Friday, January 31, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #43 Michael Jackson "Thriller"

Michael Jackson Thriller, 1982

So. Here we are. I'm ready to write something interesting and exciting about this amazing album. It's pretty hard. I think probably every combination of words possible to use about this album has been used, but I'll give it a shot.

I think the thing that always knocks me about about Thriller is that it starts off strong with three decent early-80's Michael Jackson songs. You may not care for the Paul McCartney collab "The Girl is Mine", but I find it charming and fun. So ok. We're trucking merrily along on this solid B of an album.

Then "Thriller" happens. And it feels like you're waking from a dream. We've got this huge, epic song that....VINCENT PRICE doing creepy Vincent Price-esque guest vocals?? And then the coffin door closes. What could possibly follow that amazing trip of a song?


Just about the best side of a record I can think of: The one-two punch of "Beat It" and "Billie Jean". Then you have the sexy, smooth "Human Nature:, into "P.Y.T." which, as usual, sets the room on fire. And then we catch our breath, slow dancing on the ashes to the dulcet tones of "The Lady in My Life" and the album's over.

It's devastating what a great album Thriller is. For MJ, this was literally the case. He obsessed over the follow-up for years before releasing Bad, which is about as good a follow-up as you're going to get if you're trying to compare to Thriller, for God's sake.

I had my choice of another of amazing music videos, but, really, what other music video am I going to feature? Honestly. Enjoy :)

Michael Jackson - Human Nature

You can buy Thriller at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes (although, seriously? you don't already own Thriller??)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1987

10. Samantha Fox - Touch Me (I Want Your Body)
9. Bon Jovi - Livin on a Prayer

Because, even though she never reads this (although I'll probably link this post for her), I know my friend Erin would never forgive me if I didn't post the Bon Jovi video. And I have to admit: It's a catchy song and a fun video to watch. They honestly seem like they're having a blast.

8. Gregory Abbott - Shake You Down
7. Glass Tiger - Someday
6. Janet Jackson - Control
5. Cyndi Lauper - Change of Heart
4. Genesis - Land of Confusion
3. Robbie Nevil - C'est La Vie
2. Madonna - Open Your Heart
1. Billy Vera - At This Moment

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #44 Carole King "Tapestry"

Carole King Tapestry, 1971

For me, this album is Saturday mornings in the 70's. Now, I wasn't alive in the 70's, so this feeling isn't based on anything in reality, but it happens every time. Maybe it's because my mom has this album on vinyl, or maybe I've seen a commercial or something that had this music (or similar music) in it and took place on a 1970's Saturday morning. Who knows?

All I know is that this album is practically a greatest hits album. Without looking up the exact story, the story goes like this: James Taylor convinced Carole King that she should record an album of her singing her own songs. These songs had been made famous by the Shirelles and Aretha Franklin (and eventually Taylor himself). So she decided to take his advice. And the result is this quietly stunning album. (I can't actually find this story now, so it might be a complete fabrication on my part)

She's not singing with the gusto of Franklin here. She's not passionately questioning her lover like the Shirelles. She's doing something a little more subtle. Her rendition of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" is a little more resigned and a little sadder, but I feel like it works all the better.

Tapestry has a little of everything on it and I've always been really happy whenever I put it on (even if I'm also sad or lonely). In a way, I guess King's voice is like the titular tapestry: delicate, intricate, elaborate, and perhaps a little threadbare. But make no mistake. Behind that tapestry is a solid stone wall. It's not going anywhere no matter what you throw at it. And I love that.

The next couple of albums are all, as it happens, older albums, so look forward to concerts from the years that the albums were released. It's so amazing to be able to find this kind of thing on YouTube. Also amazing: CK is roughly a year younger than I am right now in this video. Simply incredible. Criminy! James Taylor is only 23 in this!!!! Good grief!

Carole King - I Feel the Earth Move
Carole King - Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

You can buy Tapestry at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Countdown: Have no Fear! The COUNTDOWN is here!!!

Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar at the 2014 Grammy Awards
Late again. It's beginning to feel like 2010, based on how awful I've been about the punctuality of this podcast. What can I say? Sometimes, life gets in the way. But this isn't going to derail anything so don't start getting those worries in your pretty little heads.

As it happened, being late allowed me to do more immediate Grammy coverage than I would have been able to do if I'd tried to report from NEXT Sunday. So I guess that's a blessing in disguise.

