The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KTOM-Song #468…Our Lips Are Sealed by The Go-Gos.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #468: Our Lips Are Sealed by the Go-Gos.

The Go-Gos were a five-piece, all-female band out of Los Angeles that gained fame with a string of hits that included, “We Got the Beat”, “Vacation”, “Head Over Heels” and “Our Lips Are Sealed”. They consisted of lead singer, Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey on lead guitar, Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar, Kathy Valentine on bass and Gina Schock on drums. Over the course of a career that saw them rise out of the ranks of L.A.’s Punk Rock scene, to playing the main stages of stadiums all over the world, the Go-Gos have sold almost ten million albums worldwide. They have split up and reformed numerous times. Band members have gone off to pursue solo projects, too. But, in the end, they were always more than the sum of their parts. The Go-Gos were special.

It is easy to under-estimate this band. On the surface, they present as disposable “Pop princesses”, frolicking in fountains and shopping in stores, as seen in their videos. Pop songs, as a musical genre, are not often accorded the credit they deserve by “purists”. But, scratch even just a little bit below the surface of this band and you will find a group of immense substance and importance. The Go-Gos cut their musical teeth as punk rockers in L.A. Being an all-girl band in a predominantly all-male work environment was both, a blessing and a curse. It was tough for them as women in the same way it is tough for any woman in any male-dominated field of employment. For much of their early career, the band was never taken seriously by fellow musicians nor by promoters. They were considered as “eye candy” more than as musicians and had to endure much misogynistic behaviour. In such an environment, one of two things tend to happen: you shrink back under the intensity of the pressure or you use the negative energy as fuel that builds strength. The Go-Gos chose to stick together; bonding in ways that tend to occur when under siege. All the while, the members of the band were perfecting their craft; learning how to properly play their instruments, learning how to create playable songs, learning about harmonies and melodies, too.

They emerged from the Punk scene armed with the musical chops that would lead to their debut album, “Beauty and the Beat”. From that album came some of their biggest hits like “We Got the Beat”, Head Over Heels” and “Our Lips are Sealed”. They suddenly found themselves with a #1 album and #1 songs. In doing so, the Go-Gos became the very first all-female group to play their own instruments and write their own songs to achieve a #1 hit on the music charts……ever!!! In the past, groups like the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and so on, all had plenty of hit songs but, they usually never wrote their own material nor did many of them ever play an instrument on stage. The Go-GOs were pioneers who took control of their career and charted their own course.

The song, “Our Lips Are Sealed” has an interesting back story, too. One of the first public acknowledgements of their musical skills came from a band (that was profiled by me last week) called The Specials. This Ska/TwoTone band from the UK was touring in the Los Angeles area and happened to catch a Go-Gos show. They were impressed enough with the energy and musicianship on display that they asked the Go-Gos to open for them on the rest of their tour. The Go-Gos agreed. The Specials were a large band of a dozen or more, mostly male, players. During the tour, there were backstage antics aplenty between bands and, coming out of it, lead singer, Terry Hall of The Specials and Go-Gos guitarist, Jane Wiedlin had a brief affair. The problem was that Hall was already involved with someone back in England. The song, “Our Lips Are Sealed” is the child borne out of that brief union. When you listen to the lyrics of this song (which was written by Hall and sent to Wiedlin), you can easily tell that these are the words of someone trying to hush up an indiscretion. So, what did Wiedlin do, she turned it from a warning to be quiet and, instead, amplified the message and broadcast it to the world.

The Go-Gos, who project as Pop Princesses were anything but, in reality. They were feminists, without the anthems. They were strong, capable women who took charge of their own affairs; musically, sexually and otherwise. They didn’t need to sing about empowerment, they embodied it instead. In doing so, they blazed a trail for every all-female group or solo artist that followed. The members of the Go-Gos all say that the highest compliments they receive are not from people telling them that they like their music, it is, instead, from every female musician who tells them that they had the courage to get into music and express themselves on their own terms because of the example set by the Go-Gos.

The Go-Gos were voted in for induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2021. Not that they needed the validation but, just the same, it is a fitting acknowledgment by the Music Industry that there was something substantive about this all-girl band that is worthy or commemoration and of respect. In case you are unable to actually visit the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, I will play the video for you of “Our Lips Are Sealed” by “The Go-Gos” right here. Enjoy.

The link to the music video for Our Lips Are Sealed by The Go-Gos can be found here.

