June 16, 2005

and shut up about your CARS already


I know this has become Music Retrospective Week here on the blog (to a chorus of yawns) but when you've got 150 channels of XM Radio at your disposal, you occasionally have an epiphany or three. Again, I forced myself to listen to Top 20 on 20, which is a good way to get the Cliff Notes to what the teens are listening to this week - and #1 is this utter piece of godawful shit called "Oh" by Ciara featuring Ludacris.

Vaguely set in a minor key with no chords, it's the dullest way to spend five minutes short of the DMV. While Ciara moans in unison with a torridly hackneyed sample, Ludacris occasionally chimes in to talk about how they've just made another hit. Like most songs of this genre (including #2, "Get it Poppin'" by, of course, Fat Joe featuring Nelly) they are songs only about themselves, or about getting a six-pack of bitches from da club and boning the hottest one. It's not offensive, it's worse than offensive: it's boring.

Ciara - a poor man's Beyoncé?

Two songs was all I could take, so I switched to the 80s channel in time to hear "Tonight, Tonight" by Genesis, and was promptly reminded that the music of 2005 by no means has the copyright on crap - "Tonight, Tonight" is another hunk of terrible shit, squeezed out of Genesis in the death throes of the band's shelf life. I should know: Julianna Hofeld and I camped out for tickets to this show in mid-winter in front of the Dean Dome in 1988.

"Tonight, Tonight" even has a freaky "instrumental" section, a half-hearted, terrible collection of synth noises that, I guess, was the band's desperate lunge into their prog-rock past (even as the song was used by Budweiser). It is a guaranteed depressant, and Phil Collins even sings "And now I'm in too deep" even though he used the line in about three other songs.

This is the fifth time I've heard that goddamn song on XM Radio, and it has led me to wonder why all the wrong shit gets dredged up from the past, much like "Oh" by Ciara featuring Ludacris will serve to embarrass some other blogger in 2022.

Even Pink Floyd is getting back together (sans Syd, sadly) for world tour of slow songs and, I'd imagine, lasers. But there's a few things I'd like to bring back that everyone seems to have looked over:

1. Supertramp - Now this is a band I'd drop everything to go see. Sure, P.T. Anderson put "Goodbye Stranger" on the "Magnolia" soundtrack, but this band has so many hidden gems: "Bloody Well Right," "The Logical Song," "Take the Long Way Home," "Dreamer," even "It's Raining Again." Supertramp, where are you guys?

2. Planet P - "Why Me?" - Only those of you glued to MTV during the first few months will remember this one, but it's an awesome, dark pop song with an equally creepy video. If they can play "Major Tom Part 2" into the ground, why can't I get some Planet P?

3. Jane Child - "Don't Want to Fall in Love" - This song was so frickin' insane when it came out around 1990 that Linda's - a bar in Chapel Hill that was no stranger to some crazy shit - actually fell silent to watch the video. Featuring more chord changes than "The Rite of Spring" and a piano solo that KICKS ASS, she should still be famous. Alas, you'll probably only remember her as the chick who had a chain from her nose ring to her ear.

Any other bands/songs you'd like brought back? And they can't be obvious!

Posted by Ian Williams at June 16, 2005 10:15 PM
Posted by: scott at June 16, 2005 10:57 PM

in the cheese-but-you-love-it category, "on the loose" by saga.

throw in "away" by the feelies, "no new tale to tell" by love and rockets, and half the songs from possum dixon's first album.

public enemy?

also, a song called "salt" from a mammoth records chapel hill sampler i lost years ago. i've been hunting this one a while...any help?

Posted by: ken at June 17, 2005 12:01 AM

Planet P. Funny, I just picked this up on CD a few months back. Great song. Tony Carey (Planet P's lead vocalist) also has some great solo stuff worth checking out, "Fine, Fine Day" and "First Day of Summer"

One band I always thought deserved a comeback is from your neck-o-the-woods: Let's Active. One of the most criminally underrated bands of the 80's. Of course Mitch Easter really made his mark as a producer, but Let's Active were the shit in the mid 80's. A band I was in in the early 80's were such fans of Let's Active that we screen-printed our own Let's Active t-shirts. We were such dorks.

Posted by: scruggs at June 17, 2005 4:18 AM

scott, Public Enemy had a prime spot in the line-up in our (Atlanta) big music festival this past weekend.

I was always a big Salt-N-Pepa fan...

Loved "Mary's Prayer" by Danny Wilson, though I can't find it on iTunes.

Siouxsie and the Banshees "Kiss Them for Me"

"Joey" Concrete Blond

Uncle Tupelo

Yaz "Only You"

Anyone see that "Hit Me Baby One More Time" show on NBC. They are bringing back 80's groups/singers for a "contest." Saw it last night when they had Howard Jones, Wang Chung, Sophie B Hawkins, Irene Cara, and Cameo. Funny Stuff. They all sing one of their big hits, then cover a recent song. Wang Chung did Nelly "Hot in Here." Very Bizarre. But some of it isn't bad.

