Chart Flashback: 1983

I love Entertainment Weekly’s Chart Flashbacks, but I often disagree with their ratings. Let’s see how it goes this time as we journey back to junior high…

  1. Maniac by Michael Sembello (from Flashdance).  EW: A  JayTunes: C  Sorry EW, but it’s not a good song or a good movie. 
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics.  EW: A+  JayTunes: A.  One of the best from Annie Lennox… and that’s saying something.
  3. Safety Dance by Men Without Hats.  EW: B+  JayTunes: A.  This is still one of my favorite songs of the 80s.  I love the intro and the classic keyboard riff. 
  4. Puttin’ On the Ritz by Taco.  EW: B  JayTunes: B.  Nothing like synthesizing an Irving Berlin classic, but I like the Young Frankenstein version better.
  5. Tell Her About It by Billy Joel.  EW: B+  JayTunes: B.  Decent, but not one of Billy’s best.
  6. Every Breath You Take by The Police.  EW: A-  JayTunes: A.  A classic.
  7. She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer.  EW: A  JayTunes: C.  She probably did work hard for it, but I never cared for her music.
  8. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler.  EW: A  JayTunes: A.  One of the best power ballads ever.
  9. Human Nature by Michael Jackson.  EW:A  JayTunes: A.  One of Michael’s most underappreciated songs.  It is my favorite from the documentary This Is It.
  10. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya by Culture Club.  EW: A-  JayTunes: D.  I have never liked Culture Club, Boy George, or the word “Ya”.

Overall it’s a strong list and a decent job on the ratings by EW (other than inflating grades for Michael Sembello, Donna Summer, and Culture Club).  I can’t wait for the next flashback!

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Ed Sheeran and Keane

Not unlike the weather, I’ve been going through a bit of a dry spell when it comes to new music.  Thankfully I’ve come across a couple of nice tunes in that last couple of days that have quenched my thirst a bit. 

The first song is Lego House by Ed Sheeran.  You probably know him from his folksy hit The A Team.  This one is similar but a little more edgy.  Bonus points are awarded for using my son’s favorite toy in the title.

The second song is Sovereign Light Café by Keane.  It’s just a fun piano/synth pop song with a great hook.  If you don’t know much about Keane, you may also want to check out Silenced By the Night from their recent release Strangeland or Somewhere Only We Know (which I last heard in Winnie the Pooh).

Check them out!

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Brandi Carlile

With the release of “Bear Creek,” it is becoming increasingly difficult to narrow down Brandi Carlile’s best songs to a top ten list.  The album is full of her typical soulful singing, thoughtful lyrics and pleasing acousting arrangments.  Unfortunately I had to cut a few decent songs had to go to whittle it to ten, but what remains is the best of the best:

What do you think?  Did I miss any?


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Happy Birthday, MTV!

MTV debuted on August 1, 1981 at 12:01 am by playing “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.  I don’t really remember that video very well, but I do remember…

Of course the channel is total garbage now, but it did have its moments back in the day. 

Speaking of the history of music, here’s a good commentary on how the music industry has changed over the years from The Oatmeal.

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Is It 1994 Again?

Just 18 short years ago, my favorite songs included When I Come Around by Green Day, What Would You Say by Dave Matthews Band, and Run-Around by Blues Traveler.  Today, all three groups have new singles out that are all worth a listen.  Check them out:

I can’t wait to hear what these groups do it 2030….

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A pop star with a great voice, wholesome image, and excellent songs?  Sign me (and my daughter) up!  It’s not often that you can put together a top 10 list after two albums, but here it is (in alphabetical order):

I guess most of those songs (other than the excellent covers) are pretty obvious, but you know what’s not on the list?  Rumour Has It.  I’ve just never liked the feel of that song.

One more point: you’re probably thinking that I’m really late in recognizing one of the dominant forces in popular music, but I did give her most recent album a mention way back in March 2011.  That counts for something, right?

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Top 10 Storm Songs

… and the heat finally gives way to storms (as it did this evening).  Here are my 10 favorite songs with “storm” in the title (in alphabetical order):

Enjoy the songs (while taking all necessary precautions to keep yourself safe)!

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Top 10 Hot/Heat Songs

It looks like our rough stretch of oppressive heat is just about over, but my top 10 songs with “hot” or “heat” in the title should stick around for much longer:

Have any other suggestions?  Stay cool! 

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Happy Independence Day!

On our country’s birthday, I thought I’d take a walk down (recent) memory land and throw a few things at you: my Top 10 Patriotic Songs list from 2009, my Top 10 America Songs from 2008, and this little slice of Americana from John Mellencamp in one of his lasts grasps for fame in 2006:

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Chart Flashback: 1984

Entertainment WeeklyEntertainment Weekly published and regraded the Top 10 songs from 1984.  I’ll rank them from best to worst from my perspective today:

  1. When Doves Cry by Prince.  (#3 in 1984).  This is what it sounds like when you write a good song.
  2. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper (#7).  She was so unusual, but this song had some staying power.
  3. Dancing In the Dark (#2) by Bruce Springsteen.  Not the Boss’ best, but I had to rank him higher than…
  4. The Heart of Rock & Roll by Huey Lewis and the News (#6).  A total fluff song, but it makes you feel good.
  5. Jump (For My Love) by The Pointer Sisters (#5).  I’m So Excited that this song in the same spot.  Incidentally, Jump was the biggest hit from Van Halen’s album 1984.  Coincidence?
  6. The Reflex by Duran Duran (#1).  I didn’t understand their appeal in 1984 and I still don’t today.
  7. Self Control by Laura Branigan (#4).  Gloria and Solitare would have been higher.
  8. Almost Paradise by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson (#10).  I was never a big Footloose fan, but I’m pretty sure I played this song on piano in a “top hits of the 80’s” book.
  9. Let’s Hear It for the Boy (#9).  Another one from Footloose. Let’s hear it for not getting last place!
  10. Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol (#10).  If it’s not White Wedding or Rebel Yell I don’t want to see it on a list.

I think the video below somewhat accurately summarizes the state of music in 1984.  Enjoy!

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