Tag: rock music

I have a bit of an obsession with creating iTunes playlists. Currently I’ve got almost two hundred regular Playlists and probably a hundred Smart Playlists in my XXL iTunes library. I like to give my lists snarky (okay, embarrassing) names like Ham on Whole Wheat, Sunshine and Farts, and Rawk Yer Face Off. Who doesn’t do this? Wait – nobody does iTunes playlists anymore? What’s that? Get a life? You get a life.

I have a constantly evolving playlist that I keep onboard my iPod shuffle for running, mostly comprised of songs from the soundtracks to the novels I’m writing, or just plain buttkicking, step-it-up songs.

Every so often though, I need to make a new playlist whose sole purpose is to keep my spirits up. It’s random, dorky, fist-pumping shit that probably no one but me likes, but here is my latest. The best part is you can listen to it online at 8tracks! See below for my ramblings about the songs and a direct play-link (some tracks couldn’t be uploaded because of copyright issues, but you still get 21 songs and over an hour of free music!).

Songs For The Weary

  • Josh Ritter  “Lantern”   The song that started me writing this blog post. You can’t do much better for a lighters-high, hopeful tune.  That line about the book of jubilations just slays me every time.
  • Talking Heads  “Slippery People”   I have a newfound zesty amour for this song after seeing Twenty Feet From Stardom.
  • Lou Rawls  “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”  Because you won’t. Lou Rawls is my personal god.
  • Gogol Bordello  “Mishto!”  There is no band on Earth like Gogol Bordello.
  • Joe Strummer & The Mescalaros  “Get Down Moses”  The day I discovered this band’s three albums (and never more, RIP Joe) was the day I died a little, and lived a lot.
  • Bob Marley  “Could You Be Loved”  How can I not have a Bob Marley song on this list? This is my hands-down favorite.
  • Mötley Crüe  “Kickstart My Heart”  Yeah, I got the double umlauts on there, baby. Oh, this song.  Yesssssss.
  • Swing Out Sister  “Am I the Same Girl”  Uh huh, following up Crüe with Swing Out Sister.  It’s my playlist, and this song is some sweet brassy sweetness.
  • Prince  “Baby I’m a Star”  Forget everything and just remember that you are a star.
  • Angélique Kidjo  “Lon Lon Vadjro”  I used to listen to Angélique literally nonstop in my twenties. Gotta get back to that because she is the boss.
  • Shovels & Rope  “Fish Assassin”  Ain’t nothin’ beats Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent fish-and-grits harmonies.
  • Robbie Robertson  “Shake This Town”  I love the Storyville album and Robertson’s self titled album so much I actually get a little choked up just thinking about listening to all the songs.
  • Timbaland (feat. Miley Cyrus)  “We Belong to the Music”  Yep, a Miley song.  I don’t answer to you.
  • AWOLNATION  “Knights of Shame”  I love a song that changes it up at least three times (see next bullet point); this one orchestrated my last road trip, all my recent running, and a poem I wrote about a tree.
  • Jenny Lewis  “The Next Messiah”  Another long-ass song that feels like a saga and rocks like a hurricane. Oddly (or not?) I used to treadmill-run exclusively to this song. Jenny rules.
  • Bruce Cockburn  “Tie Me At The Crossroads”  Some perky action from Bruce. Me love.
  • Wasis Diop  “Toxu”  As you may know, Wasis Diop is a genius.
  • Queen  “Rock It (Prime Jive)”  Every Queen song is my favorite, but this one is…prime jive.
  • The Spencer Davis Group  “Gimme Some Lovin'”  Yes, please do gimme some lovin’. I have a serious crush on Steve Winwood. No shame.
  • Suzanne Teng  “Lhasa Love”  I can’t even explain how much I geek out to this song. It’s pure exuberance for life.
  • Robyn  “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do”  Because DON’T.
  • Traveling Wilburys  “End of the Line”  Guaranteed to lift your spirits. Just think about ’em – Tom, Bob, Jeff, and George – jamming out on that train with Roy’s guitar in the rocking chair. Bittersweet. Love you guys.
  • Meat Loaf  “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”  This song, plus Roger Waters’ double disc live album, got me through more than one tax season. This song. Nothing beats it. I mean, nothing MEATS it. Oh!
  • Billy Idol  “Dancing With Myself”  Title of my Autobiography.
  • Jackson Browne  “Here Come Those Tears Again”  I wish I could sing like Bonnie Raitt and Rosemary Butler and belt out that chorus. Okay sometimes when I’m on a long road trip alone and I’m listening to this song, I totally do. Badly.

Go to Songs for the Weary on 8tracks, courtesy of Superhermit (me). Or listen right here:

Photo from Unsplash

mixtapes

It’s been scientifically proven that one out of five people in the United States have either secretly or publicly air-guitared to the Guess Who’s ‘American Woman.’ Okay, that’s a lie, the research only applies to the Lenny Kravitz cover.  But you know it probably could be proven, if anybody had time for that.
The best Guess Who song (Now, this HAS been scientifically proven.  Okay no.) is ‘No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature.’  Which just happens to be the B Side to ‘American Woman.’  Love that folky acoustic intro that, around the 45 second mark, gets its gentle ass kicked by the chorus and Randy Bachman’s guitar.
And you got to show respect to a song telling you that a new Mother Nature is here to divide and conquer.   Is she now?  I think so, people.  Deny it all you want.  The Splendid Lady is coming for us all.
The Guess Who started out like a lot of rock bands in the ’60’s – doing covers and scrambling for the top of the charts with all the other British Invaders.  Except these guys were from Canada, so they could get away with writing a snarky song like ‘American Woman’ and then have it reach the #1 Billboard spot in America in 1970 – the first Canadian group ever to do so.  Whether it was meant to be truly anti-American or sexist, Pat Nixon requested that the boys skip that one when the band played a concert for the White House that year.
After forming as The Silvertones in 1958, the band wasn’t entirely successful outside of Canada right away – they had a string of hits, as well as personnel and name changes (The Silvertones, The Reflections, The Expressions, The Winnipegans (just kidding on that last one), then released a cover of ’Shakin’ All Over’ in 1965, under the name ‘Guess Who?’ –  a record company ploy to fool music buyers into thinking they were getting some kind of Brit supergroup recording.   Then the band officially became the Guess Who (and got rid of the question mark).  And then they STILL ended up broke and in debt after a UK promotional tour.
Did the Guess Who give up?  Hells no.  Their producer, Jack Richardson, mortgaged his house to pay for their next album’s recording session.  That album was Wheatfield Soul, with the top ten hit ‘These Eyes.’  The band went on to have three more Top 40 songs – before the lead guitarist Randy Bachman became a Mormon, broke off from the group and started a band called Brave Belt, which would eventually morph into Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Is the Guess Who one of the best rock bands ever?  Errr…not really.  But they put out some killer songs.  I’d call that a win.  And they’re still on tour.   Bachman also hosts a pretty sweet old school radio show on CBC called Vinyl Tap.
I’ve been listening to the Guess Who a lot lately (you probably got that) and reading about failure.  Everybody fails, everybody makes mistakes.  It’s the best way to be successful.
That’s not always easy to accept – maybe it’s shouldn’t be.  We’re human beings, capable of making important decisions every single day about how we treat other human beings, and how we treat this planet, which is our only home.
Mistakes are gonna happen.  They have already happened – and there’s no UNDO button.  There’s only NEXT.  Keep going.
The best thing to do is OWN IT.   And don’t let it kill your spirit.
If we don’t fail, and don’t make mistakes, then what do have to learn?  I have a lot to learn.  I’m good with that.  NEVER GIVE UP.

mixtapes