I happened on this, “Be My Friend” by Tomas Fornstedt, by chance while tuned in on Lonely Oak Radio.
Give it a listen, what do you think?
I happened on this, “Be My Friend” by Tomas Fornstedt, by chance while tuned in on Lonely Oak Radio.
Give it a listen, what do you think?
You ever come across something totally foreign to you and yet you distinguish it? You know of things even if you have never physically interacted with them? I’m not talking about watching commercials for amusement parks or other famous locales and then going to them. I mean something more personal and yet something more physically removed than having seen or heard whispers about an item and then having it thrust on you by chance. Continue reading
If you haven’t heard, Bruce Springsteen has partnered with an old chum and his group to protest President Donald J. Trump by way of a song. If you haven’t noticed, protests are becoming a mainstay and for the entertainment industry to show issue with Trump was to be expected.
There’s a failure here though. Not in the second day it’s public, at least.And no, this isn’t a partisan position, it’s simply something you have to do with music to really accomplish anything.
A message might be conveyed in “That’s What Makes Us Great” (the name of the song in question), but hearing that message in any way, shape or form only seems to be available via purchasing the song. Not from Google Play, the Apple Store, Amazon or another avenue, but from Joe Grushecky (Springsteen’s partner in this). No preview of the song is available to listen to either.
In essence, this has caused buzz, it’s aused interest, it’s caused talking, you can find a ton of that through a simple Google search. What it’s also caused is musical silence unless you pay the piper first. It’s a 99 cent song, but a way to truly compel people to want to buy the thing is to let them hear some of it first.
It’s like that Top 100 list I published the other day: Plenty of music, plenty of music underexposed to the masses. The big difference here is tha a music titan is who is a key performer in the song. That alone will drive some sales while wait-to-see/hear stops others.
I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before this goes further in where it’s sold, or if one streaming site or another gets to air it. Until then, it’s just chatter for the masses.
EDIT April 25, 2017: posted late last week but lost in a mire of video/news coverage of the song — the song itself:
Earworms are common in life. They happen – a song pops up at random or a snippet of something musical that you’ve heard, be it a professional song, a TV theme, a commercial, or something else. It happens.
I’ve been haunted in the past by a piano riff to a song I didn’t know the name to that I had heard off the radio as a child. A friend helped me find out what pop song it was. I now listen to the tune on a semi-regular basis.
I’ve got another song in my head and there are issues that likely make it impossible for me to ever hear it again; another volley from childhood in the 1980s. This time, though, I saw the song performed on television and I know the refrain from it… It’s just most every other factor is forgotten and web searches turn up nothing.
It was on Nickelodeon, I’m pretty certain of that. It wasn’t Pinwheel, or Out of Control (to even suggest that one is comical, which goes well with Out of Control’s comedic motifs), and it sure as shit wasn’t something from You Can’t Do That on Television. I just don’t remember the show besides being acting and musical – and I don’t mean skit musical but performing on-stage for children in an audience.
And while memory is dim on any other details, the acoustic song’s refrain isn’t forgotten:
Swimming in the pool and lying in the sun,
Swimming in the pool and lying in the sun
In fact, it comes off like a coda to end the song from my memory. It didn’t go on for 4 or 5 minutes but it was repeated over and over again until the last line: Swimming in the pool… And lying in the sun!
I can’t remember other verses, but the song was about summer time. I can remember the tempo. Everything else is a wash – who was performing it (guys), what show, all the lyrics. I’ve tried looking the song up quoting the refrain but results were minimal on Google and seeing some were linked to adult related content, I don’t think the wording is right on my part or the song is actually listed lyrically online.
It’s not like songs off Nick escape me entirely. I can’t forget Hocus Pocus from Today’s Special. The theme to Pinwheel is still in my head. Heck, maybe I have the wrong station where I heard this thing? It could have been CBS but the only live-action, children’s TV show that I remember watching was the Patchwork Family (I don’t know if that was a New York only broadcast, by the way; it was a Saturday morning show).
Back to the song in question, it’s catchy to the point you’d expect someone to cover it. Then again, it’s a kid’s song. It’s not going to get covered as so much remembered. In this case, it is indeed remembered – just without solid facts of who, what, where and when.
Some movies end with what you see as a clean ending. Some movies end with aspects of the story still open for speculation when you care about the characters involved. I usually end up thinking of 1993’s The Fugitive and wondering what happens next with Dr. Richard Kimble and Deputy Sam Gerard. Yeah, they drive off and it looks like Kimble will be freed, but that’s a story unto itself (due process) as well as the story of Kimble vs. Gerard playing out directly in a non-hunt fashion.
But a 24 year old movie isn’t the focus of this post… No, no, I’m going back further into film history with a teen classic. It’s comedy goodness and teen angst mixed into one utopian ball of Chicagoland adventure and hilarity.
You ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Of course you have… or at least you damned well better consider it in the immediate future. The 1986 film is dated but the basic point is teens skipping school.
While Ferris is the focus, there is another storyline that is not resolved on screen with the movie’s end (“Life moves pretty, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” Repeated by Bueller to end the flick… Well, at least the main movie. It’s actually Ferris telling you, post credits, the film is over and you should go home now). Ferris’ best friend, Cameron Frye, has a mess to deal with: A 1961 Ferrari GT, the love and passion of his father Morris Frye.
