Thursday Throwdown Challenge

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There’s a ton of research on how music imprints itself on your brain (see extra credit, below). So sometime during the summer, when a friend’s friend posted a song challenge that listed a song category for every day of the month, it piqued my interest. I’ve looked at the list a few times, but it wasn’t likely going to be a one-a-day effort for me. But I just so happen to have this great feature in the Swearyverse called The Throwback which seems like a great vehicle for this song challenge. So today, instead of a half hour playlist, I give you a song challenge thinger with some reflections on why I chose these songs.

A song with a colour in the title: Blue (Ba Da Bee) – Eiffel 65. There were less obnoxious songs I could have chosen (lookin’ at you Purple Rain, Red Red Wine, Blue Monday, Pink Cadillac), but you know what you signed up for. Badabee! And I really do love this song. Not gonna lie, I’m kinda glad for all our sakes that this one appears so early in the list… maybe we can scrub it out of our brains before it gets stuck there on loop, amirite?

A song with a number in the titleEdge of 17 – Stevie Nicks. Remember when you were just developing your own sense of style? There was Stevie Nicks, with her perfectly feathered hair, her dreamy long skirts and her lace up boots. And you’d stare longingly through the windows of the local 1980’s vintage Benetton or Le Chateau? The only person who’s wardrobe I wanted more when I was growing up was Prince and his Revolution. And that may or may not still be true. Including the Red Fedora – because all y’all know how much I like hats.

A song that reminds you of summertime: Wasted Time – Keith Urban. This is just that kind of song. The bittersweet reminiscence of summers gone by with your then-friends. Maybe your still-friends. I wish I had done that more than I did, which is part of the reason why I have a fire-pit on the terrace. For my now-friends.

A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget: Somebody – Depeche Mode.  This is kind of a representative song for all the people at high school dances with whom you wanted to dance, but you didn’t dance with. My RC kid friends and I used to go to the dances at the public school near us because the music was always better. Less Top 40 and more alternative. Every one of us had someone at those dances upon whom we had these wicked teenage crushes, and we hoped against hope that they would ask us to dance (or, yaknow, not decline when we asked). So dramatic!

A song that needs to be played loud: Thunderstruck – AC/DC. My gentleman associate (who usually doesn’t play along to kinds of games with me) suggested a Garth Brooks song (Fever) for this. I think he’s wrong. I mean, sure. Play Garth loud. Whatever. But ANGUS! This song was in regular rotation at the bars we went to in our first year of university. Many Singapore Slings were spilled as a result of this song. You knew who was really drunk because they started singing early. Pfft. Lightweights.

A song that makes you want to dance: Don’t Leave me this Way – Communards. Yeah, so I’m pretty highly suggestible. Lots of songs make me want to dance. But this song has been known to even get King Louie off his butt. OK granted, he’s usually getting up to go and hide somewhere I’m not, but I think that can speak to the verocity of the dancing.

A song to drive to: Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane. I know… it’s cliché. But it’s true. I have no regrets on this one. Hmmm… Maybe one little regret. Mike tossed God’s Country into the game. Damnit – I’m so used to him saying “I never really thought about it” that I didn’t expect him to give me thoughtful answers.

A song about drugs or alcoholComfortably Numb – Pink Floyd – Laser Floyd. ‘Nuff Said.

A song that makes you happyFreedom 90 – George Michael. I love the George Michael version of this, but I also love the Zachary Quinto Lip synch version. Yeah, it’s certainly not helping me get over my squeally fangirl crush on Quinto, can tell you that. Or Cindy, for that matter.

A song that makes you sad: Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles –  There’s a difference that some people don’t understand between being alone and being lonely. It’s good to know how be alone. It’s heartbreaking to be lonely. Poor Eleanor. I feel you, girl.

A song that you never get tired of: True faith – new order. I have 3 extended dance versions of this song on one of my playlist. I have, like, 25 minutes of True Faith. This song used to play all the time at an alternative all ages dance club that my friends and I used to attend in highschool. All the black-clad revellers dancing their goth tai chi with black lipstick and safetypins. That place was so great – it gave me an excellent soundscape for my future musical tastes. I could actually listen to *any* New Order happily for days on end – Blue Monday, Bizarre Love Triangle, Perfect Kiss. They are all excellent.

