Tag Archives: Black Keys

Penny for your Thoughts?

As it happens, we have a lot of time at work.  Time to talk of everything and nothing.  And time to make most of it relate to music.  When discussions at the beginning of the week turned to the demise of the penny, naturally, thoughts turned to idioms and songs that could provide tribute to the little copper coin that was going to leave our lives.

Think of the penny like an old band.  Past its prime, no longer seemingly useful and prepared to die a slow and, at times, annoyingly painful death as it makes its way down the road of obscurity.  You have some good memories of it, but on a day-to-day basis, it is just not providing any value.

Or so it seems.

However, let us take a moment to honour the penny and consider how removing it from our lives actually may have a lasting impact. This is where the questions began.  (And this is where I point out the irony of a Steel Man discussing the demise of a copper coin and I could make a Metal joke here, but, really, I’m on afternoon shift and I’ve not yet consumed enough coffee to make the joke as hilarious as it could be.. )

Allow me an indulgent moment to pose exactly how the disappearance of the penny will inevitably affect our lives.  For about a week.

Best question asked:  What will become of the penny loafer?  I suppose we could call them “Dimebag Dawdlers”.  However, that immediately makes me think of Dimebag Darrell (Pantera guitarist that was assassinated by a fan upset at the rumour of Pantera’s impending breakup.. true story…).  So, goodbye Penny Loafer.  An entire generation of preppy hipster dressers (who I’m certain only dress “preppy” as an ironic nod of the head to their prep-school leanings) will have to go without the addition of a penny to their tasseled tootsies.

I suppose no longer will bad pennies turn up.  Because it seems they always did.  What will happen to these “bad pennies”? Conversely, those deemed a “pretty penny” will likely be stuck in the same circle of hell as the bad ones; where they will likely spend eternity finding other pennies, picking them up and never finding the good luck claimed they would inevitably find.  It is very sad to realize that those of us walking around won’t stoop down to pick up that one little lucky penny in the hopes that our fates will be transformed.

And since penny candy hasn’t been around in decades and I’ve completely dated myself talking of it, we are just going to pretend that buying little brown bags filled with sugary goodness was something someone once read in a book or saw in a movie.  Move along.  I’m not that old.

And what will the penny pinchers in life pinch now?  Dimes and nickles seem in direct contrast to the spirit of being a “penny pincher”.  I imagine that those cheap enough to pinch a pretty penny will have to give up their stingy natures.

Oh, wait.  This is about music.

You wouldn’t think that the penny would have shown up in many songs over the years, aside from the obvious choices (which are indeed included in the list below).  It was an innocuous little coin, it seems.  But the references are there and we took the time to find them.  And thus became the Top 10 Penny Tribute Songs.

#10:  Hot in Herre – Jenny Owen Youngs

Okay, I know I’m starting out a list that doesn’t really include the word “Penny” in the title.  Bear with me.  It’s a 50 Cent cover done beautifully and one of my all-time favourite cover songs.  Get it? 50 Cent.  Fine.  A stretch at best, but it’s a damn good song.

#9:  Coin in the Pocket – Joni Mitchell

It’s not really a song, but rather what I would call a bridge between songs.  A preamble.  And it’s Joni Mitchell, so regardless of relevance or the fact that it’s not really a song, it is great.

#8: A Bad Penny – Cat Stevens

1974. Cat Stevens.  A fool and a train.  Classic.

#7:  Penny Sparkle – Blonde Redhead

From their last studio album (2010) of the same name.  An excellent tribute to Penny.

#6: Pretty Penny – Stone Temple Pilots

A favourite from STP. Sing along.

#5: Pennyroyal Tea – Nirvana

You all know my Grunge leanings.  That this was included is hardly a surprise.

#4: Pennies from Heaven – Billie Holliday

There are two songs that automatically had to be included in the list.  Songs that have been covered more times than I care to even Wikipedia.  Forgive the predictability.

Although, be surprised at my inclusion of Christopher Walken cover…. oh, yes.  I did.  Best thing I’ve watched today:

#3: Penny Lane – The Beatles

Thoughts of classic Beatles tunes, the movie Almost Famous and my hunt for a great cover of this obvious choice. I still like Bowie’s version: 

#2: 10 Cent Pistol – Black Keys

I know it is 10 times more than a penny.  But it is 10 times more great as a song.  (oh, that was cheese….)

#1: Dollars & Cents – Radiohead

For Pete – a Radiohead number one choice.

Honourable Mention:  Anything by Pennywise.

Of course, to choose their song “Fuck Authority” is my way of encouraging all of you to collect your pennies and find some use for them.

Did you know that you can use a penny instead of a screwdriver (no, don’t add it to your vodka and OJ…)?  Ever thought of giving someone money owed entirely in pennies?  The currency act states that no one is obligated to accept more than 25 pennies as payment.  Ha! So there Kramer. 