This countdown has a lot of bonus songs in it, very few of which I planned beforehand. It's not as much as LAST week's, but it's still a lot.

Countdown #182

Arctic Monkeys
Blink 182
Cage the Elephant
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Pearl Jam
Twenty One Pilots
Vampire Weekend
The White Stripes
Young the Giant

Top Ten Tuesday: Lorde "Team"

Hey alright! Not only were there new songs on this week's Top Ten, they're both songs currently on the countdown! So, if they stay on for a couple weeks, we'll have some time to revel in some visual interpretations of songs that we know and love

Here's the video for "Team" by Lorde. It's a little hard to tell what's going on here. Is it a post-apocalyptic world run by kids? Is Lorde their leader? Watch it for yourself and see what you come up with.

Friday, January 24, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #45 Thursday "War All the Time"

Thursday War All The Time, 2003

If this album was just its first track, "For the Workforce, Drowning" repeated over and over for 11 songs, it would probably still be on this list. I love that song so much. And it's a perfect opening shot for this album: sad, angry, inspiring, beautiful.

War All the Time one of a couple albums released right around 2003 that made me feel completely justified in the screamy/yelly, loud, pop-punky music I'd been listening to for most of college. The songs aren't about girls and love and heartbreak like much of the stuff I was into. They were about injustice and restlessness and death and beauty and loneliness. They made me feel like I was listening to something important. You could call them "Nowhere Man" albums, if that makes sense to you.

Thursday had hooked me with their breakout song from their debut (which was called Full Collapse), "Cross Out the Eyes" and the rest of that album had been just a wonderful buffet of yelling and chugging guitars. The detailed lyrics and reflection were there, no doubt, but it was definitely more of a "yell and trash your room" album. The follow-up, War All the Time, has elements of that, but it also has moments of quiet that are somehow FAR more devastating.

When my children ask me to play them something that I listened to in college, I will put this album on. It represents the best of what my musical exploration led me to in those days.

Thursday - For the Workforce, Drowning
Thursday - War All the Time

You can buy War All the Time at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1988

I started Kindergarten in Fall of 1988. So when this was out, I was in preschool in Colorado.

10. Roger - I Want to Be Your Man
9. Whitney Houston - So Emotional
8. Expose - Seasons Change
7. Taylor Dayne - Tell It to My Heart
6. Elton John - Candle In the Wind
5. Bangles - Hazy Shade of Winter

This song is really really good. I feel like it's pretty easy to do a rockin' version of this song, but they go even above that. I didn't realize they'd done a cover of this. And apparently they did it for the Less Than Zero soundtrack. This is an example of one of my favorite music video tropes. The song from the movie that randomly has tv's playing parts of the movie while the band performs.

I need to educate myself some more on the Bangles. And probably also the Go-Gos.

4. George Harrison - Got My Mind Set On You
3. Tiffany - Could've Been
2. INXS - Need You Tonight
1. Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #46 The Offspring "Smash"

The Offspring Smash, 1994

There are two albums from 1994 in the top half of this 100-album list. They are both breakthrough albums for bands that had good runs in the 90's, but have been reduced to parodies of their former selves in the decades since. One of them is Smash and I bet you have a pretty good idea of what the other one is (It's not Dookie).

It seems like there are two kinds of albums on this list: 1) The albums that were follow-ups to the first album I heard by the band and had a more polished, poppy sound and 2) Albums that immediately preceded the first album I heard by the band and had a rawer, harder sound. Smash fits neatly into the latter category.

I got WAY into the album that came after this, Ixnay on the Hombre, and then I heard this and thought it was fine. But as the years have passed, I've come to realize that this is the band at their peak. Yes, I like Dexter and Noodles with short, spiky hair as opposed to the dreadlocks that they had on this one, but the sarcastic, intelligent, restless sound that I love them for was in full force on Smash.

There are the two HUGE singles smack dab in the middle of the album, "Come Out and Play" and "Self-Esteem". There's "Bad Habit" which is incredibly fun to hear when you're still in a kind of "watch your language, young man" household. And there's also all of those fast songs like "So Alone", "Killboy Powerhead", "Nitro (Youth Energy)" and "It'll Be a Long Time" that prove that the band can hang with the punks, too.

