Happy Monday morning, folks. This week’s playlist is dedicated to bands and musicians who played the old Lilith Fair tour back in the late 90s. Get ready for some strummy acoustics and some incisive social commentary!
Patty Griffin, “Stolen Car”: A Bruce Springsteen cover, because why not? I love her take on this song. It’s beautiful.
Sarah McLauchlan, “Adia”: Be grateful. I could’ve chosen that song that plays during the ASPCA commercials, and then you’d have all felt obligated to adopt puppies or something. But I am a benevolent god.
Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, “Stay (I Missed You)”: “So I/Turned the radio on, I turned the radio up/And a singer was singing my song.” You must listen to different stations than I do, Lisa Loeb. No radio station around here is ever playing my song. Hell, most of them aren’t playing songs I even know.
Indigo Girls, “Closer To Fine”: Try not to sing along with this song. I dare you.
Luscious Jackson, “Why Do I Lie?”: I don’t know, singer for the band Luscious Jackson. Why do you lie?
Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”: Man, we should all be so lucky as to have our biggest single written by Prince.
Melissa Ethridge, “Come To My Window”: Strummy acoustic for the win!
Ani DiFranco, “Napoleon”: Angrily-played electric and the phrase “Everyone is a fucking Napoleon.” This song spoke to 19 year old Chuck in some way that bypassed the ears and hotwired my brain.
Tori Amos, “Crucify”: Still the only Tori Amos song I know.
PJ Harvey, “Good Fortune”: Is there a better PJ Harvey album than Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea? Seriously, I ask because I want to hear it if there is, because this album is amazing and I want more of it.
Happy Monday! Remember, I’ve got CD copies of Three Chords and Some Compelling Lies available! Just email me at crookedhalo42 [at] gmail dot com to get it arranged. And now, a playlist:
Postmodern Jukebox, “Rude (Featuring Von Smith)”: My preferred version of this song. Not that there’s anything wrong with Magic!’s reggae-tinged original, just that I like the rhythm and vocal styling of this version better.
The Gaslight Anthem, “Boxer (Acoustic)”: It’s the constant “Ooh oohs” in the background and the hammer and anvil percussion on this one that get me.
Billy Bragg & Wilco, “When The Roses Bloom Again”: There’s always something about war songs and songs of unlucky soldiers that gets me right in the gut. This one is no different.
Bob Dylan & The Band, “Odds And Ends (Take 2)”: It’s fun to hear these guys tearing through a song just for fun.
Bruce Springsteen, “Ain’t Good Enough For You”: Speaking of fun, was there any band more fun that the E Street Band in the late 70s? I can’t imagine there was.
Cat Stevens, “Father And Son”: Why do songs about messed up father/son relationships always affect me so much? My relationship with my own father is pretty strong, I like to think. It’s better than the one the narrator has with his own son here, at any rate. Maybe I’m just a sucker for heartstring-tugging sob stories.
Augustines, “When Things Fall Apart”: Where do you go when everything falls apart? Aside from the grocery store to buy snacks, I mean.
Justin Townes Earle, “The Saint Of Lost Causes”: If ever there were a song for teachers, this is probably it.
The Minus 5, “Wasted Bandage”: “Dear physician, won’t you heal yourself?” Classic line. Scott McCaughey writes so many lines that are all this good in every single song, and it’s unfair to the rest of us out here trying to be clever.
Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”: I just like how uptempo this number is. Gets me all excited and hopped up just listening to it.
Happy Monday, folks! As per usual, here’s a new playlist for your listening pleasure.
Harry Styles, “Two Ghosts”: I think I might actually like Harry Styles? Is there a doctor I should see about this?
Spoon, “I Can’t Give Everything Away”: The elusive piano-led Spoon song. It’s more downbeat than a lot of their stuff, but I like it.
Jay Farrar, “Feel Free”: I’ve probably mentioned this before, but for the longest time I thought NPR stood for “Non-Profit Radio.” It does not.
Louis Armstrong, “Mack The Knife”: As I said on Twitter the other day, there is no more baller moment in music than when Louis tosses it to himself for the trumpet solo at the end.
Better Than Ezra, “At The Stars”: Always kinda feel like Better Than Ezra should’ve been bigger than they were, even though they’re really just a solid alternative band.
