watch it past the first season.....).  Her fame grew out of, shockingly, her YouTube channel.

This is the lead single off her latest album, DNK, released on January 27th.  Written by Nakamura herself, it is a pretty standard R&B song both musically and thematically.  It just happens to be in French.  So, I encourage you to give it a listen, and I hope you like it as much as the last French-language artist I pushed down your throats.

31 January 2023

31 January 2023 - Rolling Quartz - Blaze

We went down a cover rabbit hole yesterday, but in doing so, we discovered a rockin' band.

Rolling Quartz formed in 2019 when Rose Quartz and Rolling Girlz, two different bands, merged into one, creating an indie rock band that demands your attention.  

That's right.  I said "demands."   They're that good.  Jayoung's huge vocals drive the band, all of whom are both technically strong and bring personality to their performances.

This, their debut single, was released in December 2020.  


The band formed just before the global pandemic, and released their first single DURING the pandemic, so they had to adapt to a new normal in performance, but they also came back to live performances hard as soon as they could. 

30 January 2023

30 January 2023 - Måneskin - Zitti e Buoni

It's not often we get to feature Eurovision-winning bands.  I'm happy to say that Italian band Måneskin fits that bill.

This song, written by the band, was Italian representative and winner of Eurovision 2021.  The song also won the Sanremo Music Festival the same year.  Notice how hard the song rocks.  It is an angry rebuke of an older generation who does not value the input of those younger than they - the title roughly translates to "Quiet and Good" i.e. shut up and be good kids.

The song actually started off as a ballad.  Strange to imagine that, so we'll just give you the song that won Eurovision.  Viva l'italia!


Yes, of course we're including their Eurovision performance.  C'mon now.

26 January 2023

26 January 2023 - Hall & Oates - Out Of Touch

Daryl Hall and John Oates may be the greatest duo of the 1980s.  At least, my friend Mark thought so.  

In 1984, this song went to #1 on the Billboard charts.  It would be the duo's last trip to the top of the charts - although they still had a few hits left in them.  Oates wrote the chorus off a synthesizer riff, and the duo wrote the verses the next day. 

 It's also one of my personal favorite songs by the duo.  Which is the real reason why we're talking today.

25 January 2023

25 January 2023 - Everlast - What it's Like

We're almost a month into 2023, and we're still writing 2022 on our checks.

Just kidding.  We haven't written a check in years.

But that's how we're getting you back to 1998, when bluesy guitarist Everlast broke onto the scene with his only solo hit (he previously had a hit with his group House of Pain) - a song that uses each verse to tell a story of someone who is figuratively drowning in their life (and literally drowning in the video).  



By the way, "his only solo hit" is by no means a measure of the success Everlast has had, as he has continued to create music that resonates, and has been nominated for several awards.  Here he is, performing his best known song just a couple of years ago.  His voice is raspier, which lends itself well to the bluesy tone of the song. 

24 January 2023

24 January 2023 - Double Take - Hot Problems

You had to know we'd get here eventually.  Today is the day.

Drew Garrett and Lauren Willey didn't have a lot of confidence in their singing abilities.  This is why they went with talk-singing on their viral hit that many have called "Worse than "Friday"".

These two young songwriters (that's right, they wrote this) also didn't actually think they're hot.  This song, from 2012, was the first of just a few singles by the singer-songwriting duo - all in a similar style, and all clear parody.  

But we know the real question: where are they now?

We did a #WickedGP deep dive to find out what the ladies were up to since their viral fame.  Drew Garrett is a holistic health coach with her own business.  Lauren Willey's Instagram bio clearly states that she is a "lifelong hoop earring advocate & beauty PR w/ @behrmanpr".  Both appear to be living successful, happy lives outside the music industry.  



23 January 2023

23 January 2023 - Glass Animals - Heat Waves

What was the biggest hit of 2022?