Whenever I'm feeling sad that The Offspring have fallen off the sarcastic, ironic fence into the novelty, pop-punk playground, I put this album on and dream of a day when Dexter grows his hair back out and they return to the days when you listened to the band to think and occasionally to laugh, instead of vice-versa.

The Offspring - Bad Habit
The Offspring - It'll Be a Long Time

You can buy Smash at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Chart

Another week where I've covered everything on the Top Ten. So. Here's a video with clips from each song on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Chart. There was a lot of good stuff this year. And some memorable, though not necessarily good, stuff.

If we're in this same situation next week, I'm probably not going to post, but I promise that the minute something that we haven't covered makes the Hot 100, I'll be back!

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Countdown: Yeah, It's Late. But I think You'll Forgive Me
Young the Giant

Ok. Hi. So I know that everyone was super disappointed not to see the new countdown up yesterday, but the truth is that we were doing some major cleaning around the house and when I looked up, it was WAY later than I thought, and it was just not going to work to stay up putting this together

BUT I think you'll be ok with it. What I'm saying is that this countdown is literally CHOCK FULL of countdowny goodness so I feel alright with putting it up a little late. Enjoy! See you in about 100 minutes!

Countdown #181

Arctic Monkeys
Cage the Elephant
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
Linkin Park
The Neighbourhood
Pearl Jam
Vampire Weekend
The White Stripes
Young the Giant

Friday, January 17, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #47 Rage Against the Machine "Rage Against the Machine"

Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine, 1992

First of all, don't for a second think that I was cool enough in 1992 to have this album. I was very much not.

No, I first encountered Rage through the singles from their second album, Evil Empire: "People of the Sun" and "Bulls on Parade".

I guess maybe it was the fact that "Wake Up" was on the end of The Matrix, or that I really enjoyed their song on the Godzilla soundtrack (hell of a soundtrack, by the way.), but somehow I discovered this, their debut album. And it made everything else I'd heard fade slightly in comparison.

You can tell that they're really working through the sound that they're going for with this band. The "rap" songs are very neatly delineated from the "rock" songs in a way that wouldn't be as clear on subsequent albums.

The message is also clearer and louder. Perfect example: If the end of "Killing In the Name Of" (the "fuck you. i won't do what you tell me" part) doesn't make you want to at least throw an aluminum can into the "Plastic Only" recycle bin, then you need to crank the volume a little louder. It might be sacrilege to say, but this album has the sound that I always think I'm going to get from Public Enemy and never do. (The reason for this is simple: PE is an obvious influence)

This is the kind of music that I pray kids are still finding today. Loud, angry, rebellious music with a message about thinking for yourself and questioning authority.

And I haven't even gone INTO the album cover yet. This is, after the aforementioned Rancid album, my second favorite album cover. It's violent and iconic, but also somehow serene.

Rage Against the Machine - Know Your Enemy

You can buy Rage Against the Machine at Amazon, Amazon MP3, iTunes

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1989

We've officially reached the 80's! It started getting tough in the early 90's, but now I'm really going to have to hope to have heard of a song on the Top Ten!

10. Karyn White - The Way You Love Me
9. Annie Lennox - Put a Little Love in Your Heart
8. Boys Club - I Remember Holding You
7. Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal
6. Bangles - In Your Room
5. Def Leppard - Armageddon It
4. Taylor Dayne - Don't Rush Me
3. Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn

I heard this song over Thanksgiving weekend and it was earlyish in the morning and everything about it really worked for me. So, that's why I picked it. Pretty standard hair-metal video. Concert footage, weeping fans, blond hair flying, hats. All of it.

2. Phil Collins - Two Hearts
1. Bobby Brown - My Prerogative

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #48 Ben Kweller "Sha Sha"

Ben Kweller Sha Sha, 2002

I've always half-remembered seeing this album cover long before I ever heard the first single "Wasted and Ready" but that can't be true. I don't know what I'm remembering but it can't be this.

The first time I heard "Wasted and Ready",  I was in the car with my mom, who didn't much care for the "She is a slut" part of the song, but I was intrigued.

For whatever reason, I ended up buying the album. I think it must have been that fall (this would have been, of course, SYoC) and I never stopped being intrigued.

It's such an interesting album that all of the follow-ups I've heard from him have been faint echoes. It rocks hard, but it also has a soothing, sensitive side. And of course "Make It Up" has both sides all rolled up into one.

