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Power Pop Wednesday: Yes, Please Do Go All the Way

In 1974, when this song came out, I was 6 years old, and yet I find that memories of it playing on AM radio still bubble up from way back then.

It was one of those songs that, in retrospect, should have told me that I would eventually become a huge fan of the source material the Raspberries tapped, which was really Rubber Soul– and Revolver-era Beatles.

It’s also a reminder, at least for me, not to do anything half-assed. Granted, that sort of going all the way isn’t exactly what the song is about (you can read about that in another posting), but it never hurts to have little musical cues throughout your playlist reminding you to take care of business … as in actual business, rather than the other kind of wink-wink, nudge-nudge business.

Funky Friday: The Power of the Writing Remix

Witness Big Audio Dynamite II, culled from the wreckage of The Clash and infused with funk, hip hop and the earliest 1990s incarnations of electronic dance music.

What you might also notice is that an integral portion of this highly danceable tune is the loop from the Clash song “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” The guitar riff, the “woo!” – it’s all lifted straight from the song former band member Mick Jones helped write and one that has since become one of the band’s signature songs. Continue reading → Funky Friday: The Power of the Writing Remix

Power Pop Wednesday: Back From the Capital of Obsfucation and Misdirection, Enjoy Some Smoke and Mirrors

OK Go – The Writing’s On the Wall from 1stAveMachine on Vimeo.

The family and I visited Washington, D.C., earlier this week to do the required introduction of the young ones to Our Nation’s Capital. I might post some pictures if I feel so compelled to share.

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OK, you convinced me with your infernal whining. Here you go.

 

Overall, the city was much nicer than I remember it being during my last trip, when I was my son’s age and it was the 1970 and cities felt it was their duty to be as skanky as possible.

Regardless of the bad rap that D.C. gets from pretty much everyone, I found the people to be exceptionally friendly, and not just in the tourist-centric spots. The streets are quieter, the public transportation cleaner and people just seem generally more polite. It’s a reminder that even though lots of folks in my home state of South Carolina consider it “The North,” the heavy-duty influence of southern Maryland and Virginia made it very much a Southern city. Continue reading → Power Pop Wednesday: Back From the Capital of Obsfucation and Misdirection, Enjoy Some Smoke and Mirrors

Funky Friday: Lyle Lovett Proves Genre Only Means Something If You Let It

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you “Penguins,” one of out-and-out funkiest songs ever laid down by someone generally classified as a country artist.

But if you took a country music fan – the Coors Light-drinking, NASCAR-watching, truck-driving, ATV riding type of country music fan – and asked him about Lyle Lovett, chances are he’d look at you like my dog does when he’s confused about what I’m asking him to do.

That’s because on the radar screen of your average “hot” country radio listener, Lovett isn’t even a blip. He’s too funny looking (real country stars are pretty-boy handsome with a rustic edge), he’s too bluesy (real country stars have twang galore and don’t use all those annoying horns and … what the hell is that – a cello?) and he sings about the wrong stuff (no songs about getting wasted on cheap beer from a Solo cup while partying in a field), etc.

Add to that the fact that some of his songs are actually funny, obviously taking an opportunity to tweak the country music stereotypes that remain so pervasive, and he seems tailor made to piss off typical country fans. Continue reading → Funky Friday: Lyle Lovett Proves Genre Only Means Something If You Let It

May the 4th Be With You! Here’s some Star Wars-Themed Disco to Help You Celebrate!

As I constantly remind my children (and pretty much anyone under 30 who will listen) I was fortunate to appreciate the arrival of Star Wars in its perfect, undistilled and most innocent form – in the theater in 1977 when the first film (and A New Hope will always be the first film) hit theaters.

Along with all the other cultural touchstones brought on by the film and its two sequels, it’s often lost on the younger folks of today that Star Wars landed in the cultural consciousness smack in the middle of disco’s surge out of Studio 54 and into the American mainstream. So naturally, we’d have to have a disco version of John Williams’ iconic Star Wars theme music, along with disco-beat hand claps and awesome pew-pew-pew blaster fire sound effects in the background. Continue reading → May the 4th Be With You! Here’s some Star Wars-Themed Disco to Help You Celebrate!

Funky Friday: Featuring Special Surprise Guest Star Christopher Walken

Musically or thematically, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory wouldn’t be my first (or even fifth) Funky Friday pick for today, simply because it’s a somewhat generic example of late 1980s-early 1990s dance club rap fusion now more likely to be heard at weddings than anywhere else. It stood out at the time, but you, dear readers, can let me know in the comments how well you think it’s aged. Continue reading → Funky Friday: Featuring Special Surprise Guest Star Christopher Walken

Sometimes Your Musical Robot Algorithm-Fueled Jukebox Actually Gets It Right

It’s a snow Monday (damn it) here in the Philadelphia suburbs and a two-hour school delay for my kids, so I honestly needed a little something to kick me in the butt and get me going this morning. Thank goodness Pandora was feeling my need and kicked off the morning playlist with this classic white-boy boogaloo college party rave-up some of us actually remember from 1979. Although I really wouldn’t recommend dancing to this in the shower.

It was a great example of the perfect song at the required time, something that I always thought human DJs should aspire to. Thus, it always bugs me a little when real radio people ignore the needs of their listeners by playing downbeat songs at the top and bottom of the morning hours. That’s when people’s alarms go off, after all, and those folks who still wake up to radio need a little something to motivate them out from under the covers and face the day, not bury their heads and hide from it.

So thank you, Pandora, for doing today what some DJs can’t remember to do, even if on a slight delay. Enjoy!