31 December 2012

31 December 2012 - Karmin - Crash Your Party

I suppose it doesn't surprise too many of you that my pick for Album of the Year would have been Hello by Karmin if it had more than seven songs.  If maybe they had slid this song on the album, I'd feel better about that choice.

I cannot say enough good about these two.  I don't really give a damn what Gawker says about them. Frankly, this post was our third biggest of 2012 - and with this link, I'm pretty sure it'll jump to 2nd.  So.... well, someone likes this white-girl rap.  Count me among that someone.  They're fun, they're musically sound, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying them.

As far as this song, a late-2011 release, it's fun, it's different, and the video is pretty cool.  I really wish they'd re-release this as a single.

I'm a little irked they didn't get a Best New Artist Grammy nomination, but I guess we can't everything....



Thank you for reading this little blog in 2012.  We'll be back next year with more - but probably not quite so much Karmin.

28 December 2012

28 December 2012 - Silverchair - Anthem for the Year 2000

Silverchair were - are? They haven't made their breakup clear - an Australian band of kids - they formed in 1992, when they were 12 - that sound a lot like Pearl Jam.  That doesn't mean they don't have some fun songs.

This song isn't fun.  It's angry and energetic and was woefully under-appreciated in 1999, when it was released.  It's a heavy, anthemic song that should have garnered more attention for the band.  Instead, it was a middling hit on the mainstream charts in the US, and a minor hit elsewhere.  But I didn't forget either the song or the adventurous video!

27 December 2012

27 December 2012 - Phillip Phillips - Home

Ahhh back to the guilty pleasure goodness after a month of holiday cheer...

It's funny how most of my Wicked Guilty Pleasure posts come to me during commercial breaks on the country radio stations I listen to in my truck. Much like Peyton Manning with all of his checkdowns, when the commercials come on I go to the alt rock station, then the indie station, the pop station and finally the AAA station looking for my best option. I recently scored a touchdown (so to speak) when I heard today's song on the AAA station. Oddly enough, I first thought I was hearing a song off of the new Mumford and Sons disc (which I still haven't picked up yet). To my surprise the DJ actually announced who it was -- 2012 American Idol champ Phillip Phillips. Considering how many records I own by former contestants (and yes, I did pick Phillips' fantastic debut) I should really start watching the show. Come to think of it, maybe not. I don't think I could actually put up with Mariah and Nicki.

26 December 2012

26 December 2012 - Cher Lloyd - Want U Back

I didn't think the Christmas season would be so hard to fill with music. But, especially with guilty pleasures like this, it's easy to get back to it.

Cher Lloyd lost to One Direction on the X Factor, and thus far, she hasn't had the huge hits those five boys have.  She has had this - a bubbly, angry, hip-hop fusion.  She doesn't look as bad-ass as she really is.  This video was made for the US audience, and I hope you enjoy it.



While the US video is fun and bubbly and angry, the UK version of the video, where Cher is moving around in still pictures, is much cooler looking. Plus, there's a hip hop guest star that you've never heard of, to increase the street sensibility.... Nah, just kidding.  But enjoy!



UPDATE: I found a live acoustic version of the song that has a completely different feel.  No "Ugh!" or sounding like a helicopter, though.



UPDATE: (28 August 2013)  We found this epic version of the song, a live duet with the unmistakably tall Taylor Swift on 19 August, 2013, and had to share it.  Enjoy.

21 December 2012

21 December 2012 - Billy Squier - Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You

It was 1981.  MTV had just hit the airwaves.  The network turned to a big star of their early days to bring out a rock 'n' roll Christmas song.

The result? A mildly rockin', good feeling Christmas tune that really fit the season.  With Martha Quinn and Nina Blackwood on background vocals! It's cheesy, yes, but it's warm and fun and different.

And seriously.  Check out Martha Quinn's dancing.  Appalling.

20 December 2012

20 December 2012 - Jill Sobule - Merry Christmas from the Family

Looks like this is my last scheduled Holiday post here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures. Figured I might as well go out with a laugh. Here's the wonderful Jill Sobule playing the Robert Earl Keen classic Merry Christmas from the Family. Hope y'all have a great Christmas.

18 December 2012

18 December 2012 - The Pogues (featuring Kirsty MacColl) - Fairytale of New York

When Tony and I came up with the idea of posting Christmas videos here all month we had to come up with some ground rules. This mostly consisted of calling "dibs" on certain songs. Tony already knew what song I wanted to claim and graciously let me do "the Fairytale post." I'm a huge fan of The Pogues. But I'm even bigger fan of Kirsty MacColl, who was sadly taken away from us 12 years ago today. Fairytale of New York isn't just my favorite Christmas song, it's one of my all-time favorite songs any time of the year.

17 December 2012

17 December 2012 - Amy Grant & Vince Gill - Tennessee Christmas

Y'all know I love Amy Grant.  This song is from her first Christmas album - she's done at least two - but this version is done with her then-future husband Vince Gill.  It's simple, beautiful.... and not Bible-thumping.  Enjoy it.

14 December 2012

14 December 2012 - Lucille Ball - We Need A Little Christmas

This Christmas song is from the musical "Mame".  Let me give you some context.  The setting is late November, one week before Thanksgiving.  Everyone thinks Auntie Mame is nuts for wanting to decorate for Christmas.  But she deems it necessary, to raise everyone's spirits.

Now, we see Christmas stuff in stores in early September.  Who's buying this stuff?!

Anyway, as a Christmas song, this works great - it portrays the season as a real morale booster.  And it is!  And Lucy - who we all love - isn't much of a singer, but she is perfect in portraying the improving mood of this delightful song.

13 December 2012

13 December 2012 - Sunny Sweeney - One More Christmas Beer

I really don't have much to add here. This hilarious and relatable Sunny Sweeney Christmas song pretty much speaks for itself.

12 December 2012

12/12/12 - Everclear - Santa Baby / Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby

This is a song meant to be sung by a girl.

Art Alexakis is not a girl.

So why does this version work?

But it does.  It's slightly creepy, and it's still compelling and fun and brings something that others just couldn't.  Plus, it sounds great with guitar.



And, for those of you who think this version is an abomination.... here's Eartha Kitt.  She wasn't Catwoman yet, but she purrs through this song beautifully!

11 December 2012

11 December 2012 - Lady Antebellum - A Holly Jolly Christmas

Here's the ridiculously cute A Holly Jolly Christmas video from Lady Antebellum's recently released On This Winter's Night record (which I still haven't picked up -- yet). The kid in this video is freaking brilliant.

10 December 2012

10 December 2012 - Cocteau Twins - Frosty the Snowman

I've always loved Elizabeth Fraser's voice on this classic song.  It practically oozes cool.   As in, a chilly winter.  It's not QUITE as light and airy as other Cocteau Twins tunes, but it's light and airy enough.



I don't usually do this, but here is a link to download this tune yourself.  Have a nice day, and Happy Holidays!


07 December 2012

7 December 2012 - Adam Sandler - Chanukah Song

Chanukah is.... a festival of lights.  And it starts tomorrow.

Sure, he's a little schticky, but Adam Sandler certainly has an encyclopedic knowledge of famous people who are Jewish.  This song started off life as a one-off on Saturday Night Live, when he was a cast member, but it has taken on new life, for its celebration of Jewish culture.  Yes, people take this song seriously.  And really, even through it's a joke, it's also a serious assertion that Christmas isn't the only holiday happening this time of year.



Actually, Adam takes it seriously, too.  So seriously that he revisited the same joke twice more.  This is Part 2.  I'm not certain I agree that Courtney + Lenny = a funky, bad-ass Jew.



Here's Part 3.  It might be my favorite of the trilogy, if just for the cameo by Rob Schneider.



He also turned this song into an awful animated movie, called Eight Crazy Nights.  I won't insult your taste by posting anything from that.

06 December 2012

6 December 2012 - Colbie Caillat - Christmas in the Sand

This October, the always adorable Colbie Caillat released her Christmas in the Sand album. The record is a mix of original and classic Christmas songs performed in Colbie's California sunshine way. Here's the video for the title track. This is my kind of a Christmas party...the beach, Santa surfing, a bunch of elves, some cocktails and of course Colbie.

