Saturday, May 26, 2007

Twostepcub's music chart for May 25, 2007....

Hey boys and girls, it's time for my tunes for the week. This week Maroon5 complete their rush to the top spot, while uber-hunk Billy Currington (pictured above) moves up to number six. Dropping on the list are songs by Kenny Chesney, 30 Seconds To Mars (leaving one on here), Jennifer Hudson, Gary Allan, and Muse, and big jump are made by September, Kelly Clarkson, Erasure, Beyonce/Shakira, and Lola. As always, you can link to any artist's webpage by clicking on their highlighted name. They've been pretty good in putting soundbites, news, video, and such. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

This Week Song/Artist (Last week's position in parentheses)
1. Makes Me Wonder - Maroon5 (2)
2. Settlin' - Sugarland (1)
3. U & Ur Hand - Pink (3)
4. The Sweet Escape - Gwen Stefani f/Akon (4)
5. Before He Cheats - Carrie Underwood (9)
6. Good Directions - Billy Currington (8)
7. Read My Mind - The Killers (7)
8. Grace Kelly - MIKA (6)
9. What Comes Around...Goes Around - Justin Timberlake (5)
10. Candyman -Christina Aguilera (11)
11. Ticks - Brad Paisley (15)
12. Say It Right - Nelly Furtado (12)
13. If Everyone Cared - Nickelback (16)
14. Gravity - John Mayer (14)
15. It's Not Over - Daughtry (13)
16. Colorful - Rocco DeLucca & The Burden (21)
17. Look After You - The Fray (18)
18. Smile - Lily Allen (19)
19. Wasted - Carrie Underwood (10)
20. Automatic - Ultra Nate (20)
21. Make It Happen - Maya Azucena (23)
22. Stand - Rascal Flatts (17)
23. The Other Side Of The World - KT Tunstall (29)
24. Moments - Emerson Drive (26)
25. A Woman's Love - Alan Jackson (25)
26. What I've Done - Linkin Park (31)
27. Discotech - Young Love (24)
28. Rise - Samantha James (22)
29. Cupid's Chokehold - Gym Class Heroes (32)
30. Little Wonders - Rob Thomas (30)
31. Cry For You - September (41)
32. Long Trip Alone - Dierks Bentley (28)
33. Don't Make Me - Blake Shelton (34)
34. Find Out Who Your Friends Are - Tracy Lawrence (38)
35. I Wonder - Kellie Pickler (39)
36. Wrapped - George Strait (42)
37. It's My Life - S-Blush (37) (also here)
38. With Love - Hilary Duff (40)
39. Change - Kimberley Locke (48)
40. Never Again - Kelly Clarkson (61)
41. How To Save A Life - The Fray (33)
42. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol (35)
43. Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs (43)
44. Dig - Incubus (46)
45. Home - Daughtry (52)
46. Johnny Cash - Jason Aldean (51)
47. Undeniable - Mat Kearney (49)
48. Drums In The Club - DJ Russ Harris (47)
49. I Could Fall In Love With You - Erasure (68)
50. Pegate - Ricky Martin (62)
51. Beautiful Liar - Beyonce & Shakira (64)
52. Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne (57)
53. Breath - Breaking Benjamin (53)
54. The Creeps - Camille Jones (54)
55. Some Girls - Henri (55)
56. This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race - Fall Out Boy (27)
57. Forever - Papa Roach (65)
58. U Spin Me - Inaya Day (44)
59. High Maintenance Woman - Toby Keith (60)
60. Lost In This Moment - Big & Rich (67)
61. Better Than Me - Hinder (63)
62. Spotlight - Amador & Carrillo f/Georgia Nicole (71)
63. New Shoes - Paolo Nutini (45)
64. Rehab - Amy Winehouse (72)
65. Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups (66)
66. Glamorous - Fergie f/ Ludacris (79)
67. Lucky Man - Montgomery Gentry (75)
68. Love Me Or Hate Me (F*ck You) - Lady Sovereign (56)
69. I Can't Take It - Lola (81)
70. You Give Me Something - James Morrison (70)
71. Gimme Gimme (Disco Shimmy) - Frankie Knuckles (73)
72. A Little More You - Little Big Town (82)
73. I Want Your Love - Jody Watley (83)
74. You Are Why - Dawn Tallman (50)
75. You're All I Have - Snow Patrol (85)
76. Last Dollar (Fly Away) - Tim McGraw (36)
77. By My Side - Flanders (58)
78. Angelicus - Delerium (74)
79. Embrace Me - Leana (59)
80. Keep Holding On - Avril Lavigne (76)
81. The World Is Mine - David Guetta (DEBUT)
82. Ghost - Deepsky & Jes (84)
83. Life Is Beautiful - Vega4 (90)
84. (You Want To) Make A Memory - Bon Jovi (93)
85. Startin' With Me - Jake Owen (89)
86. Time After Time - Koishii & Hush f/Catherine McQueen (76)
87. Me & God - Josh Turner (87)
88. The Kill (Bury Me) - 30 Seconds To Mars (88)
89. I Want To Live - Deepface (92)
90. By The Way - Jenna Drey (77)
91. Teardrops On My Guitar - Taylor Swift (96)
92. Face Down - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (100)
93. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's (DEBUT)
94. First Time - Lifehouse (DEBUT)
95. Stars Align - Kaskade (69)
96. Don't Matter - Akon (DEBUT)
97. Give It To Me - Timbaland f/Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake (DEBUT)
98. I Told You So - Keith Urban (DEBUT)
99. A Different World - Bucky Covington (DEBUT)
100. Extraordinary - Mandy Moore (DEBUT)

This week sees eight debuting songs. The top entry is dance guru David Guetta with "The World Is Mine"...

next up, rock band Plain White T's channeling the soft-metalness of Extreme and Mr. Big with "Hey There Delilah"...

