Song #497 – Bruce Springsteen : The Rising

RISING_art6

Writers: Bruce Springsteen

Producer: Brendan O’Brien

Released: July 16th 2002

Length: 4:50

Label: Columbia

Disposition

Brit Boy:

Bruce Springsteen, yeah I’ve heard of him, “the Boss”, Boss of what I don’t know…. But he is known to me. I’m familiar with Born in the USA and Born to Run (I wonder what it is with birth references in my experience of listening to his music, or has he got the obsession?). I also loved one of his most recent releases “Death to my Hometown”, woooahhhh!!!  Maybe I have the circle of life problem, “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba….” See I can’t stop myself…..  Help! The Lion King is taking over now…

Getting back to “Death to my Hometown”, I really liked the Irish feel to it and reminded me of the Pogues and the Dropkick Murphys. However, maybe I should research the lyrics a bit more thoroughly, being Brit Boy we may get into the old Red Jacket problems…..

Anyway back to the song I am supposed to be listening to “The Rising’, I must admit I have no memory of this song but that’s not to say it won’t appear out of my subconscious once I play it as other songs have done. Released in July 2002 it did pretty rubbish in both the UK and US charts so maybe I can be excused for not knowing it (we’ll see), this does beg the question though, how did it make the list even so low down…??

American Girl:

First, can I start with the fact that I love Bruce Springsteen. I could name many of his songs.  His first wife is actually from Lake Oswego, OR which is only a few miles from my hometown.  (My kids currently attend the rival school district of “LO”.)  I think this has always given me a special connection with “The Boss”.  Anyway, with regards to this album I remember it was made in dedication to September 11th.  This track was the cover, and signifies the “rising” up of America from the ashes which were left….  I have not heard this song for years.  I am anxious to listen to it again, with fresh ears over a decade later.  I wonder what emotions it will trigger if any.

Review

OK, this is where you see that there is a reason for the disposition, first you have my gut feel then I do a bit of research. So I don’t know whether apologies are in order or I should plead being British, but this song has won Grammy’s for Best rock Song and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. In addition this was a song written about the horrific September 11th attacks on the twin towers. Now here is my problem, I live in America, I love America and witnessed the unfolding of September 11th here in Detroit before I’d even moved, with my first born 18 month’s old back in the UK. It was an awful awful time but brought me long lasting friends and I believe the beginnings of my love affair with the USA. The problem is, I’m not that impressed with the song. Its OK but I’m not feeling anything, maybe more research is in order……

I haven’t listened to any Bruce music for awhile, so the moment the song starts to play I am already feeling it.  However, “The Boss” just has that level of talent.  He could sing the ABCs and I would probably feel moved.  He has an amazing voice and really puts his soul into what he is singing.  After listening to this song years later, I quickly realize that if it were not for my prior background on this album, I would not know this track was even based on the September 11th attacks.  The lyrics do not actually mention anything specific at all in regards to September 11th

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

So returning to my old friend Wikipedia, we find that the song was written about a New York City Fire Department firefighter, climbing the stairs of one of the twin towers after they have been hit by the hijacked planes. I have been to ground zero and have experienced an incredibly moving account by one of the surviving firefighters about how awful that day was and the extreme tragedy that unfolded. I will always have those brave selfless firefighters in my heart and the other extraordinary people who lost their lives helping others or were just a victim of circumstance. However the problem is I don’t think the track is that special, yes it commemorates the bravery of the firefighters and catalogs an absolutely horrific time in our recent history, but… I think it is average, it wouldn’t make my I-pod. I really think the only additional reason it made the list, is because it was coincidentally the title track from Bruce Springsteen’s first album release in 15 years. I may not make any friends here but I’m just trying to be honest, I think the background and time of release was better than the track.

I agree with Brit Boy on many of his points.  The track does seem a bit average, especially considering it’s “The Boss”, I feel it could have been outstanding with a little more intensity added to the lyrics.  However, I still really like it.  I am not sure which version Brit Boy watched on You Tube, but I watched a live performance, and you could tell this song means something to Bruce.  His soul is in this piece of music.  It makes me feel a connection directly with him, and that alone is very powerful.  I would actually love to see this song performed live. There is just something special about witnessing an artist using their gift to express their personal emotions.  I do not think The Boss wrote this song for an audience, I believe he wrote it for himself.

