Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: Artist profile…Billie Eilish

This is what a recorded audio track looks like using Soundcloud. When I recorded my students reading, all of the pauses, tongue clicks, etc. would all be visible. It was a very helpful analytical tool for me in the classroom.

About a decade or so ago when I was still a classroom teacher, I used to record my students reading aloud once a term. Early in my career, I recorded their voices using an old-fashioned tape recorder. Once recorded, I could analyze each child’s reading tendencies in greater detail. I could share these insights with parents and develop strategies for improvement that could be worked on at school and at home. As my career rolled along technology changed. Toward the end of my time in the classroom everything became digitized. To record my students as they read I started using an app called Soundcloud. For my purposes, Soundcloud was a glorified computerized tape recorder. I clicked on the record button, my students read aloud and then I pressed the stop button. I also used Soundcloud to read simple stories online for my students so that they could access them at home or at school, holding the storybook in their own hands and following along to my words as they listened. At the time, I thought I was engaging in some cutting edge technological wizardry. Truth be told, my use of the Soundcloud app was as basic and rudimentary as it comes. Soundcloud was invented to allow anyone who wanted the ability to record sounds to do so and then release them for the world to hear. This meant that poets could share their poems and sound effect artists could record and share those noises for others to hear and/or use. But the biggest market for Soundcloud users turned out to be aspiring singers. Not everyone has access to a full-blown recording studio. But almost anyone can access a computer (desktop, laptop, phone) with a built-in microphone and use soundcloud’s mixing features to record multi-track songs and instrumental music. With the introduction of social media, every regular joe can now share their thoughts, feelings and ideas with the world. We live in an age of empowerment. Our homes manifest themselves into town squares with the power of our devices. Anyone can be a viral social media star these days because of technology. One who has become famous this way is today’s featured guest, Billie Eilish.

Billie Eilish

When Billie Eilish was only eleven years old, she started singing her own songs using the Soundcloud app. At the time, she and her older brother, Finneas, were being homeschooled by their parents who thought that Soundcloud was a useful tool to capture the creative expressions of their children. Finneas had his own band then and had already started creating his own music by the time his little sister Billie showed interest in doing the same. In order to help her out, Finneas began setting aside songs that he felt were better suited for her voice than for his. Consequently, when Billie Eilish was a mere thirteen years old, she released her very first professional song via Soundcloud called “Ocean Eyes”. The song soon became popular on the app and an instant audience for Billie Eilish’s music was created numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Such success caught the eye of Apple Music. Billie Eilish was signed to a development contract. In no time at all, she was the centre of a multi-tiered online marketing campaign. The teenage singer recorded a few other songs with her brother Finneas. One of these new songs was inspired by the literary character Sherlock Holmes and was called “You Should See Me In A Crown”. These songs were then taken by Apple Music and were remixed and re-recorded by other artists from their roster. These remixes were released in a coordinated campaign aimed at creating the sense that her music had gone viral and was being sung everywhere by everyone. In addition to her actual songs, Billie Eilish collaborated with graphic designers and animators to create Animé-style illustrations to accompany her music. So, not only were there multiple mixes of each song, there were multiple music videos online as well. By the time Billie Eilish turned seventeen, she released her first major album called When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? From that album came her first hit single called “Bad Guy”. This song went all the way to #1 on the charts, making her the first singer born in the 2000s to reach the top of the charts. Her album also went to #1, selling millions of copies in the process. At the Grammy Awards that took place later that year, Billie Eilish won six Grammys, including Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Record of the Year. As if that much success wasn’t enough, Billie Eilish followed that up by being signed to sing the latest James Bond movie theme song called “No Time To Die”. For that song, she won additional Grammys the following year, as well as the Academy Award for Best Song from a Movie. As she and her brother Finneas sang on that Oscar stage, Billie Eilish had yet to turn twenty.

Seeing as how it has only been the past few years that Billie Eilish has been on the music scene, there is still much that we are all getting to know about her. For starters, her last name is not Eilish. I always thought so. But, in reality, her legal name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell. One of the things that first caught the attention of the public (besides her singing skills) was her appearance. Billie Eilish burst onto the scene with multi-coloured hair and bright baggy outfits. Initially, she stated that she wanted people to think she was weird because that made her slightly intimidating and gave her a sense of power in her personal relationships, especially with the media. But, as it turns out, the real reason she wore what she did was because she didn’t want to submit herself to the media scrutiny about her body and her appearance. Far too many young women find themselves packaged in a sexual way before they ever get a chance to be judged on their artistic merit. Once she won her Grammys and her Oscar and was noted for her music first, then she allowed herself to be seen in public in dresses and on red carpets the world over. Billie Eilish has managed that rare feat of seemingly being in control of her public image and has done so at a very young age. Finally, to complement her music and the physical image she presents to the world, Billie Eilish has championed several causes such as climate change, animal welfare and women’s rights. She has started using her public platform in ways that help to shine a light on these issues. This marriage of musical talent with intelligent, worldly thoughts makes Billie Eilish seem like a very well-rounded human being indeed.

Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas with some of the Grammys that adorn the bookshelves of their family home.

As I write these words, Billie Eilish is appearing more often in public as part of a duo with her brother. The pair go by Billie Eilish and Finneas. While Finneas may be her older brother, they are both still only in their early twenties. Both have accomplished much in these young lives of theirs. They appear to have their feet firmly planted on the ground and have so far managed to avoid many of the usual temptations that have tripped up so many other folks for whom fame and fortune arrived too soon. In the links below, I will take you through some of her discography. You can see how she (and Finneas) have evolved over time these past few years. Don’t worry if you are not overly familiar with her name because she is so new on the music scene. But make no mistake, Billie Eilish and Finneas are rapidly rising stars who, hopefully, have many productive and successful years ahead of them yet. Without further delay, here are Billie Eilish and her talented brother, Finneas. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the video for the song “You Should See Me In A Crown” by Billie Eilish can be found here. ***The lyrics version (which is also the anime-style version) can be found here.

The link to the video for the song “No Time To Die” from the James Bond movie of the same name can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the official website for Billie Eilish can be found here.

The link to the official website for Soundcloud can be found here.

***All original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged,copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: Featured Artist: P!nk

P!nk was born in 1979 as Alecia Moore. In her teens she was a member of an all-girl band named Choice that recorded one professional album. Like so many new bands, pressure was applied to make P!nk the star of the band, with her friends being placed in subordinate backing roles. Instead of agreeing to this, the band fell on their musical swords and broke up. P!nk was signed to a solo contract shortly thereafter. This happened at a time when singers such as Britney Spears were being marketed as the next big thing in Pop music. Initially P!nk was marketed by her record label in the same manner. She was an attractive young woman who was asked to wear revealing clothing and sing certain songs that packaged her for public consumption as a sex symbol. It was at this time in her life that the real Alecia Moore stood up and made herself known.

P!nk was never content to allow herself to be marketed by men. She wanted to be in charge of her public image and of the music she released under her name. Growing up, her idol was Madonna. In interviews, P!nk has stated that it was Madonna who inspired her to believe that women could blaze a trail in the music business on their own terms. With that in mind, P!nk recorded a new album of music that she wrote herself. That album ended up going four times platinum. That was quickly followed up by her participation in the song “Lady Marmalade” with Mya, Lil’ Kim and Christina Aguilera for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. That song went to #1, making it the first of many P!nk songs to do so. Over the course of her career, she has sold over 60 million albums, 75 million singles, 18 million digital downloads and her songs have been streamed almost one billion times online. P!nk has won multiple Grammy Awards, has been named the Female Artist of the Decade (for the 2000-2010s) and is currently the top female artist in the world as far as the number of times her songs have been played on the radio.

