Last year at USU I based one of my Baboon Shavin' Tunes columns on a list of obscure and/or embarrassing songs I'd downloaded off of iTunes. Here's a running list of some more:
September 16, 2005
"All These Things That I've Done", The Killers
This one gets better every time I hear it. I can't quite call myself a Killers fan yet, since I haven't gotten into the other songs I've heard from them so far. But this one is one of those huge anthem-type numbers that sounds great played loud at night with the car windows open. Every time I hear it I want to play my drums.
"Goodbye Moon", Shivaree
Further evidence that Quentin Tarantino is one of the all-time greats when it comes to finding the right song for the right movie. He used this one to finish off his "Kill Bill" double feature. This song inspired me to put together a playlist of slightly eerie sounding songs that sound great together on a late night drive. Several songs on the list came from Tarantino movies.
"Love Bites", Def Leppard
Further evidence that nostalgia trumps quality almost every time. What I find notable about this song is that over 50% of the dedications in the Charger Chapter (student newspaper at Centerville Junior High) during the period from 1988-91 featured this number. In fact, I myself was guilty of using it once even though I had never even heard the song at the time. (Actually I was named in the dedication as a prank. Prank dedications ran about 55% of the total count most of the time.)
September 1, 2005
My iTunes acquisitions have remained consistent. My "iTunes update" has not
"Every Rose Has It's Thorn", Poison
As I mentioned in a previous BST, this track would be used as the third option by my "theme music" assistant during moments of contemplation and seriousness. There's something a bit odd about this song. I have no doubt that it is sung in complete genuine sincerity, and that it was received in equal fashion. Yet time and culture have now warped it into a quirky nostalgic "in-joke" that none of us can really take seriously anymore. Could anyone but the most devout Poison fan ever tear up and hold a lighter aloft when hearing this at a concert these days?
"Who's Johnny?", El Debarge
Another in the "I'm only getting this song because it's 99 cents and it reminds me of my youth" category. El Debarge was one of those Menudo-esque Latin pop acts from the 80's (that spawned "The Jets" locally, for those that remember). "Who's Johnny" was the theme song from "Short Circuit", a film that I will forever remember as the movie I took my friends to see on my birthday when we found out that "The Transformers Movie" had just dropped out of circulation.
For more "Transformers Movie" info, visit this column from my USU days.
"Peaches en Regalia", Frank Zappa
For more than ten years now, I have had a Frank Zappa poster on my wall. For more than ten years, I have dug the cover of the Frank Zappa album "Hot Rats"--one of my all-time favorites. But I had never picked up any of his songs. Until now.
August 6, 2005
Time to catch this thing up a little bit
"I Believe", Chris Issak
Most people are familiar with Issak's early 90's hit "Wicked Game" (which I also picked up), but this one is a lesser-known track my friend Chad Cox introduced me to. 95% of the song is a standard faith-promoting love song thing, which is fine, but it's the last 5% that makes it fun.
"Monkey Man", The Rolling Stones
I pretty much figured The Beatles would be available on iTunes before the Stones would. I was stunned last week to find out that the boys had turned over their entire catalog to the downloading public.
(I also know that some of you are saying, "nitwit, the Stones have been on iTunes for a long time." Well, you're wrong. The only iTunes stuff available was the stuff from about 1971 on, and I have long been of the opinion that the Stones ceased to exist in 71. They were then replaced by a much lamer version of themselves that have been trying to record pale imitations of the "Let it Bleed"-era music for 35 years.)
"Me And You And A Dog Named Boo", Lobo
Seriously, this song is what iTunes is all about. Unless you actually played in Lobo.
"The Girl From Ipanema", Astrud Gilberto
"Mais Que Nada", Brasil '66 and Sergio Mendes
"Soul Bossa Nova", Quincy Jones
"Quiet Village", Martin Denny
"Mucha Muchacha", Esquivel & Esquivel
These songs, all great in their own right, are part of a binge I went through a couple of weeks ago in a determined effort to create the ultimate "Bachelor Pad" disc. I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I'm close.
