Tag Archives: Beastie Boys

40 Songs of Lila Lyric

When hitting a milestone like 40-years-old it can either consume you with thoughts of getting old or it is just another day in your life. I am Team ’73 and this is our year. I won’t say that I’m consumed with the fact that I’m turning the big 4-0, but I’m also not letting it be just.another.day. I want to recognize the years I’ve lived through and what better way to do it than with music!
These are songs that shaped me, songs that had impact on my 40 years of life. They are certainly not my favourite songs and some I even despise *cough*manilow*cough*, but when researching songs released in each year I chose the one that jumped out at me. I went through the songs from each year when I was younger and selected songs that I may not remember in that year, but perhaps later discovered. They were songs my parents were listening to on 8-track in the big gold Thunderbird, they were on the turntable in the basement rec room, they were songs my mother would play on the piano and sing horribly out of tune too.

So here they are in chronological order. Enjoy my 40 songs in all shades

1973 – Elton John “Crocodile Rock” – this song was on a children’s LP that I had later in years and I adored this and would constant play this over and over again.

1974 – Barbara Striesand “The Way We Were” – one of few songs I learned on the piano, because my mother made me!
1975 – Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy” – I blame all country songs that I know on my grandfather! He was not a glittery cowboy but I think he influenced my mother who then in turn influenced me.

1976 – Barry Manilow “I Write The Songs” – pure torture. I hate this song, but I had to hear it when all I wanted to listen to was Sesame Street Fever. My mother was evil 😉
1977 – Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night” – Rod was a staple growing up. I still like his raspy voice.
1978 – The Bee Gees “How Deep is Your Love” – the be all end all of music according to my father. Ask me anything Bee Gees related. Barry Gibb to my father is Ryan Star to me. Nuff said.
1979 – Billy Joel “My Life” – lip sync duo with Kevin, my older brother from a K-Tel album that had this song …it was the first song on the second side of the LP…..the album cover was green. I’m such a visual person!
1980 – Queen “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – I wanted to put ‘Another Bites the Dust’ but that would be the Queen song for my brother’s list. This isn’t my favourite Queen song but I do like it’s groove.

1981 – Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” – Yep. I was born at the perfect time to be one of those Rick Springfield lovers. I thought he was soooo cute, but I was more drawn to Bull Terrier on the cover of the ‘Working Class Dog’ LP.
1982 – Olivia Newton-John “Physical” – so many to choose from this year, but I had the headband, my mother refused to buy me the leotard. Smart woman.

1983 – Musical Youth “Pass the Dutchie” – don’t judge me….81, 82 and 83 were me discovering music on my own with no parental or brotherly influence. Honestly though, I think this was the beginnings of my diversity in music. Such a rap/reggae influence right? 😉

1984 – Van Halen “Jump” – the beginning of the metal years, thanks to my bro. We were just like every other kid jumping from the couch to couch playing this song, swinging out arms playing air guitar.
1985 – Metallica “Fade to Black” – I’m still not over Cliff Burton and still angry that Jason Newstead left the band. Love the bass players, no longer care about the rest of the band!
1986 – Run DMC “Walk this Way” – I was deep in Metallica at this point but intrigued and fascinated by rap, and when Aerosmith did this song with Run DMC it took my breath away.

1987 – Beastie Boys “Fight for your Right to Party” – nuff’ said.
1988 – Leonard Cohen “First we Take Manhattan” – I remember watching the video for this song on Much Music. I wasn’t sure I like the song at that age, wasn’t sure what is was, who he was, but I remember it vividly and came back to it years later.

1989 – The Cure “Pictures of You” – The Cure hold a special place in my heart. My first concert – CNE Grandstand – 8th row center – I could see Robert Smith’s sweat drip from his brow.
1990 – Jane’s Addiction “Three Days” – The 90’s were a great era for Team ‘73ers. A time of self-discovery. Perry Farrell had much much influence over me. Ritual De Lo Habitual is still part of me.

1991 – REM “Losing My Religion” – Again, the age of video. I can visualize this entire video in my head. The song is still great. I am not a fan of REM post Out-Of-Time though. Automatic For the People did so well and people love it, but it bores me.

