29 March 2013

29 March 2013 - All Saints - Never Ever

All Saints were an all-girl group consisting of members from the UK and Canada. In the US, All Saints are essentially one-hit wonders. In the UK and elsewhere, they're much better known for a cover they did that I'll have to put on Totally Covered one of these days.  They were one of the most successful groups of the late 90's there.

This is the one US hit.  It starts as a typical R&B ballad, which in itself would not make it a Wicked Guilty Pleasure.  Actually, that's not 100% true.  It starts off really quiet, spoken-word, and really sad.  But it gets stronger and louder as the song winds on. It also is the rare song that specifically speaks both to a US ("The alphabet runs right from a to zee") and a UK/Canadian ("The alphabet runs right from a to zed") audience.  As someone with a zed in his name, I appreciate that.  All in all, the song is well crafted and well performed.

Plus, there are LOTS of explosions in the video.



As is often the case, the group made a special video just for the US and Canada.  Who knows why, but here it is.  There aren't as many explosions, but there's a car on fire.

28 March 2013

28 March 2013 - OutKast - Hey Ya!

Yeah, I bet y'all never thought I'd be posting an OutKast video. It seems about as likely as me rooting for the Red Sox or turning down a free beer. And I likely wouldn't have posted this video if it wasn't for me waking up from a dream at 4:30 this morning with this infectiously catchy song stuck in my head (must have been a party dream). To be honest, I really do like this song, and I'm kinda shocked that we haven't posted this one already.

27 March 2013

27 March 2013 - Steriogram - Walkie Talkie Man

By now you know we're fans of songs used in iPod commercials.  Here's another one.

Steriogram are a bunch of goofballs who make some pretty good rock and roll music.  They haven't had too many hits - this was their biggest one.  Thanks to Apple.  The song is energetic and fun pop/punk music.  Here is the commercial, which should give you a good idea as to what the song is all about.


But the video for the song - which is the only knitted video I've ever seen - makes the song all the more interesting.

26 March 2013

26 March 2013 - The Hooters - And We Danced

I've been staring a blank screen for the past two hours trying to think of a video to post today. Mind blank. Absolutely nothing was inspiring me. Feeling like a true failure I did what any good writer would do, I whined like a little kid to Tony that I couldn't think of anything to write about. His sage-like advice, "go 80s." So obvious, yet so right. So let's go back to a much simpler time with a video by The Hooters.

25 March 2013

25 Marzo 2013 - Shakira (feat. Alejandro Sanz) - La Tortura

De vez en cuando, me gusta mostrar de que una vez que hablaba español. Tengo que admitir que no es tan fuerte como solía ser.  Además, es un dolor en el culo para escribir en español con un teclado QUERTY.

Pero lo hago por ti.

Esta noche, Shakira hace su debut como jueza en "The Voice".  Vamos a disfrutar de la canción en español más exitoso lanzado como descarga digital en los Estados Unidos.  La cancíon tiene un toque de reggae claro, sin embargo, mantiene tradionales sesibilidad latina y de la música pop.



From time to time, I like to show off the fact that, at one time, I spoke Spanish.  I have to admit it's not as strong as it used to be.  Also, it's a pain in the ass to write in Spanish with a QWERTY keyboard.

But I do it for you.

Tonight, Shakira makes her debut as a judge on "The Voice"  Let's enjoy the most successful Spanish-language song released as a digital download in the United States.  The song has a clear reggae feel, but maintains traditional pop music and Latin sensibilities.

22 March 2013

22 March 2013 - Human League - Don't You Want Me (with a Sassy bonus)

This is the first song I can remember being my favorite song.  I outgrew it for a little while, but the song still endures for me.

The song itself is heavily electronic from a musical standpoint, but it isn't terribly sparse, like other electronic songs from 1982 were.  Human League were able to keep a deep sound, almost like a full band (more on that in a minute).  What made this song really intriguing, though, was the dual lead vocal.  It wasn't a traditional call-and-response song - the two vocalists each get a separate verse, with the male lead taking the chorus - but you still got both sides of the story, including a very dark and sinister possessiveness.