05 December 2012

5 December 2012 - A Christmas Wrapping Special

Perhaps the greatest Christmas carol ever written and recorded was released in 1981 by The Waitresses.  A tale of missed romance and mellow celebration, with a twist ending, this song brought a different slant on the season.  The title is a sly reference to the new "rapping" music style that the band was demonstrating in the song.

Sadly, they didn't actually make a video for this song.  But at least one nice family was kind enough to set their lights to the tune.



This song has been often covered. Here, The Donnas deliver the song with a much harder edge, while still retaining a lot of the original charm. We've featured The Donnas in the past on Totally Covered.  They're a lot of fun, and that shows on this song.


Not everyone should be doing a cover of this song, though.  Here's one by Carly Shay Miranda Cosgrove.  Someone born in 1993 should not be singing the line "most of '81 passed along those lines." Nevertheless, even though it is a lot poppier than the others, it's a respectable version.



Did you know that the cast of Glee did this song, too?  I'm kind of sad that I know that.



Save Ferris did a slightly different take on the song.  They rewrote it completely, and sang it from a Jewish point of view. There are some fun Hanukkah reference in this version.  See if you can catch 'em all!



I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but this is one of my favorite covers of this song.  The Spice Girls - really just Sporty and Baby Spice doing a duet - did a cover with slightly changed lyrics.  I admire the fact that they knew their audience well enough to know that cranberries are not a UK staple and they were in 1998, not 1981.  Again, this is a very poppy version, but it works, partly because of the lyric changes, and partly because their best vocalists were on it.  I reiterate the statement that I made on January 21st of this year - there are four talented women in this group (OK, three plus one marginally), plus Victoria.




04 December 2012

4 December 2012 - A Fine Frenzy - Wish You Well

OK, I know that this is a video blog site, but sadly I couldn't even find a live video of the lovely Alison Sudol (AKA A Fine Frenzy) playing Wish You Well. The song is simply too sweet not to post so just imagine someone walking in snow covered woods in quiet contemplation. Or monsters. BIG ASS SCARY FREAKIN' MONSTERS!!!

Whoa. Where did that come from? Anyway, A Fine Frenzy's Oh Blue Christmas is one of the finest Christmas cds I've bought in the past few years. So enjoy this song and then head on over to YouTube and watch some of her other videos -- Come On Come Out off her 2007 debut One Cell in the Sea is a personal favorite of mine.

03 December 2012

3 December 2012 - The Pretenders - 2000 Miles / The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - 2000 Miles

It's one of the sappiest songs The Pretenders ever did.  It's also a Christmas song....ish. It's been called "good enough to NOT be a Christmas song" because it is a song that doesn't need the holiday to make it relevant.

And Chrissie Hynde hated it.  Which is why it was only a B-side in the United States - to "Middle of the Road".  In the UK, however, it was released as a single in its own right, reaching #15 there.  And now, it's a Christmas staple.  It's a slower-paced, mournful song, written not for long-lost lovers, as it seems, but for James Honeyman-Scott, the band's original guitarist who had recently passed away, a victim of cocaine intolerance.

Update: We had to use a new video, from the show Top of The Pops. It's still the same song, though. That's what happens when musicians perform live.

This song has been frequently covered.  One recent cover I thought you'd enjoy is one done by Boston staples The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  This video contains a lot of rare footage and home movies by the band, adding to the song's legacy as a mournful look back at Christmastime.



I wanted to give you frequent readers of this blog a gift.  So, here is an uncredited (in the title of this post, anyway) third version of this song, by KT Tunstall.  She is the one who made the earlier declaration that this song was "good enough to not be a Christmas song".  And her version is absolutely beautiful, and faithful to the original.

30 November 2012

30 November 2012 - Karmin - Sleigh Ride

I think, by this point, I have sufficiently declared myself a fan of Karmin. You might want to take a look at this, this, this, and of course this for evidence of that.

So, when I found out that they did a Christmas song..... and released it two days ago (after I did my last post on this blog!), I had to seek it out and share it with you.   It is certainly an off-kilter, interesting arrangement of a song that I think we've already featured three times.   Between the change-of-tempo horns and the Nebraskan white girl hip hop that we love so much, this is an interesting and fun arrangement that has quickly become one of my favorite Christmas songs.



By the way, this song is available for FREE download, from Coach.... the people that bring you very expensive but very good purses.  Go here to get it, and also find out what Amy and Nick are getting each other for Christmas.  

29 November 2012

29 November 2012 - Los Straitjackets - Here Comes Santa Claus

Nothing screams the holidays more than four dudes wearing lucha masks and playing some seriously righteous rockabilly. So of course I had to witness the Los Straitjackets Christmas Pageant with The World Famous Pontani Sisters in 2005. It was a rockin' good time daddy-o. I ended up buying two copies of their Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets Christmas CD. One for me and one to give away as a Christmas present.

28 November 2012

28 November 2012 - Luscious Jackson - Let It Snow

Today is the day that I, once again, set my ringtone for the holiday season.  This is my ringtone, straight from a Gap commercial.

Here is Luscious Jackson, performing their fantastic "Let It Snow", interpolating a little play on Gary Numan's "Cars".  This was performed live on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.  It's not the same without Carson.



They did release a real live video for this song.   It's cute, but it doesn't include "Sleds", which is pretty amazing.  Still, here it is.  It's a cute video - Jill Cunniff and Gabby Glaser make sure we know they aren't REALLY in snow thanks to their wardrobe - and a good version of the song.



Of course, this song was first performed as part of a Gap Christmas ad campaign, where Gap took artists they used through the year in their hip commercials and had them reinterpret Christmas tunes (This is Luscious Jackson's original commercial).  It is THIS version that is my ringtone, and has been for many Decembers.  30 seconds is enough to realize genius on this song.



27 November 2012

27 November 2012 - KT Tunstall - Sleigh Ride

In case y'all haven't figured it out, Wicked Guilty Pleasures is celebrating the holidays for the next month. I for one support this plan (well, seeing that it was kind of my idea it's hard not to get behind it). Like Tony, I can't wait for Thanksgiving so I can bust out my Christmas music collection. The first song I listened to Thanksgiving night was KT Tunstall's cool version of Sleigh Bells. Here's an live acoustic version.



And now here's the awesome version from The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs album (I imagine I'll be posting a few more from this record as the month goes on). Just try not dancing around the room like a happy fool when you hear this one. I dare ya!

26 November 2012 - The Sonics - Santa Claus

A little late? Yes.

But here is a garage band classic of a Christmas song that everyone should know - especially if you read Totally Covered - but hasn't gotten enough attention by anyone that isn't my 8 year old daughter.  Enjoy!

23 November 2012

23 November 2012 - Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops - Sleigh Ride

Christmas begins now.

What better way to celebrate Black Friday than the song that defined the Christmas season for me as a kid, and still does today?  Arthur Fielder's interpretation of Leroy Anderson's 1940's classic - the two often worked together - is both delightful and bombastic, and remains the gold standard for orchestral holiday music to this day.


Even The Gap found this version cool enough to feature in holiday commercials.  Here it is, slightly remixed.


21 November 2012

21 November 2012 - The Divinyls - I Touch Myself & Temperamental (& Pleasure and Pain)

In 1991 - I think - I saw the DiVinyls live.  Riverside Park (now Six Flags New England), Agawam, MA.  I went with Heather Deane, and we were right up next to the stage.  Her ears are probably still ringing from that show.  They put on a great one, too! Sure, they were playing all their new songs.... but they weren't all that bad.  Straight-ahead pop rock, and the gravelly vocals of Christina Amphlett really sold it all.  That was great fun with a great friend (who I really should call sometime).

This was the DiVinyls only hit single in the United States, but it was a doozy that everyone - EVERYONE - knows.  We all know what it's about.  It's mildly naughty.



The one thing that bothered me is that they didn't do much of their older catalog - they used a familiar old song during sound check that I heard when I was on the amusement park rides.  They did do one older song, which I was not as familiar with before, but has become one of my favorite songs by them afterwards.  Here it is, performed live.