1992 – Pearl Jam “Jeremy” – Eddie Vedder what a man, what a man, what a mighty fine man. He booted me in the head once – he was crowd surfing and Steph (another Team ’73) and I bounced around the mosh pit.
1993 – The The “Love is Stronger than Death” – god I love this song. If you haven’t heard it go listen. Hell listen to the entire Dusk album.
1994 – Tori Amos “Cornflake Girl” – Girl Power.
1995 – Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees” – oh Thom thanks for coming out. Thanks for being a staple in my life for 20 years.

1996 – The Wallflowers “One Headlight” – this is likely not the best song Jakob Dylan has ever recorded, but I still throw this one on my running playlist. It still has a hold on me.

1997 – Hanson “mmmmBop” – i put this in to see if you are still reading….actually it’s Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” but I didn’t want to repeat a band 😉
1998 – Matthew Good Band “Apparitions” – this is my CRTC Canadian Content. No, I do love Matt Good and thankfully he continues to put out great music!
1999 – Moby “Natural Blues” – how can you not crank this tune and drive fast?
2000 – Coldplay “Yellow” – I’ve always had a thing for Brit Pop. Coldplay are like U2, they are consistent and well loved by the masses. This song reminds me of the favourite yellow t-shirt I once had.
2001– Nickelback “This is how you remind me” – this is only here for the pure fact that it showed that 2001 and was a terrible year in the history of music. Ick.
2002 – Damien Rice “Cannonball” – and we recover with Mr. Rice. “O” is a fantastic album, and it needs to be listened to from beginning to end.
2003 – The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” – this is where I begin my love affair with a weirdo.
2004 – The Killers “Mr. Brightside” – I don’t care what you say this is the best running song ever.

2005 – Imogen Heap “Hide & Seek” – Oh the song from The OC (as show I never watched). I love Imogen and her weird hats. Especially love her collaborations with Jeff Beck.
2006 – Ryan Star “Back of Your Car” – and so it begins. Rockstar Supernova airs and I fell hard. I know that BOYC isn’t a 2006 song, but it is for me. I don’t think it was Ryan’s first original I had heard, I looked him up previously to him rockin’ it out on the show – but I chose it here because I love every form of this song I have heard. I adore Ryan acoustic, on the piano and being all mellow – but I love love love when he gets all nasty and rocks it out.
2007 – Radiohead “Reckoner” – Radiohead swooped in and stole my soul in 2007 with this song, this album.
2008 – Portishead “Magic Doors” – brilliance comes around again! I chose this song because the beeping at the beginning. Every time it came on in my car I thought my car was alerting me to something wrong. Every.Time.
2009 – Florence + The Machine “Rabbit Heart” – Lungs is a great album and this song is my favourite. The lyrics are fabulous.
2010 – Ryan Star “Breathe” – A worthy repeat of an artist wouldn’t you say? 11:59 was released in this year and I may have listened to it a wee bit.

2011 – Bon Iver “Flume” – I know Bon Iver puts people to sleep. I was being put to sleep from early on in the release of this album. I also adore Peter Gabriel’s cover.
2012 – Jack White “Love Interruption” – This song makes me appreciate a different sound out of Jack, also makes me want to have love bite me, and slam my fingers in a doorway. Kinky.

2013 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Sacrilege” – can’t get enough of this song so far this year and anticipate the album release later this month!!! Woohoo new music!

There were so many songs I could have chosen, so many that had impact in certain years and then there were years where pickings were slim! So odd. There are artists that didn’t even make the list, like Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Love and Rockets, Iron Maiden to name few. I wouldn’t call this my Top 40 songs, as there are many songs that were made pre-1973 that I adore, and there are likely many songs released in one year that would fill spots.

So as I prepare to turn 40 in 2 days….I do hope to remain young at heart in my music tastes. Is that possible or am I delusional?

Cheers,
Lila


The Business of Being Hesta Prynn

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

Photo by Randy Scott Slavin

A few months ago, Lila and I heard that Hesta Prynn put out the call to her fans to come up with words to describe her. Having met her on our NYC “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” whirlwind adventure, Lila and I took up her challenge, brownosed by turning our words into a bit of art and ended up landing an interview.

