30 April 2024

30 April 2024 - Danna - ATARI

I am absolutely on an Élite kick lately.  

It doesn't hurt that the actress who played Lu - Mexican singer/actress Danna Paola - in seasons 1-3 of the show released a single last Tuesday... and that it's a banger.  The second single from her new album, Childstar, it's already got a LOT of views and listens on your favorite streaming platform.  Co-written and co-produced by the now-mononymous Danna (with a large team), it's a fun and sexy song.  

Even you English speakers will recognize a few of the words.  

The song's title is a reference to the popular Atari 2600 VCS, the first mass-market home video game systems with interchangable cartridges - you know, you can play with her like an Atari.... I guess.

It's also really easy to dance to. 

29 April 2024

29 April 2024 - Louane - Donne-moi ton cœur

I've featured Louane on this blog beforeMore than once.  

The French hitmaker has a lot of great singles to choose from, including this 2020 single, written and produced by Wolfgvng and Damso, the latter of whom Louane met at a music festival, where they bonded and decided to work together.  The song is a slow electronic love song, whose title literally translates to "Give me your heart". 

The song would go on to be a hit in Belgium and Switzerland, and a minor hit in France.

In addition to her excellent pop vocals, Louane is a pretty good pianist, and she does an acoustic version of this song, which is slower and more heartfelt.

It's beautiful.

It also wasn't a one-off, as she also did this version live, on French television.

That doesn't mean she doesn't perform the original live.... or that it isn't differently beautiful. 

26 April 2024

26 April 2024 - Soul Coughing - Super Bon Bon

Move aside, and let the man go through.

This song was on heavy rotation in the 90s on Rochester, NY alternative radio station WBER, which is how I became aware of Soul Coughing. 

This song, written by the band, was one of their biggest hits on alternative radio, becoming something of radio favorite in 1997. It was used as wrestler entrance music, in video games, in television.... it was something of a cash cow for the band.  

It is probably better to see a live performance by the band, and see the energy that they bring. Watching M. Doughty go apeshit while the rest of the band stays cool is a sight to behold.  

25 April 2024

25 April 2024 - Paula Abdul - Straight Up

This was not Paula Abdul's first single.  It was her third.

It was, however, her first top 40 hit, the first of four from Forever Your Girl, at the time the most ever from a debut album.  Written and produced by Elliot Wolff, it would eventually hit #1 around the world - in the US in February 1989.  To get into the technical, the song is at a tempo of 96 beats per minute, which is known as a "shuffling" tempo.

You aren't here for the technical.  You're here to see Arsenio Hall.    

Did you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2022?  Then you saw Paula Abdul, 35 years after the single's release, tap dancing and lipsyncing the song.  

She does also perform the song live for real from time to time, but really, you should be here for the choreography, because Adbul was and is a gifted choreographer.

24 April 2024

24 April 2024 - Mala Rodríguez - Tengo un Trato

We're presently binging the Netflix series Élite. The show was originally made for Netflix Spain, and is dubbed into English for our viewing pleasure.  It's a cool show, with a lot of twists and turns.  There's also a lot of great music to discover, much of it music I have never heard.

Season 3, Episode 4 is where we are as I am writing this, and as the episode was starting, this song came on.  I instantly recognized Mala Rodríguez's voice, and this song, which was her debut single in 2000.  It set the stage for the in-your-face style that is a hallmark of everything La Mala has done.

The song's title literally translates to "I Have A Deal" and is a classic rap battle response.  For that, you need her attitude. 

La Mala is not one to forget where she came from, which is why, in 2020, she was still performing this song, with as much bravado as the first day she performed it.

23 April 2024

23 April 2024 - Pink Floyd - Shine On You Crazy Diamond

This is a very, very, very long song.  

It's also a very complex song with a lot of changes and movements.  Written by David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Richard Wright, it is an opus in nine parts, and a tribute to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett.  Appearing on their 1975 album, Wish You Were Here, it quickly became a band favorite.  

