Tag Archives: Must Hear Before You Die

1001 Songs Challenge: Day Thirty-Eight

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Ahh…Wednesday. The middle of the road for most of us in our week. The only thing I don’t like is that after Memorial Day, it doesn’t feel like a Wednesday. It’s just a random day that’s throwing me off a bit. Maybe I’m a creature of habit, I don’t know. Anyway, I actually felt a little excited about Day 38, even if I wasn’t 100% on the track listing…

 

1. Superfly – Curtis Mayfield

For some bizarre reason, I recognize this…and I have no idea why. I daresay I heard it in a movie, but I can’t be sure. The track is interesting, especially with Mayfield’s falsetto. It’s a decent listen, especially because Mayfield goes with the instrumental rather than fighting for dominance on the song.

2. Crazy Horses – The Osmonds

The introduction to this song made me feel like a migraine was coming on. When the vocals kicked in, it wasn’t that bad, but if I’m honest, it kind of felt like the Jonas Brothers were trying to sound hardcore. It wasn’t a favorite for me, if I’m honest, although it does say a lot for the times; this was what was popular. But we won’t talk about the ridiculous video with the strange chicken dance. Creepy as hell.

3. All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Very familiar. Almost overly so, thanks to the song being featured on a million commercials. The song is iconic, but I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that the lyrics are a bit odd, if not nonsensical…

4. Personality Crisis – New York Dolls

This is one song I’ve heard a million times, but would never be able to tell you who it was by, or really what it was about. I like this song more for the actual music than the lyrics or vocals; the piano is especially brilliant. In all honesty, it’s an electrifying song that is packed with character and energy.

5. The Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet

Why do I always think of Daddy Daycare when I hear this? I feel like I shouldn’t even have to talk about this song, because it is so legendary. So far, this is my favorite on today’s playlist. It’s fun and makes you want to jump and sing. It’s the perfect song to have on a long drive, because it makes you forget time’s even passing. I remember liking it as a kid, and not knowing why. Now I get it; it’s wild entertainment.

6. Jolene – Dolly Parton

The original woman-to-woman song; if you want to hear a plea of heartbreak, this is it. Dolly Parton can easily sell a story, and her vocals are incredible. She pleads with the character of Jolene to leave her husband alone, and expresses a vulnerability that is unforgettable.

7. Next – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

So strange. It seems to follow a tango sound of sorts at the beginning, The lyrics are so bizarre, but there is something hypnotizing about this song. I think it might be because it’s so theatrical and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band plays into that. It’s more of a song that is being shouted than sang, though I could never imagine it being sung.

8. 20th Century Boy – T. Rex

Now here was a great song. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about a song by a group named “T.Rex,” but I guess that will teach me not to judge a band by its name…as I so often wind up doing. There was something almost anthemic about it, although that may because of the booming choral harmonies.

9. Rock On – David Essex

When I first hear the “Hey Kid,” I thought this might be a “Benny and The Jets” imitation/inspiration. But it was a pure rock song, with a live feel to it. I loved that I felt like I was in a venue, listening to this being played live in front of me, with booming vocals that are impossible to ignore.

10. Search and Destroy – Iggy and The Stooges

I’ve never been a huge Iggy and The Stooges fan, if I’m honest. More than anything, I just tolerated them. It’s nothing personal. However, I have found that I didn’t mind this track. It was a bit noisy, but the guitar makes up for any faults I may notice. I loved the guitar on this track. It was superb.

 

Day 38 done and dusted. I cannot believe it’s almost been 40 days…or the fact that the challenge is almost halfway done! Today’s playlist wasn’t as incredible as I had hoped, but it was still fun to listen to, in all truth. No really terrible tracks on this one…thankfully.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Thirty-Six

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Monday Morning Blues…oh, how I dread Mondays. Except this one. It’s Memorial Day! So today, I feel a bit better, because I get to sleep in. Yay! I also want to take right now to say thank you to all the amazing men and women who have served in the armed forces. Thanks for all you do!