Man, if I could score some Linda's cheese fries RIGHT NOW.

Posted by: flaco at June 17, 2005 4:50 AM

Tony Carey has after 20 years again released something under the name Planet P. It is supposedly the first in a trilogy of PP albums about post WWII angst and the like. Prog rock at its proggiest. The lyrics are a bit heavy, as are the WWII audio samples, but the synth and guitar work is quite nice.

Posted by: Joanna at June 17, 2005 5:23 AM

I want Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance. Michael Hedges, at least in concert, did a smooth acoustic rendition, but I prefer the original funky, synthesizer version. I'd love to just once chance upon it on the radio.

Posted by: brent at June 17, 2005 5:52 AM

So funny that you mention Genesis and Phil Collins, I was driving the other day and "I Don't Care Anymore" came over the speakers. I remember when I was 15 I used to think it was probably the coolest song this side of Rock the Casbah. Listening to it for the first time in 15 years I felt the distinct sensation that he indeed did still care and that the song blows.

Posted by: emma at June 17, 2005 6:11 AM

Scott - I think the Mammoth Sampler was called frequeNCy (the emphasis on the NC because all of the bands were local). If so, I have it at home, because I just downloaded the Veldt's It's Over off of it and onto my MP3 player the other week - which is a great song and band to mention here.

Also, Follow for Now - She Watch Channel Zero is another one to mention here.

Posted by: Greg from Winston Dorm at June 17, 2005 6:23 AM

After reading your rant, I had to scroll through my iPod to look for Jane Child's song. If you recall the video, I was always curious how she avoided snagging that chain she had attached from her nose to her ear. I used to shudder at the thought of getting that thing snagged on a door or the umbrella of a passerby.

You need to tune in to the show HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT. It's a big load of summer crap . . . BUT, the show brings back old bands from the 80's and 90's and lets them play one of their hits (or their ONLY one) and then they muddle through a current or recent hit.

Last night featured Cameo's "Word Up" and Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight". Past acts have included: The Knack, The Motels, Tommy Tutone, Loverboy, A Flock Of Seagulls and Tiffany.

The surreal moment last night was watching Wang Chung perform Nelly's "Hot in Herre."

As for some good flash back music, I have too many to name. As you can probably attest, the iPod allows one to slip back in to nostalgic yesteryear with the spin of a dial.

We disagree on "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" by Genesis (loved that song). I think I imprinted it because I got the "new" cassette the week classes let out after my sophomore year of high school and I recall that entire tape being the soundtrack of my life that summer. Plus I got my driver's license that year, so Phil and the gang get a pass. In honor of those blasts from the past, I am also going to spin some old Thompson Twins and Night Ranger this morning while trying to slog through answering discovery.

By the way, Supertramp's "GIVE A LITTLE BIT" is a classic. I think the Goo Goo Dolls covered it recently and used it in a GAP ad, but the song is pretty timeless. I have the Supertramp version on my iPod and will click over to it as soon as I'm done with that "great" instrumental on "Tonight-cubed."

Posted by: Annie at June 17, 2005 6:45 AM

Ian, please clarify: is the Planet P song the one that goes "Earth below us/ dirfting, falling/floating weightless/coming home?"

It's strange to me that many of the 'lost gems' in this blog are actually some of my eternal least-faves of the 80s: Howard Jones, Thompson Twins (sorry!)...BUT. I am reminded of this song (which I now know to be bad) I was totally obsessed with called--har--"Obsession." It was a guy and a girl and they had this Egyptian/pharaoh thing going on in the video. "You are an obsession/ you're my obsession/ who do you want me to be/ to make you sleep with me." Nothing like a healthy dose of atrocious grammar!

Posted by: kent at June 17, 2005 6:47 AM

My #1 BRING EM THE F*CK BACK Band is Chic. Chic is absolutely brilliant. Maybe I've got a warped point of view, being a techno head but riddle me this: Is there another single song on earth like "Good Times" which was able to simultaneously spawn Disco and Hiphop? And "I need your love"? Forget about it, game over. Nile and Bernie are nothing short of Godlike.

But what I really want the golden oldies tour with Husker Du, "Psychocandy" era Jesus and Mary Chain, "Sister"-Era Sonic Youth, Bailter Space, Band of Susans, Swervedriver, and My Bloody Valentine.

I tried to call you last night, because the show "Hit Me Baby One More Time" featured Wang Chung singing (of course) "Everybody". I bailed during Sophie B Hawkins, but Wang Chung was going to play a cover of "Hot In Hurr" by Nelly.