Surreal.

The main word chosen for this little project was “Propulsive”. The power to propel. It had a lot of meaning – how both Lila and I have claimed that Hesta’s music makes us run harder, how her music moves us, how when we met her she was like a force. And then we realized just how much velocity this girl has.

Hesta Prynn is an entity. And she knows it. In an industry that is often fickle-minded and self-indulgent, Julie Potash, is a smart and savvy business woman. She is building the Hesta Prynn brand. She recognizes the business behind music, the changes in the music industry and combines creativity with something that many artists rely on big companies to provide them: business smarts.

This was not the interview we expected.

Most people who know me know that I have a decided interest in how the music industry is run. I have a bit of a predisposed skepticism of the need of big record labels and traditional musical marketing methods. I mean, when you work more than a decade in marketing and advertising, you tend to have a healthy skepticism of all mass marketing tactics and the driving force behind them. So I, obviously, was elated to talk to an artist that….well, she gets it. According to her, “I’m like Hesta Prynn, the whole business entity; not just Hesta Prynn – musician.”

And what is more, Julie manages to intertwine business sense with some good old-fashioned idealism without it seeming trite or canned. She’s just real. She wants people to like her music, but more than that, she wants people to share it.

So, when her EP drops today, along with her new video, it’s not going to be in a traditional way. According to Julie, it’s going to be done “more grassroots.” This isn’t a full length record. “In this day and age, I wonder; I explore the idea… if putting an album of music is a dated way to do this. As opposed to, let’s say, putting out an EP quarterly?”

“I started in this business pretty young doing Northern State; it kind of got really big. We did the more traditional things for a hot minute. Then things started to change in the industry at the same time things started to change in the band. By the time I’d done that for a number of years, I was ready to try some other things. Just like any other profession. It was a natural progression.”

Instead of just writing music, putting it out and touring to support it, Hesta Prynn is diverse. She Djs (notably opening the Roxette show on September 2nd, more on that in a bit). She writes for other artists. She creates art and mixes it all together to be a force. Propulsive, indeed.

It isn’t any wonder that she has had the fortune to work with the likes of DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys). And she shows immense gratitude to the lessons learned from those she has either collaborated with or learned from.

These people shaped who I am and the fact that they’ve been generous to me, as an artist, I sometimes can’t really believe that it happened.”

And if you want a prime example of exactly how awesome her collaborations have been, ask her the story of Clown from Slipknot. A story I can’t even begin to do justice here in writing. To get a taste of it, go YouTube Hesta’s “Seven Sisters” video and just watch. Watch and appreciate the sheer creativity that is shared and know that one day, should you have the luck to meet her, that you can ask her to tell the story behind the video. That Clown is a Hesta Prynn fan kind of blew our minds. I think it initially blew hers as well. That we got to hear about the creation of the video, the insights delivered by a metal icon and shared a bit of what Julie was able to experience with him was a highlight. I know, I know.. it’s like teasing by not sharing the entire story here. But trust us, it’s something best heard in person. In the very least, go check out the song and video.. it’s one of our all-time favourites.

But, the EP and video release – the driving force of why we wanted to talk to Julie. What could we expect? Of course, both the music and the video are shared below. And we had to ask if there was a certain satisfaction in pulling all of this together on “her own” (of course, Julie has surrounded herself with a team, but this isn’t big label relase-ish.. this is all her own.).

We Could Fall in Love on iTunes NOW!!!

“If you look at my videos, they are so much better than anything I’ve ever done. Everything is better now, but I have pay it out of my pocket. And that is a little stressful, but I’m running my own business. It’s about investing in your own. I don’t know if it’s more rewarding, but you can do it better (than relying on a label).”

“I’m really doing this one really grass roots. One of the songs is produced by DJ A. One is produced by Teen Wolf. I’m basically going to do it all myself. So we’ll see what happens. And see how much attention it gets. I hope that people that have always supported me, will pass it on to their friends. I’m counting on my community.”

Immediately after the release comes her September 2nd show, opening for Roxette at the Beacon Theatre.