"Walk On Me" was an early front-runner for me and remains the high point of an album FULL of high points. Kweller is a fantastic songwriter. I find myself identifying with songs even if I don't really know what they mean, just based on his delivery.

If you aren't familiar with this album, you should change that. It feels like an album that a very talented friend put out, logging his progress from the early piano noodlings of "How It Should Be (Sha Sha)" to the polished soundtrack ready pop of "Falling" (I know it was at LEAST used in the trailers for the Adam Sandler Mr. Deeds remake, but I have to imagine it was all over the place at the time.) But this is just an illusion. Every song is as razor sharp as the next.

Ben Kweller - Walk on Me
Ben Kweller - Falling

You can buy Sha Sha at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Katy Perry featuring Juicy J "Dark Horse"

Well, this isn't the best Katy Perry song I've ever heard in my life, but it is very catchy and feels like you'd be able to pick it out from a couple of notes on the radio, so it works.

Plus, it's new to the Top Ten! (Or at least, it hasn't been on Top Ten Tuesday before. I feel like I recall that it was maybe on the Top Ten for a week sometime last year)

I can't find an actual music video for this song, but here they are performing it at the iHeartRadio Festival last October and it's a pretty good quality video. Plus, she's wearing Chucks in this performance and I like that :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Countdown: Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back!

Arctic Monkeys
Welcome back to another year of AFDAT10C's! Haha. That looks ridiculous. I used to read the magazine Star Wars Insider and Anthony Daniels who played C-3P0 had a column in which he used that kind of initialism all the time and it referred to things from like lots of articles prior and was both funny and aggravating.


Welp, enjoy the episode! ;-)

Countdown #180

Arctic Monkeys
Cage the Elephant
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Pearl Jam
Vampire Weekend
The White Stripes
Young the Giant

Friday, January 10, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #49 Arctic Monkeys "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not"

Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, 2006

This was the first album I saw really hyped up on Arctic Monkeys released an EP in the Spring and this was coming out in the Summer (Dates and Seasons may not be 100% accurate. Void where prohibited. If swelling persists, consult a doctor.) and people were STOKED. Then they were on SNL (They played "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance") and I very much enjoyed both of their performances on that. So I picked it up.

And man, the hype was well-deserved. I couldn't believe that music this addictive could still be coming from bands that I hadn't ever heard of. Which, in hindsight, is a pretty egotistical thing to think, but I was 23. That's the age for ego.

I love when British or Scottish bands don't mask their accent. So often, you'll hear a band play and think they're American, but then they'll speak and you'll quickly find out that that was only their singing accent. Think the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. And Arctic Monkeys just let their accent hang out all over the place. And I love it.

I never really got into The Strokes or Franz Ferdinand. And I always secretly think it's because I got into this album first. It rocks AND you can dance to it. It's brimming with youthful exuberance and snottiness (hey, a theme this week!) which I love, but it's also smart. I'm really glad these guys have stuck around for a while. Apparently, their most recent album, AM, is also very good. And I'm really happy about that.

Arctic Monkeys - The View From the Afternoon
Arctic Monkeys - A Certain Romance

You can buy Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 1990

10. Jody Watley - Everything
9. Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire

This song was, no joke, one of the structures of my 7th Grade Social Studies class. It's a good review of  history that took place over the lifespan of Billy Joel. What's really weird to think about is the fact that, at the time (the 1995-1996 school year was 7th grade for me), the song was only like 6 years old. To put that in perspective, that would be like using a song from 2007 or 2008 today. Time is SO weird, isn't it?

This is basically the ultimate Throwback Thursday. We threwback to a song that threw us back even further!

8. Cher - Just Like Jesse James
7. New Kids on the Block - This One's For the Children
6. Michael Bolton - How am I Supposed to Live Without You
5. Taylor Dayne - With Every Beat of My Heart
4. Technotronic - Pump Up the Jam
3. Linda Ronstadt featuring Aaron Neville - Don't Know Much
2. Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation
1. Phil Collins - Another Day in Paradise

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #50 The Living End "The Living End"

The Living End The Living End, 1998

I guess the best way to talk about this album is by first talking about the band Flying With Ralph. I've had many fake bands that I've been in in my life. The main one that I always come back to is, of course, 80-D, with the first album being titled Appetite For Distraction. But in High School I had this idea for a jazz-punk band and my friend Erin and I decided that Flying with Ralph would be a great name for it (It was in reference to a Ralph Wiggum bit from The Simpsons that is escaping me right now).

