Friday, February 29, 2008

Song 182 (ABBA--"The Visitors")



I have noticed that most of the ABBA songs I like are usually off of one of their two last albums; this one being the title track off of their last album. Their music became less "poppy" and more progressive during this period. This is another very interesting song with excellent and odd arrangements; it's very "electronic" in sound and the lyrics are a bit cryptic to say the least. To me, this song has always seemed to be about someone who had a mental disorder that was paranoid and thinking that the person at the door was someone who meant ill will. However, later I found out that the song was about meetings between people in Soviet occupied countries trying to avoid the secret police; I guess that I was kind of right.
The song has a lot of layers to it and I almost find it impossible to hear everything at once, every time I listen to it I hear something else that I missed before. The main "hook" to this song that I really like is when it moves from the verses to the chorus.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is an extended remix on YouTube.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Song 181 (Blues Image--"Ride Captain Ride")



This is an excellent song from the late 60's/early 70s that was in need of being picked.
Blues Image was a band that had great potential but ended up being a flash in the pan so to speak. This was really their only hit, however many members of the band went on to join other acts of renown, such as: Alice Cooper, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash to name a few.

Here is a fan video with the studio version on YouTube.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Song 180 (Steve Winwood--"Roll With It")



Needing a good uplifting and fun song today; Mr. Winwood did not fail me. This song is at least in my top five compositions by Steve Winwood if not my favourite. It has an interesting quality about it, the sound is not dated and feels fresh even though it is twenty years old; a nice mix of soul and rock. What is amazing is watching him perform live; this guy does it all on stage. Probably the best aspect of his live performances is watching him play the organ whilst singing. You see him playing intricately on the manuals and playing the pedalboard as well while singing; simply mindblowing.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Song 179 (Ozzy Osbourne--"Changes")



This song just fit my mood today, so I am picking it. This song is was kind of the "cool off" song at the end of the "Live and Loud" album and is quite maudlin.
Probably my favorite memories of this song was while playing the original Grand Theft Auto. If you let the level load then changed out the disc for a music CD it would play the music off of the CD in place of the game music. It was quite comical chasing people around the city with a flamethrower while this song played.

Here is a recording on YouTube.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Song 178 (Ricky Nelson--"Garden Party")



The other day this song came on the radio and I was planning on picking it since, but other songs got in the way.
From what I have read, this song is about a rock and roll revival concert that happened in '71 at Madison Square Garden where he and other greats of the 1950s performed.
He did not change his fashion to fit the event and played music that he was into at the time, which was more Country influenced. This apparently did not fit well with the audience, and as the legend goes, he was booed off stage. Another story was that the audience was booing the police that were trying to control the crowd and Ricky Nelson thought it was him who was being booed.

Here is a live performance of the song on YouTube.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Song 177 (Jethro Tull--"Rare And Precious Chain")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/da/JethroTullRootstoBranches.jpg

I have been picking a song from each Jethro Tull era on Sundays from their first to their current. For me, this is the 12th era, which consists of two 'Tull albums and two Ian Anderson solo albums; from about '94 to about '02. The previous eras can be found in this blog on songs: 100, 107, 114, 121, 128, 135, 142, 149, 156, 163, and 170.

This era was best known for the eastern and middle-eastern influences in the music; it's a very creative, artistic era. The album Roots to Branches was a very different album than I had ever heard before from 'Tull and took quite a while for me to warm up to it. It seemed a bit too cynical and dark at times, but it has good messages in the songs and sees a lot of play in my rotation to this day. J-Tull Dot Com was not as different from previous albums when compared to Roots to Branches, so it was a little less difficult for me to get used to. It has a lot of harder songs in it and is a bit more uplifting than Root to Branches in my opinion.
One aspect of these albums that I found odd was the large amount of love songs; it must have been part of the era. There were two Ian Anderson solo albums released during this time as well, The Divinities: Twelve Dances with God, and The Secret Language of Birds. Both these albums are okay, however the only one of these that gets play in my machine is Twelve Dances with God, which consists of modern classical music with themes from each of the world's major religions. Funny enough a video game that I played a lot, "Alundra," which came out two years later, had a level called "A Dance With Nirude," who was a minor deity of sorts in the game; I have always wondered if there was a connection.
Secret Language of Birds only sees very little play from me and I consider it to be his weakest solo album; it is somewhat similar to "J-Tull Dot Com" musically. The "stand outs" for me on Roots to Branches are: Roots to Branches, Rare and Precious Chain, Valley, At Last, Forever, and Stuck in the August Rain. On J-Tull Dot Com the standouts for me are: Spiral, Dot-Com, Wicked Windows, Hunt By Numbers, Bends Like A Willow, and Gift of Roses.
The band lineup only changed a bit in that during the recording of Roots to Branches when David Pegg left to go back to his band Fairport Convention full time. On the album, he was replaced by session bassist Steve Bailey of "Bass Extremes" on the other tracks. After this album Jonathan Noyce was made the permanent bassist.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Song 176 (The Beatles--"Across The Universe")


