Sunday, August 5, 2007

10 Songs I should probably be embarrassed to have on my iPod...but I'm not.

I was adding some new songs on to my iPod the other day, when I got to looking at my total song collection (current tally = 2,460 songs…just saying). I would say about 95% of it’s pretty “kickass”, and I would have no problem taking the ol’ iPod to the next big shindig, hooking it up to an external speaker system, and hitting shuffle for all to enjoy…however…that leaves about 5% of my collection that, if heard by family, friends, or total strangers, could leave me open to mocking, ridicule, and worst of all - bring my level of dudeness into question.

But ya know, the songs on my iPod are on there for more reasons than just being universal “kickass” rockers from various eras, or beat-breakin’, mixin’-n-scratchin’, old school delights. There are some songs that trigger great memories from my youth; have incredible vocal harmonies (I’m a sucker for great vocal harmonies); are brilliant masterpieces of human creativity; or just give me chills when I hear them (the good kind, not the scary kind)…and sometimes these songs are not by artists such as Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc., who get the universal “stamp of coolness”. Rather, they’re by artists who are universally seen as either uncool, or gender polarizing (i.e., fine for chicks to listen to, but not us fellas).

To that, I have two words – “Fuck” and “you” – put them together and you can make yourself a nice little (middle) finger sandwich – ‘cause if it’s pleasing to my ear, I’m listening to it!

So, here are 10 songs (in no particular order) I should probably be embarrassed to have on my iPod…but I’m not…(and that I could also find videos for on YouTube – love YouTube!)

ABBA – S.O.S.



Wait! Let me explain!: OK, I have just three words – “Hot”, “Swedish”, and “chicks” – put them together and you get “Hot Swedish chicks”! Who doesn’t love hot Swedish chicks?! Sure, they have songs that make me cringe – Dancing Queen I’m talking to you – but for the most part this group made incredible songs which featured: hot Swedish chicks, great vocal harmonies, great Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” production values, and once again, hot Swedish chicks. And how about a round of applause for the two guys in the group – they were married to the two hot Swedish chicks!

Fun fact: When I was around Kindergarten age, my mom had the 8-track of Abba’s Greatest Hits. I used to plug that into our groovy 8-track player, put on a pair of headphones that were bigger than my head, and play “air drums” to every song on that tape (and I played some wicked air drums back then). Yeah, Atari 2600 wasn’t around yet.

Mamas and the Papas – Dedicated to the One I Love



Wait! Let me explain!: Yep, another of the 2 guy, 2 gal groups. When some people think of the Mamas and the Papas, they probably just think “crazy hippies making hippie music”. Fair enough, I guess, but they had absolutely incredible vocal harmonies in their songs. Like I said, I’m a sucker for great vocal harmonies. I’ve got a lot of Mamas and the Papas on my iPod, and this song is one of my favorites. There are a couple of moments in this song, when all four hit a couple of notes together, that give me chills – it’s that good.

Little River Band - Reminiscing




Wait! Let me explain!: Not a big Little River Band fan, but damn, this is a great song! It kind of tells a story, it has lyrics that are easy to remember and sing along to (which I’ve been known to do), and, well, it’s just well constructed in all facets: lyrically, vocally, and musically.

Al Martino – Spanish Eyes



Wait! Let me explain!: This is simply a fantastic vocal performance – almost operatic in grandeur; and a “romantic” classic. If you can’t appreciate the vocal power of this song (you may want to introduce your ear to a Q-Tip), you should at least appreciate (and respect) the power of Al’s wicked Mafioso pinky ring in this video!

Tom Jones – Delilah




Wait! Let me explain!: When it comes to Tom Jones, I see the guy in two different lights. On the one hand, he’s kind of a cheesy Elvis-wannabe; but on the other hand, dude drove women to the point where they would throw their panties to him on stage during his concerts – “High-Five” my friend! This song has the same vocal grandness as the Al Martino song – which makes it humorous, in this video, to watch the “cool kids” trying to dance to a song not really made for dancing.

Juice Newton – Queen of Hearts



Wait! Let me explain!: This is a song that, I admit, is not the greatest song in the world – BUT – it is a song that transports me back in time whenever I hear it. In the early 80’s, when this song was popular, I would go to Iowa every summer to see my Grandma. When we were there, we would go to the County Fair – which featured one of my favorite things at the time – Truck and Tractor Pulls!!! Damn, those were awesome! You just haven’t lived until you’ve seen a tractor flip up in the air because it was trying to pull too much weight behind it!

Oak Ridge Boys – Elvira




Wait! Let me explain!: See same reason as above. Plus, how can anyone not think the “Oom-Papa-Oom-Papa-Mow-Mow” part kicks ass?! Oh, one more thing…this video has me a bit perplexed. Do you think the lead singer looks more like the “Master of Illuuuuuuusion” Doug Henning, or John Oates from Hall and Oates fame? I’m stumped.

Kajagoogoo – Too Shy



Wait! Let me explain!: Ya know, it’s just a classic cheesy 80’s song that I like. Actually, I probably should be embarrassed to have this song on my iPod. I could be wrong, but I believe it was after seeing this video that I got my first “spiked” haircut…I avoided ever getting a “Rat-tail” though…can’t say the same about getting parachute pants – oh, the horror.

Laura Branigan – Gloria



Wait! Let me explain!: Another cheesy song from the 80’s that defies explanation as to why I like it. Her voice has a bit of an operatic quality throughout which makes the vocal pop, and well, I can’t help it – I’ve always liked this song. So, screw off!

Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody #2




Wait! Let me explain!: Oh classical music, the “uncoolest” of all uncool music – but not to me. I’ve got quite a few pieces of classical music on my iPod that aren’t just from the Star Wars saga. Hall of the Mountain King, Flight of the Valkyries, 1812 Overture, just to name a few, but my favorite is Hungarian Rhapsody #2. It’s just pure genius! It makes me marvel at what the human mind can conjure up. Though the version I have on my iPod is the full orchestral version of the song, the only videos I could find on YouTube were of the piano-only version…but this guy does a helluva job with it.

And there you have it…Ten songs I should probably be embarrassed to have on my iPod…but I’m not.

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