"Coward of the County", Kenny Rogers
A forgotten song from my youth that I remembered on the way up to a weekend getaway in the Uintas. Obviously Kenny's immortal "The Gambler" takes the first notch in his legend, but this one more than holds its own.
"Katana Groove", Tomoyasu Hotei
This is the same guy that does "Battle Without Honor Or Humanity", currently used in "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" and a few Jaguar commercials. Dude has a whole album of that kind of stuff. This is my next-bestest favorite.
"The First Cut Is the Deepest", Cat Stevens
Three months and counting and Katie still won't listen to Cat Stevens. The thing I like about this one most is that I don't have to admit to liking a Sheryl Crow song.
July 1, 2005
"A.M. 180", Grandaddy
Just rented "28 Days Later" last weekend. One of the best horror movies ever, I'd say, and probably the best zombie movie since the original "Night of the Living Dead." I was thinking about picking up the soundtrack, but decided to first see if any of the songs were on iTunes already. This one, played during the scene in the grocery store as the survivors are happily clearing the shelves, was.
"If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out", Cat Stevens
Thanks to the film "Harold and Maude", my sister can't listen to Cat Stevens anymore. This fact, and this song (written for the movie), are just two more reasons to smile when I hear his name. I wonder if he's managed to set foot in America again after that arrest a few months ago?
"Okie From Muskogee", Merle Haggard
Chalk up another victory for the old-school Country brigade. I picked up this one because my old roommate Aaron used it as background music for the menu screen on the DVD we made for our Stake Road Show film two years ago. This is another song I file in that special "anti-drug song" category that currently includes "I'm Straight" by the Modern Lovers, "Needle and the Damage Done" by Neil Young, "Mother's Little Helper" by the Stones, "Little Billy" by The Who, and "Round and Round" by Perry Como.
"South American Getaway", Burt Bacharach
One of the more peculiar "truths that would surprise my friends" is that I own the Burt Bacharach boxed set. As extensive as that three-disc set is, it doesn't have any of the music he composed for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" outside of B.J. Thomas's "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". This is a great little piece, composed to cover one of the major transitions in the movie.
May 31, 2005
"Cruel Summer", Bananarama
Finally. One of the two top-notch songs off the "Karate Kid" soundtrack (along with the "You're the Best" song they play during the tournament). Can't say I ever expected to deliberately buy any songs by Bananarama, but the lesson is never say never, I guess.
May 19, 2005
"Pump Up The Volume", Colourbox
I'm at my friend Jared Martin's house sometime back in the mid-eighties for his birthday party sleepover. I'm in the middle of my 4th-6th grade Beatles binge. Everyone else is asleep in the basement, and I get up to use the bathroom. As I'm wandering around the wood-paneled basement, I see Jared's older sister watching MTV in their family room. Since MTV was still running music videos back then, that is exactly what was playing. It's about as far a cry from anything I was listening to at the time, a heavy-thudding beat with a low groove on top called "Pump Up The Volume". No lyrics, only sound bites. At that moment, I felt like I was peering into an exotic and strangely sophisticated teen future: late night MTV and puberty. Weird.
May 17, 2005
Well, it only took three weeks, but here are a couple more additions
"Staring at the Sun", U2
Due to the mission and my disinterest in the "Zooropa" album, my U2 knowledge between "Achtung Baby" and "All You Can't Leave Behind" is pretty slim. A while back I did download "Discotheque" off of the "Pop" album, and I'm familiar with the "If God Will Send His Angels" track since it was also included on the soundtrack of one of the absolute worst (or best, depending on your POV) romance films of all time, "City of Angels". So, since I was a little hard up for new songs to acquire a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd browse through U2's "forgotten era", and I came up with "Staring at the Sun". There was one reason this one stood out to me: in the little album paragraph iTunes posted, it said that Noel Gallagher (of Oasis) wrote the chorus. As both a U2 and an Oasis fan, I had no choice.
"Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere", Neil Young
This is the track that's playing in "Almost Famous" when Russell and William enter the Topeka "real people" party. It's a great song, but until I started looking around on the net, I didn't know it was by Neil Young. Couldn't quite nail the voice on the five-second clip, I guess. This is one of the many songs not included on the original soundtrack simply because Cameron Crowe stuck about a hundred songs in the movie.
This is one of those great songs that you like ok when you hear parts of it the first time, then love it when you get to hear the whole thing. The lyrics seem to refer to the emptiness of the hustle-bustle glam life of showbusiness, but the general idea seems to be a great fit for anyone frustrated with trying to keep up in today's fast-paced world. Good stuff.
April 28, 2005
"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", the Delfonics
"Love Or Let Me Be Lonely", the Friends of Distinction
Both of these songs come from the 70's soul category that I've picked up a taste for lately. I tabbed them after a "guys night out" visit to Gepetto's in Holladay one night after Priesthood Session a few weeks ago. Me and a couple of brothers decided to go enjoy a tasty calzone, and as is typical of Gepetto's, they had some great music playing. Both of these cuts showed up, and with a little help from my buddy Brandon, I was able to nail down the artist and title, then with a little time on iTunes, presto!
"Innocent When You Dream (78)", Tom Waits
I think everyone has a favorite song they picked out from a movie they liked. It seems like the context of the film makes the song better. How else could I possibly have an affection for Rod Stewart's "Love Touch", El DeBarge's "Who's Johnny", or Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters"? I've got plenty of songs like that, but a couple of weeks ago I found one on iTunes that's featured in a movie I haven't even seen. I read about it in a Deseret News movie review for some oddball documentary that's out now (and no, I'm not even going to bother to look it up, even though I'm probably three clicks away from it. From time to time I need to defy our technological accessibility if only for spite). Ordinarily I wouldn't have cared, but this song was by Tom Waits, the artist behind one of my quirky favorites, "All the World is Green". So I checked it out. Sure enough, it's great.
"Also Sprach Zarathustra", Deodato
I stumbled onto this one a while back when browsing through some of the iTunes genre and history categories. Never would have had the slightest lead to look it up on my own. It's kind of a disco/jazz take on the classic track immortalized in "2001: A Space Odyssey". It's the one playing when the monkey first uses the bone to smash up the skeleton. Deodato's version is a quirky gem, until you realize two minutes into it's total eight minute running time that you probably won't ever put it on a CD since you get the gist of the thing in about thirty seconds. Oh well.
Here's a fun legend about "2001". For those of you with dusty memories, "2001" is widely regarded as the first great sci-fi film, even though most of those same people still don't have any idea what the film is really about. The first two hours of the film is pretty straightforward, albeit a bit heavy in the dramatic slow-pan-past-the-cool-spaceship department. But the last ten-fifteen minutes or so is this post-psychedelic visual trip that somehow turns the lead character into a space baby after he flies into a star gate. You gotta love Stanley Kubrick. Anyway, word is hippies used to drop acid and go watch the last twenty minutes, which makes sense I guess. Maybe the sequence designed for them. But the better story is that Pink Floyd was originally tabbed to do the film's soundtrack, only to have the producers opt for the now-famous classical collection that adorns the film today. To be even more specific, in true "Dark Side of the Moon"/"Wizard of Oz" style, the opening title track off of the "Atom Heart Mother" album was supposedly the track Pink Floyd cut for the star gate sequence. I love these stories.
"I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms", The Modern Lovers
You can always tell a certified music aficionado by whether or not they've heard of the Modern Lovers. The Boston-based band is the link between the Velvet Underground/Stooges proto-punk era and the dawn of punk by way of the Ramones. The band leader, Jonathan Richman, has had a deserved cult following for years that I am a proud member of. I can't think of another artist that is honest in his music in quite the same way. He has a way of blending teen angst and innocence in the most sincere and genuine way. I could go on trying to describe this guy's stuff, but the better option is to just go listen to it yourself. "I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms" is a rare early cut from the 70's that I didn't have on any of my other compilations. After one listening, I have no idea why it missed the cut. JoJo lives!