Monday, May 31, 2010

Earworm: Continuation

It's nothing but nonstop AFI songs running through my head today.

That is all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Earworm Special Edition: Beautiful Thieves

The Mrs. and I went to see AFI in concert tonight. They are by far one of the best live bands that I have ever seen.

I didn't realize before, but Davey Havok's current look evokes a glam-punk George Michael, and it carries all of their material perfectly.

AFI's latest album, Crash Love took a long time to grow on me, but its songs like "Beautiful Thieves" and "Medicate" that eventually pulled me in.

I'm still at a loss for words. Tonight was a great night.

Earworm: Nobody Knows

I'm a little lost by today's earworm. I was trying to figure out what song was running through my head but just couldn't place it. I think it was something by OneRepublic that I heard on the Musak last night. That went away upon concentration and was replaced by the rendition of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" from Spaceballs.

1. I haven't seen Spaceballs in 20 years.

2. Awesome.

3. I can't find a video, of it, so here is Louis Armstrong. Even better.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Earworm: Who knows?

Nickelback "?"

I didn't have my iPod with me last night, so the radio was on during the drive home from work. I don't listen to the radio often, and this is why. I think whatever song was playing was Nickleback, the worst band in the world. Every single one of their songs sounds the same to me. It's just bloated pseudo-emotional cock-rock. Soundhound wouldn't tell me what was running through my head this morning, so it could be any of their mind-numbing songs that clog up the airwaves. They keep churning out the hit, and I don't like it at all.

Chad Kroeger looks like an anthropomorphic Cocker Spaniel.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Earworm: Same as it ever was.

Maybe it's the long nights at work and going to sleep really late, but my there is no earworm today! Well, actually there is, but it's the same song by the Script as yesterday. When I try to make my mind go blank, it comes back mixed with the Meow Mix jingle. Ugh. This is going to be a very long day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Earworm: Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)

The Script "Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)"

I don't even know today's song, and had to hum it into Soundhound to find out what it is. I've heard it a few times, typically while I'm channel surfing and some sort of VH1 artist to watch comes on. I really don't like it.

Nothing else is lined up to take over that coveted top spot in my brain yet, so I guess I'm stuck with it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Earworm: What's Up

4 Non Blondes "What's Up"

It was only a matter of time until the song stylings of Ms. Linda Perry came calling upon waking up. She's best known for pointing Pink's career in a new direction when her record company didn't know what to do with her, and of course this song. As far as one-hit wonders go, "What's Up" is a great one. 4 Non Blondes had another minor hit with "Spaceman," but this is the only one that anyone remembers.

Thanks, He-Man video, for getting this one stuck in my head.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Earworm: Set It Off

Girl Talk "Set It Off"

I don't have much to say about today's song, aside from that I actually woke up with "Eric B. is President" by Eric B. and Rakim running through my head, but hearing anything that was sampled by Girl Talk immediately makes me think of Girl Talk, pushing the original out of my mind. That says a lot, and I think it is a perfect example of why the medium that Gregg Gillis has chosen to express himself transcends the art of the samples that he selects and becomes an art form in and of itself.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Earworm: Into the Great Wide Open

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers "Into the Great Wide Open"

After sleeping on last night's Lost finale, I'm rather amused that I woke up with the chorus to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Into the Great Wide Open" running through my head.

"Out in the great wide open, a rebel without a clue."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Earworm: Let Me Clear My Throat

DJ Kool "Let Me Clear My Throat"

Ah, yes. My DJ days. I was never a particularly good live DJ, given that my technical mixing skills extended to sliding the crossfader over from one song to the other. I did have an insanely huge music collection that covered anything and everything, however.

Even if I couldn't beat-mix, I still knew what songs would blend well and catered to the crowd with music that I didn't particularly like. I mean, it was the late 1990s, and you can only hear a Jennifer Lopez or Ja Rule remix so many times before you want to stab yourself in the ear.