Update (22 April 2013): Christina Amphlett will be missed.  She passed away over the past weekend from complications from MS and breast cancer.  In tribute, I have added that song they played during the sound check.

Not surprisingly, she sings about getting off.

20 November 2012

20 November 2012 - Abra Moore - Four Leaf Clover

Seeing that I posted Jen Trynin and Heather Nova last week, I might as well keep the 90s alternative female singer/songwriter party going. Here's Abra's most well-known song off of 1997's Strangest Places record.

19 November 2012

19 November 2012 - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - What I Am / Mama Help Me / Edie Brickell - Good Times

I remember when "Shooting Rubberbands At The Stars", the debut album by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, came out.  It was different than anything else on the radio - a little lazy, a little light-hearted.  I had never seen anyone open their mouth as far as Edie Brickell when she sang.  All in all, this brought a new, fresh sound to radio, and it was fantastic.

And, by the way.... it's Edie Brickell and New Bohemians.  If Edie had her way (and many years later, she did), her name would not have been above the title.



By the time their second album - "Ghost of a Dog" - came out, listeners had moved on, and it flopped commercially.  However, the first single from that great album deserves some notice.  They retained their hippieesque sound, while adding a more rock feel, and it worked well.



Well, that 2nd album's failure was enough to bust up the band, and so, Edie went on her own.  She married Paul Simon, too, but that's not important right now. What is important is that she recorded a solo album, the first single of which was a song called "Good Times".  It's a much more adult-contemporary song than anything New Bohemians did.  And, really, it wasn't a hit song.....

...... but it did come with Windows 95.  This video is on your Windows 95 CD.  Go ahead.  Take a look. I'll wait while you dig it out.

16 November 2012

16 November 2012 - Cornershop - Brimful of Asha

In 1997, I decided to get a satellite dish. My satellite provider offered MTV2 as an option.  Now, for those who don't know, MTV used to play music videos.  In the mid 90's, MTV got tired of people complaining about how they no longer played videos, so they made MTV2.  Eventually, MTV2 became just like MTV and stopped playing videos, but in 1997, they played a lot of them.  It was then that I discovered Cornershop.  Cornershop were a UK band, led by men of Indian descent.

Turns out, in the UK, there are a lot of corner shops owned by people of Indian descent.  Hence, the irony of their name.

Their name wasn't the only influence that the band took from Indian culture.  From their use of instruments not normal used in the West - like a sitar - to rapid-fire Bollywood pop culture references, they relied heavily on their heritage for their sound.  In particular, this song is full of them, starting with the title - a tribute to Bollywood vocalist (rarely seen, but her voice is in more Bollywood movies than just about anyone else's) Asha Bhosle.  If you care about the rest of the references, read on after the video.



Early in the song, you hear references to someone - saddi rani - dancing behind movie screens.  That phrase is the Punjabi phrase meaning "our queen", and, because Asha Bhosle was rarely seen, she was BEHIND movie screens.  And, as is made clear in the video, many of her song were released on 45 RPM singles.  Finally, concerning her, you notice Tjinder Singh pronounces her name "Asher" quite a bit.  That's not accidental.  It is homage to Indian pronunciation.

There are several other icons of Bollywood mentioned in this song - people like Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, who also did singing behind the scenes for Bollywood film.  But there are other pop culture references, to All-India Radio, which is India's public radio station where a lot of these songs are played, and 2-in-1s, which were combination cassette player/radio devices popular in India.

There's one other reference I want to explain.  "We don't care about no government warnings, about their promotion of a simple life, and the dams they are building."  These are very specific references to things that were going on in Indian government, and this references makes this something of a protest song.  The Indian government - their culture in general - tends to be conservative, and so not always fond of the "obscene" and grandiose Bollywood movies.  The dams are a reference to a typical corrupt project undertaken by government contractors - to use up tax dollars, the government would order the building of ridiculous dams.

I won't insult your intelligence by explaining why everyone needs a bosom for a pillow.  Single greatest lyric ever written.

And now, your patience is rewarded with a live version of this song.



Norman Cook - AKA Fatboy Slim - was so taken by this song that he did a remix that became a huge hit in the UK.  He loved the song so much, he did it for free.  And he did it well, too.  Here it is, in a fan-made video. Frankly, I found the video creative and well-made, so I decided to feature it here. Enjoy.

15 November 2012

15 November 2012 - Jen Trynin - Better Than Nothing

I know it's supposed to be 80s Thursday, but I had a feeling Tony was going to steal this one away from me after my Heather Nova post a couple days ago. He's sneaky like that. And I couldn't let that happen. So we'll hit the 80s cheese again next week.

Like Heather Nova, I was a big Jen Trynin fan. Sadly Jen's solo career only lasted two records before she got sick of the playing the music industry game. She was probably smart to get out, even if I do miss hearing her songs. At least we have those two fine albums which I still play from time to time. Here's the video for her breakthrough hit from 1994's Cockamamie album. I still put this one on pretty much every roadtrip mix I make.

14 November 2012

14 November 2012 - Paula Abdul - Vibeology

Before she was an American Idol judge, and after she was the Laker Girl main choreographer, Paula Abdul had a singing career.  This was the 4th single from her 2nd album, and was a top 20 hit in 1992.  Strangely, it was an even bigger hit in Canada, where it remained on the charts for 26 weeks, reaching #3, It's different than the songs she released before and after, insofar that it is even more up-tempo.

Also, any song that features "horny horns" is OK by me.

13 November 2012

13 November 2012 - Heather Nova - Walk This World

I don't know if today's song is a guilty pleasure or not, but Heather Nova was a mild obsession of mine in the mid 90s through the mid 00s. Somehow she dropped off my new music buying radar, which is unfortunate. I think I'll have to remedy that and check out her last couple records as soon as possible.

Anyway, here's the very cool video for her highest charting song (No. 13 on Billboard Modern Rock Track) which appeared on 1994's fantastic Oyster record.

12 November 2012

12 November 2012 - The Archies - Sugar Sugar

Perhaps the greatest single to ever come from a cartoon.

Oh, you didn't realize that, when we say The Archies performed this song, we were referring to THE Archies, from the Archie comic books and popular television series?  Don't be embarrassed.  Most people don't.

But it's true.  Reggie plays bass, Jughead is on the drums, Veronica Lodge is on the keyboards, and Betty Cooper is on the tambourine.  Of course, Archie plays lead guitar and sings.  I mean, the band does carry his name, right?  It's a simple song, with simple chord progressions, but it builds - it is quiet at points, but it moves to frantic as the song wears on.



Of course, we all know that cartoons require voices.  In this case, the singing voice of Archie Andrews was provided by a man named Ron Dante.  Here he is, singing his signature hit in real life.  The real musicians were session musician, recruited by none other than the great Don Kirshner.  As you can see and hear, it is the same song, but Ron Dante just doesn't look as appealing as an animated Archie Andrews.

09 November 2012

9 November 2012 - Ke$ha - Die Young

Finally!

I know we've written about Ke-Dollar Sign-Ha before - and that was a completely worthy tune. When I found out her new single was out, I sought it out, listened to it.... and found it to be the most catchy and complex song she's ever released.  An acoustic opening..... an acapella middle.  And the song itself - danceable, catchy... and just plain fun!

Plus, part of the video is in 3-D, so get your glasses ready.

08 November 2012

8 November 2012 - Blondie - Rapture

Faithful readers, I'm sorry I'm late with today's post (I like to have them ready for your lunch breaks). Oddly enough, I was ACTUALLY working in an office in DC all day, as opposed to my usual couch office where the commute is much better and the co-workers (the cats) are WAY more fun. Anyway, when I got on the DC Metro this morning Rapture popped into my head (Yeah, I know, you'd think it should have been The Metro by Berlin ... as I always say it's best not to analyze what actually goes on in my head). So get up and groove to the Blondie beat. I'm not watching you, don't worry.

07 November 2012

7 November 2012 - Belly - Feed The Tree / Slow Dog & Throwing Muses - Not Too Soon

This band is a particularly strong guilty pleasure for me, more so than most others.