I also did a little Wikipedia searching myself and found a list of all songs about September 11th. In this regard, I believe Bruce is the most notable.  However, I find real irony in the fact the “Wheatus” made the list.  Just a few posts ago, Brit Boy mistakenly confused “Weezer” with “Wheatus”.  I had never even heard of Wheatus until then.  Low in behold, Wheatus also wrote a song on the September 11th attacks.  I had a quick listen and read of the lyrics.  Must admit I did enjoy it, the lyrics are pretty powerful, but still I don’t think they lay a finger on The Boss and his “Rising”….

I’d trade all my sunshine, for twin towers to hide behind
and find you there
And I left on that Sunday
To come home on a Tuesday
Well I never
I never thought I’d have to stay and watch the world explode

As a post script I’ve been listening to this a few more times and its growing on me, however there have been other musically and lyrically poor tracks that have grown on me also. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’ve just not gelled with it.

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Song #498 – Rolling Stones : Miss You

the-rolling-stones-miss-you-1978-5

Writers: Jagger / Richards

Producer: The Glimmer Twins

Released: 10th May 1978 (US) , 26th May 1978 (UK)

Length: 3:31

Label: Rolling Stones

Disposition

Brit Boy:

Well obviously being Brit Boy I have heard of the Rolling Stones, although I haven’t really listened to anything more than their more famous stuff, I’m sure on the Top 500 album part of this blog I will have an opportunity to listen to at least a couple of their albums. This track although familiar to me is something which I haven’t listened to in a long time, so will serve more as a memory jog than a fresh listen but I am never the less looking forward to it. It’s interesting to note that there has been a recent resurgence in the Rolling Stones following their appearance at Glastonbury this year, part of my research on this post will be to find out whether they performed this track.

American Girl:

Of course I have heard of the Rolling Stones, I mean who hasn’t?  However, I think they were a bit before my generation.  I cannot name off the top of my head any Rolling Stones music (granted I am aware that I should be embarrassed by this fact).   I know I will have heard their music before, granted I am unsure if this will (or won’t) be one of those songs.  I can say with certainty that I have never owned a Rolling Stones album, or purchased one of their songs from iTunes.  Considering we are reviewing the Rolling Stones magazine top “500” lists (for both songs and albums), it does make me wonder if the band and the magazine have any correlation.  Looks like I require a bit more research…. 

Apparently, they do not.  The magazine was founded in 1967, and began as an Indy publication meant mainly for “hippies”.  The band however was founded in 1962.  Both were named after the song “Rollin’ Stone” written by Muddy Waters. (I wonder if this song has made one of our lists?)  Anyway, I am digressing.  Time to listen to the track….

Review

I will probably lose all credibility at this point, but I have never heard this song before.  Ironically according to Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 list, “Miss You” was Number 1 on the week of August 5, 1978, which is three weeks before I was born.  (For those enquiring minds, “Grease” by Frankie Valli was the Number 1 hit the week I was born, on September 1st.)

The song is quite good, and definitely deserves a spot on the list.  I love the music I am being exposed to through the course of these reviews.  Even while watching the original music video, I feel I get to experience a small window of the era into which I was born.   With some of this older music, I am continually impressed with the lyrics as well.  Songs were actually written with a purpose in mind.  (Granted, when I first read the lyrics to “Miss You” I expected something sad and melancholy, not the upbeat, fun rhythm which Mick Jagger delivers.)  The song still resonated with me, especially considering my Brit Boy just visited me last week and now we are in our separate homes across the country typing our blogs together during a Skype “date”.  So yeah, I “Miss You”.

As this track starts, I instantly recognize this as one of their big hits of the late 70’s, released in 1978 on the Some Girls Album, the distinctive baseline has me instantly drawn in and once again bopping along. The lyrics instantly grab me and my subconscious kicks in and I start singing along.

I’ve been holding out so long
I’ve been sleeping all alone
Lord I miss you
I’ve been hanging on the phone
I’ve been sleeping all alone
I want to kiss you

I just love the way our brains work, we could swear blind we don’t know the lyrics to a song and then from out of nowhere they’re coming out of our mouth’s.

Although I am surprised after further research that it although it reached Number 1 in the US Billboard Charts it only reached 3 in the UK.  Although it was competing with Father Abraham and the Smurf Song in the UK so I guess that’s understandable… You do realize that I will now have to go and watch / listen to this song now, I do remember loving that song when I was 4 years old (giving my age away for good or bad…).