Another rock band, Lifehouse, returns with "First Time". Since I couldn't find an offical video here's a "fan clip" with LOTR...

Senegalese singer Akon, already had a #1 song with Gwen Stefani, enters in his own right with the reggae-tinged "Don't Matter"...

Mega-producer of the moment Timbaland debuts with a song featuring eastern rhythms and vocals from two of his biggest acts from last year, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, with "Give It To Me"...

Keith Urban, one of the most talented male artists in country today (though from a different "country", Australia) comes on with "I Told You So"...

There are six American Idol alums on the list (two on here twice), and Bucky Covington is one of them. Here's "A Different World"...

and finally Mandy Moore debuts at 100 with "Extraordinary"...


Friday, May 25, 2007

Mark Day rules!

Leave it to a fellow Scot.

You should check out his other videos here.

Ding! Fries are Done!

Happy Friday to y'all.

I can lock all my doors, it's the only way to live...

Cars”. That about sums up what most Americans know about Gary Numan. “Cars”. And even that’s iffy. I’d put money half of them think it’s David Bowie singing. And they’d be wrong. If it was Bowie, it’ve been eons better, I’m sure. And I’m someone who loves the recording of the song as it is. With its ahead-of-its-time production and appropriately detached delivery, “Cars” was a perfect song for the right time. In 1979, the disco train was screeching to a halt, and new-wave was just an underground movement branching off of punk. In that atmosphere, Numan was groundbreaking. There wasn’t a song that sounded anything like it on major pop radio in 1979 (well, maybe M’s “Pop Musik”). From there though, Numan’s career in America stalled into one-hit-wonderland, though in Britain it was only the beginning, racking up seven top-10 singles in the space of a few years. All of those appear on the collection Premier Hits, which came out in the UK on the resurge in popularity of “Cars” from a TV advert there. Eighteen tracks long, including 2 versions of the hit song, Premier Hits includes hits from both Numan, has work with a “group” with Tubeway Army, and in later collaborations. And you know what? It’s a real hard listen. As seminal as he was to the new-wave/electronic genre, the primitiveness and his droning voice can really get unnerving. While “Are Friends Electric” (which subsequent was pilfered again for backdropping British sirens Sugababes) and robotic “I Die: You Die” are tuneful for their style, listening to song after song like this almost gets fascist. “We Are Glass” and “She’s Got Claws” are the worst examples of this. “We Take Mystery (To Bed)” is interesting to say the least, while “Complex” in arrangement is a warmer interlude incorporating the “Cars” theme. Even “Paratrooper In Drag” is campy in theory, though notsomuch in execution. The problem is there’s a difference in tonal singing and flatness. I kept wishing for Bowie’s distant but still emotional technique. Clearly Numan drew from Bowie as a influence, but each song here might’ve worked with Bowie’s innovation to set each track apart. As for the two mixes of “Cars”, the “Premier Mix” the set begins with kicks up the arrangement a notch to make it busier, though not surpassing the original for its “cool” factor. The fact you can blast it from the car stereo and not be ashamed almost 20 years after is proof. However, unless you can stand a heavy dose of Krautrock, prepare yourself.

Grade: C
Best Cuts:
“Cars”, “Complex”
Weakest Links: “We Are Glass”, “She’s Got Claws”, “The Wreckage”, “White Boys And Heroes”

Premier Hits hit #21 in the UK albums chart.
"Cars (Premier Mix)" hit #17 in the UK.
"I Die: You Die" made #6 in the UK.
"Are 'Friends' Electric?" made #1 in the UK.
"We Are Glass" hit #5 in the UK.
"We Take Mystery (To Bed)" hit #9 in the UK.
"She's Got Claws" made #6 in the UK.
"Complex" made #6 in the UK.
"Music For Chameleons" hit #19 in the UK.
"This Wreckage" made #20 in the UK.
"Warriors" made #20 in the UK.
"Love Needs No Disguise" (with Dramatis) hit #33 in the UK.
"White Boys And Heroes" hit #20 in the UK.
"Sister Surprise" made #32 in the UK.
"Stormtrooper In Paris" with Paul Gardiner made #49 in the UK.

Listen: "Cars (Premier Mix)" (link)

Buy: You can pick up a copy of Premier Hits at websites like here or here.

And videos galore! (thanks to rabid Numan-ists)... first of course, "Cars"..

next, its counterpart, "Complex"...

and here's his other #1 with the Tubeway Army, "Are Friends Electric?"