Since the mid 1980's, my favorite band, ever, has been a band from Newport, RI called Throwing Muses.  Its leader and usual lead vocalist - and since 1992, only lead vocalist - Kristin Hersh is a truly unique musical voice.  I cannot say enough nice things about her. I've written about her other ventures as a solo artist and in another band previously.

Her stepsister was Tanya Donelly, and they started Throwing Muses together.  Kristin was the primary songwriter and lead vocalist, and Tanya took lead guitar and occasional songwriter and vocalist.  Eventually, Tanya became a better songwriter, finding her own voice instead of trying to emulate her stepsister's. Once that happened, she started branch out on her own, first as a founding member of The Breeders (although she never got anywhere near a Cannonball), and then as leader of her own band, Belly.

Belly was a really good pop/rock band.  However, anyone expecting the dark feel of Throwing Muses were sorely disappointed.  Tanya wrote jangly pop songs that fit her voice and style.  This was her first American single (she released an EP overseas before returning to the States), and it was a bigger hit than anything Throwing Muses had ever done... which really pissed me off for awhile.  I've made my peace with it.  Tanya wrote some good songs during this era, and I still enjoy them.  I hope you do, too!



That aforementioned EP, by the way, was called "Slow Dust", based on two of the songs on there - "Dusted" and "Slow Dog".  Belly later released a remixed version of the later song in this country, and they even made a fun video for it.  Check out Tanya's jangly guitar work.  And lyrically, the song loaded with enough metaphor to make Kristin Hersh proud.



As a little bonus, here is the last song that Tanya did with Throwing Muses - a full year before any work with Belly - and the only one written by her that the band ever made a video for.  It's not my favorite Muses song, but you can see that Tanya is clearly on the path to Belly.  The bassist with Throwing Muses at this time - Fred Abong, who was not an original member - left with Tanya to form Belly three months after the album this was on was released.

By the way, this was one of the first songs Tanya wrote, and was on some early Muses demos.  Trust me.  This version is better than the earlier ones.

06 November 2012

6 November 2012 - Miranda Lambert - Only Prettier

I've had the chorus to this song in my head pretty much all morning. Gosh, I wonder why? Anyway, here's one of my favorite videos by one of my favorite singers. You gotta love the good girl/bad girl thing she and her friends Kellie, Hillary and Laura have going on in this one.

05 November 2012

5 November 2012 - Hyun-A - Ice Cream & Bubble Pop

Those of you who follow K-Pop must have known this post was coming.

By now, you've all heard the last great Korean pop classic (and read my post about it), "Gangnam Style".   At this point, it's our second biggest post ever.  And it's the #2 pop song in the country as of this writing, even this long after its initial discovery here.

Look back at that video, and you'll see that PSY has a female protagonist in his video.  That female is Hyun-A.  She also did a version of "Gangnam Style", callled "Oppa Is Just My Style" - that was also featured on our previous post, by the way - that has also gotten a lot of attention.  So, PSY really owes a lot of his success to Hyun-A, one could say.

Which is why he makes a cameo appearance at the beginning of this video.

But don't let that cameo fool you.  This song is all Hyun-A.  It's the in-your-face power K-Pop that she is well-known for in her home country, complete with envelope-pushing themes and outfits.  Her cleavage in this video is something of a minor scandal in Korea. She also weaves a little bit of English into her song and her video - check out the signs that the crowd is holding in the video.  And try not to laugh - English isn't their first language here.

Plus she runs over a clown with her ice cream truck.



Now, here's a little trivia.  What's the most seen K-Pop video of all time?  Easy one, right? It's "Gangnam Style."

So, what's the video it dethroned?

It was another Hyun-A song!  Here, she exhibits the same power pop - a little more pop, and a little less power, but both are still there.  More importantly, she exhibits a skill not often seen in K-Pop - rump shaking.  Seriously, this song borrows heavily from American hip hop, in both style and music.  Check out the breakdown at 2:18.




04 November 2012

4 November 2012 (Special Standard Time Edition) - Night Ranger - The Secret of My Success

Would you like to know the secret of Night Ranger's success?

They're alive 25 hours a day.

Seriously, I couldn't pass up posting this song, a fun 80's rock romp from the movie of the same name, starring Michael J. Fox and Helen Slater.  Their music ain't Tchaikovsky - it's just fun rock and roll music.  With keyboards.  And lines like "The secret of my success is I'm alive 25 hours a day" seem especially appropriate today.

02 November 2012

2 November 2012 - Prince - Raspberry Beret

I am a huge Prince fan, and I have been for a very long time.  There's not much that this man has done that isn't brilliant on some level.

This single, one of my favorites - and a song that I can sing word for word unprompted - was one that Prince, a perfectionist, worked on for almost four years, before he released it as a single.  And, for a song first recorded in 1982 and released in 1985, it still sounds fresh and new and unique.  This is a testament to the musical genius of Prince - he is multi-instrumental, deals with themes in his lyrics that no one else does, has a tremendous grasp of how to properly use a metaphor, and surrounds himself with musicians that are as strong as he is.

To that last point, look at how prominently Wendy Melvoin, on guitar, is featured in this video.  In fact, the entire Revolution - including a strings section - are featured at several points.  To those who claim Prince to be an egomaniac, I point you to the 3:38 point in this video, when it is made clear that Lisa Coleman is the 2nd vocalist.  This is a theme that recurs through several Prince videos.  The man knows music, and he knows he can't do it alone.





01 November 2012

1 November 2012 - Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science

It's time for another 80s Thursday. Here's a gem with an interesting, if not sometimes confusing storyline. I'd take the time to analyze it and make some funnies, but my head hurts. Regardless, I always thought this was a pretty rad tune. Hate to admit it, but it's probably the only song by him that I know...I think.

31 October 2012

31 October 2012 (part 2) - Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting

Concrete Blonde might be the most underrated cheesy band of all time. (Discuss.)  Born from the ashes of Dream 6, they released several albums but only had one hit.

I've always loved Johnette Napolitano's gravely voice, and it sounds extra creepy on this song, a tribute to author Anne Rice.  It's not my favorite song of theirs, but it's one of them - this isn't the last you'll see of these guys on here - and it's appropriate for today!

31 October 2012 - Ministry - Everyday is Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone!  We'll have multiple posts throughout the day, celebrating the day in song.

There's no better way to start the day than this early Ministry tune.  Later music by Alain Jourgenen's industrial project would be much harder edged than this early, 808-influenced song, but we still hear echoes of dark themes here.    Sure, the song sounds like it was largely composed on a Casio keyboard, but it's still aurally interesting, especially given Ministry's later history.

The video is fan-made and not for the squeamish.

30 October 2012

30 October 2012 - Spacehog - In The Meantime

Had to scrap the post I painstakingly pre-wrote yesterday as none of it thankfully turned out to be true. So instead, here's Spacehog and their hit single from 1995.

29 October 2012

29 October 2012 - The Carpenters - Rainy Days and Mondays

In the threat of Hurricane Sandy, is this a little bit of a cruel joke of a song choice?  Yes.  Yes it is.

But c'mon - face it.  It's a nice song.  Talented drummer Karen Carpenter pulls out her big vocals for this song, a classic from the early 1970's, a song that grows in intensity as it wears on.  I was never a huge fan of The Carpenters, but this song is one of their best.

26 October 2012

26 October 2012 - The Firm - Radioactive

When I was a wee lad in the mid 80's, this was a minor MTV hit song.  At the time, I was really into what would later be called "alternative" music.

A supergroup featuring members of Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heap, Manfred Mann and Bad Company did not fit into those musical tastes.  And yet, this song had powerful vocals, a great jangling guitar hook, and a fantastic baseline.  All in all, it was - and is - a really cool song, no matter which rock dinosaurs might be performing it.

So, now, enjoy your dinosaurs of rock supergroup.

 

25 October 2012

25 October 2012 - Adam & The Ants - Ant Rap

I can't even imagine the massive amounts of drugs that were consumed in the story conception and production of this video. I'd try to analyze it to make some jokes, but my head's still spinning after two views. See for yourself. And if you can make any sense of what's going on, please clue me in.