As promised I did research the Rolling Stones set list for Glastonbury 2013 and as you can see they did play Miss You.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash
It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)
Paint It Black
Gimme Shelter
Glastonbury Girl
Wild Horses
Doom And Gloom
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (with Mick Taylor)
Honky Tonk Women
You Got The Silver (with Keith Richards on lead vocals)
Happy (with Keith Richards on lead vocals)
Miss You
Midnight Rambler (with Mick Taylor)
2000 Light Years From Home
Sympathy For The Devil
Start Me Up
Tumbling Dice
Brown Sugar

ENCORE

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (with the Voice Choir and the London Youth Choir)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (with Mick Taylor)

Wow!!! Now the Rolling Stones have gone up so high in my respect, this performance at Glastonbury was stunning, 35 years on their performance sounds exactly like the 1978 album version. And what’s with Mick Jagger? How can a guy who will be 70 this month be jumping around the stage and performing better than guys a third of his age. He really is rock legend, I almost feel like I have let him down by not listening to him or realizing how amazing he actually is, but I guess this is one of the joys of visiting this list. Might I has that the rest of the band was also pretty fantastic. Still no bad songs and all will make it onto my I-pod, where to go next….

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Song #499 – Weezer : Buddy Holly

BuddyHolly(USA)

Writers: Rivers Cuomo

Producer: Ric Ocasek

Released: September 7th 1994

Length: 2:40

Label: DGC

Disposition

Brit Boy:

So I have an enormous confession to make right off the bat, I was all prepared to say I wasn’t that familiar with Weezers song’s but absolutely loved Teenage Dirtbag, there is a flaw to my thinking as all you audiophiles know… Teenage Dirtbag was in fact written and performed by Wheatus. Very embarassing and another good reason to do suitable research before writing your blog entry (although I’ve declared it now so I still look a bit of an idiot, however I will lay blame firmly at the door of nationality). I can be forgiven slightly though as they both belong to the ‘Power Pop’ genre of the late 90’s early 00’s. Anyway can I garner some street cred back by saying I’ve heard of Buddy Holly?? Ok I’ll get my coat…. lets listen to the track….

American Girl:

I know I have listened to Weezer’s music before, I think my ex-brother-in-law use to listen to them a lot when we were all in high school together.  I am also pretty sure the band at my favorite local dive bar (“The Dublin Pub”, for all your Portlandites) plays Weezer cover songs regularly.  All of that being said, I would have to conduct some proper YouTube searches to remember what they actually sing, something about “Beverly Hills” springs to mind.  While I can’t remember their individual songs, a name like “Weezer” is difficult to forget.  I am curious to know if I do recognize this particular song, I am assuming so if it has made this list.  The name “Buddy Holly” doesn’t bring a chorus to the forefront of my memory; in fact all it makes me recall is that the real Buddy Holly died in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens many years ago….

Review

It is not shocking to say that I have in fact heard this song before, as soon as the chorus hit I remembered it clearly.  I am glad to be watching the music videos on YouTube for this particular top 500 list as well. As soon as I saw that this video had over 15 million views I knew it deserved a spot on the list.  The video itself is brilliant, modeling itself as part of a “Happy Days” show.  (I wonder if Brit Boy has even heard of Happy Days and the “Fonz” before, did this show make it across the pond?)

I also found the video during my research and  I agree that the video was excellent and was really “stand out” for 19 years ago. To digress I have indeed heard of the Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, and I have seen maybe a couple of episodes. However it really stands out in my mind for two main reasons the first was the infamous “jump the shark” episode. For those of you who aren’t aware of this, to quote wikipedia:

Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery, which is usually a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of “gimmick” in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest.

The phrase jump the shark comes from a scene in the fifth season premiere episode of the American TV series Happy Days titled “Hollywood: Part 3”, written by Fred Fox, Jr., which aired on September 20, 1977. In the episode, the central characters visit Los Angeles, where a water-skiing Fonzie (Henry Winkler) answers a challenge to his bravery by wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, and jumping over a confined shark. The stunt was created as a way to showcase Winkler’s real-life water ski skills.

