Thursday, September 30, 2010

Earworm: Live Like We're Dying

I assumed that "Live Like We're Dying" was by the Script, but given that I had written about them before, I didn't want to dip into that trainwreck again. Unfortunately, I have been placed in situations where I had to listen to the song several times over the past few days, and it also plays on the Musak at work.

Now it turns out that the song, while originally by the Script, is currently burning up the charts by American Idol winner Kris Allen. I didn't object to him until I realized that he sounds just like the Script.

"But Geoff, the song has such a positive message!" Blah, blah, blah. I don't care. It makes me itch all over with musical hatred. Something must be done to stop this before it's a communicable disease. It may already be too late.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The past few days were really fun, interesting and exhausting to the point where my mind was blank upon getting up this morning. No songs really popped into my head all day. I'm okay with that.

The external hard drive with all of my music on it crashed. I had about half of it backed up, but a lot of time and money have gone the way of the buffalo. It's going to take a very long time to rebuild, and some of it is lost for good. Sad times.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Earworm: Song 2

Still phoning it in.

Bum-bum, bum-bum-bum, bum-bum-bum-bum, WOO-HOO!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Earworm: Blaze of Glory

Young Guns? Okay movie. Young Guns 2? Totally sucks. Jon Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory?" Great song. I generally like anything by Bon Jovi though.

Only being able to write on my phone makes blogging a lot less fun, so these will be very short for the next few days. I apologize to my fan.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Earworm: The Final Countdown

It's heavily ranked as being one of the worst hard-rock songs of all time, but I love "The Final Countdown" by Europe. It's one of the cheesiest, most ridiculous songs ever recorded, and I can't help but listen to the whole thing whenever it comes on. Part of that is due to the trivia game Buzz, and a lot is to do with Gob Bluth's magic shows on Arrested Development, but my love of that song knows no bounds.

I'm so ready for the Arrested Development movie, but at this point I am pretty sure that it will never happen. My tolerance for Michael Cera is slipping away rapidly as well, so I can be content with its short, three-season run.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Earworm: 9 to 5

"She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby was playing on the Muzak at work last night. I was pretty sure that it would stick with me until the morning, but somehow "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton shoved it right out.
I guess that I have been living in Knoxville too long. Dolly creeps into your blood here. Not that there's anything wrong with that. "Nine to Five" is a damn fine song, and Dolly Parton has done a lot for local communities. Word.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Earworm: Out of My Head

Fastball is one of those mid-to-late '90s bands that I'm cool with in a greatest-hits-compilation sort of way. They know how to write a hook, something that is most evident in the single "Out of My Head" from 1998's All the Pain Money Can Buy. I have never heard another song quite like it. It is the only song that I can think of that is almost all chorus. Seriously. Take a listen. It has one verse, then they go through the chorus a million times. Okay, there are only three choruses, but the song is just over 2:30 long. I don't understand it, but it is definitely prime real estate, so why not fill up the entire thing with one of the best hooks that I have ever heard? I have never heard another song like it again, and it sticks to my ribs every time. It's sugary pop is so potent that I'm pretty sure it could give anyone diabetes on the spot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Earworm: Take 'em As They Come

Does it get better than Bruce Springsteen? I absolutely love the man's music now, but it took me about 25 years to start getting past the singles and into the albums. Today's earworm, "Take 'em As They Come" is one of my favorite Springsteen tracks, an outtake from his Tracks box set. I've had it for years, but it wasn't until the iTunes edition of Jimmy Eat World's Chase This Light that I discovered "Take 'em As They Come" through their cover version. Listening to the album for the first time while driving through the mountains with my wife, we reached the end of Chase This Light and didn't think that the song fit in with the rest of the album, agreeing that it sounded like a Bryan Adams song. Upon arriving home, I did a little research, finding that it was originally it was a Springsteen song and it resided deep down in my music collection. Since then, both versions have become favorites of mine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Earworm: Sweet Child o' Mine

Seriously, do rock anthems get any better than this? "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns n' Roses should hold a special place in everyone's heart. Appetite for Destruction is the great uniter.

