Friday, 30 December 2011

Song of The Year - Rebecca Black VS Adele

At first glance, the choice would seem obvious. Choosing “Friday” over “Someone Like You” would land any sane person in 24-hour observation at the psych ward. But, a closer examination of the two songs reveals a lot of “where” popular music is in 2011. On one side we have a song widely considered “the worst song of all time” up against a song being labelled as “a new standard.” Clearly choosing “Someone Like You” is the safe choice, but did “Friday” have more of an impact?
In late 2010, a 13-year-old Rebecca Black entered an L.A. studio and recorded 2 songs for a fee of $4,000. The financing put up by Rebecca’s mother would cover the cost of studio time and accompanying videos. “Friday,” penned by the studio owners, was eventually chosen by Black herself because her familiarity with the song’s subject. The video and song featuring Black’s heavily auto-tuned squeaky voice and inane lyrics would eventually be uploaded to YouTube in February 2011. The reaction was as swift as it was incendiary. Despite the fact that mindless auto-tuned pop music has been around for nearly 15 years, the song was immediately derided for being instantly disposable and without merit. This did not stop the song however from having over 175 million views on YouTube and making Rebecca Black an overnight sensation. Her quick ascent to fame pissed people off enough that the teenager started receiving death threats. Even I received considerable flack for suggesting that the song was “punk” for its ability to anger so many people. There were those, mostly under the age of 15, who loved the song. The song surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” for the most disliked video on YouTube. It would appear that no song in pop music history (even “Disco Duck”) has found itself under such intense derision and polarization.
But, we’ve been here before. Aside from the aforementioned “Disco Duck,”  Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” ran into quite a resistance from music fans and critics. But those were novelty songs. “Friday” was a genuine attempt at the pop charts. Which I guess, amplified the hate. And for once it seemed everyone’s sense of good taste was immediately challenged. The public needed a good mouthwash to erase this bad-taste. Enter Adele.

The third single from her sophomore album, 21, was the antiseptic. It’s a rare feat for a song to cross over, not only through age, gender and racial divides. “Someone Like You” managed to stir something in fans of classical, hip and hop, and country. The song has a certain familiarity and instant classic feel highlighted by Adele’s “well beyond her years” voice and sparse instrumentation. While the lyrics are not too far away from Taylor Swift’s diary scribblings, the delivery is genuine and untimely. You get the feeling like the song has always existed. It doesn’t hurt that Adele has an unmeasurable voice so rich in texture and soul, that she has no contemporary and is immediately etched in rock alongside the voices of Tina Turner and Whitney Houston. The downfall of this “new standard” is that every contestant on American Idol and X Factor will give the song the old college try with failed results. I would hope that the producers of these shows would forbid anyone from attempting this song, along with “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Piece of My Heart,” and “Natural Woman.” It’s also significant and fateful that Adele would surpass one her idols, Amy Winehouse, in the same year of that singer’s untimely death.
It is a near certainty Adele will rack up quite a few Grammys and Best of 2011 awards, and deservedly so. In the long run, “Someone Like You” will be remembered more than “Friday.” We should,  however, thank Rebecca Black’s “Friday” for setting the bar so low as to allow Adele to reach so high.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A Roastin' Good Christmas

Let's make this a Christmas to surrounding ourselves with creepy looking mannequins. Errr, enjoy. Happy Monday!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Andrea True, One More, More, More Time

So I heard Andrea True died over the weekend. Who the heck is Andrea True? Disco one hit wonder or porn actress? Well, actually both. Whatever, have a listen just one more, more, more time. Happy Monday

Friday, 4 November 2011

Lost Hit 1981: Double Dutch Bus - Frankie Smith

When we think of hip-hop pioneers, Frankie Smith doesn't immediately spring to mind. Double Dutch Bus was a minor hit in the early 80's, but Smith's style of swapping syllables in his phrasing for "iz" or "izzle" would go a long way influencing many rappers, most notably Snoop Dog. Enjoy.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Blown Oppurtunities and Other Things

No, seriously.... I love the Cowsills. After witnessing the my beloved Tigers blow it in extra innings this song was the only thing that brought a smile to my face. Pretty sad, huh? Happy Monday.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Felonious Assault On The Ears

Award yourself 13 points on the Cool-O-Meter if you remember this song. Take 23 points off if you find yourself singing along or grooving in your seat. Award yourself 32 points if you think the piano solo is best part of the song. Happy Monday!