At least I had the sense to invest in a technology that never went anywhere. MiniDiscs meant that I didn't have to ride my bicycle across the University of Minnesota campus carrying pounds and pounds of CDs to possibly play one song from each disc. I did try the ride with CDs a few times, but it was too easy to fall off my bike due to shifting backpacks. Case Logic binders could only go so far.

I woke up this morning to DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" running through my head. I haven't heard that song in almost ten years. It was always a crowd pleaser, with a built in call-and-response section and simple, old-school rhymes. Really, it was just a step up from Ice T's performance in Breakin', which really needs a remastered DVD release. It got the job done though, giving me time to contemplate if I wanted to open the next set with Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecelia" or Afroman's "Because I Got High."

The Midwest was generally behind the times when it came to music, so a song like Nelly's "Country Grammar" or "Rosa Parks" by Outkast would be a popular request months after they were played out everywhere else. I always liked the calm in the bar when the kids were away at spring break, because it meant that the song requests would be a little more current when they came back, at least for a few weeks before I would have to return to the top-40 music that was the foundation of their musical enjoyment. I did what I could to introduce them to something better from time to time, but it was mostly a futile attempt. Mainstream music paid my rent, and when it came down to it, that's all that really mattered.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Earworm: Fireflies

Owl City "Fireflies"

Get out, get out, get out! Apparently there is nothing better to do in small-town Minnesota than sit in your room, over-enunciate and rip off the Postal Service. I'll take the original any day.

There, that's better. The less time Owl City spends in my head, the better.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Earworm: Sometime to Return

Soul Asylum "Sometime to Return"

I got my very first CD player in 1991. It was a great Christmas. My very first compact discs were Disintegration by the Cure, Diamonds and Pearls by Prince and X by INXS. I already had X on cassette, so I took it back to the store. Using store credit and Christmas money, I picked up the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack and a compilation called Never Mind the Mainstream: The Best of MTV's 120 Minutes, Vol. 1. At this point I was 15 years old and had developed a serious lack of interest in anything that wasn't music. Minneapolis had a great alternative station at the time in KJ104, and I spent nearly every waking minute listening to the radio and trying to find the next great thing. Compilations and soundtracks were a great way to expose myself to a lot of different bands, and still not having cable made a 120 Minutes compilation seem like it was the Holy Grail of my developing musical tastes.

I memorized that album, wearing out a copy and getting a second one a few years later. It introduced me to bands like Sonic Youth and Camper Van Beethoven, but one song in particular stood out, making its way onto many a mix tape. Soul Asylum's "Sometime to Return," featured on the compilation but originally on 1988's Hang Time album was one of my absolute favorites. It was the only Soul Asylum song that I knew until they blew up with the 1992 album Grave Dancer's Union and the drive of the "Runaway Train" single.

Great, now I've got that song stuck in my head.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Earworm: Where'd You Go?

It's day two of waking up and writing about whatever song is running through my head. So far, so good.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Where'd You Go?"

Still very much anchored by my love of the Cure and the Smiths, as well as seeing They Might Be Giants more times than I can remember, I started branching out into other genres of music. I enjoyed songs like "Our House" by Madness on the radio in my youth, but had never heard ska as a viable source to the angst-ridden soundtrack of my youth.

About halfway through high school, I discovered a band called the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I first heard them with a 1993 song called "Someday I Suppose," which was featured on some monthly VHS video subscription that I had signed up for in a fit of wishing my parents had cable so I could watch 120 Minutes in the comfort of my own home. Sure, we would go over to my grandmother's house and I would turn on MTV, but they would always be playing some terrible pop block or Headbanger's Ball. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been happy to have any form of music on MTV.

The Bosstones made ska music, but it wasn't like anything I had ever heard before. They played "ska-core;" loud but tuneful songs with a frontman who sounded like he could scare away the meanest dog in my suburban neighborhood. The entire Don't Know How to Party album was in constant rotation in my three-disc shelf system.

