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Pride 50

On June 28, 1969, what was supposed to be a routine raid on a gay bar by the New York City police turned violent when patrons at the Stonewall Inn fought back, thus setting off the gay liberation movement. That pivotal moment was recognized one year later with a gathering in New York’s Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall Inn is located, and Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago. The following year, Gay Pride marches sprang up in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin and Stockholm. The Pride movement grew with each passing year, and it continues to expand to this day.

Tunes du Jour celebrates 50 years of Pride with today’s playlist. Be seen. Be heard. Be proud. Celebrate. Love.

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My Top 99 Songs Of 2018

I listened to a lot of music. I crunched the numbers. The result? My top 99 songs of 2018. Here they be, followed by a Spotify playlist:

1. Make Me Feel – Janelle Monae
2. Ric Flair Drip – Offset & Metro Boomin
3. Nice for What – Drake
4. Alone – Halsey featuring Big Sean & Stefflon Don
5. Where Angels Fear to Tread – Disclosure
6. Mr. Tillman – Father John Misty
7. Thunderclouds – LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo)
8. IDGAF – Dua Lipa
9. This Is America – Childish Gambino
10. Finesse – Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B
11. Stir Fry – Migos
12. LOVE. – Kendrick Lamar featuring Zacari
13. Missing U – Robyn
14. Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
15. The Weekend – SZA vs Calvin Harris
16. Mona Lisa – Lil Wayne featuring Kendrick Lamar
17. Boys – Lizzo
18. Lemon – NERD featuring Rihanna
19. Honey – Robyn
20. Boo’d Up – Ella Mai
21. Now – Miguel
22. High Horse – Kacey Musgraves
23. Apeshit – The Carters
24. Tints – Anderson .Paak feat. Kendrick Lamar
25. 5 Dollars – Christine and the Queens
26. Nameless, Faceless – Courtney Barnett
27. When I’m with Him – Empress Of
28. Two Slow Dancers – Mitski
29. Nobody – Mitski
30. Got My Name Changed Back – Pistol Annies
31. 1999 WILDFIRE – BROCKHAMPTON
32. I Like It – Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin
33. I Might Need Security – Chance the Rapper
34. Microfiche – Open Mike Eagle
35. If You Know You Know – Pusha T
36. All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar with SZA
37. Mr. Jukebox – Joshua Hedley
38. Crayons – CupcakKe
39. Washing Machine Heart – Mitski
40. Pynk – Janelle Monae featuring Grimes
41. Duck Duck Goose – CupcakKe
42. Bloom – Troye Sivan
43. He’s Got His Mother’s Hips – John Grant
44. HEAVEN – The Blaze
45. Day I Die – The National
46. Fast Slow Disco – St. Vincent
47. Kong – Neneh Cherry
48. Sangria Wine – Pharrell Williams and Camila Cabello
49. Look Alive – BlocBoy JB featuring Drake
50. Yes Indeed – Lil Baby featuring Drake
51. BOOGIE – BROCKHAMPTON
52. Need a Little Time – Courtney Barnett
53. You Should See Me in a Crown – Billie Eilish
54. Bardier Cardi – Cardi B featuring 21 Savage
55. SAN MARCOS – BROCKHAMPTON
56. Bad Bad News – Leon Bridges
57. Fireworks – First Aid Kit
58. Party for One – Carly Rae Jepsen
59. New Rules – Dua Lipa
60. I’ll Never Love Again – Lady Gaga
61. La Di Da – The Internet
62. Doesn’t Matter – Christine and the Queens
63. Moon River – Frank Ocean
64. No Tears Left to Cry – Ariana Grande
65. 1999 – Charli XCX and Troye Sivan
66. Only Love – Mary J. Blige
67. Pissed – Saweetie
68. Chun Li – Nicki Minaj
69. Powerglide – Rae Sremmurd featuring Juicy J
70. Call out My Name – The Weeknd
71. A$AP Forever – A$AP Rocky featuring Moby
72. Sword of Damocles – Rufus Wainwright
73. Back 2 You – Selena Gomez
74. Christmas Song – Phoebe Bridgers
75. The Gypsy Faerie Queen – Marianne Faithfull
76. Doves in the Wind – SZA featuring Kendrick Lamar
77. Suspirium – Thom Yorke
78. Charity – Courtney Barnett
79. If You’re Over Me – Years & Years
80. My My My! – Troye Sivan
81. Time Today – Kero Kero Bonito
82. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino – Arctic Monkeys
83. A Little Pain – Margo Price
84. Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song) – Bleachers
85. In My Feelings – Drake
86. Django Jane – Janelle Monae
87. Meteorological – Guerilla Toss
88. Psycho – Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign
89. Entitlement Crew – The Hold Steady
90. oh baby – lcd soundsystem
91. God’s Plan – Drake
92. Electricity – Silk City with Dua Lipa
93. Trouble on Central – Buddy
94. BBO (Bad Bitches Only) – Migos featuring 21 Savage
95. MJ – Now, Now
96. Walk It Talk It – Migos featuring Drake
97. The Ways – Khalid featuring Swae Lee
98. Girlfriend – Christine and the Queens
99. Geyser – Mitski