P!nk with Dallas Green (of City and Colour). They called their act You + Me.

While her numbers are impressive, P!nk is well respected by critics, fans and peers alike because of the strength of her character above all else. P!nk seems devoid of ego. She performs as a solo artist but is more than willing to appear in collaborations with other artists. Two recent examples are of her partnership with the lead singer of the Canadian band City and Colour (Dallas Green) for an album entitled You + Me. One of my favourite videos to listen to/watch is of them singing a duet of the City and Colour song “What Makes a Man?” (which you can watch here). P!nk also gave of her time to help singer Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters put on two benefit concerts in memory of the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. (You can watch Dave and P!nk rocking out here). P!nk writes her own music, but she also writes songs for other performers to record.

Alecia Moore aka P!nk.

Like David Bowie, P!nk is known for her appearance. Specifically, she is known for changing her image to suit her mood. Sometimes she shaves her head. At other times she wears her hair spiked up and colours it every colour of the rainbow imaginable. She dresses in whatever she wants, which ranges from jeans and t-shirts, to formal dresses, to work out attire. The point is that P!nk, like Bowie before her, uses control of her public image as a flex in a world in which many women do not have that form of control over their lives. While P!nk sometimes lets her actions speak for her (as in the example above), she is also unafraid to support causes that are near and dear to her heart. Consequently, P!nk has been a vocal supporter of causes devoted to women’s rights, animal rights and causes such as the recent drive to have people get the vaccines available to fight COVID-19.

P!nk live! What a strong powerful voice she has!

But what is most impressive about P!nk is the simple fact that she can really sing. P!nk possesses a strong, powerful singing voice and has been dubbed the voice of her generation by her peers. Her singing style, her artistry as a songwriter, her physical strength and the principles which she lives her life by have all acted as an inspiration for many young girls who aspired to become singers in her wake. Adele has stated that seeing P!nk perform in England as a teenager was the single most transformative moment of her life. She described the power of P!nk’s voices as being akin to experiencing a wind tunnel. Kelly Clarkson has stated that the independence that P!nk has shown throughout her career helped to give her the confidence to stand up for herself when record executives attempted to steer her in directions in which she was uncomfortable. In general, P!nk has done much to allow younger women to be themselves when it comes to developing a career in the music industry. It still is not easy to be a woman in an industry that remains predominantly male. However, performers such as P!nk are doing their part to create a better balance of power within the industry.

P!nk has a new album out called Trustfall and is embarking on a world wide tour in support of it. From that album comes today’s song which is tongue-twistingly entitled “Never Gonna Not Dance Again”. The song’s message is about remaining strong in the face of adversity. P!nk was aiming her message squarely at everyone who, like her and her family, found themselves dealing with a world restricted by the COVID pandemic. “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” is about not giving up when the times are tough and about finding the wherewithal to get back on your feet again and begin living once again. If you have $400-500.00 to spend on a ticket, I am certain that she would put on a good show and would be exciting to see live. In any case, P!nk is worth listening to whether it is live in concert or via video or on radio in your car. If you have a favourite P!nk song, feel free to let me know in the comment box below.

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read these words. I appreciate having you be part of my world…in words.

The link to the video for P!nk’s latest song, “Never Gonna Not Dance Again”, can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the official website for P!nk can be found here.

The link to the official website for The Good Lovelies can be found here.

***All original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: The Grants by Lana Del Rey

NOTE: As someone who is rapidly approaching his sixties, I find myself torn as to how I feel about the music that is being released today. The easy answer to that question is that I don’t really like much of it. I look at the music charts and struggle to know more than just a handful of the artists listed. Do most artists even use real names anymore? Is every song a collab.? I find it easy to be dismissive of today’s music. Conversely, I find it easy to take comfort in the music of my own life. I became musically literate in the 1980s. My library of songs leans heavily on the quarter century from 1975-2000. I enjoyed listening to that music back then and still do so today. Because of the way online algorithms work, I continue to be fed a fairly constant diet of those songs I listened to as I grew into adulthood. But the year 2000 was almost a quarter century ago itself. I find it hard to believe that music stopped being interesting after Y2K. The truth is that there still is interesting and relevant music being made today. I just have to force myself to dig a little deeper and look a little harder…beyond the industry-provided song charts, beyond the viral trending flavours of the month who come and go and finally, beyond the pre-packaged buzz that tends to stand in place of actual accomplishments today.

In writing about music and the people who make it, I have become more attuned to how music is created and shared these days and how different a marketplace it is compared to the 1970s and 80s. I am fascinated by the creative way technology is used to make music. I am still learning when it comes to how artists use social media to create a demand for their music and how they use technology to connect with their audience and distribute their tunes directly to their customers. These are amazing times in many ways. And beneath the surface of how the worlds of music and e-commerce have melded, there remain good musicians, singers and songwriters who are producing music worthy of my attention. It is music I think is worthy of your attention, too. Thus, for the past year and a bit, I have been setting aside one day per week to highlight new music for you. I have decided to do this because I think it is important for those of us who are maturing to stay somewhat connected to the world in which we actually live. The problem I am having with it all is that the Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40 series of posts that I publish is easily the series that has the lowest reader response. While I can’t read your minds, I do feel somewhat safe in assuming that when each new issue comes out you react the same way I do when it comes to today’s music and that is, you are generally dismissive of it. Well, I put a lot of work into bringing the stories behind six new songs to you each week, but that hard work seems not to be paying off. So, this week I am going to try a new approach. This week, I am going to profile a modern day artist of note that I think you should know more about. One artist. One new song. One profile. Let’s see how this goes. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter in the comment box below.

Elizabeth Grant aka Lana Del Rey

Today I wish to introduce you to a singer/songwriter who goes by the name Lana Del Rey. She is legally known as Elizabeth Grant but has always used a stage name since she decided to give live performing a serious try. Lana Del Rey is easily one of the more interesting artists around these days. As a society/industry, we love to put labels on artists/bands and then expect them to always “stay in their lane”. Well, Lana Del Rey is certainly someone who defies easy categorization. She has been dismissed as being anti-feminist, yet she has doggedly pursued her own unique artistic vision for well over a decade now. Del Rey used modern social media means to launch her career (promoting her music via YouTube long before having a record deal), yet much of her music and her visual style harken back to the 1950s. She is somewhat like Amy Winehouse in that regard. Lana Del Rey has a degree in philosophy and often writes songs that are highly literate and cinematic in effect, which makes her work not always the easiest to market in a world shaped by soundbites. And yet, Lana Del Rey has sold well over 32 million albums worldwide so far in her young career without having a #1 hit to her name. Finally, for me, Lana Del Rey occupies a unique space on my playlists because she is one of the very few artists whose in-studio work I prefer over her live performances. She seems so much more in her element when she is able to shape and craft her music exactly as she wants it to be, which is not always the case when one is singing live. I believe that she is an auteur…a throwback to a more glamorous time when Frank Sinatra ruled the airwaves and Lana Turner ruled the silver screen.