And finally, for all the coldness he had, he did manage a Christmas single benefiting England's SPCA. Here's a very tear-inducing clip...

On a mountain, by a fountain, flowers blooming everywhere, with Venus and with Cupid the picture's very clear...

The System were a link in the long line of pseudo-soul duos and groups that spanned the 80s and 90s. Usually consisting of a white guy and a black guy, these transient collectives dotted one-hit-wonders consistently, like a yearly meteor shower. You’ve got your Charles & Eddie, your Natural Selection, your Rhythm Syndicate, I can go on and on. The System was the prototype of them all, starting back in the late 70’s with singer Mic Murphy and keyboard whiz David Frank putting out lowkey space-funk that was quite good, especially with underground hit “You Are In My System”. With a synth hook that just won’t quit, “System” deserved to be much more of a hit than it was. Here's a clip of it...try not to stare at Mic Murphy's "Beat It" moves.

Fast forward a few years later, with the release of the single “Don’t Disturb This Groove”., which did manage to hit and hit big, making #1 R&B as well as top-5 on the pop chart. And it was no surprise, given a classic melody and lush production, it was much mor a soulful pop song than a accessible R&B song. That track anchors the Don’t Disturb This Groove album in the leadoff position, and for most people, unfortunately that’s all you’re going to want to hear. Unlike their previous output, this album clearly was made for a commercial audience, it is so reeks of 1985 you can smell it from 10 paces away. Lovers of 80s soundtrack fodder will enjoy cuts like “Come As You Are (Superstar)” or “Save Me”, which could’ve fit on any interchangeable movie album of that period. In fact, the group just previous cut a filler track for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, and would only hit the Billboard pop chart again with a song from another Eddie Murphy product, Coming To America. With after-school special lyrics and watered down arrangements, the duo definitely played it “safe”, to the point of being embarrassing on the faux “streetness” of “House Of Rhythm”. Unfortunately lightning only struck once, with second single “Nighttime Lover” missing the top-100 completely, though making the top-10 R&B inexplicably, since it’s less of a soul song than its predecessor. The rest of the cuts are so forgettable that even a tacked-on instrumental version of the title track, simply called “Groove”, rates better than more than half the tunes on here. Even if in the past Murphy could slip into Michael Jackson parody, it at least was more “real” than the studio-perfect readings here. He sings in one of the songs, “I want to be your Soul Boy tonight”. I wish. Now since split, David Frank has gone to be a better influence behind the scenes, responsible for material from the neo-teen bop era (co-writing “Genie In A Bottle” for Christina Aguilera, "He Loves U Not" for Dream, and “The Hardest Part” for 98 Degrees), as well as tying the group to the yacht-rock center of the universe…..

Michael McDonald (his Blink Of An Eye album).

So I’ll give him that. Otherwise, try to find “Don’t Disturb This Groove” on a compilation or maybe this one used, since it does give you over five minutes of “Groove”…

Grade: D+
Best Cuts:
“Don’t Disturb This Groove”
Weakest Cuts: “House Of Rhythm”, “Soul Boy”, “Modern Girl”

Don't Disturb This Groove hit #63 pop albums and #13 R&B albums.
"Don't Disturb This Groove" (the single) hit #4 pop and #1 R&B.
"Nighttime Lover" made #7 R&B.

Listen: Nighttime Lover (Link)

Buy: You can pick up a copy of Don't Disturb This Groove at sites like here and here.

And here's the clip of "Don't Disturb This Groove"...

Link of the week....

Well not exactly a link of the week rather than a columnist of the week. San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford is one of the best newspaper writers around today. Check out this article for his take on men and drinking, and this one about the "death" of the Hummer, the biggest sign this country was heading to a Roman Empire state, here.

The late Rev. Jerry Falwell? He was exactly like a Hummer H2. Oh yes he was. Bloated, arrogant, offensive to millions and deeply wrong in a thousand ways and yet blindly worshipped by a shockingly large and happily uninformed throng of devout minions for no other reason than he was, well, bloated, arrogant and wrong.
'nuff said.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wait! There's hope!...

I was gonna go on a rant about the two Cee U Next Tuesdays of the week, Monica Goodling (top) for her "I really didn't mean to fire them for political reasons, gee whillikers!" as well as honestly answering the question on what experience she had in hiring and firing of personnel with the lovely fact that she was on the college student board, and Lurita Alexis Doan (bottom), who violated federal law for screening career non-appointed jobs in the General Services Administration for political slant, as well as holding seminars on gaining Republican seats during goverment time and using government space. I say throw both those bitches in jail, preferable the one on Bad Girls, and let them be roommates, so they can cry to each other all day about how icky people are to them. Fuckers.

instead I give you this jolly advert. Hat tip to John at Americablog.

and for the best recap on why this is crazy, heed the Maher...

Love don't hang out in a grand hotel, got no satin sheets, got no servant's bell...