I was quickly informed by some more musically savvy friends that jazz and punk couldn't exist in the same band because of their opposing time signatures or something, which seemed a really weird reason to me.

Sometime in the same time frame as Flying With Ralph, I found this CD at Hot Topic.....or maybe Waves (which was the CD store at the mall that did NOT last long). And somehow I decided that I would enjoy it. If it was Hot Topic, I know they had a listening station, but if it was Waves, I don't know. I assume they must have had something similar.

Anyways, I loved the way this album was punky and bratty like Green Day, but somehow darker. This is another case where I wasn't well-versed enough in ska to recognize its influence on songs like "Second Solution". I loved it immediately and it became a staple in my car, once I got my car.

One of the last songs on the album is called "Strange". It's fairly typical, lyrically. Stuff about it being good to be different and not fitting in with the crowd. All stuff that spoke to me then and still speaks to me now. But then in the middle of the song, there's a breakdown. A JAZZ BREAKDOWN. And it blew my mind. It was exactly what I was thinking of for FWR! (Later, I'd discover Refused and realize that I was thinking of a sort of hybrid between The Living End and their The Shape of Punk to Come album, but that was several years later)

Looking back, I see that what I was probably mostly looking for in "jazz-punk" was something like Rockabilly but that's beside the point. The Living End came to me at a time when I was looking for something JUST like what they were playing. And I love when that happens.

The album definitely holds up to the test of time. In fact, I think I'll listen to it again today!

The Living End - Second Solution
The Living End - Strange

You can buy The Living End at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Mashups

Well, folks, we've done it. We've played all of the songs currently on the Top Ten. I knew this could happen in theory, but I never considered what my contingency plan was for if it happened. Fortunately, it happened right around the new year. So I've decided to play a couple of Year-End Mashup videos. The first is by my stand-by for this kind of thing: DJ Earworm.

Here's the list of songs mashed up (in bold are songs that, as far as my memory serves, were featured on Top Ten Tuesday when they were in the Top Ten):

Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc - Wake Me Up
Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man
Capital Cities - Safe & Sound
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams - Get Lucky
Eminem feat. Rihanna - The Monster

Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly - Cruise
Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
Imagine Dragons - Demons
Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake - Holy Grail
Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z - Suit & Tie
Katy Perry - Roar
Lady Gaga - Applause
Lorde - Royals
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz - Thrift Shop
Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball
Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop

OneRepublic - Counting Stars
P!nk feat. Nate Ruess - Just Give Me A Reason
Rihanna - Stay
Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell & T.I. - Blurred Lines
Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin - Don't You Worry Child
Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble
Will.I.Am feat. Britney Spears - Scream And Shout

And here's another one that is from a relative newcomer to my world, Daniel Kim

And here's the song list for this one (songs bolded in this list are bolded for the same reason they were bolded before):