I'm going to leave this without much commetary, because the emotion of the song - the love for Barrett and the guilt in forcing him out - is enough.  

Here is the band, led by David Gilmour, performing the song in 1990.

Here's another performance, from Nassau Coliseum in 1988.

22 April 2024

22 April 2024 - Fine, It's Pink - Did It All for You

I've been following Romanian band Fine, It's Pink since 2013.  That's when I heard their amazing cover of Phantogram's "When I'm Small".   Now, the original of that is one of my favorite song, and I'll probably fire it up on the turntable pretty soon.  

I've written about them a few times on this blog, too, most recently in 2021.  

I write this blog to tell you about the music that I enjoy, and, well, I have discovered music thanks to this blog.  It was purely accidental that I discovered this Romanian band, over here in the States, and yet I did.  

Watching Fine, It's Pink mature as musicians - watching their original songs get more adult and more beautiful - is one of the best things I have ever experienced in writing this little blog.  Their new single, out last week, is perhaps their most mature and beautiful work to date.  The song was written by Fine, It's Pink, with Ioana Lefter writing the lyrics she is singing herself.  

I hope this is the song that breaks them out of Romania and onto the world stage, because few musicians deserve it more.  

19 April 2024

19 April 2024 - Coi Leray - Players

It's like a jungle sometimes.

It makes me wonder how I keep from going under.

No, I'm not talking about my personal struggles.   I'm talking about the Grandmaster Flash sample that the outstanding Coi Leray employs prominently through this song.

This 2022 single ended up in the Top 10, her first and at this point only trip there. It absolutely an explicit and empowering song, and I love it a lot. 

It is unusual to see a new video for a REMIX of a song, but in the case, it is appropriate, as DJ Smallz put a new spin on the song.

This remix by DJ Saige replaces the Grandmaster Flash sample with a Busta Rhymes sample.... and Mr. Rhymes himself guest stars.

18 April 2024

18 April 2024 - Sigur Rós - Hoppípolla

You know when we feature bands with non-English characters in their names, when we have to figure out the ASCII codes for writing these non-English characters, that they must be special.

Icelandic superstars Sigur Rós, described as a post-rock band (accurately) are that kind of special.  Their best known song is this one, a song with some Icelandic and some nonsense words, about childlike fun and holding onto that spirit....

,,,which is probably why the video prominently features several elderly people pulling pranks on people, including members of the band.

The song, like a lot of their music, is beautiful and different and thought-provoking.  

Of course it's a live favorite.  Why wouldn't it be?!

17 April 2024

17 April 2024 - Beyoncé - Texas Hold 'Em

For those who do not know, the former Beyoncé Knowles was raised in Houston, TX.  She was raised on country music.  She performed four times at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, an event she attended many times as a child.   She's performed COUNTRY MUSIC in the past, with the (former Dixie) Chicks and Sugarland.  Her songs have been covered by Reba and others.

So explain to me: why would anyone have any issue with her "going country" when she's performing (and she co-wrote) a really catchy country album?

I sure don't.  This song, released during the Super Bowl this year, is damn catchy.  She didn't even send the song to country radio, but it is getting significant airplay.  It's also getting significant airplay on pop radio, making it one of the more significant crossover songs of the last several years (miss me with that Jason Aldean and Morgan Wallen talk, kids).  

And yes, we hear it.  It sounds a lot like the Franklin theme song.  

16 April 2024

16 April 2024 - DRAMAS - Coma Call

Sometime soon, we are going to have a week of nothing but non-English songs.  

It was a search for those songs that led me to DRAMAS, an Austrian band that is making some of the most interesting music on the planet.  And thank Courtney for this one - she found it and introduced it to me.

Formed in 2016, they made a splash in Europe right from the get go. Viktoria Winter and Mario Wienerroither are the whole band, and they bring a lot of noise and emotion.  This song, their latest single, was inspired by old French music.... and yeah, I can hear it.  

