Today’s Top 40: The Stories Behind the Hits of Today.

The songs listed below were all found using the following Top 40 charts: BBC Radio 1, CHUM-FM and Indie88-FM (in Toronto), KEXP-FM (in Seattle), Spotify as well as Billboard Magazine. For this week’s list, I looked at songs that found themselves listed in and around chart position #8. So, without further delay, let’s dive into Today’s Top 40 hits! Enjoy.

Sunroof by Nicky Youre ft. dazy (BillBoard Magazine, Spotify and CHUM-FM)

Nicky Youre.

For the first time since I started compiling lists for Today’s Top 40, we have a song that appears in the same position on three different lists at the same time. “Sunroof” by newcomer Nicky Youre is a light, peppy bit of Pop confection that is certain to have your toes a-tapping. It is a mood lightener, for sure. The origin of the song is from an idea Youre left on a voicemail he sent to producer, dazy. The idea was for the two to join forces to create a song that captured the mood one feels when you have just met someone who makes your heart leap out of your chest. That sense of excitement that you feel when you can’t stop thinking of your new love was the vibe Youre and dazy were going for. The result was “Sunroof” which is as catchy a Pop song as you will find on the radio these days.

***The link for the lyrics video can be found here.

Foxglove Through The Clearcut by Death Cab For Cutie (Indie88-FM)

I once read a New Yorker cartoon that showed a police officer arresting a bather at the beach for reading a book by Russian author Dostoevsky. The caption read something like, “I’m afraid that’s not summer reading. You’ll have to come with me”. I thought of that cartoon as I compared the song ”Sunroof” from above with this new song from the band Death Cab For Cutie. One is definitely light and breezy with that summer vibe. The other is “Foxglove Through The Clearcut”.

Death Cab for Cutie.

What an interesting song this is! “Foxglove Through The Clearcut” comes across like a spoken-word poem about the environment. However, it is combined with haunting guitar riffs, along with a music video that captures and holds your attention. It is a very Indie/Alternative sounding song that might be a little too smart for its own good in this age of short soundbites and repetitive messaging. As you may know from a previous post that you can read here, Death Cab For Cutie originated because of a song that was included on The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. Like the Fab Four, Death Cab For Cutie have become known for creating songs that work well in a multimedia style that allows listeners/viewers to extract deeper meaning from the lyrics. Death Cab For Cutie came into the public spotlight as the house band from the TV show, “The O.C.” a few decades ago. Their most famous hit was “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” which you can read all about here. “Foxglove Through The Clearcut” is an intelligent song that will get you thinking. It is definitely not summer reading, but instead, it is a song with artistic aspirations and a serious message, all dressed up in the guise of an awesome Alternative/Indie banger.

***The link to the lyrics video can be found here.

Fool’s Gold by Built To Spill (KEXP-FM).

When I was writing about the Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History, one of the bands that I really enjoyed getting to know better was Guided By Voices. Based in Dayton, Ohio, GBV was led by a charismatic front man named Bob Pollard. Pollard was the only real, permanent member of the band and was responsible for churning out a seemingly endless number of Indie tunes that made their way onto a seemingly endless number of Indie-type records. Fiercely independent, Guided By Voices have built a loyal following without feeling as though they had to compromise their integrity to do so. You can read more about them here.

Doug Martsch from Built To Spill.

My first impression of Built To Spill is that they are modeled very much on Guided By Voices. The lead singer is a man named Doug Martsch. His original idea was to have a band with only him as a regular member. The remaining musicians would change for each album. Built To Spill produces pure Indie rock. They tour relentlessly. They are beloved by music critics and have a very loyal fan base. LIke GBV, Built To Spill put forth copious amounts of music, much of which possesses a rawer, more frenetic energy. The video for “Fool’s Gold” revolves around trying to separate the fake from the real when it comes to music. The band hail from Boise, Idaho. Much of the video for “Fool’s Gold” was shot in the ladies restroom of a local theatre there.

***There appears to not be a lyrics video available for this song. Sorry. Here is a live version instead.

Late Night Talking by Harry Styles (BBC Radio 1).

Have bed. Will travel. Mr. Harry Styles.