Over the course of her career, Lana Del Rey has released nine albums. She has earned multiple Grammy Award nominations and has won several Brit Awards, including the Ivor Novello Award for her songwriting. While her songs may not be as familiar as those released by the likes of Taylor Swift or Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey connects with her audience by different means and measures her success accordingly. Her YouTube account has been viewed over four billion times! Wow! Her most popular songs among her fanbase include songs such as “Video Games”, “Born To Die”, “Summertime Sadness” and “Young and Beautiful” (which was from the soundtrack to the film The Great Gatsby). She has a new album coming out in June called Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. She has pre-released several songs from this album, one of which is called “The Grants”. If you recall, her legal surname is Grant. This song is a beautiful ballad about the love she feels for her family. Being a published poet, her feelings are expressed extremely well. The piano accompaniment is perfect and helps to elevate “The Grants” into something very special. I hope that you will give it a listen.

So, that’s it. That concludes this week’s edition of Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40. I encourage you all to check out Lana Del Rey via the links to her hit songs that I have included within the body of this post, as well as the link to “The Grants” that can be found below. Lana Del Rey is a smart person with a very creative and artistic bent to her personality. Her website and YouTube channel are both well worth checking out should you wish to know more about her. Next week, I shall profile another modern artist/band and we will see how that goes, too. Hopefully you, like me, will develop an appreciation for these modern-day artists and the good music they are managing to create. The good times didn’t cease when Prince sang goodbye to 1999. They can be found today, too. You just have to know where to look. Hopefully, my searchlight can help to light the way for you. Until we meet again…take care. Bye for now.

The link to the video for the song “The Grants” by Lana Del Rey can be found here. ***The lyrics video is the only video available at the moment so click with confidence on the link above and you will be able to read Lana Del Rey’s excellent lyrics as you listen.

The link to the official website for Lana Del Rey can be found here.

The link to the video of her song “Young and Beautiful” being sung by the folks at Choir! Choir! Choir! can be found here. ***For what it is worth, this is one of my favourite Choir! Choir! Choir! renditions.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: March 1, 2023…Feist, Beck, Hayden, Murray A. Lightburn, Eamon McGrath, Screaming Females

In today’s post we have six brand new tunes for your reading and listening pleasure! It has been a while since so much good new music has been released all at the same time so I am excited to get started. Without any further delay, let’s jump right in with a gorgeous new song from one of the most beautiful and distinctive voices in all of Canada! Enjoy the show, folks!

In Lightning by Leslie Feist

Leslie Feist

From winning a Battle of the Bands and getting to appear on a bill with The Ramones, to being a member of Canadian indie supergroup Broken Social Scene, to releasing Juno award-winning albums as a solo artist, Leslie Feist has nearly done it all as a singer and songwriter in Canada. The singer, who is known simply as Feist, is releasing a new album this month called Multitudes. From that album, she has released three singles already, including the song I am highlighting today called “In Lightning”. Kate Bush and Bjork are two of my favourite singers. I hold Feist in the same lofty company as them in terms of the timbre of her voice and the artsy nature of her lyrics and singing style. If this is your first time hearing Feist sing, then you are in for a treat. She is one of Canada’s most highly respected singers for a reason. The video for “In Lightning” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video for this song yet.

Thinking About You by Beck

Beck arriving for a performance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show

Beck has been one of the most innovative and creative singers in the world of music for several decades now. He burst into the public eye back in the 1990s when he helped popularize the art of sampling on his album Odelay. He won several Grammy Awards for that album and has never looked back. Beck has definitely had a career that has been more about the craft of creating interesting songs, rather than being about celebrity and having the noisiest voice. He has been a private person, shunning the spotlight for the most part. Thus, his new song, “Thinking About You”, is startling in many respects because it is deeply personal. For a man who has purposely avoided the limelight, this new song speaks clearly about his thoughts on religion as well as on the demise of his marriage. For a quiet piece of music, Beck has never been more forthcoming and forward. The video for “Thinking About You” can be found here. The lyrics version is here.

Miss Fort Erie by Hayden

Hayden Desser

Hayden Desser is one of Canada’s hidden gems. In the world of indie and alternative music, Hayden has established himself as a songwriter of note. In the larger world of popular music, he has very much spent his entire career somewhat under the radar. The truth is that those who call themselves fans recognize the artistry inherent in his songwriting, causing him to have some of the most devoted supporters of any Canadian artist. “Miss Fort Erie” is only Hayden’s second new song since 2015! In the time since then, he stepped back from his career to focus on helping to raise a family with his wife. This new song is really an old song that Hayden wrote several years ago and is only bringing out now. The video for this song was filmed in a hotel in Newfoundland. In the video, a television set is turned on and plays in the background. On the screen is a montage of every music video Hayden has ever made. For fans of the singer, it is like watching a “greatest hits” retrospective of his career. Like most Hayden songs, “Miss Fort Erie” is a very literate, artful and intelligently written song. There is a definite story being told for those who take the time to listen. The video for the song “Miss Fort Erie” can be found here. The lyrics version is here.

Dumpster Gold by Murray A. Lightburn

Murray A. Lightburn

Many people know Murray A. Lightburn as the lead singer and principal songwriter of the Montreal-based band, The Dears. In that role, Lightburn has earned comparisons to the legendary frontman, Morrissey. The Dears, in turn, have been favourably compared to such innovative bands as Radiohead. Heady praise, indeed, on both accounts. But Murray A. Lightburn has also released several solo albums and is making a name for himself in the international world of music, too. Lightburn’s latest album is entitled Once Upon a Time in Montreal. The first single from that album is called “Dumpster Gold”. The story behind “Dumpster Gold” is a very personal one. Lightburn’s father was a jazz musician, but the two were never close as father and son. However, his father loved his mother. They were married for over fifty years. In his later years, Lightburn’s father developed Alzheimer’s Disease and it became apparent that he could no longer safely live in the home in which Murray Lightburn grew up. So, Lightburn’s mother put the house up for sale. As part of the process of moving, Lightburn was asked to help clear most of the family’s possessions out of the house. It was during this purging process that Lightburn was able to see a side of his father that he was never afforded the luxury of having when his Dad was healthy and present. The letters, photographs and other mementos he found had enormous personal value to him, even though most other people would have considered them to be nothing but junk. Thus, these bits of “Dumpster Gold” became the connective tissue that brought Lightburn closer to his father. The video for “Dumpster Gold” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video for this song yet.

Teenager by Eamon McGrath

Eamon McGrath

Eamon McGrath is a Canadian singer/songwriter who alternates between performing quiet acoustic sets on his own, and employing an upbeat, alternative-punk vibe when he is playing with a band such as the folks from influential 1980/90s indie band, Eric’s Trip. McGrath has released almost twenty albums of original music between the year 2008 and now. He has also written several books about life on the road as a musician. In addition to his solo career, McGrath has been involved with several collaborations including ones with singer Julie Dorion from Eric’s Trip and currently The Wrong Guys, as well as with drummer Danny Miles of the band July Talk. Eamon McGrath tours extensively across Canada, appearing at festivals and taverns near you in all likelihood. His latest album is entitled Trout River Conspiracy. The first single is “Teenager”. The video for “Teenager” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video for this song yet.