Monday, 26 September 2011

R.E.M. - Dead Letter

Last week came word of the break up of the most successful band to emerge from the post-punk era. And although it could be argued that R.E.M's music wasn't necessarily punk or post-punk for that matter, it was still an amazing feat that those nerds from Athens GA ever became so popular playing such nerdy music.
I feel a little conflicted by their decision. Some would argue that this decision was about 15 years too late. They haven't been on the radar let alone the radio for some time. They've certainly been lost in the wilderness since the departure of founding member and drummer Bill Berry. Which is all too sad for me because they were hands down my favourite band from 1986 to 1996. Life's Rich Pageant (1986) remains my all time favourite album. Not necessarily for the quality of songs but rather the mood and contradiction. Peter Buck's aggressive jangly guitars mixed with Micheal Stipe's indecipherable lyrics that said so much. I will never tire of those songs. I thank my brother John for introducing me to this album. Never not the same.
The album was the last of their early period jangle angle which started with their 1982 EP Chronic Town.

Their second era started with Document(1987) and the hit song The One I Love. This era marked the emergence of Stipe as frontman with a voice. They soon began experimenting more organic instrumentation which should have been a disaster. But somewhere along the way a new generation who grew up with New Wave and College music thought that the band deserved a place on the charts. Soon they were the darlings of MTV.

But great success doesn't always sit well with an introspective band. They played live shows less and less. This was the beginning of the third phase, which also coincided with Bill Berry's aneurysm in 1995. Unsure of what to do next they tried everything except write decent songs. They officially lost me after the release of New Adventures In Hi-Fi (1996). I don't think they made a conscious decision to lose their fans, but not being accessible to those who buy your music creates a icy distance. They tried to regroup but failed to recapture their glory. Too sad. They never really needed to break up. Perhaps a 5 year hiatus and reunion tour would have brought fans back. But we live with the decisions we make. Farewell my R.E.M.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Lose The Apprehension Baby

I remember this song being terrible 20 years ago, but it's even worse when you consider that this song from 1991 contains nearly every cliche from 80's pop songs. Dance around the room, or just go to the mall.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Couples Therapy

I'm really not sure what this is, but Dean Friedman and Denise Marsa have some issues to work out. And, I don't think sitting at a grand piano singing a duet is going to solve their relationship problems. Rising to #3 on the UK charts in 1978. Happy Monday! The lyrics are a riot. Check them out here

Sunday, 7 August 2011


From the band that brought us hits like Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum and Soley Soley, here is Middle Of The Road with Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. Reaching #1 in the UK in 1971 the group was phenom all over Europe. Scientist have yet to determine why exactly. It could be the go-go boots. If anyone can remind me where I've heard this one before let me know. Happy Monday

Friday, 29 July 2011

Lost Hit (1990) : Dream Warriors - My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style

One the more important Canadian hip hop exports, Dream Warriors, aka King Lou and Capital Q, busted out of the Jane and Finch neighbourhood of TO in 1989. Their initial sound was sample heavy, but still managed to add Latin and Caribbean flavours to the mix. Although, far more popular in the UK and Canada the song only reached #24 on the US charts in the summer of 1990.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Versus - Since You Been Gone: Rainbow VS Kelly Clarkson

I don't care if you like both songs or not. What I want to know is who rocks it out better.

I'm going with Kelly.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

On To Golden Pastures - RIP: Rob Grill

Rob Grill, bassist and singer for the Grass Roots, passed away Monday at the age of 67. Though the Grass Roots were dismissed as easy pop of the time, their songs were highly influential to 70's supergroups like The Monkees, The Move, ELO and Three Dog Night and later for modern bands such as Robyn Hitchcock, The Flaming Lips and Sloan.
Fans of The Office might recognize Creed Bratton on guitar in this clip.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Happy Monday Declares "Pumped Up Kicks" Song Of The Summer

The song is actually a few months old, but is becoming inescapable as the summer days roll on.   Enjoy the song along with this very enthusiastic crowd at Sasquatch Music Festival.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Everybody Has Somebody To Love

You may not know it, but somebody out there loves you as much as Joanie Loves Chachi.  Happy Monday!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Lost Hit (1971) - The Poppy Family - Where Evil Grows

Lost Hit (1971) - The Poppy Family - Where Evil Grows. I've heard a lot of talk about evil in the last few days. Thought this was a little a propos. Canadian husband and wife duo Susan and Terry Jacks formed this folk/psychedelic group in the last sixties and scored a hit "Which Way You Goin, Billy". This is one of there lesser known singles. 

