One of the things I just love doing that doesnÁ¢€â„¢t happen much anymore is laying on the couch, in the dark, listening to an album. As I get older, IÁ¢€â„¢m going to bed earlier, which limits how much time I have to listen to albums at night. However, my wife and I just had our first child, so I might be able to get back to it again.
I can hear all of you with children saying Á¢€Å“WTF, Steed? You think youÁ¢€â„¢ll be able to do anything ever again with a child in the house?Á¢€ Well, yes, I do. IÁ¢€â„¢m in a two-level condo with the master bedroom on the second floor and the babyÁ¢€â„¢s room on the first. So on nights where itÁ¢€â„¢s my turn to stay up with the baby, this may be a good chance to pop on an album since my wife will be upstairs with the door shut. I very well could be dreaming here and just havenÁ¢€â„¢t had enough experience yet with this whole fatherhood thing to understand that this just isnÁ¢€â„¢t going to happen, but I hold out hope at least.
Well anyway, the point of this was the music. ThereÁ¢€â„¢s just something about turning the lights off, shutting your eyes and listening to the right piece of music. One of my favorites is the 1996 self-titled release from Deadsy. ItÁ¢€â„¢s a rock album that moves at a snailÁ¢€â„¢s pace, with down-tuned guitars and z-tars that create a creepy mood.
Mostly though I listen to more conventional things, like StingÁ¢€â„¢s The Soul Cages, Huey Lewis and The NewsÁ¢€â„¢ Fore! or The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway from Genesis. They all just kind of take me to a nice comfortable place where nothing but the music exits. Most people just pull out the bong to get to a similar place, but I go to Peter Gabriel instead. (Why do I feel like IÁ¢€â„¢ve just done a Á¢€Å“music is my anti-drugÁ¢€ commercial?) I need to find that point again and get to it every now and then. Now, only if my boy will give daddy 45 minutes to do so.
ItÁ¢€â„¢s a doozy of week here, as there are more rare tracks in this one than in any other post so far. So without further ado, I give you more from the letter D as we continue to trudge through the muck at the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the ’80s.
Science! Thomas Dolby is a man I know I should like, but I was never really able to get into him. I like artists that are unique and I like synthpop, so this should have been a match made in heaven, but his quirkiness never really hit me the right away. Like for instance I just donÁ¢€â„¢t get where Á¢€Å“HyperactiveÁ¢€ is going. To me itÁ¢€â„¢s just a jumble of sounds that didnÁ¢€â„¢t necessarily need to be together.
Á¢€Å“Shaddap You FaceÁ¢€ — 1981, #53 (download)
Here we have just a simple, totally awesome song. According to Wikipedia there are at least 55 versions of this in 15 languages, including the aboriginal dialect of Injibundji. I call bullshit on this one until I hear it (which will clearly never happen so itÁ¢€â„¢s a lifetime bullshit call). You mean to say someone that actually speaks Injibundji decided to record a song and this was the one they picked? Shaddap You Face!
Á¢€Å“Shooting StarÁ¢€ — 1980, #74 (download)
You gotta love how the music industry works sometimes. According to the fan run website for Dollar, they released three albums and yet have more than a dozen different greatest hits discs. This track had potential — as it starts off sounding a bit Dream Academy-ish to me, but they lost me on the chorus which is underwhelming thanks to some horrible harmonies.
Á¢€Å“Wynken Blynken and NodÁ¢€ — 1981, #76 (download)
Á¢€Å“Keep This Train a RollinÁ¢€â„¢Á¢€ — 1981, #62 (download)
Á¢€Å“Here to Love YouÁ¢€ — 1982, #65 (download)
Á¢€Å“You Belong To MeÁ¢€ — 1983, #79 (download)
Á¢€Å“Need a Little Taste of LoveÁ¢€ — 1989, #45 (download)
Speaking of bands and music that soothes me, how about the Doobie Brothers? How can the soulful voice of Michael McDonald not just completely chill you out? And not only chill you out but get the head bobbinÁ¢€â„¢ and fingers snapping. I mean, Á¢€Å“Wynken, Blyken and NodÁ¢€ is a childrenÁ¢€â„¢s song and IÁ¢€â„¢m groovinÁ¢€â„¢ along just listening to it. This is just seriously funky music folks. And although it really is Michael McDonald that does it for me, their reunion tracks in 1989 without him still pack a punch.
