In a prior post, I mentioned that Kim Petras had a cancelled album, and once that happened, she started leaking the music from that album.
Since I posted that, Petras won a couple of Grammys for her collaboration with Sam Smith, "Unholy".
The single she released between "Future Starts Now" and "Unholy" was a song about her tits.
Yeah. I said it. "Coconuts", in this song, do not refer to the tree fruit known for its white flesh and creamy milk. There's no tree mentioned at all. She is very much encouraging you to take a look at her margarita-tas.
There are a ton of double-entendre jokes made throughout this song, which is super dirty - but because of the rapid-fire jokes, I felt sharing the lyric video was wisest.
CeCe Peniston's debut single was released in September 1991, ahead of her debut album. It would go on to become her biggest hit by far, becoming a top 5 hit in the US and topping charts worldwide.
Not only was it Peniston's first single, it was the first song she ever wrote, starting as a poem she had written. While it was her biggest hit by far, it was far from her only hit, as she had a run of top 30 hits that followed this megahit.
The song is an upbeat delight, and you should enjoy it.
We're talking about this song in 2023, still, more than thirty years after its release. Surely, there must be something that kept the song in our collective consciousness that is appropriate for June 1st.
June is Pride Month, a month where we celebrate LGBTQ+ pride. I'll talk more about WHY it's June later in the month, but know that this is a month where festivals and parades pop up around the world.
So, why this song?
In 1994, there was a groundbreaking movie released out of Australia. That movie was called The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The movie follows three drag queens as they drive a bus across Australia to Alice Springs and a huge booking. 1) I cannot recommend this movie enough. 2) This song features prominently in an emotional climax in the movie, as our heroes perform to this song in Alice Springs. On the strength of that scene, and the iconic nature of the movie in the gay community, this song has become something of an anthem.
Anyway, here's the scene.
Penniston has embraced her biggest hit's status as iconic song and her expanded audience. Here she is performing the song at 2018 Vegas Pride.
Hello, fellow pleasure-seekers! Today, we dive headfirst into the scandalously seductive world of Berlin's provocative hit song, "Sex (I'm A)." Buckle up and get ready to embrace your guiltiest of pleasures!
Berlin's "Sex (I'm A)" burst onto the scene in 1983, immediately raising eyebrows and temperatures alike. This audacious track, with its bold and risqué lyrics, left listeners blushing and gasping for breath. It's the musical equivalent of a secret rendezvous in a dimly lit alley—raw, daring, and oh-so-naughty!
At the helm of Berlin's tantalizing tunes is the charismatic and sultry Terri Nunn, the voice and heart of Berlin. Nunn's seductive vocals and uninhibited performance style turn up the heat, ensuring this song etches itself into the guilty pleasure hall of fame. Her ability to exude both vulnerability and fierce confidence makes us weak in the knees.
Can we talk about these lyrics for a second?! "Sex (I'm A)" tantalizes with innuendos and cheeky wordplay that would make even the most composed individual blush like a schoolgirl. With lines like "I'm a push and a shove in your thighs," Berlin masterfully combines sensuality and suggestive wordplay that leave little to the imagination. In an era of post-Sexual Revolution conservative norms and whispered desires, these lyrics broke through the chains of societal restraints. "Sex (I'm A)" challenged the status quo, bringing sexual liberation to the forefront. By doing so, the song inspired countless conversations, pushing boundaries, and leaving a lasting impact on pop culture's perception of sexuality.
Despite its titillating subject matter and radio bans, "Sex (I'm A)" skyrocketed up the charts, taking the music world by storm. The song reached #62 on the Billboard Hot 100, on limited airplay. Berlin's audacity paid off, as audiences eagerly embraced the unabashed celebration of passion and desire.
Now, let's talk about the video. Bathed in sultry red hues, it features Terri Nunn seducing the camera, leaving viewers both scandalized and spellbound. With its provocative imagery and bold cinematography, the "Sex (I'm A)" music video further solidified Berlin's status as pioneers of sensual visual storytelling.
So, enjoy this bold, adventurous, groundbreaking song.
Remember that week in the 1990's when we all listened to Gregorian chants?
Today, we explore the mystery of our collective quirky musical preferences to unravel the enigma surrounding the iconic song, "Sadeness (Part I)" by Enigma.
Enigma is a musical project of Michael Cretu, with a revolving roster of supporting artists. This song sampled Michael's then-wife, Sandra (a pop star in her own right), singing some French vocals, as well as some James Brown drum beats and a 1974 chant by Gregorian monks.
That magical combination was a top 5 hit in 1991.
Gregorian chants made the pop charts in the United States.
Yep, as many times as I say that, it doesn't seem real.
So, let's address that.
While traditionally associated with religious ceremonies, Enigma fearlessly incorporated these sacred vocal arrangements into their sensual soundscape. Imagine finding yourself torn between spiritual reflection and seductive daydreams. It's a musical rollercoaster that leaves you wondering, "Can I pray and dance at the same time?"
The song ended up being groundbreaking, with other artists daring to blend classical music with modern beats to create something new. But nothing beats the original.
Many of you have probably seen the The Super Mario Bros. Movie. I have. It's the highest grossing movie of 2023 so far.
Jack Black voices the villian, Bowser. Bowser's motivation in the film is his love for Princess Peach, who rules over the Toad Kingdom. This love ballad features prominently in the movie, and has become something of a hit in its own right, even hitting the Billboard Hot 100 and other charts around the world.
It is intentionally performed in the style of a ridiculous, over-the-top ballad. This video, featuring animation from the movie, is one of two for the song.
The other, of course, features Jack Black doing Boswer-inspired cosplay.
Admit it - you almost forgot this song existed, didn't you?
Well, released in 1998, "Crush" swiftly climbed the music charts, reaching remarkable heights around the world. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, solidifying Jennifer Paige's status as a rising star. The song's success was not limited to the United States but also spread across Europe, where it topped the charts in countries like Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Her status as a rising star would be short lived. This, her debut single, would be her only charting hit in the United States (although she continued to hit the UK charts).