  1. Anna Kendrick – “Cups (When I’m Gone)”
  2. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – “This Is What It Feels Like”
  3. A$AP Rocky feat. Skrillex, Birdy Nam Nam – “Wild For The Night”
  4. Avicii – “Wake Me Up”
  5. Avril Lavigne – “Here’s To Never Growing Up”
  6. Bastille – “Pompeii”
  7. Bauuer – “Harlem Shake”
  8. Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement – “Get Up (Rattle)”
  9. Britney Spears – “Ooh La La”
  10. Britney Spears – “Work B**ch”
  11. Bruno Mars – “Locked Out Of Heaven”
  12. Bruno Mars – “Treasure”
  13. Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man”
  14. Calvin Harris feat. Ayah Marar – “Thinking About You”
  15. Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – “I Need Your Love”
  16. Capital Cities – “Safe And Sound”
  17. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”
  18. Demi Lovato – “Heart Attack”
  19. Drake feat. Majid Jordan – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
  20. Drake – “Started From The Bottom”
  21. Ellie Goulding – “Burn”
  22. Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX – “I Love It (I Don’t Care)”
  23. Imagine Dragons – Demons
  24. Jason Derulo – “The Other Side”
  25. Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake – “Holy Grail”
  26. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”
  27. Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z – “Suit & Tie”
  28. Katy Perry – “Roar”
  29. Kelly Clarkson – “Catch My Breath”
  30. Ke$ha – “C’mon”
  31. Ke$ha feat. – “Crazy Kids”
  32. Krewella – “Alive”
  33. Lady Gaga – “Applause”
  34. Lana Del Rey – “Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)”
  35. Lorde – “Royals”
  36. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert – “Same Love”
  37. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton – “Can’t Hold Us”
  38. Maroon 5 – “Daylight”
  39. Maroon 5 – “Love Somebody”
  40. Martin Garrix – “Animals”
  41. Martin Solveig & The Cataracs feat. Kyle – “Hey Now”
  42. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”
  43. Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”
  44. Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith – “La La La”
  45. One Direction – “Best Song Ever”
  46. One Direction – “Story Of My Life”
  47. OneRepublic – “Counting Stars”
  48. OneRepublic – “If I Lose Myself”
  49. Passenger – “Let Her Go”
  50. P!nk feat. Nate Ruess – “Just Give Me A Reason”
  51. Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera – “Feel This Moment”
  52. Pitbull feat. Ke$ha – “Timber”
  53. Pitbull feat. TJR – “Don’t Stop The Party”
  54. PSY – “Gentleman”
  55. Rihanna – “Pour It Up”
  56. Rihanna feat. David Guetta – “Right Now”
  57. Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – “Stay”
  58. Robin Thicke feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Give It 2 U”
  59. Robin Thicke feat. T.I., Pharrell Williams – “Blurred Lines”
  60. Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It”
  61. Selena Gomez – “Slow Down”
  62. Taylor Swift – “22”
  63. Taylor Swift – “I Knew You Were Trouble”
  64. feat. Britney Spears – “Scream & Shout”
  65. feat. Justin Bieber – “#thatPOWER”
  66. Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)”
  67. Zedd feat. Foxes – “Clarity”
  68. Zedd feat. Hayley Williams – “Stay The Night”

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Artists of the Year Countdown! Some new some old!

Barenaked Ladies, ca 1996
Here we are again for another Artists of the Year Countdown! It's good fun, though, as happens every year, it feels like I have a list of 4 or 5 (or 6) standbys that are ALWAYS on this list. But that's ok. I like them! That's why I listen to them!

2013 Artists of the Year

Barenaked Ladies
The Beatles
Fall Out Boy
Frightened Rabbit
Smashing Pumpkins
Vampire Weekend

Friday, January 3, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #51 Sum 41 "All Killer No Filler"

Sum 41 "All Killer No Filler", 2001

Senior year of High School, there was an exchange student from Scotland named Douglas. By the spring, the Drama department had made him one of our own. He remains one of the coolest people I've met.

For some reason, I was at his host family's house waiting for him to get ready and watching MuchMusic (Canadian Music Television). The performance that I was watching was mesmerizing. It was a pop-punk band which I was already on board with, but in the middle of their song, the drummer started trading rap lines with the singer. I had never seen anything like it before and honestly haven't really seen anything like it since.

The band was, of course, Sum 41 (wouldn't it be weird if it wasn't and I was just randomly telling you this story?) and the song was "Fat Lip", the song that made them blow up in America. It came from today's featured album, All Killer No Filler (which I would later discover was originally the title of a Jerry Lee Lewis album (his nickname was "Killer" because, and I'm not checking my sources on this, he accidentally shot someone in his youth)),

I was listening to this album this morning and was realizing how similar to my experience with Barenaked Ladies was to my experience with Sum 41 was. And also how different. Both Canadian bands with rap in their breakthrough hit, but not really a thing that was a part of most of their music. The difference was that I was already a fan of the kind of music that Sum 41 mostly played, so it wasn't a hard transition when I realized that "Fat Lip" wasn't typical Sum 41 fare. With Barenaked Ladies, the transition from "cool folky wrap group" to "talented introspective songwriting band" was too much for me 3 years earlier.

This album holds up today and almost has a classic feel to me. The video for "In Too Deep" remains one of my favorites and I hadn't even seen the movie Back to School when I saw it for the first time. Something about a flashy guitar solo played while rising slowly out of a pool will always get me.