I'm also aware of three cover versions, one by Sheryl Crow that makes me wish that I could be capable of unhearing things, one by Taken By Trees that I'm cool with and a third by Luna that I imagine would make for perfect accompaniment while watching fireballs rain from the sky as the coastlines slip into the ocean. It's apocalyptic, baby! Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Earworm: Lump

Thanks to the guy who sits in the cubicle next to me at work, I now have "Lump" by the Presidents of the United States of America stuck in my head. I shouldn't complain, as it is a fun, well-made song. It could be some other MTV Buzz-Bin song from the mid 1990s, I suppose. Lord knows that there are some terrible ones out there, but I have already told my Bush story.

Here is what I remember about the Presidents of the United States of America: At the time, they had the longest band name in the history of music. That may still be true, but once again I don't feel like opening up Wikipedia. Self-reliance is the way to go. They had another song called "Peaches." I can never remember the tune to that one if I'm trying, but it will still randomly get stuck in my head. Finally, the lead singer looked like the love child of Moby and the lead singer of Midnight Oil. I have nothing else to say about that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Earworm: Another One Bites the Dust

I love Queen. Freddie Mercury's voice is one of the most amazing ever to be recorded. There will never be a singer that can come close to his vocal talent.

Freshman year of college was when I got my first computer. I played around with whatever simple audio tools were on it, and decided to try reversing a few songs to see if the urban legends were true about hidden messages. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen was one of the first ones that I tried, and can definitely hear something when the song is played in reverse. I'm sure it's completely unintentional, and now that YouTube is around, I no longer have to take it upon myself to run little experiments like that, but at the time it was a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Earworm: The Last Unicorn

Yesterday's Richard Marx/Kenny Loggins internal argument reminded me of Kenny Loggins covering "The Last Unicorn" by America. His version was terrible, but I still love the movie and its accompanying soundtrack.

My mother took me to see The Last Unicorn in the theater when I was a kid. I remember the movie vividly, and have seen it countless times since. What really stands out to me though is that my mother's car was on the other side of the parking lot when we came out. This was in the days when pretty much any Toyota Corolla key would start another Corolla. The 1980s were a much simpler time.

While she always insisted that someone took her car for a joyride, even I knew at that young age that the ignition keys were pretty much interchangeable. Somehow as a child I was able to calm her down and appeal to her rational side.

Now I want to go watch the movie. I wonder if my wife has seen it. Time to turn off trying to get her to watch horror movies and temporarily substitute cartoons.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Earworm: Should've Known Better

Whoa. I have no idea how I got Richard Marx stuck in my head. Upon finding the first strains of "Should've Known Better" running through my mind, I had to figure out who recorded it. I was betting on Kenny Loggins, but was sadly mistaken. If the fate of a kitten depended on my answer, that kitten would have been screwed. Luckily the kitten is just a metaphor and no cute animals were harmed in the making of this earworm. At least not by me. Richard Marx may have sacrificed one or two in his rise to the top of the pop charts, but my record is clean.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Earworm: Mister Lee

When I was in Cub Scouts, one of the other children in my den got me into a radio show called Kids America. It was short-lived, but I'm pretty sure that it was a nationally-syndicated show on something like NPR. Whatever it was, it aired on AM radio and I begged my parents to let me sit at the dinner table with my headphones on. It was either that or rush through dinner in an attempt to hear whatever goofy music was playing.

Really, it was just a variation of Doctor Demento, but one that I didn't have to stay up way past my bedtime to enjoy. My parents didn't mind aside from the dinner-table thing. I would record what I missed and play the shows later. My dad would even let me tune in while driving me to violin lessons in the middle of winter. I always thought that it had to drive him insane, but it turned out that most of the music was comprised of songs like "Mr. Lee" by the Bobbettes. It's the kind of stuff that played on my parents' oldies station. If it played there, I hated it, but on my own show? If I wasn't being forced to listen to it, then everything was cool.

I have more memories built around Kids America, but don't want to waste them on a single post. This will do for today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Earworm: Harvest

Today's earworm takes me back to the end of my time in Minneapolis. I had a subscription to CMJ at the time, and one of the samplers had "Harvest" by Opeth on it. I would drive around the city, looking at the leaves and listen to it over and over again.