"Coma Call" isn't going to win awards for lyrical complexity, but that's precisely the beauty of it.  It's a track that revels in pure sonic pleasure.  It's the kind of song you crank up while cruising down a nighttime highway, windows down, feeling the wind whip through your hair.

So please, enjoy my family's current earworm.

15 April 2024

15 April 2024 - Labi Siffre - I Got The...

Labi Siffre built himself a long and illustrious soul career with classic songs and great beats that live on.

This was the opening track of Siffre's 1975 album, Remember My Song.  It is probably the song for which he is best known.

However, it was never a hit song on his own.  

Nope, it was a hit because Emimen sampled it as a singificant part of his song, "My Name Is", in 1999.  Siffre was initially not allowing this song, which he wrote and performed, to be sampled, as the original Eminem track contained a lot of derrogatory language againsts women and gay people (Siffre is openly gay).  Eminem changed his lyrics and submitted a clean version, and the sample was approved.  (Eminem DID release the other version as well, as a dirty version).  

The song, however, was pretty great as is, even if it was a bit obscure.  Here.  Enjoy it.

Since then, the song is no longer obscure, even getting use in an episode of Better Call Saul.

15 April 2024 - Eminem - My Name Is

This 1999 single is likely the first thing you heard by Eminem unless you saw him as a freestyle rapper in Detroit as a kid.  

It earned Eminem his first Grammy, for best Rap Solo Performance.  Cowritten by Marshall Mathers (Eminem), Andre Young (Dr. Dre) and Labi Siffre (Labi Siffre,who was credited because of the significant sample of his song "I Got The..."), the song was meant to be humorous and light-hearted, but ended up being also pretty groundbreaking.  

That was the version that Labi Siffre approved.

He expressly did NOT approve this version, which contains some homophobic slurs - calling it "lazy writing".  But we'll talk more about that another day.

Eminem released it anyway.

Yes, of course, he did perform ths song live, like in this performance at the legendary Whisky A Go Go on the fabulous Sunset Strip.

12 April 2024

12 April 2024 - Elvis Presley - A Little Less Conversation

We don't have enough Elvis on this blog, right?  

Well, this song.... it wasn't a hit when Elvis recorded it in 1968.  It was a minor hit when rerecorded later that year for a TV special.... but it wasn't a hit, despite being a fun and energetic song.  Written by Mac Davis (who wrote and later rerecorded a lot of Elvis songs) and Billy Strange, it was perhaps more than people were expecting.

Here's a video of the original, from the movie Live a Little, Love a Little, where the song first appeared.

You likely know this song, but that version you just heard doesn't sound right, right?

Fast forward to 2001. The song was featured in the movie Oceans 11, and then Junkie XL remixed it.  

THIS SONG was a worldwide hit in 2002, everywhere... except the United States, where it was still a MINOR hit, but not to the level of everywhere else, where it was a top 5 hit. Even in the US, it was his first visit to the Billboard Hot 100 in twenty years.

11 April 2024

11 April 2024 - Chappell Roan - Naked in Manhattan

It was only a matter of time until I got to Oliva Rodrigo's opening act, right?

But Chappell Roan is so much more than just an opener.  She's a singer/songwriter from the middle of Missouri, who makes campy, poppy music with a drag-queen inspired aesthestic.  This song, a 2022 song that ended up on her acclaimed album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, co-written by Chappel Roan, Daniel Nigro and Skyler Stonestreet, and its video, with all its pop culture references and over-the-top fashion is a perfect illustation of that aesthetic.  

To be sure, she is unique, and so is this song.  I'm genuinely impressed.

I could have very easily found a GUTS tour opening act performance of this song - and I did. I chose INSTEAD to share a more intimate club perforance of this song, which sounds better anyway. She engages the crowd, and they respond.  She doesn't even need a background vocalist (she supplied her own on the album anyway).   

