Sunday, June 26, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 23

Day 23 - A Song You Used to Hate But Now You Don't

"Wuthering Heights" - Kate Bush, The Kick Inside (1978)

One night in the summer of 2007, I was looking at the Wikipedia pages for various English classics. On the Wuthering Heights page there was mention of this monstrous hit song from 1978...a hit song everywhere but the U.S. I was intrigued, so I Youtubed it.

GAH! It was awful. The video was of this woman in a white dress shrieking for Heathcliff. I HATED IT. But then it wouldn't leave my mind, so I kept listening to it over and over and OVER again. By the next day, I had downloaded three different versions of the song. Then I reread the book. Then I bought 10 film versions of the book. Then I wrote my own screen version...

Oh, Kate Bush, how you unwittingly changed my life.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 22

Day 22 - A Song You Used to Love But Now You Don't

"Time After Time" - Cyndi Lauper, She's So Unusual (1983)

In the fourth grade, I went through a mini Cyndi Lauper phase. Now, this wouldn't seem strange if I was oh, about thirteen years younger. But this was in 1997 when everyone else was gaga for The Spice Girls. So while everyone else was listening to "Wannabe" on their CD players, I was rockin' to She's So Unusual on cassette tape.

It was an album I quite enjoyed. My favorite tracks were "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (typical) and "She Bop" (yeah...didn't know it was about masturbation). But I always quite enjoyed the epic 80's ballad "Time After Time".

Let me just say, it's a good song. Lyrically, musically, it's good. But if I see it in one more movie, I will blow my $%*!ing brains out. Talk about overused! It's truly a shame. Usually, when I love something, I love it forever, but this is simply not the case. Sorry, Cyndi.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 21

Day 21 - A Song You Hate By an Artist You Love

"Goofus" - The Carpenters, A Kind of Hush (1976)

I haven't yet discussed my love of the Carpenters on this blog which is why it's unfortunate that your introduction is going to be with the absolute worst song in their discography.

The brother sister duo are known for their easy listening melodies, multi-track harmonies, and Karen's gorgeous, velvety voice. Richard usually has a pretty damn good ear for arrangements and songs in general, which led to such classics as "Close to You", "We've Only Just Begun", and "Superstar".
But for some reason in 1976, he chose to cover "Goofus" , a 1930's song about a saxophone playing hick. And not only did they cover it, they released it as a single.

This is just a terrible song in general and I'm pretty sure I'd hate any version sung by anyone. But since Karen met a tragic end thirty years ago, there is a limited amount of recordings of her voice and this, this is one of them. Such a shame.

Friday, June 24, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 20

Day 20 - A Song You Love By an Artist You Don't

"Love the Way You Lie" - Eminem feat. Rihanna, Recovery (2010)

I think I've made it pretty clear that I don't like here's where I become a complete hypocrite and write about a rap song I like without shame. I first heard "Love the Way You Lie" during the MTV Video Music Awards and thought nothing of it (like so many songs I come to love). Then later that night, a few drinks in, my friend Amanda showed me the music video starring Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox. I've always been a fan of cinematic videos and HOLY SHIT is this one good.

The song is about two people in a dysfunctional relation-shit who can't fuckin' live without one another, even though they know they are completely miserable. Eminem raps, Rihanna sings a haunting melodic chorus and by the end of the song, even you get their co-dependence. Even though I have never (thankfully) been in such a situation, I'm that much closer to understanding the mystical love-hate thang.

Monday, June 20, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 19

Day 19 - Your Guiltiest Guilty Pleasure Song

"How Many Licks?" - Lil' Kim feat. Sisqo, The Notorious K.I.M. (2000)

Admittedly, I like a lot of shitty music. A lot of shitty music I should probably feel guilty for for liking. However, I am not ashamed for owning the entire Carpenters discography or songs from Disney's direct-to-video shit-quels. My iTunes is chock-full of the inane, the insipid, and the incredibly awful. But no song embarasses me like Lil' Kim's epically graphic ode to cunnilingus, "How Many Licks?"

I don't like Rap/Hip Hop as a genre. Now, rapping as a vocalization is impressive and the beats are fine and good. My beef is how seriously Rap takes itself. Everyone's a little too up their own ass being "mother fucking P-I-M-P's" and such. This is why I love The Lonely Island and Weird Al's "White and Nerdy"; they take the genre down a a peg or two.

