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Tag Archives: Music

A Song For Today — Skipping Town by Careless Cub

Years ago, when I was coaching my older son’s baseball team, we had this kid on the team for a couple of years. He pitched and played infield and was an all around good kid. On the team, every kid and coach had a baseball nickname. His was Cheese.

He went on to other pursuits, like playing guitar and singing in a band. Here you go…

 

Music, Baby!

It’s that time of year. No, not Christmas, or Hanukah, or Kwanzaa. Nothing like that.

No, it’s the time of year when Spotify provides it’s annual report to Premium members. No, not an annual report of its finances. It’s a report of my music experience for 2019. As a grown-ass man who was addicted to the Guinness Book of World Records and Book of Lists as a child, this is the kind of thinI knowg that fascinates me.

So … on to the preliminaries. According to Spotify …

In 2014, my favorite song was Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran, but my favorite artist was Melissa Etheridge. I know Ed Sheeran intrigued me back then, but I’m somewhat surprised by Etheridge. Back in the 90’s, she was a huge part of my music experience, but these days, her music just doesn’t do much for me.

In 2015, my favorite song was Subah and my favorite artist was Griffin House. Subah is a piece I heard in a yoga class back then that was just absolutely fascinating and I know I listened to it a lot for a time, but the #1 song for the year? Hmmm …  And, yes, Griffin House was big for me then and remains big for me now. He’s got some serious chops with the song-writing and tone of his music.

In 2016, my favorite song was Like Rock and Roll and Radio and my favorite artist was Ray LaMontagne. The song and the artist match and I’m not surprised by this. LaMontagne has a core group of songs that I’ll never tire of and 2016 was when I dicovered him.

In 2017, my favorite song was Touching Heaven and my favorite artist was Johnnyswim. Again, the song and the artist match up and I’m not surprised by this. Another year where I discovered a new artist and wallowed in their music. And Touching Heaven is, as I’ve described on this blog in the past, pretty damn close to the perfect song for me.

In 2018, my favorite song was Song for Zula by Phosphoresent and my favorite artist was Queen. Not surprised by either. Song for Zula remains to this day a song that I can’t get enough of. And Queen has been rocking my world for 40 years.

Which leaves us with 2019…

According to Spotify, I listened to music on Spotify for 59,588 minutes in 2019. So, basically about 1,000 hours. I listened to 367 new artists this year, which seems somewhat amazing to me. I also listened to artists from 30 different countries, which seems equally amazing to me.

Which leaves us with…

2019

A year like no other since I subscribed to Spotify. Unlike all of the years since 2014, my top 10 and top 100 songs have a certain focus. There is a particular artist who filled 20 of the top 100 spots and seven (7!) of the top 10 spots.

Here are a few clues, in case you haven’t figured it out …

  • If you’ve been reading my blog over the last few months, you might already know.
  • I saw him live in Sacramento on October 21.
  • The title of this post might give you a clue.

Give up? Or you’ve got it figured out?

Yes, it’s Hozier. His music continues to amaze me. Instead of sharing videos from the songs on my top lists, I’ll provide this one. He performed it at the concert on October 21. He introduced it as new music and asked people to put their phones away so videos didn’t show up on Youtube before he was ready to release it. Well, it’s released now. The initial notes of the song seemed kind of harsh, like fingernails on a chalkboard. But by the time the song was over at that concert, I was completely sold. To me, it was the best song/performance of the entire concert.

And there you go … musically for me, 2019 was all about Hozier. All about Hozier. And now I need some new music. Got any suggestions? If you use Spotify, what was on your 2019 list?

A Song For Today

Spotify does all sorts of tailored playlists for its subscribers. I was listen to one of those playlists today and this song came on. While I was running a quick errand today. And my windows were rolled down. The sun was out. It was such a beautiful day.

Amos Lee is one of those artists who always impresses when one of his songs pops into my music listening experience. Always does. This song is a perfect example of the thing. And as an added bonus, I’m giving you three different versions of the song.

Windows are rolled down
Sun is rising high
Windows are rolled down
Feel that wind rushing by, hey-ay-ay-aaah

Read more: Amos Lee – Windows Are Rolled Down Lyrics | MetroLyrics

First, the studio version:

 

Second, a live version with the Colorado Symphony:

 

Third, an in-studio, solo acoustic version:

A Song For Today

This album was in 1993, when I was 29 years old. I would have thought it was earlier than that, but so be it. Bat Out of Hell II was apparently Meatloaf’s return to relevancy. (Who, by the way, names themselves Meatloaf for purposes of artistic expression? Okay, never mind.)

Anyway…

I never experienced Meatloaf’s first run to fame with Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, but I’ve seen the live version of that song often enough to fall in love with the drama of the performance.

Bat Out of Hell II though is just one song after another that is the kind of music that appealed to me for much of my teens and 20’s — overwrought rock opera. I mean, I’m a massive Queen fan and if there’s a band that speaks to “rock opera”…

I was reminded of the album a few days ago and pulled it up on Spotify and took a trip down memory lane.

This song is the archetype of the genre, clocking in at a robust 10 minutes and 11 seconds on the album. Nothing speaks to epic rock songs like a song that reaches double digits in the ol’ minutes category. But even more than the length … the lyrics.

Here’s a taste…

‘There was a beauty living on the edge of town
And she always put the top up and the hammer down
And she taught me everything I’ll ever know
About the mystery and the muscle of love

The stars would glimmer and the moon would glow
I’m in the back seat with my Julie like a Romeo
And the signs along the highway all said
Caution! Kids at play!

Those were the rights of spring, and we did everything –
There was salvation every night
We got our dreams reborn and our upholstery torn,
But everything we tried was right

She used her body just like a bandage
She used my body just like a wound
I’ll probably never know where she disappeared
But I can see her rising up out of the back seat now
Just like an angel rising up from a tomb!

But it was long ago, and it was far away
Oh God it seems so very far
And if life is just a highway – then the soul is just a car

My God … these are quintessential rock and roll lyrics. The mystery and the muscle of love? She used her body just like a bandage, she used my body just like a wound? This is poetry. This is art. This is schmaltz like you’ve never seen it before and I love every dramatic, overwrought twist and turn of the thing.

Enjoy. I know you will. Well, maybe one or two of you.

 

Song For The Day

I’m the type of person who listens to music because I enjoy listening to it. I look for songs with the right sound, the right feel, the right lyrics and it is that music that forms the background noise that gets me through the day.  Some songs are more meaningful than others, some are more fun than others, some are a mixture of all the feels.

And every once in awhile I learn the story behind a song and it becomes that just more meaningful, or fun, or doubles down on all the feels.

A year or so ago, I went to see Marc Cohn and he explained the story behind his hit Walking in Memphis. Just hearing him talk about his adventures in Memphis, why he was there, and how it produced that song gave the song a whole lot more oomph.

Which brings me to today’s song.  I’ve liked this song, liked the band, but when I heard this live version and the explanation of the song at the beginning, the song just means so much more because it’s not about a fictional Charlie. It’s about a real Charlie and all the feels just come out.

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