The Single Almost Ruined It

It happens once in a while that a relatively “unknown” (to the mainstream audience, doesn’t mean they don’t have a large following necessarily) band gains traction with a radio single. It used to happen a lot more often when people actually listened to the radio. You know, back in the ’00s, ’90s, and before, when people actually listened to radio.

There have been a lot of bands I’ve loved from the very first single. Or music video (back when television music stations actually played music videos). But, there have been some I’ve found out I liked in spite of that radio single. Because sometimes record companies choose the one song on the album that appeals to the masses, but doesn’t necessarily sound like any of the rest of the album.

Take the Plain White T’s for example. This is the song that introduced them to the mainstream audience:

It was ok, but it doesn’t really sound like the rest of their stuff. It’s more “radio-friendly,” I guess you could say. For the record, this is one of my favorites of theirs:

That was from the album before “Hey There Delilah,” but a lot of the other songs from that same album sound like that, too. It seems the taste of fame from that song got to them a bit, because they released a couple other songs in that same vein. But for the most part they went back to making music that sounds like their own music. Unfortunately, many other bands tend to start homogenizing their music when their popularity starts slipping (*cough* Maroon 5 *cough*). Many newer bands just start out that way in hopes of becoming famous. But I don’t want to hear the same thing from every band out there.

Musicians, keep your individuality and style. The reality show, mass produced music may make you fans for a minute, but giving them something unique will bring you dedicated fans who will support you way past your fifteen minutes of fame.

Have you ever been turned off by a song you heard on the radio, only to find out the band or artist had better music? Do you think all the songs on the radio are starting to blend together? Or have I just been listening to rock/punk music way too long to appreciate the differences in today’s pop?

That’s Where It Started

I love when I’m listening to music and a particular song strikes me as, “Hey! That’s the first song I ever heard from this band.”

Sometimes I will just start wondering, “What was the first song from this band?” It will bug me until I finally hear the song and have that epiphany.

Of course, most of the time I can’t be bothered to actually look it up. I end up wondering for days until I actually hear the song.

I can’t be the only one who does this, right? Or am I just crazy?

Do you ever find yourself recognizing songs as the first you heard from a band? What about looking it up to see what it was?

I Know Who I Want to Take Me Home

Or at least the song I want to listen to on the way. It’s no secret that I am a major Foo Fighters and They Might Be Giants fan, or that I have a soft spot for old boy bands. But if you were to ask me my favorite song, I will always, hands-down answer “Closing Time” by Semisonic.

I can’t really explain why I love this song so much. For some reason, I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it as an eight-year-old.The video probably helped. It’s one that has always stuck in my head. The split screen style and way they both kept moving back and forth between the two places on the two sides of the screen, just barely missing each other, has always been so cool to me. Also, VH1 is how I found a lot of my favorite music in the 90s.

No matter what kind of music I’ve been into over the years, I’ve always loved this song. So much that it’s one I’ve fantasized about covering onstage some day. If the opportunity ever arose, that is.

What is your favorite song of all time? What song would you love to have the opportunity to perform?

I Hate This Song, but I Can’t…Change…Stations

There are many songs I can’t stand. I am especially swift at changing channels when a One Direction song comes on (though that doesn’t actually seem to occur that often anyway). But there is one song I despise and yet am compelled to listen to every time I hear it.

That, my friends, is “Lightning Crashes” by Live. A song, like many, that annoys me immensely. Yet, unlike the others, I know every. Single. WORD! And cannot help myself from singing along.

I’m not sure if it’s just that this song was everywhere in the 90s (though my mom didn’t really remember it), or if it’s managed to ingrain itself in my head for another reason. It really is frustrating every time it comes on the radio. The good part is I don’t listen to the radio that much. Pandora’s 90s alt station plays it quite often, though. One of these days I’m going to have to force myself to give it a thumbs down.

Do you have a song you can’t stand, but end up listening to often anyway? What is your least favorite song right now?

Whose Song Is It Anyway?