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Not Your Typical LGBTQ+ Pride Playlist

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Tune du Jour celebrates with this playlist consisting of two hundred songs by and/or about Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts and Qs. Happy Pride!

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Not In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame*: Carole King

“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have Bon Jovi as a member.”
– Groucho Marx

On April 14, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct several worthwhile acts and Bon Jovi. Over the coming weeks, Tunes du Jour will spotlight artists that are eligible for induction (i.e. they commercially released their debut recording at least 25 years ago), but have not been inducted as they are not as talented, innovative or influential as Bon Jovi.

Today we look at and listen to Carole King. King is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a songwriter. With her ex-husband Gerry Goffin, King wrote so many rock and roll classics, including “Will You Still Love me Tomorrow,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Up on the Roof,” “The Loco-motion,” “One Fine Day,” “I’m Into Something Good,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

While her admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a songwriter is well-deserved, her induction as a performer is long overdue. Her landmark 1971 album Tapestry spent 15 consecutive weeks at #1 in the US and has sold over 25 million copies to date. It won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, with its track “It’s Too Late” winning Record of the Year and its “You’ve Got a Friend” winning Song of the Year, making King the first female solo act to win either of those last two. However, it’s not about sales and awards, right Bon Jovi? The influence of Tapestry coupled with the other smash records King released in the 1970s was heard on the records of her singer-songwriter contemporaries such as James Taylor and Laura Nyro and remained consistent through the years and changing pop music trends, up to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga and beyond.

She is a terrific recording artist as well as a stellar songwriter. Still, she never wrote or recorded the lyrics “’Cause a bottle of vodka is still lodged in my head.” Do you know who did? Bon Jovi.

Here are twenty of Carole King’s finest performances.


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The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Today is the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States of America. You’re officially allowed to start listening to holiday music now. To get you started, I compiled a playlist of what I consider to be 100 of the best Christmas songs. Okay, 98 songs, a stand-up routine and a skit. It’s a mix of standards, versions of standards with which you may not be familiar, and obscure but delightful tunes.

Enjoy!

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It’s National Cell Phone Courtesy Month And I Need To Dance!

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. Seriously. I didn’t make that up.

The fact that we need a National Cell Phone Courtesy Month says a lot about our country. Cell phones are ubiquitous. People are self-centered sphincters. You need to be courteous for only one month per year.

We use cell phones to text people we don’t feel like talking to. We use them to show the world what food looks like. We use them to film police officers murdering unarmed black citizens. Sometimes we use them as phones. Naomi Campbell has been known to use hers as a weapon.

Here are some cell phone courtesy tips:
Don’t use your cell phone during business meetings! Those meetings are set by executives who need their egos stroked by having people gather in a room to hear them bloviate and accomplish nothing. How can they adequately waste your time if you’re getting things done on your cell phone? That’s cheating. Put the phone away, unless you’re one of the senior execs who need the ego stroking. Then by all means check your phone while people sit in the conference room waiting for the meeting to be over. They already think you’re rude, so why not take that as far as you can? Sphincter!