The last couple of country albums I had on here were representative of the current “bad-boy” cookie-cutter that’s been prevalent lately. Well, consider Hal Ketchum’s The Hits to be a 180 degree turn from that. Ketchum came out of the gate in 1991 with “Small Town Saturday Night”, and graced the top-10 five more times, all of which appear on this collection. Like Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Hal is originally from New York, and his music proves Ketchum is expert in the smalltown depictions that don’t degrade into either hokiness or redneck jingoism. Tunes like “Small Town Saturday Night” are like a snapshot or young love in rural America, while companion line “Mama Knows The Highway” puts a female spin on the trucker’s tale for a more refreshing story. Hal’s love songs contain a lot of heart and truth, whether it be about simple pleasures of life (“I Know Where Love Lives”) or loss (the Muscle Shoals-funky “That’s What I Get For Loving You”) or even quiet desperation (the longing “Stay Forever”). Ketchum never rocks too hard, and that works just fine with the simmer-drama of “Past The Point Of Rescue” or the frolicking siren song of “Hearts Are Gonna Roll”. In fact, Hal shines best when given a soft and reflective backdrop, as in the thoughtful “Someplace Far Away (Careful What You’re Dreamin’)” or the peacefulness of “Satisfied Mind” or the longing journeyman ode of “I Miss My Mary”. There of two covers, the hit version of the Vogues’ 60s tune “Five O’ Clock World” which sounds fresh in the country milieu, and the gospel classic “Wings Of A Dove”, while competent doesn’t eclipse other versions of the song. The only misstep is the over-corny non-single “Hang In There Superman”, which isn’t too horrible to spoil the disc. But by far the centerpiece of the collection is “Sure Love”, which sums up Ketchum’s hopeful lyricism and catchy musicality. There are a couple hits missing, most notably “(Tonight We Just Might) Fall In Love Again”, and his cover of Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light” would’ve been welcome, but at 14 songs, but for Hal Ketchum’s The Hits it’s only a minor complaint and as Ketchum’s only collection it proved a winner of a purchase.
Grade: A-
Best Cuts:
“Small Town Saturday Night”, “Mama Knows The Highway”, “Past The Point Of Rescue”, “Someplace Far Away”, “Sure Love”, “Satisfied Mind”, “Five O’ Clock World”, “Hearts Are Gonna Roll”, “Stay Forever”, “I Miss My Mary”, “That’s What I Get For Lovin’ You”
Weakest Link: “Hang In There Superman”

The Hits made #43 country albums.
"Small Town Saturday Night" hit #2 country singles.
"Mama Knows The Highway" hit #8 country.
"I Know Where Love Lives" made #13 country.
"Past The Point Of Rescue" made #2 country.
"Someplace Far Away (Careful What You're Dreaming)" hit #24 country.
"Sure Love" hit #3 country.
"Five O' Clock World" made #16 country.
"Hearts Are Gonna Roll" made #2 country.
"Stay Forever" hit #8 country and #124 pop.
"That's What I Get (For Losin' You)" hit #22 country.

Buy: You can pick up Hal Ketchum's The Hits by clicking here....

And here's Ketchum's debut video for "Small Town Saturday Night"...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I was lost in time, feelin' like the victim of a perfect crime...

The early 80’s saw a plethora of journeyman faceless rock bands that graced rock radio. You’ve got your Saga, your Rainbow, your April Wine, and if it wasn’t for Mike Reno and his red leather pants I’d throw Loverboy in there as well. Fitting in that group is Canadians Chilliwack, who for a brief time had some success in America, with great success in my neck of the woods. WPST in New Jersey played the hell out of their two singles “My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)” and “I Believe”. Both of those of course figure on the band’s Greatest Hits CD, which chronicles their career from the late 60s to the late 80s. It’s kind of front loaded, going in reverse time order, with new songs “Don’t Stop” and “Getting Better” leading off, though very derivative and kinda boring, as most early-80s rock can be. After that is the three charting singles in America, the two mentioned above and minor (and forgettable) followup single “Whatcha Gonna Do”. The two hits, though, are a great slice of workingman power-pop, with “My Girl” evoking a retro feel with doo-wop style harmonies, and “I Believe”, which is a plain, but enjoyable love song. A filler-type track called “Communication Breakdown” which unfortunately isn’t a remake of the Led Zeppelin track, follows. From there the collection delves into a period not really heard here in the States, but actually more earthy and true. They’re rather primitive, but there’s some good songs in “Arms Of Mary” , “Fly By Night”, and “Lonesome Mary” (do you think there’s somebody in the band pining for a Mary, eh?). Final track (and so oldest) “Rain-O” actually resembles the psychedelic rock like bands like Love and Moby Grape. All in all, Chilliwack’s Greatest Hits, while not a seminal rock experience, isn’t a bad listen, and for hard-to-find gems like “My Girl” and “I Believe”, it may be worth seeking out.

Grade: C
Best Cuts:
“My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)”, “I Believe”
Weakest Links: “Communication Breakdown”, “Don’t Stop”

"Lonesome Mary" hit #75 pop.
"Crazy Talk" hit #98 pop.
"Fly By Night" hit #75 pop.
"Arms Of Mary" made #67 pop.
"My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)" made #22 pop and #16 rock singles.
"I Believe" made #33 pop.
"Whatcha Gonna Do" hit #41 pop and #29 rock singles.