The link to the cover version of Our Lips Are Sealed by ex-boyfield, Terry Hall (of Fun Boy Three) can be found here.

The link to the awesome website from The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame can be found

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The Go-Gos have a wicked website that can be accessed here.

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The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KEXP-Sing #469…White Riot by The Clash.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #469: White Riot by The Clash.

There is a long, rich legacy of political songs based upon real events. “Biko” by Peter Gabriel and “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” by U2 are just two examples that spring readily to mind. I have always maintained that poets and artists, singers and writers are among the most dangerous forces allied against oppression because they have the power and skill to put into words what so many people feel and, in doing so, rally us into action.

“White Riot” by The Clash concerns real events that took place in England at the end of the 1970s and into the early 80s. As mentioned in previous posts, this was the era of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It was a time of austerity. Unemployment was high. Poverty was on the rise. Ordinary citizens were growing frustrated. Throughout History, times such as this often give rise to political scapegoating. In this specific case, the scapegoats were immigrants. Politicians on the Right gave speeches extolling actions designed to “Keep Britain for the British”. ***It is sad how History repeats. “Make America Great Again” and “America First” policies introduced by Trump were, in fact, nothing new on his part. They were a repeat of what transpired in England in the late 70s and in Germany in the 1930s with Jewish people as the scapegoats then.

In the case of this song, the tipping point for many people opposed to racism was a concert given by the legendary singer/guitarist, Eric Clapton. At a concert, he gave an anti-immigration speech from the stage and re-iterated his support for policies to “Keep Britain for the British”. Around the same time, there was to be a music festival celebrating Jamaican culture. As you know, Reggae was very popular in the UK and this festival had been a regular event for several years. However, in this tense political climate, hundreds of police officers descended on a parade being held to lead festival attendees to a park for a concert. A riot ensued. Joe Strummer and Topper Headon of The Clash were in the parade because of their love of Reggae and, as such, they became involved in the riot.

Arising from this incident was a group that called themselves, “Rock Against Racism”. Their slogan was, “Love music. Hate Racism”. One of their first organizational events was to host an anti-racism concert. The headliners of that concert were The Clash. The song “White Riot” premiered there. There is a full documentary about this race riot and the anti-racism concert. I will post the trailer below and then, in the comments section, I will post The Clash actually performing this short, two-minute burst of rebellion.

Sometimes we are guilty of judging books by their proverbial covers. In the case of some of the early Punk Rock bands, we have labelled them as uncivilized and as anarchists. In the case of The Clash, they were actually trying to change the systemic nature of their government’s policies so as to protect immigrants from being singled out for abuse. Like many good musicians, they used the power of their words to chronicle a case of injustice. “White Riot” was their battle cry. The documentary below tells this story.

The link to the trailer for the White Riot Documentary, featuring The Clash and many others, can be found here.

The link for archive footage of The Clash premiering White Riot at the Rock Against Racism Festival can be found here.

Rock Against Racism have a website that can be found here.

The Clash have an interesting website that can be linked to here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP for creating their own list of 500 great songs and inspiring me to create my own. A link to their website can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KTOM-Song #470…Black Sheep by Metric (sung by Academy Award Winner, Brie Larsson) from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #470: Black Sheep by Metric, as sung by Academy Award Winner Brie Larsson from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

My daughter, Leah has a best friend. She and her best friend used to hang out a lot in person. Then Covid-19 appeared and now, the girls mainly meet via the phone. When they chat, they usually chat for a long time. A year ago, when we first went into lockdown, we were very, very strict about staying close to home and, as a result, we were starved for news from the outside world. So, whenever Leah finished with a phone call, we would ask her questions about her friend and her friend’s family…just so we could find out how other folks were coping. The conversations went something like this:

Me: So, how’s your friend?

Leah: Good.

Me: What’s she been doing to keep busy?

Leah: Not much.

Me: How is she liking on-line school?

Leah: It’s ok, I guess. We didn’t talk about it.

Me: Ok then, what did you talk about for over an hour?

Leah: Our universes, mainly.

Then Leah would sigh, roll her eyes and say, “Never mind, Dad. You wouldn’t understand anyway.” And she would walk away.

So, today’s song choice is my attempt to understand my daughter and her bff’s world….their “universes”. Here goes.

