Today’s Top 40: a Closer Look at the Stories Behind Today’s Top Songs…Song Position #2: The Last Goodbye by Odesza ft. Bettye Lavette.

The songs listed in this post were found using the Top 40 charts of the following music organizations: CHUM-FM, CFNY-FM, KEXP-FM, Billboard Magazine, Spotify and BBC Radio 1. All six songs listed below occupied position #2 on their respective music lists from this past week. So, let’s take a quick look at the first five songs and then, a bit of a longer look at the song in today’s spotlight: “The Last Goodbye” by Odesza ft. Bettye Lavette.

Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush (Spotify)

What is happening with this song is arguably the #1 story in music today. Kate Bush has been my favourite female singer since I first saw her video for the song “Wuthering Heights” back in my university days in the early 1980s. In her day, she produced songs that were very literate, artistic and she sang them with the most unique and amazing of voices. Kate Bush was always someone who believed strongly in the integrity of her artistic vision, and as such, unlike many other musicians, she guarded her work carefully. For example, her songs were never licensed for use in commercials nor were they ever used in movie soundtracks. So, it was with great excitement for many when it was announced that Bush had reached an agreement with the producers of the Netflix TV series “Stranger Things” to use her song “Running Up That Hill” in one of their episodes. Kate Bush has stated that she believes in the artistic vision of the show and is giving it her seal of approval by lending them her iconic song. The episode featuring her song aired recently, and suddenly a whole new generation of viewers listened to her words and heard that voice for the first time, and collectively demanded to know who she was. As a result, “Running Up That Hill” has gone back to the top of the charts after an absence of almost forty years!!! Those social media savvy teens are now combing through her back catalogue which means that there is a strong possibility that other Kate Bush songs are about to be resurrected, too. Just this past weekend on Twitter, Lynda Carter (the original Wonder Woman) tweeted: To all you kids who are just discovering Kate Bush and “Running Up That Hill” because of Stranger Things, just wait until you hear “Wuthering Heights”.

It appears that a Summer of Kate awaits us all. ***For those who may wish to read posts written previously about “Wuthering Heights” and “Running Up That Hill”, click here and here.

Wait For U by Future ft. Drake and Tems (Billboard Magazine)

Future has been enjoying a very successful start to his 2022 year. He is the silky smooth, jazzy rapper who has now had several songs from his latest album hit the charts. This song, “Wait For U”, was profiled a few weeks ago when we were looking at songs that were listed in Chart position #39. Now it is all the way up to #2. Drake lends his magic touch to this song, as does a singer called Tems. So, as was stated before, if you like your Hip Hop all sexy and smooth as honey, then “Wait For U” by Future ft. Drake and Tems is for you.

Message in a Bottle by Taylor Swift (CHUM-FM)

Taylor Swift’s latest chart entry is called “Message in a Bottle”. It is an original song written by her and is not a cover of the Police classic of the same name from way back in the 1970s. Dr. Swift, as she can now call herself since she received her Honourary Doctorate in Fine Arts from NYU, originally wrote “Message in a Bottle” back in 2014 on her album “Red”. However, because of a contract dispute with her former manager in which he won a court case against her for control of her music catalogue, Swift has been re-recording and re-releasing songs from her past, making slight alterations to them and dubbing them as “Taylor’s version”, which allows her to retain a new form of copyright control. So, “Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s version)” is simply the latest in an on-going series of re-releases of songs from her past. If you liked the album “Red” when it was first released eight years ago, then chances are you will like this slightly updated, dance-oriented version of the original song, too.

It’s Alright by Mother Mother (CFNY-FM)

Mother Mother are an Indie/Alternative Pop-Rock band from British Columbia. They are fronted by a brother and sister named Ryan and Molly Guldemond. They have seven albums to their credit now. Mother Mother have been rising slowly but surely through the ranks of successful bands from Canada and have become regulars on the festival circuit, having played at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and many other famous music festivals. The song “It’s Alright” was written in response to the gradual increase in the openness and willingness shown by society to discuss mental illness these days. The song uses a two-part play format in which Ryan sings of the feelings he is experiencing and the trouble they are causing him while Molly sings in reply about acceptance and empathy. All in all, a tiny perfect Pop nugget with a big, big heart.

Late Night Talking by Harry Styles (BBC Radio 1)

As profiled last week, Harry Styles is on top of the musical world. “Late Night Talking” is the latest song to come off of his new album, “Harry’s House”. It has been streamed via social media over twenty million times already! This peppy, dance-oriented tune is said to have been inspired by his new girlfriend, actress Olivia Wilde. If you are a fan of Harry Styles, then I am confident that you will be a fan of “Late Night Talking”, too.

The Last Goodbye by Odesza ft. Bettye Lavette (KEXP-FM)

Our featured song this week is an amazing collaboration between the Techno band, Odesza and one of the most respected Blues and Soul singers of the 1960s and 70s, Bettye Lavette. For the past decade, Odesza have been regarded as one of the top Electronic Dance Music acts anywhere in the world. Odesza are composed of two men, Harrison Mills (“The Catacomb KId”) and Clayton Knight (“Beaches Beaches”). They broke onto the music scene with a song called “Say My Name” ft. Zyra. Odesza are known for combining cutting edge DJ music production with excellent female-inspired vocal tracks. So, it was not that great a surprise when it was announced that they intended to sample the biggest hit of Bettye Lavette’s career, “Let Me Down Easy”, for a new mash-up called “The Last Goodbye”.