A 45-minute set that she has promised will be a mix of showcasing just who Hesta Prynn is. This show marks the largest she has ever done. She’ll spin, she’ll sing and we’re certain she is going to propel the crowd. It’s her goal. This set isn’t about her, in the typical “look at me” stage artist. It’s about the audience. And she makes that claim without an ounce of false modesty or faked humility. She just really wants people to enjoy her work.

“It’s a really big show for me, the biggest I’ve ever done. I’m doing a DJ set and I’ll sing a couple songs and a video installation and show people what I’ve been doing, what I can do, what my interests are. I would never just show up and play records for 45 minutes, I craft it.  I’m creating it, I’m definitely over-thinking it, for sure. But that is exactly what I was told to do, how to do it. When you’re performing and for people who don’t necessarily know you, you are constantly marketing yourself; selling yourself.  When it comes to performing, my real dream, my real 100-percent-honest-to-god, I want every single person, not just one person, I want EVERY person there at one point in that show to say, “Oh shit, that’s my jam.” If you can make 3500 people say at least once, “that’s my jam”, you know what you’re doing. I literally may die trying.”

And this is why Lila and I are such fans.

I won’t get into this long and overdone concept of “girl-power” and feminist attitude. But just as Julie has shown great appreciation of those she has been able to collaborate with in her life, she shares that by equally giving back to her fans. Sure, we write this blog and review music, but we’ve been long-standing fans of Hesta Prynn that were afforded a greater insight into a woman who, frankly, we both exclaimed we would happily just hang with. For no other reason than… Hesta Prynn is just awesome. She is exactly what she sets out to be. She may not know what your jam is, but she is pretty sure she is going to hit it. She recognizes that Hesta Prynn is the “most outgoing, my most sure, my freshest dopest most awesome version of myself… in my most inspired moments.” And I’m pretty sure everyone has a bit of that in themselves. Their most confident.

She doesn’t expect to be the biggest star at the party. I will never expect her to try be the diva of the ball. What I expect of this EP is just solidly great music that is fun and inspired. Something to share with those I know will appreciate it. Nothing contrived , nothing fake.

So, as we leave you with our sharing of one of our favourite artists here at Beat & Lyric, let us impart the biggest thing we learned from Julie during this process. Her parting moral, if you will:

I think that it’s hard to be your real self in this world. I feel like having another name or persona and a look I think it helps you – I mean, I have to step up to be that. If I’m going to go and perform, I have to show up already knowing this time is going to be good. I really have built this thing that I have. I do feel that when I step into the Hesta Prynn thing, I’m ready to have fun. And I’ll be the coolest girl at the party and I’ll be friends with you. I won’t be the coolest girl and I’m not nice. I’ll be the coolest girl at the party, I’ll be friends with you and I’ll be like ‘get in my car and let’s go.”

Well played, Hesta Prynn. We are more than ready to take a spin with you.

~Betty Beat (with Lila Lyric)

 

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Check out the official Hesta Prynn webpage  www.hestaprynn.com


A Tribute of Beast-ly Proportion

(if you haven’t taken the time to watch the Fight for Your Right – Revisited, take 30 minutes and watch. So totally worth it. The best things always are.)

It has been just over a week since the death of MCA of Beastie Boys fame.  A week to listen to the best of the Beastie Boys, hear a myriad of thoughts and remembrances of how the music inspired people and to reflect on the impact that the Beastie Boys have had on those around me.

A nostalgic week, it seems.

It can be fairly summed up by one sentiment that I heard: “Adam Yauch was/is a legend and I for one will truly miss him and any new music that could of been. My music collection would definitely not be complete without all his stuff.” (Shout out to Pete for the quote).

I read of MCA’s death while surfing on the computer, indulging in a few moments of lounging before work.  Of course, such information is immediately shared and discussed with those that I knew would be as shocked as I was. Work that evening spoke of little else.  In fact, even Dave FM (http://www.davefm.com/) – a radio station that I often lament about since it is only one of a few that come in from inside the tin can I call work and their penchant for playing Rush and the worst of Canadiana Classic Rock (April Wine, Helix et al) – played a tribute of Beastie Boys songs.  Colour me impressed since I was unaware they even held any Beastie Boys music in their library (why aren’t you people playing it??)  Of course, I could wax on about how certain people and media only noted Beastie Boys music because it was the thing to do that day.  But I won’t even do that.  That Beasties were played en masse and discussed was enough of a tribute.  Talk of our favourite Beastie Boys moments and memories.