 

1. Willin’ – Little Feat

I’m not sure how I feel about this song. Parts of me really likes it, especially in the chorus. The other part of me isn’t that into it, because I don’t hear a very distinguished character. However, that may be my problem, because I’ve grown up hearing stereotypical summery-sounding songs in the country genre.

2. It’s a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl – Faust

I really wanted to like this. I really, really did. Sadly, I’m not a fan of overly repetitive lines…and in saying that, I mean it literally says ONE thing the entire song: “It’s a rainy day, sunshine girl.” How is this even on the list? Is it on there so you appreciate songs with actual writing going into them? If so, mission accomplished. I hate this and really love the songs I hear that are fully done.

3. Sail Away – Randy Newman

Oh thank God. After the disaster I just heard, this is a miracle to my ears. Randy Newman has a lovely voice that is familiar and soulful and just makes people feel good. This song is a stunning listen, with imagery and soft piano that melts like butter. I loved listening to this, and could have played it on repeat quite happily.

4. Silver Machine – Hawkwind

Such a strange track, but it’s so good. There’s something very entrancing about the song in itself. The rhythmic style and electrifying energy is a wonderful addition to the vibe of the 70s.

5. Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones

I’m kind of wanting to scream “Okay! We get it! The Rolling Stones are iconic! Enough already!”…but then this song starts and I find  myself enamored with it. It’s big, booming, and full of…life. It’s just an impressive track.

6. Thirteen – Big Star

I loved this. What a sweet song. An innocent love song in the best form, “Thirteen” is a beautiful, simple melody that will make anyone fall madly in love with its charming style. I won’t even lie, I listened to this on repeat.

7. Big Eyed Beans From Venus – Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band

This a hippie song for sure. The drug references are startling in some ways, I think for how they frequent the song. The overall sound of the song is fun though, and it sure as hell beats that monstrosity of track number two.

8. Rocket Man – Elton John

Here’s a very familiar track. Of course, despite all the times I’ve heard it in my nineteen years of living, I now associate it with Big Bang Theory. It’s a very lively track, and it’s unforgettable to anyone who hears it. I think it kind of embodies Elton John in many ways; he went out and left a larger than life footprint on the entertainment industry. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

9. Mama Weer All Crazy Now – Slade

I can definitely hear the transition into the style that became popular in the 1980s, despite the fact that this song is only from 1972. This is like pure rock and roll mixed with early hair metal, and for some bizarre reason, I enjoy it. Guess we’re all crazy now…

10. Rocky Mountain High – John Denver

Another familiar one; thankfully. It’s a soft, melodic little tune. There’s something very tranquil about it. It’s the kind of song you can imagine swaying to in the kitchen while barefoot, just enjoying a lazy afternoon.

 

Today’s playlist was a total doozy. Granted, the majority of the songs are very good, but the Dreaded Track Two left a nasty taste in my mouth. Thankfully, Big Star’s “Thirteen” turned the entire thing around for me.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Thirty-Five

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I was pretty prepared for Day Thirty-five. I had the songs listed and ready to go, even having the Youtube clips of them already up and running. For the first time since the beginning of this challenge, I didn’t feel quite as flustered. Perhaps that will also lead to a better listening.

 

1. Peace Train – Cat Stevens

The ultimate hippy song. Vocally, it was very choppy, which I wasn’t a fan of, and, considering this was written in the 1970s, it only makes me feel more like a cynical product of the 21st century. Yes, Cat, the peace train may exist, but I think we might have missed it.

2. Superstar – The Carpenters

The Carpenters; one of the classics my mom used to play in the car like they were going out of fashion. To me, they’ve always been eerie in some way; an incredible, bizarre way. This song has a drawl about it that makes it sound to melancholy, along with the fact that it is about love lost. The chorus picks up and is really catchy. The contrast of the tones throughout the song may be why it’s such a classic.

3. A Nickel and a Nail – O.V. Wright

I actually really liked this song, and I had initially been unsure of how I would feel. However, I love the narrative behind the one, about a man who falls on hard times, unbeknownst to those around him. The blues feel of this song is incredible, and probably what makes it so fascinating to me. It reminds me very much of “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” by Bing Crosby.

4. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – Marvin Gaye

While I wasn’t huge on the instrumental of this song, I did enjoy how well it painted a picture in my mind. When Marvin Gaye was singing, I was impressed by the vocal range, but I didn’t enjoy his over-done scatting. It was drawn out, when he could have fit in another verse, or even a solo of one of the band members.

5. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations

I’ve always loved the bass-heavy introduction of this song. The “funk” sound wasn’t my favorite, by far, but it’s tolerable once the song kicks in. To me, this song has a city quality, if that makes any sense. The vocals on the song, with the harmonics and signature flare of The Temptations, really round the track out.

6. I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers

Most people will recognize this song from its introduction. I love the soulful feel of this song, and I feel like that’s one thing that can be applied to a lot of the earlier music, in comparison to modern tunes: they had soul. There is something I really like about this song. I think it might just be that it’s a type of “living large” song. You can’t listen to this without smiling and swaying.

7. Soul Makossa – Manu Dibango

This song is crazy. It’s got  constant beat that makes you stop dead in your tracks and listen, whether you want to or not. I can recognize bit of its sound from other tracks that may have drawn inspiration from it, especially in the guitar department. I liked how artsy the track felt.

8. Superstition – Stevie Wonder

As a kid, I was basically obsessed with this song. I pleaded with my Grandad to play it again and again, and, bless him, he did. With soul and style, Stevie Wonder created a classic. I can’t imagine anyone not loving this song, because it is a masterpiece. It’s unique and creative in ways that other artists could never replicate.

9. Elected – Alice Cooper

Well, it’s not “School’s Out,” but it’s still a decent Alice Cooper track. The thing I like most about this is the fact that it solidifies the idea that Alice Cooper has a sound distinguishable amongst any other. He basically just shouts “Elected” throughout the majority, playing a game of word association. “Elected,” “respected,” “selected.”

10. Sam Stone – John Prine

This is really about a veteran, and speaks of the effects of war. I was impressed by the narrative, but the overall sound of the song kind of made me want to slam my pillow over my head…personally.

 

Overall, I was impressed today. I liked the soul and rock and roll, and the narrative styles of most of the songs. Let’s hope tomorrow makes me smile as much as today did.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Thirty-Three

 

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Day Thirty-three was a doozy. Thursday normally is for me. It’s always the busiest, longest day, behind Monday. Listening to these songs was a project I had to squeeze in, and, looking at the tracks, I found myself feeling uncertain.

 

1. Bang a Gong (Get It On) – T. Rex

Recognizing this from sound, I can remember not being sure of it as a kid. Now, I quite like it. It’s got a pure, rock and roll charm to it. It’s simple and easy sound paired with its impressive lyrics make this song as iconic as it is.

2. Blackwater Side – Anne Briggs

Despite having a very folksy sound, the spirit in this song screams “punk.” I love Briggs’s vocals. On this track, she really shines. Her powerful vocals are accompanied by a quiet, soft instrumental on guitar, making her voice the main event.

3. I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Crazy Horse

A melancholy tune with a country/folk rock tone to it, I found that I was entranced by this track and all its glory. It truly is gorgeous. It’s a ballad with a pleading, desperate sound. It’s so sad in many ways, but t’s the emotion that makes it so powerful and memorable.

4. A Case of You – Joni Mitchell

You want raw, gut wrenching emotion, Joni Mitchell is your woman. This song is stunning, but so sad…and filled with so much angst. It’s rich with raw emotional power, so much so, it could bring even the toughest person to tears.

5. Crayon Angels – Judee Sill

I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to like this song, but I loved it. There’s something so easy and stunning about in the melody and in the careful enunciation of each word. Sill is brilliant on this track.

6. Famous Blue Raincoat – Leonard Cohen

This is a very sad little song, with each line sounding like a spoken word poem with a bit more melody than is the norm. It’s a narrative about a love triangle that leads to the end of a relationship. In the same way that Dolly Parton sings to the predator of her man in “Jolene,” Cohen seems to be singing this melancholy tune to the man who has caused him so much hurt.

