June 2012


Can you guess the music video this still image is taken from? Leave your guess/answer in the comment section below!

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Can you guess the music video this still image is taken from? Leave your guess/answer in the comment section below!

U2 – “Sweetest Thing” – (1987/1998)

Okay, while Wednesday’s song made me look stupid, this one hopefully restores some faith, as the decade it hails from is actually kind of confusing. Let me first by saying two things: 1. Bono totally looks like Elvis Costello in the music video and 2. This is the greatest song U2 has ever done. The song was originally released as a b-side on the “Where the Streets Have No Name” single in 1987. It was re-recorded and re-released in 1998 on the compilation album “The Best of 1980-1990.” While essentially the same, the new version is far superior. In the late 1990s, it was a top ten in the U.S. and Australia, hitting #1 in Canada and Ireland and entering the top five in the U.K. Versions of the song have appeared in various films and it was everywhere on the radio in 1998 and 1999. It is a wonderful tune.

The Escape Club – “Wild, Wild West” – (1988)

No, not that “Wild, Wild West” – which is unmistakably 90s. This song, while it definitely sounds like something from the 80s – it also has an early 90s feel. It must be that I just associate it with UB40 or Roxette and that other early 90s garbage – uh, I mean… music (I actually love UB40). There are some lyrics in this song that I absolutely love: “She’s so mean – but I don’t care. I love her eyes and her wild, wild hair.” I’ve just realized that the next line is “Heading for the 90s” – indicating that this song is definitely from the 1980s. Duh.

Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians – “What I Am” – (1988)

Okay, so we’re doing something new for the next however many weeks it takes. We will be going through songs that sound like they are from the 1990s but were really released in the 1980s (eventually we’ll do the opposite as well). This was the only hit for Edie Brickell – and VH1 considers the band one of the biggest one hit wonders of all time. This song is amazing and, although it came out in 1988 and charted in 1988 and 1989, it still received a lot of airplay on Top 40 radio stations through most of the 1990s. It sounds like something that could have come from 10,000 Maniacs or even Natalie Merchant’s mid-90s solo career. But it was featured in an episode of Miami Vice – so it must be 80s.

Bajofondo feat. Ryōta Komatsu – “Pa’ Bailar” – (2007)

Saving the best for last this week, we have a song by Bajofondo (formerly the Bajofondo Tango Club) of Uruguay/Argentina. This is an excellent electro-tango tune. This was featured on a commercial (Acura?) so you may have heard it. On the bandoneón is Japan’s Ryōta Komatsu. I’m not going to sit here and break this song down. I love it. It’s awesome. Give it a shot.

Carlos Libedinsky – Narcotango 2 – (2006)

Electro-tango is an even newer form of tango music. It combines smooth electronica with traditional tango music. Carlos Libedinsky’s “Narcotango” projects are classified as “neo-tango,” which is basically just Nuevo tango with some electronic backing. If you like the sound, this album is great. Some of the best tracks are “Solo por Hoy,” “Tres son Multitud,” and “El Aire en Mis Manos.” “Solo por Hoy,” however, is the best.

Astor Piazzolla – “Golazo” – (1977)

Astor Piazzolla is a very important figure in tango music. An Argentine by birth, he studied in Paris in the 1950s (and you can hear it in his music). But in the second half of the 1950s, after the “Golden Age” of tango had come and gone, Piazzolla started putting together his orchestra and by the time it was all said and done, he had revolutionized the sound. Nuevo Tango was born out of his work. As you’ll see from the next two days, tango would still have a lot more “Nuevo” to get.

This is our new game (the idea for which I stole from someone else). We’ll post a still image from a music video and it’s up to you to figure out which video it came from.

Reply with your answer (title and artist) in the comment section of each round! I know it requires you to enter an email address to comment, but if you don’t want to, just make one up (no on can see it anyway). If a round goes unguessed after seven days, we’ll supply a hint. Good luck!

Can you guess the music video this still image is taken from? Leave your guess/answer in the comment section below! We’re starting with an easy one:

 

Andres Linetzky & Ernesto Romero – “Sentimientos” – (2003)

“Sentimientos” (or feelings) is a newer song than the one featured yesterday, and frankly I like it a lot more. It’s instrumental – and that helps. It’s very moody but it has a good beat behind it, making it easy to picture yourself gliding across a shadowy dance floor. As the title of the song suggests, tango is about feeling – and the music here supports that. Just give it a listen.