In recent years, storytelling has evolved. In the past, when you read a book, you got the story that was told within its’ pages and then you were finished and moved on to the next book. If you saw a movie, you saw the film, usually in a theatre, you ate your popcorn, let the story wash over you and then, at the end, you grabbed you coat and went home. The same can be said with songs, too. In essence, storytelling involved contained worlds or tales told exclusively within a given space. As consumers of the stories, we understood the parameters involved. But then, along came franchises such as Star Wars and Harry Potter and with them, a new way of telling stories called “Trans Media Narratives”.

The simplest way to understand the term, “Trans Media Narrative” is to accept the notion that stories are now being told in ways that extend beyond the pages of the books they are in or the movie screen they are on. These stories are expanding and coming at the consumer from multiple media formats. Think of Harry Potter, for example. Initially, this was a series of books about Harry and his friends and the dastardly, Lord Voldemort. But, as time has gone on, the world of Harry Potter has expanded into differing formats such as interactive websites, theme parks, graphic novels, new books have emerged that came directly from the original series (such as “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), new movies have been made, new characters have been given attention and have seen their storyline developed and on and on it goes. The end result is, the original world of Harry Potter, as told via the book series, has expanded and grown and is available to be explored and enjoyed in many different ways by fans and consumers alike. In this way, the world or “universe” of the original series has grown much richer and deeper.

Today’s song is a case in point. “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” was released as a movie just over a decade ago. It was based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels series. The movie takes place in Toronto. The scene depicted in the video for this song takes place in a real Toronto music venue called Lee’s Palace. Anyway, the Scott Pilgrim “universe” exists in graphic novel form, in video game form, in movie form, in song form and much more. “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” has been labelled as a “cult classic”, which is code for “not a commercial success but, beloved by true fans”. Word of mouth recommendations have elevated this movie in the same sort of way that the camp classic, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” has risen above its meagre beginnings.

The plot line of “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” is that Scott, in order to date his heart’s desire, must first defeat her seven evil exes. The format for these confrontations is a Battle of the Bands at Lee’s Palace. One by one, Scott Pilgrim defeats the ex-boyfriends. In this video for “Black Sheep”, the ex-boyfriend is the guitarist named Todd, whose super power is Veganism. Like I said, the movie is campy and silly but, it is cool and cutting edge at the same time. In this video, you will see how multiple media formats are integrated (music, movies, graphic novels, video games, even choreographed fight moves like those seen in movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.)

“Black Sheep” is sung in the movie by Academy Award winner, Brie Larsson. *(The movie also stars Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera, among others). In real life, the song is from a Canadian band called Metric. In the movie, all of the bands in The Battle of the Bands were, in fact, real bands like Metric. Metric is lead by a talented lady named Emily Haines. This band has a string of hits in Canada and are great live. *I will include a live performance of this song by Metric in the comments section. As an added bonus, every time Metric posts a video of them playing, “Black Sheep” live, the first comment in their comment box is always the opening line that Scott Pilgrim uses in the video you are about to see, which is about Todd, the guitar player. Look for it in the Metric video. Fans of Scott Pilgrim always smile knowingly when they see it.

Anyway, “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” is beloved by fans of the story for a reason. They can enjoy this movie in more meaningful ways that you probably will because they have explored the graphic novel series, the computer games, the interactive websites, they have read the fanzines and so on. They are immersed in a “universe” that has many layers and realms to it. So, as you watch the video for “Black Sheep” do so in the knowledge that this is merely one scene in a multi-layered world that you are more than welcome to dive in and explore.

As I end this post, I hope that I have come close to describing what Leah and her friend discuss when they talk together on the phone. Whether I have captured the essence of their conversations or not isn’t really that important in the long run. First of all, I am over-the-moon with happiness that Leah has found such a good person to be her friend. As we all know, having true friends is like finding treasure. As a Dad, I want my girls to surround themselves with good people. Leah is off to a good start in that sense and I am pleased. Chat your heads off, Leah. It is all good.

But, in the larger sense, I believe that “trans media narrative” storytelling has implications for how we, as people, interact with the world of information in which we find ourselves. We live in a time of small soundbites and short tweets. When, in fact, this rich, layered way of storytelling exists, as well. As educators, it behooves us to move beyond the teaching of story structure and of framing the understanding of narratives as being simply that a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. That is no longer proving to be the case. We are alive in a time of prequels, sequels, origin stories and so much more. Our openness to understanding nuanced stories is far greater than ever before. So, when you watch, “Black Sheep” please understand that whole worlds or universes are contained within this one song. To understand that is to revolutionize how you think about the information you consume. In simpler words, there is potential for your mind to be blown. Red pill or blue? The choice is yours. Good luck.

