At my niece’s 17th birthday party last weekend we brought the laptop and played a familiar game. We either went on to iTunes or Youtube and did a little “Name That Tune”: play a few seconds of a pop song and we’d all try to guess the title. Another nephew has some kind of app on his Verizon phone that allows him to access songs and lyrics. Read the rest of this entry »
Full disclosure: I was a pretty hardcore Jamiroquai fan back in the day. In the early 90s I was in Paris and inside the Virgin Megastore I heard a pretty amazing album, “Emergency on Planet Earth” on the headphones. Its eclectic mix of jazzy beats and funk on what was a paean to the horrors that we have caused to our environment made them noticeable to world audiences who also noticed the lanky lead singer, Jay Kay, the one that appeared in a furry buffalo hat.
They seemed to be very popular in Europe before they caught on here; in fact, the “Return of the Space Cowboy” US club tour in 1995 was played to small audience–they even performed at a tiny dive bar in the Rockridge district of Oakland, CA (which is now a lonely laundromat). Read the rest of this entry »
Where did Summer ’09 go? It’s Labor Day weekend and we’re already making plans to go back to school or work after our much-deserved vacations. Time to pack up all our gear and tuck away all of our memories that kept us on the beaches and parties during these past warm months of summer. With it, we remember all those songs that somehow made the summer distinctive. Read the rest of this entry »
Ah, the end of summer. Time to pack in all those pool parties, the outdoor barbecues, and maybe have one more fling out on the beach before –ugh—school or work starts in earnest in September. Summers are, after all, made for relaxing and not really having a worry in the world. High gas prices? Pschaw! Georgia being pelted by Russian surface-to-air-missiles? Where’s Georgia? (Or where’s Russia?) Democratic Convention starting tomorrow in Denver? Ugh. What a snoozefest. Offshore drilling as a strategy to help the energy crisis? Offshore what? Dude, let me get back to my tunes. Don’t we want to remember this time for all the cool tunes that summers are made for?
There is some truth in this. Every summer does seem to have a song that gets a lot of airplay and seems to blare out of every speaker, window sill, bodega, monster SUV, or requisite poolside. Only now we don’t really say “airplay” too much anymore, now that we are in the MP3 age. That iTunes is the most preeminent venue for consuming music and, in the parlance of the record industry, it’s the place where all the new music “drops” every Tuesday. And given that a lot of young people are home during the summer, what better time to focus on those songs that linger, those tunes that you just can’t get out of your head, no matter how hard you try. Read the rest of this entry »
This has to be one of the oddest and most haunting things I’ve heard this summer –and it’s not necessarily something you’d play outside at a barbecue.
Remember the 1984 chestnut “Footloose” –the movie and its soundtrack? Kevin Bacon moves to right-wing, uptight town where dancing and rock and roll music are outlawed by a morally-correct minister (John Lithgow), and then bags his doe-eyed daughter (Lori Singer), all of which culminates in a rousing dance number, indeed a metaphor back then for freedom and, uh, breaking the rules. 24 years ago indeed, and it made a star out of Bacon and was a so-so film. Need a refresher from the movie itself? Come on, you know you want it (video below).
Of course, this being the 80s, all those musical films had their own soundtrack. “Footloose” contained a lot of singles, among them the title track by Kenny Loggins (he who would make a career out of schlocky soundtrack tunes). Also, you can’t forget the bombastic wonder that was Bonnie Tyler and her “Holding Out For a Hero”, “Almost Paradise”, a duet with the girl from Heart and the lead singer from Loverboy, the enormous pop hit “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” by Deniece Williams (you remember the scene in the movie, come on!) or even the kinda silly Read the rest of this entry »