24 October 2012

24 October 2012 - Kanye West - Golddigger (ft. Jamie Foxx) / Stronger

Scott, imma let you finish, but this is one of the best videos of all time.

In all seriousness, Kanye West might be a gigantic jackass, but he makes some catchy, compelling music.  This song is really sparse musically - a little horn, mostly heavy bass and drum - but combines the hip-hop rap style of Kanye with the soulfulness of Jamie Foxx's voice.  It's a nearly perfect song.



Kanye has a tendency to make perfect songs.  This one, a tribute to his bravado, is far less sparse, and still, despite the fact that he's a complete jackass lyrically, is brilliantly catchy.  Lyrically, it's cocky, but any song that can make an Apollonia reference is OK with me.

23 October 2012

23 October 2012 - Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

OK, I've written about Taylor Swift here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures before, so there's no need to rehash my fandom (you can click on that happy little link to see that post). No, today I have a different tale to tell.

Taylor's fourth cd Red was released yesterday. That big box store with the red bulls-eye logo had a deluxe version with extra songs and I was like, so there.

Of course, like a sit-com character buying condoms or porn, I had to be discreet, even if I was shopping at a box-store and not a record store where every musical purchase is scrutinized. Regardless, it still looks weird for a dude in his late-30s to be buying a cd most people presume is for teenage girls (they'd be mostly wrong if they just listened...but that's another post in and of itself). No one is ever going to buy the "yeah, it's for a friend" excuse, so I needed a "cover." So there I was, shopping for other items to make it look like I didn't just go to the store to get the new Taylor Swift cd (as I said, in sit-com character mode). I started in the men's clothing section. Nothing. Not good, as I really didn't need any groceries, household decorations or small appliances. I was going to have to hit the CD section with no "cover." Great...

So I sauntered over to the new release section. There was a clearly marked Taylor Swift Red Oct. 22 sign. The cd wasn't there. Walked to the country section. Nope. Walked to the pop/rock section. Nada. This damn store always screws up their new release orders so I wasn't surprised. I was mildly annoyed though and for more than having to wait to get the new record. Now I was going to have to ask some questions. So much for being discreet.

Naturally, the first person in a red vest that I see is a 20-something metal looking dude. Fantastic. Here's a brief transcript of the conversation.

Me (pointing at the aforementioned Taylor Swift sign): "Excuse me, did you not get this in today?"
Metal Dude In Red Vest (smirking): "yeah, follow me."
Me (muttering): "it's uhhh, for a friend." (why did I not say for my daughter? That would have been totally plausible)
MDIRV walks me to the huge display not even remotely near the cd section. Makes total sense to me.
MDIRV (smugly): "Here you go, we also have Taylor Swift shirts, books, school supplies and make-up if you're interested."
Me: "uhh, thanks, the cd is all I was looking for." Jerk.

After that exchange, paying for it was no problem (after of course finding the little old lady cashier). The moral of the story -- next time, pre-order it online.

As for the cd itself, I'll hold off on my review as I've only listened to it once, but I pretty much like it. I will warn that it's not a country record or even a pop-country record (kind of a bummer). It's mostly pop and rock. There's really only one song that I hated on first listen. There's a couple more that I need to give a couple more spins before I make up my mind. Time will tell if it makes any top-10 lists (including my own), but it's certainly a very good record.

Wow, that may be my longest post ever, and I still haven't even talked about the video. Here's the truly awesomely fun video for the first single, the extremely catchy We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Cool fact about this video: It was shot in just one take.

22 October 2012

22 October 2012 - Amy Winehouse - Rehab / You Know I'm No Good / F*** Me Pumps

We've never done a proper tribute to the late and troubled Amy Winehouse.  That poor, troubled woman had a huge voice, and she is missed.

There is some (intentional) irony to her biggest hit song.  Amy's gigantic, husky, achy voice makes the song, of course, but the horns from her backing band - the Dap-Kings - make the tune even bigger.



The Dap-Kings also add something to this song, which was my first exposure to Ms. Winehouse. However, whereas "Rehab" is straight-ahead soul singing, this song brings a darker, hip-hop feel, and show a little versatility in her voice.



The Dap-Kings were on loan from a singer named Sharon Jones, who is a woman with an equally huge voice - and who we will feature some other time.  But Amy Winehouse had a singing career before she hooked up with them. This is my favorite tune from her first album - it really gives Amy's torch song qualities shine over a hip-hop beat, with a much jazzier song, as opposed to the deep, heavy soul of her later work.

I also want you to look at how Amy looks. There were four years between her first and second album, and you can see how she transformed and aged.  Drugs are bad, kids, and they took this talent far too soon.



19 October 2012

19 Octubre 2012 - Julieta Venegas - Me Voy

Julieta Venegas started off life as a Latin alternative star - a female singer/songwriter who happened to be mejicana.

Somewhere along the way, she became a big hitmaker.  Mostly, this involved a big balloon and Julieta's accordion skills.... and this song, a huge hit in Mexico and on Latin radio in the United States.


So, her name should ring a bell by now.  Recall that she wrote and provided background vocals to Monday's song, and also performed on one of Wednesday's songs.

She also did an MTV Unplugged performance that was really strong.  This is the song with which she closed.... Even more than the studio version, this captures the true ranchero feeling that the song is supposed to convey.



Now, after all this, I'm going to tell you a little secret about Spanish-language artists in general, and Julieta Venegas specifically.  This is a performance she did for the NPR station KCRW, on their popular show Morning Becomes Eclectic. She performs Me Voy at about the 32:30 mark, but I encourage you to take some time and listen to the whole thing.  Notice that she proves that she is multiinstrumental - she's playing keyboard, and not accordion, in this version.

And she speaks perfect, unaccented English.



(Update: 20 May 2013) I decided to get gimmicky and add a 3D video.  Not kidding.  Get your glasses.


18 October 2012

18 October 2012 - Kajagoogoo - Too Shy

It's 80s Thursday!!! We're going do something a little different today. Here are 10 thoughts I had while watching this video:

1. Is there anything more 80s than Kajagoogoo?
2. Who does your hair and who are you wearing?
3. There was someone in 1983 who considered Kajagoogoo to be the greatest band in the world.
4. That person probably had at least two posters of the band on their bedroom wall.
5. That person was not me.
6. Am I the only one confused by the premise of this video?
7. Can I actually have 10 thoughts in 3:42 minutes?
8. These guys likely had groupies. A ton of them. (Gnaw on that one for a bit)
9. Should I make veggie tacos for lunch?
10. Thank god it's over.

17 October 2012

17 October 2012 - Ana Tijoux - 1977 / Julieta Venegas feat. Ana Tijoux - Eres Para Mí

Ana Tijoux is perhaps the best-known hip-hop artist from Chile. Of Chilean ancestry, she was born in France, because her parents lived in exile during the oppressive reign of Augusto Pinochet, arguably one of the worst dictators to ever walk this planet.

This song in particular, and the album (of the same name) that it is from, is both an homage to old school hip-hop and an autobiography of Ana's life.  It's a bit on the slow tip, and adopts horns alongside the beats, but it still has an early rap feel, both in cadence and subject matter.

Plus, this song got the endorsement of Thom Yorke, so it must be good.



Fans of the AMC show Breaking Bad have already heard this tune...... For the record, I think it was used well here.

UPDATE: Something happened to the video from Breaking Bad, so here's a video of Ana performing the song live instead.  It's really sparse in parts but shows her skills.

 Ana Tijoux - real name Anita - wasn't really Ana Tijoux, but Anita Tijoux of Makiza, a Chilean hip hop group.  That changed when she teamed up with Mexican superstar Julieta Venegas for this tune. The pop style of Venegas matched well with the hip hop of Tijoux, and raised the star value of both artists.


We've now mentioned Julieta Venegas twice this week, the first time over here. Don't think we didn't notice. Come back on Friday if you would like to hear Part III.