It’s Cameron who epitomizes teen angst mostly in the film. He holds strong contempt toward his father to say the least. In fact, it’s the climax of the film where Cameron explodes and it results in the demolition of the Ferrari:
And while Ferris vows to take the blame (and the disaster that would come with it for his personal life), Cameron accepts responsibility himself. It’s his confrontation to have and he’ll deal with the consequences. (Side note: Sloan, Ferris’ girlfriend, thinks this was part of Ferris’ scheme for the day off from start to finish. I’ll leave it to you to judge if that’s what the deal was or not).
So, Ferris and Sloan leave, everyone’s returning home… And what happens with Cameron Frye in his confrontation with his father???
The first conclusion someone could draw from this is, “whatever it was, it wasn’t film worthy or John Hughes would have put it in the flick.” That is a good way to dismiss the confrontation but it doesn’t tell you the story of that evening for Cameron. It’s too loaded and too baited in the climax to truly be something to just brush off.
Yet, I think about the confrontation of Cameron and his father (I picture Morris Frye as actor Terry Kiser who you may know better as Bernie Lomax among other roles – no, I don’t imagine he’s dead) and what I see is an unexpected reaction. Cameron is in the garage, stern, strong willed, ready for war, and a suited Morris Frye, fresh home from work, has walked in on the open garage.
“What are you doing in here? I thought you were sick?” He’s walking in and doesn’t see the car… but sees the smashed rear window. He slows down and approaches without saying a word. He looks down and sees his beloved, classic automobile smoldering in the hilly ravine behind the garage and starts a mix of crying and laughing.
I can see Cameron stepping up immediately and taking responsibility in one way or another – perhaps by attacking over love for the car by dad; loving the car and generally hating the family… And yet, Morris’ reaction isn’t out of heartbreak, anger and disgust, it’s that cracking up aspect. He stops Cameron not by yelling, but by putting his arm around him while keeping up his hysterics. The incident rings Morris Frye just as much as it scares and stings Cameron… But I see it as a message that Cameron has grown up. I see it as a message for Morris that his material dream is done and it’s back to reality.
Does Cameron get in trouble? Oh, yeah, yeah, but it’s a whole different situation than what you’d expect. It’s not a war between the Frye family members. I just can’t picture how that goes. I can’t picture how Cameron’s mom (who is in Decatur, Illinois during the movie) plays into things.
Maybe I’m dead wrong, but I just see everything twisting at this critical non-film climactic moment. What’s built up as hate and angst in the movie deflates with Morris’ reaction to the end of his love affair. Cameron’s not the sickly boy any more, and my car isn’t where I can invest myself in full.
That’s drawing conclusions on my part, and the point is that there are times in cinema where things are left to have that happen. What happens with Cameron Frye is a big angle as he is a big angle.
Indie music is…well, independent to the point it adds additional responsibilities to the artist to expose their tunes to the masses. Sometimes that comes with ease. Sometimes that’s an afterthought.
Music Tampa Bay, who I cited the other day when talking about Gypsy Star, keeps a competitive Top-40 list (which listeners and web visitors vote on). At the end of the year, the songs that rank highest in votes on the Top 40 are piled into a Top 100 song list. The site has a page devoted to the listings from several years – though the lists are graphics and somewhat illegible. It doesn’t really get the songs out there or make it easy for you to actually find them online.
This post is an attempt at changing that. I’ve taken the 2016 Top 100 listing from Music Tampa Bay and converted the image to an actual list. To build on that, to actually expose the artists who ranked so well to make this list, I’ve hyperlinked to as many of the songs as I could find.
While these are supposed to be Tampa Bay based artists, some have national attention (Four Star Riot among others). Also, while this list was for 2016 – some of the songs were published before then and I don’t mean just a year earlier.
The ranking of the songs itself is based off of votes cast in the Top 40 listing. I can’t say this was pure song rankings, or as if there was no “fix” regarding the top 10; don’t take the order as an opinionated or fine performance ranking. It’s just voting.
As of this writing, 80 out of the 100 songs are linked to so you can take them in yourself. I’ve linked to YouTube most of the time, but other places such as Reverb Nation and Soundcloud also get linking. Spotify contains many of the songs, including non-linked songs (I decided against using Spotify due to the forced registration to use the service). Some of those unlinked songs also are readily available on commercial sites such as Amazon or iTunes – this isn’t a sales-pitch though, so I didn’t link to any of that either.
Some of these songs, despite being listed as Top 100 and having age and radio play on Music Tampa Bay (at least) had never been viewed on YouTube by the time I crossed them while compiling this piece. Some came off as deeply hidden. It sort of furthers the point of limited exposure.
This article remains an ongoing project as I’d like to get music genre listed next to each song… I mean, c’mon! You’ve likely never heard of most (if not all) of these artists and you’re not exactly encouraged to blindly click to a song. At least knowing it’s supposed to be pop, rock, country, folk, etc. will encourage where you go.