Still, I believe we should continue to offer a penny for someone’s thoughts.  Because, honestly, there are some thoughts roaming around out there that aren’t worth rounding up to a nickel.

(Side note – can we do away with the nickel next? I’m thinking the obliteration of Nickelback would be a good place to start…)

Adieu Little Penny.

p.s. Much gratitude, as always, to a Steel Man for the idea and collaboration.  Another great inclusion.


So Done (2011)

Since we are about to be “so done” with 2011, it was suggested to me that I compile a “so done with” list from the preceding year. This is a collaborative effort – things some of my favourite people are “so done” with, along with my own thoughts. A huge shout out to the person who inspired this – a brilliant way to end our year. Equal billing. It’s a tie.

So, here we go. Repeat after me, “I’m so done with…”

METALLICA

Let’s start out with a talk of relevancy. They aren’t. They were. And as a “classic” artist, I’m good with them. One is still one of my all-time favourite songs.

But they have gotten a bit self-indulgent in their advanced age. The “concept” album with Lou Reed? Disastrous. Worst thing I’ve heard in a while. And I’m the girl who has had some of the worst bands send me music to listen to over the course of the last year.

CEE LO GREEN/GNARLES BARKLEY

I’m sure I could Wikipedia the difference between the two (note: I did. I get it now. My thoughts still stand). But it was asked of me during one of many music talks, what’s the difference? When Crazy is played on the radio it is introduced as a song by Gnarles Barkley. When Fuck You (I refuse to radio edit here, people. Deal with it.) is introduced it’s by Cee Lo Green. It’s the same fucking person singing!

Not to mention both songs are high on the suckage list and I abhor a song that was written as a “pop” song, then promptly changed and radio edited to be “Forget you” like the world didn’t know it was originally “Fuck You.” Dumbest song of the year award.

An excellent point of heroic proportion. I can’t even take credit. And how I laughed when this was discussed. So, while I’m done with radio edits and irritating pop songs, I’m not done with the ardent mocking of them. Not even close.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

Months ago, we discussed how the use of cowbell salvaged this song. Until it was played 6225 times on the radio and I was subjected to a once-hot Anthony Kiedis sporting a 70s porn-‘stache (and it wasn’t even Movember).

Cowbell can’t save it. The song is annoying. Please see previous comment on relevancy.

20TH ANNIVERSARIES

I still maintain the PJ20 and Nirvana tributes this year were totally deserved.

However, I still maintain the U2 documentary was useless. A documentary of the anniversary of their 8th studio album. Hello bandwagon, I’d like to jump on you now.

STADIUM CONCERTS

(Okay, it’s a Slayer concert video – I was in a time crunch, it was the first one I found that adequately shows why I hate big venue – mock it up)

Miles from the stage, how can anyone really appreciate the music? Festivals, I get. Blissed out on the grassy knoll. Watching a Jumbo-screened version of a band you didn’t know existed until you heard their song 365 times on the radio and became a “fan” (you were the person who would buy an album for one track, weren’t you? Admit it. It’s okay. I was like that. In 1992.)

I suffer from Small Venue Snobbery. Don’t brag at me because you’re going to the ACC to see Black Keys with thousands of other band wagon jumpers. Let me know when you’ve got something good.

MUSIC SNOBBERY

(Harvard Sailing Team’s Hipster Playlist – thanks to Lila for sharing!)

I was a music snob. If it wasn’t indie, I wasn’t listening. I mocked radio. Until I noted (or, rather, I was corrupted to notice) that The Edge (102.1, yes, I have to live stream it at home) had moved back to a more indie-alternative vibe. Hollerado. Hey Rosetta. City and Colour (Dallas Green.. clever point-out Sean B. I’m smarter now. As I was when handed the tidbit about Alexis on Fire and S.B’s tie-in.. love coincidences when they happen coincidentally. That was a great day….). Among so many others. Of course, there are days I seriously question who is programming Edge. Nickelback and Eminem? Metallica? As Sean B. said, “when did (they) become alternative?!”. A fair point. But Edge does more for exposing great local music than it harms with the odd playing of “Home for a Rest” (no, really, I get Canadian Content rules, but, really?!).

So there. I was schooled. Let go of the snobbery. Just a bit. It makes sharing that much more exciting.

DUMBING DOWN THE LYRICS

Some gems from 2011:

“I love you like a love song, baby.” (Selena Gomez, Love you Like a Love Song)

No. Really? You want to love me like an overly insipid and dramatic pop song, overplayed and overdone by a teenager? Gotcha. Sign me up.

“Kicking in the front seat; Sitting in the back seat; Got to make my mind up; Which seat can I take?” (Rebecca Black, Friday)

Dude, I don’t care which seat you take. As long as you sit there with your mouth shut and never sing again. Worst case of viral marketing gone awry I’ve ever seen. When bad music gets good press. (and by good press, I mean lots of it because it was so bad).

