28 June 2013

28 June 2013 - Bob Dylan - Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Today marks post #420 for Wicked Guilty Pleasures.  12 times 35 equals 420.  I'm sure that's just a coincidence, and has NO other meaning.

This song opened up Bob Dylan's 1966 album Blonde on Blonde and featured an unusual brass/harmonica arrangement.  Really, though, the song is a bunch of musicians having fun in the studio and, let's face it, getting stoned.   The fun shines through - it's one of Dylan's most..... fun songs.  It's not at all angry, like a lot of his work.

27 June 2013

27 June 2013 - The Cure - Lovecats

With the exception of Friday I'm In Love, Lovecats may be the purrfect guilty pleasure song by The Cure. But seeing that I talk about the 80s on Thursdays, you get to relive the magic of Lovecats.

I am SO NOT PROUD of that purrfect pun.

26 June 2013

26 June 2013 - The Innocence Mission - Bright As Yellow / I Haven't Seen This Day Before

Forget for a minute the irony that the video for this song has not a hint of yellow.

A beautiful song by a band that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention, this was a 1995 single release from their album Glow.  This is most likely their best known song - it was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Empire Records - but it was by no means their biggest hit.  Not that they had any big mainstream hits (which is criminal), but they were a modern rock radio darling for awhile.

Let's stop right here and talk about Karen Peris's voice.  She brings such a light, airy joy to anything she sings (and writes, as she is the songwriter for this tune).  Despite the light, airy joy of her voice, it's still really powerful.  That's a special skill, this light, airy power.

By the way, The Innocence Mission are still around.  Here's a more recent recording (of a song from their 1999 album Birds of My Neighborhood) featuring Karen along with her husband (and fellow band member and songwriter) Don Peris. Again, a shiny happy song by, as their Twitter profile clearly states, a "shiny, happy band from Lancaster, PA."

25 June 2013

25 June 2013 - She & Him - I Could've Been Your Girl

I never would have considered She & Him to be a guilty pleasure. I loved the first two records. Then the New Girl happened. I know a lot of people like it, but I couldn't even make through the first season (but to be perfectly honest in the last 10 years I've pretty much hated every TV show I've seen, so making it through half a season is quite the accomplishment). I foolishly misplaced my boredom for a TV show to a perfectly fine band. Dumb. When Volume 3 came out last month I didn't even think about getting it. But a couple weeks ago Amazon put it on sale for $5 so I said, "what the hell." Admittedly, I still haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but this single and video certainly brings the goodness and reminds me of why I liked them in the first place.

24 June 2013

24 June 2013 - Madonna - Hung Up

I don't know that I've ever professed my love of Madonna's music.  I know I have posted her music in the past.  One of these days, I'm going to do a super post about her.   But today, I want to talk about one of her recent hits.

This song is very complex musically, with a ticking clock and a sample from an Abba song making the bulk of the dense backing track.  Madonna's lyrics are sung with urgency, but are very simple in contrast to the music.  However, this video is all about the dancing - I've never seen moves like some of these!

So, enjoy this video, enjoy the song, enjoy the Abba music.

21 June 2013

21 June 2013 - Katrina and The Waves - Walking on Sunshine

No song personified mid-80s optimism quite like this one.  The only U.S. hit by Katrina and The Waves, Kimberley Rew (who was one of the Waves) wrote it as a ballad.  Katrina had other ideas, and belted the song.

She made the right choice.  Now, they've together crafted one of those songs that you just can't help but smile when you hear.

Katrina Leskanich is still singing the hell out of this song. Here she is in a television performance from 2010.

20 June 2013

20 June 2013 - Clan of Xymox - Obsession

Let's go dark wave on this 80s Thursday. I was always intrigued by Clan of Xymox (AKA Xymox), but never really owned any of their records until a few years ago when I got 1989's Twist of Shadows from a now defunct CD trading site (RIP Lala.com). I can't say I listen to it often, but it's certainly filled with electro-gothy goodness. Here's the video for Twist of Shadows' highest charting single.

