Category Archives: Music

Alabama — I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)

Year: 1992

Alabama steamrolled the charts in the 80s, thanks in part to little competition. And then in 1992 when all the competition was revving up they released one of the best country songs ever made. If it had been released ten years earlier or ten years later it would have climbed up the pop charts, too. Don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this song.

Still the most successful county band ever and they’re still going after 52 years.

Aerosmith — What It Takes

Year: 1989

The Demon of Screamin’ screams a bit too much for my taste, but his vocal range is sure impressive. I only like a handful of their songs, but this one I will always listen to if it’s on. The line, “Without thinking you lost everything that was good in your life to the toss of the dice?” has a great rhythm and crescendo and hat tip to Tyler who has the lungs to pull it off.

Trace Adkins — There’s A Girl In Texas

Year: 1996

The first country song of many to come. Shut my mouth, slap your grandma!

This is his debut single. It’s nothing special, but it’s a good showcase for his vocal range and I find the coda hits the sweet spot. He’s not a terribly imaginative writer and after his first album I didn’t follow him much. But this song is in regular rotation.

He’s been married four times, major alcohol problem. Not especially interesting but no kidding the man has had a lot of trauma that would drive a lot of people to use chemicals. From various sources:

At age 17, Adkins was in an automobile accident in which his 1955 Chevrolet pickup truck hit a school bus head-on. He broke some ribs, punctured both lungs and his nose was partially torn off. Adkins was forced to give up college football after a severe knee injury at Louisiana Tech. Somehow he managed to come away from FIVE work-related accidents with his life and limbs intact. In 1982, he was involved in a bulldozer accident that caused such deep cuts to his hindquarters that “I thought I was fixin’ to lose both my legs.” Less than a year later, a tank containing 400 barrels of oil exploded while he was trying to repair a leak, and his left leg was totally crushed. In 1988, he flipped his truck on an icy overpass in Texas, putting him in a neck brace. A year after that, he accidentally cut off one of his fingers in another job accident. In 1989, Adkins, along with nine coworkers, were stranded on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Chantal. He was shot by his second ex-wife Julie Curtis in 1994.The bullet went through his heart and both lungs. He survived and chose not to press charges.

And then he released his first album!

Adele — Rolling In The Deep

Year: 2011

I was tempted to post “Chasing Pavements” but dangit “Rolling In The Deep” is such an impressive song. The rhythm she created makes you not notice that almost none of the verses rhyme (or are slant rhymes at best) and it helps push through the anger without any contrived words. And of course her voice is just mind-bogglingly powerful.

Just one of those songs that transcends pop.

Ryan Adams — La Cienega Just Smiled

Year: 2001

I think this is the only song of his I’ve listened to. It has just the right amount of angst without the controlling misogyny of say, I don’t know, Bryan Adams songs. Apparently, “La Cienega” literally means “The Swamp.” It’s a street in Los Angeles, so I guess the girl lives there. Romantic!

He’s got a bunch of Grammys, so I guess he’s popular. If you like others by him, drop them in the comments.

Ace of Base — The Sign

Year: 1993

We’re getting all of our Swedish bands out of the way! This time instead of two couples it’s three siblings and a former Nazi (seriously).

In 1994 I lived and breathed this song for months. I still have my 7th grade journal and each week I tracked how this song was doing on the charts and every week it was number one I used a ton of exclamation points. The week it fell off number one I wrote a lot of frowny faces. It was the first CD I ever bought. I still do love this song. The octave Linn Berggren goes up in the final chorus gives me chills.

I find most of their songs to be overproduced and I don’t really care for most outside of “All That She Wants” and “Don’t Turn Around.”

ABBA — One Of Us

Year: 1981

ABBA (sorry I can’t figure out the backwards “B”) was on constant rotation on the record player when I was a kid. I completely dug the ultra poppy “Rock Me,” “Take A Chance On Me,” and “Money, Money, Money.” As I grew older, “One Of Us” became my favorite. An incredibly sad song given that Bjorn and Benny wrote this during their divorce proceedings with Agnetha and Anni-Frid. The music video, while a bit weak on the cinematography, does a good job presenting the sorrow within the group.

This was their last #1 hit in Europe before they disbanded. Cool to see they got back together after 40 years to release an album a couple months ago. I listened to “Don’t Shut Me Down,” and I don’t know why it just feels like a GlaDOS song.

50 Cent (feat. Nate Dogg) — 21 Questions

Year: 2003

Beyond just the music I will occasionally write about the artists themselves and how I reconcile any conflicts with their personal lives and or racist/sexist lyrics (especially when we get to country!). I don’t think I had ever read the Wiki pages for either 50 Cent or Nate Dogg. By all accounts it seems like Nate Dogg was not the best person, with a domestic assault conviction and several more accusations and charges before he died following two strokes at 41. 50 Cent has never had any similar accusations, though his relationship with his first son is sad, with regular public feuding, saying he didn’t love him and didn’t care if he died. Way to take the high road there. He came out as very pro-gay pretty early on which is pretty cool.

As for the song itself, it’s a sweet love song reflective of the experience of black men in thug life (Tupac Shakur’s concept of that). Mostly I love the instrumentation. The guitar work is repetitive, but I love the sound of the high E at the end of every line. This won’t be the last time Nate Dogg is featured this year; he had no part in writing this one, but the King of Hooks does a slick job with the chorus and the outro.