Songs »The En Vogue Hit Trilogy

by En Vogue (1992)

Daughters of the nineties (and particularly sassy sons too), please don’t tell me I am the only one whose inner Funky Diva was let loose when En Vogue hit the airwaves.

With My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It), Something He Can Feel, and Free Your Mind, the Oakland foursome invaded suburbia and no girl was left without day dreams of herself sashaying down a disutopian runway in a push up bra top, or seducing dapper boys in a push up bra top, or denying boys your love in…a push up bra top.

Oh and sampling In Living Color? Hipster bands wish they had thought of it first!

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Posted on June 8, 2011

Albums »Gal Costa

by Gal Costa (1969)

Gal Costa’s self titled album begins like a sunny afternoon:

you’re resting your feet and eyes swaying in a hammock in your backyard, the scent of tropical flowers lulling you to day dream.

Quickly, though it turns into the same afternoon once your lover has returned from a walk along Ipanema carrying ingredients for mojitos with half the tanned, good looking population from the beach trailing behind him for an impromptu party…

Perhaps even an impromptu party where some hallucinogens might be passed around as stuff does get pretty psychedelic.

Have Fun!

 

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Posted on June 3, 2011

Songs »White Horse

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty Three: Most Danceable Argument Against Starting Heroin:

White Horse by Laid Back (1983)

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Posted on May 23, 2011

Songs »(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Sixteen: Best Synthpop Cover of a Bad Song:

(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me by Naked Eyes (1983)

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Posted on May 16, 2011

Songs »Angie Baby

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Fifteen: Strangest Narrative in a Number One Pop Hit:

Angie Baby by Helen Reddy (1974)

You live your life in the songs you hear
On the rock and roll radio
And when a young girl doesn’t have any friends
That’s a really nice place to go
Folks hoping you’d turn out cool
But they had to take you outta school
You’re a little touched you know, Angie Baby

Lovers appear in your room each night
And they whirl you across the floor
But they always seem to fade away
When your daddy taps on your door
Angie girl, are you all right
Tell the radio good-night
All alone once more, Angie Baby

Angie Baby, you’re a special lady
Living in a world of make-believe
Well, maybe

Stopping at her house is a neighbor boy
With evil on his mind
‘Cause he’s been peeking in Angie’s room
At night through her window blind
I see your folks have gone away
Would you dance with me today
I’ll show you how to have a good time, Angie Baby

When he walks in her room,
He feels confused like he’s walked into a play
And the music’s so loud it spins him around
‘Til his soul has lost its way
And as she turns the volume down
He’s getting smaller with the sound
It seems to pull him off the ground
Toward the radio he’s bound never to be found

The headlines read that a boy disappeared
and everyone thinks he died
‘Cept a crazy girl with a secret lover
Who keeps her satisfied
It’s so nice to be insane
No one asks you to explain
Radio by your side, Angie Baby

Angie Baby, you’re a special lady
Living in a world of make-believe
Well, maybe
Well, maybe

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Posted on May 15, 2011

Songs »We Belong

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Ten: Best Song With Which To Close A Karaoke Bar:

We Belong by Pat Benatar (1984)

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Posted on May 10, 2011

Songs »So Many Men, So Little Time

30 Day Song Challenge – Day One: Best Song to Choreograph Your Chippendale Audition To:

 

So Many Men, So Little Time By Miquel Brown (1983)

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Posted on May 1, 2011

Songs »Empire State of Mind Part II

by Alicia Keys (2009)

One good thing about winter isolation is that I rarely have to inadvertently listen to the radio playing in stores, that plus an ability to fast forward commercials? I’ve heard nary a Sugar Ray or an American Idol winner song in months and months.

The down side is that once and a while an uplifting gem slips through my radar, like Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind Part 2.

I am not sure if it makes me lame to the broader world that I didn’t know this song (when I asked the manicurist who sang it, she was polite enough to not give me an “are you serious?” look, yet I could tell that something had been decided for her about me right then and there). It was, as I’ve since learned, all the rage almost two years ago.

But then again, among the I-only-listen-to-radio-for-NPR crowd, it might make me just as lame to be so in love with such a popular hit – after all, it played right after the Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy”.

But lame or not – this sounds like modern day Donna Summer and there’s not a thing wrong with that. It makes one feel all alive with excitement, teaming with the hope of Diana Ross’ Mahogany stepping out to make her dreams come true in a huge shawl and a maxi skirt.

It reminds me of the initial thrill of coming to New York, when it felt as exciting in it’s vast energy as it was intimidating. And while I don’t walk down a street in Soho with the same dreamy eyes I had back in those days, the city can still amaze: when you drive back home during dusk and the skyline welcomes you, when snow first starts falling in the night time street lights, when… see look at me. I am super sentimental and it’s all because of this song.

But not the original Jay-Z version, I get less emotional to raps about Robert DeNiro.

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Posted on February 8, 2011

Songs »California (All The Way)

by Luna (1994)

I love how music can touch you deep down and take you back to a person that you once were.

Luna’s California (All the Way) is one of those songs that will always be associated in my mind with my Junior year in college. While it doesn’t take me back to the specific memories (which boyfriend was breaking up with me at the time, again??) it does transport me to a very certain feeling.

I can close my eyes when this song comes on and see a warm afternoon outside my apartment on Arnold Street in Providence filled with all the optimism of the young and cocky and all the insecurities of the young and barely experienced.

As for the song itself, I was introduced to it by an old friend, Peat, back when mix cd’s were still given as gifts.