That being said, you can imagine why I'm embarassed to like "How Many Licks?", a song about Lil' Kim's "designer pussy". In truth, it's probably not any better thematically than Eminem's "Fack". But while "Fack" is an angry white boy man-child's twisted view of sex, "How Many Licks?" is like that of a 19-year-old who just discovered her sexuality. By no means is this my favorite song and I find myself laughing at it more than saying "right on, sista!", but I still like it in spite of its crudity.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 18

Day 18 - A Song Used Well in a Movie or TV Show

"Possibility" - Lykke Li, New Moon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2009)

I've talked about this before, but I'm going to talk about it again. It's that good. One of my favorite meldings of audio and visual is a scene from, yes, the second Twilight movie, New Moon.

Edward has just left Bella and she depressed. But instead of crying into her pillow or sleeping with every guy on the Olympic Peninsula, she simply sits in her living room and watches the seasons change. Intercut with her painful voice over and night terrors is "Possibility" a relentless, pounding ballad that never lets you forget the anguish she is in.

"Possibility" was written specifically for the film, so maybe this is a cop out of sorts. It was put on the short list of Best Original Song nominees that year, but failed to be nominated. It's such a shame, because this is everything a movie song should be: entirely relevant to the scene.

I can't do it justice, so here it is...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 17

Day 17 - The First Song You Remember Liking
"Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz (1939)

My first memory of life is being sick with an ear infection and watching The Wizard of Oz. I was too young to work the VCR (remember those, kids?) so I woke my mom up every two hours to rewind it for me.

I would sing it all the time. I would put on my ruby slippers and a blue dress and run around with a basket and stuffed dog and sing it. Since this is my earliest memory, I figure that "Over the Rainbow" was probably my first favorite song.

Friday, June 17, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 16

Day 16 - An Oldie But a Goodie

"Johnny Angel" - Shelley Fabares, Shelley! (1962)

First, a definition: An Oldie is a song released after 1955 (the dawn of rock 'n' roll) but before 1972 (the release of Don McLean's epic "American Pie"). These are not "official" dates, but "American Pie" was the newest song my Oldies station ever played. Plus, it's about the death of Buddy Holly, et al., so it's kind of pertinent.

I listened to Oldies and nothing but Oldies until I was about 13. One of my perennial favorites has always been the one hit wonder “Johnny Angel”. It’s the story of unrequited love for a boy named Johnny, who doesn't notice the singer's very existence. And instead of doing the healthy thing and attempting to move on, she rejects dates from other guys just so she can concentrate more on Johnny. The song, performed by actress Shelley Fabares, premiered on The Donna Reed Show. The character was performing in a talent show or something. I don't know. But the song had a huge response and went all the way to Number 1.

"Johnny Angel" is your standard, dreamy, girl group-esque melody. It's pretty, damn it. And I've always related to the subject matter. It turns out, ignoring all the other guys works for Shelley, because in the sequel song "Johnny Loves Me", Johnny loves her. Although how it comes to happen is still a mystery...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - A Story Song

"No Man's Land" - Tanya Tucker, Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone) (1974)

The best story songs come from country music, hands down. And in the early 70's, the husky voiced teen sensation Tanya Tucker was the queen of story songs. Her renditions of "Delta Dawn" and "What's Your Mama's Name Child?" propelled her to fame. But instead of discussing those hits, I'm going to pick an underrated and forgotten album track.

"No Man's Land" is the story of Molly Marlowe, the beauty of Brushcreek, Georgia. A fool named Barney Dawson desires her and so he rapes her after church one Sunday. Thusly, her ability to love and trust men is taken from her and she is dubbed "No Man's Land" by the townspeople. Later on, Molly becomes a nurse and must treat Barney Dawson in prison. But instead of curing him, she kills him and sends him to Hell.

What makes a good story song? I say details, details that paint a specific picture. "No Man's Land" is a surprisingly graphic song. Of course, Tanya doesn't come right out and say "he raped her" but she does sing "took her body with his rough, hard hands and walked off laughing as she lay there crying". It paints a grotesque, unpleasant picture, don't it?

Naturally, "No Man's Land" remained under the radar. Songs about rape lack a certain je nes se qua. However, we are talking about country music and Kenny Roger's "Coward of the County" went Number 1, so what do I know?

Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 14

Day 14 - A Cheating Song

"Your Love" - The Outfield, Play Deep (1985)

Remember the dude from yesterday's post? The dude who had a girlfriend, but I decided to fool around with anyway? Well, I did. And it was partly because of this 80's one hit wonder.

The first time I heard "Your Love" was when the dude was singing it in class and trying to figure out the title. Eventually, he did and would play it ALL THE DAMN TIME. The first time I heard the actual lyrics was in his truck during one of our many joyrides. The song is as follows: "Hey, my girlfriend Josie is on vacation so come over and have sex with me, but don't tell anybody."