The link for the music video for Black Sheep by Metric as sung by Brie Larsson in the Motion Picture, Scott Pilgrim vs the World can be found here.

A live version of Black Sheep by Metric can be found here. *Watch to the “Todd” comment in the video’s comment section.

Metric has their own website that can be reached by clicking here.

I will close with a shout-out to my own daughter, Leah. She has her own blog and writes about YA books. Her website can be reached by clicking here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KEXP-Song #471…Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #471: Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs.

The Psychedelic Furs were a part of the New Wave music invasion from Britain in the 1980s. Founded by brothers, Richard and Tim Butler, The Psychedelic Furs enjoyed a strong run of success in the 80s with songs like “Pretty in Pink”. “Heaven”, “The Ghost in You” and today’s song, “Love My Way” from the album, “Forever Now”. While they were popular in music circles, it was the launch of the John Hughes classic film, “Pretty in Pink” that really brought this group into the mainstream.

“Love My Way” is a song written for young people who may be struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation and identity. It can take a lot of courage to be the person you feel you really are when others have differing dreams for you. It is difficult today but, back in the early 80s, that was even more the case. This song was Richard Butler’s way of acknowledging the struggle and providing a song for lonely teens to sing so that they would feel noticed/less alone.

Since the 80s, The Psychedelic Furs have broken up, reunited, broken up and reunited several times. At present, they are back together and have released new material. They were hoping to go on tour again before Covid-19 ruled otherwise. For now, we are left with a discography that is as solid and replete with hit songs as any New Wave group from the 80s can claim. Please enjoy, “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs. Have a great day.

The link to the music video for Love My Way by The Psychedelics Furs can be found here.

The Psychedelic Furs have a terrific website that can be found by clicking the link here.

Thank you to KEXP for helping to inspire me to write this post. A link to their great website can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in modern Music History: KTOM-Song #472…Silent All These Years by Tori Amos (Featuring Leonard Cohen).

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #472: Silent All These Years by Tori Amos (featuring Leonard Cohen).

One of the most satisfying things for me is to come upon lovely writing. This song is a tour de force when it comes to how perfect the scenes are that are being painted by these two talented writers.

Leonard Cohen is the pride of Montreal. He is recognized around the world as being one of the best poets, authors, singer/songwriters and musicians of all time. In “Silent All These Years”, Cohen provides an introduction that consists of two small verses that say so much about the value we place upon our dearest relationships and the depth of our fear of losing them.

When Cohen’s poem, spoken in his deepest baritone, concludes, the song transitions on the lightest of piano notes from Tori Amos. “Silent All These Years” is as delicately constructed a song as you will hear; all whispery lyrics and crisp notes that hang in the air, wavering, shimmering.

“Silent All These Years” is the all too familiar story of a relationship where one voice is lost under the weight of another. It is about a lifetime of dreams unrealized, thoughts unspoken and opinions unshared. It is about struggling to remember who you used to be and who you wanted to be before you became someone who someone else thought you should be. It is a song made more powerful by the most impressive of lyrics and musicianship that Tori Amos provides.

“Silent All These Years” is a song from her debut album, “Little Earthquakes”. The song was released in 1992. This song, also, inspired one of the most powerful and popular episodes in the history of the tv show, “Grey’s Anatomy”. The episode in question was entitled “Silent All These Years” and told the story of the trauma of rape. The episode reached its conclusion with a scene where the survivor was being wheeled into surgery, passing by an honour guard, consisting entirely of female hospital employees. The message to survivors of sexual assault being that they were not alone. Music can change lives in many ways. “Silent All These Years” tells a story that gives voice to many who feel powerless to speak. Tori Amos has been active her whole life in causes related to feminism and sexual assault. I will provide links below to the US cause she is champion of, R.A.I.N.N. (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network), as well as, a national link for Canada and a local link for my friends here in Cobourg.

Please give this beautiful song a listen. The writing is so exquisite but, the story being told is even more important. I came here as a fan of the writing. But, I stay as a supporter of those for whom this song speaks.

The link for the music video of Silent All These Years by Tori Amos (Featuring Leonard Cohen) can be found here.

The link to a live version of Silent All These Years by Tori Amos can be found here.

A link to R.A.I.N.N. (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) can be found here.