That doesn't make it a bad song. It just makes her a one-hit wonder. And that's OK. Few songs can boast the kind of international recognition that "Crush" received. It garnered extensive radio airplay and commercial success in countries like Germany, Sweden, Norway, and many others. Are bad songs worldwide hits? Certainly (although we love them, too).
And this is not a bad song. "Crush" seamlessly blended elements of pop, dance, and a touch of R&B, showcasing Jennifer Paige's versatility as an artist. This fusion of genres played a significant role in the song's widespread appeal, captivating listeners from diverse musical backgrounds and preferences.
In 1985, Canadian hitmaker Bryan Adams wrote a song and released a single with R&B legend and resurgent superstar Tina Turner. When reflecting on it with Songfacts in 2009, Adams considered this experience as one of the most memorable of his career.
Working with Tina Turner was amazing. I used to go to see her in the clubs when I was in my late teens/early 20s before she hit the big time. It was incredible to watch her. Amazingly when we toured together years later, I never saw Tina walk through a performance, she always put on a great show, and was gracious and grateful to her audience.It was such a privilege to have sung with her, especially since I was only 24 at the time.
I was not a huge fan of Byran Adams growing up (I appreciate what he did a lot more now), but this song always broke through for me. The song takes a different slant on heartbreak - and talks about moving on because, you know, it's only love, yeah, and that's all. I appreciated both the interesting lyrics and the dynamic interaction between Adams and Turner.
I'm really breaking a lot of protocols here by publishing a cover on this blog and not Totally Covered, by posting for a second time in a day, and by not billing the late Ike Turner here - this song was by Ike and Tina Turner. .
But this was Tina's song. And she has passed away at age 83. It's her voice we're missing today.
She also did a solo version of the song, but we're getting there.
She reinvented John Fogarty's song - shooting it back into the top 10 in the US and winning a Grammy (Best R&B Performance By A Group) for the performance in the process. This is truly one of the greatest covers of all time, and also a great song in its own right, regardless of songwriter. This would be her first of twelve Grammys, which includes a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and three Grammy Hall of Fame awards, one of them for this song (separate from the CCR version, which ALSO recieved a Grammy Hall of Fame award).
In 1993, a biographical movie about Tina Turner called What's Love Got To Do With It was released. She rerecorded this song herself, without Ike (who didn't exactly get a glowing treatment in the movie, as he was famously abusive). This version was a hit in Europe in 2010 after a performance by a contenstant on the TV show X Factor.
Anna Mae Bullock had a good, long life and a career that started in her late teens, but she was still performing until she was 70. Her last tour was in 2009 - and here she is, performing this song on that tour, and bringing just as much energy in 2009 as she did in 1971.
Tina Turner was a classic, groundbreaking voice, and she will be deeply and sorely missed.
Yep, the song that Eminem uses as an intro to "Without Me" is a real song, by a real guy signed to his real record label with a real name of Obie Trice.
Discovered in his hometown Detroit by rap collective D12, they brought him to fellow Detroit native son Marshall Mathers - initals M and M (just say that out loud if you don't get it) - who signed him to Shady Records.
This song, Obie Trice's debut, appeared on the soundtrack to the movie 8 Mile. I guess that's a pretty good introduction to the world - an Oscar nominated movie, of course. He had a good career, and does still make music, but legal issues of late have gotten in the way of more output - his latest single was released in 2019.
Still, we've got "Rap Name" and it's a pretty excellent song in the freestyle rap style.
I remember the first time I saw this video on MTV and wondered to myself "what the hell am I watching?"
The answer is, I was watching an avant-garde group remix their previous single, "Beat Box", and throw some various Yes and Andrews Sisters samples in there. What came out the other side was a interesting piece of music unlike anything anyone had ever seen prior. I can honestly say this song and this video shaped a lot of my musical tastes for decades to come.
That unusual metallic sound you hear repeatedly in the song is the sound of a Volkswagen Golf, restarting. That's not a joke or a typo. It's really a car restarting, and poorly.
This was the first of three videos made of the song, and has been described as a young girl in punk garb hanging out with Huey Lewis and the News in an abandoned train yard destroying musical instruments.
So, this isn't the type of song you expect to see performed live. And, yet, it has been. Many times. This particular performance was from a 2004 benefit concert in tribute to musician, producer and songwriter (who was credited on this track because of the Yes samples) Trevor Horn - and was performed by Anne Dudley (credited as Art of Noise, even though her bandmates did not perform), Trevor Horn and members of his band, The Buggles. It is fantastic.
Here's a more contemporary performance featuring the full band actually showing their faces (something they did not tend to do) for the most part. This performance is from 1986..
An artist from Montreal with a non-English letter in her first name, which is really a stage name? With whom we've passed into the "overposting" area?
No, not that one. This is only the 3rd Rêve post we've pulled out here. And the first one outside of March. Mostly, this is because we didn't have anything written for today and we stole a post from next March - but also, this song is in our heavy rotation right now.
This one. Without listening to the song, I would think this was a tribute to the classic three-finger salute used to restart a PC. The song, co-written by Rêve with Banx & Ranx, uses that as a metaphor for ignoring the drama that can come with going to the club. On the surface, it might sound a little like a mean girl song, but the reality is, it's about having fun and keeping the negativity away.
It may have been more mean girl-y if not for the great delivery of the 2023 Juno Award winning Rêve, who combines a pretty great repetitive bass with a beat that the kids love to dance to with a shockingly huge voice.
I don't really need to post anything more than that, do I? Adam Young said it way better than I ever could.
He also released this, the first single from that album, that day. It's very much an Owl City song, painting a beautiful picture and including a keytar solo. The female vocalist you hear is frequent collaborator and Carly Rae Jepsen live stand-in Breanne Düren, a fabulous musician in her own right.
What happens when three high school friends from San Diego form a band?
You get indie rock gold, that's what happens. And this single, their 2020 debut, was a bellwether to bigger and better things - including a lot of investment by Hollywood Records, who have been advertising the hell out of them on their streaming media platforms of late.