Listen: "I Believe" (link)

Buy: You can pick up Chilliwack's Greatest Hits at websites like here or here.

And here's the video for the single "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)"...

and as a bonus (maybe) the single "Whatcha Gonna Do"....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What's wrong with that?....

Long Distance Dedication....

What really happens at the Eagle....

I'm like a boy among men, I'd like a permanent friend...

There are a lot of one-hit wonders in the 80’s imported from Britain that accompany real enjoyable albums. I thought the Blow Monkeys’ Animal Magic was going to be another one of them. I was wrong.
The Monkeys, Australian actually by way of England, had a modest top-20 hit with “Digging Your Scene”, which actually ended up being more successful here than in the UK. Animal Magic starts out with this cut, and it remains a classic new-wave/pop concoction, with a meatier center than most. Instead of the piffle abundant in most pop songs of the era (I’m thinking “Too Shy”, “The Safety Dance”), “Digging Your Scene” is a personification of AIDS, which at the time was just beginning to do the ravage it has grown to do. Clever lyrics like
I just got your message baby, so sad to see you fade away
What in the world is this feeling, to catch a breath and leave me reeling,
It’ll get you in the end, it’s God’s revenge…
are artfully subtle and tragic which is hidden behind the gleeful arrangement and chorus “tell me why I’m digging your scene, you know I’ll die, baby”. I may be wrong, but when I hear it I think of the story of the alleged Patient Zero, Gaetan Dugas. Unfortunately, from there it gets muddled. “Animal Magic” is a muddled experiment that sounds like a 60s pop song then devolves into some art-rock soup. The remainder is either forgettable (“Don’t Be Scared Of Me”, “Aeroplane City Love Song”) or over-strange (second single “Wicked Ways”, “Burn The Rich”) all kind of sounding like Culture Club out-takes. The couple of swallowable numbers (“I Nearly Died Laughing” and “Forbidden Fruit”) are competent by-numbers post-wave numbers, and it’s your choice whether it’s worth the search.
Grade: D+
Best Cuts:
“Digging Your Scene”
Weakest Links: “Burn The Rich”, “Aeroplane City Lovesong”
Animal Magic hit #35 pop albums in the US and #21 UK albums.
"Digging Your Scene" hit #14 pop, #7 dance club play, and #12 in the UK.
"Wicked Ways" made #60 in the UK.

and some videos for you...first the classic "Digging Your Scene"...

next the hidden gem "Forbidden Fruit"....

finally, the derivative "Don't Be Scared Of Me"

If I had a dime for all the things I did, that didn't make no sense at all...

With Jake Owen’s Startin’ With Me, take everything I said about Eric Church’s Sinners Like Me album and augment it with weaker songs and cornier clichés. From the redneck-ad crap of first single “Yee Haw” to the closing requisite duet “You Can Thank Dixie” with Alabama lead Randy Owen (they’re swearin’ no relation, but I’m not totally convinced), to the braggadocio “Eight Second Ride”, this album is calculated to the point of forgetableness. There are a couple OK numbers, most notably the reflective “Startin’ With Me”, the yearning “Places To Run”, and the standard country-pop of “Last Night With You”. Unfortunately, the rest is too by-the-numbers, which may be explainable for a debut effort, but troubling nonetheless.

Grade: C-
Best Cuts:
“Startin’ With Me”, “Places To Run”
Weakest Links: “You Can Thank Dixie”, “Yee Haw”, “Eight Second Ride”

Startin' With Me hit #8 country and #31 pop albums.
"Yee Haw" hit #16 country singles and #83 pop singles.
"Startin' With Me" made #15 country and #103 pop singles.

Listen: "Places To Run" (link)

Buy: You can pick up a copy of Startin' With Me at websites like here and here.

And here's the two videos, the first single "Yee Haw"...

Music Video Codes By Music

and finally the current single "Startin' With Me"...

Music Video Codes By Music

Monday, May 21, 2007

So if I can't be your first love, I'll wait and be your last....

1961 was a pretty bad year for pop music. Coming off of the Elvis high, the music scene for the most part reverted back to sleep-inducing standards or kiddie-pop drivel. But for country music, it was a golden year, where the likes of Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, , and George Jones shined. That’s why Time-Life’s Country U*S*A 1961 is such a find. Containing 24 top-10 country songs (many of those “crossed over” to the pop chart) the set includes 7 of the 8 #1 country songs of that year. Among these are classic like Cline’s “Crazy” and “I Fall To Pieces”, probably the best examples of classic country ever made, Faron Young’s “Hello Walls”, Marty Robbins’ “Don’t Worry”, and George Jones’ “Tender Years”. Each of these songs depict love and heartbreak with such vividness that you can forget country music was more than proving how redneck you are. Don Gibson also appears twice with classics “Sweet Dreams” and “Sea Of Heartbreak”, as well as Buck Owens with “Under The Influence Of Love” and “Foolin’ Around”. This year country music had universal themes and accessible arrangements, which explains the pop success even of second-tier acts like Leroy Van Dyke (“Walk On By”) and Roy Drusky (“Three Hearts In A Tangle”). The female perspective trailblazed by Kitty Wells was thriving as well, with Wells herself (“Heartbreak USA”), belter Wanda Jackson (“Right Or Wrong”), and Skeeter Davis (“My Last Date (With You)”) represented on this compilation. Scattered amongst these gems are some hokier numbers (Bill Anderson’s “Po’ Folks”,Rusty & Doug’s “Louisiana Man”) and some novelties (Jimmy Dean’s proto-rap song “Big Bad John”, Tex Ritter’s pandering “I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven”). There’s even some hidden gems from the era’s semi-stars, like Hank Snow (“Beggar To A King”), Johnny Horton (“Sleepy-Eyed John”), and Porter Wagoner (“Your Old Love Letters”) with more standard good but run-of-the-mill fare. The sound on this disc of course isn’t remastered-pristine of course, and may be a little hard to find, but it’s really a well-chosen collection of country music of that year, and with 24 songs on the disc, quite a find.

