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!