This song has been covered several times.  My personal favorite cover isn't going to wait for Totally Covered. It was done for a 1992 covers compilation that benefited Planned Parenthood.  Chia Pet's members included Christina Kelly on vocals, Jessica Vitkus Weeks on bass, Mary Ann Marshall on drums and Jane Pratt on violin.   Those names might ring a bell, if you were a fan of the magazine Sassy - Jane Pratt was the founding editor, and the others were writers and editors for the magazine.

This version was 100% NOT electronic, and didn't have a male lead vocal (there is a 2nd woman singing), but, because the song was so well-written, this still worked! Also, Christina Kelly was kind of bad-ass - still is - which helped pull off the sinisterness of the vocals.


21 March 2013

21 March 2013 - G Love - Shooting Hoops

Awwww yeah . . . The NCAA Basketball Tournament really starts today (those play-in games do not count). For me, filling out my brackets and the first weekend of games are better than Christmas, my birthday and St. Patrick's Day combined. And even if I'm forced to miss the late afternoon games today and tomorrow due to my own tennis coaching responsibilities (would it kill y'all to pray for rain for me so I can cancel practice?), my three TVs in my basement bar (I refuse to call it a "mancave") will be working overtime for the next four days.

Oh yeah . . . music. Here's some G Love to get you in the mood.

20 March 2013

20 March 2013 - Young MC - Bust A Move

I always thought the lyrics in this tune were so absurd.

"Food is served and you're stone cold munchin'"

Seriously?!!  Seriously?!?!

Still, this was, and still is, a fun, mindless dance jam... and Young MC had serious hip hop chops.  I want you to seriously listen to this song, but ignore the lyrical content.  He's not just lazing through the tune.  This is a high speed, high tempo song, with four verses (which isn't common in this day and age).  And he used a lot of big words not commonly used in hip hop, even in old school days.

Plus, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers plays bass on the song and appears in the video.  So, bonus.

19 March 2013

19 March 2013 - They Might Be Giants - Icky

I'm fairly certain that everyone at some point in their high school days was a They Might Be Giants fan. Most of us made it through those years with fine memories and can probably still recite every lyric on records like Lincoln and Flood. Many of those fans though, likely moved on. I know I certainly did. I do think it's cool that they are still making fun music that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Their new album Nanobots came out earlier this month and while I likely won't be picking it up, the first song fits quite nicely in their extensive catalog. Check it out.

18 March 2013

18 March 2013 - The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love

A song written expressly for the point of being a guilty pleasure?  Well, why would it not be on this blog?

Formed in a post-grunge era - in the year 2000! - The Darkness were a glam rock band and a throwback to an earlier era.  And these guys really understood glam rock, with the over-the-top guitars, the screaming vocals, and the sweet-ass costumes!

Here's their biggest hit.  Enjoy!



The band reformed in time to do a Super Bowl comercial in 2012..... They hadn't lost their touch.  Or their glam rock sensibilities!

15 March 2013

15 March 2013 - Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child

And with this, we complete our Swedish trilogy, with our Neneh Cherry and ABBA posts. It's fortunate that this one also happens to be a big current hit.

This is a little different than other music we've heard out of Sweden in the past.  Sure, we've had dance music, but such electronic sounds normally come from the New York, LA, Toronto, and London clubs..... not Stockholm.  But these three DJs indeed did meet in the clubs of Stockholm, and together have developed a huge following and interesting, progressive yet mainstream music.

This has been their biggest hit so far worldwide - currently at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, after a peak position on #6 - but they are on their last tour together.  Here's hoping these three gifted DJs bring us more exciting music individually.