A song from your preteen years: Situation – Yaz. For many summers of my youth, I went to the Theatre Aquarius Summer Theatre School. It wasn’t camp, it was summer school for musical theatre kids. The people I met there and with whom I became friends introduced me to really great music and we used that music daily in morning dance classes. Yaz featured prominently. A boy brought in his cassette of this, and it just so happened that when this song ended, you could flip the tape and another side was queued up for Don’t Go. Serendipitous! I’m grateful for the amazing musical tastes of the friends I made at that school. I’m still in touch with some of the friends I made there. Some of us continued to a really real career in theatre, some of us just reflect fondly.

A song from the 70’s: Rasputin – Boney M.  I have a friend who I just whisper the suggestion of this song, and she’s got the earworm for a week. Sorry, Alyssa. But man, this song is fun. I use to sing this song ages ago, all the time. Early in our marriage, my gentleman associate and I were at a hockey game in Ottawa, and Rasputin came on the PA system during a commercial break. He looked at me and said “I thought you were making that song up”. Ha. That certainly didn’t make me sing it less.

A song you’d love to be played at your wedding: Celine Dion – Because you loved me This is the song to which I danced with my dad and Mike danced with his mom. You may ask why didn’t I put the song to which I danced with Mike? Um, yeah… we don’t remember what that song was. It was either The Dance or Shameless by Garth Brooks, but yeah, neither of us remember which one. Oops. 22 years was a long time ago. And despite 3 years of ballroom dancing classes, we don’t dance so much anymore.

A song you like that’s a cover by another artist: Beck – Diamond Dogs. There’s absolutely nothing lacking in the Bowie version, but oh man, Beck. This is from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, which is also one of my fav soundtracks. So many great covers… I just did a whole Thursday Throwback about cover songs recently. There are many, many great ones.

A song that’s a classic favourite: Some kind of Wonderful – Grand funk Railroad. Well, yes she is.

A song you’d sing as a duet with someone at karaoke: Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers – Islands in the Stream. Who’s game? ISLANDS IN THE STREAM! THAT IS WHAT WE ARE! But yeah, who are we kidding? I’d sing whatever you want at karaoke!

A song from the year you were bornThe Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens. ZOMG! I didn’t even know. What a happy coincidence. My friend Margaret and I taped ourselves singing this when we were about 12. I still have that somewhere, and it’s hysterical. We got my sister (who was only about 2) to say “The Lion” so we could dub it in. It’s so awful and amazing. But no matter how great we thought we were, we have nothing on the Israeli Police Service. They’re the GOAT. For sure.

A song that makes you think about life: Breathe – Michael W Smith. This is a Christian Praise song, but it’s one that makes the hair stand up on my arms and raises a giant lump in my throat right from the first measures. Funny how some songs do that for you… Years ago, a friend made a comment about how unappealing the genre of Christian Rock was, and she asked whether others found it so as well. I relayed a story about a mass we had when I was in (a Catholic) high school. We sang Kyrie Eleison (Mr. Mister) during the mass. It was a popular song at the time in the late 80’s, and it was a fun novelty to sing it during a faith ceremony that is usually full of less… compelling … Music. I wouldn’t have wanted to sing it at every mass, but it was pretty great to sing it at that particular one. I mean, there are certainly hymns that I like more than others, but Breathe is very different from the usual Catholic Book of Worship songs that we usually sing. The Worship Choir at Saturday night mass at St. Clement has this in semi-regular rotation. I can’t sing along, lest I weep openly for the rest of the mass. But I love it.