I never really got into any of their other songs before or after, but "Harvest" definitely earned its place in the time capsule of 2001.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Earworm: Close to You

Aww yeah, girl. You're in for some good loving tonight. We'll turn the lights down low and throw on some smooth R&B.

Huh. I thought "Close to You" was the only Maxi Priest song that I knew. I completely forgot about his reggae stuff. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Earworm: Fantastic Voyage

I don't remember much about Coolio aside from that song he did from Dangerous Minds and "Fantastic Voyage." That works out well, given that "Fantastic Voyage is today's earworm. As far as I remember, I don't think that I played it a single time during my DJ days. That strikes me as odd. Was there a Coolio backlash? The song is kind of a summer classic still, isn't it? I don't have a clue.

Holy crap, Coolio got an Insane Clown Posse tattoo. Insult is added to injury when it turns out that he spelled "Juggalo" incorrectly. An ICP tattoo is ridiculous no matter how nicely done it is, but a misspelled one?

Scratch that, it involves the Insane Clown Posse. Misspellings should be a given.

Hahaha. I have never heard the uncensored version of "Fantastic Voyage" before. This is awkward.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Earworm: Monsters Rule, O.K.

It's almost Halloween season! Well, October is closer than, you know, July, so that's close enough. Screw it. I'm writing about a song from The Monster Club, an absolutely terrible anthology film full of Halloweeny goodness. It arrived from Netflix a month or so ago, and while I didn't care for much of the movie itself, the soundtrack was absolutely awesome, as were the accompanying scenes in the titular hot spot. The sheer volume of cheap masks in the opening scene must have completely cleared out the local drug store.

Today's song in question is "Monsters Rule O.K." by a band called the Viewers. Once again, I don't feel like doing much more than a basic Google and Wikipedia search for details, and I'm coming up empty-handed. As far as I know, the two versions from the soundtrack are the only songs that the Viewers released. That's fine by me, as they pretty much sound like a clone of the J. Geils Band yet apparently influenced every band that I currently love.

It seems that the soundtrack did exist on vinyl at one point, but has been lost over the years. Luckily, some fantastic blogger saw fit to rip the songs from the special features of the DVD (the entire soundtrack was presented on the disc, uncut) and make it available to the masses. I found it right after I watched the movie, and it has been on my iPod ever since.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Earworm: Juke Joint Jezebel

The power of suggestion rules all today, but not from my wife this time. She doesn't like this song. Me though? I love it. "Juke Joint Jezebel" is one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

I was first introduced to their music by a radio station promo in which I called in and said what I thought KMFDM stood for. I, of course had heard the rumors that it meant "Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode," so I went with it. The DJ said that I had to pick something else so it could be broadcasted on-air, so I picked something like "Kittens Must Find Dumb Mice." That got me a copy of the 1992 album Money, which was one of my very first CDs. I loved every minute of it. It was different than anything that I had ever heard before, and sounded incredibly fresh to my young ears. It took me a while to find out that it was really a glorified EP of new material filled with remixes to fill it out, but that didn't matter to me. I didn't know the original mixes, so it was all new to me.

After that, I slowly built up my KMFDM collection, buying each album and loving Aidan Hughes' jacket artwork on each one. They were all animated together brilliantly in the 1993 video for "A Drug Against War." Then Nihil came out in 1995. The album cover didn't have the same artwork, and I was immediately turned off. That all changed when I fired up the CD. Track two, "Juke Joint Jezebel" was somehow a perfect blend of rock, electronica and industrial insanity in its 5:40 running time. It single-handedly summed up everything exciting that was happening in music at the time, and is an absolute classic that will always get me dancing wherever I am.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Earworm: Buggley Eyes

I know, I know. I have already written about NoFX once, and not so long ago. It doesn't matter though. "Buggley Eyes" is stuck in my head. This one pissed off a lot of people, as I would close every single DJ set with it at my bar. It was perfect. I generally played a bit of fun punk, ska or soul right before it, and the version from I Heard They Suck Live!! worked perfectly to let everyone know that it was time to go home. The crowd noise at the end made it feel like there were a whole lot more people in the bar too, and that made my life a whole lot more fun. I may not have been able to mix due to technical limitations, but I could sure work a crowd with a microphone and a couple of MiniDisc decks. Being in charge of keeping the party going was always more fun that the party itself for me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Earworm: You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

I love classic Meat Loaf. Pretty much anything up through the mid-1990s is golden in my book. I remember going to the record store in the mall when I first started buying music and seeing the original Bat of Hell album on the shelf, but never actually picked it up. If those had been the days of vinyl, that album would have been in my collection instantly. The jacket is too good to pass up.

