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 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

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #340: I Am A Scientist by Guided By Voices (KEXP)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song and going until I reach Song . When you see the song title listed as something like: Song (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #340: I Am A Scientist by Guided By Voices.

Creativity is its own drug. There are many people who paint and sculpt and sing and dance, not for monetary gain but, more for the joy of making something worthwhile where once there was nothing. Bands that fall into this category tend to be labelled as Indie bands. These are bands that do not have a major record deal in place and are producing and releasing their music in order to (a) create a catalog of music that will end up getting them a deal or else, (b) they are making music because they enjoy the sounds they make more that the silences that existed previously. Indie bands tend to play locally a lot. If they’re able to produce a record, quantities will be limited. Sometimes, the album cover will be designed with original artwork by the artist. Money is often in short supply, as is the reach of the band. For some artists, this is motivation to work harder, network more extensively and grow as a band and as a brand. For other artists, the freedom that comes from making the type of music that pleases you and your friends, without worrying about pleasing anyone else, is payment enough. The latter philosophy perfectly suited the members of a band from Dayton, Ohio called Guided By Voices.

Formed in the early 1980s, Guided By Voices were led by singer/songwriter Robert Pollard who, along with his family and friends, has released over 30 full-length albums and EPs. The albums were recorded in the garages and basements of whoever was available at the time. Early albums were printed in small quantities and usually ended up being bought by the locals in the Dayton, Ohio area. The lineup of the group was fluid, with only Pollard staying in the group throughout its entire career. Not surprisingly, for a band that produced so much music, Guided By Voices developed somewhat of a cult following locally. Their live shows were filled with energy and were quite interactive and fun. Soon, by word of mouth, the legend of Guided By Voices began to spread beyond the confines of their town. The band was picked up by college radio in the U.S. and then began touring/recording with other Alternative/Indie bands like Sonic Youth and The Breeders.

Because their career as a band began to ramp up, Pollard quit his day job as a teacher and devoted himself to growing the band. His first successful effort was an album called Bee Thousand, which ended up being hailed as one of the best Indie albums of all time by a variety of music magazines and organizations. The most well known song from Bee Thousand was one called “I Am A Scientist”. Robert Pollard has been described as an Indie Bob Dylan because of his skill as a wordsmith. “I Am A Scientist” is proof of his skill, with lines such as:

I am a lost soul.

I shoot myself with rock and roll.

The hole I dig is bottomless.

But, nothing else can set me free!”

If you are familiar with GBV then, you will probably be very happy that they made this list of the Top 500 Songs of All-Time. If you are unfamiliar with Guided By Voices then prepare to have your day brightened. “I Am A Scientist” is such a fun bit of pop perfection. I am confident that it will make you smile. If you like that song then feel free to check GBV out on YouTube, where their extensive catalogue of other perfect pop gems can be found. Have a terrific day. Here is “I Am A Scientist” by Guided By Voices. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song “I Am A Scientist” by Guided By Voices can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the official website for Guided By Voices can be found here.

Thanks to KEXP for playing great Indie music and promoting Indie bands like Guided By Voices. The link to their official website can be found 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 express written consent of the author. ©2021

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