A song you like with a person’s name in the titleIshmael and Maggie – The Trews. I’ve been working on this list for a few weeks, and at the beginning of last week, Child sent me an email that he wanted to do the Throwback last week, and can I proofread it for him. To my surprise and delight, he chose a Trews retrospective. He told the story last week about listening to Den of Thieves strapped into a car seat in the back of my car on the way hither and yon in the Great White East. And I loved listening to that tiny voice from that tiny boy singing “I’ve been drinking too much I’d better go home“, and “We’re all brokenhearted here“. Enough that I also chose Ishmael and Maggie to be featured on my list before I even knew about his list. I like it when that happens. So, in honour of that tiny boy who’s now a grown-ass man who still likes this song, I give you The Trews again.

A song that moves you forward: This is me – Keala Settle . This from the Greatest Showman soundtrack. While that movie wildly romanticizes Barnum’s benevolence, I like the soundtrack. I spent a long time being ashamed of my scars, and on dark days, well…. This song is the wind at the sail to move me out of dangerous waters. Also Born this way – Lady Gaga. I’m totally a little monster.

A song that you think everyone should listen to: O’ Sifuni Mungu – First Call. Because everyone should know more music sung in an African language beyond just the opening measures of The Lion King (which is Zulu). Or Hakuna Matata (which is Swahili), I guess. So really something that doesn’t originate with Disney (not that I’m dissin’ Disney). I sang O’ Sifuni Mungu (which is Tanzanian) in a chorale competition when I was at Queen’s. It was great. It’s still compelling. Love it. LOVE it!

A song by a band you wish were still togetherSpirit of the west – The old Sod I’ve seen SOTW a bunch of times, several with my best pal Mark. When I got married, Mark bought me the entire SOTW discography, which was pretty great. The band isn’t together any longer because the lead singer John Mann, has early-onset Alzheimer’s. Boo.  I’ve got great memories of SOTW – at university (several times), at the Grey Cup party in Hamilton, at several Festivals of Friends and Canada Day festivals – as do millions of other Canadians, I think. The thistle and the maple leaf are the emblems of the free.

A song you like by an artist no longer livingPope – Prince. Not one of the better known Prince songs, but one of my favourites. I could have chosen a dozen other songs instead and been happy with my choice. Seven, Alphabet Street, Starfish and Coffee, Sign o’ the Times, When Doves Cry, Thunder, Erotic City, You’ve got the Look… So many great ones.  The Hits/The B Sides is one of the CDs that, even though I don’t have a CD player anymore (except, potentially, in my car… I don’t even know), I won’t get rid of that CD Set. Also, though, a tribute to Ric Ocasek who died earlier this week. Godspeed, Ric: You Might Think.

A song that makes you want to fall in loveThe Promise – When in Rome is the upbeat choice. I love it because it says “I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say, I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be”. After 22 years of marriage, I am still the word nerd, and Mike still is a man of few words. So this song reminds me that just because he doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean that he isn’t trying. Sometimes I need that message. The song that makes you think about what love means, though, for me, has to be Frankie goes to Hollywood – The Power of Love. This video tells story of the Nativity. And really, for RC kids what greater love is there than that? Love is danger, love is pleasure, love is pure, the only treasure. Amen to that.

A song that breaks your heart: You’ll be in my heart – Phil Collins. This isn’t the careless heartbreak song, it’s the heartbreak of watching a child grow and keeping them safe, and then letting them out to the world, but knowing that they always live in your heart, wherever they are. Gah. I’m not crying, you are.

A song by an artist whose voice you love: Coeur de Pirate – Wicked Games. Thar be swears in this one. Like, lots. Like, all of them. Or Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song. So, so good. I like this version with Bono and Edge. Golden voice, indeed.

A song you remember from your childhoodMairzy Doats – Sharon Lois and Bram. Listening to my mom (try to) sing this song is a joy. Ask her what a Lambsiedoysie is. Good times. I’m glad that I got (and passed on to child) a great sense of humour, and the ability to be goofy and laugh at one’s self. She also has a great time singing Goober Peas. Betcha she doesn’t know the words to that one, either.

A song that reminds you of yourselfFor Esme – Doubt mouth, or Meredith Brooks – Bitch.  I’ll leave those here, unqualified.

Extra Credit:

Why do songs from your past evoke such vivid memories?

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