Also, as this remains an ongoing project, if you can provide a link for a non-linked song that would be great. Just use comments below or contact me via email with a link. Continue reading
I was on the Music Tampa Bay website yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an indie rock/music station in the Tampa Bay metro area (96.7 FM). I’ve interacted with the site before as I helped get the Pretty Voices on air on the station.
One key element on the Music Tampa Bay website is a Top-10 list of songs from local artists. It’s also directly tied to voting on the Top-40 of the station. I was looking at the list specifically to see if the Pretty Voices had any tracks listed at the time (nope). None of the listed artists or bands were familiar to me and that’s regularly the case with me and indie music.
What’s also regularly the case with me is checking out an indie artist because… why the hell not?
So, listed at #1 at the time on the Top-40 list was Gypsy Star, “I Feel Love”. I jumped to Google and typed that in and instead of pointing to a version of “I Feel Love” on YouTube, it pointed to the song Paramour:
All too often what I hear and what I see is bland rock. It’s not the lyrcs that make it bland, it’s just the non-riff of guitar and everything layered on top of each other to make the tunes forgettable. This was not that. I was taken aback by a violinist and accordion being part of the arrangement. Gypsy Star describes themselves as being “dynamic folk / rock” and this sure as shit felt like it. It transfixed me through Monday night.
Yet, listening to the opening of the song again, familiarity crept in. I’ve heard another variation of this before, haven’t I? Listen to the song alone for a minute, without the show distraction. Think about it for a minute.
It reminded me squarely of a song that “you can check out any time you like, but you can never” leave:
Don’t take that as a criticism, folks. I highly recommend checking out more of their tunes; they just released the album Under the Moonlit Night in January. Listening to “Paramour” and checking out some of their other songs (like the previously mentioned “I Feel Love”, you can find “I Feel Love” here, it is on YouTube… Not in concert version) I’ve been left curious and surprised. Gypsy Star is only a Tampa Bay local group? They sure as hell look an sound like a group that should be seeing a broader playing area in Florida, in the US and perhaps around the globe.
A month ago, a little further back perhaps, I saw a post on Reddit pointing to a new web site that vowed it would predict the movie you were thinking of in 30 questions or so. Filmillion piqued my curiosity, so I gave it a whirl (more than once) and was left frustrated and disappointed. That’s not because of how well the site performed but by how flawed its questions (and movie guesses tend to be.
If there have been any database improvement or other site modifications to combat flaws isn’t something known by me. What is known is that I gave the site another run for the sake of writing this article. If it leads you to wanting to try it yourself remains to be seen, but here’s what I dealt with and the outcome.
It’s easy to come to a dead end when you’re trying to find more music of a certain sound, temp, or variety. I’ve posted requests for song suggestions before as proof of that. Suggestions can lead to other people’s tastes from a wide variety of performers, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into you willingly following through on suggestions… Especially if you don’t know the artists.
There’s a tool out there on the web that I crossed last weekend, called Spotalike. It’s got a winter holiday motif that you need to ignore, that and it’s powered by way of Spotify. Simple directions: if you put a song/artist in the entry field, it’ll produce a list of what it considers similar songs. The first three entries tend to be by the same artist while what follows is a variety from other artists. What sold me on the entire tool is how I would enter songs from an easy-listening playlist that I have, and some of the first suggestions would be other songs from the list. The right similarity was there.
I also know it’s not perfect, though….
I like Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen; throw it in that easy-listen playlist because of the light music (side note: I need to find Bruce’s Oscar performance of the song where he played piano).
The problem here is Spotalike’s first suggestion. Born in the USA is a rocker with a strong beat, heavy lyrics and of course the famous chorus chant that people fixate on. There are others produced in the top 10 results that fit the bill (Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, One by U2) and others that make me shake my head and say “no” (I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith). I guess this list is just proof no playlist suggested can be perfect, but some songs fit while others just seem to be a reach.
Yet the results for “Streets” aren’t what led to this post, no, no. I went with an early 1990’s rocker by one of the top axe men in music, Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz:
That was off a top album in 1993 (but failed to crack the Billboard Top 100). The attitude, the energy, the guitar work by Lenny, it’s just fantastic. Is it a one-of-a-kind ode? Arguable; there are plenty of songs that could be suggested just for guitar work and early 90’s popularity (Green Day and Basket Case as well as Longview immediately come to mind).
Yet one-of-a-kind is how Spotalike seems to be looking at it as it stands. Upon entering the song and going for the results, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” is the only song result. No playlist gets generated. It’s one thing for that to happen with an indie band (Pretty Voices are on Spotalike, for example, but don’t generate results) but for someone who has been so prominent in popular music and rock and roll to get brushed off? That’s either a flaw in the system, a business conflict between the powers-that-be and Kravitz’s camp or just an outright disrespect towards a musician someone at Spotalike doesn’t like. I’m going to side with the flaw factor. I’m sure it pops up with some other songs by popular artists.
This shouldn’t hold sway over you using Spotalike or not; there’s too much music out there to get hung up on flaws and misgroupings. So much music and so few quality suggestion tools exist. The system can’t be perfect but it seems like Spotalike is sound to one decree or another.