Now _THAT_ is fine TV.

Posted by: Ian at June 17, 2005 8:51 AM

Damn, any of you happen to TiVo and have a VHS of "Hit Me Baby"? The torrent sites are useless right now.

Posted by: JJE at June 17, 2005 9:14 AM

I caught a little bit of "Hit Me One More Time" earlier this week. When Arrested Development came out and sang "Tennessee," I swear my first thought was "what they heck are they doing on this show? They're not has-beens yet!"

Then it dawned me that the song topped the charts when I was a sophomore at Carolina and uh...that was about 13 years ago.


Scruggs - the funny thing is that AD's song "Mr. Wendell" reminds me of ZTA. It was the last song I heard before getting out of the car (think it was either Bethany, Nicole or AB driving - we were all singing along - heck, I want to say you were in the car, too) and heading into the building for initiation. By the way, I saw AB last month at my baby shower. She's still the same ol' AB - just an awesome person. Married life is going well and she's busy at her law firm.

Posted by: Betty R. at June 17, 2005 9:19 AM

I TiVo "Hit Me Baby" every week=Dorkus. I got shivers when Howard Jones performed both his songs...he was robbed and if the audience had critical thought and brain cells, he would have won.

One band I miss and still thrive off old records is The Outfield. They still play at a few C-list festivals, and I would only want them back if they can replicate the same sounds as they did back in "tha day"....

Oh, and Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians- she's the female Jack Johnson of the late 80's-90s.

Posted by: JJE at June 17, 2005 9:23 AM

Joanna - I actually own that Neneh Cherry cd and "Buffalo Stance" is in my workout mix on my iPod - LOL!

Posted by: Laurie from Manly Dorm at June 17, 2005 10:35 AM

Did you hear the news? Tom proposed to Katie. My heart is broken.

Julianna! I went to that Genesis concert as well, with Sarah W. Perhaps you and Julianna camped out for my ticket's benefit that night. Hell, I thought the song was fine. That was my first concert. I remember seeing Sting in a group with you and Julianna also.

As for music I would like to see brought back, I'll pick the Smithereens. Technically, they might still be together. Dunno. I still love their music!

Posted by: Tanya at June 17, 2005 10:37 AM

The Connells!

Okay, so they still play every so often, but I don't hear about it until AFTER they've come and gone...

Posted by: scruggs at June 17, 2005 11:10 AM

Hope all is well; congrats on the new baby to be. Due? Haven't seen AB in ages, talked to NY last week, and BM came to visit in April. Trying to get NY to visit.

I was working in Charlotte last week for one whole day. Nice commute.

Posted by: Tim at June 17, 2005 11:45 AM

Three bands I'd like to see back in action:
1.) The Dream Syndicate-I like Steve Wynn's solo stuff, but 'The Days of Wine and Roses' sets the bar.
2.) The Afghan Whigs-these guys eloquently sang about getting your heart stomped on w/o sounding like a bunch of whiny whiteboys. Also, a monster live act. If there was a better album in the '90s than 'Gentlemen', then I didn't hear it.
3.)Big Country-The bagpipes will not be denied!
(P.S. Ian, please tell your friend Virgina Heffernan that she has a devoted fan and avid reader out here in the hinterlands of Indiana. What a writer.)

Posted by: Bud at June 17, 2005 12:09 PM

Apparently, about 20 years ago, Smoking Phones played "Batman" at an SAE late-night.

Man, I wish I'd been there for *that*....

Let's Active were seriously cool. One of my superweak claims to fame is that a band I was in, the Popes, opened for them once. A fun experience.

If I could wave my magic wand, though, I'd use it to bring Kirsty MacColl back to life and make her the huge star she should have been while she was alive.

Posted by: michelle at June 17, 2005 12:12 PM

Sadly, I believe that the lead singer of Big Country killed himself some time ago. Trivia question: what did Big Country have in common with Living in a Box?

Posted by: noj at June 17, 2005 12:14 PM

scott, the song "salt" was mary on the fuckin' dash.

Posted by: scott at June 17, 2005 12:30 PM

emma and noj: my sincere thanks.

Posted by: Just Andrew at June 17, 2005 12:34 PM

a couple quick ones off the top of my head:

Miracle Legion's song "The Backyard" is, I think, the finest pop song ever written.

the DB's "Amplifier" is a great one I miss.

There was a band called The Donner Party in the late 80s out of San Francisco - led by Sam Coomes, who later went on to MotorGoat and Quasi - 3 brilliant albums that I swear nobody has ever heard but me.

Posted by: Annie at June 17, 2005 1:10 PM

Bud was in the Popes?

Now that's a band I'd love to hear/see again...their triumph: "Yer Turned On."

And hell yes Winston-Salem's *own* db's: "Lonely Is As Lonely Does."

