The Radio Rules May 27, 2010Posted by Matt in music.
Tags: Great White, music, radio, songs
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When it comes to music, there is a certain phenomenon that I believe affects us all, whether your tastes are restricted to a specific genre or a wide range of styles, whether the number of albums in your collection can be counted on your fingers or if you need a separate room in which to house the physical copies. We all face it anytime we turn on the radio or hit shuffle on our Ipods or whatever other listening methods you employ. There are some songs, whether they are good or not-so-good, that you just can’t turn off.
I know that you know exactly what I’m talking about. You flip on the radio and all of a sudden a song comes on, perhaps it’s a longtime favorite or maybe it’s one that evokes nostalgia, but for whatever reason, you feel the overwhelming urge to listen.
A few days ago, I picked up my kids from our friends’ house and was driving home when I decided to turn on the radio. Now, being the music snob that I am, I rarely listen to normal, commercially-driven radio stations, instead preferring to tune into our local volunteer station, WEVL, or to blast out tunes from my huge collection. On this day, though, I made the decision to flip over to the local rock station to see what they were playing, when lo and behold, I was treated to a familiar opening guitar riff followed by the scratchy-throated vocals I remembered so well, but had not listened to in quite some time – Great White’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”
So, for the next few minutes we were rocking out. 80’s style. And it was awesome.
What about you? What songs do you have to listen to when they come on the radio?
Ten For Tuesday – Running Songs April 27, 2010Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: Blues Traveler, Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris, Neil Young, Phish, Pink Floyd, running, songs, The Beatles, Tom Petty, top ten, Van Halen
In keeping with the running theme from today’s earlier blog entry, I put together a list of ten songs with the word “run” in the title. These are not necessarily good songs to run along with, but they do include the word and I will add a few of the lyrics pertaining to running. Some of these are from memory and some are from my Ipod, but I’m sure I left a lot of great ones out. Let me know what should be added.
10. Blues Traveler – Run-Around
Why you wanna give me a run-around?
Is it a sure-fire way to speed things up
When all it does is slow me down.
9. Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris – All the Roadrunning
If it’s all for nothing
All the road running has been in vain.
8. The Beatles – Run for Your Life
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end’a little girl
7. Phish – Run Like an Antelope
Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul
You’ve got to run like an antelope, out of control
6. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Run Through the Jungle
Better run through the jungle,
Whoa, don’t look back
5. Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell
Run, run, run, run
You better run all day
And run all night
4. Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream
I’m running down a dream
That never would come to me
Working on a mystery
Going wherever it leads
Running down a dream
3. Van Halen – Running with the Devil
(Ahh!) Runnin’ with the devil (Ahh-hah! Yeah!)
(Woo-hoo-oo!) Runnin’ with the devil
2. Neil Young – Long May You Run
Long may you run, long may you run
Although these changes have come
With your chrome heart shining in the sun
Long may you run
1. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
‘Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run
2008 Mix CD December 22, 2008Posted by Matt in music.
Tags: 2008, Best Of, Mix CD, songs
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As you all know, I love a wide variety of music that encompasses a large set of both eras and genres. Perhaps more than anything else I love the feeling of discovery when something new and different jumps to the forefront of my consciousness, challenging my senses to leave behind the hole of resignation where one becomes mired in listening to the same things over and over. My brother Jeff and I have similar music tastes, but I tend to spend much more time than him each year delving into various scenes to find the best and brightest artists in the world of music. Over the past few years, I’ve made it a tradition to burn a CD of some of my favorite songs from the past year, so that he can have a diverse sampling of tunes that I took note of over the past twelve months.
I find that there are two challenges in this annual endeavor: 1) Boiling down the best of the year onto one compact disc, and 2) Arranging the songs so that there is some sense of a cohesive flow from track to track. This year each of the 20 songs came from different albums, but there were still several that I wanted to include but ran out of room. I would have liked to have something from the latest releases from Metallica and Motley Crue, both of whom released their own blasts from the past that were quite nostalgic. Though I found Kanye West’s overuse of Auto-Tune on his latest album to be a bit annoying, I would have liked to include Love Lockdown. R.E.M.’s Accelerate was their best album in years, but none of the tracks seemed to fit with the others that found their way onto the disc. I also really liked the 2008 releases from Black Mountain, Blue Mountain, Ra Ra Riot, and Thao, but lacked the space to include them as well. Perhaps they will all get mentioned in my Best Of 2008 Album list that will be posted sometime after the new year. For now, though, these are the songs that I did include:
1. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy
2. The Hold Steady – Sequestered in Memphis
3. Conor Oberst – Cape Canaveral
4. Coldplay – Viva La Vida
5. MGMT – Time to Pretend
6. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
7. The Black Keys – I Got Mine
8. Drive-By Truckers – The Righteous Path
9. Jason Isbell – Dress Blues
10. The Gaslight Anthem – Great Expectations
11. Mudcrutch – Shady Grove
12. Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
13. The Raveonettes – Aly, Walk With Me
14. Bon Iver – Skinny Love
15. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
16. The Raconteurs – Salute Your Solution
17. Beck – Modern Guilt
18. Vampire Weekend – Mansard Roof
19. She & Him – Sentimental Heart
20. Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines
Ten For Tuesday: The Music of Saint Willie July 29, 2008Posted by Matt in concert, top ten.