This song is the follow-up to Styles #1 hit, “As It Was” which was profiled in a previous post that you can read here. The video for “Late Night Talking” has been much-discussed and analyzed for meaning. It shows Styles in various beds with various bedmates, everyone wearing different pyjamas, all the while the beds he is in end up traveling to an Italian restaurant, Buckingham Palace and so on. It is a very artsy video but done in a cute and personable manner, as has become Styles’ schtick.

When asked to describe this song and video, Harry Styles stated that it was about being him…a young, single man trying to have a love life but who also happens to be in the spotlight. Styles talked about overcoming his shyness that someone like him would have a sex life that would merit scrutiny and comment in the first place. Then, as he has grown as a person, Styles has made it clear that one of the hardest things about being someone famous is all of the labels and boxes people want to place him in. He says that the song, “Late Night Talking” is about all of us being more open to exploration and being freer with the boundaries that society sets for us. In real life, Harry Styles is presently dating actress Olivia Wilde, for those who are interested in such things. As for the musicality of the song, well, it sounds like a Harry Styles song to me. If you are familiar at all with his song catalogue then you will find “Late Night Talking” to your liking as well.

***The link to the lyrics version of this song can be found here.

***As always, all original content found in this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this blog may be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2022 tommacinneswriter.com

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #381: I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie.

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 #381: I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie.

Well, as we now know, the band, “Death Cab for Cutie” is based upon a song featured in The Beatles TV movie, “The Magical Mystery Tour”. The band was formed in the late 1990s and has released several albums that have been nominated for Grammy Awards in the Alternative Rock categories. The band is comprised of lead singer Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer (bass), Dave Depper (keyboards, guitar and vocals), Zac Rae (keyboards/guitar)and Jason McGerr (drums).

The song, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” is Death Cab for Cutie’s biggest selling, and most well-known song of all-time. The song deals with Gibbard thinking about relationships and how they might extend beyond our living years, into the dark void of whatever happens after we die. It is a romantic song in the sense that it chronicles how the singer would search the Hereafter for as long as it took to find those he loved.

What really has helped Death Cab for Cutie establish themselves is the placement of their songs in well-known television shows. A song like “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, with its theme of an everlasting love, was well-suited for angst-driven dramas in which it has appeared such as “90210”, “Scrubs”, as well as, “Grey’s Anatomy”. In each case, Gibbard’s lyrics, paired with the storylines of beloved television characters, helped create a greater sense of emotional depth for all involved. As such, Death Cab for Cutie were able to reach a vast audience who may never had listened to their song if not for having it be the soundtrack to the storylines of their favourites characters on tv. Smart marketing on their part.

So, please enjoy this acoustic ballad that soared to prominence because of TV. From a band who came into being because of a Beatles movie that appeared on TV, too. Here is, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie.

The link for the video for “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie, can be found here.

The link for the video for when this song was used in the TV show, “Scrubs” can be found here.

The link for the video for when this song was used in the TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy”, can be found here.

The link to the video for “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Choir! Choir! Choir!, can be found here.

The link to the website for Death Cab for Cutie can be found here.

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

KTOM: The Top 500 Sings in Modern Music History…Song #382: The Magical Mystery Tour/I Am The Walrus by The Beatles.

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 #382: The Magical Mystery Tour/I Am The Walrus by The Beatles.