Grade: A-
Best Cuts:
“I Fall To Pieces”, “Heart Over Mind”, “Don’t Worry”, “Walk On By”, “My Last Date (With You)”, “Foolin’ Around”, “Hello Walls”, “Crazy”
Weakest Links: “I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven”, “Big Bad John”

"I Fall To Pieces" by Patsy Cline hit #1 country, #12 pop, and #6 adult contemporary.
"Heart Over Mind" by Ray Price hit #5 country.
"Walk On By" by Leroy Van Dyke made #1 country (for 19 weeks!), 5 pop, and #5 in the UK.
"Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins made #1 country (for 10 weeks) and #3 pop.
"Sleepy-Eyed John" by Johnny Horton hit #9 country and #54 pop.
"My Last Date (with You)" by Skeeter Davis hit #5 country and #26 pop.
"Foolin' Around" by Buck Owens made #2 country and #113 pop.
"The Window Up Above" by George Jones hit #2 country.
"Po' Folks" by Bill Anderson hit #9 country.
"Beggar To A King" by Hank Snow made #5 country.
"Heartbreak U.S.A." by Kitty Wells made #1 country (for 4 weeks).
"Sweet Dreams" by Don Gibson hit #6 country and #93 pop.
"Hello Walls" by Faron Young hit #1 country (for 9 weeks), and #12 pop.
"Louisiana Man" by Rusty & Doug hit #10 country and #104 pop.
"I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven" by Tex Ritter made #5 country and #20 pop.
"Three Hearts In A Tangle" by Roy Drusky made #2 country.
"Oklahoma Hills" by Hank Thompson made #7 country singles.
"Crazy" by Patsy Cline hit #2 country, #9 pop, #2 adult contemporary, and #14 in the UK.
"Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean hit #1 country (for 2 weeks), #1 pop (for 5 weeks), #1 contemporary, and #2 in the UK.
"Your Old Love Letters" by Porter Wagoner hit #10 country.
"Tender Years" by George Jones made #1 country (for 7 weeks) and #76 pop.
"Right Or Wrong" by Wanda Jackson made #9 country and #29 pop.
"Sea of Heartbreak" by Don Gibson hit #2 country, #21 pop, and #14 in the UK.
"Under The Influence Of Love" by Buck Owens hit #2 country.

Listen: "Heart Over Mind" (link)
Buy: You can pick up a copy of Country U.S.A. 1961 at a used record store or sites like here.

And here's a clip of the #1 country song of the year, Leroy Van Dyke's "Walk On By"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Twostepcub's music chart for May 18, 2007...

It's time again for my tunes for the week (this time on time, woohoo!). This week Sugarland come back to the top spot, while The Killers (pictured above) move within the top-10. This, and Carrie Underwood has two songs in the top-10! Also making big moves are KT Tunstall, Linkin Park, Kimberly Locke, and Erasure, while hits by Jamiroquai, Beyonce, John Mayer, and Blue October say goodbye to the chart. Happy Birthday, Kim!