7. Chalte Chalte – Lata Mangeshkar

I don’t really know how to explain how I felt about this song, if I’m honest. It starts off very slow, and then the drums kick in and so does Lata’s stunning, high-pitched vocals. I may not understand what she’s saying, but that doesn’t mean I find myself any less fascinated by the music. It truly is a cultural gem.

8. Maggie May – Rod Stewart

I’m not a big Rod Stewart fan, although I do like this song. The track is tells a very cliche` “Mrs. Robinson” story, and the rhymes might be a bit simplistic, but I find it to be a surprisingly happy song. Despite the relationship described, the song is very optimistic, with the acoustic guitar really rounding it out.

9. Imagine – John Lennon

A legendary song. I dare say I don’t know one person who doesn’t know this song. It’s iconic. The only thing I can honestly say is that the melody of the verses seem to have no umph, and make me feel a little “blah.” I know, I know, I sound so articulate right now.

10. Laughing – David Crosbee

I love how melodic this song is, and how much character each verse seems to have. Despite being called “Laughing,” it’s not a fast-paced, funny song. With its slow, bass-heavy melodies, it’s easy to still be enchanted by it, especially when you throw in the great vocal melodies.

 

There it goes. Day Thirty-three flying by and the challenge slowly progressing. I was exhausted and not looking forward to today’s playlist, but I found myself really enjoying it. There are some great tracks on this list.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Thirty

ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO BE POSTED ON May 19th, 2014. HOWEVER, DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, IT WAS NOT.

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Yay! So far, I’ve survived a month of this challenge! So far, so good. There’s some great tunes on today’s list, which kind of takes away my Monday blues.

1. Kick Out The Jams – The MCS

If you’re looking for a song that is pure rock and roll, this is it. It’s the song your parents warned you about and the one your great-grandparents detested. It’s loud, it’s obnoxious, and it’s all about amping up a crowd. While I don’t love this song, I do like its vivacious energy that doesn’t seem to back down.

2. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5

Ah, young Michael Jackson. Even as a child, the guy had vocal skills that were next-level. I dare you to listen to this without smiling. Despite the sad subject, this song is happy as hell.

3.. The Thrill Is Gone – BB King

B.B. King is a classic. If you haven’t listened to this man’s music before, you’re missing out. With a stunning bluesy style, King makes his guitar sing (please excuse the rhyming, as it is unintentional) with all the emotion that engrains itself in B.B.’s vocals. If you’re looking for a heart-wrenching, emotion-packed song, this is it in its rawest form.

THE 1970s HAVE BEGUN!

4. Up Around The Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival

I won’t even lie. The title of this song immediately made my mind flash to “Just Around The River Bend” from Disney’s Pocahontas. But no, this is not the beloved Disney tune. This another tune you’ll recognize as soon as you hear that opening riff, especially if you’ve watched any car commercial in the last seven years or so. In all fairness, I can see why it’s used in advertising; it’s an effortlessly cool track, with a power that clearly packs a memorable punch.

5. Layla – Derek and The Dominos

I now know where the surge of Laylas in the world received their names. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this track, but the more I listened, the more I liked it. This a familiar cliche` of a woman who brings a man to his knees, and inspires a ballad. The guitar is also phenomenal.

6. War Pigs – Black Sabbath

I’ve got to admit, I love Black Sabbath; thank you Adam Sandler for introducing me to this wonderful band as a child via the film Little Nicky. The police sirens start up, and it’s easy to feel the anticipation kick in. An anti-war song, I am amazed by the lyrics of this track; they are so well written.

7. When The Revolution Comes – The Last Poets

An incredible spoken-word poem of sorts, I was floored by how much I loved this song. It’s easy to see that this is where hip-hop found its roots. I love spoken-word/slam poetry as it is, but this gave me a whole new perspective of it as a whole, really pushing the boundaries for its time.

8. Band of Gold – Freda Payne

One that my mom and grandparents played often. I got used to singing along from a pretty young age. I will happily declare that I still sing along to this every time. I love it. It’s so well written and such a great narrative of a young bride who ends up in a bad marriage. When the husband finally leaves, she has legitimately nothing but a “band of gold.”

9. Love The One You’re With – Stephen Stills

A great feel-good track, which has become iconic. Most people at least know the chorus, and it’s easy to hear why! It’s ridiculously catchy.

