Kick at the darkness. #PlagueSongs, no. 7

This week, a song from a different dangerous time that speaks eloquently to our present one. “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” is one of two hits from Bruce Cockburn’s Stealing Fire (1984). The other is “If I Had a Rocket Launcher.” “Lovers…” was the bigger hit in his native Canada, and “… Rocket Launcher” was the…

There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. #PlagueSongs, no. 5

🤦🏼‍♂️ After last week’s #EpicSkaFail (my apologies to music-lovers everywhere), I’ve chosen a song that I can perform adequately. Composed by Ritchie Cordell, “I Think We’re Alone Now” was a big hit for Tommy James and the Shondells in 1967. The song was again a major hit for Tiffany in 1987 — the singer’s biggest hit,…

It’s later than you think. #PlagueSongs, no. 4

This week’s #PlagueSong is a cover of Prince Buster’s “Enjoy yourself” (1963). But I first heard the Specials’ cover version (1980). That said, Prince Buster’s version is itself an adaptation of Guy Lombardo’s 1949 version, which reached #10 on the US pop charts in 1950. Prince Buster retains the chorus of the 1949 song (music…

The Bright Side. #PlagueSongs, no. 3

This week’s #PlagueSong is dedicated to my mother, Gloria Hardman. This is her favorite song, her motto, and very good advice. The song is funnier when sung as Eric Idle’s “Mr. Cheeky” character (as it is in The Life of Brian). I suspect the song’s mixture of irony and sincerity is one reason it resonates…

They Might Be Giants’ Flood is 30!

I thought I would begin 2020 with something joyous — the 30th anniversary of They Might Be Giants‘ Flood, the band’s first album with a major label (Elektra), and the one that launched them into mainstream Anglo-American culture. (“Birdhouse in Your Soul” reached #6 on the UK charts and #3 on the US Modern Rock charts.)…

Best of 2019: Music

Just under the wire, here’s my “Best of 2019” playlist. Have I missed some good music? I expect I have. That’s what the “comments” section is for. It’s also why I’m including a few other “Best of 2019” playlists here. First, here’s mine, named for Sleater-Kinney’s “The Future Is Here.” I probably listened to their…