A link to the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (Near Cobourg, where I am posting from) can be found here.

A link to the video from Grey’s Anatomy that entitled, “Silent All These Years” can be found here.

Tori Amos has her own website which can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KTOM- Song #473…That Power by will.i.am (featuring Justin Bieber).

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #473: That Power by will.i.am. (featuring Justin Bieber).

A few weeks ago, when I first started discussing this “500-Songs” project at home, my girls were supportive but, not overly enthusiastic. They correctly predicted that there wouldn’t be many songs, if any at all, that were from their time frame. Both girls like music and listen to their own tunes in their bedrooms and/or when we go on road trips in the car. But yet, they both complained that the songs I was posting were “old songs for old people” and, as such, they lost interest in my work. So, as a way to include them in what I was doing, I gave them the opportunity to submit ten songs each that they felt were, not only important songs but that were, in their opinion, actually, modern songs. Today, I am premiering the first of those songs. I had the girls rank their songs in order of personal preference. “That Power” by will.i.am and Justin Bieber is Song #10 on Leah’s list. As I go through the entire list of 500 songs, I will drop in a song from the girls every 25 posts or so, just so ya know.

Both Leah’s and Sophie’s lists are very different. Each list reflects their individual personalities but more, the lists reflect a bit of their value systems, too. In the case of Leah’s list, she chose her ten songs based on personal connections and memories that the songs eschewed. “That Power” is a song that reminds her of cherished memories from her elementary school days. The format of “That Power” is not a traditional music video or live performance. Instead, it is from a website called “Just Dance”. This website is a platform for musicians to have their work reach their audience in a different way. In this case, it is via a video game-like dance experience (as you shall see in the video I am linking to this post). In these videos, your job is to pick one of the avatars on screen and follow/replicate the way it moves throughout the song. By performing with friends, you can learn a cool dance routine as you listen to the song and move to the music. The “Just Dance” videos are often used by teachers in classrooms as a means of having their students participate in some quick, fun physical exercises. For Leah, she has many fond memories of her time in elementary school and of working out to the “Just Dance” videos with her early school friends. These memories always bring a smile to her face. She and Sophie watch these videos at home now, too and enjoy the quick twenty-minute workout they are able to get by doing so.

But, what is important and informative about “That Power” to me is that it highlights the wide variety of platforms that artists now use to connect to their audiences. When I was their age, I heard music on the radio, sometimes on tv and live, in person, in my Church or somewhere else in my hometown. Today, my girls hear songs online from streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify. They listen/watch songs on websites like “Just Dance”. Some of their favourite songs are including in the soundtracks to video games, too. But, more than anywhere else, my girls go to YouTube as their main source for music and music-related content. When I asked them about what was so good about YouTube compared to everything else, they replied that on YouTube, you can access music in multiple ways such as going to an artist’s “channel” and having easy access to content created or promoted by them, all in one place. They also said that they enjoyed using the Search function because of the way the YouTube algorithm works. In this case, choosing a favourite song will lead to YouTube predicting likes and dislikes and, sooner than later, new songs and artists that are similar to what they originally searched for will start to appear. In this way, both girls said that they are hearing a wider range of songs than they would have known to look for otherwise.

Because of how Leah and Sophie access their music, they are being exposed to singers and songs that Keri and I have never heard of in our lives. Every now and again, we get a glimpse into this part of their lives when they decide to access “Just Dance”, for instance. But, for the most part, they are developing their own musical tastes and styles, independent of what their “old Dad” might think constitutes good music. I have to admit that I am actually pleased with the lists that both girls submitted. There is good music on both lists. They may not be my playlists but, they are good lists, just the same.

In the case of this specific song, I assume that most of you who have been reading these posts know who Justin Bieber is. If you don’t, he is the pride of Stratford, Ontario and the owner of multiple Top Ten songs, Gold records and sales in the tens of millions or, as the kids might say, he has been streamed tens of millions of times and has racked up millions of views on YouTube. The main singer of “That Power” is will.i.am., who was one of the founding members of the very successful group, Black-eyed Peas. Like Bieber, will.i.am. has enjoyed much success and has channeled much of that success in ventures that have a philanthropic bent. Much of his solo work involves children; hence the inclusion of his song on “Just Dance” in a way that helps children become healthier and that doesn’t expect them to spend any money on merchandise. He has, also, contributed music to Sesame Street, as well as, many charitable community-focussed projects that aim to help bring youth and music and the Arts together.