16 October 2012

16 October 2012 - Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag

1999-2001 was a pretty dark time for alternative rock radio (it's only starting to recover in the last few years). While it's easy (and fun) to blame it all on the rise of Neu Metal, that wasn't the death-knell entirely. The airwaves were also flooded with a crap-load of cookie-cutter one-hit wonder bands that mostly sounded the same (many of which were quite forgettable). Not to solely pick on Wheatus (there were plenty of others), but without looking it up, name another song by them. Yeah, I can't do it either, and I actually owned their record (past-tense). That said, there was a reason why I owned this record. The song's a ton of fun and besides...I'm an Iron Maiden fan...baby.

15 October 2012

15 October 2012 - Nelly Furtado feat. Mala Rodríguez - Bajo Otra Vez

That's right.  Nelly Furtado has done stuff besides "I'm Like A Bird" and "Promiscuous".

Nelly Furtado, in 2010, released an album entirely in Spanish.  Normally, she writes all her own stuff, or at least co-writes it.  This song, however, was not written by Nelly at all.  Rather, it was largely written by Mexican pop star Julietta Venegas, with Mala Rodríguez writing her part of the tune.   The combination of the voice of Furtado and the hip-hop of La Mala make for an interesting combination that I am sure you'll be humming for the rest of the day.

You might notice that the two ladies billed on this tune appear in this video in many fun costumes.  That enough is worth the price of admission for me.  There is a 3rd voice in this song who you don't see.  Julieta Venegas was featured vocally, but not in the video because of her pregnancy.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I think everything Mala Rodríguez touches is pure gold. I can't overstate that enough.



Here are La Nelly and La Mala at the Latin Grammys, performing this song live.  It sounds completely different and less sparse. Also, even though it is billed as her song, Nelly knows that that this audience knows Mala Rodríguez a whole lot better than her, and defers more to her in the chorus

12 October 2012

12 October 2012 - The Spin Doctors - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong

Today, we feature a song that was way overplayed in the early 90's.And still, I always kind of liked this song, even though I disliked this band and their brand of hippiesque music.

Yes, I just invented the word "hippiesque".  Pronounce it "Hippie-Esk", and make sure you credit me when you use it.

But back to the song.  This song is fun, fast-paced, and clever in its happy snarkiness.  What makes it even better - it was based on someone specific. This song wasn't their biggest hit - the incessantly annoying "Two Princes" holds that honor - but it is the song that, after a year of release, finally kickstarted the sales of their eventually platinum album "Pocket Full of Kryptonite."  MTV started playing this song, and, as was their habit when they used to play music videos on MTV, they kept playing it on a continuous loop.

And I heard it on the radio the other day, which is why you're hearing it now.

 

11 October 2012

11 October 2012 - Psychedelic Furs - Heaven

Happy 80s Thursday WGPers!!! We'll get back to some truly embarrassing 80s videos next Thursday. You see, I pretty much have to post this video because I cannot get this Psychedlic Furs tune out of my head. Seriously, I heard it a week ago for the first time in a while and it is just not leaving. Granted, it's not a bad song to have stuck in one's head (I've had much worse), but I'm hoping that this post will exorcise the earworm.



Earworm be gone!!!

10 October 2012

10 October 2012 - Aqua - Barbie Girl

This song, on the surface, does not seem to be high art.  It seems to be synth-heavy derivative Euro dance pop music.  However, this Swedish quartet brought us a song that was so much more than that.

Lyrically, this is one of the cleverest songs of the last thirty years.  Balancing the little-girlish innocence with the adolescent sexuality is something that Mattel has done for more that 50 years with the Barbie doll.  Aqua brings both of those feelings to this song in a lyrical sense.  They did a good enough job at it to speak a lawsuit by Mattel (which Mattel lost) to protect the Barbie image...

The irony is that Mattel now licenses the song for use in promoting Barbie.



A lot of you are scoffing at my love of this song and my belief that it is clever.  Perhaps it's the presentation.  To prove to you that it is far more than just synth-heavy derivative Euro dance pop music, here is a clip of Aqua performing a far more rock-and-roll version of the song.



And, so you know they actually ARE musicians, here's their folksy version..... Actually, maybe it's more bossa nova.


You know what? I can't decide which version I like best.  I like them all.  Let me know in the comments what you think!

09 October 2012

9 October 2012 - The Cardigans - Lovefool

I've never really felt guilty about loving The Cardigans. I've been a fan since the first time I heard today's song and picked up their First Band On The Moon record in 1996. I do have to say though that compared to the rest of their catalog, that Lovefool could certainly be considered a guilty pleasure with all of its bubble gum goodness.



08 October 2012

8 October 2012 - Bananarama - Cruel Summer

Am I a little late with this post? Yes.  Does it make the song less catchy? No.

I remember defending my love of Bananarama in 1986, even before the release of "Venus".  My love of these three ladies was not solely based on this interesting song with beautifully dark harmonies, but it was a prime example.  It was a sad, dark song, but it still managed to be fun and catchy.

The wardrobe choice for this video, on the other hand.... what was the obsession with overalls in the early to mid 80's?!

05 October 2012

5 October 2012 - MSTRKRFT (feat. N.O.R.E.) - Bounce / Death From Above 1979 - Going Steady & Romantic Rights / CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen To Death From Above

This is going to be kind of a backwards constructed post, but go with me here.

MSTRKRFT are a fantastic electronic group from Toronto, featuring a guy named Jesse Keeler and a producer named Al-P. They are best known for their remixes of other people's songs, but have released a few of their own.  I love this high-energy tune.  I can't help but... well, bounce every time I hear it.  I hope you enjoy this great party tune as much as I do.


Keeler and Al-P met when the latter was producing an album for Keeler's former group, Death From Above 1979.  The two groups could not seem more different - DFA 1979 had their roots firmly in the punk scene, whereas MSTRKRFT are more electronic - but you can see, in this live clip from 2005, there was a fair amount of electronic sonic experimentation - Jesse Keeler is on keyboards and guitar - even back then.

It was in DFA 1979 that Keeler learned about infringing on other people's names for things - a lawsuit was threatened by a band called Death From Above until these guys added 1979 (the birth year of Sebastian Grainger, the other half of the group) to their name.  MSTRKRFT is spelled without vowels to avoid a similar lawsuit by a Canadian toolmaking company.


I would know about neither of these bands if not for CSS.  I have professed my love for CSS in the past. Here is another great hit, a tribute to DFA 1979.  You see in the video two people wearing elephant masks. This is a reference to the cover of the DFA 1979 album "You're A Woman, I'm A Machine".... the album Al-P produced.  And now, we have come full circle.

This song is a great dance tune in its own right, and you should enjoy it as well. In fact, when I started writing this post, this was the song I was featuring.  Clearly, I changed my mind, but I wanted to make sure CSS still got their credit.

04 October 2012

4 October 2012 - Modern English - I Melt With You

The problem with doing 80s Thursday is that I realize how old I am. I Melt With You is 30 years old?!? Really? Yikes. The song has certainly aged well. Has the video? You be the judge.



I should mention that while doing "research" for this post (and yes, I do some minor research if only to not screw up what little facts I use), I discovered that Modern English is still playing together. I had no idea.

03 October 2012

3 October 2012 - Lynn Anderson - Rose Garden

Little known fact - Lynn Anderson got her big break on the Lawrence Welk Show.  Lesser known fact - Lynn Anderson had a very successful equestrian career.

Well known fact - this is one of the biggest pop/country crossover hits in history.  It's pretty easy to see why - it's a catchy song with lyrics that work even forty years after its initial success.



Country music is largely an American phenomenon.  Outside of the States, it usually doesn't play as well, but here, it is the most popular genre.  This song is one of the exceptions to the rule.  Here is Anderson performing the song in 2009, in Norway. It looks like the Norwegians are enjoying it, even if they had trouble saying "Howdy"!

02 October 2012

2 October 2012 - Kimbra - Cameo Lover & Settle Down

For those who are living under a rock, Kimbra is far more than "the chick from the Gotye song." She's an award-winning singer/songwriter (in fact, Cameo Lover won a song-writing competition over Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know...this was before she added her vocals to his uber-hit).

