November 2012

Akcent – “That’s My Name” – (2009)

Here’s something you probably haven’t heard. Hell, here’s a genre you probably haven’t heard – Romanian dance-pop. Akcent is a group of three guys from Bucharest, Romania who have been performing Romania’s signature electro-pop sound since 1999. It has that accordion-gypsy feel to it. Sure, it’s otherwise just bubble-gum pop music with crap lyrics. But the feel of the music is what it’s all about – closing your eyes and hearing those Mediterranean sounds that put you in a very European mood. It’s one of my favorite things and the reason I listen to music like this.

Bonnie Raitt – “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – (1991)

Bonnie Raitt’s 1991 album Luck of the Draw was her best in terms of popular singles. And this song is great – reaching #18 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The lyrics are mellow and the music – especially the piano (played by Bruce Hornsby) – with its stunted tempo, is just motivated enough to get the feeling across of loss. The song appears of multiple “best songs of all time” lists – including Rolling Stone‘s and Mojo‘s – who ranked it #8. Which might be a bit high, even if it is a great song.

AC/DC – “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” – (1976)

AC/DC’s third studio album was released in Australia and most of the world in 1976. It wasn’t officially released in the United States until 1981 – which is weird because Bon Scott had already passed away by then and Brian Johnson’s first album with the band, Back in Black was already a huge album. I guess it was a good time to capitalize on the band’s popularity – and it worked because this was their 3rd-highest selling album. The title track is a good one and was voted the 31st best hard rock song of all time by VH1, if that means anything to you.

My Morning Jacket – “I’m Amazed” – (2008)

I have no idea why I think this song is older than it is. It’s one of the band’s best-performing singles and for whatever reason I think it’s 10 years older than it is. Or at least from like 2000 or something, but no, it came out in 2008 on My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges album. In any case, this is the finale of our “What Decade Is It” run of songs. Hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Red Wanting Blue – “Audition” – (2012)

Tell me this doesn’t sound like it came out in the mid-to-late-1990s. Well, I guess it kind of did. Originally released on the band’s 2000 album Model Citizen, “Audition” was re-recorded (but still sounding pretty much the same) for their 2012 release “From the Vanishing Point.” It sounds like a Counting Crows song or something similar. I don’t remember hearing it on the radio, but it very well could’ve been on it back in 2000/2001. And, yeah, on Monday I said we were done with 90s songs that sounded older. Well this is a 2000s/2010s song that sounds like it was from the 1990s.

Dan Fogelberg – “Rhythm of the Rain” – (1990)

The late, great Dan Fogelberg had a big hit in 1990 with his partial-cover of The Cascades’ 1962 song “Rhythm of the Rain.” I say “partial-cover” because he took their song and blended it in part with the Beatles’ song “Rain” to make a really, really good Adult Contemporary hit. It was a #3 song on that chart, and the last charting single of Fogelberg’s career. The vocals and the medley on this track are a near-perfect blend. It really is amazing and a song I’ve always loved. This is also the final song for our “1990s songs that sound like they’re from the 1980s” list.

George Michael – “Freedom! 90” – (1990)

Here is one of George Michael’s best songs – and he’s had some awesome songs. This is one of those songs that has that “anthem” type feel to it. It’s upbeat but it builds and builds to the chorus in which George Michael is sort of yelling “Freedom!” behind George Michael who is also singing the chorus. The music video was directed by David Fincher… who also directed the music video for “Cradle of Love,” which we featured a few weeks ago. Fun fact, the “90” in the title is only there to differentiate it from the Wham! song that was called “Freedom.” It was a top ten hit in the U.S. and remains one of his most popular songs, even if it sounds a little older than it is (and even though the title clearly states what decade it came out in).

The Four Seasons – “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (Ben Liebrand Remix)” – (1993)

Yeah, I don’t have a link to purchase this song because it is really hard to find. If you’re creative, you can get it from the link to the YouTube video above. “December 1963” was a big hit for the Four Seasons when it was originally released in 1975, hitting #1 on the Hot 100 in March of 1976. In 1988 it was remixed by Dutch DJ Ben Liebrand and remixed again in 1993. This 1993 remix was a huge radio smash, reaching #14 on the Hot 100 and extending the songs all-time weeks on the Hot 100 to 27 weeks, a then record. This remix is the version you most often hear on Adult Contemporary radio stations today. So yeah, decade confusion all over the place here. The remix has some added beats in the background but there are some people who, without hearing them back to back, couldn’t tell you which one was the original.

 AC/DC – “Moneytalks” – (1990)

This is easily one of AC/DC’s best songs and it comes off one of their better albums. It’s also one of their biggest hits. AC/DC made a lot of good, hard rock n’ roll music, but some of those songs were able to cross into the mainstream. This is one of those songs that has more of a pop rock feel to it. Brian Johnson’s fantastic vocal delivery as well as the multiple people singing on the chorus really adds to it. It came out in 1990 but it sounds just like – and just as good as – the songs AC/DC did in the 80s. It’s awesome.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “Into the Great Wide Open” – (1991)

Well crap. I was going to do “You Wreck Me” here but I’ve already done that song. This one doesn’t sound quite as 80s as that one, but it’ll work. The music video features Johnny Depp and Matt LeBlanc, among others – and Tom Petty, still in his “Dressing-Like-A-Character-From-Alice in Wonderland” phase. This is the title track to the Heartbreakers’ 1991 album and it hit #4 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Jimmy Buffett – “Another Saturday Night” – (1993)

Why must some songs be so hard to find (bear with that video, it gets there)? This cover of Sam Cooke’s classic was released on the 1993 album Margaritaville Café: Late Night Menu. No, it was not a Jimmy Buffett studio album. It was a compilation album – actually the first of three – that Buffett released that included recordings by a number of artists that regularly performed at his Margaritaville restaurants. He, Buffett, also included a few new recordings of his own on each. So what’s the deal here? Well it has the same sound and feel as the rest of his songs from the 1980s.

Paul Young – “Oh Girl” – (1990)

Well this proves my decade point: on the video that this post is linked to above, the video description says “80S.” Then, as is the YouTube custom, there is an argument in the comment section about this having actually been released in 1990. See, I’m not the only one who thought it was from the 80s. Then again, it’s a cover of a song by the Chi-Lites, which they released way back in 1972. Young’s version was a top ten in the U.S. – the Chi-Lites hit #1.

Annie Lennox – “Walking on Broken Glass” – (1992)

What an awesome song. Annie Lennox, one of the queens of popular music, who is best known for her work with the Eurythmics, had this kick ass adult alternative hit in 1992. It was a top 15 in the U.S. and a #1 in Canada. This song has an excellent arrangement – strings! And, of course, the vocals are second to none and could not have been recorded to this standard by any other artist. This might actually be one of the better songs of the entire decade, if you knew what decade it came out in – which kind of confused me at first but makes sense now. And on that album cover, doesn’t she kind of look like Gloria Estefan or something?