Category Archives: Music: 52 songs for 52 weeks

Each friday – a new song you should download to your music library – trust me

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Didn’t I? by Thin Lizzy

There was a time (before the advent of U2) when people would ask “Name a great Rock band from Ireland?” and the only possible answer was Thin Lizzy.

In fact, when you are talking about great traditional rock bands – Thin Lizzy should alwyas be in the conversation.  Led by the charismatic Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy somehow managed to create some of the best high-octane, American-sounding rock and roll in music history.

Lynott wrote great lyrics, about common men, heartache, and brawling.

Thin Lizzy is best known for The Boys are Back in Town off of their legendary Jailbreak album.  But I always prefer when Lynott quiets the band down as he does here on Didn’t I?  A great and sad song from the album Chinatown (1980).

-cj cheetham

 

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Scotty’s Lament by the Connells

The Connells hailing from Raleigh North Carolina put together a string of great albums, mostly played on college radio in the 1980s and into the 1990s.  Early on, when they were getting regular play on MTV, they were favorably compared to REM because they were from the south and played great guitar with songs full of nice harmony.

Their album Boylan Heights should be in your collection – it is one of the best I own.

Scotty’s Lament is from that album.

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Week 40 Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House

In the paper today, tales of war and of waste, but you turn right over to the TV page…

Probably the best song of the entire 1980s.

And not a bad song for the end of the year to boot.

Neil Finn, post Split Enz creates Crowded House – a band that turned out more great songs than you probably realize.  If you don’t own at least their greatest hits you are missing out – big time.

They come to build a wall between us; don’t let them win

An outstanding live version in front of a massive crowd in Sydney Australia from their farewell concert in 1996.  (They would reform 10 years later and continue today):

and the original video:

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: My Favourite Time of Year by the Florin Street Band

I love Christmas Music.  And you can’t go wrong with the classic songs sung by Sinatra, Torme, and Crosby.

Usually if a current singer or band sings a Christmas song, I want them to stay with the classics and not mess with the arrangements too much.   When modern artists try to write new Christmas songs – let’s face it – they are usually pitiful tunes.  It’s almost always a song about cold weather and missing “my baby” – or something along those lines.

Maybe its because today’s musicians are disconnected from Christmas?

Well, here’s a FANTASTIC Christmas song composed and recorded in 2010.  The Florin Street Band, led by composer Leigh Haggerwood, made a decision to write and record a new “great” Christmas song.  And the imagined Victorian England while they were writing it.

Of course – he got no music industry backing.  So he cobbled together local musicians, choirs, and singers and created a beautiful Christmas song that you MUST hear!  It is just a great tune, folks.

The video is also incredibly well done.  Here’s a musical Christmas card for you!

http://www.florinstreet.com/

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: The Perfect Kiss by New Order

New Order is a band that could have achieved a level of superstardom on par with any band.  From top to bottom the talent in this band is incredible.  But I don;t think they wanted to be superstars – they just recorded great music.

New Order was born in tragedy when the legendary band Joy Division dissolved following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis.  But Stephen Morris, Peter Hook, and Bernard Sumner rather than giving up took the core of Joy Division and created a better new band (adding keyboardist Gillian Gilbert) – New Order.

What followed was a series of albums in the 1980s, through the 90s and into a new century that contain a body of work that is tremendous.  Sumner’s lyrics, and quirky voice layered with driving percussion, keyboards and of course the distinctive bass lines of Peter Hook – all created an incredible, gigantic sound.

The last 3 – 4 minutes of this 10:41 long song will blow you away.

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Week 36 Girls Talk by Dave Edmunds

There are some things you can’t cover up with lipstick and powder

Dave Edmunds broke into music with a band called the Raiders but it was his solo career that actually took off in the 1970s.  He had a hit with “I hear you Knockin” (yes you have heard that song – youtube it).

But it was his recording of an Elvis Costello song (Costello later admitted probably should have recorded Girls Talk himself), backed ably by the truly outstanding Nick Lowe that delivered Dave Edmunds his finest hour.

How can you not love lyrics like:

“You may not be an old-fashioned girl, but you are gonna get dated” – that’s high quality word play.

 

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: How Much is Enough? by the Fixx

The Fixx have recorded some great albums and had some gigantic hits during their career (which continues to this day – their album Beautiful Friction –  released last year was outstanding).

What always set the Fixx apart from many other bands of the 1980s was that the Fixx consistently commented on the world around them and asked some tough questions.  In 1991 when this song was released  the question was “How much is enough?”  Just exactly how much stuff do we need?

And the video from 1991 is classic

Can’t you see that time is slipping away?  But I’ve got to say – how much is enough when your soul is empty?

Hey – I admit it.  I’ve been saving this song for Black Friday.  I’m all for the Christmas shopping and gift exchanges – don’t get me wrong.  But when stores are opening on Thanksgiving – we’ve got a problem.

While we were dreaming, something slipped away.  We’re drowning in possessions, playing tricks with our minds; Lost from one another…

Christmas season is upon us folks and don’t get me wrong – if you were shopping today among the lunatics – I hope it was a really fun time and found lots of bargains.

But I’m a little concerned we might be losing our perspective when we are convinced by the media that we have to gulp down our thanksgiving turkey and take off to the same lousy stores we go to any other weekend, in order to buy some discounted product that we may not even need.

Can’t we just eat dinner with our famiily?

Dr. Seuss:

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!”
It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Week 34 One of Our Submarines by Thomas Dolby

The way Dolby tells the story – apparently he had an Uncle who was a submariner during WWII and was killed during manuevers not in battle – making the story even more poignant.  So Dolby wrote this song and used the lost submarine as a metaphor for England’s fading empire.

The red lights flicker, sonar weak
Air valves hissing open
Half her pressure blown away
Flounder in the ocean

That’s clever and sad at the same time.

Dolby will always be remembered for his quirky tunes like she blinded me with science, but this is his best song.  It is haunting and catchy simultaneously – no small feat.

Bye-bye empire, empire bye-bye
Tired illusion drown in the night

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum

Let’s take it way back to the days of 35 cents a gallon gas.

Procul Harum is sort of dismissed as a one hit wonder – but these guys actually had a nice bluesy rock sound and if you see their greatest hits laying around in a bargain bin for $1.99, just buy it.

The sound is dreamy, the words are a bit psychedlic and this song makes us all look back.  It’s one of those tunes that forces us back in time – no matter how old we are.

It’s a great song (except for groovy clothes these guys are wearing in the video).

-cj cheetham