The second reason was from Fonz and the Happy Days Gang a cartoon where the gang traveled through history in a time-machine, with the Fonz’s dog Mr. Cool… Maybe my reference points are not the wholesome American answer you were looking for but at least I’d heard of it 😉

Regardless, the Happy Days spoof is a great fit with this song.  It has the feel of something from the 50’s, yet I also have memories of dancing along to this song and singing aloud with a beer in hand when I was in my 20’s.  It definitely has an ageless feel to it, and I imagine it crosses many social classes.  I must say the lyrics themselves leave something to be desired, but when a song has a great beat and is easy to sing along to, who really cares… 

Another great song with undertones of Nirvana and Sonic Youth, not surprising as they all belonged to the same alternative rock stable created by David Geffen (DGC records). All be it not as guttural and earthy as Nirvana they have that distinctive baseline, associated with that genre. The lyrics all be it not particularly meaningful are very catchy and have you singing along after the second chorus.

Oo-ee-oo I look just like Buddy Holly
Oh-oh, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore
I don’t care what they say about us anyway
I don’t care bout that

It is a very happy song and does have me smiling while I listen and type, even if the suggested undertones are about a nerdy couple getting picked on by a gang of youth’s, but resolute in being themselves.

This makes me wonder if Buddy Holly and Mary Tyler Moore really did date, according to Google they did not…. So alas, this is really a song about nothing.  But if you want to sing out loud in a drunken stupor with a bunch of other bar flies and bounce up and down, this is your song.  (I should also mention, that Weezer did in fact sing “Beverly Hills”, and in case you were wondering that video is based at the playboy mansion, and Hugh Heffner even makes a few appearances with some of his “bunnies”.)

I think I was a little lacking in my research, playboy bunnies you say…. hmmm… maybe I need to be more thorough next time……

char_6551

Hey Mr Cool…….

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Album #500 – Outkast : Aquemini

Outkast_Aquemini-front Released:  September 29th 1998

Genre:  Hip Hop, Neo Soul

Length:  74:41

Label:  LaFace / Arista

Chart: US Billboard – 2

Track Listing Track Listings Disposition

Brit Boy:

The first album on the list is by Outkast, a band I only know through their 2003 hit “Hey Ya”, I’m not sure whether this is a good sign or a bad one. I must admit I liked the song when it was released but have a feeling that it may not be a true representation of their style or other works. I’m not deterred though because one of the main points of the quest we are embarking on together is to find and listen to music which we ordinarily wouldn’t have sought out or come across naturally. Let our adventure begin.

Ok after a bit of googling I will share my new found knowledge about Outkast.

After meeting in an Atlanta shopping mall in 1992, native Georgians, Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton initially formed a duo called “2 Shades Deep”, this name already being taken and their second choice “The Misfits” also being unavailable they settled on “Outkast”. Outcast being a synonym for Misfits. The groups original style was a mixture of Dirty South and G-Funk (I don’t know what this is so we will see).

I have no pre-conceived ideas with regard this album so lets begin.

American Girl:

I am with Brit Boy on this one…. I only know Outkast from the song “Hey Ya”, which came out in my early twenties, so I probably shook my buns to it on the dance floor a few times. I am a bit surprised that this album made the list when the only Outkast song I have heard of isn’t even on this album…  I too don’t have any preconceived notions entering into this album, I don’t even know what “neo-soul” is… However, it has made the Rolling Stone Top 500, so one would think it is on there for good reason.  Now I am looking forward to trying to find out why….  

Album Review

Aquemini is the vessel used by Big Boi and Andre to answer many of the critics of their second album ATLiens. It garnered a mixed reception following a more spiritual route taken by Andre, which was at loggerheads to the Southern gangsta’s point of view portrayed in their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmusik, where the songs were mainly regarding drugs and pimping. This step away from the shallower, flashier gangsta rap prompted some fans to question whether OutKast had “gone soft”.

Firstly I have to admit that this post has been a true baptism of fire, my first album review, a band I would not normally seek out, and a genre which I have dabbled around the edges of but never really embraced. To say that this has been tough on all of these fronts would be an understatement. Not knowing what to expect and with some trepidation I started the first track “Hold on Be Strong”, did I press play?? Is there a problem with I-tunes?? Have I the volume turned up?? All of these questions fleeted across my consciousness as I waited for something to happen, eventually after the first 10 seconds of an insanely quiet intro this short first track got started. This was an interesting start to the album with some melodic choral singing and a heavy baseline, but I did wonder what ‘was the point’? This got me thinking, it’s been a long time since I actually listened to an album front to back without jumping around the track listings. I know in the good old vinyl days it was an art and took a great deal of planning and insight to arrange the track flow for an album. Is this still the case in the modern digital age, where people are just as likely to download a single album track as they would be the entire album? With this in mind, I have decided to take a mental oath to always listen to the albums in this blog in track order, so that I can get the full ambience….