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lost Hits : Canadian Edition (1987)

Three songs from one of the greatest years in Canadian Pop History

Chalk Circle - This Mourning

Nothern Pikes - Teenland

The Tragically Hip - Small Town Bringdown

Monday, 27 June 2011

30 Years of Beauty and the Beat

This July marks the 30th anniversary release of the Go-Go's debut album Beauty and the Beat.  The album marked the first AND only time an all female band who wrote their own songs reached #1 in the US.  Although it is a great achievement for the band, it sadly demonstrates that few other female bands have had similar successes.  By no means should it be suggested that the Go-Go's were a novelty.  A potent sum of more than pretty parts. The pop sensibilities of songwriters Charlotte Caffey, Jane Weidlin and Kathy Valentine are the hook.  Belinda Carlisle is the siren, and drummer Gina Shock is the secret assault weapon. 

It's the lack of success of other band that's always bothered me.  Some came before (Girl School, Runaways), many came afterward (Bangles, The Donnas) but, 30 years later, none of have beat the Beat.  Why?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

RIP - The "Big Man" Clarence Clemons

The heart and soul of the E Street band silenced at the age of 69.  I can't think of better video tribute than this live version of Rosalita.

This little goof ball of song hit #18 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1985.  Where is Darryl Hannah these days ?  She's due for a comeback.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lost Hit : Missing Persons - Words (1982)

Check out Missing Persons out at the 1983 US Festival.  Watching lead singer Dale Bozzio, I can't help but think of a current eccentric female pop star.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Want To Hang Out With Ram Jam ?

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About...

Ram Jam can be summed up in this gem of a performance video of their only hit Black Betty.  It's a cover of a Lead Belly song  from the thirties.  Oddly enough the NAACP tried to get Ram Jam's version banned based on the lyrics.
Whatever the case, are these the type of people Mom warned you not to hang out with?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Let's Throw Everything At The Disco Ball And See What Sticks

What's worse?  Rick Dees' creepy mustache? Alice and Rip Taylor in the duck costumes?  Mike Brady's lack of rhythm?

I can see why Eve Plumb (Jan) opted out of this.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Worse Than The Phantom Menace ?

We all know the flogging George Lucas incurred when he released his first prequel to the Star Wars saga.  Not since Dylan went electric did so many die hard fans cry "Judas".  The Star Wars saga is more than a collection of movies, to some it is a way of life.  So it comes a bit as a surprise that no one ever brings up the Star Wars Holiday Special.  

Shown once and never released on video, except for a few versions on You Tube.  This Christmas special is so bad, I can't even recommend it for shits and giggles.  It is truly THAT BAD.  A summary of that special could be found HERE.  Luckily, I have found a better substitute.  Of course it's Osmond related.  Set your faces to stun and gaze upon this spectacular mess.  Stick around for the "special guests" and dancing Stormtroopers. 

Worse than The Phantom Menace ?

Friday, 20 May 2011

Who's Ready For The Rapture ?

Only 2 days left.  How do plan on spending these last hours?  If you're like me you are scouring the web for live recordings of The Stone Roses at Spike Island.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Is it time to forgive Ashlee Simpson ?

In the early morning hours of October 24, 2004 Ashely Simpson confidently climbed on the music stage of Saturday Night Live.  She had already performed her "hit" Pieces of Me earlier in the show and was now geared to perform her follow up Autobiography.  Back from commercial Jude Law introduces the young up and and comer.  She has a lot to prove.  Especially to those who say she is riding the wave of success caused by her older tsunami of a sister Jessica.  The crowd hushes. The music starts.  Someone, probably the drummer, hits the wrong button and the rest is history, much like her career.  Although she later tried to reboot herself as "new waver" the hits never materialize.  Compounding her downfall was an ill advised sojourn at the new Melrose Place.  

But what was her crime?  Why did audiences turn on her so quick?  Lip syncing?  Pshaw !  Lady Miss Spears lip syncs all the time.  And now with auto tuning, no one is even trying to sing.  

Should we forgive Ashley for a bad case of "acid reflux" ?  I do.