Brass Bell by Screaming Females

Screaming Females: Mike Abbate, Marissa Paternoster, Jarrett Dougherty

Screaming Females is a trio out of New Brunswick, New Jersey that employs only one female, but what a performer she is! Marissa Paternoster is lead singer and guitarist for the band that she formed in high school with her friend, bassist Mike Abbate. (Jarrett Dougherty is the drummer and helped complete the band). Paternoster was a shy and introverted person as a teenager and only felt confident in public when she was able to stand behind a microphone and play a guitar. Screaming Females based themselves on the style of Sleater-Kinney. They gained a reputation for giving blistering shows by way of starting their career only playing small venues such as the basements of friends, small bars and so on. As time went on, Paternoster gained much confidence on stage, to the point where, in a recent ranking of the top 100 guitarists in the entire world, she came in at position #77! She is a tiny physical presence who can shred with the giants! I first saw her on video performing with Shirley Manson of the band, Garbage. They performed an excellent cover of Springsteen’s “Because the Night”. Manson is an excellent performer in her own right, but in this video (which you can watch here) she wisely stepped back and yielded the stage to Paternoster, who absolutely killed it in the spotlight. Screaming Females’ latest album is called Desire Pathway. The lead single is “Brass Bell”. Buckle up! The video for “Brass Bell” can be found here. ***There is no lyrics video available yet for this song.

That’s it for today’s new music offerings. What did you think? Did any impress you? Are there other new songs that you think are worthy of the spotlight? If so, let me know in the comments below and I will give them an airing in a subsequent post. Thanks for reading my words. I hope you enjoyed these new songs as much as I did. Have a great rest of your day!

***FYI: the link on the band name takes you to their website. The link to their new song will be within the body of the paragraph devoted to them.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: February 16, 2023…Neutral Milk Hotel, Young Fathers, Peter Gabriel, George Ezra, P!nk, Reve

Welcome to the latest edition of Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40. In this post I will talk about two new album releases, three songs that are actively climbing the charts, and I will introduce a new feature, too. That something new is box-set vinyl reissues. When I was looking for new album releases to talk about in today’s post, I discovered that there just weren’t that many new albums coming out this week. I haven’t been operating in this new blog format long enough to know the cyclical patterns of record releases, so I am not sure if this is just the post-holiday doldrums we are in or if there just wasn’t much new that was happening. What I did notice was a number of box sets, commemorative reissues and greatest hits packages were out in the musical marketplace, so I opted to share one that I found particularly interesting. I hope that you end up liking it, too.

So, let’s begin, shall we? Here is Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40.

Commemorative Box Sets

The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel with Jeff Mangum in the front

It is almost presumptuous to release a commemorative box set when you are a band that has only ever released two albums, but when that band is Neutral Milk Hotel it seems highly appropriate. As many of you may know, Neutral Milk Hotel was an Indie-Alternative band who came to prominence in the mid-1990s. The band was fronted by singer/songwriter Jeff Mangum and promoted a sub-genre of music known as lo-fi. This meant that the band purposefully recorded their music in basic, simple ways and eschewed polished recording techniques and effects. Their debut album didn’t fare that well when it was released, but their second album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, is a different story and helped make the band one of the most interesting and important Indie bands of all time. While not completely a concept album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was inspired for the most part by the seminal book Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Singer Jeff Mangum read the book and was profoundly moved by the story it contained. Specifically, he became emotionally overwhelmed at the idea that someone as full of kindness and empathy and the potential for goodness as Anne Frank appeared to be could be taken away from us so cruelly. He postulated that if there was no future for someone as special as Anne Frank, then what hope did any of us have going forward? The songs he wrote while in this state are rough around the edges but possess an earnestness that we rarely see in music today.

When In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was released, opinions were split as to its worth. But, over time, fans and critics alike have come to view the album as being a classic of its kind. I have to tell you that the title track, as well as the song “Holland, 1945” are both songs that are incredibly unique and moving and stay with you long after the last note has been played. This album was released just as the Internet was becoming a thing. Suddenly, Jeff Mangum’s heartfelt thoughts were becoming the fodder for chat room critiques and debates. The weight of being so vulnerable in such a public manner was not what Mangum had intended. Finding himself in that position became distressing, and Mangum simply disappeared for almost a decade. No one knew where he went or even if he was still alive. The manner in which he vanished added an air of mystique to the band’s legacy which, in turn, caused their work to be viewed with greater interest and seriousness. It wouldn’t be entirely incorrect to say that In The Aeroplane Over The Sea became somewhat of a cult classic album. Then, about a decade ago, Jeff Mangum reappeared as if he had never been away. A reunion tour was held but no new music was recorded or released. This new commemorative box set is the first new offering by the band in almost twenty-five years.

If you have never heard Neutral Milk Hotel before then I offer you their two most well known songs. “Holland, 1945” is said to be about Otto Frank, who was Anne Frank’s father and the only member of the Frank family to have survived the Holocaust. The song is about how someone in that situation deals with survivor’s guilt and finds the strength to continue living when all that they have loved is gone. It is actually a peppy, all-over-the-place song that leaves a lasting impression because of the emotional wallop it packs. You can listen to this song here. “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” is not specifically about Anne Frank and her life, but she certainly helped to inspire it. It is a slightly less jangly song as compared to “Holland, 1945”, but it is uniquely uplifting and passionate at the same time. You can listen to this song here.

New Album Releases

Heavy Heavy by Young Fathers

Young Fathers: Alloysious Massaquoi, “G” Hastings and Kayus Bankole

I have a new favourite band. Young Fathers are an absolutely incredible band from Scotland. Heavy Heavy is their fourth album. Two of their first three releases have gone on to be named Scottish Album of the Year. I am not sure why I had never heard of them prior to conducting my research for this post but now that I have found them, I have been binge-listening to their entire catalogue. They are soooooo good live! Young Fathers consists of three singers Alloysious Massaquoi (Liberian), Kayus Bankole (Nigerian), Graham “G” Hastings (Scottish) who perform in what can best be described as Hip Hop Gospel. Their performance style is not Hip Hop as we know it from America. It is a joyful world music style. Completely uplifting and emotionally energizing. I am going to try to bring you up to speed by giving you three videos to watch and listen to!

The first comes from a live in-studio performance at my favourite radio station KEXP-FM in Seattle. They play four older songs live in this set. They are so intense. You will be drained just watching it. So good. The link to that video is here. ***There is no lyric video.

The second video also comes from a live performance of a song called “Only God Knows”. This song was written for inclusion on the soundtrack of the Trainspotting sequel, T2. Again, the intensity of the performance is something else, especially the second half of the song. You can watch this video here. ***Because it is a live performance, there is no lyric video.

The third and final video is a lyric video!!! It is the lyric video for the latest single from their new album, Heavy Heavy, and is simply called “Rice”. It can be found here.

i/o by Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel recently celebrated his 73rd birthday by releasing a new album called i/o. Over the course of his long and successful career, Peter Gabriel has released many hit songs such as “Sledgehammer”, “Big Time”, “Don’t Give Up” featuring Kate Bush, “In Your Eyes” featuring Youssou N’Dour, “Shock The Monkey”, “Games Without Frontiers”, “Solsbury Hill”, “Biko” and many more. He has also championed causes such as human rights, as well as protection of the environment.