This Week Song/Artist (Last Week's Position In Parentheses)
1. Settlin' - Sugarland (3)
2. Makes Me Wonder - Maroon5 (6)
3. U & Ur Hand - Pink (4)
4. The Sweet Escape - Gwen Stefani f/Akon (2)
5. What Goes Around...Comes Around - Justin Timberlake (1)
6. Grace Kelly - MIKA (5)
7. Read My Mind - The Killers (9)
8. Good Directions - Billy Currington (10)
9. Before He Cheats - Carrie Underwood (12)
10. Wasted - Carrie Underwood (7)
11. Candyman - Christina Aguilera (15)
12. Say It Right - Nelly Furtado (8)
13. It's Not Over - Daughtry (11)
14. Gravity - John Mayer (14)
15. Ticks - Brad Paisley (17)
16. If Everyone Cared - Nickelback (16)
17. Stand - Rascal Flatts (18)
18. Look After You - The Fray (20)
19. Smile - Lily Allen (23)
20. Automatic - Ultra Nate (24)
21. Colorful - Rocco DeLucca & The Burden (26)
22. Rise - Samantha James (22)
23. Make It Happen - Maya Azucena (27)
24. Discotech - Young Love (25)
25. A Woman's Love - Alan Jackson (28)
26. Moments - Emerson Drive (36)
27. This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race - Fall Out Boy (13)
28. Long Trip Alone - Dierks Bentley (21)
29. The Other Side Of The World - KT Tunstall (40)
30. Little Wonders - Rob Thomas (34)
31. What I've Done - Linkin Park (44)
32. Cupid's Chokehold - Gym Class Heroes (42)
33. How To Save A Life - The Fray (31)
34. Don't Make Me - Blake Shelton (35)
35. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol (33)
36. Last Dollar (Fly Away) - Tim McGraw (19)
37. It's My Life - S-Blush (38)
38. Find Out Who Your Friends Are - Tracy Lawrence (46)
39. I Wonder - Kellie Pickler (50)
40. With Love - Hilary Duff (49)
41. Cry For You - September (53)
42. Wrapped - George Strait (51)
43. Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs (45)
44. U Spin Me - Inaya Day (30)
45. New Shoes - Paolo Nutini (37)
46. Dig - Incubus (57)
47. Drums In The Club - DJ Russ Harris (48)
48. Change - Kimberly Locke (79)
49. Undeniable - Mat Kearney (56)
50. You Are Why - Dawn Tallman (39)
51. Johnny Cash - Jason Aldean (60)
52. Home - Daughtry (64)
53. Breath - Breaking Benjamin (54)
54. The Creeps - Camille Jones (58)
55. Some Girls - Henri (55)
56. Love Me Or Hate Me (F*ck You) - Lady Sovereign (29)
57. Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne (67)
58. By My Side - Flanders (32)
59. Embrace Me - Leana (47)
60. High Maintenance Woman - Toby Keith (61)
61. Never Again - Kelly Clarkson (80)
62. Pegate - Ricky Martin (82)
63. Better Than Me - Hinder (65)
64. Beautiful Liar - Beyonce & Shakira (83)
65. Forever - Papa Roach (74)
66. Lazy Eye - Silverskin Pickups (73)
67. Lost In This Moment - Big & Rich (71)
68. I Could Fall In Love With You - Erasure (94)
69. Stars Align - Kaskade (52)
70. You Give Me Something - James Morrison (75)
71. Spotlight - Amador & Carrillo f/Georgia Nicole (89)
72. Rehab - Amy Winehouse (86)
73. Gimme Gimme (Disco Shimmy) - Frankie Knuckles (85)
74. Angelicus - Delerium (59)
75. Lucky Man - Montgomery Gentry (95)
76. Keep Holding On - Avril Lavigne (43)
77. By The Way - Jenna Drey (41)
78. Time After Time - Koishii & Hush f/Catherine McQueen (70)
79. Glamorous - Fergie f/Ludacris (96)
80. Beer In Mexico - Kenny Chesney (68)
81. I Can't Take It - Lola (DEBUT)
82. A Little More You - Little Big Town (DEBUT)
83. I Want Your Love - Jody Watley (DEBUT)
84. Ghost - Deepsky & Jes (88)
85. You're All I Have - Snow Patrol (97)
86. From Yesterday - 30 Seconds To Mars (81)
87. Me & God - Josh Turner (77)
88. The Kill (Bury Me) - 30 Seconds To Mars (90)
89. Startin' With Me - Jake Owen (92)
90. Life Is Beautiful - Vega4 (99)
91. And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going - Jennifer Hudson (66)
92. I Want To Live - Deepface (DEBUT)
93. (You Want To) Make A Memory - Bon Jovi (98)
94. Dashboard - Modest Mouse (84)
95. A Feelin' Like That - Gary Allan (63)
96. Teardrops On My Guitar - Taylor Swift (DEBUT)
97. Survivalism - Nine Inch Nails (72)
98. Dixie Lullaby - Pat Green (69)
99. Starlight - Muse (62)
100. Face Down - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (RE-ENTRY)

This week, the high debut goes to dance siren Lola, with "I Can't Take It"... no video as yet, next after that is country group Little Big Town with "A Little More You"...

Jody Watley returns with a remake of Chic's "I Want You Love" here's her rehearsing with smooth jazz greats Everett Harp, Chris Stranding and Robert Lee...

Next, Australian dance act Deepface debut with "I Want To Live"...

Teen country star Taylor Swift also returns with "Teardrops On My Guitar"

and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus return to the chart with their former top-40 song "Face Down"...

I hope everyone's had a good a weekend as I have had... ciao for now...

The Gonzales-Ashcroft mess in less than 5 minutes....

God, do I love Jon Stewart....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

That second hand just keeps slowin' down, I swear it stopped twice the last time around...

You know, there is a few books out there with “point-words” to use with songs. For country music, that can basically be narrowed down to a chapter. You’ve got:

Jesus, Bible, God, America, Damn, Mama, Believe, Beer, Whiskey, Church, Cowboy, Boots, Redneck, Daddy, Flag, (you can mix and match as you will).