This song was a minor alternative radio hit in 2019, and they've only gotten bigger from there. Their look is a little different than you might expect from big rock stars, but I think that's the point - they're making music that resonates with regular people, and not just aesthetes.
The indie emotion shines even brighter when they perform the song live.
What other Awkafina is there? Geez, we're not talking about water here. No, we're talking about the Golden Globe Best Supporting Vag Actress winner.
No, we're talking about Awkafina's vagina today. You know, her vagina is fifty times better than a penis.
You will be laughing straight through this incredibly politically incorrect song, which, believe it or not, put Nora Lum from Queens on the map - you can draw a straight line from this song right to her voice role in The Little Mermaid - but at the same time, you're going to be hearing this beat in your head all day.
This was the second single off Earle's 1988 breakthrough Copperhead Road album - and, as a country-rock album, it was outside my wheelhouse from a musical taste standpoint. However, off the strength of "Copperhead Road", the single, I purchased this album.
The standout for me wasn't the title song (which I liked for a while but grew tired of), but, rather, this gritty song about homelessness. The video supports it - directed by Meiert Evis and featuring homeless people. Written by Earle, the entire album and this song in particular cemented his legacy as a great storyteller.
Yes, Earle still performs this song live. Here he is in 2018, 30 years after the song's initial release (yes, this song is 35 years old this year), performing it as gritty as ever in New York City.
We were watching The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu the other day and we noticed that there was a young actress who was playing a character that was mature beyond her years. The character was Esther Keyes, and the actress was 16-year-old Emmy nomineee Mckenna Grace - and she is the youngest-ever Emmy nominee in any of the Best Guest Actor categories (and 10th youngest nominee in ANY category). We know that 2nd part because we had to do a little research on this young actress.
Turns out she's an actress who sings - and has released several singles. According to her website, she started this as a creative outlet during the pandemic, which, of course, did limit acting opportunities. Music allowed her to get her emotions out.
This single was released in November 2022 and was co-written by Grace. The song itself was in the pop-rock genre that she's gravitated towards at this point in her young career. The video was filmed after the actress's surgery to correct a scoliosis-casued 45 degree curvature to her spine (which she SHOWS you at the 2:00 minute mark of the video - yeah, that's her back). It was directed, written, and edited by her, as she was pretty much confined to a chair in the weeks following her surgery (a doctor's directive she ignores at the 0:48 mark of the video).
I exprect great things in the future, both in acting and music.
Very soon after this video was performed, she seemed to be walking just fine - and she shows off the scar as she performed the song live.
The Lemonheads is really one guy - Evan Dando - pretending he's a band with a bunch of whatever friends happen to be available at the time. That included people from other Boston bands, session musicians, and at two different times, a couple of Blake Babies (another band he was a member of).
This was a single from their 1992 breakout album, It's A Shame About Ray. Written by Dando, the cheery-sounding song is about a guy who wanted to love someone but just couldn't, and instead decides to be alone. The fourth and final single from that album, it was a minor hit in the UK.
It also happens to be one of my favorite songs by the band.
The Lemonheads are still together, and still performing this song live, thirty years later.
There was a time when Huey Lewis & The News were my favorite band. I loved Sports. Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically.
Then Fore! came out and exploded, and I remember finding the first single off the album to be rather bland, so I moved on.
Then they released their second single, which was all about how not actually cool they were - and I remembered why I liked them again. The song is not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself. That's not an original thought by me. It's a quote from American Psycho, a film in which this song was featuted. It's also not the first American Psycho quote I peppered in here, so start hunting.
This song was a #3 hit for the band in 1986, and featured background vocals from Football Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana, who at the time were playing for Huey's hometown San Francisco 49ers.
This song appears on both the band's 1983 debut album The Secrets of The I Ching and their 1985 major label debut, The Wishing Chair. It is a song that longtime fans clamor to hear live (and in my times seeing them live, I did hear it a couple of times).
"My Mother The War" is the rare song with lyrics not solely written by Natalie Merchant from the early days of 10,000 Maniacs - it was co-written with Michael Walsh, with John Lombardo writing the music in the style that was so distinctive for the early days of the band.
I don't know what else to say about this except, go Jamestown!
The band is still around, although Natalie left the band in the mid-90's (despite what you may have heard, it was amicable). Here is not-usual-vocalist John Lombardo singing the song during a sound check in 2022.
Here he is singing it in 2015 - you can see usual vocalist Mary Ramsey walk off stage as they play the song that defined the early band she wasn't part of (although she comes back).
In 1976, Motown artist Charlene released a single that was widely considered to be a flop. It reached a whopping #97 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
She was subsequently dropped from her label, married an Englishman, and moved to the United Kingdom to work in a sweetshop.
The single would have been forgotten if not for a little-known DJ named Scott Shannon, at the time on the radio in Tampa, Florida. His girlfriend loved this song, and in 1982 urged her boyfriend to play it - which he did. Listeners loved the song, and so Shannon, who used to work for Motown Records, made a few phone calls to his old bosses about the hit potential of the song.
So, imagie that you've left the music industry, largely feeling like you've failed, only to get a call from the president of Motown Records telling you that you weren't a failure and, indeed, he wanted to resign you to his label. Charlene doesn't have to imagine, that, because that's what happened to her.
The second time around, the song was a worldwide hit, hitting #3 in the US and #1 elsewhere. It was also a crossover hit, with country radio picking up the song as well.
The song revived her career, and although her time on Motown would only last a few more years. leaving her a one hit wonder in the US (she did have more hits in Europe), she has built a career that still continues to this day, including recording new music as of 2022.
The song recieved something of a resurgence in 1994, with the release of the Australian movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which you should go watch right now. This song was performed by Hugo Weaving as a female impersonator - an audience that truly embraced this song in real life.
Unusually, Charlene did re-record the song - but only in Spanish. This ended up being a B-side of a follow-up single, which didn't nearly match the runaway success of "I've Never Benn To Me".
You had to expect this today. It's Darling Buds Day.
Long time readers of this blog will know that this happened accidentally - when we posted Darling Buds songs on two May 6ths in a row. I hope you, as a new long-time reader, will enjoy this for years to come.