At the time I was slightly revolted. The song quickly became popular at our high school in spite of its lyrics. And even though I kept telling everyone, "This is a cheating song! The guy is a dick." no one cared. It sounds so, so stupid now, but since my school was forgiving of the situation, it was just one more drop in the bucket encouraging me down the prim rose path.

They need this one on Rock Band.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 13

Day 13 - A Love Makin' Song

"Love Bites" - Def Leppard, Hysteria (1987)

Truly, the song I want to shake the sheets to the most is REO Speedwagon's "Take It On the Run", but since I already used it, I've chosen something else for this category.

Allow me to get a little personal. All through high school, I wasn't ready for sex. Oh, I wanted to do it, but I was mature enough to know I wasn't ready. Plus, the dude I liked always had a girlfriend...blah, blah, blah, that old chestnut. Anyway, senior year, I decided I didn't care if he had a girlfriend or not. I decided that if the opportunity ever arose for us to do the deed, I would take it. We had this unresolved sexual tension, so it could have happened...

He used to sing "Love Bites" at me. Not to me, at me, very close to my face, in my ear. It's not a romantic song, really. It's about how the guy thinks his lady isn't being entirely truthful to him about their sex life. But it's slow and driving and will always remind me of sexual tension, and therefore, I will always want to have the big bang to it.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 12

Day 12 - A Love Song

"Amanda" - Boston, Third Stage (1986)

If you think about it, nearly 80% of all songs are about love. Looking for love, finding love, having love, losing love, looking for a new love...on and on and on. People are obsessed with it. I think most people are uncomfortable expressing their emotions so we're more than willing to let those famous rock stars do it for us.

I discovered the song "Amanda" last summer. I'm a huge fan of power ballads and I still don't know how this one escaped me for so long. The song is about a man secretly in love with Amanda. For awhile, he's been too afraid to confess his feelings for her, but she's leaving, so it's now or never. Yes, it's simple. And there are dozens of other songs just like it, I'm sure. But this one feels so honest and real. I believe it. And I don't believe much these days.

Even though "Amanda" was released in 1986, it was written in 1980...which means it should have been released in 1981, so...I'll shut up now. It's my favorite love song ever and it makes me wish my name was Amanda...for about five minutes.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 11

Day 11 - A Drinking Song

"Just Dance" - Lady Gaga feat. Colby O'Donis, The Fame (2008)

Being a fan of country music, there are a million songs I could have picked for this category. But I didn't want to go the "tear in my beer" route. I wanted something happy and peppy and something I've actually listened to while getting sloshed.

Before turning 21, I'll admit to imbibing a few spirits now and then, but it was always at cast parties and special occaisions. I could never be considered a "party girl" even by the good folks at Dateline NBC. But when I did turn 21 in March 2009, I went a little crazy. Coincidentally, this was shortly after Lady Gaga's debut single went Number 1.

"Just Dance" became my favorite track off of The Fame because it basically gave me permission to be an irresponsible alcoholic for a month. It was a pretty crazy time in my life (Touch me! Touch me! I wanna feel your body...) and this song, for better or worse, made me comfortable with it. As long as I kept on dancing, everything would work itself out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 10

Day 10 - A Relaxing Song

"Comfortably Numb" - Pink Floyd, The Wall (1979)

My dad, being the classic rock fanatic that he is, played a lot of Pink Floyd. In fact, when I was in junior high, he went through a BIG FUCKING PHASE with Pink Floyd, causing me to resent the band and all its endeavors.

Fast forward to 2010. I'm in the middle of writing my young adult novel set in 1981. I need a good song for my characters to smoke a doobie to. This song comes to mind. I make sure that it was actually released before the setting of my book and then have a listen. It works perfectly. And then...I start to like it. DUN DUN DUN!!!!

This is a great song, not my usual steaz but fuck, I love it. If I need to calm down, I just play it and I'm instantly transported on a floating wave of indifference and serenity. Perfect for sleep...and maybe getting high in a van.

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 9

Day 9 - A Song That Makes You Want to Dance

"Tik Tok" - Ke$ha, Animal (2009)

There are a bevy of songs for us drunk white bitches when we want to get our freak on, but of all the drunk white bitch dance music out there, no one reigns supreme more than Ke$ha.

I discovered this one a little late in the game. It wasn't until The Simpsons parodied it during an alternate opening credits sequence that I even heard the top selling single of 2010.