I am unsure where to even begin in reviewing this album.  I should preface this by saying that as a single mom to three children under the age of 10, I am probably not actually in the target market.  While I was not excited for this album, I also embraced it with an open mind.  I have listened to it a few times now, and have scoured over the lyrics trying to find a greater connection with the artists and the music, but to no avail.  I think I have an idea what “neo-soul” means now, even though I do not feel I could adequately describe it.  There is a very unique musicality to this album, I would go so far to say even soothing at times, but then with the constant N-bombs, and crass lyrics I never got lost in any of it.   

Moving onto the second track I got the full ‘in yer face’ gangsta rap which I had been expecting from the start, with our first N-bomb being dropped after 12 seconds. This seemed to set the tone for the album. As a white Brit who grew up in middle-class suburbia, I found it really difficult to associate with any of these tracks, is it my background? Am I just old? I don’t know….. I just find it lazy the way they judiciously use the term ‘Nigga’ throughout the tracks, is it supposed to bring their listeners together with some form of solidarity? Is it to alienate white people who may stumble across this strange new sound….?? I just don’t know, there is no poetry in these lyrics, I love Eminem and believe he is a true modern day poet, projecting his rhetoric and anger but it in an intelligent way, this just felt like words put to a really good beat. The anger doesn’t invoke sympathy for me; it’s just an outpouring of emotion with little direction. I want to feel an affinity with the rappers, but I don’t have any connection, and they don’t even extend a hand to welcome me to their world. This wasn’t a nice feeling listening to this album and I felt like a confused voyeur at times.

Brit Boy hit on something important here… I too felt a voyeur as though I was peering in on a society/way of life which I am unfamiliar with.  However, I listened to this album at the tail end of our movie review for “The Untouchables” and I can’t help but wonder when the image of an American gangster shifted?  In the 30’s an American gangster was a middle aged white man dressed in a suit, committing crimes like a well-oiled business, Capone is still legendary these many years later.  While the modern gangster creates an image of gang members, violence, drugs.  Yet, it does seem that many of today’s “gangsters” are fighting solely to protect their families. 

Man, a nigga don’t want no trouble
A playa just want to kick back with my gators off and watch my lil’l girl blow bubbles

But still ready to rhyme, standing my ground never back down
Willin’ to rob steal and kill any thang that threatens mine

All of this being said there was one outstanding track on the album “Rosa Parks”. Even before I’d listened to this track it interested me, sharing its name with African-American civil rights activist. I was intrigued as to how much this would reflect her life. Well the answer is in my interpretation not a great deal there is the obvious bus reference but nothing beyond that. In spite of feeling a little short-changed at the deep and meaningful song I was expecting, I really loved ‘Rosa Parks’, it had a great multi-layered feel with harmonies, rapping and guitar all overlaid. This had me bouncing along to the music.

Ah ha, hush that fuss
Everybody move to the back of the bus
Do you wanna bump and slump with us
We the type of people make the club get crunk

 This is also my favorite track on the album.  It has a nice beat, and I did find myself dancing along.  I feel Outkast missed a real opportunity in recognizing a civil rights hero, and the lyrics lacked any respect for Rosa Parks.  I can’t help but wonder if they were actually looking for controversy when they wrote this song.  (Negative publicity is better than no publicity….)

It’s worth noting that Rosa Parks tried to sue the band in 1999 for misappropriate use of her name, the case was settled out of court.

Regardless of the disrespect to Rosa this was still one of my favorite tracks on the album.  It seems to have a slightly higher moral compass than many of the other tracks on this album.  Mamacita originally intrigued me, (probably because when I was a child I had a cat called “Mamacita”), and while the song has some great female vocals, the lyrics were too much for me to stomach.  Um, no thanks.  I’ll keep my Brit Boy and my flowers thank you….

Can you come over, somethin, I wanna show ya
Told ya once we was gon’ take a trip, touch you
with my lips where you like it, it’s time, don’t fight it
Piggy-back ride to the sofa, in the microwave
I got your favorite Stouffer’s, lasagna, that’s how much
I want ya, fuck flowers

This process has certainly changed my approach to listening to music, which I am thankful for. I’m glad that I took the time to listen to an album which ordinarily would have passed me by, will I listen to it again? Probably not. However I’m sure “Rosa Parks” will get the occasional play.