Last night I rented the movie Across The Universe, which is a musical movie similar to the film: "Grease."
All of the music in the film was Beatles music sung by the cast of the movie. One of the aspects of it that I didn't like was constantly hearing software compensating for the actors' vocal shortcomings, although there were a few that actually were good at singing. It was funny seeing Bono play a Timothy Learyesque character and Joe Cocker made random appearances as well.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Song 175 (Lobo--"A Big Red Kite")

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EbskO2AoL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Last night I was unwinding playing along with random songs from my iPod's playlist on my bass and this one came on. It's a good song that I have always really liked; a nice song to unwind to. I love the mixing of this album a lot and the musicianship as well, especially the bass lines.

Not surprising, there are no versions of this song on YouTube or any other service that I can find. That's the problem with a lesser-known artist on the Warner label.

Here are at least the lyrics:

I know I owe you a better time
Then the way that I've been
But something's messing with my mind
And it's not giving in

They say that I should want to be
A man who leads us all
But every time I look I see
Another leader fall.

So I'm gonna sit in a green field
And fly a big red kite I'm gonna
Send my mind up the string and I'm
gonna get it right.

They say that I should want to have
A big bank account
What Uncle Sam don't take from me
Man I don't need to count.

So I'm gonna sit in a green field
And fly a big red kite I'm gonna
Send my mind up the string and I'm
gonna get it right.

They say that I should want to stand
For what I don't believe
I'm sitting thinking to myself
What kind of man could leave.

So I'm gonna sit in a green field
And fly a big red kite I'm gonna
Send my mind up the string and I'm
gonna get it right.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Song 174 ("Yes--Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (schindleria praematurus)")



This is one of my absolute favourite songs from Yes. What I really like about this song the most is Chris Squire's bass and the keyboards. It is more of a musician's song in my opinion; the overall complexity of the song really could cause a casual listener to become lost and would not really be able to appreciate the piece in full.

Here is the "Long Distance Runaround" section on YouTube.
Here is the "The Fish: (Schindleria Praematurus)" section on YouTube.
Here is a live performance circa '04 on YouTube.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Song 173 (R.E.O. Speedwagon--"Back on the Road Again")



I really did not have a song ready to pick, so once again I "spun" the playlist and this one came up. I really got into this song when I watched the "Arch Allies" concert on T.V. a while ago. When the song started, their bassist Bruce Hall started off with a nice bass solo that got my attention. I really like that the song has a real hard edge to it, plus the guitar is excellent.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Song 172 (Rush--"Vital Signs")



I was playing along with this song the other night and afterward thought that it would be an excellent pick. The lyrics and the subject matter seems to be about mental problems brought on by stress and/or about being your own individual.
Anyway, while most of the song is awesome, what is really cool about the song is the bass's counter-line to the synthesizer's line; it fills it out quite well. There is a lot of layers to this song, which is probably why, in fact I like it so much.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from their p/g tour on YouTube.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Song 171 (Yoko Kanno (The Seat Belts)--"Tank!")



This song is one of Yoko Kanno's songs that was used as the theme for the animé Cowboy Bebop; the tune is, as the title of the animé suggests, in the Bop Jazz style and performed by the band "The Seat Belts." Most individuals who do not know who Yoko Kanno is probably have heard her work if they watch animé, play video games, or watch Japanese T.V. or movies because she is very prolific in all of these stages as a composer/songwriter/musician. The musicianship and the songwriting itself in this song are beyond excellent and the song is very fun to listen to and play.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is an awesome live performance on YouTube.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Song 170 (Jethro Tull--"Rocks On The Road")



For those unaware, I've been picking a song from each of Jethro Tull's "eras" from beginning to present on Sundays. This is what is the 11th era of Jethro Tull for me, the previous eras picks can be found in this blog on songs: 100, 107, 114, 121, 128, 135, 142, 149, 156, and 163.