This song, the FIFTH single from their debut album Pop Said..., is a power-pop masterpiece, with Andrea Lewis (who co-wrote every song on the album with Harley Farr) exercising her vocal chops and eschewing any comparisons to Debbie Harry, Tracy Tracy, and Wendy James.
I would have sworn up and down that I did this one already. I cannot find it. So, if this is a repeat song, let me know.
I can tell you we've talked about Kesha Sebert a LOT before, so I won't dive into her background too much. I can tell you that she was surprisingly amazing when I saw her live. She's got quite a stage presence and a stunningly strong musical range.
This song doesn't exactly stretch her range. It is a synth-heavy dance number about clubbing.
Except it isn't. Kesha was inspired to write this song in the wake of an uptick in the number of gay teens killing themselves. In her words to Entertainment Weekly:
I wanted to inspire people to be themselves. It’s a celebration of any sort of quirks or eccentricities.
In a separate interview with Rolling Stone, she elaborated.
I was really affected by the suicides that have been happening, having been subject to very public hatred [myself]. I have absolutely no idea how these kids felt. What I'm going through is nothing compared to what they had to go through. Just know things do get better and you need to celebrate who you are. Every weird thing about you is beautiful and makes life interesting. Hopefully the song really captures that emotion of celebrating who you are ... I just felt like people hate because they don't understand or they're jealous, It's all coming from a very negative place and I really feel like people don't need to pay attention to that.
She wrote a pride anthem and cleverly disguised it as a club banger. And this song is an absolute banger. It was also a huge woldwide hit, debuting at #1 in the US and topping charts around the world. It is arguably her biggest hit and best known song.
Of course, in the decade since this song came out, Kesha dropped the dollar sign and took a decidedly more rocking turn. In this live performance from 2021, she's got a full band backing her - and it absolutely rocks.
And she makes it clear that it's still a pride anthem.
I wanted to include this older performance - one that rocks even harder - but also, pay attention to what she says starting at around 3:10 of this video.
I'm sick and tired of bully motherfuckers trying to make us feel like we shouldn't be ourselves all the fucking time. I won't stand and we can't stand for discrimination of any kind - not tonight, not now, not fucking ever. I'm talking about what country you're from, what your skin color is, what your sexual preference is, what your gender identity is, or any other kind of discrimination. There's no room for that shit here. There's no room for any more hate in this world. That's what this song is about. It's about us celebrating who the fuck we are. And now it's kind of turned into my personal life mission to spread as much love, equality, glitter and rock and roll until the day I die - until I'm six fucking feet underground. I love you just as you fucking are. Fuck what anyone else thinks.
This story starts with an older brother - a keyboardist - recruiting his kid sister to be in his band.
Eric Stefani is featured in this video. He's the guy playing keyboards.
Tom Dumont, the guitarist, wrote the beginings of the lyrics for this song as a poem in high school, with Eric writing the melody and other members of the band contributing lyrics. Eric was the bandleader and prinicpal songwriter.
Their debut album was a commercial failure - a huge flop - so much so that Interscope Records refused to budget money for a video for the only single from the album.... so the band raised $5000 to make their own.
Unlike their later work, this song - and the whole first album, in fact - was pure ska. Later work was ska-influenced, but not as pure as this. In fact, it was differences over that change that led Eric to leave the band, and in fact music altogether - becoming a full-time animator on The Simpsons - leaving primary songwriting duties for the band to his kid sister, Gwen.
This isn't to say they forgot their roots. The band still performed this song live for many years.
And there wasn't really any ill will against the band by Eric - the split was creative, not acrimonious.
Cyndi Grecco was never a household name. Her voice, however, was well-known, playing on ABC every week for eight years and for years in syndication afterwards.
You see, Cyndi Grecco was the vocalist featured on a theme song for a television show called Laverne & Shirley. A spinoff from Happy Days, it was a midseason replacement show in early 1976, Originally called Laverne Defazio & Shirley Feeney (that title was quickly shortened), the show made stars of Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall.
And this iconic opening made the theme song immediately recognizable, and brought the terms "schlemiel" and "schlimazel" into the vernacular. Both are Yiddish terms referring to a chronically unlucky person, and can be best defined with the sentence "the schlemiel spills his soup on the schlimazel."
Of course, as soon as the show came out and the theme was inserted into the American consciousness, everyone was requesting the song from their local radio stations, and so it was released as a single in 1976. It became a top 30 hit in the US and Canada.
Despite her flash fame, Cyndi Grecco has not charted again since this song. Subsequent attempts failed to chart. Perhaps it's because this song was so earnest and inspiring - and still is.
I used to say that two celebrity deaths in my lifetime gave me kind of a gut punch - Fred Rogers and Steve Irwin, both for very different reasons I won't discuss here.
I would have to put Canadian Music Hall of Famer Gordon Lightfoot's passing yesterday close to that as well. He was arguably the greatest storyteller to ever carry a guitar, a prolifiic songwriter with the husky voice of an angel. He was absolutelyl brilliant, and I am not exagerationg when I call him a Canadian treasure. He was the pride of Orillia, Ontario
The folk music generation has lost their voice with his passing. Canada has lost a piece of itself with his passing. His career was long - he performed at a teenager in the 1950. He was there when Bob Dylan (a mentor of his) went electric at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival. He was still touring in 2012.
I had been saving this song for #MapleLeafMarch next year, but is served well at this time. It was a top 10 hit for Lightfoot in the US and Canada in 1974, and immediately followed "Sundown" as a single release. The title came to Gord first - he was driving on an Arizona highway (and almost left the title in the glove box of a rental car!), and the rest came months later.
The beautifully written song is about a man who is driving and remembering a long-past relationship with a woman named Ann - who was real. Ann was a woman Lightfoot had a relationship with several years before this song - and remembering the time pleasantly, and how she's doing, as you do.
It remains one of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs.
This version of the song is from a 2012 performance in Reno, Nevada. Even well into his 70's, he had that audience enraptured.
Ten years later, in a 2022 performance in Indiana, his voice had lost a little, but his stage presence, well into his 80s, was still there.
