Just Let It Fly Away

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

Enya – A Day without Rain (2000)

Back in March or so, I realized we had never shared one of the greatest new age musicians. And then I promptly didn’t bother to share any of her music. Until now!

I know it’s not typical of the kind of music generally shared by my friends and I, but I don’t care. In fact, I think that’s a good thing. I really like most of her stuff. I don’t have her three latest albums, but I think she does a good job of having variety on her albums while staying consistent to her sonic brand, without being boring; something not all musicians know how to do. Continue reading

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There’s Nothing You Can Do That Can’t Be Done

For the first time I can remember, my dad and I went and saw a RomCom together:

I would have gone and seen it anyway, because I love The Beatles. Actually, I like most movies about music. But the premise of this movie especially struck a chord with me (pun intended) because I often worry that the songs I write are plagiarizing someone else’s work. I probably couldn’t do what he does in this movie – but I’d probably try. But it brought up an interesting question – if someone had never heard of The Beatles, what one song would you start with? Continue reading

Doin’ Things I Can’t Even Talk About

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra – The Dirty Boogie (1998)

This marks the last of three albums from the swing revival genre I was planning on sharing this spring (although I’m a bit late for “spring”). I already had a couple of these albums on my list of things to share, but when I realized we hadn’t actually shared this album – arguably the swing revival album – I knew I had made an egregious error.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and even Squirrel Nut Zippers are huge names in the genre, but this is it. Although not the start of the swing revival movement (that is usually credited to Royal Crown Revue), this is the one album you should listen to if you listen to any swing revival. Continue reading

When Everybody Has Fun

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

The Beatles – With The Beatles (1963)

This week my uncle invited a bunch of people over to his house to listen to this album and Revolver. But since my friends and I had already covered Revolver a few years ago, I decided to just suggest they listen to With The Beatles with me. But I do recommend you go back and check out our thoughts on Revolver. Continue reading

I’m Odds and Ends

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

a-ha’s Take on Me (2017)

We recently had a conversation at work about musical artists covering a song they did with a previous band.

I think that’s a fine line to walk: are you just trying to recapture those glory days? Or are you trying to explore a new genre or technique you couldn’t do years before? George Lucas gets a lot of hate for this, but I’m willing to give him (some) slack. There are plenty of songs I recorded in high school I think could use an improvement.

I’m less willing to cut slack to bands who, in the past 30 years, haven’t really done anything else – who have turned out, thus far, to be one-hit wonders. Continue reading

Just Don’t Pick Our Destiny

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

Dee Snyder’s We’re Not Gonna Take It (2016)

At work (in a corporate marketing department), we were talking about the advantages and disadvantages of text, photos, audio, and video.

Someone brought up Angel – which I had heard a couple of times, but I had never seen the animal cruelty ad Sarah McLachlan did until very recently. Most of my coworkers think of that song as one of the saddest they’ve ever heard. I don’t. I heard it first without the animal connection. And then the conversation started drifting toward what makes sad songs sound sad? Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is a famous example and even without being used in Platoon, it still holds up.

But while most of my current coworkers are great music appreciators, none are really musicians and so don’t have the vocabulary to really pinpoint what it is that makes a song melancholy.

I decided to back the conversation up a little and share Dee Snyder’s cover of Twisted Sister‘s most famous song.

Side note: is it really a cover if you were the one who did it originally? Continue reading

In the Sky or in My Mind

Some of my friends and I share music to listen to while we work. Sometimes we rate/review what gets shared with us and share those reviews with the group.

This is the third week of my uncle’s in-person version of this game and they’re doing Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, so I’ll be updating my review of that.

I, however, have been super busy with work, taking time off, and such, so am only sharing with you a single (and perhaps some other songs for context) for the third week in a row.

I have a goal of recording 12 original songs this year, and in the past month or so been working on writing some of those songs, and am trying to be very conscious of some of the influences on my music. These three songs I’ve shared all fall on that list for various reasons.

Don’t be fooled by this campy cover art. The dragon is fairly accurate, but the wizard and the other guy don’t look that clean or smooth in the movie. It’s like a different artist drew them based only on someone else’s description of the characters.

Don McLean’s Flight of Dragons (1982)

This is, perhaps, the oddest pick on the list.

Perhaps because of the Tolkien movie, I’ve been on a bit of a Middle-Earth kick lately. I was introduced to that world in 4th grade, when my teacher would read to us from The Hobbit after lunch recess. Soon after, I discovered the Rankin/Bass (yes, the Christmas claymation people) productions of The Hobbit and The Return of the King, as well as the trippy Ralph Bakshi version of The Fellowship of the Ring (which they simply called The Lord of the Rings). If you haven’t seen them, I recommend finding them.

After that, I read the books and was excited for (and a little disappointed in) Peter Jackson’s adaptations. I recently took the nine hours of his extended edition of The Hobbit movies and edited them down in to a single five hour film (the first part got down to two hours, and the second and third parts each got cut in half).

And then I discovered this … gem from 1966:

What I really wanted was to share the soundtrack to The Return of the King featuring ’60s folk legend Glenn Yarbrough of The Limelighters. The highlight for me, and the reason I put it on my list of inspiration, was because of the song the orcs sing as a disguised Frodo and Sam march with them across Mordor:

It inspired the bridge of an otherwise Heart-, Peter Frampton-, Pearl Jam- and Deep Purple-esque tune. Continue reading