The beat is infectious. The lyrics are inane. But like it or not, this song will force you to break out those duck lips and pseudo stripper moves you saw Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty" video.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - A Song You Know All the Words To

"It's All Coming Back to Me Now" - Celine Dion, Falling Into You (1996)

I know all the words to lots of songs, but I figured I pick one that's at least kind of long so I can impress the shorts off of my loyal readers. This is one of my For the Ages favorite songs that I have loved forever. Jim Steinman (producer and songwriter for Meat Loaf) wanted to write the "most passionate, romantic song" ever and I think he pretty much nailed it. Plus, it was inspired by Wuthering Heights, so woo hoo!

The song was first released on the concept album Original Sin by Pandora's Box, a band "created" by Steinman. But it didn't become a major hit until Celine Dion covered it in 1996. And ten years later, Meat Loaf and unknown Norwegian singer Marion Raven turned it into a duet. Each version is passionate, overflowing with angst and pain of epic proportions, but Celine's is the best vocally and the first I heard, so it gets my vote as favorite.*

Friday, June 10, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 7

Day 7 - A Song That Reminds You of a Certain Event

"Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" - Samantha Fox, Touch Me (1986)

In my junior year of college, I helped run a short film festival with a guy I was in love with. We spent hours upon hours upon HOURS trying to put this damn thing together, which was exceptionally difficult for me, considering how ass over head I was in love with him. The nights were long, occaisionally drunken, and due to the insurmountable time spent together, we developed a rather palpable sexual tension.

The night before the festival, he and I walked around the entire campus taping promotional flyers to every dorm room door. Riddled with sleep deprivation, lack of sexual release, and a little bit of a hangover, I kept singing "Touch Me" by Samantha Fox. For those of you who don't know this wonderful 80's one hit wonder, it's basically 1986's "Rude Boy" by Rihanna.

I was completely loopy to be singing aloud my innermost needs and desires but I was beyond caring. The guy realized how in need of sleep I was, so he kindly let me sleep in his bed for a few hours. But that's another story...

In summation, "Touch Me" = the night before the Charlies.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 6

Day 6 - A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere

"It Wasn't Me" - Shaggy featuring RikRok, Hot Shot (2000)

When I was in the seventh grade, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. In honor of that event, they took a two week trip to Ireland and brought me along. We rented a car and drove through the lush, green landscapes of the Emerald Isle at our own leisurely pace. While on this journey, we listened to Top 40 radio, which, if you knew my family, you would find hilarious. My mother doesn't really like music and my father is a die hard classic rock fan. And me? Well, in 2001, I was in the middle of my Carpenters phase.

However, my parents are big fans of reggae, so when this song came on the radio, my dad would BLAST it. No matter that it was sort of dirty and a pro-cheating song, he loved it. Therefore, whenever I hear "It Wasn't Me" (which isn't lately these days, hmmmm....) I think of Ireland.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 5

Day 5 - A Song That Reminds You of Someone

"Buttons" - The Pussycat Dolls, PCD (2005)

Freshman year of college, my room mate and I made a mix for our close friends of songs we all enjoyed along with a theme song for each individual person. My friend Amanda chose "Buttons". She was going through her "I was good in high school, now I'm going bat shit crazy" phase. Every time I hear this song, it makes me think of her.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 4

Day 4 - A Song That Makes You Sad

"Lilja's Lament" - Indica, A Way Away (2010)

You've probably never heard of Indica. They're an all girl semi-gothic rock band from Finland. I found them on Youtube. They're great. Check them out.

But out of all their songs, this one is by far my favorite. It tells the story of a girl name Lilja who reads too much classic literature for her own good and then drowns herself ala Ophelia. It's hauntingly beautiful and fucking depressing.

Catherine found her Heathcliff, but the Brontës died alone...

Monday, June 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 3

Day 3 - A Song That Makes You Happy

"I Just Had Sex" - The Lonely Island feat. Akon, Turtleneck & Chain (2011)

Sometimes something beautiful happens in this world, you don't know how to express yourself, so you just gotta sing... 

Aye, a relatively new song...but perhaps the only song in the world that so bluntly expresses the joy of intercourse and the bragging rights that go with it. I can't help but smile every time I hear it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 - A Song You HATE

"Fack" - Eminem, Curtain Call: The Hits (2005)

All right, let me just say right now that I am not a prude. I find many, many torrid and lacivious jokes very entertaining. However, there is always a line that can be crossed and with me, that line is "Fack". I first heard this album track on my freshman room mate's mix CD and OH BOY, have I always hated it.

The song really isn't about anything but "facking" and instead of trying to summarize, I'll give you a little lyrical snippet: 
Ah ah ah ahhh
Oh god damn
I'm gonna fackin' cum
Oh shit, oh yeah
Fack fack fack
Fack I am, I am
I'm going to cum

...yeah. Even Porky's wasn't this awful.