14 March 2013

14 March 2013 - Kate Bush - Pi

Today is Pi day. I was going to post about the significance of pi, but I can't really explain what it actually means (I think it has something to do with circles . . . math is hard). Needless to say I scrapped that idea. Then I thought about going with a dessert joke and posting a Cake video. But I really don't like dessert (or Cake for that matter). So instead, here's a fan-made video (that's actually pretty good) for Kate Bush's song Pi off of her Aerial album.

13 March 2013

13 March 2013 - ABBA - Gimme Gimme Gimme (with an Amanda Seyfried bonus)

It just occurred to me that we haven't featured enough ABBA on this blog.  And who doesn't love ABBA?

Sure, lots of people don't love ABBA, I know.  I do love ABBA.  I love typing ABBA.  I love listening to ABBA.

And this song, which is a little darker fare than you might be accustomed to from ABBA, is my favorite ABBA song.  Frida and Agnetha (who takes lead vocal on this with her huge voice) harmonize so perfectly, and Benny and Björn provide an energetic musical background.  Even though the band was starting to implodie by this point, you can still see the significant chemistry that they all still had on stage.



Anni-Frid.  Her name wasn't really Frida.  That's the other A.

This song is so good, it even sounds good when actresses (who have significant singing talent - let's be honest) perform faithful covers.  By the way, I strongly recommend the movie Mamma Mia for those of you who love ABBA's music as I do.



(Yes, loyal readers of Totally Covered, we did feature this song over there in October 2012. We just needed an excuse to post Amanda Seyfried again)

12 March 2013

12 March 2013 - Britney Spears - Oops!...I Did It Again

So last year I had the awesome idea (aren't they all?) of sending Tony a special birthday video treat here at Wicked Guilty Pleasures. I thought it was brilliant and very tasteful. Or not. Whatever. Well today, Tony's one year older, so he gets another Britney video which was incidentally a year older than the one I sent last year. Happy Birthday Tony, hopefully within the next year Brit will make a curling related video!

11 March 2013

11 March 2013 - Neneh Cherry - Buffalo Stance (& Looking Good Diving With The Wild Bunch) & Trout (feat. Michael Stipe)

I have to be honest - when I started this post, I started with a completely different artist (not coincidentally from the same country) who I will revisit at another time.

But today, it seemed appropriate to go with a slightly different artist.  Neneh Cherry, stepdaughter of jazz musician Don Cherry (he married her mother and raised her - hence her surname) was born in Stockholm, Sweden.  Her first international solo single, "Buffalo Stance", was really catchy and easy to dance to, but it had a lot of asking what a buffalo stance really was.  Well, I'm here to answer that question for you.

A buffalo stance is kind of like a red carpet photography pose.  "Buffalo" refers to a particular group of UK models, photographers, cosmetologists, etc., who included Cherry as a member.  It also was an homage to Malcom MacLaren's "Buffalo Gals", which she sampled.



What most people don't know is that this was the 2nd time she did this song.  She performed this as the B-Side of a Morgan-McVey single called "Looking Good Diving", titled "Looking Good Diving With The Wild Bunch."  The samples are much different, but you can tell it's the same song.  Lyrically, it nearly matches, right down to the future title.

By the way, the final version of "Buffalo Stance" samples "Looking Good Diving".  And she married Cameron McVey.



Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't post my favorite song by Neneh Cherry, a single from her 2nd album, Homebrew.  The other voice you hear is R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, the majors samples are from Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" and, of course, "When The Levee Breaks"  provides the drum line.  Sorry there isn't a pretty video.  Trust me.  The song is worth it.



So, how do you handle a song with heavy samples and a duet partner that isn't touring with you?  You hire a brilliant band and write a song that translates to a solo performance.


08 March 2013

8 March 2013 - Semisonic - Closing Time

I hope this blog has made it clear: I like songs that start off quiet and sweet and build to loud and passionate.

Born from the ashes of Trip Shakespeare, a band you've probably never heard of, Semisonic played - and still play - smart rock-and-roll with a modern feel that retains such important components of old-time rock, such as chord structure and guitar solos.