10. Fire and Rain – James Taylor

The guitar on this track is gorgeous. I recognize it by the sound of James Taylor’s voice coming through the speakers, and I find this song ridiculously perfect. There’s something so calming about it.

 

…and so ends a month of the 1001 Songs Challenge! Hard to believe the time has flown by that quickly. Now that the 1970s have begun, it’s going to be interesting to see the change in dynamics, and even the influence of the pop culture, politics, etc. As the Civil Rights Movement influenced the 60’s, so will the attitude of the people in the 1970s, as they began to feel a bit more open to the previously taboo.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Eighteen

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Woah! We’ve finally made it to Day Eighteen! It feels like time is flying, and yet I’m only into the 1960s. I recognized a handful of these songs, but was still precarious, as I know some of the music of the 60s can be a bit…trippy, for lack of a better word.

 

1. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and The Papas

I have heard this one before, and it’s never been a personal favorite. However, I can respect the wonderful melodies The Mamas and The Papas can produce, and lyrically, it’s a pretty impressive track.

2. Ticket To Ride – The Beatles

Out of all of the Beatles songs, this is not great musically, in my opinion. Vocally, it’s great, but the drums sound off in comparison to the rest of the song. It sounds like I’ve left another tab open with a totally different song playing (I don’t, just FYI). Thankfully, there is a break from that when the tambourine kicks in.

3. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

An example of a pure classic, with an opening riff learned by millions as their first. This song has been considered brilliant because it has a dual identity of being both simple and complex at the same time. Lyrically, it’s a commentary on commercialism. Musically, it’s just entertaining to listen to.

4. The Tracks of My Tears – The Miracles

Soft and melodic, with a beautiful duwop vibe. I don’t ever remember hearing this song, but I found myself falling in love with it pretty quickly. Everything about it is wonderful; it’s a very well-rounded track.

5. Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds

Everything seems to click when I hear this; I can finally place its melodic influence in the music I love best from the 90s. This is a great example of an early indie piece.

6. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is an icon; he’s been known for his ability to turn a phrase, and this song solidifies that sentiment. His almost screech of “How does it feel?!” really gives the song a personality that is filled with wit and attitude that is enviable.

7. People Get Ready – The Impressions

This is such a great song. It’s beautiful, with soulful harmonies and stunning guitar that is like melted butter –smooth.

8. Who Do You Love – The Preachers

With gritty vocals and rapidly paced instrumentation, rock and roll starts to turn into the genre that we recognize with ease now. The Preachers’ “Who Do You Love” is slightly repetitive, but its style seems to allot for that to a degree. Not a favorite, but still an interesting listen.

9. The Carnival Is Over – The Seekers

At first, I thought this song was a bit silly, partly because I was watching the video of the performance and the band’s stances are a little comical. However, when I give the song a good listen, it’s a beautiful track, and despite it’s less-than-optimistic lyrical persona, it does have a happy little tune to it. I found it to be a pleasant love song that touched on the frequently covered cliche–summer love.

10. Psycho – The Sonics

This song is fantastic. I love this song, and probably have since I was a kid. The upbeat energy with the excellent vocal delivery make this song fun to listen to.

 

I have to admit, Day Eighteen proved to be quite fun, with a lot of variety getting added in. The 1960s are proving to be a lot of fun to listen to.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Seventeen

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The 1960s had some amazing tunes. It’s when rock and roll really started to take shape, and funk slowly started to come about. In retrospect, it was an inspired time for music. During Day Seventeen’s playlist, I continually found myself listening with more and more enjoyment than ever.

 

1. You Really Got Me – The Kinks

This is the song that seemed to launch 1000 ships, with its legendary power chord and gritty style, it was a sleeper hit; no one could have seen it coming. I love how there is a blues-influence, along with a totally original, distorted sound via the guitar.

2. The House of The Rising Sun – The Animals

An old American folk song, The Animals took this song and made it their own, putting themselves and the song on the map. Personally, this is a favorite of mine, because it’s such a haunting track. It’s the type of song and slow, drawling melody and tone that you cannot get it out of your head. Incorporated with such a smooth blues style, and everything about it screams, “NUMBER ONE HIT.”