His new album i/o is his first new album in twenty years. He released the first single from the album, “Panopticom: Bright Side Mix”, on the first full moon of this year. On the second full moon, he released “Panopticom: Dark Side Mix”. Gabriel plans to continue releasing new material as each full moon appears, giving each new song the “bright side/dark side” alternative versions as time goes on. Gabriel claims that the idea of the “Panopticom” is to create a global database of information and ideas that is controlled by ordinary citizens so that we have unfiltered access to the information necessary to understand what is happening to our world and make proper informed decisions accordingly.

You can watch/listen to the videos for “Panopticom: Bright Side Mix” here and “Panopticom: Dark Side Mix” here. ***There are no lyric versions.

Songs That Are Currently on the Charts

“Green Green Grass” by George Ezra (BBC Radio 1, Billboard and Spotify)

George Ezra

George Ezra burst on to the UK music scene in 2014 when he had a big hit with the song “Budapest”. In the time since, he is generally regarded in the same musical peer group as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. Ezra has had several #1 hit songs in the UK and was named the Best British Male Solo Artist at The Brit Awards in 2019.

He is presently climbing the Top 40 charts around the world with a song called “Green Green Grass”. The story behind the song is that he was vacationing on the island of St. Lucia with family and friends in 2018. As they were driving around the island they came upon what appeared to be a festival or street party in a small town. When they stopped to enquire as to what the nature of the celebration was, they were informed that it actually was a celebration of life for three different people at the same time. The music was so joyous, the colours so vibrant and the atmosphere so happy that everyone in Ezra’s party came to the conclusion that when their turn came to pass that they definitely wanted a sendoff such as the one they had just witnessed. “Green Green Grass” is about having such a party after you have died. Despite the subject matter, “Green Green Grass” is a peppy, upbeat tune that is a popular hit for a reason.

The link to the video for “Green Green Grass” by George Ezra can be found here. ***The lyrics version is here.

“Never Gonna Not Dance Again” by P!nk (CHUM-FM, Billboard, Spotify)


Despite the double-negative song title, “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” by P!nk is climbing the charts all across North America. This song was inspired by the George Michael and Wham song “Careless Whisper” and the line, “I’m never gonna dance again”. However, P!nk approached the song with the idea that, unlike what happened in the George Michael song, no one was ever going to take away her spirit and her willingness to express herself through music and movement and dance.

P!nk is terrific. She has such a powerful voice and such a charismatic personality. In her career, she has had many hits, such as “There You Go”, “Lady Marmalade”, “Get The Party Started”, “Just Like a Pill”, “So What”, “Sober”, “Bad Influence”, “Raise Your Glass”, “Perfect”, “Try”, “Just Like Fire”, “What About Us” and many more. She has also performed with other artists, such as Eminem, Cher, City and Colour, Keith Urban, as well as appearing at the recent Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in Los Angeles and singing with the Foo Fighters.

Her latest single is “Never Gonna Not Dance Again”. The link to the video for this song is here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

“Whitney” by Rêve (Chum-FM, Spotify)


Rêve is the Montreal-based singer who broke onto the music scene this past year with the catchy hit song “Ctrl-Alt-Del”. She is back with a new song called “Whitney”, which, as you may suspect, is inspired by the late, great Whitney Houston. Rêve has stated that this song has two meanings for her. First of all, it is a tip-of-the-hat to Whitney Houston and to all of the other iconic performers who inspired Rêve to follow her own dream of becoming a singer in her own right. She says that having such impactful role models was the key to giving her the confidence to believe that she could write and sing hit songs, too. She also hopes that by being a successful woman who is supporting and applauding other successful women, that maybe, one day, some young aspiring teenage female singer with a dream will look to her as being an inspiration, too. The second point that Rêve is making with the song “Whitney” is that being a successful singer takes more than just talent; it takes a sense of self-confidence that allows you to develop a stage presence that catches the eye of the public. So, this song is Rêve’s way of thanking the likes of Whitney Houston for helping her to develop a sense of style and swagger to her on-stage persona.

The link to the song, “Whitney” by Rêve can be found here. ***The lyrics version is here.

That’s a wrap for this week. I hope that you found some new music to enjoy. I will be back next week with an all-new look at what is trending now, what may be trending in the very near future, as well as celebrating the very best of the past should there be box sets and reissues of note to pass along. Until then, take care. Thanks for reading this post. I appreciate your presence on my blog.

PS: The header photo was taken at the Cultivate Festival in Port Hope, Ontario this past summer. The link to the Festival website can be found here.

***As always, all original content contained within this blog remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: 2023 Grammy Edition…Lizzo, Harry Styles, Beyonce, Brandi Carlile, Wet Leg, Bad Bunny, Willie Nelson and Encanto!

The 2023 Grammy Awards took place last night in Los Angeles. If you watched any of the show I hope that you did so armed with the vast knowledge you have accrued from a year of good reading on this very blog about many of the stars who were making news in the world of music this past year. If not then today’s post will bring you up to speed. So let’s take a quick run through some of the top award winners from last night’s show. You can read all about them in the links below.

Record of the Year: “About Damn Time” by Lizzo.

Winning the Grammy for Record of the Year caps off a memorable year for Lizzo. Not only did she have some of the biggest hits if the year but she also launched an online dance craze, as well as courting controversy in some quarters by playing an historically important glass flute at The Library of Congress. Lizzo is the real deal and then some. To read all about her accomplishments, click here.

Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album: Harry’s House by Harry Styles.

Harry Styles had a tremendously successful year last year. I wrote about him several times because of his hits “As It Was” and “Night Talking”. You can read all about Mr. Styles here and here.

Best Dance/Electronic Recording, Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song: Renaissance by Beyonce.

Beyonce had herself quite a night at the Grammy Awards and quite a year again overall. You can read all about her award-winning album, Renaissance here. You can also read about her past successes in the Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History here and here.

Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Americana Album: Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile.

Brandi Carlile was one of the most deserving winners last night. She has been an under-the-radar superstar in the world of music for quite some time now. Last night’s Grammy wins should elevate her firmly into the public spotlight. Carlile does a lot of good work beyond the walls of her studio. You can read all about this accomplished singer here.

Best Alternative Music Performance, Best Alternative Music Album: “Chaise Longue” by Wet Leg.

Wet Leg are a new duo who burst on to the music scene in a big way in 2022. Read all about who they are and why they were successful here.

Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Album: A Beautiful Time by Willie Nelson.

What a night for a young man who has been winning awards longer than I have been alive! I never wrote about Willie Nelson for Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40 last year but I did write about him twice for The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History. So, if you wish to go back down Memory Lane and read those posts, click here and here and enjoy!

Best Musica Urbana Album: Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny.

He opened last night’s show with as energetic an opening as there has been in quite some time. If you watched that and found yourself wondering who the heck Bad Bunny was then wonder no more. Bad Bunny was the most streamed artists in the entire world for the third year in a row last year. He is the face of music in this digital, international age. You can read more about him here.

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: Encanto by Various Artists.

When I first started writing for the Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40 series almost a full year ago, the Encanto soundtrack was featured in Edition #1. Encanto is a fabulous movie that celebrates Colombian music in the most delightful and colourful manner. If you have never watched the movie then grab yourself some popcorn and settle in. It is fully deserving of all of the accolades that have come its way, including last night’s Grammy win for Best Soundtrack. You can read all about it here.

For a full list of all of the “Winners” and Nominees from the 2023 Grammy Awards, you can visit the official website of the Grammys by clicking here. Congratulations to everyone on this list. Thank you all for a year of terrific music in 2022.