Calexico, “Cumbia De Donde”: I really dig the way this band combines traditional Hispanic music with indie rock. It works really well.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Someday Never Comes”: Literally the only good song on Mardi Gras. But damn, what a song.
Supertramp, “Goodbye Stranger”: Sorry, lady, I can’t be tied down. Gotta move on to the next chick. Real classy, guys.
Santana, “The Game Of Love (Featuring Michelle Branch)”: Fun fact: the name “Branch” in Portuguese is “Branco,” so my wife’s name came up a lot in the Portuguese music press when this song came out. Strange but true.
The Offspring, “The Kids Aren’t Alright”: 90s kids remember when these dudes were all the rage. I think the lead singer has a PhD? It’s weird.
I have a new album coming out this Friday, January 13th! It’s called Creature Comforts, and I’m super proud of it. My brother, Clif, mixed and mastered the album for me, and helped it sound its best. I can’t even begin to thank him enough.
If you want to join me on the journey to create the next album, you can support me on Patreon. I share new songs as I record them there.
Ray LaMontagne, “Strong Enough”: It’s been a while since I’ve really listened to Ray LaMontagne. He hasn’t really changed, and that’s honestly okay. Dude found his niche and has settled in, releasing albums occasionally with solid songs like this one.
Shampoo, “Trouble”: Snotty British pop from 1993, but it sounds like it could’ve been made in 1987. This sounds nothing like the rest of the post-Nirvana musical landscape.
The New Pornographers, “Sing Me Spanish Techno”: I’ve never really listened to Spanish techno, but they make it sound very appealing.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “Southern Accents”: So this song is kinda fraught with potential problems, I think. I know Petty came from Florida. He’s a southerner. But he’s also not an asshole. So I let this one slide. It helps that it’s such a well-written song.
Fastball, “The Way”: Yeah, the band is named after a porno. It’s still a good song, though.
Jason Isbell, “Super 8”: “Don’t wanna die in a Super 8 Motel” – A thing said by everyone who has ever stayed in a Super 8 Motel.
Neil Young & The Stray Gators, “Bad Fog Of Loneliness”: If he’d replaced “A Man Needs A Maid” with this song, Harvest would be a perfect album. Well, and replacing “There’s A World” with “Journey to the Past.”
Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know”: You didn’t have to stoop so low, y’know.
The Goo Goo Dolls, “Sympathy”: Sure, it’s off the album the Goo Goo Dolls (terrible name) released after their big hit album, Dizzy Up The Girl, but this is one of their best songs, I think.
Grand Funk Railroad, “Some Kind Of Wonderful”: “Can I get a witness?” Yes, yes you can.
Happy New Year! In addition to the playlist this week, I have CD’s for sale! That’s right, I put together the EP that I released last January and the two singles I released over the course of the year. For $10, you can have a copy of it all for yourself! Email me at crookedhalo42 [at] gmail dot com and we can set it all up.
And now, on with the playlist!
The English Beat, “Save It For Later”: Who doesn’t love some second-wave ska? I know I do.
Loreena McKennitt, “The Mummer’s Dance”: Celtic electronica? In this economy?
Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook, “Pancho & Lefty”: Gotta love a Jason Isbell cover of a Townes Van Zandt song.
Fleetwood Mac, “Little Lies”: Only recently discovered that this song was a Fleetwood Mac song.
America, “Ventura Highway”: I just want to drive along the coast with this song cranked way up.
XTC, “Dear God”: A song that demands God explain why bad things happen to good people.
Wilco, “Say You Miss Me”: The yearning and pleading in this song get me every time.
Van Morrison, “I Love You”: I’ve had a difficult time listening to Van Morrison the past few years. His weird anti-vaccine views and his persecution complex have kinda gotten on my nerves. But this song is still tremendously sweet.
Tom Waits, “Jockey Full Of Bourbon”: I’m not really sure what good a jockey full of bourbon would do, unless this is really a song about peeing ’cause you had too much bourbon.
Semisonic, “Never You Mind”: I love this song for nothing else if not the reference to Spock’s brain.
Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus)”: No, I don’t understand what bizarre deal with the devil Lil Nas X made, but this song is so earwormy that Chekov twitches when he hears it. That was a Star Trek reference, yo.