This has been one of the weirdest posting weeks I've ever had. So I decided to lean in and really get weird.
In 2006, this was Lily Allen's debut single. On first listen, if you ignore the lyrics, it sounds bubbly and upbeat, but it is decidedly a lyrically angry song - bitter, even. The song is great, biting, and somewhat humourous. It ended up being a huge UK hit and a minor hit worldwide.
That beat you hear is from "Free Soul" by the Soul Brothers.
This is a song that has defined Lily Allen, even if she has grown tired of it at times. She smartly still performs it live, and does it brilliantly, as she did here in a 2019 performance.
The weird part is that its anger was so polarizing, it sparked a response song, by an artist named Example. He used the same Soul Brothers sample as his background. It was almost as equally inventive and nearly as bitter.
Wait, did I say that was weird? No. That's not weird.
What IS weird is that Lily Allen recorded a second version of the song. This version of the song is not in English, but in Simlish. Simlish is the language of the video game The Sims 2, in which Lily Allen was a character. She found it silly, but also, fun. It is kind of fun. But it's also a great way to end what has been a strange blog week.
OK, I know. At this point, we know that Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana - or, was. I debated billing this post as Miley, and not as her television character. I chose Miley, because she actually performed this song live an awful lot, as Miley (although when she performed it on the show, she was Hannah).
Really, Miley was Hannah Montana, and Hannah Montana was Miley - and, in interviews recently, Miley has expressed a lot of appreciation of Hannah, in getting her to the superstardom she's achieved today..
This was the theme song to that show, and although she doesn't perform it live anymore (and hasn't, as far as I can see, since 2010), it's a part of Miley, and Miley is a part of it. The song was written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil.
On a personal note, this was a show my daughters watched. We had the Hannah Montana CD in our car. I heard this song a lot. It brings back positive memories.
There was a second version of the song, partially live, done for a movie to wrap up the series as well.
How the hell did I come to post the theme to the daytime soap opera The Young and The Restless?
Well, if you read yesterday's post, you may have a clue, but it's not directly related. You see, a different Mary J. Blige song - "No More Drama", which happens to be the title track to the album featuring "Family Affair" - heavily samples this song. I was doing some research for a future post, and, well, I stumbled upon the history of this song, which is absolutely wild.
The song did not start off as a soap opera theme song, but rather as incidental music for the 1971 movie Bless the Beasts and Children. Barry De Vorson later extended his little piece of music for use on the soap opera.
Fast forward to 1976. ABC's Wide World of Sports used the song as part of a montage of the gymnastics of Romanian Nadia Comeneci - you know, the first one to bring perfect 10s to the Olympics (in Montreal in 1976) and also six more? She is arguably the best known gymnast of all time, and certainly the best known of her generation.
The voice-over is by famed sportscaster Jim McKay, and it cemented the positive feeling for Comeneci throughout the 1976 Olympic Games.
Well, at this point, everyone was not only hyped up over Nadia Comenci, but also "Nadia's theme", as it came to be known. I, at my very young age, knew her name - it was an effective piece.
De Vorson and Perry Botkin responded by releasing the song as a re-titled single, which became a top ten hit in 1976, five years after its composition and initial recording.
Incidentally, Comeneci never actually performed to the song that ended up bearing her name.... except during a 1997 episode of Touched By An Angel, alongside her husband and fellow gymnast Bart Conner.
This is more typical of her floor execises - this performance from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow that won Comenci her fifth Olympic gold medal (an event in which she only won bronze in Montreal).
When Mary J. Blige was a current hitmaker, I wasn't a fan. I can't tell you exactly why. I just wasn't.
But times change. Tastes change. And I can see the genius that is Mary J.
This song was co-written by a team including Blige and her brother, Bruce Miller, as well as the producer of the track, a Mr. Andre Young, who you may know as Dr. Dre. For those so inclined, the song follows a C♯m–G♯m7–C♯m–G♯m7 chord progression, written by Dre a fair bit before he sent it along to Mary J., who added lyrics. She sings all the vocals on this track, both lead and background.
This song ended up spending six weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Blige's only #1 hit and her biggest hit song by far. It was also a chart-topper worldwide. It was also the first number one song to include the word "hateration".
There are so many great live versions of this song, so I went with this in-studio one from 2005, which features a full band, including background vocalists that aren't Mary J. Blige.
I decided to include one more version - this one with a different backup vocalist who does step to lead for a few seconds.
Sorry, Swifties - she doesn't have the range of Mary J.
You've never heard of these artists, but you know their work.
In 1989, Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel, two high school friends, wrote a song called "Opus Number 1" and recorded it using a Yamaha DX7IIFD and an Alesis Midverb. They composed it because of its specific auditory qualities - the synth, the taps. It was a pleasing sound to these high school kids - Carleton was particually into Yanni, so that was also part of the inspiration. The song is 5 minutes and 38 seconds of abslolute new-age bliss.
They went on to big rock stardom no big rock stardom, but the song was never by either of them.
Both Carleton and Deel went on to become IT professionals in the San Francisco Bay area. Deel worked for a company called Cisco, who were starting to move beyond routers and switches and into the world of IP telephony. Deel happened to be one of the engineers on the project for the first IP phones from Cisco, and knew that the project needed default on-hold music.
He happened to have the perfect song on his phone, and the rest is history.
So, to all the lazy IT professionals who have set up a Cisco phone system and left the default hold music in place - thank you. You have helped to make "Opus Number 1" the most popular on hold music in the world, by far.
This music is so pervasive, it was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light this year.
This 2002 single is one of Eminem's most successful and award-winning - the video for the song even won a Grammy. It is the typical boastful song you expect from Marshall Mathers. But there's a few things about this song you don't know.
The song opens with the line "Two trailer park girls go 'round the outside." This is a direct reference to the 1982 single "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren, which was an early hip-hop song and a clear influence on Eminem's music. First, it was great that he included a reference to an obscure old-school song that most of the music world had forgotten. Second, because of this, the writers of "Buffalo Gals" - Malcolm McLaren, Trevor Horn, and, believe it or not, Oscar-winning composer and Art of Noise founder Anne Dudley - got a songwriting credit on "Without Me".