Several months later, I remember having to participate in Secret Santa for choir. Each day, while everyone else got little trinkets and Hershey's Kisses stuffed into their sheet-music boxes, mine remained empty. It was pretty depressing. On the final day, however, a single gift appeared in mine. I opened it up to find More Noise and Other Disturbances, an earlier Bosstones album that I didn't know existed. "Where'd You Go?" was featured among a ton of other great songs with relatively low-production values.

The Bosstones have had their ups and downs over the years, most notably receiving one-hit-wonder status with their 1997 song "The Impression That I Get" from the album Let's Face It. I reviewed the album for my college newspaper, correctly predicting that if any one song was going to be a hit, that would be the one. You couldn't escape from it that summer.

I was introduced to other ska bands through their music but none of them ever seemed quite as vital as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. They're still kicking around with great albums like 2002's A Jackknife to a Swan and 2009's Pin Points and Juke Joints. I buy each album as it is released, happily diving into their back catalog every time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Earworm: Woke up quick at about noon.

My current work schedule affords me the glamorous life of getting up every day at around noon. I have time to collect my thoughts, do some junk around the house and contemplate my life.

This week I have taken it upon myself to post on Facebook whatever song is running through my head when I wake up. I have been looking for something to blog about, and that seems like a good gateway to get back into writing.

So here goes. A simple assignment in writing every day. I'll start by combining all of my songs for the week thus far into one entry, then post every day if I am able.

Sunday, May 16, 2010: The Get Up Kids "Forgive and Forget"

Sunday was the first day that this idea came to me, after walking around the house for an hour or so, singing "Forgive and Forget" to myself. This was from the days when emo wasn't something that made me want to stab myself in the ear. There was a look to the kids who listened to the music, but it was more indie-rock than lame-o-neon-goth chic. I picked up the Red Letter Day EP by the Get Up Kids back in 1999, when I was working as a terrible club DJ but listening to Jimmy Eat World nonstop. My musical tastes have wavered over the years, some more questionable than others, but 1999 was a good year for my musical development.

Monday, May 17, 2010: The Gaslight Anthem "Old White Lincoln"

The Gaslight Anthem is my favorite current band. I stumbled upon their greatness by accident. A friend in California sent me an email saying that he was opening for a new band a few years ago. He didn't care for their sound, but thought that I might really like them. The first song that I heard was the demo of "Drive" on their MySpace page. The demo captured the blue-collar energy of Bruce Springsteen fronting Against Me!, and I was instantly hooked.

Gaslight runs through my head a lot. This song comes from their second full-length The '59 Sound, my absolute favorite album from 2008. Their new album, American Slang, comes out on June 14.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010: Dramarama "What Are We Gonna Do"/"Haven't Got a Clue"

"What Are We Gonna Do" gets stuck in my head a lot. When I went to post it on Facebook, I accidentally posted "Haven't Got a Clue" instead. Both are good songs, but the latter is better. Upon pulling it up on YouTube, everything else was pushed right out of my head.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010: Siouxsie and the Banshees "Peek-a-Boo"

My taste in music has changed over the years, but it was my formative-listening experience that has remained constant throughout. Thanks, Mike and Sue. This one is for you.

Today's song is one of my all-time favorites. I love Siouxsie and the Banshees.

When I left Minneapolis at the end of the fifth grade, I was a directionless kid, happy to listen to whatever was on the radio. Enter the sixth grade. I was in a new school and befriended a kid who made mix tapes for everybody. They were split between his records (Dead Milkmen, They Might Be Giants, Violent Femmes) and his sister's (The Cure, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus). "Peek-a-Boo" was one of the first songs that I heard under my new-music instruction, and was instrumental in showing me that there was more out there than just what was played on the radio.

Well, that's all so far. There will be many more posts to come, hopefully on a daily basis.

The housework is done and I've actually written something! Time to enjoy the rest of the day.