Category Archives: Music / Lyrics

Interest in a song by way of a radio stream

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?

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by | April 25, 2017 · 9:47 PM

I never heard it but I knew the unknown

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

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Filed under Medical, Music / Lyrics, The Life

Sounding protest of under-exposure of a high-level protest song

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:

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Politics

An earworm from 80’s children’s television

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.

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Filed under Entertainment Industry Thingies, Music / Lyrics, The Life

Exposing songs from Music Tampa Bay’s Top 100 list of 2016

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

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Indulged by the glimmer from Gypsy Star

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.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Listens and flaws are found at Spotalike

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.

 

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics

The Beatles video, “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, missing in action no more

It’s arguable to write that the greatest song the Beatles ever recorded and didn’t release as a single was “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, which was released in 1965 on the album “Help!”. It’s a standard Lennon/McCartney scribed ode that has ties to “She Loves You” as if it were a sequel. I write that point here but I don’t link because trying to find the source I read has been fruitless (this line will be deleted if I do find the link). There are only two words on record for any member of the Fab Four speaking about the song: John Lennon told Playboy in 1980, “That’s me.” You can find more in-depth coverage of the song here. There are touches on other facts about Lennon / McCartney and history that may pique your interest.

I was introduced to the Fab Four in 1985 when my father won a VHS tape of “Help!” from 101 WCBS FM in New York. I was skittish and disinterested at first in watching as the tape opened up with the black-and-white trailer to “A Hard Day’s Night”, the film the Beatles made in 1964. Black-and-white film and disjointed snippets of Beatle songs from the movie just didn’t win me over (and what would you expect? I was 5 or 6 years old at the time). I fidgeted, I tried getting up, but my father put his hands on my shoulders and sat me down.

Then “Help!” started, with actor Leo McKern reciting cult tidings in what amounted to an execution ceremony. Though it was a dark setting, the color blazed (in comparison to that “A Hard Day’s Night” trailer and my interest ticked up. One thing led to another in the film and McKern’s character of Clang bellowed to his cult sect that surrounded him, “Where is the ring?! Search her! What has she done with the ring?!” The cult cried repeatedly “The ring?!” in response and then… then…

Then you see the fabled ring, a large red gemstone on a standard gold band. It just so happens to be on the hand of drummer Ringo Starr as a performance of the song “Help!” gets underway (in black-and-white… which meant nothing to me at this point) and truly the movie began as the Beatles performed “Help!”.

There were seven songs performed in the movie, with “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” being my favorite. Heck, viewing the film a second time, I remember my brothers and I rewinding the video to replay the song and sing along with it. We were won over. That’s not to say “Help!” didn’t win us over, or “Ticket to Ride”, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, “I Need You” (George Harrison’s first composed song), “The Night Before, or “Another Girl”. It’s just the memory of this song in particular.

Director Richard Lester played with lighting but did a simple in-studio scene with John, Paul, George and Ringo. The hues and colors vary and smoke plays into scenes (hey, smoking was hip back then Ringo is doing it in some scenes of the song). I’d put this song, as a video; well ahead of the majority of music videos that also play the studio scene. And seeing it’s been 52 years since the damn thing was recorded, that should tell the music video director sect out there to raise their game.

You can’t find the song on YouTube though, and the simple Google search (which now produces extensive info results for most songs) only shows you amateurs playing.

Is there a business contrast playing out between Apple Corps LTD (the Beatles company) and Google? I don’t know. What I do know is that I started this write up fixated on not being able to find the videos from “Help!” on YouTube. Only a fraction of the movie performance of “You’re going to Lose That Girl” can be found.

A re-worded my web search just a tad (with quotation marks: “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” video, Help!) and lo and behold I found what has been missing via Vimeo.

“You’re Going To Lose That Girl” from Merritt Mullen on Vimeo.

Will it remain on the site? Dunno, though it’s 4 year lifespan tells me that it’s going to stay. You can find a low quality version of “Ticket to Ride” on there, as well as “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” (standard quality). The other songs are missing / have mixed in content.

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by | March 8, 2017 · 12:33 PM

The Pretty Voices – “Haircut” (with lyrics)

From the Tampa Bay area indie rock group the Prety Voices, “Haircut” is off of their 2016 album Jangular:

Goin’ out to see a band, by the stage is where I’ll stand
You look good standin’ next to me in a white t-shirt and blue jeans
A pretty face and crooked frame, I just wanna know your name
Swallow hard, what to say?  I don’t even know your name

I just like your haircut
Blue black hair contrasts porcelain
It’s too much!
Asymmetrical Haircut, Asymmetrical Haircut
Sharp and original, you’re such an individual
Asymmetrical Haircut, Asymmetrical Haircut
Sharp and original, you’re such an individual (you make me fuckin’ miserable)

Let’s get a drink after the show, where do you wanna go?
I don’t know, I don’t care, she tilts her head and flips her hair
Where you been, all my life, do you wanna be my wife?
“I’m a vegan, so you know.”  Hipster chick is status quo…

I just like your haircut
Blue black hair contrasts porcelain
It’s too much!
Asymmetrical Haircut, Asymmetrical Haircut
Sharp and original, you’re such an individual
Asymmetrical Haircut, Asymmetrical Haircut
Sharp and original, you’re such an individual (you make me fuckin’ miserable)

I just like your haircut
Blue black hair contrasts porcelain
It’s too much!
Asymmetrical Haircut, Asymmetrical Haircut
Sharp and original, you’re such an individual
Asymmetrical Haircut, Asymmetrical Haircut
Sharp and original, you’re such an individual (you make me fuckin’ miserable)

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by | March 1, 2017 · 9:12 PM

Lyrical hopes and poetic dreams for the immediate future

I’ve been going through older poems that don’t appear on the site, I’ve been going through a collection of my works over the decades . Things I wrote as poetry sure sound like songs (or at least look like them, and I can imagine melody to go along with them). I’m no musician though, no composer, or I’d try to put together a full song and get things on the market (not me as a performer, me as a composer).

I will admit right now that I do have a poetry/lyrical verse manuscript and am hoping to have a self-published book out in 2017. That’s still in the process of being honed out though. There are aspects I haven’t even explored yet with that, and those I have asked to review my work (as editor types) have yet to get back to me with any input.

All of that said, here’s an example of that lyrical-verse/poetry that I had a habit of doing in the past. It’s something that is not going to be included in the book as it stands, but that could change. I’d appreciate feedback on this too. It has been on the web before, when my personal home page was on Tripod ages and ages ago. Different title then.:

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Poetry, The Life, Writing