“Take me by the tongue; And I’ll show you (uh); Kiss me ’till you’re drunk; And I’ll show you; All the moves like Jagger.. “ (Maroon 5, Moves like Jagger)

What does this even mean? Is it masochistic? You’re bragging that you move like an old, slightly irrelevant rock star past his prime that is still grinding away? I did say sign me up, right? Good.

“You’re so supersonic; Wanna feel your powers; Stun me with your lasers; Your kiss is cosmic; Every move is magic.” (Katy Perry, E.T.)

Katy Perry kissed a girl and is now going on about alien love. I want whatever it is she’s smoking.

“Today I don’t feel like doing anything; I just wanna lay in my bed; Don’t feel like picking up my phone; So leave a message at the tone; ‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything.” (The Lazy Song, Bruno Mars)

You know what I don’t feel like doing? Ever hearing this incredibly stupid song ever again. Thank you Bruno Mars. You feel lazy and now I feel dumber. Much appreciated.

“All-all these girls they like my swagger; They callin’ me Mick Jagger; I be rollin; like a Stone; Jet-setter jet-lagger; We ain’t messin with no maggots.” (The Time (Dirty Bit), Black Eyed Peas)

First – what is it with Jagger showing up in songs this year? Secondly, thank you for bastardizing my nostalgia Fergie and crew with your insipid pop crap. Thirdly, I don’t like messin’ with no maggots either. So you got me there.

“That badonkadonk is like a trunk full of bass on an old-school Chevy; Seven tray donky donk; All I need is some vodka and some shonky-tonk; And watch she gon’ get Donkey Kong.” (On the Floor, Jennifer Lopez)

Okay, granted it was Pitbull who mouthed this drivel, not J. Lo. But she allowed it in her song. And I don’t know what shonky-tonk is, but apparently you need it and the vodka in copious amounts to decipher this shit. Goes directly into the “What the fuck” file.

“She gave me, 7 minutes in Heaven, 7 minutes in Heaven; I spent 7 minutes in a motel with her; I’ve been to Heaven but I’m going to; Going to Hell; She’s comin’ with me I can tell.” (School Boy Humor, 7 Minutes in Heaven)

First of all, I had no idea this band existed. Until they sent me their music because of the blog. Secondly, they’re young. I think they need some advice. So here it is, from me to you: Honey, 7 minutes in a motel with her? That’s it? 7 whole minutes? And you think that’s Heaven?! The naivete is adorable, really. There might be some girls who would welcome a 7 minute “fest” with these boys, but I suspect that the Hell descriptor is more accurate for any girl who got her 7 minutes with them. And I suspect that if all they can provide is 7 minutes, they very likely don’t have a clue if she’s coming with them or not. And my guess is on the “not”. Psst. It’s not brag-worthy. Especially in a song. It is like a musical confession of sexual ineptitude disguised as scrub bragging. Which would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

THE PERSON WHO CHOOSES A SHIT #1 IN A TOP (INSERT NUMBER HERE) LIST.

You know the lists. Hell, I’m a huge fan of them (thank you High Fidelity). The list. The quintessential run-down by a person who just can’t choose one.

I love these lists. But only when the number one choice has me nodding in agreement. Or even grudgingly admitting it’s a decent and worthy choice. But when the choice, as it so often is, is ridiculous, I am SO DONE. It is the epitome of time suckage – you’ve spent hours listening and agreeing and arguing spots with like-minded friends. Only to get to number one and shout out an incredulous “What the fuck?!”

Edge just did this with their Top 102 songs of 2011. Number one? Really?! On January 1st go read the list and see if you don’t have the same kind of “what the fuck” moment. You will. The only amusement I felt at discovering the number one choice tonight (after hours of listening diligently) was a morbid amusement at knowing that there are some people in particular who will find out what the number one song of 2011 is claimed to be and will loathe it. I don’t revel in their loathing, but rather at the picture of the reaction because I know exactly what they’ll say and exactly how they’ll say it. And I know they’re completely right (because we’re super smart). It was a terrible choice.

I’M NOT DONE!

So, that’s it. Things I’m So Done with from 2011. What I’m not So Done with? Sharing music. Enjoying the corruption of a more popular music world. Enjoying the snobbery I still revel in. Enjoying my musical friends and counterparts thoroughly. Thank you all for sharing this year with me, for teaching me and for letting me impart a bit of my own bias and knowledge on you. Thank you for the continued inspiration. It means the world.

To Lila – thank you for being my partner in crime, my musical confidante, my concert friend and the girl who took my Rstar virginity and started my year off with an amazing adventure – one that set the pace for my year. I couldn’t ask for a better friend to have shared my music with this year.

To 2012. Play it well and play it loud. Sing along loudly, share the music and listen when people share back – you never know what you’ll end up discovering. Even about yourself. Happy New Year!

 ~ Betty Beat. xoxo


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.


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