Beastie Boys supplied the soundtrack for some of my best memories – I noted many of them here: http://beatandlyric.com/2011/05/11/beastie-ality/

I have also enjoyed noting the story from those that can remember the first time they heard Beastie Boys – where they were, the song that played (Fight for Your Right – a perfect first introduction) and how in hearing that one song, it changed their view on music from that point forward. (Shout out to a Man of Steel for that memory).

And let’s not forget how Beastie’s “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” was the theme song for a Lila/Betty adventure in NYC.

MCA left a legacy of music that changed the face of music and, more importantly, changed each individual fortuitous enough to experience his music with the Beastie Boys. They played a pivotal role in my highschool soundtrack and musical education.

Rest well, MCA. The fight continues.


Now Sleeping in Brooklyn – RIP MCA

Genius lost…..RIP Adam Yauch.  Beat & Lyric have been fans forever.


What 2011 Sounds Like

I like lists. I list everything – from things I have to do, to music I want to check out (a never-ending list), items that need to be remembered. I’m certain my list-making has been noted with interest on here over the course of the last year. Top Five lists in particular. I wonder if that means I’m somewhat indecisive – I can never pick just one. So I make a list.

I got an email notification the other night after Lila posted her song list for 2011. Imagine my delight at having a new list to read. The best part of reading lists created by others (especially those that hold music to the same standard I do) is that they make you think and consider what you would put on your own list of similar making.

I’ve spent the last couple of nights reveling in thoughts of the last year. Remembering the songs that stick out. Highlights of memories.. Perhaps it’s too early yet for this kind of reflection – don’t most people save that for a New Year? Regardless of timing, this is my counter to Lila’s 2011 list. My Top 13 songs of 2011. It should be 12. I’d say I’m being rebellious, but the fact is, I couldn’t cut any more out. I whittled it down so much already, I couldn’t bear to take another out. Every song is tied to a memory from the past year. Every song has been shared in some way with those closest to me. Some given to me, like small gifts. Some shared with those I hold in the highest regard. Each and every one part of the essential makeup of who I am, what I’ve done and where I’m going. They have shaped my year. Have a listen.

Ryan Star, Start a Fire

My year both started and ended with Ryan Star. A January NYC adventure with Lila to see Ryan, Hesta Prynn, Gambit and Hot Chelle Rae at Webster Hall. This was the show that began my year. Ryan Star opening for Goo Goo Dolls in Erie was the last concert I saw this year, again, with my favourite travel companion – Lila. Truly amazing that Ryan began and ended my soundtrack of the year.

Even better is that I have managed to influence others to his musical fortitude. My rides to work are laden with his music (shout out to Melissa, who I maintain will be in tow should Ryan Star ever announce a Canada concert date… she was an immediate fan).

Despite the changes the last year have brought, the ability to listen to Ryan’s music, sing along loudly, dance wildly when alone and run faster when it’s on my iPod has not wavered.

Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Teeth Collector

This is where Sean B. gets a huge shout out. The scene: At work. New guy sitting in the room, reading his books diligently. Until my phone alarm goes off and I’m begged to go turn it off. I walk in, do so and am faced with the question: “Hey, is that Florence + the Machine?” Instant musical friend. Sean B. has shared a great deal of musical talk and influence over the last year. A quintessential musical snob (never ever trash Depeche Mode to him and never ask him to listen to the Foo Fighters), he never fails to share music and thoughts. And even when we don’t agree, he is still one of my first go-to guys for musial knowledge.

Pretty Girls Make Graves was one of the bands shared with me almost one year ago. Hundreds of songs given all at once. And while Pretty Girls are no longer making music together, they were an instant favourite. Retro-90s-girl-grunge. The guy knows good music.