The rapid-fire song and comic-inspired video bring the early 2000's pop culture references, from Dick Cheney's heart attack to his mom's lawsuit against him. One that I wanted to highlight was his diss of Moby - specifically, "You can get stomped by Obie", a reference to Obie Trice (his real name), a artist that Eminem signed to his own label and was promoting. This was also a response to Moby's very pointed criticism of Em's lyrics - specifically, Moby called him, "a misogynist, a homophobe, a racist, and an anti-Semite." In the end, there was no personal beef either way.
Anyway, this is one of Eminem's best received and most critically acclaimed songs. Enjoy it.
If you are a fan of K-Pop music and are following the news, you know that ASTRO member Moon Bin was found dead in his home.
I'd love to talk about this song, which is a pretty happy pop song from a group that was together for seven years. This is, as of right now, one of their last singles, released in 2020 and a hit on Korean radio and elsewhere, like so many songs before.
Unfortunately, because of this sad news, I'm not feelin' it. So, let's talk about Moon Bin. Moon Bin started in entertainment as a child actor when he landed a role in the 2009 TV series “Boys Over Flowers.”. His sister, Moon Sua, is also a K-pop artist, a member of the girl band Billlie.
So, try to enjoy the music and remember an artist gone too soon.
Let's just open up with the question you all have.
Who the hell is MC Scat Kat?
The answer is that they were Bruce DeShazer (also known as Tony Christian) and Marv Gunn, collectively known as the Wild Pair. MC Scat Kat just played their part in the video. Previously members of Mazerati, this was not the Wild Pair's only hit,
The video was inspired by Gene Kelly, who danced with a cartoon mouse named Jerry (yes, that Jerry) in Anchors Aweigh. Clearly, Paula thought Tom deserved some love. Abdul, a choreographer of dance first, choreographed both her moves and those of the cat, which were animated in what was considered to be a ground-breaking video.
The song hit #1 in the US, her fourth from the Forever Your Girl album, making her the fourth artist to have four number 1 hits from the same album (a feat that would be matched four more times).
The song itself is actually clever. You're fooled by the cat, but the lyrics are pretty smart and mature.
About ten years ago, I got more irrationally angry about a post than I ever had. You see, that day, Scott Colvin posted about the Icona Pop song, "I Love It (I Don't Care)". That song was essentially Icona Pop singing over top the demo track provided to them by the songwriter, a Ms. Charlotte Emma Aitchison of Cambridge, England.
I was going to post that song the next day. Literally. I had a whole post written that took a different take than Scott did. I was going to be highlighting the extra vocals, which belonged to Ms. Aitchison's. And, it probably would have ended at that - I mean, until the unignorable "Fancy", of course. Then again, I might not have been into that song so much if not for what came next.
Instead, Scott's post got me looking into the other music Ms. Aitchison had made, which at the time, was a simgle album and a bunch of mixtapes. The album, True Romance, was on heavy rotation for me for a couple of years. There were a ton of great singles on that album, and I posted about a lot of them. At last count, there were approximately 18 Charli XCX posts on this blog, which doesn't include the ones on the other one.
Somehow, I missed this one, and it's a good thing I did. You see, "I Love It (I Don't Care)" is one of two songs she wrote on a particular day in 2011, based off beats given to her by producer Patrik Berger. The other was a song called "In The Dark", later titled "Dancing In The Dark". You can still here that early demo version. It still exists.
When it made it onto True Romance in its final form, it was called "You're The One". And, somehow, I never talked about what was one of my favorite songs from that album until today. It's a synth-pop goth love song, and it is a gem.
Today, Charli XCX uses a lot of autotune, reportedly because she doesn't like her voice. She seems to have found her sound.
She's wrong about her voice. Here's a performance of this song with just a piano, some drumsticks, and a river in Austin, TX.
I was really just lacking for a blog post for today, and for some reason, I mentioned Nelly Furtado yesterday, and, well, here we are.
This song was released as the lead single from her debut album, "Whoa, Nelly!" in 2000, and it quickly became a massive commercial successworldwide. Right off the bat, she hits a home run,
The song was written by Furtado herself, and it was produced by Brian West and Gerald Eaton of the duo Track & Field. "I'm Like a Bird" was a departure from the typical pop songs of its time, with its unique blend of acoustic and electronic elements, as well as its introspective lyrics.
"I'm Like a Bird" received widespread critical acclaim upon its release, with many critics praising Furtado's unique voice and her ability to blend various musical genres into a cohesive whole. The song went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2002 (the last Canadian to win that award as of this writing, by the way), further cementing Furtado's status as a rising star in the music industry.
The song is an expression of freedom and self-discovery, with Furtado singing about her desire to be free like a bird and to follow her dreams wherever they may lead her. The chorus, with its soaring melody and catchy hook, became an instant classic, and it remains one of Furtado's signature songs to this day.
You're probably wondering why I'm sharing March content in April.
There's two reasons for that. First, I didn't know what to do with this song, which isn't officially released, and I have no songwriting or recording information about this song. I just know this recording, which is amazing, which brings me to the second reason, and that is that the music and the story behind the genesis of this song was far too cool to make you wait 11 months to hear it.
The East Pointers & Vishtèn are bands with a lot of things in common.
They are both folk groups that were originally trios.
They're both from Prince Edward Island and have known each other for decades, since childhood - in fact, The East Pointers recorded their first EP in the living room of two members of Vishtèn - the very same room that the video below was recorded.
And, each has a member that's passed away tragically in the last year or so - each a sibling of another member of the group, and in the case of Vishtèn, also a partner - Pastelle LeBlanc. We spoke about Koady Chiasson last month. Pastelle passed away at age 42 of breast cancer.
Cancer sucks, people.
In the memories of Koady Chaisson and Pastelle LeBlanc, the four surviving members of these two groups got together in Pastelle and Pascal Miousse's living room and made some uplifting, beautiful music.
Will the four of them get together and make a superband? Was this a one-off? No one knows that today except the four people making these beatiful sounds, but I hope the music helped to heal them, at least part-way.