According to Billboard, it was "Heat Waves" by Oxford band Glass Animals.  Which is quite an achievement, since it was released in 2021 as a single (and ended up #16 on THAT year end chart) and took 59 weeks to get there.  It spent more than a YEAR on the pop chart before it hit #1, and spent a month there.  And that's just what it did in the US!  In Australia, it spent 85 weeks in their top 10, the longest run by far of any single.

It's not like Glass Animals is some big hitmaker overnight success of a band.  They've been around since 2010, and this was their first big hit. 

So what made this song a hit?

Well, weird Minecraft fan fiction that highlighted the song didn't hurt, but I'd like to think it's the simple lyrics and captivating electronic beat.  Anyone can sing along to this song.  Even me!  Hell, I'm singing along right now.  


It also may be the fact that they are a different band, with an accessible look.  They aren't overstyled.  They're a real band, writing real music.  And they perform it live, too.

20 January 2023

20 January 2023 - Christina Aguilera - Beautiful

"You know, people will actually read about Christina Aguilera.  Why not continue down that road?"

"Sure.  But I should go non-obvious and not the literal second single from Stripped, right?"

"What?  What is that single"

""Beautiful".  I literally mentioned it yesterday."

"Oh yeah.  You did.  But I kinda think you have to.  It's her biggest hit and her best known song."

"Ugh, fine.  Can I at least talk about new facts people might not know, like that it was written and produced by Linda Perry, who most people know from 4 Non Blondes?" 

"It's not like I can stop you."

"How about the fact that this video won a GLAAD award for the positive and normalized portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community, who have adopted it as kind of an anthem?"

"You really can't not mention that. Better mention the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance as well as its nomination for Song of the Year.  You love mentioning awards."

"How about the lack of assless chaps?"

"....."


"What else do I need to say about this song?"

"Did you mention the second video?"

"The what, now?"

"Yeah, Christina made a 2nd video for this song in 2022, with a focus on body acceptance and the issues of social media in regards to that."

"I did NOT know that existed."

"Yeah, she even put some mental health resources right on the front page of her website.  They're still there right now, as we write this."

"Yeah, I see that.  Looks like this was a 20th anniversary rerelease as well."

"I mean, yeah, but do you see the greater good she's trying to do here?"



"Well, what about the other version of the song/"

"What other version?"

""You Are What You Are (Beautiful)".  She rerecorded it in a different style for her greatest hits album."

"Oh, like "Genie 2.0"?"

"You DO read my blog! Yes, a lot like that.  Very electronic."

"I think it sounds like a funeral dirge."

"Can you be a little positive here?"

"Yeah.  I'm positive it sounds like a funeral dirge."


"Do you think there's video of her performing this song in assless chaps?"

"What is it with you and the assless chaps?"

"Ugh ok.  How about this 2016 video from Russian television?"

"Wow.  OK!"

"Yeah, it showcases her still-gigantic voice and her love of her fans"

"Agreed!!!"

19 January 2023

19 January 2023 - Christina Aguilera ft. Redman - Dirrty

The birth of Xtina happened in 2002, as Ms. Aguilera was looking to blast the virginal image that her record label was trying to push.

If the song didn't accomplish that, the video sure as hell did.  A dirrty, gritty affair, featuring mud wrestling, furries, and a relatively scantily clad Xtina ended up being an immediate hit and propelled the song to #5 on the pop charts.

The songwriting team included Redman, whose 2001 song "Let's Get Dirty" was a strong inspiration for this single, which Aguilera fought to be the first single from her Stripped album (over eventual megahit "Beautiful").


To go a little bit into how the sausage is made, I like to add a live performance in a lot of these posts.  In the case of this song, there are a lot of performances from 2002 and 2003 in which it is not clear whether or not Christina is singing or just lip-syncing (I believe she is singing but using a helper track).  Sure, there are a lot of assless chaps, but I like to give you, the reader, a different perspective of the song.

Then I found this full-band performance.  No doubt she's singing the hell out of this song here.

18 January 2023

18 January 2023 - Nicki Minaj - Super Freaky Girl

It was really only a matter of time before Nicki Minaj sampled Rick James, right?  