3. Go ‘Way From My Window – John Jacob Niles

Vocally, John Jacob Niles is impressive. The fact that he can go from haunting, deep, dark vocals to high, energetic falsetto is a feat all on its own. However, I will own up to the fact that this song freaks me out and is not my cup of tea. Whether or not it just reminds me of something from a horror film, I don’t know. All I know is that when John Jacob Niles popped up on my screen, and his voice filled my speakers, I admit to being a little spooked.

4. Amsterdam – Jacques Brel

Here’s another dark, brooding type of song. Something about it is very eery, and if you watch the performance, it’s easy to feel a little terrified, especially as the song’s pace picks up, accompanied by the frighteningly aggressive accordion. What’s more, the artist disappears at the end of the song, in a wave of theatrics that both delights and terrifies.

5. La paloma – Caterina Valente

Beautifully expansive, embracing all sorts of instrumentals to form a melody that will send shivers up your spine. Caterina Valente’s vocals shine, flowing beautifully without a hitch. Perfection like this is hard to come across unless it’s been doctored by today’s typical studio software.

6. Sinnerman – Nina Simone

An opus of sorts (it’s just over ten minutes long), Nina Simone gives this song a life all of its own, making it strong, but maintaining it’s spiritual beginnings. She was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and performed this at the end of her shows, which is easy to understand; the emotion she puts behind each “Power!” she cries is more than heard; it is felt. Musically, this song stands alone as a triumph, instrumentals accompanied by rapid clapping, breathing pure character into the track as it builds.

7. The Irish Rover – The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem

I’ll own up: this song made me giggle. As someone who has grown up hearing folk songs from all over, including Ireland, this was so familiar and wonderful, and each line was filled with humor, I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s such a great, early comedy song. I recommend this if you’re having a downer of a day.

8. Needle of Death- Bert Jansch

Of course, every playlist must contain a sad song or two, and this is by far the saddest. A beautiful expression of loss, Bert Jansch’s voice shines on this track, accompanied by the light strumming/plucking of an acoustic guitar, there is something so powerful and moving about this simple song.

9. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown

It’s impossible to dislike this song. I love how catchy it is; it so original and just a purely funk song. I will always remember the first time I heard this song: I was five years old and watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time (the scene where Robin Williams, as Mrs. Doubtfire, walks across the San Fran streets, on his way to work for Sally Field’s Mrs. Hillard).

10. La Boheme – Charles Aznavour

Now this man had a gorgeous, classical voice. From the opening notes, he delivers each word with every bit of feeling he seems to be able to muster, and it’s striking. Everything about this song is memorable.

 

…And so concludes Day Seventeen. I found today to be a perfect collection of songs; a great mix of tracks I knew and loved to sing along to, and songs that were entirely new to me. If today is any indication of how the next few are going to flow, I am more than excited to listen!

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day 16

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After a very tedious day, I will own up that listening to ten songs from the 60s was not on my “Yipee! I Can’t Wait To Do This!” list. But that’s the thing about music; it can change your entire mood. As I listened to these songs I neither had the time nor the energy for, I found a smile creeping its way back onto my face, and I suddenly felt a lot better.

 

1. Les copains d’abord – Georges Brassens

You know it’s going to be a good mix when it kicks off with some French tunes, and with Georges Brassens’s voice, it’s easy to confirm. His vocal ability is amazing as it is, but added in such eloquently delivered French, and I find myself in awe. The soft guitar is a perfect addition.

2. Samba Malato – Nicomedes Santa Cruz

While I respect it for the beauty of the instrumentation and such, the actual track itself wasn’t something I was overly sold on. I’m not sure why, but it just wasn’t something I could imagine playing over and over again.

3. Walk On By – Dionne Warwick

Here’s one I am all too familiar with. I must admit, it is a great song, and considering I’ve been singing along to it since I was about five and my mother wouldn’t stop pressing the repeat button, I had no choice but to love it. The beauty of it? The raw emotion Dionne Warwick manages to inflect with her voice.