19 June 2013

19 June 2013 - Morris Day & The Time - Jungle Love

Few people can successfully steal the spotlight from Prince.  Morris Day, however, did just that in Purple Rain. He truly stole the show.  And this song, from their 1983 album Ice Cream Castle, was one of the highlights of that.

Here's what you don't know, though.  The song, cowritten by Morris Day and Jesse Johnson, was performed on record by three artists.  Morris Day provided the vocals, Jesse Johnson some guitar.... and Prince Rogers Nelson himself played the rest.  There is some debate over whether Johnson even did guitar! Day was required to follow Prince's vocal track note for note. Since they were signed to Prince's label, he had full creative control.....

....which led to tension and a rift between Prince and The Time, who were themselves accomplished musicians and producers.

But forget about all that drama for five minutes.  Listen to this great, funky song!

18 June 2013

18 June 2013 - New Radicals - You Get What You Give

"Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson/Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson/You're all fakes run to your mansions/Come around we'll kick your asses." It's lines like that from You Get What You Give that are sorely missing on modern rock radio today.

The New Radicals should have been HUGE. Certainly this song was. But somewhere between the release of the first two singles off of Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, the band's leader, Gregg Alexander, decided he'd much rather be the man behind the scenes (producing and writing for others). Good for him, but I often wonder what could have been. Well, at least we got this late 90s gem.

17 June 2013

17 June 2013 - The Jets - Crush On You

The eight eldest children (of 17!) of the Wolfgramm family from Minneapolis, MN, decided to start a band. From 1986, this family band had a cute, innocent hit song.  It would not be their only hit, but it was their first big one.

The song itself was pretty standard pop/R&B that was appropriate for the era, but it was less sleazy... more innocent than its contemporaries.  The video continued the theme of innocence, and showed eight brothers and sisters just having a good time performing a fun, lighthearted song about the confirmation of a crush.

And yes.  They were named after the gang from "West Side Story."

14 June 2013

14 June 2013 - Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out

I couldn't tell you when I first heard this song.  I know it is indispensable for me now.

The song starts off very guitar-heavy, and somewhat light musically.  Lyrically, it's about shooting someone, so not so light.  But then, about 50 seconds in, the song, while remaining guitar-heavy, adds a heavy drum and bass piece.  And the tempo and feel of the song changes strongly, and not to the lighter.  It's a well constructed song, and I like how it so seamlessly changes like that after such a long time.  There's a third change, which goes more to the jangle-pop sound that is so core to the band.

13 June 2013

13 June 2013 - Yazoo - Don't Go

I was flipping through some stacks of vinyl last night (desperately trying to organize them . . . to little avail) when I came across Upstairs at Eric's, the fantastic debut by Yazoo (Yaz). I can't even remember the last time I played it and probably should have put it on, but I was immersed in the latest records by Steve Earle and Billy Bragg (and a pretty intense 3 OT hockey game). It's not like I haven't heard it before. What I haven't heard, though, is the new Alison Moyet record (The Minutes) which came out last month. Need to get on that one as I hear it's quite good.

12 June 2013

12 June 2013 - Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand

So far, I think this is the longest titled song we've featured on this blog.  A Top 10 hit in 1996, it certainly isn't the hit song with the longest title of all time (we won't even go there), but it is long enough to be frequently abbreviated or abridged.

The song itself is very simple, with a heavy drum and bass accompaniment alongside mournful lyrics and a repeated sample from the B.B.King song "How Blue Can You Get?"   But all these simple components together make a very dense and complex song that draws you in again and again.

11 June 2013

11 June 2013 - Tilly and the Wall - Reckless

When Tilly and the Wall's first album Wild Like Children came out in 2004, I knew I had to check it out. The Omaha indie poppers had a lot of buzz at the time due their record being the first release on Team Love Records (co-founded by Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes). Oh, and instead of having a drummer, they had a tap dancer. Sign me up! Here's a fun video from that debut.

10 June 2013

10 June 2013 - The Association - Never My Love

This is quite possibly the most beautiful song ever written and performed.