Posted by: JJE at June 17, 2005 1:19 PM

Scruggs - Thanks - hope all is well with you. Wednesday is the day circled on the calendar, but I think he's in there for the long haul. Scary, because as of Monday, he's already 8 lbs! I saw NY at AB's wedding, so that's been about a year or two.

I second the Connells!

Posted by: Ian at June 17, 2005 7:15 PM


Congrats on the upcoming birth! Fantastic! Any details, pics?

Posted by: cullen at June 17, 2005 7:47 PM

The Connells are too obvious to many true Chapel Thrillians. Try Johnny TShirt, I mean Johnny Quest.

If one hit wonders count, then it's the sadly reunited After the Fire(name the song)or various and sundry versions of Power Station +/- Duran Duran (oh yeah, they made a comeback). I'd give anything for that HMB1MoX TV show to change it's name; does Britney's baby get royalty money from that?

Or Depeche Mode............

Posted by: flaco at June 17, 2005 9:26 PM

Fetchin Bones!!! Loved them, got kicked out of 2 of their shows
Pressure Boys!! broken nose, sex toys, oi!
I just flashed to the back of _We are the Popes_ album, thank you mucho for the synapse jiggle

Posted by: scott at June 17, 2005 10:17 PM

did just andrew mention steely dan? if not, i'm sure he meant to. who doesn't love steely dan?

Posted by: Michelle Williams at June 17, 2005 10:53 PM

Okay, since none of you are taking the bait, the thing that struck me when I was a wee thing watching MTV in the early 80's was that when Big Country's video came on, they were one of two bands whose little four-lined blurb that appeared in the bottom left of the screen- band name, song, album, label- had the same thing in the first three lines:
Big Country
"Big Country"
Big Country
Whatever Records

versus, say,

Duran Duran
"Hungry Like the Wolf"
EMI Records

Although if Duran Duran had done a song called "Duran Duran", it seems to me that it might have been as bad as "Wild Boys".

Posted by: JJE at June 18, 2005 3:43 AM

Thanks, Ian! I'm pretty excited - can't believe our little one is finally due this week. We've had a longer journey than most to get to this point (read: I can shoot up like a junkie), so it still seems a little surreal that I'm going to come out of this with an actual baby. Anyway, I hope it happens soon 'cause at 8 lbs and probably 5 ounces at this point, he's certainly not getting any smaller! Nursery is painted a beautiful shade of Carolina blue and all it needs is Connor Jordan (or CJ, because that sounds like a good starting center's name!) to complete it.

Hope all with well with the adorable Lucy!

Posted by: Annie at June 18, 2005 6:20 AM


"Der Kommissar"!

Posted by: Just Andrew at June 18, 2005 10:15 AM

funny scott,

actually I went down to the new bar last night and was talking to the owner and a friend of mine. This song comes on and my friend commented on the guitar. I launched into how it sounded awful - I think 'sterilized' was the word I used, and how whatever it was, was crap.
The owner tells me it is a Walter Becker solo album.
The next 45 minutes were a diatribe by me about the evils of Steely Dan.
I'm a fun guy to hang around.

Posted by: scott at June 18, 2005 1:52 PM

j.a-- joking bro'. i couldn't resist because i know you know music, and steely dan is now the musical equivalent of asking "steelers or cowboys?" in the late 70s. (not even one song? "dr. wu?" "any major dude?")

but i will check out miracle legion.

Posted by: Bud at June 18, 2005 6:05 PM

Annie: Yep, I was the original drummer; I left before "Hi, We're the Popes."

flaco: Thanks for reminding me of Fetchin' Bones. They were *way* ahead of their time, and hardly anyone ever gives them the credit they deserve. Have you heard Hope's new band, Snagglepuss?

Posted by: Dan K. at June 20, 2005 5:58 AM

Bruce Hornsby & the Range

Posted by: peterb at July 5, 2005 2:40 PM

If you manage to find a copy of the Planet P video, please let me know -- it was deliciously creepy. It was directed by Storm Thorgerson, but isn't available from his web site.

Posted by: akin at July 22, 2005 10:57 AM

I have to say I agree about the Afghan Whigs the most. All their records are still in my playlist. Especially Gentlemen and Black Love. The guitar playing is unbelievable. It's like having two of the Edge from U2 if he actually had any soul. And the lyrics, wow. I got to do sound for them once at the Cat's Cradle. I was in heaven.

Good call on the Popes too. Elderkin actually burned me a CD with 22 songs of theirs a few months ago. It's killer. I wish I had appreciated them more when they were still playing.

And I was at that Mary on the Dash show. Also saw the first Connells show (and their second one which was at SAE too), the first Johnny Quest show and the first Pressure Boys show.

(yeah, I'm old)

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