Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Blue" Songs

On days like today, when I can't think of anything else to blog about, I come up with a theme that interests me and post random stuff about it. Today. it's a collection of songs entitled "Blue." I've never even heard of half of these bands and artists before, but apparently they all have one thing in common: they have recorded a song called simply "Blue." So here goes. Enjoy?  ~  JH

1)  The Birthday Massacre – Let's see...creepy dolls that walk around in your house. Check. A cute emo girl in a white dress with bunny ears. Check. A hole in the floor filled with black goo. Check. Sounds like the stuff of nightmares. Which means, of course, that I kind of like it. Go figure!

2)  A Perfect Circle – A lady visits her man's grave, then decides to dig up his body so she can eat dinner with him. But, like a dead man, he just sits there unmoving and not eating, which causes her to laugh hysterically and almost spit up her pale-green soup (don't want to know what's in it). Strange video. Okay song. Perfect for this post.

3)  LeAnn Rimes – Then 13 years old, chubby-cheeked, and oh-so-innocent, all-american girl LeAnn Rimes channeled Patsy Cline to shoot to the top of the charts with this remake of a 1958 Bill Mack song. It's still a good song, but they overplayed it back then (I was "into" country music at the time) and I got sick of it. Nice to hear it again after all these years.

4)  Joni Mitchell – This list wouldn't be complete without including this classic Joni Mitchell song, the title track from her Blue album. I love her voice – she could be singing about changing a tire, tying her shoe, or having the flu, and it would still sound beautiful. No video here, just her smooth vocals.

5)  Eiffel 65 – This has got to be one of the worst songs I've ever heard, and most definitely one of the worst music videos. The pointlessly stupid lyrics would be terrible even if they were written by a kindergartner. The cheesy computer-generated special effects were bad even for 1998 when this video was made. Watching this video, I realize that it would only be halfway decent if I were under the influence of psychotropic drugs (which I'm not). So why was I tapping my foot the whole time I was watching it? All I can say is: I dare you not to. Let me know how that goes, okay?

6)  Elastica – There was a time, back in my grunge rock days (yes, I liked grunge rock), when I would have been ecstatic to watch this video. Elastica was one of my favorite alternative bands. Being partial to "girl singers," I loved the fact that the band's two singers were both ladies. Their all-out rock-and-roll style appealed to me at the time. I even remember this song fairly well. But now that I'm older and wiser, this all sounds like a bunch of noise to me. That surprises me, and saddens me. But only a little.

7)  The Jayhawks – I was never a huge fan of this alt-country band, but apparently this song was one of their bigger hits. The video is more recent (this song charted back in 1995), and the guys are a bit older – perhaps their voices aren't quite as polished as they once were, but it's still pretty darn good for the style of music that it is. (For you sports fans out there, I thought these guys would hail from Kansas, being named what they are. But nope, they're from Minnesota.)

8)  Smashing Pumpkins – Again, in my grunge rock days, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Smashing Pumpkins! I still appreciate their musical talent and Billy Corgan's unusual, very distinctive voice, though I don't actively listen to their music anymore. This is a nice video of them doing one of their songs live and outdoors several years before they hit it big. Even if you don't care for his voice, the musicality of the song is quite lovely.

9)  Utada Hikaru – I have no idea what this singer is singing about, as the entire song is in Japanese, but it's beautiful. Her voice is stunning! I've never heard of her before, but I'm going to look for more of her music. It's such a pleasant sound it doesn't even really matter what she's saying – to me, at least.

10)  Yngwie Malmsteen – I probably should have heard of this guy before, but I haven't. He's an exceptionally good rock guitarist, rivaling Jimi Hendrix, Slash, and (insert your own favorite guitarist here). No vocals here, just intense electric guitar playing, and it's pretty cool! His name, not so cool. Yngwie? Really? Wow!

BONUS TRACK: The Blue Man Group – If you've never heard of the Blue Man Group or never seen a video of them performing, you have to watch this one! Primarily percussionists, these blue-makeup-clad guys use nontraditional percussion instruments (along with traditional instruments in their backing band) to perform a very unique style of music. They put a lot of theatricality into it, which I really appreciate. Take a look for yourself – in this video, they're using drainage pipes as their instrument of choice.

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