In the Flanigan house, we are going through a lot of ch-ch-ch-changes as David Bowie once sang. He went on to sing-splain, “Changes are taking the pace I’m going through.” Hmm, let’s scratch that Bowie tune. Upon further review, I don’t have a clue as to what he’s talking about.
I seem to recall Buddy Miles singing about “Them Changes.” He came close to describing what’s going on when he sang, “Well my mind is goin’ through them changes.” Although it’s funky, it’s not a perfect fit. First, I’ve already lost my mind. Second, it’s my whole family going through changes.
I had to dig deep in the musical dustbin to find an original member of The Animals from the 1960s who sang a solo number called “Changes” on the 1973 soundtrack , album to the UK film O Lucky Man! There, ex-Animal Alan Price sang “Everyone is going through changes” to the tune of a church hymn. Whew! That was a roundabout way to explain that there is a lot of change going on in my house these days.
So, what are the ch-ch-ch-changes that I’m writing about?
I must admit that my guilty pleasure this TV season is American Idol. The talent is amazing as have been some of the song choices. Last night, I got to hear a unique version of “Chasing Pavements,” my favorite Adele song. But boy, did they offend me and probably a former Raspberry on Monday night’s show with another song.
When the contestants start performing a song, the title and artist who wrote the song or made it famous comes on the screen as a caption. I was shocked to see this come on the screen.
Can you see the problem that got me so angry that I turned red as a raspberry? I pleaded my case to my wife who humored me, primarily so she could get back to watching the show and ignoring me.
I challenge you to say that title 3 times fast. It almost didn’t happen for me. I have been recuperating from a nasty bout of acute bronchitis. Take my word for it that there’s nothing (a)cute about it. I spat something up onto the driveway from the depths of my diseased bronchi and watched in horror as it scurried under my car. I think it has latched onto the undercarriage of my vehicle and is tracking my travels, waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
But I felt just good enough to make the trip into Chicago to meet my oldest son for a concert. Yes, I survived yet another trip into Chicago, aka a crime-infested hellhole per Fox News. I parked on the street for free and had a pleasant walk to City Winery where we had a delightful dinner and saw EXTC in concert.
Before I get to EXTC, I pointed out to my son that the band from his first ever concert would be playing a show soon at City Winery.
He was unimpressed and claims he can’t recall the concert from when he was two years old. Sounds like someone is running from his past rather than embracing it. Anyway, back to last night’s show …
That’s where I got the title for today’s blog post. Yeah, I know I spelled angel wrong. I’ll get to that later. But this is not really a music post, and it has nothing to do with Prine, Raitt, or that song. However, I felt I needed to post something positive and beautiful before foisting this picture upon you on Arrestmas Eve.
I came later in life to an appreciation of Beck as a musical artist. I think it was his 2017 album Colors that really got me on the Beck train. It’s such a fun, vibrant pop album for adults. He dialed back the pop just a bit for Hyperspace in 2019, and then went somewhat quiet. He has put out one single a year since then, and “Thinking About You” is 2023’s absolute gem of a single.
I love the stripped-down arrangement using an acoustic guitar to lead us on a gentle journey through this beautiful song. And the lyrics? How about these to start the song?
Nobody is exempt from the ravages of time and aging … except maybe for QB Tom Brady. Nobody can cheat death … except maybe for Rolling Stone Keith Richards. I am no exception. As I age, I am finding that even my wrinkles have wrinkles. I get it. We get old. We get gross.
I accept that fact as I go concerting, seeing a mix of new and old acts. The old acts show some mileage and tread wear. That’s right, they look tired. See what I did there? I used some tire analogies and then the word tired?
Editor’s Note: He thinks he’s so clever. He’s not. Those “clever” tire references are nothing more than retread puns. See what I did there?
Anyhoo, Iggy Pop came to town this weekend. I would have liked to see one of the pioneers of punk, but he played the Salt Shed, a new music venue with no seating unless one wants to pay a lot more. I don’t. It’s probably for the best.