I finally heard some songs from Bat Out of Hell about halfway through high school. A few friends and I piled into a van before our school's speech-team tournament, and the introduction to "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" started playing.

"On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?"

I'm pretty sure that we were late to that meet, as I made the guys play that introduction over and over again. I went out a picked up a copy of the whole Bat Out of Hell album later that day and memorized the whole thing, start to finish. It's an absolute classic. and I need a framed, vinyl copy to hang on my wall.

I haven't listened to Bat Out of Hell in ages, ever since the SACD version came out with re-recorded vocals. I guess the master tapes were destroyed at some point, which made full remastering impossible. That tarnished the original album for me a little bit. That original mix though? Absolutely classic. I'll take its muddy sound any day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Earworm: Heart and Soul

Minneapolis was hot in the summertime. The one window-mounted air conditioner that we had didn't do much good for the rest of the house, so my parents' room was a mecca in the middle of the summer heat. I would grab my some headphones and try to sleep. A towel was pushed under the door to try to keep the cold air in, and songs like "Heart and Soul" by T'Pau played constantly from my Walkman.

Huh. I remember absolutely hating this song when I was a kid, but I love it now. Times change, I guess.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Earworm: Bedroom Bully

I had a really hard time defining boundaries. We've been over this before to an extent. My mother was a social worker and refused to let me listen to Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead but had no problem with Nine Inch Nails and Prince. Instead of running with that and enjoying whatever freedom that I did have, I decided to try to figure out the reasoning behind her musical censorship. I borrowed CDs from friends in the hopes of uncovering some sort of pattern. One friend in particular was really into gangsta rap and dancehall. She had no problem with Eazy-E or Dr. Dre albums that I borrowed from him, but objected to "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground. I didn't get it, so when he brought a copy of X-tra Naked by Shabba Ranks to school and I found that it contained a song called "Bedroom Bully?" I figured that if anything was going to set her off, this would be it. Of course, she didn't say a word.

A few years later, my parents were helping me move into my freshman dorm. My dad asked where my mom went, but I didn't know. We found her dancing down the hall to some music that was playing from another room. It was "Fuck Shop" by the 2 Live Crew. Seriously. I will never understand that woman.

Holy crap, I can't believe that "Bedroom Bully" was released as a single. The video is absolutely ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Earworm: Cotton

I want to punch the television every time Leona Lewis comes on singing about the fabric of our lives, but that would get awfully expensive very quickly. Instead, I try to remember back to a simpler time, when Aaron Neville's deceptive voice would sneak up on me from behind and whisper its sweet melody into my ears. It's only a matter of time before his mole fully takes over and slits my throat. Somebody needs to make a horror film of that with a quickness.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Earworm: Johnny and Mary

Robert Palmer is one of the greatest artists in the history of music. At first listen, his songs came across as extreme confidence from the male perspective, but there was always an underlying current of sadness in each one. That really spoke to me. "Johnny and Mary" is one of my favorites to listen to while driving around the city in the rain.

Every now and then I hope that there will be a new Robert Palmer album, but then I remember that he passed away in 2003. It took his death to make me really appreciate his entire body of work instead of the few songs that I knew from MTV. My musical taste is all the better for it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Earworm: A Common Disaster

I have been watching a lot of Dexter lately. Every time I hear its opening theme, I get "A Common Disaster" by the Cowboy Junkies stuck in my head. I'm not sure why. They share a similar tone, but don't really sound the same, do they?