August is going to be music month here. I feel like I’ve been neglecting the subject lately. Also, I just got a new microphone and had a week home alone to test it out. Here’s my first experiment:

This is just a quick recording of the song “Iko Iko” which has been covered by everyone from The Grateful Dead to Cyndi Lauper to Aaron Carter. I used the lyrics from The Dixie Cups’ version (because they all seem to have slightly different wording) which has been coming up on our house radio a lot lately. I also found something interesting when looking for the lyrics.

In 1953, James “Sugar Boy” Crawford released a song called “Jock-a-mo” with his band, Sugar Boy and the Cane Cutters. It failed to make the charts. About ten years later, The Dixie Cups were in the recording studio and started an impromptu version of “Iko Iko” while drumming on chairs, an ashtray, and a Coke bottle. They had learned it from hearing their grandmother sing it, but didn’t know of its origin.

In 1965, The Dixie Cups’ version became a hit and James Crawford sued. The suit was eventually settled with Crawford making no claim of ownership or authorship, but receiving 25% of public performances. It didn’t end there, though. In 1990, the band’s former manager, Joe Jones, filed a copyright registration alleging he and his family had written the song. The band sued him after he licensed the song outside of North America. In 2002, the jury unanimously affirmed The Dixie Cups were the sole writers of “Iko Iko”.

It seems crazy that such a simple, catchy song could create such legal controversy spanning over forty years. Perhaps that helped it stay popular in the long run. In addition to the covers, The Dixie Cups’ version itself has appeared on the soundtrack to many movies, TV shows, and even commercials.

All information is from this Wikipedia article. It’s a really interesting read, if you want more information on the various versions.

The Sad State Of Boy Bands

I don’t know what’s worse: that I can make that statement, or that I did. You see, I started thinking of this a little while back after an exchange in the car with the baby, We were listening to my iPod when he called out, “No! Don’t sing along!” I had to inform him that I was not singing along, songs just used to have harmonies. That got me thinking about why I don’t particularly like the boy bands of today, like One Direction, but I still love LFO, Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, and New Kids on the Block (♫ The right stuff ♫ Seriously cannot even think their name without getting that stuck in my head).

(This is the song we were listening to in the car.)

These groups were just as manufactured as the current groups are, but they were much better at being a group. Probably because the had a few years of development instead of being thrown together on a TV show and expected to produce an album and concert tour immediately

Another big thing that I feel is missing is a true harmony. I guess it’s to be expected when you have five guys who were auditioning to be the next big solo star and tell them they are now part of a group. You can tell these guys are all trying to be the Justin of the group and trying to launch their solo careers before the group has properly had time to establish.

Basically, boy bands of today could really benefit from realizing they are part of a boy band. (And perhaps working on hitting their notes. Yikes!) Maybe I’m just missing the “performance” element that brought them all together. Newsflash: those other four guys aren’t your back-up singers, they are your bandmates.

What do you think of boy bands, current or old? Did you have the posters on your wall growing up, or think they weren’t “real music”?

7 Down, 5 to Go

Once again, I am copping out on today’s post by bringing you an update on my goals for 2015. As you probably don’t recall, I started the year with a list of six goals. And then I shortened it to five after a month. To refresh your memory, the revised list is:

  • Film/post 10 videos
  • Complete 52 projects (large or small)
  • Place 5 pattern on Ravelry for sale
  • Write 12 songs
  • Post 2 posts per week

The most obvious update I can give first is the posting. I have tried, mostly, to get two up each week. Sometimes it is easier than others. I have missed a total of ten, but I may try to get a few extra posted to bring the total to 104 by the end of the year. We’ll see.

Three of the remaining four goals are easy to report on: I’ve made no videos, written no finished songs, and posted no patterns on Ravelry this year. Since I am mostly off this next week, I’m working on remedying at least one of those things.

Now to the counting of the projects:

Project Category Completed Projects
Household sewing (patches, buttons, hems, etc.) 4
Cross-stitch 2
Needlepoint 2
Knitting 6
Rainbow Looms 2
Baking 3
Papercrafts 1
Crochet 1
Painting 2
Building 1
Total 24

A total of 24 projects so far is a bit behind for the 31st week of the year, but Christmas is coming up (I’m planning to write that list this weekend to give me some time to get stuff done) so that will help me add more to that number.

As I’ve expected, I am way behind at this halfway point to the year. But, perhaps I can catch up if I really work at it. Perhaps.