In the year of my birth, 1964, an American author named Ken Kesey set forth with a band of family and friends who came to be known as The Merry Pranksters. Driving in a decaled-up van known as “Further” and armed to the teeth with all sorts of mood-altering chemicals such as LSD, Kesey and his gang set out to expand their consciousness and live a life that went beyond the confines of the expectations society placed on its citizens. There was a book written about this journey that was relatively famous, called, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Trip” by Tom Wolfe. At the time of Kesey’s travels, media was not the 24-7, real-time enterprise that it is today. However, several journalists did cover the story and printed their reports in newspapers and magazines around the world. One of the people who was following the exploits of The Merry Pranksters with interest was a young man named Paul McCartney. A lot had happened to The Beatles by the time Kesey began his journey. Beatlemania was in full bloom in the UK. The Beatles had already had several hit albums and many #1 hits under their belts. Like Elvis, The Beatles began making movies to help expand their commercial reach. *(For any young folk reading this, in 1964, there was no Internet, there were no websites for bands to promote themselves, there were no music videos nor YouTube nor Instagram nor TikTok or any other form of social media). In addition to their music careers, the members of The Beatles were, also, starting their exploration of Eastern Mysticism and expanding their own consciousnesses via meditation, as well as, drugs. The final big change in the Beatles story arc was that their manager, Brian Epstein, who had guided the early days of their careers with a firm but, gentle hand, had passed away. The combination of all of these events formed a “perfect storm” of sorts for the band when it came to deciding what projects to focus on next. So, when Paul McCartney pitched the idea of a TV movie about a fantastical bus trip called “The Magical Mystery Tour”, the band signed on.

The premise of the movie was that The Beatles would invite viewers to board their bus. The bus would then make several stops along the way and the band members would engage in silly, satiric adventures suited to the setting. There were a total of six songs written for this movie. The first song was the title track, “The Magical Mystery Tour”. It was written and performed mainly by Paul McCartney. It is a whimsical invitation to board the magic bus. The final song written was “I Am The Walrus” by John Lennon. The story behind “I Am The Walrus” was that word had filtered back to The Beatles that the lyrics to their previously-released songs were being studied in schools/universities for their “literary merit”. John Lennon, in particular, thought that this was an absurd state of affairs and set out to create a nonsensical song that would defy closer, scholarly examination. He based the gibberish-laden lyrics upon such literary tales as the poem, “Jabberwocky” and, more specifically, a Lewis Carroll poem called, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. Ironically, in attempting to create a nonsense song, Lennon actually created one of the most literature-rich songs in their whole musical catalogue.

“The Magical Mystery Tour” movie was savaged by critics when it aired. Claims that the movie was “self-indulgent nonsense” stung the band mates and was part of the reason that they decided to put more of their efforts into travelling to India and away from the UK. “The Magical Mystery Tour” was the beginning of the end of the height of Beatlemania. This movie soundtrack also put the band at odds with their record company. As noted earlier, six songs were recorded for this movie soundtrack. Six is an unusual number because it is too many for an EP (extended play albums had no more than four songs) and too few for a full-blown album (which usually had 8-10 or more). So, to “solve this issue”, the record label decided to create a double-album by adding on several singles that had been previously released or that were slated for future albums. So, if you were to look up the soundtrack to “The Magical Mystery Tour” on Spotify or Goggle, you would see songs listed like, “Strawberry Fields”, “Hello/Goodbye”, “Penny Lane” and “All You Need is Love” and, not surprisingly, you would think that this was a whopper of a soundtrack. But, truth be told, none of those songs were actually in the movie which, in retrospect, even McCartney acknowledged as being more of a lark than a polished project.

“The Magical Mystery Tour” movie was the first real taste the members of The Beatles had at being in total creative control of their work. As such, they learned many lessons that they applied to later masterpieces such as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. To put a final bow on the movie, just like Ken Kesey had his band of Merry Pranksters touring with him in America, McCartney invited a group of Monty Python-esque singers called, “The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band” aboard the bus with him. These folks sang a song in the movie that was based on a pulp fiction novel called, “Death Cab for Cutie”. Why this is important is that, for starters, “Death Cab For Cutie” is the name of the band coming up in the very next post. When Keri saw this band name, she remarked at how odd it was and why would anyone named themselves that? Well, my dear, the answer lay within the walls of the Magical Mystery Tour bus. “Death Cab For Cutie”…the band…are fantastic, as you will soon see. In the movie, the song sung by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band is symbolic of the silliness that marked the movie as a whole. I will share it with you below. As well, we will listen to Paul McCartney’s “The Magical Mystery Tour”, as well as, John Lennon’s, “I Am The Walrus”. So, climb on board, everyone, the Magical Mystery Tour is about to begin. Enjoy.

The link to the video for “The Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles, can be found here.

The link to the video for “I Am The Walrus” by The Beatles, can be found here.

The link to the video for “Death Cab for Cutie” by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, can be found here.

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