There is a lot of consumerism interwoven into much of what children access online these days. However, websites like “Just Dance” and singers such as will.i.am., strive to give children a positive experience that benefits the child and not the singer. As a parent, I approve of that message. I am, also, happy that Leah and Sophie have been exposed to such a wonderful and beneficial platform where they can become healthy and develop their own musical tastes and styles at the same time. So, ladies and gents, enjoy “That Power” by will.i.am., featuring Justin Bieber, as seen on “Just Dance”. If you are so inclined, feel free to get in a quick workout of your own. There are loads of other “modern” songs on this website, too. Have fun. My girls sure do!

The link for the Just Dance music video for That Power by will.i.am., (featuring Justin Bieber) can be found here.

will.i.am has a wonderful website that you should check out. You can do so by clicking them link here.

Just Dance has a website that can be reached by clicking here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KEXP-Song #474…Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #474: Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand.

Over one hundred years ago, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated by a gunman as they drive through Sarajevo in a motorcade. The gunman shot the Archduke in the neck. He shot Sophie in the stomach. As Sophie began to bleed out from her wound, she collapsed onto her husband’s lap. Although seriously wounded, the Archduke tried to comfort her, urging her to live on for the sake of their children. Shortly thereafter, Sophie’s heart stopped beating. The Archduke began choking on his own blood. Both Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were dead upon arrival at the local hospital. Although there are always many factors that lead up to momentous events in History, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, is widely viewed as setting in motion the events that started World War 1 in Europe. The assassin’s bullets that took two lives that day ended up costing the lives of millions of others and the world was never the same again. Fast forward almost one hundred years later. Two art students in Scotland named Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson became friends after discovering that they had similar interests in Art and Music. They decided to form a band and, after much discussion, settled upon the name Franz Ferdinand because they wanted their music to be like the Archduke’s death…..a transformative moment where their songs change the way people view music.

I am not sure that they have accomplished that lofty goal but, Franz Ferdinand did have one big hit in the Alternative Music Genre with a song called, “Take Me Out”. This song is widely regarded as one of the top Alternative songs of this century. It was a Top Ten hit in many countries and received dozens of awards across the globe, including the Mercury Prize in 2004, which is awarded, ostensibly, for the Top Song/Album/Band in the UK. While Franz Ferdinand have had other minor hits, “Take Me Out” is their signature song.

It is easy to write this band off as a proverbial one-hit wonder but, there is actually more to them than meets the eye. For example, the band members approach their projects from a musical point of view but, also, from an artistic one, as well. They believe that their Art is multi-dimensional and, because of that, the listener/viewer can interpret their work in a multitude of ways. The video for “Take Me Out” is heavily influenced by Dadaism, which is an Art Movement that eschews traditional forms and styles and, instead, seeks to express meaning and emotion through a series of nonsensical forms. Artists influenced by Dadaism tend to be anti-war and use their art form as a means of expressing their political views. In their video, the band exist as three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional world. They claim that you can watch this video repeatedly; taking away new and different interpretations and meanings each time.

I first listened to “Take Me Out” on the reality show “Rockstar: INXS” which, as I discussed in an earlier post, was a show where contestants sang songs each week in the hope of impressing the remaining members of the band, INXS, who were using the show as a way to find a new lead singer after the death of Michael Hutchence. One week, a contestant named Mary Casey was given this song to sing. *(I will post his rendition in the comments section.) His performance was the first time I had heard of the song or the band. To me, the song seemed to be about a guy trying to meet a girl in a bar or club and not being successful. It was all pretty straight-forward. But nothing with Franz Ferdinand is as straight-forward as it may seem.

The band has never denied or refuted the “dating” interpretation for this song. But, as well, they have never refuted nor denied the other interpretation that many believe is the true inspiration for this song and that is, the actual assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. The lyrics to “Take Me Out” speak of the desire for Love and the reality of loss, rejection and loneliness. Is it about some guy lacking the nerve to ask out the girl of his dreams or is this song about the human drama intertwined with one of History’s great tipping points? I will leave that for you to judge. One of the ways Art becomes important is when it speaks to the human condition and “Take Me Out” does that. Franz Ferdinand may have had only one big hit but, they packed a lot of Art into it. It is rightly regarded as one of the anthems of the modern Alternative Music scene; a poppy song that packs a political punch. If they never have another hit song, Franz Ferdinand will have made their mark in modern music history…..just as they intended.

