365 Day Song Challenge: Day 106 – “Technologic”

Day 106: A song you have to change right away if it comes on the radio.

“Technologic” – Daft Punk

TechnologicI know that Daft Punk have been around for a very long time, but they weren’t on my radar until recently.

I also know that they were the darlings of the 2014 Grammys, receiving statues for Best Dance/Electronica Album, Album of the Year and Best Engineered Album, (Non-Classical) for their album Random Access Memories, while “Get Lucky” received the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and the Record of the Year. (Thanks, Wikipedia!). Before that, I had no idea who (or what) they were, whether they were a duo (they are) or a band, that they dressed like robots, or really anything about them at all. Hell, I was so out of touch I’m not even sure I’d heard “Get Lucky” before the Grammys. (But I’m pretty sure I had.) Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 105 – “Come Dancing”

Day 105: A song beginning with “C”.

“Come Dancing” – The Kinks

Come DancingIn the summer of 1983 The Kinks were having a resurgence. And it was due to a song called “Come Dancing.” They had been mostly irrelevant for most of the previous decade, reaching the US Top 40 only once since 1970’s “Lola.”

The year 1983 was also my real introduction to music videos. Sure, MTV had been around for a couple of years, but I was not one of the cool kids who had access to it. No, we wouldn’t get it at my house for at least another year or so. And a year when you’re 12 is an eternity. My coolness factor has never recovered.

Actually, my real initiation to videos was via an HBO show called “Video Jukebox.” It was a 30-minute show where they played videos (as you’d expect) and they changed the lineup every month. So, when you watched “Video Jukebox” you saw the exact same 7 or 8 videos every time for 30 days. MTV it wasn’t, but it was all I had. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 104 – “Another Murder Of A Day”

Day 104: A song by your favorite band/artist whose name begins with “B”.

“Another Murder Of A Day” – Tony Banks

StillToday happens to be the 22nd anniversary of the release of Tony Banks’ last solo rock album, Still (or at least it would be if I wasn’t days behind).

And since one of my favorite Tony Banks songs (solo), “Another Murder Of A Day” is found on Still, I decided it was a good fit.

(“Another Murder Of A Day” is a long song. You should start listening to it now.)

There are some qualifications, though. This is the anniversary of the release in the US. The album was released in the UK in March of 1991. Tony’s last true solo album was in 1995 when he released Strictly Inc. as “Strictly Inc.” with Jack Hues (of Wang Chung fame) but it was essentially a solo album with Hues providing vocals only. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 103 – “The Enemy Within”

Day 103: A song by your favorite band/artist whose name begins with “R”.

“The Enemy Within” – Rush

Grace Under PressureThe “R” entry is a little out of order, but considering I was informed today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Rush’s Grace Under Pressure album (or at least it would be if I wasn’t days behind) I figured I’d move things around. Plus, I’m long overdue for my first Rush entry.

And since one of my favorite Rush songs (and possibly the favorite), “The Enemy Within” is found on Grace Under Pressure (which I keep wanting to type as “pressuer” for some-possibly-pseudo-Canadian reason), I decided it was a good fit.

Plus shaking things up a little never hurt anyone. (Except babies. Don’t shake babies up. The results will not be good.)

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I’m a keyboard guy, but as documented multiple times here, a good bass line will suck me in like there’s no tomorrow. Now, Geddy Lee is no slouch on the bass, and while this one doesn’t sound technically difficult, it’s driving and fast.

Couple the bass with some really good interplay between Alex Lifeson’s reggae-inspired guitar playing, and you’ve got a recipe for musical success. At least I think so. I especially love that interplay after Geddy finishes up the lyrics (with a “Hey, yeah yeah yeah!”) and the bass line and guitar pick up the pace once again until fade. Brilliant! (It may be that particular moment that makes this my favorite. Funny how it can come down to something that specific.)

Lyrically, “The Enemy Within” is part of Neil Peart’s “Fear” trilogy (which ended up having four parts, but hey), which deals with, funnily enough, fear. What causes it, how we handle it, and so on. This song particularly deals with phobias. Fear really is “the enemy within.” It keeps us all from doing so many things that we’re capable of. And while fear is a good natural reaction to real danger, there are far too many things we do or don’t do because of the fear of danger that is perceived, but not real.

That will be the extent of my affirmation speech today. But I will be at the convention center this weekend. Admission is $20 at the door.

But back to the topic of lyrics: while it’s not the song’s lyrics that really make it a favorite, I’ve always really liked this particular couplet: “Suspicious-looking stranger/flashes you a dangerous grin.” This one line paints such a picture for me; you don’t need to know anything else that is going on to feel the peril. If you’re like me, you can actually see this guy. Once again: Brilliant! (For the record, I have no affiliation with Guinness. Nor any affinity toward Guinness. Blech.)