***As always, all original content contained within this blog post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: January 26, 2023…Miley Cyrus, Zach Bryan, Teisto, Tate McRae, Fall Out Boy, Banners, City and Colour

Welcome back to another edition of Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40. In this post we’ll start by taking a closer look at three songs that are currently on the Top 40 charts of the world and then three other songs which come from albums that have just been released this week. So get ready to enjoy the best of the present and possibly the best that the future has to offer in terms of great music. Here we go!!!

Flowers by Miley Cyrus

For those of us of a certain vintage, we have known about Miley Cyrus for almost the entirety of her life. She first came into the public eye as the cute young daughter of Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. From there, the two of them parlayed his musical fame into starring roles in the children’s TV show Hannah Montana. But as Miley grew older, she did so with a clear goal in mind and that was to be a music star in her own right. She has certainly achieved that goal with her chart topping classic hit, “Wrecking Ball”, along with several others that have all cracked the Top 40 in past years. To date, she has sold over 40 million albums and has been streamed/viewed online over 100 million times! Like many child stars, the transition to adulthood has been marked with controversial moments but through it all, Miley Cyrus has always leaned on her love of music to steady herself. She is well-respected by her peers and has wowed many audiences with her rich, deep voice and emotive, heartfelt singing style. If anyone can be counted on to pull off bluesy rock songs in the style of Janis Joplin, it is Miley Cyrus.

Miley Cyrus as seen in her “Flowers” video.

This takes us to today’s song. Miley Cyrus had been married to actor Liam Hemsworth. The story goes that at their wedding reception, Hemsworth dedicated the song “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars to his bride. Well, as often happens to young couples in the spotlight, they broke up a while ago. Like many before her, Miley has channeled her sadness and disappointment into song lyrics. These lyrics form the body of today’s #1 song on the charts, “Flowers”. I would love to say that “Flowers” is a highly original and thoughtful song but, unfortunately, it really isn’t. Instead it mines the usual territory in which an ex-lover is dissed and then the spurned lover talks about how she will survive because of how empowered she feels and how desirable she remains in the eyes of others. According to sources, “Flowers” is supposed to be a line for line rebuttal to the Bruno Mars song that had been dedicated to her by Hemsworth. Furthermore, “Flowers” was released as a single on Liam Hemsworth’s birthday. If you wish to listen to the #1 song in North America and watch a video of Miley Cyrus giving off a “look at what you’re missing, boy” vibe then by all means click here. ***The lyrics video is here.

Something In The Orange by Zach Bryan

From Navy SEAL to Country superstar…here is Zach Bryan.

Zach Bryan is a Country singer. But before he sang for a living, Bryan was an enlisted serviceman in the U.S. Navy. Zach Bryan got into music as a way to pass the time while at sea. Because of the way technology works today, Bryan was able to write songs and upload YouTube videos of himself singing while sailing in the middle of the ocean. Eventually, the story of a handsome Navy Seal singing love songs at sea caught the attention of the public, and his music videos began going viral, as they say. After eight years of service, Bryan was honourably discharged so that he could pursue a career in music. He was immediately signed to a record contract and has released three albums since. Today’s song, “Something in the Orange”, is a song about heartbreak. It is racing up the charts and should be firmly inside the Top Ten in a matter of a few weeks. For now, you can listen to one of the hottest Country songs around by clicking here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

10:35 by Tiesto featuring Tate McRae

Tiesto and Tate McRae at Atlantis the Royal in Dubai.

Tiesto is a Dutch DJ who is quite famous in the world of electronic dance music. Tate McRae is a Canadian singer, dancer and actress who first came into the public eye by becoming the first Canadian finalist on the show So You Think You Can Dance, which she managed to achieve at age 13!!! McRae has used social media outlets such as Tik Tok to promote her music and has enjoyed much success online with songs such as “One Day” and “You Broke Me First”. Tiesto and Tate McRae were brought together by big-monied interests from Dubai to create a song that would be used to promote a new resort opening there called Atlantis The Royal. The video for this song was filmed exclusively at the new resort. The song is about meeting someone special and having a wonderful time together. The title, “10:35”, refers to the moment when the two lovers first meet and come to realize that a magical night lay ahead.

There are plenty of songs that possess a great bass line and a killer groove that touch your heart and soul. There are others, such as “10:35”, that are all about the bottom line and make me think about booking a vacation. Whatever! “10:35” is still a peppy little song and should prove to be a popular tune on the dancefloors of clubs all around the world. You can get your own groove on by clicking on the song link here. ***The lyrics version is here.

Love FromThe Other Side by Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy. Pete Wentz is on the far left.

The career story of Fall Out Boy is a cautionary tale for all bands. Fall Out Boy was never really meant to be a serious band. It began as a side project for singer Pete Wentz and served as something for him to do while he figured out what he really wanted to do in the world of music. Originally more of a hardcore performer in the Chicago area, Wentz grew tired of the hardcore scene there and so began Fall Out Boy as a way to try out a more commercial, rock-alternative vibe for a while. Fall Out Boy’s first album turned out to be very well received (which was unexpected), and then, a second album yielded the mighty hit “Dance Dance”, which went on to become one of the biggest selling songs in the 2010s. Suddenly, Fall Out Boy were being asked to appear on national late night talk shows, to headline festivals and much, much more. It all proved to be too much too soon for Wentz, who attempted suicide at one point, as well as engaged in many attention-seeking social media moments including a constantly-in-the-spotlight relationship with fellow singer Ashlee Simpson. As a band, Fall Out Boy went on a period of hiatus that many felt would end up becoming permanent, but lo and behold, the boys in the band have hung tough and have released several more albums recently. From their latest album, So Much (for) Stardust, comes the new single, “Love From The Other Side”. You can listen to this new release here. ***The lyrics version is here.

In Your Universe by Banners

Michael Nelson aka Banners.

When I was about to start my final year of teaching, I started things off by dedicating a song to all teachers called “Someone To You”. This song is about the feeling of satisfaction you get when you allow yourself to become special in someone else’s eyes. This happens all of the time when you are a teacher who works with small children. I could wallpaper an entire room in my home using all of the pictures that I have received from students over the years that showed the two of us holding hands in the sunshine or under a rainbow or some other cheery scene. Being able to be that special person for someone else was always the best part of being a classroom teacher. So, when I needed a theme song for my final year, I turned to Scottish born singer Michael Nelson, who goes by the stage name Banners. I discovered Banners in 2015 when I heard his debut EP which contained four songs that were all excellent: “Ghosts”, “Shine a Light”, “Start a Riot” and “Someone To You”. I have followed his career ever since and have always been delighted with everything he releases. His latest album just dropped this week. It is called I Wish I Was Flawless, I’m Not. The first single is “In Your Universe”. You can listen to it here. ***The lyrics version is here.

Underground by City and Colour

Dallas Green, the World Series winning baseball manager.

City and Colour is the stage name of Canadian singer Dallas Green. *(Ya see, his first name is a city and his last name is a colour; thus, he calls himself City and Colour). He was named after baseball manager Dallas Green who was managing the Philadelphia Phillies the last time they won the World Series. Green’s father had placed a bet on the Phillies and because they ended up winning, he considered “Dallas Green” to be a lucky-charm-style name for his newborn son. Regardless of what his name is or how it came to be, Dallas Green is one of Canada’s most prolific and creative singers these days.