I noticed that many bands and artists that started in the 60's and '70s had their "back to our roots" era around this time, (the early '90s); Jethro Tull was no different. The album title Catfish Rising was in reference to the Blues from the early years coming to resurface. Most of the band remained unchanged from the previous era, however a few changes happened in the lineup on keyboard: Foss Paterson, John Bundrick, and Andy Giddings (who would be their keyboardist for the next 15 years) shared duties on Catfish Rising. David Mattacks also filled in on tour on keyboards and some drums. For me this period is from 1990 to about 1994 and consists of only two albums that I would consider to be new sounding: Catfish Rising and A Little Light Music, with the latter being a live album. While the material on the live album for the most part was old material, it was brought forth in a very new sounding way. They also had a couple of other albums during this period that were either greatest hits albums or an album that consisted of unreleased material called Nightcap; there was also a boxed set as well. The album Catfish Rising was the main album from this time and is actually an excellent offering by the band. The highlights of this album to me are: "This is Not Love," "Occasional Demons," Rocks on the Road," Thinking Around Corners," "Doctor to my Disease," "Like a Tall Thin Girl," and "White Innocence." It's a very good album very much worth a listen.

This song is about a traveling salesman, which some believe is Ian himself peddling his goods; which would be his music. The song describes what he sees looking out the hotel room window and what is going through his mind as he is in the room, going down to the bar and such. I really like how the song starts repeating the first verse at the end to symbolize that this person is constantly on the road. Mostly I believe that this song is about a longing for home when on the road and being sick of your surroundings and trying to find something good and entertaining.

Here is a fan video with the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the song from A Little Light Music on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Song 169 (Jon Oliva’s Pain--"Guardian Of Forever")



Last night I was thinking of this song, so I decided to pick it. This band, Jon Oliva's Pain, is what the band Savatage became. They have released two albums: 'Tage Mahal and Maniacal Renderings and are working on their third at this moment.
This song is about the sorrows and happiness that has happened throughout history through the eyes of an immortal being called the "Guardian of Forever." The sad part of the song is this "Guardian of Forever" is almost an ultimate victim because all he can do is sit and watch the horrors and do nothing about it. The music and vocals, as with every other Jon Oliva song, is exceptional in every aspect. I think that when Jon made this group it might have freed him to follow a more progressive path rather than making Savatage music forever; still most of the heavy Savatage sound is still there. A lot more of his influences can be heard here as well, I hear a lot of John Lennon's influence in parts of this song.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Song 168 (Bon Jovi--"It’s My Life")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b7/BonJoviCrushalbumcover.jpg

Ever since I first heard this song I liked it; it got ingrained in my mind mostly because it was released about the time that wife and I were dating. She had just bought the CD, so it got played a lot when we were driving around.
I find that the song itself is an anthem to an individual being free and living his/her life by his/her own rules and ignoring and fighting those who would dictate how to live.
Musically, this song is pretty awesome, no one instrument seems to "showboat" as much in this one; all of the members come together to make an excellent sound. The keyboard's counter-line is especially key in my opinion to fill this song out really well. One aspect that I like about this song is Hugh McDonald's bass playing, he and Tico really round out the rhythm section quite well; it is a shame that Hugh McDonald has never been made an official band member.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Song 167 (The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown--"Fire (I am the god of Hellfire)")



This is an odd ball song that probably puts most people off when the first thing you hear is: "I am the god of hell fire! And I bring you... Fire!" I think that if a person takes the song less seriously one can find the humour in it. It is another song that could be considered a mood song as well.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a music video on YouTube.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Song 166 (The Offspring--"Come Out And Play")



I had a couple of songs ready for today, however, this one popped into my mind and I thought that it would make an excellent pick instead. The key aspect to this song is the main guitar riff, without it the song would not be nearly as good as it is; the drums are another key point as well that makes it very good. On the surface the lyrical content and vocals might seem to be hateful, however they are actually kind of a call to action. For me this song is definitely a mood song, when listening to this song it is key to crank it up.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Song 165 (Rammstein--"Spieluhr")



After listening to most of my Rammstein library yesterday I came across this one, which is actually my favourite from the band, and decided to pick it. This song, as with almost every other song on the Mutter album, is rather disturbing in its lyrical content and subject matter. However, the arrangements are almost operatic and are powerful. Till's voice gives so much to the song in emotion or lack thereof in differing parts of the song; I absolutely love the way the chorus is played and sung.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Song 164 (Rammstein--"Zerstören")



I needed to listen to some very loud Industrial Metal today and Rammstein fit the bill very nicely. This is a kick ass song when one is in the mood for just cranking it and headbang.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Song 163 (Jethro Tull--"Said She Was a Dancer")



For the last little bit I have been picking a song from each of the Jethro Tull eras from beginning to end on Sundays. The earlier eras can be found in this blog on songs: 100, 107, 114, 121, 128, 135, 142, 149, and 156.