Eric Church apparently bought this book, or else his record company bought it for him. His debut album, Sinners Like Me, is for the most part a paint-by-numbers exercise in “redneck marketing”, with a couple glimmers of unique talent worth listening to. Lead-off “Before She Does” boasts an infectious groove, but lyrically falls into the “hillbilly-ad” motive in which said “hillbilly” tries to straddle the fence between “holier-than-thou” and “rebel”. This is repeated again in “Guys Like Me”, “Sinners Like Me”, and most blatantly “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag”, which takes it a step farther and does the clichéd “bring out the dinosaur for a few notes to make me legit”, this time with “patriotic rebel” Merle Haggard. I mean, as good as he was, between this and Gretchen Wilson’s god-awful “Politically Uncorrect”, I have no taste for that kind of ilk any more. As for first single “How ‘Bout You”, I guess the novelty of it makes it more of a winner than put in the context of a whole album of this stuff. I mean, if you’re really a bad-ass, you don’t really have to keep reminding us all you’re a bad-ass. In fact, Church must’ve ran out of clichés so to use “trust-fund” as a derogative on two songs (and isn’t your redneck republican politicians that are so intent on protecting such trust funds?). Out of this drivel, only “These Boots” somewhat succeeds with its toned-down reflection, and “Can’t Take It With You”, which has a hook that just won’t quit.

Now, as I said before, amongst this “product” is two real keepers, and what I hope are a sign of Church’s true talent. “Lightning” depicts a death-row inmate’s last moments, and it’s told with such a solemnity and regret that I was startled upon it eight songs in. In five minutes, he portrays the effect not only on the inmate, but his family and the family of his murder victim that is in no way preachy or aggressive. The second (and lesser) gem is second single “Two Pink Lines” which effectively does the John Mellencamp/Tom Cochrane treatment to a young couple’s crisis with waiting to see if the “rabbit died”.

Sinners Like Me is unfortunately too commercial and predictable to recommend as a whole. But if you can find it on the cheap, or want to head to I-Tunes or the like, it’s definitely worth picking up the two good tracks on here.

Grade: C-
Best Cuts:
“Lightning”, “Two Pink Lines”
Weakest Links: “Guys Like Me”, “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag”, “Sinners Like Me”

Sinners Like Me hit #29 pop albums and #7 country albums.
"How Bout You" hit #85 pop and #14 country singles.
"Two Pink Lines" made #19 country singles.
"Guys Like Me" so far made #124 pop and #23 country singles.

Listen: "Lightning" (link)

Buy: You can pick up Sinners Like Me at websites like here and here.

And here's the clip for first single "How Bout You"....

Music Video Codes By Music

next up the clip for "Two Pink Lines"...

Music Video Codes By Music

finally the current single, "Guys Like Me"...

Music Video Codes By Music

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


In know it's evil, but hey, he always played out like my kind were anyways...

(hat tip to Americablog)

Your name isn't Rio, but I don't care for sand...

It’s weird. Almost every “critical” review I’ve read about British band Arctic Monkeys’ debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not cites their disdain of rock critics, yet invariably heaps a tons of praise on them. Talk about self-deprecation. This type of hype usually forbodes a dud of an album, but in the Monkeys’ case luckily they do merit some of the lauds. However best British album of last year? Hmmm.

Coming from a garage-rock-type beginning with unequaled grassroots support from the Internet, the band shares a lot in common with another teen post-emo group, Fall Out Boy. There’s the loquacious and witty song titles, like “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me”, with some titles only fleetingly alluded to (if at all) in the lyrics. Then there’s the uniquely juvenile yet learned perspectives; even though the Monkeys’ songs portray lower-middle-class hooligan-type life, they don’t fall into the normal repetitive clichés found in other youth-driven genres (say heavy metal lyrics). “I Bet You Look Good…” was a smash not only because its rawness, but also its genuineness. “Fake Tales Of San Francisco”, along with “Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong” are great anti-culture rants, encouraging one to forgo the direction of what “corporate hipness” tells one to do. Human interaction is assailed in cuts like “Still Take You Home” and “When The Sun Goes Down”. But the highlights of the album is “Riot Van”, which most effectively paints the picture of British street life with a bit of heart, and “Mardy Bum”, strangely named for an almost-love song. While the album doesn’t contain any knockout punches, it’s very good, consistently good, and a much more satisfying listen than even the Libertines, who come to my mind when listening to this. This time, you can believe (at least some of) the hype.

Grade: B
Best Cuts:
“I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor”, “Fake Tales Of San Francisco”, “Riot Van”, “Mardy Bum”

Whatever You Say I Am, That's What I'm Not hit #24 in the US and #1 in the UK.
"I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" hit #103 pop, #7 modern rock, and #1 in the UK.
"When The Sun Goes Down" made #1 in the UK.
"Fake Tales Of San Francisco" made #40 modern rock.

Listen: "Mardy Bum" (link)

Buy: You can pick up Whatever You Say I Am... at sites like here and here.

Clips: First off, a live clip of the lead single "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"...

next up, the video for "When the Sun Goes Down"...

and here's a clip for "Fake Tales Of San Francisco"...

and as a bonus, the non-album single "Leave Before The Lights Come On"...