365 Day Song Challenge: Day 140 – “A”

Day 140: The first song alphabetically in your iPod/iTunes.

“A” – Barenaked Ladies

Maybe You Should DriveAs you may know, I try to balance out the number of posts written about songs by my favorite bands, otherwise Genesis and The Cars would be in about 62 point font in the tag cloud below. Barenaked Ladies wouldn’t be far behind. But, there’s nothing I can do about this one. My hands are tied.

“A” came to my attention when I acquired Rock Spectacle (pronounced like “Rock Spectack” for some reason), which is their first live album. BNL were one of the first bands to embrace the fact that people were listening to CDs on their computers (God, that’s so… 90s), and thus they were among the first to put CD-ROM exclusive material on their CDs. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 139 – “Trains”

Day 139: The last song you heard.

“Trains” – The Vapors

New Clear DaysI think it was about 1983 when I finally became aware of “Turning Japanese.” And it was probably 1988 or so before I actually got around to taping my brother’s copy of New Clear Days.

That tape got heavy rotation in the car during my senior year of high school. By then, virtually no one on earth cared about the Vapors anymore. But to me the whole album was a little gem. Loved it.

And it remains among my favorite albums. Strangely, I recently picked up a reissue and discovered that the track list that I knew and loved was not the version that was originally released in the UK. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 138 – “New Frontier”

Day 138: A song that you feel is greatly under-appreciated.

“New Frontier” – Donald Fagen

New FrontierIn other posts, I’ve talked a little bit about how I saw videos before we got MTV.

Somehow we discovered “Night Flight.” USA Network used to run the show on Friday and Saturday nights, starting at about 11:00 PM until some ungodly hour. My brother and I used to watch it together pretty regularly. While they occasionally had a movie or some interviews or something, they primarily played videos. (This was also around the same time of NBC’s “Friday Night Videos,” so on Fridays, if you got lucky, you might actually catch a video while the other channel had a commercial on.)

This just goes to show how big a deal videos were back then (even NBC wanted in on the action). Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 137 – “Flamethrower”

Day 137: A song beginning with “F”.

“Flamethrower” – The J Geils Band

FlamethrowerWhen I was a freshman in college, the dorm I lived in had three floors, and each floor was split up into two halves, with the bathroom and showers in between. Each half contained 6 rooms—4 doubles and 2 singles.

The 4 doubles were set up in a “cube” and those of us in those rooms became friends, particularly the two guys directly across the hall. We got along very well—except when we didn’t. We spent a lot of time together, and, no matter how well you get along, when you see people a lot, tensions mount.

And when tensions boiled over, it got loud. Occasionally other stupid things happened, too, but mostly it was loudness. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 136 – “Stairway To Heaven”

Day 136: A song that you feel is highly overrated.

“Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zeppelin

Stairway To HeavenI’m once again opening myself up to hate mail.

People act like Led Zeppelin are a sacred rock institution. Like cows to Hindus. Immune to criticism. Free of imperfections. Thus, any perceived slight to Led Zeppelin leads to flames and insults.

Led Zeppelin was a good band. Even though they’re not one of my favorites, I would probably even go so far as to say they were great. But not so great that they warrant one-(or multiple-) hour-long “Get the Led Out” marathons on classic rock stations. Do we really need to spend 4% of each day listening to the same 14 songs we’ve heard a million times?

It’s just a little much. Continue Reading