I really like the Cowboy Junkies. My dad was constantly listening to a copy of The Trinity Session in his workshop throughout my youth. I don't care for a lot of his music, but that is one album that we can easily agree upon. Good stuff.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Earworm: Whatzupwitu

Eddie Murphy the pop star. Those are two concepts that should have gone together like peanut butter and chocolate, but somehow didn't work at all. I only know two of his songs, the somewhat decent "Party All the Time" which was penned by Rick James and the absolutely terrible "Whatzupwitu" featuring Michael Jackson. Oh, how I loathe that song. I have only heard it a handfull of times, but it's infectious chorus still burrows its way into my brain from time to time ever since the one time that I saw the video. This may not be true, but I seem to remember it premiering during an episode of The Simpsons when I was 16 years old and wondering what the hell I had just watched. I don't feel like searching Google for more than five seconds about the memory, since the song is truly atrocious and deserves as little of my time as possible.

I can't force anyone to sit through the song, but you should totally take one for the team. I'll rest assured that someone else has gone through the same misery. At least there isn't a link to buy the song. Praise the gods.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Earworm: Brick By Boring Brick

Hooray for continuity! Yesterday's Hayley Williams earworm managed to get "Brick By Boring Brick" stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I used to not like Paramore at all, considering them to be a pale imitation of music that I did like, yet acknowledged that I probably would have really enjoyed their music if it was new when I was in high school. Then came "Decode," a song from the Twilight soundtrack, and it wasn't so bad. This is a big admission, since I despise anything to do with Twilight. Vampires are evil and burn up in the sun. Kids today haven't see The Lost Boys. End of story.

Upon finding that song, I started taking more notice. Hayley Williams sounds a lot like Monique Powell from Save Ferris, a ska band that was a lot of fun around the turn of the century.

My wife asked me to get the new Paramore album for her, and I obliged. It took me a while to give it a shot, but I couldn't get through more than the first half of the album before pressing rewind and listening to track four, "Brick By Boring Brick," again and again. It caught me completely by surprise, to the point where I'm not sure if I have made it through the rest of the album yet. I'm pretty sure that I have by now, but really can't remember. That one song keeps drawing me back in for more.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Earworm: Airplanes

I don't listen to current pop radio as a rule, but occasionally I get sick of forgetting to update my iPod with new music. It is then that I give in and tune into whatever I can find polluting the airwaves.

Recently I turned on the radio to find Nickelback playing on the one good station that I get between work and home. I changed the station to top-40, and "Airplanes" by B.O.B. and Hayley Williams was playing. I recognized her voice from Paramore, one of the not-terrible pop-rock bands that the kids listen to these days. It was pleasant enough, but he chorus threw me. I thought that the word "wish" was the typical "ish" that is used when censoring rap songs for radio play. "I could really use a shit right now" started my mind racing, and I was disappointed upon finding out the real lyrics. I knew it was too good to be true. It's not a great song, but it isn't terrible either.

Immediately afterward, the pop station started playing Nickelback, so I switched back to my old standby. They hadn't finished whatever made me change the station in the first place, so I scanned to another rock station, and wouldn't you know it? Nickelback again.

Thrice Nickelback has to be a sign of the coming apocalypse, so I chose to turn the radio off and enjoyed sweet silence for the next few minutes. The world didn't end and my sanity was saved, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Earworm: Sailing on the Seven Seas

Today's earworm comes from the 1991 album Sugar Tax by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, another of the last cassettes that I bought before getting my first CD player. I just about wore it out playing the tape over and over again. While the whole album was excellent, it was album-opener "Sailing on the Seven Seas" that kept me coming back for more. I could rarely get through the entire album without rewinding or fast-forwarding to that first track.

When I finally got that first CD player, I quickly invested in OMD's then-released greatest-hits album. Of course I knew "If You Leave," from Pretty in Pink like the back of my hand, but there were so many more of their songs that immediately crawled into my ear and took up permanent residence. I'm not a fan of best-of compilations as a rule, but that one introduced me to classics like "Electricity" and "Enola Gay" as well. My musical upbringing was changed forever.

Gasp! Wikipedia tells me that the classic OMD lineup will be releasing a new album this month! Hopefully it will be a big part of my autumn playlist. I could go for a good nostalgia trip right about now.