Yes, I have a Vishtèn post queued up for next March. Don't fret.
I don't like lying to my readers, so I'm going to be upfront.
I use Wikipedia for a lot of my research.
And this song, by Wikipedia, is described as "a retro-futuristic dance-pop and disco-funk song with elements of house and 1980s music that is set to a Europop beat." Which, really, is a pretty accurate description.
Here's something else WIkipedia taught me. The song was written by Dua Lipa, Melissa Webb, Andrew Wotman, Ali Tamposi, Stefan Johnson, Jordan K. Johnson..... Andrew Farriss? Michael Hutchence? How did Dua Lipa collaborate with someone who died when she was 2?
It turns out that the songwriting team - minus Farris and Hutchence -wrote this song feverishly, and immediately recorded and produced it. Then, they all played it back, and once they heard the bassline from "Need You Tonight" clearly, they knew what they had to do - credit the songwriters and give INXS a publishing credit.
Which Andrew Farriss very much appreciated.
But, despite the obvious influence, this song isn't "Need You Tonight". It IS a bold song about a woman questioning her choices in men, and it is a poppy gem. Surprisingly, despite being one of her best known songs worldwide - topping charts worldwide - it didn't quite crack the Top 10 in the states.
Nine years, in fact - which is the last time she released music.
This is her new single. It is the best single released this year by a former vice president of equity research for Bank of America (a job she left in 2000 - this is true). Toiling for more than 20 years in the music industry, she has achieved a lot of critical acclaim and deserves a lot more than that.
Her new album, Just Like A Rose: The Anniversary Sessions, celebrating her more than 20 years of work, comes out in June. It is almost guaranteed to be great. The first single, the title song from that album, is here.
There's a reason I'm posting this today, and it has to do with Friday's post.
A cover of this song by the Breeders, produced by J Mascis, appeared on the Head to Toe EP. When I sat back and thought about this, I laughed heartily.
"The Freed Pig" , in its original form, is a song from Sebadoh's 1991 album "III" that was directed towards J Mascis, the frontman of Dinosaur Jr., a band that Lou Barlow, the founder of Sebadoh, was previously a part of. The song's lyrics were meant to be a biting commentary on the strained relationship between Barlow and Mascis, and their musical and personal differences.
The song's opening lines, "You were right, I was battling you, trying to prove myself," reflect Barlow's feelings of frustration and insecurity in his relationship with Mascis. The lyrics, "I tried to bury you with guilt; I wanted to prove you wrong," suggest a sense of resentment towards Mascis, who had a dominant presence in Dinosaur Jr.
Throughout the song, Barlow's lyrics continue to express a mix of anger and vulnerability. The lines, "I'm self-righteous, but never right, so laid back, but so uptight," highlight the contradictions in his personality, while the chorus, with its repeated line "Now you will be free," suggests a sense of liberation from the constraints of his relationship with Mascis.
The song itself is a lo-fi classic. Barlow delivers the vocals over fuzzy guitar with a bit of detachment (it had been a few years) and that's kind of the point.
I don't like doing special edition posts. I do them because someone has passed away.
In this case, it's Luscious Jackson songwriter, keyboardist and mostly backup vocalist Vivian Trimble, who passed on April 4th after a long battle with cancer.
First off, that's sad, and my thoughts go out to her family and loved ones. Cancer is terrible and she was only 59 - far too young.
The loss goes beyond her family, too - she was a fantastic musician. Trimble's ability to seamlessly blend different genres and experiment with different sounds made her a sought-after collaborator and producer, with her work being featured on projects by artists such as Kate Pierson, the Black Keys, and David Byrne.
Trimble's musical prowess aside, she was also a vocal advocate for women in the music industry. Trimble's commitment to empowering women in music and amplifying their voices was a testament to her character and her commitment to making a difference.
Second, this isn't a Luscious Jackson song, but rather, a song from her side projects with Luscious Jackson bandmate Jill Cuniff, Kostars. The other members of Luscious Jackson do also appear on the project, which was recorded at Kate Schellenbach's home studio along with the rest of the Klassics With a "K" album.
Cowritten by Trimble and Cuniff, "Red Umbrella" is a beautiful and heartbreaking song that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved and lost. It's a testament to the power of music to evoke emotions and memories, and a reminder that even in heartbreak, there is still beauty to be found. Strongly featuring Trimble's vocals, it serves as a reminder of what we as fans are going to miss.
You know, they had more songs than "Cannonball", right?
This was the single that came two singles later, the last issued off the Last Splash album. Weirdly, though, it's a different take of the song - not the album version. This version and its key shift are aligned with their live versions of the song.
You could say this was the first single released from the Head To Toe EP, which included this version.
In both versions of the song, the instrumental arrangement is minimal and fuzzy. This version, produced by J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., is in a better register for Kim Deal's gravely delivery and the background vocals of Kelley Deal and Josephine Wiggs.
The song received fairly solid airplay on alternative radio.
Today, we talk about s a song that tells the story of the chaotic adventures of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. From getting marriedm to dealing with the media's unrelenting scrutiny, the song covers a lot of ground. It's a tale of two people deeply in love, doing whatever it takes to be together. And as a bonus, it's kind of a fun song.
The song starts with John lamenting the fact that he and his beloved Yoko can't seem to catch a break. They're constantly in the public eye, and everyone seems to have an opinion about their relationship. But despite the criticism, John and Yoko remain steadfast in their love for each other.
One of the standout lines in the song is "Christ, you know it ain't easy / You know how hard it can be / The way things are going / They're gonna crucify me." It's a tongue-in-cheek reference, comparing John and Yoko's relationship to that of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The media had a field day with that one.
But despite the scrutiny, John and Yoko remained devoted to each other. They even got married in Gibraltar, much to the surprise of their fans and the media. In the song, John sings about the couple's trip to Paris and their attempts to find a place to stay. "Finally made the plane into Paris / Honeymooning down by the Seine / Peter Brown called to say / 'You can make it okay, you can get married in Gibraltar near Spain.'" Of course, the line about Peter Brown is a reference to the Beatles' assistant of the same name. Peter helped John and Yoko navigate the logistics of getting married in Gibraltar, and it's clear that John was grateful for his help.