Released in August 2022, this song was an instant hit - and by instant, I mean huge Spotify debut, #1 Billboard Hot 100 debut, a spot on her Greatest Hits album (she's been around long enough to have one of those!).  

The bigger deal is that it was only her third #1 - and her first in a couple of years.  

16 January 2023

16 January 2023 - The All-American Rejects - Gives You Hell

This may be the angriest song we've ever posted - and we have posted songs with the F word in their title.  

The All-American Rejects scored their biggest hit to date - #4 on the Hot 100 in addition to topping the US Rock charts - with this angry, angry song.  Of course, the band had someone in mind - some real asshole, in their words - but they're not saying - or telling the subject.

Anyway, it's a great straight-ahead rock song that was a refreshing take in 2008.

13 January 2023

13 January 2023 - The Arrows - I Love Rock N Roll


The Arrows wrote and performed this song in 1975.  This creepy, creepy song about picking up an underage girl ended up getting them a recurring TV gig on their own eponymous show.  Ah, the 70s.  It was on that TV show that Joan Jett saw the band perform the song - and her recordings became history.

The song is a classic because of what Joan Jett did, and despite the creepy, creepy subject matter, I have come to appreciate this version.  

12 January 2023

12 January 2023 - Kim Petras - Future Starts Now

Kim Petras has been releasing compelling alt-synth pop music for years that has been really really good.  This post is about one that didn't get a real release, though.

This song was supposed to be the big single from her third album, which would have been her major label debut, Problématique, That album, for unknown reasons, never got released and was scrapped by the Republic Records, supposedly due to the fact that many songs, including this one, were leaked ahead of time (some speculate there are other reasons related to Dr. Luke, who we have mentioned before in not-complimentary terms).

Anyway, Petras says it's OK to listen to the leaks, and she has released this song as a single - and it ended up being something of a club hit - so if she's OK with it, we are, too.  


11 January 2023

11 January 2023 - Dolly Parton - I Will Always Love You

I grew up with country music loving parents.  

My mother's nickname was Dolly.  (Not a joke - a lot of people thought it was her real name)

So, naturally, I grew up listening to a lot of Dolly Parton.  That includes this song.  I used to not really like it.  I found it boring.  As I grew older, I see the beauty of it.  

The song was written for Porter Wagoner, on whose show Dolly Parton (not my mom) got her start.  She had been on his show for five years and was leaving for a solo career - and this song was her resignation letter.  

You thought it was a romantic breakup song, didn't you?  It wasn't.  

Anyway, the song topped the country charts twice.  The first time was in 1974, and this was what the song sounded like then.


In 1982, Dolly Parton (not my mom) did a movie with Burt Reynolds called The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and she rerecorded and rereleased this song - and it topped the country charts AGAIN.


She would, of course, release the song AGAIN, as a duet with Vince Gill, in 1995.  This version didn't top the country charts - it only reached #15.  

Disappointing.

This version started off as THIS live performance, and was picked up by country music radio, which pressured Dolly's label to release it as a single - and it became a hit again.  


As big a hit as this song was, it was an even bigger hit for another artist who shall remain nameless.

10 January 2023

10 January 2023 - Steve Winwood - Valerie

In 1982, Steve Winwood released an album - Talking Back to the Night - that featured this single, which ended up being a minor hit - hitting #70 on the Billboard charts, and getting the former Spencer Davis Group member some attention.  

The song is about a former lover that the narrator hopes will return to him someday.



In 1986, Steve Winwood had a huge enough year to warrant a greatest hits album - Chronicles - in 1987. Included on that album was a remix of "Valerie", which ended up being a much bigger hit (US Top 10) than the original.  

Both are among my favorite unsung songs by any artist.

09 January 2023

9 January 2023 - Megan Thee Stallion - Plan B

Megan Pete really knows how to write a really, really dirty song.  

More to the point, she knows how to write a great, strong breakup song - which she says was based on a lot of past relationships and had nothing to do with being shot by Tory Lanez.