If I ever walk around the house without a shirt, my youngest daughter will cry out in despair, “Put a shirt on!” Now I know why. Here’s 75-year old shirtless Iggy on stage at the Salt Shed.
It happens to me twice a year. When the weather turns cold, I gain weight. When the weather warms up, I gain weight. I’m not quite sure why it works that way, but I am sure that it is damn annoying. It’s especially hard to accept in the spring after I have been doing this all winter with slices of pizza.
Springish weather has arrived early in Chicagoland this year (thank God), so I’m trying to get a jump on that weight gain as the seasons change. I don’t ever remember cycling in February before, but I made it out 4 times on my bike last month on my way to a planned 500 miles this season. How far did I get?
I had two very important tasks this week. I was interested in scoring Sprinsteen tickets for a summer concert in Wrigley Field, and I also needed to grab a ticket for my youngest daughter for Babysitter Training. No, that’s not a cool, hip band, although not a bad name for one. It’s actual training to be a babysitter offered through our public library, and it is a difficult ticket to land. Seats go fast when registration opens. I was on the library’s website ready to reserve a ticket until it asked me to login using my daughter’s library card number (no problem) and pin or password. Uh … that was a stumper. So, I grabbed the phone to call and register. I watched the available spots reduce in number online as the slowest moving librarian in history registered my daughter. No, I wasn’t too nervous.
But I was successful with a few spots to spare. I wonder how strong the reseller market is for a spot. Perhaps I can cash in. That would further justify my kids getting me this shirt last Father’s Day.
I was in the minority when Italian rock band Måneskin set the world on fire a year ago with their cover of the Four Seasons song “Beggin.” For me, hearing that song come on the radio or stream meant an immediate channel change or song skip. I hated that immensely popular song and the group’s overall sound. But now I feel vindicated.
I was afraid of this. I really liked the first song released a few months ago off the new White Reaper album, except for one little part. I’ll explain later, but here’s “Pages” from White Reaper’s Asking for a Ride.
They grabbed me with the acoustic guitar right from the start, and their transition from acoustic to rocking hard is seamless and organic. But for me, there is a little problem with the song and a big one with the album.
After the 12th vote, it’s becoming apparent that Kevin McCarthy will eventually become Speaker of the House. It may take one more vote. It may take twenty more votes. I have no idea, but I’m pretty confident that Republicans will eventually legitimately control the US House and the Speaker’s position, just like they tried to do violently and illegitimately two years ago. In the meantime, Republicans have occupied my mind. They have put a song in my head, and it controls my thoughts every time I see them roll out McCarthy to nominate him for another vote. This one …
It’s a lesser-known REM song, and the lyrics are quite political. But it’s not the lyrics or melody that the Republicans have stuck in my head. It’s the title. After each vote, I imagine Kevin McCarthy being dragged out of the House dead and then buried. When the new round of nominations start, I envision Republicans exhuming McCarthy and propping him up in the House for yet another vote.
It’s not my favorite REM song, probably because I don’t understand all the political lyrics. But I do understand the prescient lyrics at the end of the song that may be a glimpse into life in a Republican-controlled House the next two years.
“Exhuming McCarthy (Meet me at the book burning) Exhuming McCarthy (Meet me at the book burning)”
I had heard this newish 2022 song from Mt. Joy before, and my reaction was always, “Meh.” It’s fine, but a little loose and messy for my taste. Now if it was a pie, then that would be a different story. I do like Mt. Joy music, and I have enjoyed seeing them perform live in concert. My fave Mt. Joy song, especially live, is “Astrovan.”
But this recent Mt. Joy song never really caught my attention until I watched the video at the urging of a local radio DJ. I call this post “The Office Edition.” Not because the video takes place in an office, but because the video features a former employee of The Office.
Yep, the music video stars Creed Bratton who played Creed Bratton on the US television series The Office. That’s also the same Creed Bratton who was a member of 60’s rock band the Grass Roots. I love how Mt. Joy pays homage to a former rocker by featuring him in their video. And is Creed announcing a return to his musical (Grass) roots at the end of the video?