For me, this era, the 10th, is known as "the comeback era" and also one of my favorites. For me, it consists of two albums: Crest of a Knave and Rock Island; from about '86 to 89. Crest of a Knave was their big comeback after the album Under Wraps and Rock Island was the continuation. Most 'Tull fans love these albums, but not as much as other albums, however I like them a lot. During this period Ian's voice was damaged and the music was recorded in a lower key than usual to compensate.
During this time there was a lot of movement with personnel. In Crest of a Knave they had two drummers: Doane Perry and Gerry Conway, they also used electronic "canned drums" as well in a couple of tracks; Ian also took over on keyboard playing as well. On Rock Island, Doane Perry remained on drums. Peter-John Vettese and Martin Allcock both played keyboards on different tracks.
The are really no weak tracks on Crest of a Knave in my opinion; even the ones that might be weaker have a lot of good qualities. The songs on Rock Island are very good as well, the standouts for me are: "Kissing Willie," "Ears of Tin," "Rock Island," and "Heavy Water." The musicianship and songwriting during this period was quite mature compared with their previous works; they weren't too flashy, but precise.

To me, this song is about how people perceive each other. The lyrics of the song are very intricate and tell a story of a man from the Cold War West and a Woman from The Cold War East getting to know one another in a bar. Probably the bast part of the song is Martin Barre's guitar solo, which in my opinion is one of his best. Every aspect of this song does not disappoint at all.

Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Song 162 (Band of Horses--"Is There a Ghost?")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/53/Ceasetobegin.jpg

I have been listening to this song a lot lately and I could not believe that I didn't pick it yet. It was released late last year on their Cease to Begin album, which in my opinion has very little weak material at all. I have come to really like the Band of Horses; it has been a while since I have been excited about a new American band.
Anyway, this song is simple in most every aspect, but still delivers with its simplicity; the overall feel of the song is quite powerful. The lyrical content is the point from which the song receives most if its criticism because of the lack of a lot of lyrics: about 15 words total are spoken; however they are arranged in a Haiku of sorts.

Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Song 161 (Savatage--"Devastation")



I have noted in the past that if I pick songs from the same band two days in a row most of the time it will be Savatage; today is no different. I was letting the Hall of the Mountain King album play all of the way through and this song came on. What is different is that I had heard this song before, but this time I payed more attention to it and found quite a bit more to the song than before; kind of a re-discovery of sorts.
The song deals with the subject matter of end of the World with aspects from the Bible's book of Revelation. What I found quite funny is that the song says that the year 2000 brings the end of the human race, even though that year came and went some years ago. My favourite aspect of this song is Jon Oliva's songwriting and vocals, I love how he sings along in syncopation with the drums in certain parts of the song.

Hear Devastation on YouTube.
Watch a live performance on the song with Last Dawn as well on YouTube.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Song 160 (Savatage-"Tonight He Grins Again")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/StreetsARockOpera.jpg

Yesterday I was thinking about this song because it fit my mood pretty well, so I decided to pick it today.
This is another song from the Streets Rock Opera and this song represents the first of two "rock bottoms" of the main character who is a heavy metal star called "D.T. (Down Town) Jesus." This music is so theatrical and deep, I am always finding new aspects of the song every time I listen to it.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a rather nice live performance on YouTube.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Song 159 (Three Dog Night--"Celebrate")



This song has been going through my head a lot today; it must mean that I need to pick it. This is another song that builds and falls to make a very dynamic sound. It has a lot of layers; the arrangements and the musicianship are just excellent. As with most Three Dog Night songs, the vocals are incredible; I love how all three of the singers switch leads and harmonies quite easily. When I heard this song live in concert a while ago, the crowd was very much into this song at specific sections.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance circa '75 on YouTube.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Song 158 (Rush--"The Body Electric")

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IA5POTMPL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