10 April 2024

10 April 2024 - Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

This 1978 disco classic was co-written by Sylvester and James Wirrick.  It was not more than a minor hit in the US - not nearly his biggest - and was a huge hit in Europe.

But that is only the start of the story.

The song was also a hit in discos - a club hit, as we would call it today.  It is here where his star would truly shine - and endure.  The song has been used as an anthem for LGBTQ+ pride in the years since the song was released - the magazine Time Out ranked it #8 on a list of songs to celebrate Pride all year long.  

Sylvester himself, with his androgynous looks and the fact that he was, in fact, gay, was propelled by this song into icon status within the gay communitiy, and beyond, because the man was fabulous.  Sadly, he passed away in 1988 from complications from HIV - I'm so grateful that that disease is not the killer it was in the 1980s but we still need a cure. 

We are so happy to bring you a live version of this - not every disco song has that, but Sylvester did perform live. The laser sounds in the song are replaced with horns, and my goodness, it's a fantastic sound. 

09 April 2024

9 April 2024 - Olivia Rodrigo - obsessed

I want to scream.

Olivia Rodrigo released one of my 2 or 3 favorite albums of 2023 - GUTS - in September.

Last week, she released GUTS (spilled) with five more songs.

Do I buy the new vinyl? Probably not.  But this, the first new single, is pretty spectacular.  Co-written by Rodrigo, Dan Nigro, and Annie Clark, it rocks hard and is already a top 20 hit.  Fun fact - this is the 2nd Olivia Rodrigo song on which Annie Clark is listed as a songwriter ("deja vu", which borrows heavilty from "Cruel Summer" being the first), but the first on which they truly collaborated.

Anyway, it's a banger.  Check it out.  

Even before the expanded album, the song existed - and was on some special versions of GUTS (although not the one I own, dammit).  It is included on the GUTS tour playlist.

08 April 2024

8 April 2024 - Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart (Turn Around)

Oh, come on.  You kniow we had to do this. 

This song was written and produced by Jim Steinman and was Bonnie Tyler's biggest hit by a long shot - becoming one of the hugest hits worldwide in 1983.  It is a sad song - and one that's probably going to make you cry if you are prone to that.  Originally clocking in at seven minutes, the radio version was around the four minute mark.  

The song was Grammy-nominated, and would have likely had more had it not come out the same year as Michael Jackson's Thriller album.  

Still, it's made Bonnie Tyler the name you know today.

And, oh yes, she did perform the song at the Grammys.  And it was spectacular.  Her husky voice shone strong that night.

05 April 2024

5 April 2024 - Flower Face - Cat's Cradle

I knew it was a possibility that Flower Face would come out with new music soon, and starting in late February, she started teasing a new video and a new song.  There are very few posts I would not have immeduately bumped in favor of a brand spanking new Flower Face single.   Maybe not The Beaches, but anyone else.  

I gave up waiting early and put up another of her songs for Maple Leaf March.   

Well, she would release it just after March was done.  April 4th, 9pm Eastern time.  As I am writing this post, the song has been out for less than an hour, and now I'm rescheduling my Friday post to get this out, quickly.  I just moved it to next week, so no big deal.

Seriously, she was very public on social media when she was recording her new album, and now a single is out.  It still is written and performed by Flower Face, and it still features her rich, soft voice.  It has a slightly more poppy sound - and her lyrical maturity shows through strong here.  I can't wait to hear what comes next.

I suspect this is going to be in my heavy rotation for the next several weeks.  I hope you enjoy it.  

04 April 2024

4 April 2024 - Gayle - butterflies

I seriously, SERIOUSLY debated whether this song from the Barbie movie deserved to be here - and not on Totally Covered.  

Gayle is listed as a songwriter.  She absolutely did lift the chorus from the Crazy Town song "Butterfly", The original songwriters are listed.  But what Gayle did almost could be defined more as a sample than as a cover.  