The link to the music video for Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand can be found here.

The link for the video of Rockstar: INXS contestant, Marty Casey, singing Take Me Out can be found here.

Franz Ferdinand have a website that, I am sure, they would like you to visit. You can do so by clicking on the link here.

Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire me to write this post. The link to their website can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KEXP-Song #475…Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #475: Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix.

Over the whole of modern music history, there have been many excellent guitarists. There have been accomplished Bluesmen like B.B. King and Muddy Waters, Heavy Metal shredders like Steve Vai and Tony Iommi, along with rockers like Eddie VanHalen and Carlos Santana. All of these folks are/were masters of their craft and are held in high esteem by fans and by fellow musicians for a reason. But, few would argue with the assertion that the greatest guitar player of all time was Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi Hendrix packed a lot into his 27+ years of life. He was a prodigy on the guitar in the same way that Mozart was a prodigy on the piano. Hendrix did things with a guitar that had never been done before and have rarely been done since. His playing style was primal and theatrical and displayed an easy virtuosity that is amazing to see, even all these years later. He was a powerful, musical force. Hendrix had many hit singles including, “Purple Haze”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “The Wind Cries Mary” and, today’s song, “Foxey Lady”. He was the star attraction at the original Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. He was a first-ballot Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame selection in 1992. His three albums, “Are You Experienced?”, “Electric Ladyland” and “Axis: Bold As Love” have all been deemed by Rolling Stone Magazine as being among the Top 100 Albums of all time. The same magazine ranked Hendrix as the Greatest Guitarist of all time and the sixth Greatest Performer ever, too.

Jimi Hendrix began his career playing with Little Richard, The Isley Brothers and others but, his virtuosity made it difficult for him to maintain a backing role on any stage. He was a star from the moment he began to play. I confess that I do not possess the musical knowledge to accurately describe his playing style in precise technical terms. Instead, I, like you, am left to watch his performances and marvel at the ferocity of his playing. In this video for “Foxey Lady”, his guitar style seems almost sexual which is, I presume, in keeping with the seductive nature of the lyrics to this song. Whatever the case, he is obviously a man who is supremely confident in his gift.

Jimi Hendrix died when he was just 27 years old. He asphyxiated after an overdose of barbiturates. Along with Jim Morrison of The Doors, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Amy Winehouse and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones (who all died at age 27, as well), Jimi Hendrix died way too soon and left us all to lament what more he might have been able to give us, musically. But, what he did give us musically while he was alive was phenomenal! Jimi Hendrix was unlike anyone who has ever played the guitar. If you have never watched him play then, you are in for a treat. If you have seen him play then, get ready to relive the magic that he brought with him to the stage. Regardless of what you bring to this post/video, you are about to watch the greatest guitar player of all time doing what he did best. That is treat enough for this day.

The link for the music video to Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix can be found here.

The official Jimi Hendrix website can be accessed by clicking on the link here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for honouring the music of the past, with as much fervour, as they do the music of the present and the future, too. a link to their website can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KEXP-Song #476…Time to Pretend by MGMT.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #476: Time to Pretend by MGMT.

STOP! HOLD ON A MINUTE!!! STAY WITH ME!!!!

I imagine many of you have never heard of MGMT before and will be tempted to take one look at today’s song choice and quickly move on. DON’T! These guys are very special storytellers and you won’t be disappointed if you check out the TWO songs I will be posting of theirs today. Trust me on this! MGMT are terrific.

Let me start this post by talking about one of my favourite movies of all time, “Memento”. “Memento” was released in the year 2000 and is, arguably, the most unique and original movie I have ever seen. It is a film noir detective saga starring Guy Pearce. He plays a detective who suffers from a medical condition that causes him to have his memory wiped out every fifteen minutes. To compensate, he is constantly writing notes to himself on photographs, scraps of paper, on himself and then, having to try to figure out what the notes and hints mean when his memory goes. This movie won the Academy Award for Best Editing, which may seem like a funny award to boast about but, because of the nature of the storyline and the way the movie was edited, the plot advances by going backwards, constantly, in loops, all throughout the movie as Pearce struggles to put the clues together to solve the murder of his wife. The non-linear structure of “Memento” was unlike anything I have ever seen before or since. It was a totally original take on the traditional storytelling structure.