For all you youngsters who have never heard of the Grass Roots, here’s a great video with, of all people, Jimmy Durante introducing the Grass Roots. Try and spot Creed Bratton as the Grass Roots lip-sync through my favorite hit of theirs.
I’m considering a new blog feature of plays that are shorter than one-act plays. I think they’ll be a great fit for actors with memory challenges or audiences with short attention spans. See what you think.
A Friend Named Gwen
Curtain opens as a daughter approaches her father to ask a favor.
Daughter: Dad, can I have Gwen over?
Father (sarcastically): Stefani?
Daughter: No Doubt!
Curtain closes to hearty laughs and thunderous applause. By the way, my 14-year-old daughter who is having a friend named Gwen come over didn’t understand this. Choose your actors and audience carefully when presenting “A Friend Named Gwen.”
It’s been seven straight days of blogging about my favorite songs for each day of the week. I know how you feel. I’m sick of it, too. I really thought it would be easier. Well, we’ve reached Sunday, the final day, and I have a conundrum. I know, I should see a doctor about getting it removed. But seriously, my preference for a favorite song with Sunday in the title is this one.
I love Morrissey’s plaintive crooning backed with orchestral strings. But I can’t end a week of musical posts with Morrissey’s wailing. I feel the need to go out on a higher note. So, I’ve got one last song for you. It’s got an upbeat sound paired with a very snarky lyrical message about suburban life. Here it is, direct from the hit TV series …
I was thrilled to see the sun rise and shine this morning, just as I am on every cold day. If we can’t have heat, at least give us some sun. I knew immediately what song with Saturday in the title I was going to feature. Not since Monday was I so confident in a song. I am possibly suffering from recency bias as this is a newer song, but I just love the upbeat sound and the easy, uncomplicated lyrics. This song requires 0% thought to 100% enjoy it. It’s just a joy to listen to. So, here’s some musical joy from Vance Joy on a Saturday.
As I write this post, the sun is fading and I am reminded that’s it’s almost Saturday night and reminded of another great song with Saturday in the title.
After having a dreadful time finding favorite songs with Wednesday and Thursday in the titles, I am relieved to be at Friday with a plethora of songs from which to choose. Why are there so many songs about Friday? Well, it’s the start of the weekend and time to party, so people want to sing about it. I may be humming a tune myself as I clip my fingernails later on a Friday night. Now that’s a party!
Back in my younger days, I knew it was the weekend and time to party when Chicago radio station WXRT 93.1FM played Another Drugland Weekend by local band The Hounds at 5PM on Fridays. If not for that song, I’d probably still be in the church choir today. If you missed The Hounds in the 70s, don’t fret. You can catch them later this month playing in a bowling alley just across the border in Madison, Wisconsin. Really!
Who’s up for a short road trip? I know the promotional blurb above suggests ordering a cheeseburger, but when I eat at the Bowl-A-Vard Lanes, I prefer their coq au vin or lobster thermidor to satisfy my palate. Highly recommended!
But this isn’t supposed to be a post about songs with weekend in the title. I need to have Friday on my mind as I write this post, which leads me to …
There are some popular songs about Thursday like this link to a Jess Glyne tune with over 53 million views. But I promised a deeper dive into the music. Just like on Wednesday, I’m heading back to the mid-60s for my Thursday song. As I listen to this tune now, I can imagine some new age, indie artist named Noah in 2022 singing this. Instead, it’s a new age, indie dude named Donovan from almost 6 decades ago.
It’s just a mere wisp of a song, but so pretty with a timeless vibe to it. I think people in the 1500s would have dug it, too.
I’ll end this post on a sad note with an RIP for Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac fame. She had a voice like an angel and was a songwriting genius.
Despite having easy choices for Monday and Tuesday song faves, I find myself with no obvious choice for a preferred Wednesday tune. I do recall really admiring the political lyrics to this Macklemore creation post-2016 election.
But it’s not a song I would choose to listen to for enjoyment. I think my Wednesday song would have to be this one, if only for how beautiful it sounds.
Oh, those harmonies! Not my favorite S&G song, but it will have to suffice for my Wednesday tune. Back tomorrow with a strong song for Thursday … I hope.