Bettye Lavette is someone who defines persistence and determination. Lavette was discovered when she was a teenager back in the 1960s and recorded several albums with Motown and with James Brown, but for one reason or another, Lavette never managed to rise to the top of the music scene like people like Aretha Franklin and Etta James managed to do. But, she never gave up. She kept touring and kept releasing albums, and then, when the world prepared to welcome Barack Obama as the first black President of the United States, success finally came to Bettye Lavette. She released an album of feminist classics called, “I Have My Own Hell To Raise” which included covers from such female stalwarts as Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Sinead O’ Connor, Lucinda Williams, Joan Armatrading and Dolly Parton. That album rose on the charts, and as a result, Lavette came to the attention of the Obamas, who invited her to sing at the presidential inauguration. With the world watching, Bettye Lavette stole the show and has not stopped since.

In the video for the song, “The Last Goodbye”, Odesza sample liberally from Lavette’s biggest pre-Obama hit, “Let Me Down Easy”, which was recorded when she was just nineteen years old. In the video, a teenage Lavette appears on screen, as Odesza plays live in front. The soulful power of Lavette’s young voice is amazing! It makes me wonder what might have been if her time in the spotlight had happened to her when she was a young adult instead of a senior citizen, which is who she is today. “The Last Goodbye” is a tremendous collaboration between one of the best singers of her generation and one of the best techno bands of this generation. It is pure magic. Enjoy.

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

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

***As always, reminder that all original content found in this post is the sole property of the author. No part of this post 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 #456…Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush (KTOM)

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 #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (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 #xxx (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.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #456: Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush.

In the Fall of 1982, as I was settling into my new life at Ryerson University in Toronto (since renamed as Toronto Metropolitan University), I found myself wandering through the big downtown mall known as The Eaton Center. Anchoring the mall on the north end was a six-floor Eaton’s department store. At the south end, just across the street was a six-floor Simpsons department store. It was in the electronics department of Simpsons that I saw Kate Bush for the first time. On their wall of tvs, they were airing a new show from fledging local station, City-TV, called New Music Magazine. On this show, they were profiling this young female singer from England and were showing her video for “Wuthering Heights”. In this video, Kate Bush sang in a voice I had never heard before, about a classic literary book by Emily Bronte, all the while wearing a red dress and dancing as the professionally-trained dancer that she was. The effect of this wall of sight and sound was mesmerizing to me at the time. Admittedly, I have been mesmerized by her ever since.

Kate Bush’s career began at age 18 with “Wuthering Heights”. The initial demo of the song was given to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame. He put up the seed money to have the song recorded and Kate Bush became a musical phenom overnight! But Kate Bush was no one-hit wonder. She has had a long and successful career characterized by songs that are literate, intelligent, artistic and that speak to the human condition. While Bush was a huge star in England in the early stages of her career, it took the US a while longer to warm up to her singing style. The song that helped break the ice in America was “Running Up That Hill” from an album called The Hounds of Love.

“Running Up That Hill” was the only US Top Ten hit for Kate Bush. It is a song about the sexes and how little we truly understand one another. The song contains lines such as,

If I only could, I’d make a deal with God and get Him to swap our places.

A little later on in the song,

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?

Tell me, we both matter, don’t we?

You, you and me.

It’s you and me and we won’t be unhappy“.

In the “official” video for this song, Kate Bush and a male dance partner perform a contemporary dance routine that helps explain the emotion behind the yearning for understanding between a man and a woman in a relationship. MTV refused to air this video because they felt, at the time, that the concept of contemporary dance would be confusing to US audiences. Instead, they aired a video of Kate Bush singing the song live on stage with a backing band because “audiences like to sing along with people they can see singing“.

Kate Bush is my favourite female musical artist. For me, there is no one who is even a close second. “Wuthering Heights”, the song that created a fanboy out of me, will appear closer to the end of this list. For today, I will play the contemporary dance video version of “Running Up That Hill” that she wanted the world to see. As well, I will add a live version of the song that she performed with David Gilmour (pardon the 80s hair) with whom she has enjoyed a long friendship and musical/artistic partnership. Finally, I will show an excellent cover version performed by a new group that you should be aware of called First Aid Kit. If this is your first exposure to Kate Bush then get ready for a singer with a voice as unique and original as there is in all of music. If you are already familiar with her work then, I will say what I always say in these circumstances, enjoy. 🙂

***Note: As many of you may know by now, “Running Up That Hill” gained new life when it was used in a pivotal scene in the hit television show, Stranger Things. Since the airing of that episode, a whole new generation of music lovers have been introduced to the magic of Kate Bush and her music. After an absence of almost four decades, “Running Up That Hill” returned all the way to the #1 chart position. It was a great song when I first heard it way back when. It remains a great song today. It makes me very happy that Bush has been discovered by newer, younger fans.

The link for the official music video for “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the live music video performance of “Running Up That Hill” with Kate Bush and David Gilmour can be found here.

The link to Kate Bush’s website can be found here.

Finally, the link to the wonderful cover version of “Running Up That Hill” by First Aid Kit can be found here.

***The link to the video for “Running Up That Hill” as it was used in the television show, Stranger Things 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