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Category Archives: Music

Driving around Monday, I heard each of the following songs two times:

“Hey Jealousy” – The Gin Blossoms
“Rebel Yell” – Billy Idol
“Crazy” – Seal
“Creep” – Radiohead

Apparently one person is programming every radio station in the entire Indy market. Either that or DJs around town were listening to their competition and getting inspiration.

I owe my fellow music geeks some AT40 updates. So a couple items from the last two weeks are below.

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A little trivia from this week’s American Top 40: The 80s* rebroadcast.

* Apparently this is the official name for these programs.

Until 1980, no artist had ever had two top ten hits at the same time as both a member of a group and as a solo artist. Diana Ross did it first in late 1980. Another artist accomplished the same feat this week in 1981. Care to take a guess? Answer is below the jump.

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In which I listen to the music of my youth.

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Hey, it’s time for my annual listing of the songs that moved me and/or stuck with me the most this year. ¬†Enjoy. Read More »

Admit it, you were glued to VH1 Classic’s 80 Hours of the ’80s this weekend (That is if you have VH1 Classic). Lord knows I was. I thought about e-mailing each of you individually to make sure you knew it was on.

In between shows for the kids and doing things outside, I tried to check in on the A-Z run-through of some of the decade’s best videos all weekend. Most nights, while I was reading, I used it as my background music instead of my usual iTunes library. Good stuff.

Five years ago was the great Labor Day flood of 2003, in which we got like 800 inches of rain in about 12 hours (or eight inches, whatever). Suzanne worked a 24 hour shift that weekend. I remember watching a lot of I Love the 80s that weekend. Had it been 80 Hours of the ’80s back then, I might have watched 24 straight hours!

Had that been the case, you would have expected about 5000 words out of me. So it makes sense that I scribbled down a few notes this weekend.
Worst video of the weekend? The Jackson’s “Torture.” Neither Jermaine or Michael bothered to show up. One of the other Jackson brothers had a single dance move he repeated over-and-over. And then there was some strange witch, demon, spider, skeleton thing going on. Apparently there wasn’t a lot of collaboration on the actual album. I know I have a few readers who saw the first show of the Victory Tour at Arrowhead in KC.

Also shitty was the video for REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Lovin’ You.” Just go watch. It’s a short song. As if the beginning and end aren’t bad enough, note the 10″ TV they “invested” in for the vid.

Long time readers will recall that I loved that song back in the day. I never really noticed until this weekend, though, how they totally copped out. There’s no second verse! Some songs truncate the second verse, cutting it to only two lines. But REO went straight to the guitar solo then back into the chorus. I wonder if Kevin Cronin tried and tried to put something decent together for the second verse, kept getting crap, but realizing he had pure FM radio gold in the first verse and chorus, decided to cut to the chase. It hit #1 for a week and kept me up for hours one night in 1981 to try to record it, so I guess it worked.

Continuing the shitty theme, pretty much all hip-hop videos. Most of them had the feel of, “Well, the label says we have to put a video together, so let’s call up all our boys, get some ladies to come on down, and we’ll figure something out. Oh, and our budget is $500.” I still love the music, but it was hard to justify how excited I was when Yo! MTV Raps started.

Another bad one was a Black Sabbath video from the Dio years. Filmed before a live audience, there is all kinds of bad camera work and audio through the entire piece. But, at the end, the music abruptly fades out, there’s a split second of silence, then the fake crowd noise fades in. Did they even try?

Eurythmics songs have aged very well. Annie Lennox is awesome.

On the positive side, I’ve decided Jane’s Addiction is one of the most underrated bands ever. I had no idea that Nothing’s Shocking came out in 1988. That’s a year before Nirvana’s Bleach came out. (And then Ritual De Lo Habitual came out a year before Nevermind.) I always thought “Mountain Song” was brilliant, but knowing it came out when hair metal still ruled makes it even more amazing. And “Jane Says” was from ’88, too. Those guys were geniuses and deserve more credit for changing music. Nothing’s Shocking is the perfect mix of showing us exactly where rock music was in 1988 and where it was going from there. Weird that the video for “Jane Says” was actually from the mid-90s reunion.

And could Mark Goodman have taken his sunglasses off for his little between songs moments?

I hope they do this again over Thanksgiving are around the end of the year.

Favorite songs 10-1.

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A few words about the methodology for my favorite songs list.

First, I had to own a song for it to appear on the list. Duh.

Second, I limited myself to one song per artist. After some consultation with a few other music geeks, I determined that I could consider both Beatles songs and John Lennon’s solo work separately. Same for Neil Finn’s work with Split Enz, Crowded House, The Finn Brothers, and on his own. Alas, no one made the final list under two different entries.

That did made some of the selection process a series of mini-tournaments to pick my favorite Beatles, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, etc. song.

So how did I put this together? First, I scrolled through my iTunes library and reviewed every song rated as five stars, pulling my favorites into a new playlist. Then, I reviewed all my four star songs to make sure none deserved an addition star. After this review, I started with a list of about 45 songs back in April. I purged and added and purged some more, but I doubt I ever got up to 50 songs for consideration. In fact, I got under 30 pretty quickly. By early June, I was sitting on a list of 22 songs that more-or-less included everything that made the final list. Those final two songs were the biggest struggle for some reason. At one point, both Marshall Crenshaw and John Lennon had songs at the tail end of the list. But, in time, they got bumped.

The rest of the list remained fairly static. I did a rough ranking, then compared each song to those next to it, decided which I liked best, and reranked them based on that. There was a song that at one point was in the top five that fell down into the second ten. One song that ended up in the top five wasn’t on the list until last week (You’ll read about that next week). But other than spending a lot of time thinking about what to write about each song, this was a fairly easy process.

Now that the gauntlet has been thrown, I hope to read some of your top 10 or 20 or whatever songs lists soon.

Songs 20-11 of my 20 favorite songs of all-time below the jump. I changed my mind; part two will come out next Friday.

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frightrabbit.jpg

I should probably hold off on saying this for a few more days, until I’ve had a chance to listen through it more, but the best album of the year so far is The Midnight Organ Fight by the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. I’ve tried to put on my amateur rock critic hat and find some really eloquent words to describe them, but about all I can come up with is that the album is freaking brilliant. I discovered them this morning through the excellent I Am Fuel, You Are Friends blog and immediately went out and bought the album. It’s been a long time since I had such a strong emotional connection to an album on my first listen. It’s only 1:00 and I’m already on listen #4.

Check their MySpace site or The Hype Machine for some tracks. You will not be disappointed.