Should this album be on the list? I guess it’s too early to say at the moment. Maybe we should look at Rolling Stone Magazines reasons for its appearance.

“At a time when formulaic albums by Master P and Puff Daddy topped the charts, OutKast’s Andre Benjamin and Big Boi unleashed an explosive hip-hop sound that used live musicianship, social commentary and a heavy dose of deep funk. Hits like “Rosa Parks” put the duo’s “Hotlanta” on the rap map.”

I am hopeful that this album solely made the list as a representation of hardcore hip hop/rap.  I am going to keep my faith in Rolling Stone magazine, and continue my trek down their top 500 albums of all time and remain cautiously optimistic that not all albums will be such a chore to listen to (or review). 

I am equally hopeful that the process will become easier as the albums progress, I’m pretty sure though that this won’t be our last taste of hip-hop. I will be interested to see when we progress higher up the list, whether the albums get more hardcore or more mainstream, only time will tell…..

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Song #500 – Smokey Robinson and The Miracles : Shop Around

Shop Around

Writers: Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson

Producer: Gordy

Released: December 1960

Length: 2:50

Label: Tamla

Disposition

Brit Boy:

I’ve heard of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles but have not been exposed to a great deal of their singles, I’m not familiar with this track, but I do love Tears of a Clown which is wonderful. Shop Around was released 10 years earlier than this, so I am expecting some differences. The fact that this is a true Motown classic and I will be listening to this from “the big D” is very exciting. Berry Gordy recently appeared in a 2013 advert for the Chrysler 300C Motown Edition, and I must admit I wasn’t really aware of who he was.

Once again I am very thankful for American Girl and our new found passion for blogging, I do feel that I learn something new every time I review another book, album, movie or hit single. As well as being the founder of Motown records, Berry Gordy co-wrote this track with Smokey Robinson. I’m really looking forward to hearing this song and Smokey’s distinctive vocals.

American Girl:

Embarrassingly, I must admit that while I have heard of Smokey Robinson, prior to this I would not have been able to name any of his music off hand.  (Thanks Brit Boy for reminding me of “Tears of a Clown” as well, love that song! Now I could name a few Smokey songs!)  I had heard of Shop Around before, but it could be at the forefront of my mind mainly because it was performed by Angie Miller on this season of American Idol (a guilty pleasure I sometimes watch with my kids, and for the record her fake smiles drove me crazy).  I also find it very ironic that for the year I actually lived in Detroit, I was unaware that it was the founding city of “Motown”.  Hopefully, this has not made you fully dismiss my opinions on music moving forward….  Luckily I have Brit Boy around to provide a little culture to my life.

Single Review

Wow!!! The track is so evocative of the 1960’s, but it also has a timeless nature. Smokey’s vocals and the effortless harmonies of the Miracles really sparkle on this track. You can easily see why this was the Miracles and Motown records first million-selling record, and a #1 single in the US. I really can imagine myself taking my girl down to the local dance and jiving away (have I the right dance step….??) to a live version of this, I know that it was set five years earlier but this really evokes memories of Back to the Future and the high school dance. I really am listening to this with a big smile on my face as I bask in the simplicity of the lyrics and clarity of the vocals.

Try to get yourself a bargain, son
Don’t be sold on the very first one
Pretty girls come a dime a dozen
I try to find you one who’s gonna give you true loving
 
Before you take a girl and say, “I do” now
Make sure that her love is true now
Make sure she’s in love with you now
I hate to see you feeling sad and blue now

My mama told me, you better shop around

It’s so easy to think of a mother standing in the kitchen giving her son the advice to not settle on the first girl who pays him attention. It has a really innocent nature to it but also real meaning. I really am running out of superlatives for this track.

A great start to this aspect of the blog and catchy song that will definitely make its way onto my i-Pod, if this is only #500 I think we have some treats in store. I wonder what American Girl will make of this.

I have never actually listened to the lyrics of this song before!  The beat is great and you kind of get lost in the chorus much as you would for many songs of this era.  While it is more of bopping in your car dance song I strongly suggest you actually take a moment to listen to the lyrics. They have such a sweet and innocent message, and something I hope to pass along to my own children.  Definitely makes me miss the “oldies”, especially when current social media portrays an ideal that the prettiest girl is the best… But hey, I am an “American Girl” and will always be a sucker for true love.

Definitely a great start to this particular countdown, I already feel like I have been exposed to a new side of a song that I otherwise would have skipped past quickly while surfing through my Pandora stations.

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