Wednesday, 19 June 2013

10 Great Songs That Feature Spelling or Counting

Remember as a kid the best songs on Sesame street always had the educational value as well? Letters of the alphabet thrown in as lyrics; Numbers lined together to formulate a chorus! And who didn't love The Count? Well we get older and those fundamentals are still alive in song today! OK, I was kind of busy lately and struggling to find a theme for the list. Deal with it. 10 Great songs with counting or spelling.

1. Jackson 5 - "ABC"

There is no other place to start than with the Jackson 5. Jermaine, Jackie, Michael, Marlon and of course Tito Jackson were the initial brothers that made up the legendary Motown group. Though this song doesn't get past the letter C or number 3, it exemplifies the simple things in life. Song writing can be easy too...keep it simple and stick to rhymes you learned in the 1st grade!

B. Alkaline Trio - "This Could Be Love"

The counting done here is more like a checklist and just like almost every other Alkaline Trio song, there is a violent or dark twist on the ordinary.
"Step One: Slit my throat Step Two: Play in my blood Step Three: Cover me in dirty sheets and run laughing out of the house Step Four: Stop off at Edgebrook Creek and rinse your crimson hands."

3. Aesop Rock - "Coffee"

No I don't mean A$AP Rocky...Aesop Rock is an American rapper and producer out of San Diego. He's been at the forefront of the underground and alternative rap movement since the 90's and 00's and though has a huge cult following, has avoided mainstream attention. "Coffee" is off his sensational 2007 album None Shall Pass and listen for the term "Take No Prisoners" spelt out near the end of the song. Video's pretty sweet too.

D. The Shoes - "Time To Dance"

Admittedly I don't know much about The Shoes and have only heard this song by them. The video rocks though, with Jake Gylenhaal laying waste to hipsters hahah! "Time To Dance" gets spelt out in the chorus.

5. Thursday - "Jet Black New Years"

This one could also work on a list about New Years Eve...hmmmm. Thursday are a hardcore group from New Jersey. They've been rocking and rolling about since 1997 and have become staples on the punk/meta;/hardcore festival circuit. Great show if you ever get a chance to see them. Before the last chorus here there is a cool countdown to midnight verse.

F. Feist - "1234"

I try to veer away from the obvious on this list...but as I mentioned it was a last minute throw together and I also like to include some Canadian content on every list I do. What what? Better go back and check past lists suckahs! See what your bitch-asses missed! Sorry about that.

7. Coheed & Cambria - "Number City"

Always will I mention how much I love this group whenever one of their songs is included. Let their praises be sung! "Number City" is off of their latest release The Afterman: Decension, part 2 of the two disc opus. Never has been counting to nine been so infectious.

H. Blackalicious - "Alphabet Aerobics"

Although it's not really spelling I had to include this one. Blackalicious are Xcel and Gift of Gab, the duo hail from Sacramento, California. "Alpahbet Aerobics" comes off the A2G ep released in 1999. Gift of Gab starts off rhyming words that start with A....can you predict what happens next?

9. Peter Schilling - "Major Tom (Coming Home)"

No I don't mean "Space Oddity" by David Bowie, though German's native son Peter Schilling did base the eponymous character after Bowie's 1969 release. The song was originally released in German and was a smash. The english version faired well in Canada and the US. The pre-chorus is your typical launch style countdown. Another awesome video.

J. Hall & Oates - "Method Of Modern Love"

Perhaps one of Rock's greatest duos and two of the best songwriters to ever come together are Darryl Hall and John motherfuckin' Oates. They pretty much owned the Eighties and only stepped out of the spotlight to give other acts a chance. Check out Darryl Hall's Youtube channel for his amazing collaborations with modern artists. Speaking of modern "Method of Modern Love" is a spelling lesson in awesomeness.

T-H-A-N-K-S for reading!

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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

10 One Hit Wonders From The 80's

I've done One Hit Wonder's lists from the 90's and the 00's. I wasn't avoiding the 80's just going with the less obvious decades first, but let's face it....the 80's were all about one hit wonders. Without further patter here we go.

1. The Dream Academy - "Life In A Northern Town"

I'm not sure what another Dream Academy song sounds like, but I doubt it would be this awesome mix of pop, folk and African inspired deliciousness. It's said this song was meant as an homage to 70's folk legend Nick Drake, while there are no direct references Nick Laird-Clowes was quoted as saying his favourite album at the time he co-wrote the song was Drake's Bryter Layter.

2. Love & Rockets - "So Alive"

This was one of my June Tunes and yes it kind of inspired this list. Love & Rockets emerged from the ashes of British goth rock band Bauhaus. Their biggest hit came to them in 1989 in the form of "So Alive" reaching #3.

3. Wall Of Voodoo - "Mexican Radio"

Audiences weren't quite sure what to make of Wall Of Voodoo when they arrived in 1982. Their biggest hit was "Mexican Radio" a song inspired by border blaster AM stations originating in Mexico in the 60's and 70's. The song featured peculiar imagery, a bizarre video with an even more bizarre lead man. The song was decent but perhaps it was all the oddities that prevented Wall Of Voodoo to attract mainstream attention and kept them a one hitter.

4. Johnny Hates Jazz - "Shattered Dreams"

Though they had another song that was moderately successful ("I Don't Want To Be A Hero") Johnny Hates Jazz were an English trio known mainly for "Shattered Dreams". This song hit #2 in the US and #5 in the UK. Ironically, the band (who named themselves Johnny Hates Jazz for the 3 members' shared hatred of jazz) were initially discovered at a Jazz club.

5. Martika - "Toy Soldiers"

Another hit song in 1989, Martika was born to Cuban parents who left their home during a revolution. She aspired to be an actress but was quickly noticed for her singing ability, "Toy Soldiers" came off her debut album and was a massive success. The song gained new life in 2004 when it was sample by Eminem for his song "Like Toy Soldiers".

6. John Waite - "Missing You"

Waite sings the thoughts and feelings of many people in this melodramatic hit from 1984. While he never had another hit song, John Waite captured the emotions after someone goes through a breakup wonderfully. Trying to put on a brave face while silently missing someone. Listen for the line at the very end of the song "I can lie to myself..." Brilliant

7. Cutting Crew - "(I Just) Died In Your Arms"

Song names that begin in parenthesis are strange, aren't they? Hmmm maybe another list is in order. Or songs with parenthesis in their title period. Are there any with multiple I got some work to do here I think. Oh yeah, Cutting Crew....they were cool.

8. Living Colour - "Cult Of Personality"

This song has one of the most coolest-ass guitar riffs ever. Living Colour were a heavy metal band from New York, who fused their music with funk, jazz and hip-hop. "Cult Of Personality" was their biggest hit and uses quotes from some famous speeches from Malcolm X and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

9. Quarterflash - "Harden My Heart"

Quarterflash enjoyed a flash of success in the early 80's mainly with the help of "Harden My Heart" also it was unique at the time (and still is actually) for the lead saxophone parts to be played by the female lead singer. That stuck in people's heads, much like this song's rhythm.

10. Q Lazzarus - "Goodbye Horses"

Another song from the Q file! "Goodbye Horses" was sung by Q Lazzarus in 1988. She is not known for many other songs and was a taxi driver in NYC before being discovered. The song's writer was inspired by Hindu philosophy and describes the 'horses' as a person's five senses and the singer is transcending their Earthly limits. This song has since taken on a new association since it was used during an infamous scene in the 1991 film Silence Of The Lambs.

Thanks again all!