365 Day Song Challenge: Day 149 – “James K. Polk”

Day 149: A song that features an unusual instrument.

“James K. Polk” – They Might Be Giants

James K. PolkI have an affinity for American History. I like history in general, and—get this—I’m American. I know, it’s way out there, but there you go. And, can you believe this? I’m also interested in Presidential history!

That said, pretty much everything I know about James K. Polk I learned from this They Might Be Giants song. Which is sad, really. But true. There’s this gap in the early- to mid-1800s where things just get fuzzy in terms of the presidency, at least for me. James K. Polk falls into the “fuzzy zone.” Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 148 – “Give Your Heart A Break”

Day 148: A song beginning with “G”.

“Give Your Heart A Break” – Demi Lovato

I’m just old enough that I missed the era of the Disney Channel. Which means I was lucky enough not to be brainwashed by the insipid canned laugh track-driven “comedy” of their shows and the “talent” of the singers/actors in those shows. These shows are complete dreck that all revolve around one plot:

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 147 – “Don’t Answer Me”

Day 147: A song that features your favorite wind instrument.

“Don’t Answer Me” – The Alan Parsons Project

Don't Answer MeI love horns. If a song has horns, I’m that much more likely to like it. I’m not sure why, it just is. But my favorite wind instrument isn’t actually a horn. It’s a reed. And that reed would be the saxophone. If I had to be specific, I’d most likely say the alto sax.

I remember writing many years ago in a live show review that there’s always a place for sax in rock music, and I’ll stand by that statement to this day. There’s just something about the timbre of the instrument that lends itself to rock music. No matter the mood. “Smooth, but with a bit of growl” is the best way I can describe it. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 146 – “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”

Day 146: A song that features a great bass line.

“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police

Every Little Thing She Does Is MagicThis is another case where I’m a little surprised that the band in question hasn’t come up earlier. I referenced The Police some time ago, but haven’t gotten around to them. Until now.

When thinking of great bass lines, there are a lot to choose from. There are countless lists on the Interwebs. Most reference a bunch of Led Zeppelin songs. Almost all include “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. Rush shows up a lot.

But Sting and/or The Police rarely appear. Which I find interesting, because Sting knows his way around a bass. Maybe he’s overshadowed by his overtly literate (and sometimes downright pretentious) lyrics. I don’t know. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 145 – “Things Can Only Get Better”

Day 145: A song that you would use to cheer up a friend.

“Things Can Only Get Better” – Howard Jones

ThingsCanOnlyGetBetterHoward Jones was one of those guys who was in the right place at the right time. When New Wave was all the rage, he fit in quite well, but as soon as that ship had sailed, he disappeared into obscurity.

I believe it was the hair. As soon as he cut his hair, he was done.

But for a while there, he was doing pretty well.

Dream Into Action was his second album, and “Things Can Only Get Better” was the opening track.

I think it makes a pretty good “cheer up” song, but it also makes a pretty strong personal motivation song. Continue Reading