4. Don’t Gimme No Lip Child – Dave Berry

From the opening with the harmonica to that first glimpse of the funk/psychedelic sound that dominated the 70s, it’s difficult not to be intrigued by this track. It’s not an amazing track, but there is definitely something charming about it.

5. E se domani – Mina

Such a soft, melodic opening, and then Mina’s feather light voice takes over, providing beautiful, breathy notes that most female singers will probably envy, especially as she approaches those larger notes filled with so much character.

6. The Girl From Ipanema – Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the beautifully soft strumming of the guitar accompanying a velvet-like vocal styling that is delivered to perfection.

7. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

A great, anthemic track. There is something so powerful about this song, and it is extraordinary. Easily one of my favorite classic songs to rock out to.

8. Dancing In The Street – Martha and The Vandellas

Familiar by sound again, and I love this picture that gets painted of an entire community of a variety of people coming together to dance and just enjoy music. This is the type of music that has inspired generations: the type that brings people together.

9. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself – Dusty Springfield

Okay, okay. Let’s put all the cards on the table: we all imagine Cameron Diaz singing this in a bar while Julia Roberts attempts to embarrass her and get the guy in My Best Friend’s Wedding. Amazingly, there are people who actually know the original before Cameron Diaz purposely butchered it as Kimmy in the film. Dusty Springfield had this amazingly strong, sensual voice, and it’s hard to imagine the song being done any other way (unless, of course, it’s for the sake of comedy).

10. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

This always reminds me of my Grandad. He used to play this constantly. In fact, I’m pretty he is a regular singing along to this during a round of car-eoke. The melody, emotion, and genius of this song is hard to miss, and it’s easy to see why it’s a classic.

 

Okay, I admit it. I peeked ahead and I am super excited for the next few days. I know a lot of them already and just knowing I get to listen to them for work makes me extremely happy (who doesn’t want to sing along to “House of The Rising Sun” or “Stop! In The Name of Love”?). Get ready for it guys! The 60s are turning way way up!

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Fourteen

INTENDED TO BE POSTED ON MAY 2ND.

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Day Fourteen features a lot of familiar songs, but some that knocked me off of my feet. While I’m not huge on surprises, I must admit to enjoying those of the musical variety.

 

1. Blue Moon – The Marcels

Here’s a song most of us should know, especially if you’ve seen Grease. The thing I appreciate most about this song? The vocal harmonies are STUNNING. Seriously. Check it out; they’re the epitome of the 60s.

2. Crazy – Patsy Cline

Here’s another song I used to love singing along to in the car as a kid. So classic. Patsy Cline’s voice is haunting on this track.

3. Tous Les Garcons et Les Filles – Francoise Hardy

This is the sort of song I was after when I began this challenge; a song I’d never heard before that just clicked with me. I adore this song, just for how beautiful it sounds, and the youth of the lyrics overall; a girl who’s never been in love looking at all the happy couples, just wondering about it all. I listened to it in English as well, and while I still love it, there’s a desperation to it that doesn’t come across in the original, French version. It’s that almost-apathetic attitude in the original that makes me fall in love.

4. You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me – The Miracles

I love the lyrical trap of this song. The opening line is “I don’t like you, but I love you.” When you think about it, you can come to hate a person, but you care about them so much, you can’t get rid of them or remove yourself from the situation. The exploration of this caged, desperate feeling is wonderful.

5. Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker

The legendary guitar riff in the opening immediately makes me want to hear more. I Iove how each line seems to be echoed by the same sentiment via instruments. This is definitely an “explicit-for-its-time” track, and Hooker’s growls are enough to suggest as such. It’s an amazing track with lots of power to it.

6. He’s a Rebel – The Crystals

I honestly thought this was going to sound like the Disney classic, “He’s a Tramp” from Lady & The Tramp. Instead, I was treated to this 1960’s girl group classic harmonization, which was very enjoyable. Don’t judge a song by its title.

7. Do You Love Me – The Contours

This starts off like a narrative, but then becomes this revenge, “look at me now” motown sound that is irresistible. Billy Gordon’s voice just makes it.