This song starts with that beautiful piano - and ends with it, too - but becomes a driving rock song in the middle. The song is actually a bit of an allegory, comparing the act of childbirth - in this case, vocalist Dan Wilson's new child - to a bouncer, clearing out a bar.

Really, the subject - "Closing Time" - is something we can all relate to.  For example, that last line - "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" - is 1. probably the deepest line to ever be written in a hit song, and 2. resonates with just about everyone who hears it.  It's actually sung twice during the song, and each time it has a different feel.  The 2nd time - which is the end of the song - is a bit melancholy.  I remember when my first child - Juliana - was born.  I was scared - sure, I was embarking on a great adventure, but this meant the end of life as I knew it.

And yeah.  I might have been humming this song all day.

The video, which was two continuous shots that needed to be timed perfectly to fit the storyline, doesn't address the intended analogy, but instead focuses on two people trying to meet up and missing by seconds.  It's really neat - check it out.

07 March 2013

06 March 2013

6 March 2013 - Don Henley - All She Wants To Do Is Dance

I can't f&*king stand The Eagles

You've heard me say statements like this quite frequently.

Well, this song, from 1985, the 2nd single from his Building the Perfect Beast album - the first being the dull "The Boys of Summer" - is about as far from the Eagles that Don Henley could have come. Unlike the washed-out folk-rock of the Eagles, this song has some serious soul.  SERIOUS soul.  The horns and killer keytar hook - yes, KEYTAR hook - drive this hard-pumping song forward.  Henley's voice, with slight falsetto and terrific range, is well-suited for this energetic tune.

But this song is more than a soulful romp.  Remove the phrase "and all she wants to do is dance" from the verses. You've got a song clearly inspired by the tales of the Reagan-era Sandinistas in Central America.  Put those words back in.  You've got a much different song.

The video itself is really busy and absolutely brilliant.  It's almost reminiscent of the Cantina band from Star Wars, with a South American bunker feel.

 

As a bonus, here is a more drum-heavy version, performed by Henley in Atlantic City, February 2013.  The keytar solo has been apparently replaced by guitar.  Henley's voice has lost a little bit of range in the nearly 30 years since this song was released.

It still works.

05 March 2013

5 March 2013 - Passion Pit - Take A Walk

I recently picked up Passion Pit's Gossamer record on a $2.99 whim at Amazon. I had their previous album and remembered that I didn't hate it (a ringing endorsement . . . I know), so I decided to give the new one a shot. I finally had some time last night to check out some music from my "need to listen to stack" (which sadly, isn't too high at the moment) and popped in Gossamer. I knew the first song right away. But from where? A Taco Bell commercial of course. I won't hold it against them (or any other band trying to make a living these days), even if those Doritos tacos sound disgusting.

04 March 2013

4 March 2013 - C+C Music Factory - Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)

In an era where traditional rap music was going the way of the dinosaur.  I consider C+C Music Factory one of its last gasps.

Founded by producers Robert Clivillés and Robert Cole - the C+C in the Factory - the guys hired several studio musicians, including Zelma Davis, the later-credited Martha Wash (who is the huge female voice in this song) and Freedom Williams, who is clearly a clean-cut and dapper guy..... oh.  Wait.  That's another song.

Anyway, I dare you to try not to get up and dance when this song is on.  It's really difficult.  The words are simple and catchy, and the bass is thumpin'.  In fact, I'm dancing to it right now.

01 March 2013

1 March 2013 - Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax

I got really sick of this song being everywhere when it was new.  But there was so much about this song that I didn't understand back then.  It was kind of a dirty song.  At least, by 1984 standards.

Produced by the legendary Trevor Horn, the song slowly reached #10 on the US charts and topped the UK charts.  This video is the 2nd version of the video - a cleaner version that was made especially for the BBC so they wouldn't ban them for indecency.  It didn't work.



In 1984, this is what passed for indecent.  Pretty tame stuff.