I decided not to feature "Fat Lip". Odds are, you've heard it. And I wanted to play some lesser known songs from the album that I love. So here they are!  
Sum 41 - Rhythms
Sum 41 - Heart Attack

You can buy All Killer No Filler at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday: 1991

10. Whitney Houston - I'm Your Baby Tonight
9. Surface - The First Time
8. Ralph Tresvant - Sensitivity
7. Janet Jackson - Love Will Never Do (Without You)
6. Wilson Phillips - Impulsive
5. DNA featuring Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner

So, even though this video is credited to just Suzanne Vega, this actually is the DNA version. How do I know? I have it on good authority that the original SV version was completely a cappella. And this is decidedly not a cappella.

I love this song and there's so much cool stuff to read about it. More than fits the format of a Throwback Thursday post.

You can click on over to the Wikipedia page and be as fascinated as I was, though.

Incidentally, here's the original version, for the curious:

4. Damn Yankees - High Enough
3. Bette Midler - From a Distance
2. Stevie B - Because I Love You (The Postman Song)
1. Madonna - Justify My Love

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #52 The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Let's Face It"

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Let's Face It", 1997

It's funny to think about this album from almost 17 years later. This was almost my first ska album (Tragic Kingdom would have come shortly before it) and at the time, it seemed like this was music from another planet. Now I see that this was a fairly straightforward effort that somehow caught the ear of a more mainstream crowd than usual, with "The Impression That I Get", if not dominating the radio, at least making a dent.

It's a great album, though, despite the conventionality. From the snare that counts in "Noise Brigade" to the group singalong/party that wraps up the party, this album runs the gamut from easy going to hard driving and still sounds as awesome today as it did back then.

And the messages are still VERY relevant. The title track (dubbed "Preachy" by AV Club columnist and future NPR golden child Stephen Thompson) is basically a ska call for equality among ALL people. Again, not a new concept for the genre, but still nice to hear.

One of my memories of this album is that it was one that was reviewed by Focus on the Family back when my Mom got their weekly bulletin. The Internet being a wonderful thing, here it is:

Pro-Social Content

Strong anti-drug lyrics are central to "Royal Oil" ("When you smoke or poke the poison, you lose the chance to be tomorrow"). "Nevermind Me" finds the victim of a holdup mourning for the drug addict who robbed him. Gang violence leads to murder, which leads to prison on the cautionary tale, "Numbered Days." Fed up with society's scandals and lies, "Desensitized" longs for truth. "Noise Brigade" values higher education and learning a trade. The title song condemns racial hatred, sexism and bigotry . . .

Objectionable Content

. . . But it also seems to sanction homosexuality by urging listeners to tolerate others' "preferences." "That Bug Bit Me" includes one use of the s-word. "Another Drinkin' Song" condemns drunkenness, but only after a first-person diatribe that seems to revere it.

Summary Advisory

This band has a good heart. Sadly, its lyrical execution leaves something to be desired. Not a terrible disc, but The Insyderz or The Supertones are better ska options.

(Quick aside related to the "Summary Advisory" section: as far as Christian ska bands go, the aforementioned bands are quite nice. I like The Insyderz Skalleluia! album and The Supertones Chase the Sun album, but neither stacks up to this, lyrically or musically. I wish that they'd suggested Five Iron Frenzy's Upbeats and Beatdowns, instead. They would have been repping fellow Coloradans and I've always enjoyed FIF's sound more than the other two bands)

It struck me as odd at the time that they had to make the distinction between what kinds of tolerance were commendable and what kinds were something to warn parents about. And I think that was a watershed moment for me. Realizing that some organizations could take wonderful messages and turn them on their heads. "Let's Face It" remains one of my favorite songs on the album, and one reason for that is that it stuck in the craw of a group like that.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face It

Another nice thing to come out of revisiting this album nearly two decades later is that a song like "Another Drinkin' Song" connects a lot more cleanly with me. When I was hearing this for the first time, I was hearing it with a very judgy set of ears on either side of a brain that wasn't QUITE ready for the complexity of the content of the song. And so I labelled it "the skippable track".  But this song, rather like "Alcohol" on the Barenaked Ladies' Stunt album is catchy and thoughtful and a lot of fun, even if I still can't personally relate to the character's specific vice. I can substitute my own! That's the great thing about vices. They're very malleable.

But when you listen to this one, the key change is the thing to pay attention to. Watch how it completely changes the tone and vibe and flavor of the song. It's like someone took a rag and wiped the grime off the window just in time for a gorgeous sunset.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Another Drinkin' Song

You can buy Let's Face It at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes