30-Day Song Challenge

So what does Siskoid listen to? It's a very eclectic playlist, I have to admit. Part of that is being a French-Canadian which opens up both French-language music and Canadian music which might not make it across the border/oceans. Another part of it is having worked in radio, on shows where making musical discoveries were an important element. As I often say, there are no bad genres, just plenty of bad music across genres, so I don't discriminate on that basis. I do have a bias towards the 90s, my musical peak, but we'll see how that translated in my attempt at the 30-Day Song Challenge (which I didn't spam you with all May long). I turned it into a playlist on YouTube, which I guess you can listen to while you read.

DAY 1: A song I like with a color in the title - Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones. Have loved it since I first heard it at the opening theme of Tour of Duty (the television show).

DAY 2: A song you like with a number in the title - Song 2 by Blur was a fun pop tune and part of an improv shtick I once had with a good friend.

DAY 3: A song that reminds you of summertime - Summer? Disgusting. I love a lot of wintry songs, songs that make me hear the snow, the wind and the cold... But summer? My choice will be so on the nose, you're going to think me tacky - Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves. But it's not just that it's literally about sunshine, it's also a song I identify with my summers in Texas when I was a kid, as I remember the video playing a lot on MTV, a station we didn't have at home. Amusingly, that video is all gray skies. And just as you're thinking Siskoid is a pretty mainstream guy...

DAY 4: A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget
- The Rheostatics are my favorite band, so it's tough for me not to listen to Horses without thinking it's been a little skunked by its association to a certain someone. But it's a great song. Left here without further comment.

DAY 5: A song that needs to be played out loud - Camisra's Let Me Show You (the Tall Paul Remix). Its use in Spaced made it a classic at home. If it came up in the rotation, it had to be cranked up, and the household had to drink at least one drink. I admit to making it come up more often than it normally might, claiming it was "random". SorryNotSorry

DAY 6: A song that makes me want to dance - Gone Daddy Gone by Violent Femmes. It's the bridge. I want to do the air-xylophone, the air-drums, the air-guitar, so much fun. Damn, I gotta listen to the entire album now. Be back in a few...

DAY 7: A song to drive to - I don't personally drive, but the only regret I have is that I could blast music while going down a highway. My choice is Trocadero's Steady Ride (Gun Metal Green) from the album Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, music inspired by Red vs. Blue: Blood Gulch Chronicles. You could do worse than leave the disc in for the rest of your drive...

DAY 8: A song about drugs or alcohol - The first French-language entry in this list is Cocaïnomane by the Québécois group Les Vulgaires Machins. It's a recursive punk ditty that can essentially be translated as "I do blow so I can work more so I can make more money so I can do more blow..." Huge fun and worth playing two or three times in a row.

DAY 9: A song that makes me happy - Right now, that would be Cannonball by the Breeders. Not only is it a great riff, but it make me smile that it's a middle finger directed at Pixies front man Black Francis from the kickass Kim Deal. I love it when tensions within a band (even a band I love) bubbles up and creates more art.

DAY 10: A song that makes me sad - Christmas and Me Are Through by Your Vegas. One of many songs that might make me cry on any given day, and since Christmas is for me a time to feel blue, DAY 10 really should be a Christmas song. And that sustained note guys.

DAY 11: A song I never get tired of - There's every chance every song on this list falls under this category (or at least, I'd hope so), so let's just go with one of the songs I'm playing on a loop these days: Metric's Gimme Sympathy. It played in the background more than once while I was writing this up, and still not sick of it.

DAY 12: A song from my preteen years - Almost obligatorily French-language - unless you want me to drop some Spanish Abba on here (why we had THAT album is a mystery) - I'm going with the classic Québécois 70s group Beau Dommage. But which song? Their eponymous album from 1974 is wall-to-wall folk perfection. An under-rated hit that's perhaps more traditional than the rest of the record, I'm going with Le pic-bois (The Woodpecker).

DAY 13: A song from the year I was born - Stairway to Heaven came out the year I was born. How can I resist putting on the list? In my teenage years, I remember how special it was whenever they would play it on the radio, its length an obstacle to wider rotation even on golden oldies stations. Probably behind my affection for songs with multiple movements (more so than, say, Bohemian Rhapsody).

DAY 14: A song I'd love to be played at my wedding - More like my funeral at this point, amirite? Truthfully, how would I ever pick a song here without the woman I'm marrying attached? So I'm just gonna think of one that's for the guests, really. And if my imaginary wife wants to learn the chair'n'belt dance I developed with my friend Gwen in the 15-20 years ago on the Gypsy Kings' Bamboleo, all the better. (It's perhaps ironic that it's about not being able to find a lost love, but it fits the facts.)

DAY 15: A song I like that’s a cover by another artist
- As a fan of clever covers, there are a lot of things I might have put in this slot. Going with my gut feeling then. William Shatner and Joe Jackson on Pulp's Common People is - despite my love of Pulp in general - my preferred version. I love the spoken-hop performance from both artists.

DAY 16: A song that’s a classic favorite - The Challenge usually says "classic" but what does that mean? The above image says "classical", but it's full of typos... Let's just go with a song that's been around a while and that most everybody in the Western world knows. Live and Let Die by Wings.

DAY 17: A song I'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke - Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie & Clyde, by The Lonely Island feat. Rihanna. Look, if I'm gonna be doing karaoke, there's gotta be something in it for me, i.e. a comedy performance.  Whether I'd be doing Samberg's mumbling Ronnie or Rihanna's part, I'd have something to PLAY.

DAY 18: A song I like from the 70s - I don't know if I heard ELO's Mr. Blue Sky before it showed up in an episode of Doctor Who, but from then on, it got into my regular rotation. Very nice to hear it in the second Guardians movie as well.

DAY 19: A song that makes me think about life - Tomas Jensen is a quirky, erudite singer-songwriter from Quebec no one really ever talks about, but I love his lyrics. In this category, I'm going with M Cigare (Mister Cigar), which is about an existential dream in which the protagonist encounters various "misters" who explain their worldviews. Great poetry. Which "mister" are you?

DAY 20: A song that has many meanings to me - Respect to the Dance Floor by the French electro-fusion group Mass Hysteria is an anthem for mixing musical genres, but I'd picked it for my improv team's entrance at some point because at its core, it was about diversity and respect, and we did play on a dance floor. And it kicks serious ass. It later became THE entrance song at the beginning of improv games for the adult set, which I'm proud of.

DAY 21: A song I like with a person’s name in the title - Flight of the Conchords' Jenny is their best.

DAY 22: A song that moves me forward
- Whatever that means. When I really want to get work done, I've got to go with driving, instrumental beats. Usually from a soundtrack, and it's usually between Murray Gold's Doctor Who music or, as reflected in my final choice, Bear McCreary's Battlestar Galactica score. The selection: Kara's Coordinates.

DAY 23: A song that I think everybody should listen to - No pressure then. Let's not be so arrogant as to think we can answer that question, but rather go for the joke. If you've been around me at all during the last year, you will most certainly have heard La mer (The Sea), a 40s French classic by Charles Trennet as interpreted by Julio Iglesias reading off the music sheet). I start playing it at random times. It makes me happy. (If you aren't around me, it plays at the end of 2011 film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.) In other words, I seem to think it should be listened to by anyone and everyone.

DAY 24: A song by a band I wish were still together - This one is as local as it gets. Zero Degré Celsius is a seminal indie band from Moncton (I even went to university with some of the musicians), who are apparently planning a comeback show, but regardless, they haven't recorded together in decades. Petitcodiac (named after the "Chocolate River" we have here) is an anthem to cultural resistance in the face of Anglo dominance.

DAY 25: A song I like by an artist no longer living - I'm a big fan of Frank Zappa's live stuff, and the You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore CD series offered me a wealth of material from across Frank's entire career. The first volume remains my favorite, and I'm going to recommend the 20-minute live Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, which includes (in addition to great performances from all musicians involved) a strange series of impromptu poetry readings thanks to a demented audience member.

DAY 26: A song that makes me want to fall in love
- The first song I remember thinking was deeply romantic (must've been coming of age) is Hello, Again by Neil Diamond. Still works.

DAY 27: A song that breaks my heart - As opposed to making me sad? Come on, Challenge, you're repeting yourself. But from Due South, I love love love (and cannot sing all the way through without my voice breaking) Ride Forever, written and performed by Canadian triple-threat Paul Gross.

DAY 28: A song by an artist whose voice I love - That describes Marina and the Diamonds for me. I love how she can go from deep to high in a single note and the effects she very naturally creates. One of the songs that perhaps best showcases this is I Am Not a Robot.

DAY 29: A song I remember from my childhood
- Okay Challenge. Haven't we done this one before? Or are my preteen years substantially different from my childhood? AND you asked for a 70s song which covers the same era. (See my conclusion for an over-reaction to this.) Well, ok, let's go as early as I can. Like before I was sent to school. We didn't really listen to children's records then, but to us, singers like Jos Dassin and Dalida had memorable songs we would easily learn, so they played round the clock. One strong memory I have is that Jos Dassin's greatest hits album skipped and my dad lost his cool and smashed it before our teary eyes. He replaced it the next week, thankfully. So yeah, I'm gonna go with Jos Dassin's L'été indien (Indian Summer); it just sounds the best to me in this moment, and has that neat spoken part at the front.

DAY 30: A song that reminds me of myself - I considered some kind of geek anthem for this spot, but in the end chose I Quit my Job by Nova Scotian banjo maestro Old Man Luedecke which perfectly encapsulates my philosophy when it comes to the grind that most people call employment. And when I DID quit my job? You can bet I played that thing at the end of the work day. Loudly.

I gotta say, for a meme that's been going around for almost 10 years, there are a lot of redundancies in there. If I were to create a 30-Day Song Challenge myself, it would look quite different. And in fact, that's exactly what's gonna happen. Come back in a couple weeks some time for 30 much more interesting categories (at least for geeks)!


De said...

Interesting choices. I’m curious about the Canadian and French-language tracks you listed and will give your playlist a listen at work today.

Siskoid said...

I'd actually love to hear how non-English speakers enjoy/interpret French-language music.

I mean, there's a Spanish song on this list, and it doesn't bother me that I don't know the language, but I do admit there are French songs on here that are perhaps more about the text. Let me know!

Toby’c said...

My own picks, some of which took a while and are kind of a stretch:

1: Orange Crush - REM
2: 99 Luftballons
3: In The Summertime - Thirsty Merc
4: Don’t Want You Back - Backstreet Boys
5: Still Alive - Ellen McLain
6: Carameldansen -Caramel
7: Drive - Shannon Noll
8: Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth - The Dandy Warhols
9: I See the Light - Mandy Moore and Zach Levi
10: End of the World - David Campbell
11: Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
12: Everytime You Cry - John Farnham, with Human Nature
13: Eternal Flame - The Bangles
14: Suddenly - Angry Anderson
15: Eternal Flame - Human Nature
16: Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
17: The Ballad of Tom Jones - Space with Cerys Matthews
18: Nobody Does it Better - Carly Simon
19: Life - Des’ree
20: Want You Gone - Ellen McLain
21: Hey There Delilah - Plain White T’s
22: Suburban Knights theme - Michael Schiciano
23: Death Defy - Motor Ace
24: Crash and Burn - Savage Garden
25: Careless Whisper - George Michael
26: From This Moment On - Shania Twain
27: Last to Know - Human Nature
28: Let it Go - Idina Menzel
29: Please Don’t Call Me a Koala Bear - Don Spencer
30: Unwell - Matchbox 20

Siskoid said...

A good start, as I love that early REM stuff, but... did you just send the Bangles back in time to the 70s? ;-)

Anonymous said...