Dallas Green the singer.

Green began his career with a hardcore rock band called Alexisonfire. In this band, Green had many hit songs and wound up being nominated for several Juno Awards. But Dallas Green had bigger ambitions than simply playing his music as loudly as possible. About five years after Alexisonfire began (and was still thriving), Green started a side project called City and Colour. This iteration of himself as a performer was much softer, emotive and introspective. He often performed by himself with only guitar and a haunted voice to act on his behalf. To broaden his reach, Green teamed up with several other music stars in duets, such as with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, to sing one of my all-time favourite songs, “Sleeping Sickness”, as well as with P!nk in another excellent duet of a song called “What Makes A Man”. You can listen to both performances here and here.

Dallas Green tours as City and Colour and continues to play in Alexisonfire as well. This past week, in his City and Colour guise, he released a new album called The Love Still Held Me Near. The first single is called “Underground”. You can listen to it here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

That’s it for this week. If you have any comments on the songs featured today please feel free to drop them in the comment box below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. If there are other new and noteworthy songs that you feel should be placed in the spotlight, feel free to bring those songs up, too. In the meantime, thanks for reading my words and being part of my world. I appreciate you being here. Bye for now. Have a wonderful week!

***As always, all original content contained in this blog post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023

Today’s/Tomorrow’s Top 40: January, 2023…Lewis Capaldi, Taylor Swift, Sza, Dan Penn, Yo La Tengo, Florence and the Machine

In today’s post I am going to be featuring three songs that are currently charting around the world and three songs that are hot off of the presses and may turn into the chart-topping songs of tomorrow. So, let’s get started with three of the hottest songs in the world.


Pointless: Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi

Lewis Capaldi is a Scottish-born singer who burst onto the world music scene in 2019 with the monster hit song “Someone You Loved”. This song helped Capaldi win the Brit Award for Best New Artist, as well as having the song nominated for Song of the Year in England as well as in the U.S. Lewis Capaldi has a new album coming out in the spring time and is presently pre-releasing singles in advance of his album coming out. The first single is a song called “Pointless”, and let me tell you, it is the first song of 2023 to be mentioned as a potential Song of the Year candidate for this year. It is a four-tissue tear-jerker of a song about a mother’s love for her son. Capaldi insists that the song is not biographical but one has to wonder. The video for this song plays like a home video from my own life. So many of the moments that he alludes to and captures on film are exactly right based upon my own recollections of being loved by my own mom. In a morbid sort of way, I predict that, from this point onward, “Pointless” will become the #1 song played at funerals for mothers. If you are a mother of a son or sons, or if you are a son with a loving mother, this song was written expressly for you. As you read these words, “Pointless” by Lewis Capaldi is #1 on the BBC Radio 1 charts. ***Lyrics video is here.

Anti-Hero: Taylor Swift

The “real” Taylor Swift learning to live with the “celebrity image” that she portrays when on brand, as seen in her Anti-Hero video.

Taylor Swift’s latest album, Midnights, dropped just prior to the Christmas shopping season. In press releases that accompanied the release of this new album, Taylor Swift said that each song on the album reflected some part of her life in which there were problems, fears, questions or concerns that kept her awake at night. The album has been well-received by fans and critics alike, with the song “Anti-Hero” being the one most are pointing to as being the best track. In literature or the movies, an anti-hero is a character caught somewhere in the netherworld between heroes and villains. An anti-hero often seems to possess the desire to act in a villainous manner, but in the end behaves in a good way. For Taylor Swift, this song is about the nature of living a life under the weight of being a celebrity. Swift claims that her life is actually different from her image, but that it is difficult to just be herself when her every move is scrutinized to such a tremendous extent that she can barely breathe. I have stated in previous posts that I harbour not a single ounce of envy for those living in the glare of the spotlights. It may seem glamorous on the surface, but as someone who values privacy and freedom of movement and calmness, having my every utterance analyzed would be almost unbearable. “Anti-Hero” is Taylor Swift’s musical declaration that she finds being the living embodiment of her own brand is growing wearisome and that she longs to live a normal life. As you read these words, “Anti Hero” has been a #1 song in the U.S. and remains in the Top Ten of many charts around the world. ***Lyrics version is here.

Sza: Kill Bill


Sza (pronounced SIZ-a) is a female Hip Hop singer. She has had much success over the past few years but really has a hit on her hands with the song “Kill Bill”. This song was inspired by the Quentin Tarantino movies Kill Bill and Kill Bill Vol. 2 that starred Uma Thurman as a revenge-seeking woman who is determined to bring her ex-lover to justice no matter who stands in her way. As is customary from Tarantino, both Kill Bill movies were very violent. That sentiment that equates violence to Art is at play in Sza’s song. In her song, “Kill Bill”, Sza is a spurned lover who seeks to kill the girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend because her love for him is just too strong to ignore. Sza is being praised by fans and critics for creating a song that displays such honest emotions. Have a listen to this song for yourself and see if you agree that killing in the name of love is a praise-worthy accomplishment. As you read these words, “Kill Bill” by Sza is the #1 song on Billboard, Spotify and KEXP-FM charts, as well as a Top Ten song on most charts around the world. ***Lyrics version is here.


Living On Mercy by Dan Penn

In a recent post *(which you can read here) I wrote about Dan Penn and the important role he played as a songwriter at the Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama during the 1960s and 70s and how he had contributed to the launch of the genre of music called blue-eyed soul. What I didn’t really do is give the man his due as a performer in his own right. I wish to correct that oversight here and now. Dan Penn has written some of the most important and recognizable songs in the history of modern music and has written for everyone from Aretha Franklin to Wilson Pickett on to Janis Joplin, Percy Sledge, Hank Williams Sr., Sam and Dave, Ronnie Milsap, Faron Young, Albert King, Nick Lowe and many more. But, as much as Dan Penn is respected as a songwriter for hire, he is equally respected for producing excellent albums of his own. Just as the pandemic was getting underway in 2020, Penn released an album called Living On Mercy, which contained a series of restrained Soul-influenced songs that tap into the wisdom of a man who has seen and done much in his eighty years on this planet. The lyrics track can be listened to here.

This Stupid World by Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo

In a previous post *(which you can read here) I wrote about Yo La Tengo being one of the most adored and respected alternative bands in the world. They have been quietly going about their musical business for over two decades now. The band consists of a trio of performers: singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan, keyboardist Georgia Hubley and a rotating series of bass players, the most current being James McNew. I have always considered their sound to be a coffeehouse/indie vibe. Their lyrics are often lyrically evocative and filled with gorgeous sensory imagery. If you like your music on the quiet and literate side, then you will like Yo La Tengo. This Stupid World is their 17th album. The first single off of the album is a song sung by Georgia Hubley called “Aselestine”. ***Unfortunately, there isn’t a lyrics version yet.

