Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Snake Charmer" by Brendan O'Malley

I'm taking a break from the norm...and posting a cover not of a 90's Billboard hit...but of a great song written by my brother, Brendan O'Malley.

I love this song!  So catchy so perfect so concise.  Perfect songwriting, in my opinion.

Once we sang it as a duet at one of my shows.  That was very exciting!  I was playing at Genghis Cohen in Los Angeles and got to do harmonies for this awesome song, written by my awesome brother.  AWESOME!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Top Songs of 1991: #12: "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" by Stevie B.

The #12 Billboard hit of 1991 was "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" by Stevie B.  Stevie has apparently released 9 albums since 1991--go Stevie! 

My favorite Stevie B. hit, by a mile, is "In Your Eyes".  That is a sweet jam.

The Postman Song?  Well.  People were gaga for it 1991.  It goes back to my theory of how the adult contemporary genre doesn't exist anymore.  But in 1991, "The Postman Song" fit right into that genre.  Stevie B. writes his lady a letter, in a song, and tells her exactly how he feels.  And he feels that he loves her.  His heart is an open door.  He'll be right by her side.  He wants to reassure her that she can always count on him.  That isn't my interpretation of the lyrics.  Those are the lyrics. 

Take it away, Grover. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #13: "Someday" by Mariah Carey

The #13 Billboard hit of 1991 was "Someday" by Mariah Carey.

She co-wrote the song with Ben Margulies and it appeared on her original demo that Mariah finagled into the right person's hands at the right time. Once her demo got in the tentacles of Tommy Matola, the songs were changed a little bit, here and there. Wikipedia said that "Carey and Margulies were forced to accept the changes that were made because neither had been allowed to co-produce. Reportedly, Carey was unhappy with the final version of "Someday" produced, because both she and Margulies thought it had been too 'polished'. "

"Someday" was her first upbeat single--having already released "Vision of Love" and "Love Takes Time". This is definitely her "kiss-off" song: "no one you find will ever be/closer to all your dreams than me". I felt highly uncomfortable doing the "rap" portion of the song--so I just sang it. It actually seems like in the video Mariah herself seems a little uncomfortable rapping (she also does a little bit of the running man).

I had a good time watching the video for this song...classic. We see a young "Mariah" (i.e. child actor bearing some resemblance to Mariah), clad in overalls, getting treated badly at school. And then older Mariah is watching on, singing "I'm the one who's keeping score!" Don't we all wish we could have said that when we were 13??

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #14: "High Enough" by Damn Yankees

Damn Yankees were one of the first hard-rock super groups. Before Velvet Revolver and Audioslave, there were Damn Yankees! D.Y. included Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw from Styx.

"High Enough" was their biggest hit and it went "high enough" in the Billboard charts....it was #14 for the year of 1991. The song was written by Nugent, Shaw and Jack Blades (formerly of the bands Rubicon and Night Ranger).

I gotta say, I find this song structure a little...strange....the pre-chorus kind of doesn't fit into the song. The verses and chorus to me sound like they are from the same era, the same idea, but then there is this crazy pre-chorus that has a totally different energy from the rest of the song. It stands out. It's like you are strolling in a quiet, serene forest. Then you are yanked out of the path by a hungry bear,who drags you over craggy rocks by your hair. And then he decides against eating you and calmly, carefully puts you back on the same serene path. It's like--what the hell just happened?

"High Enough" is saturated with power chords--it is a power chord haven! I do believe except for the first two chords of the verse, every single other chord in the song is a power chord.

The lyrics beg some questions:
1. "I just made one mistake--I didn't know what to say when you called me baby"
That qualifies as a mistake? I mean, it's not like the lady called him "Horse Breath". 'Baby" isn't that shocking. But I get the feeling the songwriter was nonplussed by the use of "baby".
2. By the second verse, being called "baby" doesn't seem like such a shocker....at that point the lyric turns to "I know just what to do when you call me 'baby'". Thank goodness you figured it out!
3. "fly me over yesterday"
I will take two doses of 'fly me over yesterday', please. Thank you.

Gotta say, I kind of love the bridge to this song--it'd kind of killer heavy-metal scorcher!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #15: "From a Distance" by Bette Midler

The #15 Billboard hit of 1991 was "From a Distance", performed by Bette Midler. The song had quite a life of it's own before Bette got a hold of it. Julie Gold, an American singer-songwriter, wrote the song:

"Gold was working as a secretary at the time for Home Box Office and writing songs in her free time.[1] Gold's friend, Christine Lavin, introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who first recorded for her 1987 album, Lone Star State of Mind. It quickly became a favorite of Griffith's fans around the world. The Byrds recorded the song as one of 4 newly recorded studio tracks for their box set The Byrds released in 1990."

Also in 1990, Bette Midler recorded the song as part of her album "Some People's Lives". Like the #16 song of 1991 ("All the Man That I need" by Whitney Houston), this song very much fits into that Adult Contemporary genre.

My strongest association of Bette Midler is how Michael Shurtleff describes her in his book "Audition". He said she was such an innate artist, that she was like a "gland". That has stuck in my head since I read the book when I was 15. I love that description.

I mostly remember this song being strongly attached the the Gulf War. It came out around the same time and the video had lots of images of soldiers in black and white.

There is something about this song that feels like a folk-protest song from the 60s. I can almost hear Bob Dylan singing it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #16: "All The Man That I Need" by Whitney Houston

The number 16 Billboard hit of 1991 was "All The Man That I need" by Whitney Houston. The song was from her album "I'm Your Baby Tonight".

This song is very much in the "adult-contemporary" music genre. The production of it is very late 80's/early 90's with the loopy sax solo. And of course the gospel choir that appears at the end to give the song added oomph. Apparently the song was used by other artists before Whitney Houston--Sister Sledge (who knew?) and Linda Clifford. "All The Man That I Need" was written by Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore--just did a little research and see these were the two guys who wrote some of the songs in "Fame".

Whatever one might think of the song, there is no denying the power and complexity of Ms. Houston's voice. When she was good, she was really really good. When the song modulates she just GOES for it--showing us all her bells and whistles, but somehow they don't feel like bells and whistles at all.

Just re-watched the video for the first time in forever and noticed when she is singing in the empty white house, she is wearing a blazer, emblazened with her monogram. Work it. I love the little outfit she's wearing.

As with covering Mariah, I just sort of did my best here. I am not going to pretend I can sing like this woman!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #17: "Right Here, Right Now" by Jesus Jones

The number 17 Billboard hit of 1991 was the indie-dance track "Right Here, Right Now" by the
British band Jesus Jones. The songs is about the end of the Cold War and taking down the Berlin Wall.

Some pretty radical things WERE going on in 1991 and Jesus Jones captured that...in a very catchy way.

I didn't even really know some of the things Mike Edwards (lead singer) was singing. For instance, it wasn't 'til I learned this song just now that I found out the second lyric of the song is: "Bob Dylan didn't have to sing about this, you know it feels good to be alive". There is something about this song (I guess it's casual insistence in the lyrics) that does actually make me feel very grateful and moved my present moments. So kudos to you, Jesus Jones! Mission Accomplished.

My favorite part is when Mike Edwards goes all falsetto...."i wanna beeEEEEEE!!". Total climax of the song.

I remember he had on this painters cap with bill up in the video. This small little fashion statement seemed to perfectly fit the time.

This song comes from their 1991 album, "Doubt". I had a cassette tape of this album.