Billie Ellish, “bad guy”: I’ve heard many, many great things about Billie Ellish, and I’ve tried on more than a few occasions to listen to and even enjoy her stuff. I can listen to it, but I’m not still not quite sure I can enjoy it. It’s just not for me. And that’s okay. It takes all sorts of music or all sorts of folks.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire”: “I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you fire.” That’s how the song begins. The guy who sings it wears a headdress thingie that is also lit on fire. It’s crazy, and the song has a great organ hook, but it’s far less weird than that intro suggests.
The Thorns, “Blue”: A “supergroup” (for lack of a better term) made up of Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins (that “Lullaby” guy), and Pete Droge, covering a song by the Jayhawks. The harmonies are pretty great.
Bob Dylan, “Isis (Live)”: I kinda always loved this song, This live version (from the Bootleg Series, Volume 5) is even better than the studio version.
Simon & Garfunkel, “America”: Just a beautiful song.
Stroke 9, “Little Black Backpack”: One of those late 90s one hit wonder types that’s a lot of fun.
Third Eye Blind, “Jumper”: One of the more upbeat songs about trying to talk someone down off the ledge.
Vance Joy, “Riptide”: I still don’t know if the main rhythm instrument is some type of guitar or a mandolin or a ukulele or what, but I like it.
The Wallflowers, “Back to California”: Rebel, Sweetheart is still one of my favorite Wallflowers albums.
Happy Monday before Christmas, everyone. I have a brand-new playlist for your enjoyment.
Shirley Temple, “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas”: This song tells me that Shirley Temple knows that old adage: snitches get stitches. Don’t mess with Shirley T.
Gayla Peevey, “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”: And only a hippopotamus will do, you know.
Frank Sinatra, “Mistletoe And Holly”: It’s a classic for a reason.
Darlene Love, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”: The best Christmas song ever recorded. I will be taking no questions at this time.
She & Him, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”: I have a soft spot for Zoey Deschanel and M. Ward’s warm ‘n’ fuzzy pop.
Jeremy Messersmith, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”: Apparently about a nuclear apocalypse? Who knew?
Jackson Browne, “The Rebel Jesus”: It’s always interesting to hear a non-Christian’s point of view on Christianity, even if what he points out is way less comfortable and far more accurate than you’d care to admit.
Run-DMC, “Christmas In Hollis”: Tell Argyle to bring the car around, we’re goin’ clubbin’.
Elton John, “Step Into Christmas”: Figured out how to play this one on the guitar just last week. Loads of fun.
The Both, “Nothing Left To Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue)”: I’m a sucker for Aimee Mann. And Ted Leo. Together, they can do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned.
It’s Monday. We had to put my cat to sleep late last week, so expect most of this particular playlist to be more than a bit maudlin.
Joey Purp, “Elastic”: This song has been used recently in an ad for Chromebooks. An ad that plays before and during two out of every three videos I’ve watched on Youtube in the past few weeks. It is ridiculously catchy.
My Politic, “What A Life”: A folky Missouri duo (actually based out of Nashville, TN) who sing with longing and bittersweet sadness about life back home. It hits all the right spots.
Hozier featuring Mavis Staples, “Nina Cried Power”: A tribute not just to Nina Simone, but Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Mavis Staples (who contributes amazing backing vocals and an excellent bridge), James Brown, and so many other giants of the R&B and blues world.
Stevie Nicks, “Edge of Seventeen”: Just like the one-winged dove, indeed.
The Head And The Heart, “Rivers And Roads”: These folks always seem to remind me of home, even though (1) none of them are from Oklahoma and (2) they do not, strictly speaking, play a musical style reminiscent of Oklahoma. Something in their singing and lyrics, though, evokes my home state something fierce.
Jakob Dylan, “Everybody’s Hurting”: “We’ve hunted these hills dry/We’ve long outlasted the winter and our last wood pile/Only one thing is certain/That’s everybody/Everybody’s hurting.”
Donovan Woods, “‘Cause the last time I saw you/Was the last time I saw you,” is such a heartbreaking line to me. You never really know when the last time you’ll see someone is.
George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass”: Is this one too obvious? I don’t care. George has brought me comfort in dark times, and this song continues to do so.