And, let's be clear. whereas the Crazy Town song is listed as one of the worst singles of all time (which means we will post about it eventually), Gayle's version absolutely slaps.  It is NOT laid back, but instead a straight-ahead hard rock song.  

Gayle has a condition called chromesthesia - in which sound invokes a color response.  We wonder what colors she sees when she performs this song.  

By the way, it's also a song that sounds absolutely terrific live.  And seems to be very pink. 

03 April 2024

3 April 2024 - Felix Cartal & Lights - Feel Less

Thanks for sticking with me through my fourth #MapleLeafMarch.  I didn't think it would last, and I didn't think it would change my musical taste forever, but both of those things happened.  

I also didn't think I'd have to push a post from March to April 2nd just to make sure it was posted in a timely manner.  For those who are regular readers of this blog, I asked a couple of days ago, "Why the hell couldn't I just move Lights?"  This is the post I was referencing.  I ended up moving it for something ELSE important.  

At this point, I know what a Lights release cycle looks like at this point.  This is the point where she ends an "era" - in this case, the "PEP" era - and spends time collaborating with other artists.

Well, in this case, it's an artist she's worked with before.  Felix Cartal is a Canadian DJ - Vancouver - who has done a LOT of great collaborations.  This is their latest one - written by Cartal and Poxleitner-Bokan (because she does have a last name) (also, Felix Cartal is a stage name - Taelor Deitcher is his real name) (how the hell is Lights NOT just a stage name but Felix IS?!) (InB4 "but she was born Valerie" - I know! I know! You do know who you are talking to here, right?) released in February - and it is, once again, phenomenal.   

Also, sorry about all the Lights recently.  But I couldn't ignore this one.

02 April 2024

2 April 2024 - Shanin Blake - Senses

Guys, we need to talk about Shanin Blake.  

Who is Shanin Blake, you ask?

Well, she's an independent musician and something of a TikTok and Instagram influencer. She's a single mom to a tween. She's kind of a hippie.  She's very comfortable with her own body, clearly.  

She also writes very positive music - borderline hippie.  And it seems like the combination of her free spirit public image, her embracement of psychedelic drugs in some of her music, and her positivity really pissed people off on Twitter X....

She's @shaninblake999 on Twitter X.

....enough to get her to join Twitter X and bring her positivity there.  

I don't understand the hate - she seems genuinely kind and goes out of her way to interact with her fans.  I love her! Her sweet spirit is absolutely infectious.  Also, proving that there's no such thing as bad publicity, the attention has hepled bring her music to a broader audience.

This song is from her 2021 album Lioness and it's a very ethereal, very light song - I'd almost say atmospheric.  

01 April 2024

1 April 2024 - Bodo Wartke ft. Marti Fischer - Barbaras Rhabarberbar

This absollutely bonkers song is based on a really long German tongue twister.  

It's about a small-town woman named Barbara who is really well known for her rhubarb cake. She opened Barbara's Rhubarb Bar, which was discovered by barbarians. They would come to be known as the rhubarb barbarians (rhubarbarians?).

We're 30 SECONDS into the song at this point.

Over the years, the barbarians mellowed.  They became, in Barbara's words, kinder, more than even Barbapapa, who, by the way, is a nice pink blob from a kid's book.


However, the barbarians were very hairy, and they grew really shaggy barbarian beards, which Barbara did not find special at all.

You have to know where this is going.

She sent them to a barbarian beard barber.  He even styled their entire barbarian heads in his barbarian beard barber shop. After they were done, the barbarians invited the barbarian beard barber to Barbara's rhubarb bar.  They drank a beer together at the bar, the rhubarb barbarians and the bearded barber, and they ate a piece of rhubarb cake without any barbarism.

These tough men became very approachable, all thanks to Barbara's rhubarb!

So, three barbarians and the bearded barber were sitting in the bar one evening having a beer.  Then, the police came, looking for the Three Barbarians and the Bearded Barber. 

1:27, we're done.

And now, you've enjoyed a delightful German tongue twister.