The Doolittle Band
Á¢€Å“Who Were You ThinkinÁ¢€â„¢ OfÁ¢€ — 1980, #49 (download)
Actually released under the moniker Dandy and the Doolittle Band (which probably means it should have been a few posts earlier) this is a surprisingly good song. ItÁ¢€â„¢s got a bit of a Jimmy Buffett vibe to it, except for the interesting lyrical content — in which heÁ¢€â„¢s asking his girl who she was thinking of when they were knockinÁ¢€â„¢ boots the night before.
Á¢€Å“GloriaÁ¢€ — 1983, #71 (download)
If youÁ¢€â„¢re a regular of this series, you already know how I feel about this track. If youÁ¢€â„¢re not, then know that IÁ¢€â„¢m not a fan of live albums, this doesnÁ¢€â„¢t sound like a Culture Club song and most of all, I dislike the vast majority of music before the Á¢€Ëœ80s. This track is from Alive, She Cried — the Doors concert album – and was recorded in 1969. Lovely.
Á¢€Å“Night PulseÁ¢€ — 1983, #92 (download)
I really donÁ¢€â„¢t know much about Double Image and Á¢€Å“Night PulseÁ¢€ other than the fact that this wannabe new wave track sounds like it was made to be the theme song to some bad movie starring Lorenzo Lamas. The cheesiness of this song is evident from the very first line, Á¢€Å“I know a perfect place to put the beat/right on the bottom of your feet.Á¢€ Yikes.
Á¢€Å“RainÁ¢€ — 1984, #88 (download)
My wife told me that my top 80 of the Á¢€Ëœ80s list was pretty unimaginative while I was compiling it. And while being imaginative was not my goal, this song checking in at #63 helps point it in that direction at least. This was DragonÁ¢€â„¢s only hit in the U.S. though they are pretty big in their native Australia. IÁ¢€â„¢m surprised this was played at all since when they toured the states in the late Á¢€Ëœ70s they told one of their audiences in Texas that they were all gay. ThatÁ¢€â„¢s a great way to win over your crowd, isnÁ¢€â„¢t it?
Á¢€Å“DonÁ¢€â„¢t Want No-bodyÁ¢€ — 1980, #79 (download)
As a die-hard Philadelphia Phillies fan, IÁ¢€â„¢m naturally inclined to dislike someone named J.D. Drews since current major leaguer J.D. Drew is one of the most hated players in Phillies history. That of course has nothing to do with this guy or his song, but it just goes to show how silly my mind can be sometimes.
Shortened to Dr. Hook from their full moniker of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show by this point, these were three of the last singles they released. While I really like their 1980 hit Á¢€Å“Girls Can Get ItÁ¢€ I could never really get into their pretty generic adult sound. And yes, this should have been part of last week’s post as I should have spelled out “Doctor”. Hey, 26 posts and this is only the second error with the order. I’ll take it.
Á¢€Å“SomethingÁ¢€â„¢s On Your MindÁ¢€ — 1984, #79 (download)
D-Train was mainly James Á¢€Å“D-TrainÁ¢€ Williams who created some great funk tunes in the early Á¢€Ëœ80s. I was never a fan of his ballads, but most of his mid-tempo stuff like Á¢€Å“SomethingÁ¢€â„¢s On Your MindÁ¢€ were pretty smooth. D-Train checks in at #5 on my top 80 of the Á¢€Ëœ80s list with his song Á¢€Å“D-Train ThemeÁ¢€ which hit #45 on the dance charts despite being just a B-side of one of his singles. In a Bottom Feeders first, IÁ¢€â„¢m going to include it here, since itÁ¢€â„¢s so awesome. Á¢€Å“D-Train ThemeÁ¢€ — (download) Who knows, after this series is done maybe I do a Bottom Feeders supplement with the dance charts. If you want to check out James Williams today, you can hear him on the Heart & Soul channel on Sirius radio.
Best song — Dragon, Á¢€Å“RainÁ¢€ (Á¢€Å“D-Train ThemeÁ¢€ doesnÁ¢€â„¢t really count since itÁ¢€â„¢s technically not part of this series)
Worst song — Dollar, Á¢€Å“Shooting StarÁ¢€
Next week we close out the letter D with a quick post featuring one of the biggest artists of the decade and one of the biggest of all time.