Kimbra's debut album, last year's Vows, is a blast of indie pop goodness with a little bit of jazz and soul. To me it sounds like a fine mix of The Bird and the Bee, Bjork, Lenka and maybe some Florence and the Machine. Heck, I'd even add a dash of Katy Perry as well (particularly on the poppier songs). If you haven't given her a shot yet, here's your chance with these two very cool videos.

First up is the pop-heavy Cameo Lover.



Here's the more "indie" sounding Settle Down.

01 October 2012

1 October 2012 - Carl Anderson - Jesus Christ Superstar

This version of this song, written for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name, gives me chills.  Carl Anderson's huge voice, which must have filled a theater, was perfect for this song, sung by the Judas character in this telling of the Passion Play.

This is an example of a movie getting a stage musical right, from the first scene to the last.  The movie clearly had a late 60's/early 70's vibe, and this movie didn't forget that, right down to the last detail.  And while movie sets get to be a lot bigger than theater stages, this movie didn't get overly extravagant in using that extra space.  They did get to use some better scene splicing, though.

Enjoy this scene from near the end of the movie.

28 September 2012

28 September 2012 - En Vogue - Free Your Mind

Before this song, I was not a fan of these ladies.  I found them to be your standard R&B girl group, albeit with pretty solid harmonies.

After this song, I saw they were something more - edgier, not afraid to break out a guitar, almost bombastic in their harmonies.  Even the songs I thought were standard R&B fare sounded just a little bit more solid to me, now that I was looking back on them with a different perspective.

As it is, this song hails back to the funkmeister himself, George Clinton, who famously said "Free your mind, and your ass will follow."  This is slightly more family friendly, but still carries the same sentiment.  Plus, it rocks.

27 September 2012

27 September 2012 - Gary Numan - Cars

This Gary Numan song has been stuck in my head A LOT lately (it must be in a car commercial...either that or I'm slowly going insane). The funny thing is that I really don't know the words to the song so I just make them up as I go along. It's easy to do and kind of fun. Look, even a toddler can do it.



Now here's the android who originally sang the song.



26 September 2012

26 September 2012 - Joydrop - Sometimes Wanna Die / Tara Slone - Mystify

So why is a song that was only featured on alternative and indie radio in the United States a Wicked Guilty Pleasure?  Let me count the ways:

  1. It's a power ballad.  Already, we're looking at guilt here.
  2. It's a rock group led by a woman dressed in vaguely provocative clothing and occasionally standing in front of a stage fan.
  3. Said woman - Tara Slone - was on an  American reality show competition - more on that in a minute.
  4. That's Tommy Lee sitting on the couch with Ms. Slone.
  5. Tara Slone is also a morning show host - more on THAT in a minute as well.
The pleasure should be obvious - it's a decent power ballad, instantly catchy, and it SHOULD have been a much bigger hit in the States than it was.  It was a minor hit in Canada, which is a good thing.  


 

Oh, and as for my earlier references.  Tara Slone is best known in the States for appearing on the reality competition RockStar:INXS, a show whose prize was the lead vocalist's position in INXS.  Here she is, singing an INXS song for her survival.  While she didn't win - that job went to JD Fortune, who I will feature another day on this blog - she did an admirable job on this tune.

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And, as for her morning hosting duties - she is currently a morning hostess on Breakfast Television Calgary.  Here she is, using her musical background to interview another musician.

25 September 2012

25 September 2012 - No Doubt - Hella Good

No Doubt's Rock Steady album was a head scratcher for me when it came out in 2001. Apparently, I was the only one who didn't dig it. The critically acclaimed record sold really well (double platinum in the US) and they won a bunch of awards (including two Grammys). I just didn't get it. What do I know? It took time, but a few years ago my pop sensibilities took over and I eventually grew to appreciate and even like Rock Steady (particularly today's song/video). Hey, I can admit when I'm wrong. Hopefully, it won't take me eight years to like their new record -- Push and Shove -- which comes out today.

24 September 2012

24 September 2012 - Republica - Ready To Go

If you look too closely at this video from the mid-90's, you'll get seasick from all the movement!  However, the song itself is a great fusion of pop, rock, and dance.  I'm not sure if it was a big enough hit to be a one hit wonder.  I do know it was used as a car commercial at one point, so that's got to count for something, right?



Most people don't realize, however, that this version was a radical remix.  Here is the original, less energetic (but still plenty energetic) version. The video isn't as good, but the song itself, while having an entirely different feel, is still strong.

21 September 2012

21 September 2012 - Michelle Branch - Are You Happy Now? / Santana & Michelle Branch - The Game of Love / Timbaland & Michelle Branch - Getaway

I was wondering the other day, "Whatever happened to Michelle Branch?"  I mean, for a few years there, she was a pretty bit hitmaker.

Well, I did some research and found the answer.  But, before I give that to you, why don't you enjoy this video, a top 20 hit from 2003?  It's both dreamy and angry - a little full of teen angst, but with musical talent to back up the angst.



In 2003, Michelle had a Grammy win for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocal - her song "The Game of Love" with Santana.  Even though I'm not a fan of Santana - most overrated guitarist in history? Maybe. - he chose a fantastic and talented artist - who is pretty good with a guitar in her own right - with whom to collaborate.


After that Grammy win, Michelle formed 1/2 of the country duo The Wreckers, a collaboration which earned her another well-deserved Grammy nomination - and who deserve their own posting (and who Scott wrote about in another one of his blogs here).  After that duo broke up, she has remained busy, recording a couple of albums, touring, and collaborating with Timbaland.  Which I have now discovered.


20 September 2012

20 September 2012 - INXS - Original Sin

Let's head Down Under for today's 80s Thursday video. I really wanted to post the video for The One Thing if only so I can say Shabooh Shoobah (hey, look I still worked it in!). Unfortunately I couldn't find a decent version of the video. Original Sin from 1984's The Swing works though.

19 September 2012

19 SeptembAAAARRRR 2012 - Relient K - The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (with the VeggieTales original)

Normally, I'd save a cover for Totally Covered, but for Talk Like A Pirate Day, I'll make this exception. The young Christian punks cover a Veggie Tales "Silly Songs with Larry" staple.  And do a credible job on it.



And, for those of you not familiar with the Biblical tales spun by those who created VeggieTales - talking Christian vegetables, yes - here is the original. Frankly, it's a classic in and of itself, like several of their Silly Songs.  We'll revisit that topic again in the future, but for today, let's just enjoy this.

18 September 2012

18 September 2012 - Marina and the Diamonds - Primadonna

Something tells me Tony's going to kill me for posting this video. I'm sure there will be a message or comment to me about "stealing another one." And then I'll reply with something like, "and you would have ACTUALLY done a god job." Oh well, ya snooze, ya lose. Right?

I jumped on the Marina and the Diamonds bandwagon after the release of her second and most recent record -- Electra Heart. She was described to me as the Welsh Katy Perry, which of course piqued my interest. And while I agree with that comparison, it doesn't take long to see that she's so much more (and y'all know I likes my Katy Perry). There's a certain indie smartness (and ironic smartassness) to her lyrics (which she writes, along with the music). Think Lana Del Rey doing high energy electro-pop. Here's a video for one of my favorite tracks off Electra Heart.

17 September 2012

17 September 2012 - Whale - Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe

I don't think any video has ever screamed Wicked Guilty Pleasure more than this one.  Young woman with braces and a lollypop in a short dress jumping up in the air to show off her underpants? Check. Angry looking man in a dress?  Check. Gratuitous shirtless men?  Check. Seemingly random video location - in a quarry? Check. Lyrics that exhibit only a passing fluency in English?  Check.

Swedish band Whale released this song a whole year ahead of their debut album, and the video was a doozy.  The sound was both poppy and grungy, making for an infectious combination and an unforgettable song, even without the video.

By the way, Cia Berg, the lead vocalist/young woman in question, was in her early 30s when this video was filmed.  She just looked young, thanks to good genes.  And braces.