From 1967, here are The Association, with a pure and simple tribute to undying love and patience.   But as simple as the lyrics are, the song is very musically dense, with multipart harmonies throughout and a six piece band.  I encourage you to listen more than once.

What I love about this band is that, nearly 50 years later, they're still together and still playing this song.  They've lost a little bit in the voices - age will do that to you - but not much, and the harmonies are still there. This performance is from 2012.

07 June 2013

7 June 2013 - Garbage - I Think I'm Paranoid

About a year ago, I made the statement that Garbage owes a huge debt of gratitude to Curve. I stand by that statement.

But we're not talking about Curve today.  We're talking about Garbage, which started off as a great studio experiment, featured three great producers (Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, Butch Vig) from the American Midwest and an attractive, charismatic female lead vocalist playing fuzzy rock music.

But they became more than that.  They became Shirley Manson's band of hitmakers in their own right.  That woman has fantastic stage presence. They became identified as musicians, not as producers.  And they sound great, don't they?

Even all these years later, they still sound great.  And Shirley Manson still has the strong stage presence.

06 June 2013

6 June 2013 - Siouxsie and the Banshees - Cities in Dust

It's time for some more 80s Thursday goodness. Here's a classic Siouxsie and the Banshees video from 1986's Tinderbox. I'd like to say this is the first song of theirs I heard, but they didn't exactly hit my teenage radar until I saw the Peek-A-Boo video a few years later.

05 June 2013

5 June 2013 - Run DMC - King of Rock

Sure, they didn't know music history so well ("there's three of us but we're not the Beatles"?!  Of course, John Lennon was dead by this time...)  They might have smack talked a whole lot of sucker MCs.  They might have gone through two needles on every jam they played.

But Run DMC were hip hop pioneers - the first consistent hitmakers of the genre - the first to bring actual instruments and not just turntables into their music - the first to popularize adidas - the first to use Larry "Bud" Melman in a music video - and with good reason.  Run - Joseph Simmons - and DMC - Darryl McDaniels - played off each others' rhymes with seamless ease.  And they had a fair amount of anger in their music, too.  Hip hop before Run DMC was happy, and talking about how they were the best MCs, and dancing.  Until Run DMC started calling out sucker MCs.

04 June 2013

4 June 2013 - Selena Gomez - Come & Get It

After seeing the commercial for ABC's new guilty pleasure drama Mistresses about 8,000 times yesterday, I got this Selena Gomez song completely stuck in my head. So I thought, oh hell, if this ain't a Wicked Guilty Pleasures post I don't know what is. Guilty Pleasure tunes and TV. Perfect! And then Tony went and posted Selena Gomez playing her bestie's song I Knew You Were Trouble today at Totally Covered...I was going to scrap this post, but then I thought, awww heck let's make it Selena Gomez Day at the blogs.

03 June 2013

3 June 2013 - Baby Animals - Painless & Rush You & Email

Remember the MTV Buzz Bin from the early 90's?  I do.

That's where I discovered this hard rocking Aussie band.  Of course, when I saw their Buzz Bin video, it was this one, which isn't all that hard-rockin' at all.  But the song grew on me.  It was catchy.  It wasn't exactly like everything else on the radio.  And Suze DeMarchi - the lead vocalist - had a compelling and husky voice.

So I went and bought their CD, and put it in.  And this was track 1.  Thankfully, it was also the 2nd single.  What a great, hard-rocking song!  This is still, to this day, one of my favorite songs.

Of course, with label pressures, along with Suze's budding romance with and eventual marriage to Nuno Bettencourt, the band broke up.  But, eventually, they got back together.... and did an acoustic album of all their hits.  Including this hard rocking song.  And it worked at the slower tempo.  Here is the band performing it back in 2010.

Of course, they didn't take the edge off of everything.  Here is "Painless" from a show in 2013.

We would be doing the band a disservice if we neglected to mention that they have a new album out.  This is Not The End is available now. The first single is the compelling "Email", and we hope you enjoy it.