I was playing along with this song last night and thought that it would be an excellent pick. The best part of this song for me is the drums; even though it is still in a basic 4/4 time signature Neil Peart really makes it sound like it's so much more. Everything else in the song blends very well together; I really like how they are able to play Sci-Fi lyrics and make it listenable to everyone. This is one of my favourite, if not my favourite, Rush album, which is a bit odd I guess, mostly because many Rush fans dislike much of it.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Song 157 (Bonnie Tyler--"Total Eclipse of the Heart")

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YX3mSH7zL._SX425_.jpg

Last night this song came up on my iPod while we were on the road, and I decided to make it my pick for today.
This is a very interesting song that would be at home in an opera or at least a Broadway performance; it has a very big sound to it. I love how the song builds and gets even larger and the song then goes into a organ solo and builds back again. Her voice is another strong aspect of the song, which makes it an excellent piece of music; I love the emotion that she puts behind her singing.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a Top of the Pops performance on YouTube.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Song 156 (Jethro Tull--"Later, That Same Evening")



I have picking a song from each of the Jethro Tull eras on Sundays from beginning to end, the other eras are on songs: 100, 107, 114, 121, 128, 135, 142, and 149 in this blog.

For my 9th era of 'Tull in my opinion there is again one album: Under Wraps; it is probably their most hated album among fans, to put it bluntly. Very electronic and new wave in a way, the sound is quite different from almost every other album they released; I think that it was because it was an experimental album of sorts. While Under Wraps is different and became alienated by most 'Tull fans, it still has its charm; it is quite similar to the material written by many artists of the time period. Interestingly enough, on this album Ian actually gave up some of the creative process to Peter-John Vettese and Martin Barre.
As a side note, Ian Anderson's first solo album, Walking Into The Light was released the same year and is quite similar to this album in many aspects; it is almost a twin to it.
The only band member change from the previous era was Doane Perry (their current drummer) on drums, however, on the album they used a drum machine a lot, so he was not really featured there. Even though the album is not their best, there are a few tracks of note: "Lap of Luxury," "Under Wraps," "European Legacy," "Later, That Same Evening," and "Saboteur." After this album Ian's voice started to give out a bit because of how difficult the songs from this album were to sing, 17 years of touring without vocal training, and the electronics used exacerbated the problem; he never really sounded the same after this album.

A lot of the material for this album was based off of spy novels read by Ian while he was on the road, this song is probably the one on the album that epitomizes this. There is a lot I like about this song in particular, especially the bluesy feel to it. The verses are probably the strong point to the song itself because of how they blend the music and the narrative so well.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from '84 on YouTube with the song Under Wraps as well, Later, That Same Evening starts at the 4:50 mark.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Song 155 (Kohei Tanaka--"Kline’s Dream")



I debated a lot about picking songs from video games, however, much the music that is played behind some video games is in fact quite good; so I decided to go ahead and pick a song from a video game that I believe is quite excellent.
This song is from the video game "Alundra," which is an RPG similar to "Land Stalker" and "Zelda" that emphasized puzzle solving over monster killing. It was released in '97 and was one of the last bastions of 2D graphics, however it overcame this weakness with a great: storyline, soundtrack, and gameplay; plus the graphics were quite good for being 2D.
As far as the soundtrack, it was all written and composed by Kohei Tanaka; the whole score to the game has been called "Neo-Classical" by some. In most games the music was meant to stay in the background, however the music from certain parts of the game almost never stayed in the background and almost demanded attention. In my opinion this song was one of the best to be found in the game, however it only played in one level: Kline's Dream. However, later in the game Kohei Tanaka actually made an appearance in the game itself in a house where you could listen to any of the tracks of the game.
With many game companies today taking music from recording artists' actual albums for their soundtracks rather than having the music composed for the game itself; ones like this are becoming quite rare.

Here is a fan video with the song on YouTube.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Song 154 (Little River Band--"Reminiscing")



I caught this song the other day on the radio and had not heard it in some time; I've always had a fondness for it, so I decided to pick it today. It is like a lot of the light rock from the late '70s, it has a bit of a disco touch to it in the beat with the light airy feel as well. I usually don't like a lot of music from this genre, however I do like this one in particular. Probably the best part for me is way the chorus is constructed and feels.
I find it very funny at how the band got their name; I heard it story in an interview on a radio show quite a while ago. Apparently they were picking the name of the band and for some reason they decided to go with what was written on the next road sign. They happened by the town of "Little River" and that became their name. One of the members of the band in the interview is thankful that there was no landfill or something similar on the road at that point.

Here is a video with the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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