Sean Watkins, “Let It Fall”: I’ve probably mentioned before with this song, but it always strikes me as the sort of song that plays at the end of the movie, as we fade to black and the credits start to roll. There’s a sort of finality to it that sits with me long after the song has ended.
Tom Petty, “Wake Up Time”: The closer from Petty’s best album, Wildflowers, really sums up things very well. “Well, if he gets lucky, a boy finds a girl/To help him to shoulder the pain in this world.” Sometimes we do get lucky, and we ought to cherish those we walk these roads with.
Happy Monday! It’s December now, somehow, and as usual I have a new playlist for you. But this one is all cover songs!
The National, “Ashamed Of The Story I Told”: They don’t even really change all that much about the song, except the drum pattern is completely different and it somehow manages to totally change the feel and nature of the song.
Johnny Cash, “Hurt”: It’s downbeat, somber, and a little harrowing. It’s also one of those covers that I would argue is better than the original.
Old 97s, “Mama Tried”: The original Merle Haggard version is damn good (as are most Merle Haggard songs), but this one has the slightest edge on it, I think.
The Byrds, “My Back Pages”: The Byrds could have easily just been a Bob Dylan cover band and I’d have been happy with that. They manage to transform every single Dylan tune they cover into a jangly, poppy slice of ’60s joy.
Pomplamoose, “Maneater”: Watch out, boys, she’ll break your heart, huh? I’m more concerned with being eaten, personally.
Spoon, “Held”: I just love the grit and thump of this song. So good.
The Dirty Knobs, “Rumble”: Mike Campbell (formerly of the Heartbreakers) and some buddies got together to form this band, and they covered Link Wray’s ode to distortion and fuzz here. I love everything about the story of how this song got created, from Wray punching holes in his amplifier’s speaker with a pencil to radio stations refusing to play it because they thought it might incite juvenile delinquency.
Jesse Malin, “You Can Make Them Like You”: Malin has been using this Hold Steady track as his closer for years, usually just him and an acoustic guitar. It’s pretty great.
Tom Waits, “The Return of Jackie And Judy”: The Ramones were pretty ballsy. Case in point: they reference the two main characters in this song going to a Ramones show in the song. The chutzpah.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, “I Put A Spell On You”: Fogerty and Co. had a good ear for an excellent cover song, and this rendition of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic is no exception.
Happy post-Thanksgiving Monday, folks. I know we’re all still waking up from the Turkey Coma and preparing to buy all the things (it is Cyber Monday, after all), but in the meantime I whipped up a new playlist for your aural enjoyment.
Neil Young, “Rockin’ in the Free World”: The anti-consumerism, anti-capitalism of the song – especially the video – just hits the exact right spot for late-80s Neil.
Arlo Guthrie, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”: Is there a more famous song about an event that sorta, kinda, maybe sorta actually happened? It’s one of the best shaggy dog stories ever.
Stephen Stills, “Wooden Ships”: I love this solo acoustic version of the song. It’s just gorgeous.
Tom Waits, “I’ll Be Gone”: “Tonight I’ll shave the mountain,” Tom begins, and it just gets weirder from there. But it’s a Tom Waits song, what did you expect?
The Gaslight Anthem, “Boxer”: “You’ve got your pride and your prose/Tucked just like a Tommy gun,” the song begins, and I have a little point of contention to raise with Brian Fallon: who, exactly, tucks a Tommy gun under their arm or their jacket or wherever? Are Tommy guns really that common anymore? I wouldn’t think they are.
Soul Coughing, “True Dreams of Wichita”: One of my favorite songs ever. Can’t really explain why.
Jackson Browne, “Fountain of Sorrow”: No one writes a sad, bittersweet song like Jackson Browne. No one.
The National, “Lucky You”: In my mind, this is the song where the National became the National. It’s the final track on their second record, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and it perfectly encapsulates what (especially early) the National was all about.
Peter Gabriel, “San Jacinto”: I can’t explain what it is about this song that appeals to me. It’s probably the build to the end and the refrain of “I hold the line.”
Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here”: Early last week, we sat and watched a series of videos on the Polyphonic Youtube page about most of the songs off the Wish You Were Here album. They’re the reason we listened to the album on our way to Ohio Wednesday. It still reigns as one of the best albums ever, and this song is the keystone to the whole thing. Everything else revolves around this one track, either building to it or coming back down from its height.