Yes, she was shot by Tory Lanez, in 2020.  In both feet.  She was in bad shape.  

The song, with the title a reference to the popular post-coital birth control, is angry and bold and.... really really good.  I hope we have her as an artist for a long time to come. 


You know, I appreciate the need for a helper track, but Megan is raw and honest in this live performance, even with that.

06 January 2023

6 January 2023 - The Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight

The first hip hop song to be a radio hit samples "Good Times" by Chic pretty heavily, so much so that Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards sued for songwriting credits.  The song, ironically, started when the Sugarhill Gang and Fab Five Freddy JOINED Chic on stage and came up with an impromptu rhyme to go along with the LIVE bassline of this song.

That wasn't the only sample they used.  "Here Comes That Sound Again" by Love De-Luxe was also sampled.  Did Alan Hankshaw get a songwriting credit?  Noooooooooo.

More importantly, this was the song that brought hip hop to a broad audience.  No, it wasn't the first, but it was the first hit.  It would go on to be one of the most influential one-hit wonders in history.

05 January 2023

5 January 2023 - Latto - Big Energy

No, Mariah Carey didn't get a songwriting credit here.

You know who did?

Tina Weymouth.  Chris Frantz.  Adrian Belew.  Steven Stanley.

This really dirty song reached #3 on the pop charts - and #8 on the year end chart - and was a worldwide starmaking hit for Latto.  The winner of the 2016 TV reality competition The Rap Game, she's come out strong with a bravado that Megan Three Stallion no one can match. 

Plus, lyrically, Latto does pay tribute to Mariah here, even if it's a Tom Tom Club sample.


Mariah DID get a songwriting credit on this remix (100% true)...... as well as a vocal one.  DJ Khaled gets his two cents in at the beginning and end of this as well.  


If you read this far, you know today is our 12th birthday.  Celebrate with us all year long as we bring the BDE and make this our biggest year yet.

04 January 2023

4 January 2023 - Mariah Carey - Fantasy

Two things you should learn from this post.

1) Not every week needs a theme.  This one, however, does.

2) Don't assume I hate a song just because it samples one of the greatest songs ever written.

I'm not a huge Mariah Carey fan.  I am really, really not.  I am especially sick of her right now, when we have all heard that goddamn Christmas song on repeat, everywhere.  Little known fact: this song was THAT song's follow up single.  

But this song - which she lyrically co-write with Dave Hall (musically and partially lyrically, it was written by Adrian Belew, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Steven Stanley) - really understands the song it sampled, and doesn't disrespect it.  It's not a ripoff.  It's an homage.  And it's probably the best thing Mariah Carey has ever done.

03 January 2023

3 January 2023 - Beastie Boys - No Sleep Till Brooklyn

If you listen to the lyrics, you know that the Beasties are talking about being on a long tour, as a lot of young musicians have to do, where you don't get to sleep much.  Their home base being Brooklyn, that would be when sleep would come.

Now you know.

This song, produced by Rick Rubin, fuses rock and hip hop, with a guitar riff straight out of "TNT" by AC/DC and a title that invokes Motörhead (No Sleep 'til Hammersmith),  However, the three part harmonies were boastful and bold, typical of late-1980's rap music.

The song was a band and crowd favorite at their shows, with the group frequently using this as their closing song. Who could resist the frantic, energetic feeling of this tune?

02 January 2023

2 January 2023 - Run-DMC - It's Tricky

Why yes, that is Penn and Teller playing the big baddies in this video.

This very quick-tongued song, co-produced by Run-DMC and Rick Rubin (best known for metal producing before this).  Utilizing samples from "My Sharona" by The Knack and "Mickey" by Toni Basil (the former sued the band over the sample), the combined forces of Run, DMC, JamMaster Jay, and Rick Rubin solidified the group's strength in fusing hip hop music with hard-edged rock.  They were, in essence, the gangsta rap of their time.

Shoutout to Penn Jillette, who does a "great" job with the tune at the end of the video.