This song, “Time To Pretend” by MGMT is like the movie, “Memento. It is such a cleverly written and structured song! It is a song that begins with a forward-looking vision and ends with reflective, backward yearning. It is a sweet, sweet song about the energy and ambition of teens on the cusp of adulthood; all ready to get out there and take on that world. But, as all of you already know, becoming an adult is a Faustian bargain that continually balances freedom and choices with responsibilities and consequences. This song, as it ends, becomes a wistful meditation on how the structure of adulthood tends to be such that we lose the child-like part of ourselves given to wonder and imagining, to pretending and playfulness. I really enjoyed scrolling through the Comments section of the video for this song. Half of the comments were from teens stating that the song/video was awesome and they couldn’t wait to taste the freedom of adulthood. The other half of commenters were older and stated that, come ten or fifteen years, this song is going to make all of those same teens cry and their hearts break once they realize what they are about to lose by simply growing up.

It takes an imaginative mind and a gift for storytelling to create a song that half of the listeners feel is about their future, while the other half simultaneously think is about their past. “Time to Pretend” was the debut single off of MGMT’s very first album called, “Oracular Spectacular”. The video for this song is one of pure imaginative fun. It is comparable to something you might have seen on Monty Python or some of The Beatles later work. It is said to have been influenced by the book, “Lord of the Flies”. But, for the most part, it is a wide-open romp through the imaginations of MGMT’s two creative muses, singer Andrew VanWyngarden and keyboardist, Ben Goldwasser. As a band, MGMT (which stands for “Management”) have been together since 2002 and are still actively performing to this day.

As is the case with all bands I post about, I look up their histories and look to see if they have won awards. Well, MGMT have won several awards including The New Music Express Award in 2008 for Best New Song (“Time to Pretend”), Best Album, (“Oracular Spectacular”) and Best New Band. In 2014, they won a video award for a song called, “Cool Song No. 2”). Needless to say, I checked out that video and was blown away by it, as well. It is a song and story that plays out like a fully-realized movie. It is very stylish and futuristic and, initially, I didn’t know what it was about. But, as the song/video rolls along, it becomes clear that it is a treatise on watching the one you love dying from a disease and the lengths you will go to bring comfort and a peaceful resolution to their pain. This video won as Video of the Year for a reason and is well worth watching in the Comments Section below.

I am not sure if my recommendations hold much sway with you, dear reader but, if they do, let me simply say that out of all of the songs I have posted about so far in this project, “Time to Pretend” by MGMT is my favourite. These guys are inventive storytellers, who tackle big ideas in playful and/or beautifully-artistic ways. Their work will touch your heart and your soul and will have you thinking while your toes are tapping. Please enjoy “Time To Pretend” and the bonus video, “Cool Song No.2” below. Thanks for reading.

The link for the music video for Time To Pretend by MGMT can be found here.

The link for the music video that won the 2014 Video of the Year, Cool Song No. 2 by MGMT, can be found here.

MGMT have a wicked website that is well worth exploring. The link to that website can be found here.

Thanks to KEXP for promoting artists such as MGMT. Your work, and their music, help to make our world a better and more enjoyable place to be. The link to their website can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KEXP-Song #477…Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #478: Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

“Tainted Love” opens with some of the most recognizable notes of any song in music history. For generations since its release in the 80s, people have delighted in replicating those opening notes on ATM machines and other push-button, tone-inducing devices. It is a happy-sounding song that people, like my beautiful wife, Keri, like to sing aloud. But, at it’s core, “Tainted Love” is about a relationship gone wrong and the singer’s desperate struggle to free himself from it.

“Tainted Love” was originally written in the year of my birth, 1964. It was written by a man named Ed Cobb and was first recorded by a lady named Gloria Jones. It had a Motown-feel to it but, it failed to chart and was considered a flop at the time. Jones re-recorded the song in the late 70s but, the song failed to chart again. In the early 80s, with the rise of Synth-Pop bands taking hold, the song was purchased and released by a group called Soft Cell. Soft Cell was comprised of singer Marc Almond and David Ball on synthesizers. Their synthesizer-infused version of the song reached #1 on the UK charts and remains their only career chart-topping hit. As one-hit wonders go, Soft Cell is pretty near the top of the list when it comes to having a recognizable, well-loved song. So, enjoy this version of “Tainted Love”. See everyone tomorrow.

The link for the music video for Tainted Love by Soft Cell can be found here.

Soft Cell has their own website that can be found here.

Thanks KEXP for inspiring the writing of this post. A link to their website can be found here.