Bring it all together and what do you get? The song that inspired my inaugural Rush entry. For the record, it is unlikely to be the last.

But don’t fear it. (Or the reaper, but that’s a topic for another day.)

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 102 – “Be Our Guest”

Day 102: Your favorite Disney movie song.

“Be Our Guest” –
Cogsworth, Lumiere, and the Enchanted Castle Gang

Be Our Guest “Be Our Guest” is, indeed, my favorite Disney movie song, but not for the reason you might expect.

Bear with me for what will seem like a non-sequitur, but…

Cafeteria food is never really anything to write home about. But, anyone who’s had the, uh, privilege of being on “the food plan” when you’re in college can probably relate to what I’m about to tell you.

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The problem with the food plan is, there’s no escape. You’re pretty much locked in to eating every meal at what is—let’s be honest here—a cafeteria. At premium cost. (When I was in school 20+ years ago it was the equivalent of $75 per person per week. That’s a lot of green for green food. I can’t even imagine what it costs now.)

I won’t mention the company who supplied this “service” to us when we were in school, but suffice to say, the food was awful, and the service was worse. Except on parents’ weekend, when, miraculously, the food was amazing.

Somewhere along the line they figured out people were really (and I mean really) upset about the cost, the food and the service, so they did what any corporation does. They tried to remake their image.

They adopted the slogan “Be Our Guest.” It was supposed to represent the fact that they recognized that we weren’t doing them a favor by being there, but it was they who should be giving favors. They finally realized that they should be providing us better service overall.

Beauty And The Beast had been released around that time, which of course is where the “Be Our Guest” song comes from. Was the adoption of that slogan coincidental? The world may never know. It also happened to be around the time of our annual April Fools issue at the student newspaper.

We decided to lampoon the whole thing by publishing our own alternate lyrics to the song, based on our experiences. I was so pleased with the result (yes, that is me patting myself on the back that you hear) that it is still my favorite Disney song.

Some incidental information:

So, without further ado, click play on the video below, then read along with our lyric set as the song plays. I think you’ll enjoy it. Even if you don’t, I still enjoyed it, and really that’s all that matters…

Be Our Guest

Be our guest, be our guest. You want service? Oh you jest!
Put your napkin to your mouth, cherie, Spit out that awful mess
Soup is poor, meat is green. Why, we only use Grade “D”.
Try the grey stuff, its delicious. Don’t believe us? Damn, it’s vicious!
We can sing, we can dance. In our polyester pants.
And a dinner here is always second best.
Go on, give it a whirl. Leave the Commons, then hurl.
Be our guest, be our guest, Be our guest!

Mystery meat, corn souffle, armadillo a flambe
We’ll prepare and serve with hair a culinary tragedé.
You’re not alone, we’re all scared, ’cause the meal’s ill-prepared.
You’re all gloomy and complaining, Go to hell ’cause you’re prepaying.
We’re a joke! We play tricks. There’s no meat in those Quick Chicks.
We smear them with a paste you can’t digest!
Come on and move your ass! You’re soon to pass some gas so
Be our guest, be our guest, be our guest!

The meal is so unnerving
When you see just who is serving-
Here’s a bowl with a sole to chew upon
Ahhhhh… those good old days when we were nasty.
Suddenly those good old days are gone.
Seven months we’ve been cheery,
Did you note the food’s still dreary?
Needing training – we’ve got no cooking skills.
Most days we grab what lies around the kitchen
Cover it with gravy
Here’s the parents – oopsidazy!

It’s a guest! It’s a guest! Now we’ve got to be our best!
They pay board and thank the Lord, That it’s they who sign the checks.
Eat dessert, then just leave. Just get out before you heave.
While our concoctions are still brewin’. You’ll be gagging, you’ll be spewin’.
We’ve got beef (maybe not). Heavens sake, was that Spot?
Grind him up, We don’t care if you’re impressed!
It’s a surprise for you, You’ll never have a clue!
When you’re our guest, Be our guest, be our guest!

Be our guest! Be our guest! Those aren’t jimmies, they’re insects
It’s ten years since we’ve had fumigators here, So we’ve got pests!
Try the veal, try Chinese. They’ll both bring you to your knees!
Overnight, the mold’s still growing. Add some sauce so it’s not showing.

Down they go! One by one! They all shout “I’ve got the runs!”
Tomorrow comes real soon. Aren’t you depressed?
Next year avoid the food trap, But for now it’s our crap.
Be our guest, be our guest, be our guest!
PLEASE! BE OUR GUEST!

I cannot take full credit for these lyrics. I must give credit to Jen and Ray as well. We had fun with this one.