14 September 2012

14 September 2012 - Kishore Kumar - Bachna Ae Haseeno

The title song from arguably the greatest Bollywood movie of all time, 2008's Bachna Ae Haseeno is an exciting, energetic affair that you can't help but dance to. Well, I can't, but I'm a sucker for a trumpet.  This video is from the opening title sequence of the movie.

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The biggest trick? Kishore Kumar died in 1987.  This version of the song was a remix of an old song that he did with Asha Bhosle.  Needless to say, this isn't Kishore Kumar in this video. It is Indian actor Ranbir Kapoor.  It is a common practice to have singers do the singing for the screen actors.    Here is a video from the 1977 movie Hum Kisise Kum Naheen, using an older version of Kishore Kumar's vocals.  The irony? The actor that appears to be singing here is Rishi Kapoor - Ranbir's father.   Clearly the same song, with a different mix.


Incidentally, Hum Kisise Kum Naheen was also a big hit move.

This song has even made it to the United States.  Here is a clip from the television show "Outsourced", in which Gupta, played by the talented Parvesh Cheena, is dreaming about being a big Bollywood star. I really miss that show....

Anyway, enjoy!

13 September 2012

13 September 2012 - Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy and C30, C60, C90, Go

Because decisions are hard, here's two cool Bow Wow Wow videos for your 80s Thursday viewing pleasure. Let's start with their hit song. I'm sure you all remember this MTV classic video.



And now here's a lesser known, but even cooler tune. Enjoy!

12 September 2012

12 September 2012 - Panjabi MC - Mundian To Bach Ke / Jay-Z & Panjabi MC - Beware of the Boys

A song.... entirely in Punjabi..... that samples the Knight Rider theme song.   Strange but true, it was a worldwide hit in 2002.  Panjabi MC is from England, of Indian descent, and built quite a career out of remixing Indian music.  The video for this song has a real Bollywood movie feeling.

And did I mention the Knight Rider theme song sample? That show had a great baseline.



Jay-Z discovered this tune, and decided to add his own lyrical formula to the song.  This made the song an even bigger hit.  Here is Jay-Z performing the song, live. "Mundian To Bach Ke" translates into English as "Beware of the Boys", hence the new title.



The song returned to some prominence earlier this year with the release of the classy movie "The Dictator".   Here, it is featured in this trailer, which only showcases highbrow humor.....

11 September 2012

11 September 2012 - Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

The Voice returned last night! Seems like a Purrfect opportunity to post a Cee Lo Green video. Here's a "little known" song from his collaboration with DJ Danger Mouse.

10 September 2012

10 September 2012 - Bran Van 3000 - Drinking In L.A.

Bran Van 3000 are, according to Wikipedia, "an electronica collective from Montreal, Quebec."  I'm not 100% sure what that means.  

I am 100% sure that this is the greatest slacker anthem about screenwriting I've ever heard.  The combination of live and sampled instruments bring a dreamy feel to the song. See if you can catch all the mid-90's pop culture references, including multiples to Snoop Dogg.

07 September 2012

7 September 2012 - Skrillex - Bangarang

I asked an electronic music guru friend of mine if it was OK that I liked Skrillex, and to ensure that it wouldn't ruin my street cred.  She cleared it, so I am now posting this.

I didn't like Skrillex at first.  He's got the most pretentious haircut in music since A Flock of Seagulls.  However, the more I learn about the guy, the more I like him.  He is one of the nicest guys in entertainment, choosing to be active and engage with his fans, in person as well as on Twitter.  Plus, he's Ellie Goulding's boyfriend, which makes him even cooler.

His music brings to mind his roots as the lead singer of a punky rock band, From First To Last (billed by his real name, Sonny John Moore).  It's got a punky feeling - not only this song, but a lot of his others - while maintaining a clearly electronic sound.  So, rather than dwell on deadmau5's antics at the Grammys involving Skrillex (and follow that link to see just how nice he is!), enjoy this dark video, with one scene not for the squeamish (at 1:55 - it's not all that showy, but look away if you have an issue with hands being removed by car doors....)

06 September 2012

6 September 2012 - Berlin - Metro

It's 80s Thursday!!! Is there anything more "80s" than this Berlin video? I saw them a few years ago in Virginia Beach and they rocked. And before you ask, yes, Terri Nunn is still gorgeous.

5 September 2012 - Ashlee Simpson - Pieces of Me

OK, I forgot to post yesterday.  I'm sorry!  Here's some music from my favorite Simpson sister as the reward for your patience.

Ashlee's beautifully Wicked Guilty Pleasure music is the reason we started this blog.  Despite her Saturday Night Live debacle, this song does show her vocal range nicely.



(Update: 6 August 2013)  I felt like updating this post for no reason other than I wanted to find a version of this song performed live that I could pretty reliably determine to be live and not Memorex.  So, here it is, slightly more bombastic than the studio version.



And here is ANOTHER one, which is less bombastic, but more mature, from 2008 (the song was recorded in 2004, so she really is more mature and more controlled).

04 September 2012

4 September 2012 - Psy - Gangnam Style

Korean? Club music?

This song, released in June, is already the biggest K-pop hit in the US.... ever.  Psy is already a big star in Korea, but this tribute to the finer things in life - Gangnam is a district in Seoul known for being lavish and trendy - has made him a worldwide star. The video, a campy affair all around, was filmed on location in Gangnam.

And, for those not familiar with the cultural reference, Psy is NOT exhibiting Gangnam Style here.



This is how huge this song is.

1. It's charting in the United States, despite not being an English language song.
2. There are parodies.  Here's one done by the Oregon duck.....



Update: Hyuna, another Korean star, has done a slight reinterpretation of the song from a woman's perspective. Under a new title - Oppa Is Just My Style - it has been a hit, although somewhat criticized for its vocals.  You might have noticed that she appeared as a dancer (and Psy's love interest) in the original video.



(Update: 14 September 2012): Psy appeared on The Today Show today.  We got ahead of a pop culture phenomenon once again!  Also, look at how many of the English speakers suddenly are fluent in colloquial Korean!




31 August 2012

31 August 2012 - The Ting Tings - Shut Up And Let Me Go

I know, I know, the video rips off "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes a little bit.  Still, this song, used by Apple in an iPod commercial, was a minor hit for this UK duo. Katie White and Jules de Martino are both multiinstrumental, so their sound, while minimalist, is far richer than would be expected from just two people.

By the way, if you have 3D glasses, put them on.  This video is in 3D.



Although there were session musicians as part of the studio version of this song, Jules and Katie are perfectly capable of playing this very minimalist song themselves.  Here they are, live, and just the two of them, at the AOL Sessions studio.  I believe the mat Katie is dancing on is actually an instrument in and of itself.  The video is a little smaller and grainy, so dial-up users could see it, too.


(I was just kidding about the dial-up)

For those so inclined, here is the iPod commercial. I miss these silhouettes.  I wish Apple would bring them back.

30 August 2012

30 Augusrt 2012 - Cheap Trick - If You Want My Love

It's 80s Thursday and I'm seeing these guys in three days. How rad would it be if Robin Zander still had that haircut? Come to think of it, how rad would it be if Rick Nielsen was wearing that sweater?



Click here for more Cheap Trick goodness at Totally Covered

29 August 2012

29 August 2012 - Tommy Tutone - 867-5309/Jenny

Quick! Name two songs that have a phone number in their title!  If this isn't your first choice, I'm sorely disappointed. (I'd accept any number of songs, including "Pennsylvania 6-5000" or Squeeze's "853-5937" for the second).

A song that is referred to in pop culture possibly more than any other in history, Tommy Tutone - it was the name of the band, led by Tommy Heath - performed a power-pop gem in the early 80's.  A desperate tale of misguided, unrequited love, it was loosely based on a real person known by the band!


Here's a little trick you can do with this number.  A lot of stores - grocery and otherwise - have loyalty cards or discount programs that come with a card.  If you don't have the card, usually this can be searched by telephone number.  867-5309 works in almost every area code.

Here's a little trick Tommy Heath did with the tune in 2008 with an acoustic guitar.


Here's the mathematical representation of Jenny's Constant according to xkcd. Incidentally, 8,675,309 is a prime number.  Not only was it a one-hit wonder, it's a mathematical anomaly!