A Random Pack ‘O Five

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.Β 

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.

12 thoughts on “A Random Pack ‘O Five

  1. Good set of tunes. I didn’t recognize the Greg Kihn song based on the title only, but once I started listening to it, I recognized it right away. I definitely prefer this over “Jeopardy.”

    The Gotye track always reminded me a bit of Sting. It seemed to be everywhere when it came out, so I grew a bit tired of it. But now after all this time, I can listen to it again and find it enjoyable.

    The version of “Nothing Else Matters” is intriguing, especially the mix of artists. I’m also not into Metallica but like their original as well.

    “Ecstasy” is a groovy track.

    “How Dare You Want More” doesn’t really grab me, but I guess four out of five is pretty good!

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    1. Agreed about the Gotye song. But it was refreshing to hear it pumping out of the speakers again.

      The Metallica thing is a bit of an odd duck. Not sure how it came together. Not a Miley fan per se but her deep husky voice seems to work on this.

      Rusted Root is a good band. Can’t believe they’re still around. That Allmans show was twenty years ago, at least.

      Heh! Funny how you think you know people’s tastes. I said to myself, “Geez, Christian will like the Bleachers tune ” My son knew everything about the guy. Turns out they did this tune on SNL.

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  2. One of my blog followers is always recommending Bleachers to me. I like a lot of Antonoff’s productions, but his own stuff hasn’t jumped out at me.

    I enjoy Yo-Yo Ma but didn’t know he was on a Metallica cover.

    My daughters love ‘Someone I Used To Know’ – that video is pretty iconic. Kimbra, who duets with Gotye, is from the same city as my wife.

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    1. I love when musicians jump genres. Not that ‘Someone’ is typical Metallica. I didn’t know that about Kimbra. Has she gone on to bigger and better things or was that her claim to fame?

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      1. Kimbra has made some albums but hasn’t really kicked on to being huge. Her second album was surprisingly self-indulgent, and kind of upset her momentum. I like her voice a lot.

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  3. Nice eclectic list. I like the Goyte song (thanks to my kids introducing me to it) and Miley’s cover isn’t bad either (again thanks to the kids for introducing me to Miley).

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