Tags: songs, top ten, Willie Nelson
I’ve decided to take a week off from my fantasy football posts and instead take a few moments to laud praise and adoration upon one of my favorite artists of all time – Willie Nelson. The man is an iconic piece of Americana, his distinct vocals, incredible songwriting ability, and mere presence among us mere mortals transcends this rather mundane reality. And it is this transcendent quality that raises his stature above the mere caricature of an old, hard-drinking, marijuana-smoking, bandana-wearing, offbeat-singing, tax-evader, and to a level of immortality that few have achieved, a plane of existence in which only the greatest of artists reside. This Saturday I will again have to opportunity to bear witness to this man, this legend, as he again straps on his old guitar with the hole worn into its wooden body and regales us with of love and woe and death and life. It will be my fourth (I think?) time to again partake his greatness and I couldn’t be more excited. Oh yeah, and Dave Matthews will be playing, too.
So, I decided to dedicate this blog to ten (Ok, 11) of my favorite Willie songs. Let me know what you think.
10. (tie) City of New Orleans – I had to include this Steve Goodman-penned gem (though it is not the perfect country-western song) because it mentions Memphis, which nearly guarantees that Willie will play it on Saturday…if he can remember what city he’s in.
10. (tie) That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) – This cover, from his The Sound In Your Mind album, has been one of my favorites ever since I first heard it. Hearing his voice strain out those notes – “Lord, up above, can you hear me cryin’? / Tears fall in my eyes. / Send down that cloud with the silver lining. / Lift me to Paradise” – is a heart-wrenching experience.
9. Sad Songs and Waltzes – It’s not one of his big hits, but this great cut from Shotgun Willie (probably my favorite Willie album, by the way) is a telling lament of the record industry. Lines like, “It’s a good thing that I’m not a star. / You don’t know how lucky you are. / Though my record may say it. / No one will play it / ‘Cause sad songs and waltzes aren’t selling this year, are just as relevant today as they were 30+ years ago.
8. Pancho and Lefty – Though the song was written by the late, great Townes Van Zandt, Willie’s version with Merle Haggard is probably the most definitive one. The story of outlaws, death, betrayal, and regret is a definite classic.
7. Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – Come on, how do you not include this one? One of many duets with the late Waylon Jennings, this is perhaps the best parenting advice you will ever receive from Willie. But I have to say I’ve always been a little confounded by the lyric that cowboys like, “little warm puppies.” Also, it’s cool when he performs this one live and changes the lyrics to, “Mama’s don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies.”
6. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys – Another great cowboy song from the pig-tailed wonder, this lament to aging and the loss of youthful ideals is truly one of the greats. I love the sorrowful chorus, “My heroes have always been cowboys / and they still are, it seems. / Sadly in search of, but one step in back of / Themselves and their slow-movin’ dreams.
5. Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground – Few can grieve a lost love like Willie and this tune is a prime example. His longing words ring out above the sparse guitar, “So leave me if you need to. / I still remember / Angel flying to close to the ground.”
4. Shotgun Willie – Why is this song so awesome? Just check out the first lines: “Shotgun Willie sits around in his underwear. / Bitin’ on a bullet / Pullin’ out all of his hair / Shotgun Willie got all of his family there.” Wow.
3. Help Me Make it Through the Night – Sure, Kris Kristofferson wrote this and recorded it, but Willie’s version is unbelievable. The only problem, though, is that every time I listen to these words, “I don’t care what’s right or wrong / I won’t try and understand. / Let the devil take tomorrow / cause tonight I need a friend,” I remember my friend Andy switching the word “friend” with “man.” Believe me, it was really funny at the time.
2. Whiskey River – While I like the sped-up live version of this song, the truly great one is the slower interpretation on Shotgun Willie. When Willie seems stumble into the line “I’m drowning in the whiskey river,” you really believe him…and probably for good reason.
1. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain – Another elegy to a lost love, when Willie’s regret-filled, straining vocals begin, “In the twilight glow I see / Blue eyes crying in the rain. / When we kissed goodbye and parted / I knew we’d never meet again,” you can’t help but feel it deep down in your very soul. “Love is like a dying ember / and only memories remain,” can touch even the stoniest of hearts.
And as a bonus, another great old school duet from Waylon and Willie, “Good Hearted Woman”