Hector Varela – “Lilian” – (1940s)

Welcome to Tango Week! For whatever reason, I think tango music sounds awesome. It’s so evocative and dramatic. So this week we’ll be feature five different tango songs (actually one of them is an album). First up is a song from the 1940s – I haven’t been able to source an exact year, as doing so from foreign artists (especially older ones) can prove quite difficult. Hector Varela was a tango musician and bandleader from Argentina, getting his start in the early 1930s. He proved rather popular in Argentina in the 50s and 60s. This is a random song I came across from him and you’ll probably be able to notice, by week’s end, how tango has evolved through the years.

Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado & SoShy – “Morning After Dark” – (2009)

Everything Timbaland touched in 2007 was golden. He ruled the year. His first hit that year featured Nelly Furtado and so did this, the first single from the follow-up album, released in 2009. It was not as strong as anything from 2007. Timbaland was responsible for Nelly Furtado’s transformation from quirky to, well, hot. And she’s the best part of this song. Timbaland is singing very strangely and it makes the song feel like a joke – not like it’s terrible, but like he’s trying to make it funny or something. The response from fans was hit or miss, with the song charting at very different positions all over the world. It wasn’t a great follow-up, but he’s got a new album due out this summer, so we’ll see if he can bounce back.

Janet Jackson – “Together Again” – (1997)

Here’s another #1 song from Janet. Actually, it was a #1 in the U.S., Canada, The Netherlands, and the European Hot 100 – not to mention a top five just about everywhere else. It was a smash – harkening back to the dance-pop Janet everyone knew and loved in the late-80s/early-90s. At the time, it was one of the biggest selling singles in history, selling over 6 million copies. This would be Janet Jackson’s last major single of the 1990s. But she certainly wasn’t done with #1 hits.

Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure” – (1982)

It’s quite possible that by the time “Under Pressure” was released in 1982 (okay, as a single in 1981), that Queen’s best years were behind them. Of Queen’s singles catalogue, there are but a small handful of “must hears” that came out after this. This was their last truly great, truly huge, single. It was a #1 in the U.K. – probably having to do with it being a collaboration between two of Britain’s biggest rock acts. David Bowie was at the studio recording backing vocals for another track (which was thrown away) but ended up sitting down and writing this song with the band instead. When it first came out, Queen incorporated it into their live act, sans Bowie. It wasn’t until Freddie Mercury passed away that Bowie started doing it live. And, as far as the elephant in the room on a music blog that started as a giant list of songs from the 90s – yes, I will admit, that, as good as this song is, I am severely disappointed every time I hear this on the radio. When those first notes start up, I’m sitting there going “Yes, ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ is about to be on.” Then there are two piano keys struck and I get sad. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but it is. As Vanilla Ice said, “There’s goes… mine goes…” Yeah, yeah.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Jefferson Jericho Blues” – (2010)

Mojo was the first studio album by Tom Petty with The Heartbreakers since 2002. It is also the first album since 1981 to feature the band’s original bassist on every track. The album isn’t along the lines of previous Petty albums, as it is primarily blues-based. This is the first track on the album and it’s a good one. People may say Petty peaked in the 80s or 90s – but songs like this show he is a true rocker, capable of producing solid rock tracks – good music – and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Learning to Fly” – (1991)

When learning to fly, coming down really is the hardest thing. Most people like to stay up flying around – that, and landing is the most difficult part. This was a #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart (where it stayed for six weeks) and a Top 30 on the Hot 100. This is one of Petty’s best songs and it doesn’t necessarily sound like all his other songs – the vocals do, of course. But the music is up-tempo and a little different. It’s good.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “The Waiting” – (1981)

A couple of months ago we had a Tom Petty week where we featured songs from solo Tom Petty. I apologized to The Heartbreakers and promised to make it up to them. So here we are: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers week. We start with “The Waiting” which is my favorite song from the band from the 1980s. It was a Top 20 hit in the U.S., and the biggest single from the 1981 album Hard Promises. “The waaiiiting is the hardest part.”

Madonna – “American Pie” – (2000)

Madonna didn’t win many friends among classic rock-types when she covered this classic song. And I’m certainly not going to sit here and defend it. She was coming down from the massive high that was Ray of Light and you can definitely hear it in this song. It was released as a single before Music – when her sound kind of changed again. It’s not the full eight plus minute version that Don McLean wrote and recorded in 1971. I don’t think it sounds like she’s going out of her way to butcher it – it’s actually kind of faithful, but with a dance-pop beat. Then again, you just don’t mess with the classics. Plus, she filmed the music video in London. Hey! It isn’t called British Pie. But it might as well have been – it could only muster #29 in the U.S. but it hit #1 in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the European Hot 100. So there’s something to be said of its popularity at the time.