Even if the song holds no sentiment to you, it’s still very lovely.

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Posted on February 1, 2011

Albums »Histoire de Melody Nelson

by Serge Gainsborg (1971)

If Serge’s most renowned album, Histoire de Melody Nelson sounds like a sensual movie soundtrack – that’s because it kind of is. Not for anything released in theaters, but an indulgent, psychedelic music video piece, starring Serge and his lady Jane as a chain smoking, well dressed, slimy older man and the young gyrating, grinning nymphet he falls for after hitting her on her bike with his car, at least as far as I can interpret without speaking French.

That’s one great consistency with Gainsbourg, even if you have no idea what’s being said, you always know it will be sleazy and beautiful – a hard balance for most people, but the man’s way of living.

And beautiful this album is – thanks to the deep spoken word, the hushed giggles, and the lush orchestration of Jean-Claude Vannier, a character I am going to have to learn more about since within a two minute internet search I discovered that he was born during a bomb scare and composed music for YSL shows in the 70’s.

If there’s any complaint about this highly influential album it’s that it seems to go by in a glorious breathtaking instant.

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Posted on January 27, 2011

Songs »America’s Boy

by Broadcast (2005)

I have to admit, as a person generally wary of indie rock, I was not completely familiar with the complete works of the band Broadcast when I learned that the lovely and talented lead singer Trish Keenan died from pneumonia complications.

It’s such a tragedy to lose anyone so young, but particularly sad when you realize they had so much more surely to offer the world with their talents.

Over the years a few of their songs have made my itunes library thanks to friends’ mix CD’s etc and one of my favorites is the beautiful political pop song, America’s Boy.

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Posted on January 15, 2011

Songs »Sugar Walls

by Sheena Easton (1984)

Sugar Walls is gloriously dirty in its sexual connotations (Temperatures rise inside my sugar walls).

Of course it was written by the king of such things, Prince – but what I and maybe you didn’t know is that he wrote it under the amazing pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind”!! Genius.

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Posted on December 28, 2010

Laughs »The 15 Best Quotes From Justin Bieber’s Autobiography

Pizza, Pranks, Chuck Norris!

I know this brilliantly presented collection of quotes on Buzzfeed is supposed to make you glad you didn’t have to read the autobiography Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, but it just endears me to him (for the first time – I wasn’t even swayed by his CSI appearance and I’ve never heard a song of his that wasn’t slowed down 800%). I mean he LOVES pizza, pranks, and Chuck Norris sooooo much!! It reminds me of another great personal story, Ice by Ice: The Vanilla Ice Story in His Own Words (now I am wondering where my copy of that went to). Honestly, I just added it to my amazon wish list.

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Posted on October 15, 2010

Songs »Superstar

by Sonic Youth (1994)

If the real deal Carpenters version of Superstar doesn’t sit well with you, maybe you’re of a hipper ilk and prefer somewhat ironic covers instead. Well, despite tons of iffy attempts by lesser artists, only a band as effortlessly cool as Sonic Youth can really pull of a modern take of one of 1970’s cheesiest (in a good way) ballads. Thurston Moore sounds drugged out and heart broken in a much drowsier and noisier take than The Carpenters (little wonder Richard does not care for it). It’s even more of a departure from the jazzy first incarnations by original artists Delaney and Bonnie and Rita Coolidge.

Aside from being one of my favorite Carpenters songs, I am partial to the hit due to its large part in the very funny Cintra Wilson book, Colors Insulting to Nature.

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Posted on October 12, 2010

Albums »Carpenters

by The Carpenters (1971)

The Carpenters self titled album is an iconic one of its time, and many will argue, of the worst of its time. Schmaltzy, cheesy, feathery soft and mild, Karen and brother Richard were the number one selling act in the 1970’s (this album alone went quadruple platinum). Still, it’s soothing music like this that sometimes hits the mid afternoon spot and can anyone deny that she possessed one of the nicest voices ever recorded?

You’ll likely be familiar with most of the album’s many hits (Rainy Days and Mondays, For All We Know, Superstar) but there are less often played songs here too. Drusilla Penny, a rare Carpenters ditty sung by Richard, is Jim’s favorite (though he is not a big fan over all) but some of the others are admittedly a bit much to handle even for me as I recommend you give this adult contemporary dynamo a chance (see Bacharach medley and Saturday).

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Posted on October 12, 2010

Laughs »P I Z Z A

Slowed Down Olsen Twins

Thanks to Steve, of Team Assignment for linking to this awesome, slowed down version of an Olsen Twins ode to pizza. It’s the latest in slowed down pre teen pop (see Bieber slowed down 800 percent) that results in something way more amazing than the straight to VHS song could ever dream to aspire to. I think Biz Markie should cover this.

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Posted on October 5, 2010

Albums »Blood Visions

by Jay Reatard (2005)

From the tragic drug related death at age 26 of Jay Reatard, aka Jimmy Lee Lindsey, it would seem he lived as he made music: short and hard. His energetic, agitated Blood Visions squeezes life out of the pop punk quick song tradition with a critically adored album that calls to mind Operation Ivy and The Ramones with a modern wave that almost sounds like Wire-like.

It’s not the genre of music I usually go to first, but I’ve found myself mysteriously drawn to the spastic album lately that lends a sense of urgency to any project you happen to be working on while listening to it. It’s not revolutionary but for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, it’s far more interesting and worthy of repeat listens than other similar takes on pop punk. It’s a shame we won’t be hearing any more from this talented showman.

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Posted on September 18, 2010