01: To be trite, I still like "Golden Brown" by the Stranglers. No matter how overused it is in indie films.
02: Seriously, 3 is a Magic Number from Schoolhouse Rock (and the attempt by Blind Melon on the tribute album).
03: "Time after Time" Cyndi Lauper. At the time, I thought it would be cool to live in an Airstream and break Cyndi Lauper's heart. 80's. MTV was a thing.
04: "Why Can't This Be Love" awful song by Van Hagar. But reminds me of a girl I was too obsessed with. I can't take it. It wins.
05: "Sister Havana" by Urge Overkill. Can't be played loud enough.
06: Not much of a dancer but "Electric Feel" by MGMT can get my feet tapping.
07: Ha. The theme from 66 Batman. I pretend my Honda is the Batmobile.
08: "Heroin" by James Brown. The last lines are very preachy but not so bad coming from the Godfather of Soul.
09: "Fairies Wear Boots" by Black Sabbath. Could be also the 08 but for some reason, this song makes me laugh.
10: "Big Boys Don't Cry" by Fergie. Just a kiss off but makes it sound noble. I feel sorry for the guy.
11: "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie. Who can't get enough of pink spacemonkey bird?
12: I'm 52 so that's a deep dig but I'm going with "Miss You" by The Rolling Stones. I still haven't had that friend who wants to mess around and fool around like we USED to.
13: "King of the Road" by Roger Miller.
14: Unmarried by choice so nothing there.
15: Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" (Bob Dylan)
16: "Jailbreak" Thin Lizzy
17: "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" Kiki Dee and Elton John
18: "Bela Lugosi's Dead" Bauhaus.
19: "Do It Again" Steely Dan.
20: "In Your Eyes" Peter Gabriel .. sums up one conflicting winter and also used in a classic movie scene.
21: "Brandy" The Looking Glass
22: "The Pretender" Jackson Browne (get up and do it again, amen).
23: I will inflict "There is Light that Never Goes Out" by The Smiths on anyone.
24: "Since I Been Lovin' You" Led Zeppelin
25: I think most of the list has dead guys in it for me! "Suspicious Minds" Elvis Presley.
26: "Mary's Prayer" Danny Wilson
27: Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"
28: Jolie Holand "The Lakes of Ponchartrain"
29: The Shirelles "Soldier Boy"
30: Iggy Pop "The Passenger"

De said...

This was delightful! Thank you for sharing something so personal.

I’m not totally a non-French speaker, but I’m far from fluent (despite 5 years of instruction). The Mass Hysteria has been added to my download list, and I’ll be tracking down more tracks from Zéro Degré Celsius despite not entirely understanding the lyrics offhand.

Mike W. said...

I'm usually not one for internet memes, but this is kinda cool. Off the top of my head:

1) Behind Blue Eyes-The Who
2) Seven O' Clock-London Quireboys
3) In the Summertime-Mungo Jerry
4) Last of the American Girls-Green Day
5) You Shook Me-AC/DC
6) Dancing With Myself-Billy Idol (Yes, I know what the song's actually about)
7) Radar Love-Golden Earring
8) Dead Flowers-Rolling Stones
9) Dance the Night Away-Van Halen
10) Ripple-Grateful Dead
11) The Young Crazed Peeling-Distillers
12) My Sharona-The Knack
13) Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad-Clash
14) I'll Follow You Into the Dark-Death Cab for Cutie
15) Whiskey in the Jar-Metallica
16) I'm not a classical fan, but going with your definition of "classic" instead, I'll say Roll Over Beethoven-Chuck Berry
17) Paradise By the Dashboard Light-Meat Loaf
18) American Pie-Don McLean
19) Identity-X Ray Spex
20) Desolation Row-Bob Dylan
21) Virginia Plain-Squeeze
22) Raise Your Glass-Pink
23) Put Your Money on Me-The Struts
24) Piece of Your Action-Motley Crue
25) Jailhouse Rock-Elvis Presley
26) Hallelujah-Rufus Wainwright
27) Chasing Cars-Snow Patrol
28) A Change is Gonna Come-Sam Cooke
29) This Flight Tonight-Nazareth
30) White and Nerdy-Weird Al Yankovic

I'm looking forward to your geek-inspired list next week.

Green Luthor said...

Not being able to understand the lyrics isn't a problem for me, personally. But then, I listen to a lot of J-pop due to watching a lot of anime.

Not sure what my own list would consist of; there's a few entries I could pick a song for, but some I honestly have no idea on. There's a good chance I'd echo your choices of "Paint It Black" and "Common People", though. (Minor nitpick: while Ben Folds produced William Shatner's "Has Been" album, the accompanying vocals on "Common People" are from Joe Jackson ("Is She Really Going Out With Him?", "Steppin' Out", etc.), not Ben Folds.)

Siskoid said...

Glad you liked it De! Gets more personal next week probably.

Luthor: Yeah I listen to a bit of K-pop myself. I'll fix the Folds/Jackson mistake right away, should have checked the CD.

Toby'c said...

Huh? Day 13: A song from the year I was born, which is 1989. Eternal Flame was released as a single in 1989 (though it was already on their 1988 album, I now realise). Have I somehow given you the impression I'm a lot older?

Siskoid said...

Haha, no. I misread the number!

Kurt "Welcome to Geektown" Onstad said...

My turn!
1 Purple Rain by Prince
2 88 Lines about 44 Women by The Nails
3 Summertime by Sublime
4 Somebody by Depeche Mode
5 Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance
6 Mama Told Me Not to Come by Three Dog Night
7 Driven by Rush
8 Recovery by Frank Turner
9 Do It Anyway by Ben Folds Five
10 I Don’t Have the Heart by James Ingram
11 Rule the World by Take That
12 Radio Gaga by Queen
13 My Life by Billy Joel
14 You’re the Inspiration by Peter Cetera and Az Yet
15 Who Wants to Live Forever by The Tenors (original by Queen)
16 Hey You by Pink Floyd
17 Separate Lives by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
18 Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede
19 Bury Me In Willow by Asia
20 Playground by XTC
21 Magdalene by Boston
22 Tai Shan by Rush
23 I Will Not Take These Things For Granted by Toad the Wet Sprocket
24 Figure 8 by Skycycle
25 That’s What It Takes by George Harrison
26 New Year’s Eves by Greg Laswell
27 Another Auld Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg
28 Somebody Else by Bleu
29 Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
30 Stop Talking About Comic Books by Ookla the Mok

Anonymous said...

DAY 1: A song I like with a color in the title – Yellow by Codlplay

DAY 2: A song you like with a number in the title – 7 Days to Change Your Life by Jamie Cullum

DAY 3: A song that reminds you of summertime – Summer Night by The Grease ensemble

DAY 4: A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget – Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond

DAY 5: A song that needs to be played out loud – Coming Undone by Korn. It’s metal, it need to be loud!

DAY 6: A song that makes me want to dance – You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall & Oates (dance)
Moon on the Water by Beay Crusaders (Hoop routine)
Karate by Baby Metal (Pole routine)

DAY 7: A song to drive to – Kyouran Hey Kids! by The Oral Cigarettes

DAY 8: A song about drugs or alcohol – Carmen by Lana Del Rey

DAY 9: A song that makes me happy – Oh No! by Marina and the Diamonds (Thanks Siskoid)

DAY 10: A song that makes me sad by Maybe by The Ink Spot

DAY 11: A song I never get tired of by Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley (Rick Roll me all you want I love it every time!!!! )

DAY 12: A song from my preteen years by WannaBee by The Spice Girls

DAY 13: A song from the year I was born - ...... man went throught the list and i felt uninspired, also my age is a secret now

DAY 14: A song I'd love to be played at my wedding - Promise of the World by Sekai no Yakusoku (not planning on ever getting married but still this one would be in my imaginary wedding)

DAY 15: A song I like that’s a cover by another artist by Carless Whisper by PostModern Jukebox/Robyn Adele Anderson

DAY 16: A song that’s a classic favorite - Again by Yui ( …. Technically it a classic anime and a classic anime opening if you ask the anime community, so I am sticking with this one as a Classic here)

DAY 17: A song I'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke – Don’t go Breaking my Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee

DAY 18: A song I like from the 70s – Night on the Broadway by Bee Gees

DAY 19: A song that makes me think about life – All the Rowboats by Regina Spektor

DAY 20: A song that has many meanings to me – Cherry Blossom Girl by Air

DAY 21: A song I like with a person’s name in the title – Jenny by Flight of the Conchords (couldn’t find anything better Siskoird!)

DAY 22: A song that moves me forward – Not Today by BTS (Great for my Sunday jogs, literally make me move forward! (honorable mention to Eye of the Tiger and Make a Man Out of You))

DAY 23: A song that I think everybody should listen to – Gomennasai no kissing you by E-Girls (want to introduce everyone to J-pop and K-pop, I love it so much, it bright, colorful, catchy AF, the dance is always crazy :3)

DAY 24: A song by a band I wish were still together - Because by The Beatles

DAY 25: A song I like by an artist no longer living – Take this Waltz by Leonard Cohen

DAY 26: A song that makes me want to fall in love – Come What May by Ewan McGregor

DAY 27: A song that breaks my heart - One more time, One more chance by Masayoshi Yamazaki

DAY 28: A song by an artist whose voice I love – Girl from the North Country by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

DAY 29: A song I remember from my childhood – Moonlight Densetsu / Heart Moving by Moon lips (pretty much shaped the geek woman I am today without a doubt)

DAY 30: A song that reminds me of myself - Kimi Ja Nakya Dame Mitai by Ooishi Masayoshi ( there the lyrics The inside of my head is like a field of flowers, like a shoujo manga, pretty accurate!!!)


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