I did my one and only Random Five about a year ago when I said this- “I often do six-packs of established artists or new music. But then I have all these songs I know of or hear where I just want to feature that one song. Or let’s just say I have a potpourri of songs I like, wanted to post, and didn’t exactly know what to do with. Or songs I couldn’t squeeze into other posts but loved. Hence, the random five. Or, A Random Pack ‘O Five.
I went to the gym the other day for a Spin class. The instructor plays an interesting mix of rock old and new plus some pop stuff that is actually upbeat enough to work out to, none of which seems worth buying. Situational acceptability like when I used to go to Dallas frequently and heard country music while I was at a rib joint.
First up – Bleachers. (Pictured above). They are an American indie pop act from New Jersey and the official stage name of songwriter and record producer Jack Antonoff. Bleachers’ pop music is heavily influenced by the late ’80s, early ’90s, and the high school-based films of John Hughes (what?). My son says they’re pretty big and Antonoff has produced Taylor Swift but it it was a new name for me.
When I heard this tune, “How Dare You Want More,” my first thought was it sounded like Springsteen. Lo and behold, Antonoff is a New Jerseyite and yes, he was going for a Bruce sound to some extent. Good upbeat tune here. These guys (or this guy) sounds like he’s worth checking out further:
Remember Greg Kihn? Like every other baby boomer, for him, the Beatles were a life-changing experience. Now, it was for me too. But of course, while Kihn went on to fame and fortune as a rocker, I had to settle for third shift at the French fry station in Teaneck, New Jersey. But I digress.
Kihn hit big with “Jeopardy” which was immortalized by Weird Al Yankovic as “I Lost at Jeopardy.” But before that Kihn had a hit called “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em).” I can attest to it being a pretty good workout song. Plus, for some reason, I think of it as a summer song, a beach song. Maybe they play it while you’re riding the Tilt-a-Whirl.
You folks doubtless recall “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. Man, I can’t believe it was released all the way back in 2011. Heard it on the radio today, always liked it. Prince was a fan.
I meant to write about this one when it was released. Who knows, maybe I did and I forgot. Anyway, back in 1992, for their eponymous fifth album, Metallica cut a Hetfield/Ulrich tune called “Nothing Else Matters.” I’m not a big Metallica head but apparently, this is a big one for their fans.
Last year, a version was released that featured the motley crew of Miley Cyrus, Elton John, Peppers drummer (and Will Ferrell doppelganger) Chad Smith, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. (I told it you it was a motley crew.) I watched some video at the time where Sir Elton was praising Metallica to the sky and the guys in the band were practically in tears. Like Elvis Costello, Reg’s tastes are pretty eclectic.
The roots rock, worldbeat, jam band Rusted Root came to my attention a long time ago when they opened for the Allman Brothers Band at Great Woods near Beantown. Lost touch with them, heard them the other day. There’s only three people listed in Wikipedia as being band members but there are five on their web page. They haven’t released anything since 2012 but seem to still be very much around.
This tune, “Ecstasy,” is from their second 1994 album, When I Woke. It’s indescribable.
I realized after posting this I had at some point done a Random Six.