Dance Fever by Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine

In a recent post *(that you can read here) I wrote about listening to the radio as I drove across the top of Toronto at nearly two in the morning. The first song I heard once the dial found radio station CFNY-FM was “Stereo” by The Watchmen. The very next song was “Free” by Florence and the Machine. For those unaware, the “Florence” in Florence and the Machine is a female singer from England named Florence Welch. About a decade ago, she was the winner of one of Simon Cowell’s on-air television talent shows and because of that was awarded a recording contract. She has released a string of hits in the years that have followed. My favourite moment of hers was when she acted as fill-in headliner at the Glastonbury Music Festival for the Foo Fighters one year when Dave Grohl had broken his leg. The first song she sang in her set was “Times Like These”, which is a Foo Fighters song. Dave Grohl and the band returned the following year as headliners. Grohl opened his set with a story about watching Florence and the Machine singing his song. It is a funny NSFW story, but it is well worth watching to get a sense of how respected Florence Welch is in music circles. *(You can watch the Dave Grohl/Florence Welch video here. You can watch Florence’s original performance here). In any case, Florence and the Machine released a new album called Dance Fever right at the end of 2022. “Free” is the second single released from it. The song is about how Florence dealt with the anxiety that was associated with the Covid pandemic and how music helped her retain her sense of inner balance. It is a peppy, uplifting song co-written by Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote the songs on Taylor Swift’s last few albums as well. You can listen to “Free” right here. ***The lyrics version is here.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the written consent of the author. ©2023

Tomorrow’s Top 40…2022: The Year in Review…Bad Bunny, Harry Styles, Taylor Hawkins/Foo Fighters, Kate Bush, The Cramps

If you have been following along with my posts over the past year, you will know that I have dedicated each Thursday toward showcasing those songs that sat on the top of the charts this past year, as well as new offerings that are sure to cause a ripple in the weeks and months to come. Today’s post takes a look back at the past year and offers up a few tasty nuggets for you to enjoy. Let’s begin.

1- Today/Tomorrow’s Top 40 Checklist:

In this checklist you will find the complete list of every topic covered this past year. There are links to all posts for you to enjoy at your leisure. The link to the 2022 Today/Tomorrow’s Top 40 checklist for the year can be found here.

2- Today/Tomorrow’s Top 40 Spotify Playlist:

Each song covered throughout the course of 2022 was also compiled onto a Spotify playlist. You can access the best music of 2002 by clicking on the link here.

3- Artist of the Year:

Artist of the Year: Bad Bunny

The Artist of the Year for 2022 is none other than Bad Bunny. For the third consecutive year, Bad Bunny has dominated the numbers when it comes to downloads and streams. In the past three years, Bad Bunny’s songs have been streamed over 35 billion times on Spotify!!! That dwarfs the totals achieved by other heavyweight artists such as Drake, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber. Bad Bunny is the worldwide runaway leader in popularity when it comes to his fanbase so it was no surprise that as festival season begins anew for 2023 that Bad Bunny was chosen as the headlining act for the Coachella Music Festival. On a related note, Bad Bunny’s co-headlining act at Coachella is BlackPink, the all-female K-pop phenoms from South Korea. With social media and music sharing platforms being what they are today, there has never been a better time to be a musician. Anyone with talent from any part of the world can now make it to the top of the music world. There are no greater examples of this than Bad Bunny and BlackPink. This past year I profiled both artists in posts that you can read here and here.

4- Song of the Year:

Song of the Year: “As It Was” by Harry Styles

One of the reasons I made the mid-year switch from following the songs on the top of the charts to introducing you to brand new releases was that the top of the charts ended up being dominated by a small handful of artists such as Lizzo, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. While a few songs by other artists came and went, tunes such as “As It Was” by Harry Styles remained in the Top Ten for most of the year. As a writer, there is only so much one can say about a performer such as Harry Styles. He had one of the most successful years in recent memory, with two #1 hits, over five million is album sales of his hit record, Harry’s House and a concert tour that, among other things saw him perform an almost month-long series of sold out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He is a gender-defying, genre-spanning, kindness-selling superstar and, if not for Bad Bunny’s ridiculous numbers, I am sure that Harry Styles would have been Artist of the Year, as well as having the Song of the Year for “As It Was”. I did wrote about Mr. Styles twice. You can read both posts here and here.

5- Musical Moment of the Year:

Like father, like son. Sixteen year old Shane Hawkins and the late, great drummer of The Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins

Choosing one moment as being the most memorable musical moment of the year is a highly subjective one, for sure. However, having said that, I can’t imagine there being much debate over the emotional impact of seeing sixteen year old Shane Hawkins sit in place of his father and play “My Hero” with his musical family, The Foo Fighters during the first of two Taylor Hawkins Tribute concerts organized by Taylor friend and bandmate, Dave Grohl. 2022 saw the untimely passing of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins while on tour wth the band in South America. For Grohl, having lost Kurt Cobain while in Nirvana and now losing Hawkins, it was a blow that could have ended his career. But Dave Grohl decided the best way to handle the situation and to honour his friend was to throw a musical celebration of life in the form of two tribute concerts; one in London, England and the other in Los Angeles. Both shows were a marvellous example of showcasing the bonds that exist between bands, between drummers and between generations. But while many musical celebrities lent their support such as Rush, P!nk, Liam Gallagher, Wolfgang Van Halen, Def Leppard, Miley Cyrus and many, many more, the person who stole the show and took a real star turn was none other than Taylor Hawkins’ teenage son, Shane Hawkins. Leading the Foo Fighters in “My Hero”, Shane Hawkins delivered one of the most amazing performances on any stage in recent memory. Channeling every ounce of emotion and skill, Shane Hawkins gave one of the most memorable grace-under-pressure performances ever, as the rest of the Foo Fighters kept taking turns watching over him should he have faltered in any way at all. It was terrific rock n’ roll but it was an even better example of the love that exists between families and how music makes its expression possible. I wrote about this performance in a post that you can read here.

6- Musical Trend of the Year:

“Running Up That Hill” roared back to life after soundtracking this scene from the Netflix original series, Stranger Things.

The success of international acts such as Bad Bunny and BlackPink aside, at the beginning of 2022 no one could have predicted that we would witness a return to the top of the charts for 80s icon Kate Bush and her hit song, “Running Up That Hill”. While Kate Bush may be my favourite female artist and while I may know her song catalogue inside and out, an entirely new generation of music lovers became aware of her greatness by way of the inclusion of her song in a television show called Stranger Things. The use of “Running Up That Hill” in a pivotal scene from the series captured the attention of throngs of young viewers who then used their power as social media influencers to pore through Kate Bush’s greatest hits, causing the sixty year old Bush to become one of the most talked about and viewed celebrities of the year. Producers of other television shows took note of the success that Stranger Things had using iconic 80s music to soundtrack their show. The most noteworthy example of this comes from the series Wednesday starring Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family franchise. Ortega is on track to win an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Wednesday Addams and has created several viral social media moments already by using music to augment her acting as seen in her playing of Vivaldi’s “Winter” on the cello while fire erupts all around her and most recently, her iconic dance scene in which she dances in her own unique style to “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps. You can watch Jenna Ortega’s scenes here and here. I wrote about the renaissance of Kate Bush in a post that you can access here.

What were some of your musical highlights from 2022? Did you get to attend any memorable concerts? Did you discover a new act or re-discover an old favourite? How did music play a part in your life as the pandemic restrictions eased and we slowly, carefully got back out there in the real world some more? I would love to hear what you have to say about the topics listed above or about anything on your mind related to the world of music and those who sing it and play it. Please feel free to leave your comments in the comment box below. That’s a wrap on the year 2022 from the world of music. Please join me every Thursday for the rest of the year for all that is new and exciting in the world of music for 2023. Until then, take care and bye for now.

***As always, all original content contained within this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post shall be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2023