The Ballad of John and Yoko is a song that celebrates love in all its messy, complicated glory. It's a reminder that even when the world seems to be against you, love can conquer all. And it's also a reminder that even the Beatles had their fair share of drama.
It's worth noting that The Ballad of John and Yoko was recorded by only two Beatles: John Lennon and Paul McCartney. George Harrison and Ringo Starr were either on vacation or working on other projects. But John and Paul didn't let that stop them from creating a hit song. It was released as a single on May 30, 1969, and quickly climbed the charts. The song reached number one in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and several other countries. In the United States, it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.
Although the song only featured John and Paul, Ringo and George DO appear with them in the video, playing instruments. It would be the last single on which all four Beatles would appear together.
This is probably the longest single music video we've ever posted here. But it's worth it.
Bad Bunny is arguably the biggest star to come out of Puerto Rico in a generation, and he's very proud and very defensive of his roots and his home. HIs reggaeton-infused music has made him an international superstar. He uses his huge platform for good - highlighting issues that are plaguing Puerto Rico.
One of the biggest issues that has plagued Puerto Rico over the last decade has been the weakness of their power grid. LUMA Energy, the company that primarily controls the grid that took over the grid in 2021 from the government for $115 million, has been under fire for mismanaging exactly that. A joint venture between Texas company Quanta Services and Alberta company ATCO for the express purpose of managing and improving the grid, it serves the further benefit for those two companies of being a tax shelter, as it was established as a result of Act 22 of 2012, which exempts external investors from taxation on passive income. LUMA is by far not the only beneficiary of Act 22, as a lot of real estate investors are also injecting their money into the territory and displacing residents.
So, you're thinking, "Well, that paragraph was quite the left turn. What the hell does that have to do with reggaeton?"
"El Apagón" literally translates to "The Blackout". 53 seconds into this video for his song, you are introduced to a 20-minute documentary on LUMA Energy and Act 22 - and it's really, really well done. The reporter, Bianca Graulau, is eloquent and well-researched, and passionate about the subject.- she does a LOT more videos on her YouTube channel, on both the power grid and Act 22, as well as other issues that impact Puerto Rico (and, also, interestingly, Hawaii, which has a similar history of United States colonization).
I encourage you to watch this video. If you don't know Spanish, turn captions on - it has English subtitiles. Also, please go check out Bianca Graulau's other videos, many of them in English, as they give a lot more detail than this video can.
I am going to talk about the music, but talking about that video first was important.
Lyrically, the song is typically boastful - he talks about how he is a particular fan of the Puerto Rican variety of a particular body part only found on a woman, but in a somewhat vulgar manner ("Me gusta la chocha de Puerto Rico") - but it's also a fun song, incorporating pop and trap sounds in with the reggaeton. It's a song that expresses pride about Puerto Rico - about being proud of his homeland. It's NOT the political song you think it is - but he DID use the title and song to suck people into a bigger message.
Gabriela Berlingeri, his former girlfriend, provides the outro song, which is a pure pop contrast. She's not a famous musician in her own right (although she has worked on several of Bad Bunny's song, including recording reference vocals for Jennifer Lopez on another song) - and the selection of her as a singer here is by design and not just because Bad Bunny and her had adopted a puppy together - but she, just a citizen, sings passionately about HER homeland.
If you think Prince sounds a little squeakier than usual, you're right - he's using a sped-up voice on the recording of this song. You see, Prince recorded an album in 1986 as an artist named Camille - with sped-up vocals feminizing his voice. It was never released (although it looks like it is getting a release, possibly as part of a Sign O' The Times rerelease), but he still had the technology and used it on this song, which he DID release.
The song went to #2 on the US pop charts and ended up being a worldwide hit, immortalizing the World Series of Love. By the way, the year this was released, 1987, the World Series came to Minneapolis, Prince's hometown.
City Girls went looking for the best twerker in the world, and at the end of this video, I think you see they found the best twerker in the world. There's a lot of ass shaking that happens before you see the best ass shaker.
It's also a fun and naughty - not safe for work - song that ended up being a top 30 hit for the duo.
Since we opened the month with Stellas, it makes sense to end it the same way. And the pride of Whitby, Ontario is the best way to finish a month of Canadian music.
Lennon Stella didn't end up in the country music landscape like her parents did. Instead, she went with thought-provoking pop music, with a light, airy feeling. This particular brand of light and airy comes with horns, but still.
The largest airport in Canada, and 21st busiest airport in the world, is Toronto Pearson International Airport, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Its IATA code? YYZ. (I'll let you debate whether it's Why-Why-Zee or Why-Why-Zed)
I've been to every Tim Hortons at that airport. It's a great airport.
In the early days, Canadian airports were identified by two letter codes - and Toronto's main airport was YZ. This was used for ease of communication between airports. If an airport was open and not closed due to weather, it was easy to send a Y - for yes - and the two letter code via Morse code, and quickly communicate their status.
In the 1940s, as more airports were being opened worldwide, all airports were forced to adopt a 3-letter code. So, every Canadian airport - since they already had the protocol in place - just added the Yes signal to the beginning of all their airport codes. It's why they are the only country to consistently name all their (commercial passenger) airports with IATA codes all beginning with the same letter.
You've learned something today. Maybe.
Alex Lifeson didn't learn anything today, because he already knew Morse Code - because in addition to being the guitarist for Rush, he's also a commercial pilot. So, he heard - . - -- . - -- - . . - Y Y Z - quite a bit. One day, when he was flying the band into Pearson, he introduced the rhythm of that airport code to the band.
An instrumental classic, written by Neil Peart and Geddy Lee and NOT Alex Lifeson, was born. You can hear that morse code, that rhythm that stuck with them, from the very beginning of the song - that's the odd-sounding rhythm you hear at the start.
We couldn't not include a live version of this, eh? Yes, there is an extended Neil Peart drum solo, and you're welcome.