Girl Talk, Jump on Stage

Another Sean B. recommendation. Girl Talk gets on the list since it is my at-home pilates work out music. An eclectic mix of classics and modern pop. It is the only way I can remotely tolerate current “pop” music – all part of a great mix. Girl Talk was shared freely (literally – the music is free) with so many people over the last year. I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t loved it instantly. The album All Day became an ice breaker at parties, the music I sweat to and a constant friend of my iPod.

Jump on Stage was chosen since it features sampling from Portishead.  ‘Nuff said.  I had to.

Grab Girl Talk here: http://illegal-art.net/allday/

Beastie Boys, Don’t Play No Game I Can’t Win

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. It was the album that revived my love of the Beastie Boys. Not that it ever really waned, but they became a part of my past soundtrack. Now, as part of my current soundtrack, I have shared my love of this album with many. A great return. Add in DJ Z-Trip’s phenomenal mix of past and present Beasties and it was music love.

The video for Don’t Play No Game? Classic. Who couldn’t love it?

Find DJ Z-Trip’s remix here: http://ztrip.bandcamp.com/album/z-trip-presents-all-access-a-beastie-boys-megamix

Hollerado, Got to Lose

Summer of 2011. I had held tightly a sense of musical snobbery, ignorant of much of the current Canadian indie scene. Got to Lose was shared with me and launched months of great music shared. With lyrics like “we sipped red wine with our lips upon the vine and our bodies got tangled in the night”, my interest was piqued. Maybe I was due for a change. It was likely a challenge of super hero-ish proportion to get me to pay attention.

Even now, their current release, “Good Day at the Races” makes me smile and sing. They are eclectic and fun.

Hey Rosetta, Welcome

A song that makes you pay attention to the detail. Whether it is how bright the stars are in the sky (something I’ve noted with increasing frequency this year – all because of those late night/early morning runs) or the guitar riff that plays two-thirds of the way through the song, the song became a reminder to appreciate the small things. And then to share them with those that will appreciate them with you.

Yoav and Emily Browning, Where is My Mind

The Pixies did it first. The Sucker Punch soundtrack reminded me of it. The soundtrack that played throughout my summer. The movie that played and reminded me how to be at my strongest. And when I heard the oldest of my “Little Beats” singing along to the Pixies version, my pride was strong.

This was a song played during nights of solitude. A bottle of wine, my thoughts and anticipation. A song just for me.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Paris

Summer 2011 ended with a tour of Toronto with Lila and a meet-up with my favourite French Mafia member, Sophie and her cousin Jill. Sound Academy. Packed house and being blown away by the sheer power that is Grace Potter. I’ve loved her music for ages, but seeing her live was a great ending to my summer. Warm winds at the waterfrong, Ben Harper’s crooning voice after the electric energy of Grace Potter, fried dill pickles and amazing company. A stellar combination.

Young the Giant, My Body

My Body started it. I have to properly thank the superhero who shared this first. I had no idea. This was the song that made me run harder, run faster, run happier. At work, it came on the radios and the mood changed on the entire line. People smiled. Volume increased. Tapped toes. Bobbed heads and sang along. Watching a song change people this way and charge the atmosphere made me realize Young the Giant were something great.

Followed by the release of Cough Syrup, they have maintained their status as a favourite of the year’s soundtrack. Every time I hear Cough Syrup, I share that I’ve heard it and welcome the fact that there are people who listen for me when I can’t hear it. It makes me smile and remember and think of excellent things.

Even better will be to share Young the Giant at Sound Academy with Sophie in March. Continuing their inclusion in my daily soundtrack is a great thing.

Company of Thieves, Won’t Go Quietly

This is where I thank Lila. She has been my musical partner in crime for ages, but we have had an amazing 2011 together. We have shared great music (even when we disagree on it). She has been a truly amazing friend and I’m eternally grateful for her.

Lila shared Company of Thieves with me when Death of Communication came out. Then when Running for a Gamble dropped, she made sure I had it in my hands. Of course, it was immediately shared with those that influenced me the most this year. My gift back to them.