8. Your Cheating Heart – Ray Charles

Good old Ray Charles…A man of brilliance. The raw, heart wrenching sound of this track are stunning. 

9. Cry Baby – Garnet Mimms and The Enchanters

Garnet Mimms’ incredible ability to switch between a velvety, deep baritone, and a stunning falsetto is awe-inspiring and gives this song a very unique sound. I kind of want to play this on repeat, just to hear the vocal skills.

10. La Javanaise – Juliette Greco

Juliette Greco is one of the few women that makes a deeper, raspier voice sound beautiful, and not like someone trying to hack up a lung. The gentle melody of the track is soft and intriguing, beautifully contrasting with the airy music behind it all.

 

I have to admit, today’s playlist was filled with many surprises. It seemed to nod at the artists who aren’t constantly played on the classic radio stations, while also adding in some of the more popular acts. There is something enjoyable about getting a full spectrum.

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1001 Songs Challenge: Day Thirteen

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What can I say for Day Thirteen? I was so excited to start the 60s, and the addition of Ben E. King and Patsy Cline just add to that. After a very long day, I wasn’t sure if I was up for this. However, as you can tell, I pulled on my big girl boots and decided to get on with it…and I’m really glad I did.

 

1. Shakin’ All Over – Johnny Kidd & The Pirates

A song all about desire. I’m not that big on the lyrics, or Johnny Kidd’s eyepatch wearing, but I do love the musical abilities on show during this track. They are nothing short of extraordinary.

2. Non, je ne regrette rien – Edith Piaf

Ah, Edith Piaf, we meet again with another familiar song. This song is the one Ms. Piaf is best known for, especially as no matter how many people attempt it, they can never match her vocals quite right. She doesn’t just sell you this story of emotion and heartache; she lives it in front of you.

3. Spanish Harlem – Ben E. King

The melodies featured on this song remind me of being a little kid. The theme parks all played little tunes like this. Adding Ben E. King’s soulful voice, and it’s hard not to smile.

4. Mad About The Boy – Dinah Washington

This song is like sitting with a friend at a restaurant as she vents/gushes about the guy she’s into, even if she knows it’s wrong. The low-key, jazzy musical arrangement on this track are fabulous, as is Dinah Washington’s voice, but I love how she takes her singing back to basics: “sing like you’re speaking to someone.”

5. Lazy River – Bobby Darin

The song’s title might say “lazy,” but the tone of this track is anything but. There is a jazz-pop/swing flair to it. I could sit with this song on repeat all night with no problems. My only question is why artists don’t record things like this anymore when it’s so amazing?

6. Back Door Man – Howlin’ Wolf

Anyone who’s been in high school in the last few years will understand what I mean when I say that just reading this title makes you want to giggle like a little kid in biology when your teacher says “penis.” The comical thing is that the song is to be interpreted that way. “When everybody’s tryin’ to sleep/I’m somewhere making my midnight creep,” Willie Dixon’s rough voice announces alongside the blues accompaniment of a lifetime. You can’t help but assume it’s dirty.

7. The Red Rooster – Howlin’ Wolf

I admit, I prefer this song to its predecessor, just for the piano melody. Wolf on the guitar is also incredible. This a subtle narration and metaphor, and may also be the basing of a Two and a Half Men plot line at some point.

8. Johnny Remember Me – John Layton

This is actually quite a good tune…but that strange girl’s vocals in the background, which I suppose were intended to be ghostly, just make it laughable.

9. I Fall To Pieces – Patsy Cline

Ahhh, childhood. This is riding in the car, staring out the window with boredom, and trying to coerce my grandfather into a game of “I Spy.” Patsy Cline’s vocals are filled with this heart wrenching vulnerability that makes this a true country classic.

10. Stand By Me – Ben E. King

I am like most people who have heard this iconic track, in the simple way that I, too, love it. I love the soulfulness in Ben E. King’s tone. I love the lyrics and the music that decorates it perfectly. It is one of the best songs I have ever heard.

 

The day’s playlist covered pretty much everything, which pleased me quite a bit. I love watching the genres flesh out about; sub genres are slowly becoming more and more noticeable, as are little risks being taken by singers and songwriters alike.

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