Florence + the Machine, Shake it Out

2010 had Flo on the soundtrack as well. Which means that when Ceremonials was released, it was immediately downloaded and reflected upon. And while there are some who claimed Shake it Out sounded like an 80s sitcom montage (I’m taking that as a compliment.. it means it’s a memorable song.. ha!), I instantly loved much of the album. The acoustic version of Shake it Out is what gets sung to the loudest. The lyrics resonate, Florence Welch’s voice gives me shivers and I dance wildly. A great vision.

Although Shake it Out and What the Water Gave me were both pre-released the remainder of Ceremonials didn’t disappoint. No Light, No Light has shown up on my running list countless times. An album that will likely show up on next year’s list as well.

Foo Fighters, Walk/These Days

I think if I was going to choose a single album of 2011, Foo Fighters’ Waking Light has to be it. Which is extremely surprising for me. Perhaps a sign of good influence showing me that not all great music is not “popular”.

It started with Randy Scott Slavin (of Hesta Prynn video fame) and his directing of a White Limo video. Parquay and crazy monkey business.

It finished with These Days being a near constant thought in my head. Music shared with those that are like-minded sounds better. Proof that old dogs (so to speak) can learn new tricks. Which is to say, I learned something this year. To listen better. To leave behind my snobbery and be open to new ideas.

Even Walk was a near constant shared listen. Even after it was noted to me that the video was based loosely on the movie Falling Down (one enjoyed ages ago and completely forgotten).

I took a poll of which song to pick. It was decided we couldn’t pick just one. Walk and These Days.

Foos have always been sort of background music (save for Everlong.. a truly great song). Never has a Foos song been so prevalent in my soundtrack. They’ve always been there – steadfast and good – to be sure. But not overtly current. Waking Light was a great album, at a great time, to have them at the forefront. Here is my appreciation to those that shared it with me and reminded me that, even I, could appreciate “popular” music. When it’s great.

I’ll take all that with a side dish of Cheese Whiz, please.

The Black Keys, Lonely Boy

Howlin’ For You was another one of those summer songs that made people smile and rock out while checking cars. Not that the Black Keys were off my radar before this song (Tighten Up was enjoyed), but it was the one I heard most this summer.

When El Camino was released, I had to have it. The pre-released Lonely Boy was another one of those shared songs. Even better was when I shared the video. Shared laughter. Was that really it? Best video ever. Followed by catching up on the SNL performance. Lonely Boy is one of those songs that makes me smile every time I hear it. Both because of its shared value and because it’s just a damn good song. It’s a song that makes me jump up to share it when I hear it. And I’m calling it now – Gold on the Ceiling from El Camino (which was performed at SNL) will be one of the songs to start my 2012 soundtrack.

Stay tuned.


So You Think He Can Dance

Christopher Walken came up in conversation today.  You may be wondering what exactly this has to do with music.  It was his dancing.  More specifically, his dancing he did several  years ago in the Fatboy Slim video for Weapon of Choice.

What brought about this seemingly random conversation of Walken’s dance stylings? It is thought, quite accurately I must say, that Christopher Walken is long overdue for another video featuring his dancing.  But what song to choose?

Before I launch into yet another Top 5 list, let’s reflect back to the early 2000’s. Fatboy Slim was huge.  The video for Weapon of Choice was an instant classic. Thanks, in large part, to Walken’s inclusion and the direction of Spike Jonze. Of course, the song itself featured Bootsy Collins, who provided lead vocals.  Interesting side note: Bootsy also collaborated on Dee-Lite’s Groove is in the Heart, which was featured on my last Top 5 list.  And so my world of interesting coincedences continues. Apropos.

On to the list.  The Top 5 Songs Christopher Walken Should Get Down To:

#5 Foster the People – Pumped up Kicks

It is synth-pop at its finest and it’s current. Both which I am enjoying lately.  But this song got picked for no other good reason than a whistle solo.  My storyboard would include Walken pausing in dancing in his own pumped up kicks and whistling along. I want to see the Walken whistle. Call me odd.

#4 Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor

First of all, a fantastic dance-able beat. Second, it’s a kick-ass song.  Third, who can deny great little coincidences?

Arctic Monkeys say: “Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984..”

One of my favourite Walken scenes in film? True Romance. Best moment: when he shoots Dennis Hopper. His line? “I haven’t killed anyone… since 1984.

The song was a given.

#3 Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise

Walken needs to reprise his role as The Bruce Dickinson (classic SNL More Cowbell moment) and pull out some cowbell of his own with this dance. Will Farrell is already on YouTube with a cowbell in a viral video of this song, why not Walken’s own version? Dancing, Beastie Boys and cowbell.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

#2 Radiohead – Lotus Flower

My only request for this song would be to produce it as a dance-off.  Thom Yorke versus Christopher Walken.  Who would be more eclectic and compelling in their eccentricity.  I’m fairly certain Walken wins.  When doesn’t he?

#1: The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

It was the original choice that prompted the discussion, so it gets first place on merit alone.  It’s also a song that inspires toe-taps and great choreography.  A bit of a rock-out for Walken. You know the dance that is done in the video –  a lot of those moves need to be kept. I’m laughing just at the vision.  Classic.

I think this is where we thank Wikipedia for telling me that Christopher Walken trained as a dancer in musical theatre at Washington Dance Studio early in his career.  And now it all makes sense.

Side note – collaborative gratitude to the Man of Steel for a superhero-sized idea for a Top 5 list. Extremely well played. I’d gush, but he’d hate it.


For Whom the Bell Tolls

Lila has a friend, Ross. I don’t know Ross. But Lila told me today that had a Facebook status the other day that said, “Every Breath You Take” needs cowbell!”

Interesting, considering I had my own cowbell conversation today. Namely that there seems to be a seemingly subconscious draw for men to songs that feature cowbell. Now, I often think more like a guy. So I considered this theory and realized, why yes, I actually do enjoy a little more cowbell from time to time. Of course, this is not my theory. It was provided by someone who I often have the pleasure of discussing the most eclectic and interesting things with. Side note – it makes my days far more enjoyable.

So, what is with the cowbell? Yes, there was that whole Will Ferrell SNL skit. Blue Öyster Cult and all that. And it was damn funny. But, does cowbell make a song better? I’m not sure. My favourite aforementioned theorist seemed to think so – pointing out his distaste for Red Hot Chili Peppers and confessing their newest release, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie, has grown on him. Why? Cowbell.

Could this be the secret to music industry success? This little idiophone hand percussion instrument? Could it really be that easy?

Let’s examine the evidence. Our Top 5 “More Cowbell!” Songs:

#5 Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie

I know we mentioned it above. But I like the song, it’s like a fungus (read: it grows on you.. I know, I know.. it’s one of those nights) and it has some pretty damn wicked cowbell going on.

 #4 Knock on Wood – Satisfaction Soundtrack

Okay. Start laughing. I’ll tell you when to stop. This is the song that holds my earliest cowbell memory. It was the first song I thought of when discussing cowbell today. And it’s from a terrible, cheese-ridden 80s movie that Julia Roberts won’t even admit she was in. But it had a lot of music and featured girls in a band, living like summer camp and singing their guts out. It’s not really a wonder it struck a chord (ha, punny) when I was a tween.

Covering Eddie Floyd’s, Knock on Wood. I don’t even think these actresses sang. I have no idea who performed it. But it is sheer cowbell goodness.

 #3 The Dismemberment Plan – You are Invited

This is what happens when cowbell doesn’t have to be such an obvious part of the back beat and percussion. It’s there. That you have to really listen to hear it means you’re paying attention. Or just accept the fact the cowbell is there and enjoy it. It’s in your nature, right?

 #2 Hey Ladies – Beastie Boys

You know I love them. It had to be mentioned. Of course they used cowbell. And used it well. Who is surprised, really? Classic.

 #1 Blue Öyster Cult – Fear the Reaper

You know I had to. I’m even linking to the SNL skit instead of the actual song. Why? It’s damn funny and it’s my blog, so I can. Click the pic to watch More Cowbell goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, boys, hit us with it.  Does cowbell really make a song better? Ladies, go ask your men-folk what they think. In a completely unscientific Beat & Lyric-style study, we are curious to see if this theory has any merit.  Stay tuned.


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