Reply to your text messages promptly! Don’t keep someone in suspense who needs to know what you think of their alleged witticism. Send an emoji. They’ll probably then respond with a different emoji, meaning you’ll have to answer that as well. Next thing you know, the whole day is shot, you got nothing done, but the insecure person who initiated the text conversation feels a little bit better about themselves, so it’s all worth it. If you’re at a meeting when a text message comes in, don’t respond right away! Wait until the egomaniacal sphincter who called the meeting isn’t looking at you, which will be most of the meeting as his only concern is the sound of his own voice. Hold your phone under the table and reply. That works every time.

Don’t use your phone while on a date! That is so rude! Someone is taking the time to get to know you and try to enjoy a meal with you. Not paying attention to them demonstrates your complete lack of manners. There are exceptions to this rule. If the person bores you to tears, text your best friend and tell him to call you with a made-up emergency. If your best friend doesn’t reply promptly (rude!) and your date is droning on and on about how “all lives matter” or how great the band Chicago is, break the monotony of his or her blather by photographing your food and showing the pic to your date. He or she will be astonished at how much the food in the photo looks like the food on the table in front of him or her, and for a moment, will cease his or her otherwise endless babble. If that doesn’t work, just run out of the restaurant. What do you care? You have no intention of seeing him/her again anyway. Don’t forget to block them on your phone so they can’t text or call you again.

Set your phone to silent or vibrate while in a movie theater, a Broadway show, or a house of worship on your wedding day. Do the same thing if you die. It’s so awkward to be at a funeral and hear “Thong Song” emanate from the deceased. Mourners won’t know if it’s okay to laugh, and that song will be stuck in everyone’s head for the rest of the day, just like it will be stuck in yours for the next few hours. That thong-th-thong-thong-thong.

Don’t be staring at your cellular device while walking on a crowded sidewalk or while in a shopping mall with a large fountain. I take that back. Stare at it in the mall. I can never get enough of that video of that woman who fell into the mall fountain while staring at her device. Remember her? Then she sued the mall! LOL! If you see someone at the mall who is so busy staring at their device that they’re about to fall into the fountain, PLEASE, take out your phone and film it! Post it on the Internet. Humiliate them so they learn proper cell phone etiquette, but only do so if it is July.

I hope these tips help you avoid being a complete sphincter while out in public.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Our weekly dance party kicks off with the Lady Gaga/Beyoncé collaboration, “Telephone.”


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Meet Oscar Nominee Anohni

In a moment I’ll introduce you to Anohni, who was nominated for an Oscar this year in the category of Best Original Song, but first I want to talk a little about Kesha, Grimes and Sam Smith.

You may have heard about Kesha’s much-publicized battle to get out of her recording agreement. She claims that Dr. Luke, the producer to whose company, Kemosabe Records, she is signed, drugged and sexually assaulted her on several occasions. As a courtroom proceeding about those allegations had not yet been tried, a New York Supreme Court justice denied Kesha’s motion for a preliminary inunction extraditing her from recording for Kemosabe.

This led to the proliferation of the hashtag #FreeKesha. A group of fans protested outside Sony Music’s headquarters, demanding that the music corporation free Kesha. Kesha isn’t signed to Sony Music, but no matter. Sony should cease distribution of Kemosabe Records, which would leave Kesha still signed to Kemosabe, but hey – it was a nice day for a good protest, and what else is there in the world to complain about? Ongoing wars? Poisoned public water supplies? Human rights violations? More important to get a pop star out of her recording agreement. #Priorities

Many public figures offered support to Kesha, among them Lady Gaga, Lily Allen, Adele, Janelle Monáe, Fiona Apple, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato, Tegan and Sara, HAIM, Alessia Cara, Lorde, Wale, Best Coast, George Takei, Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, Lena Dunham, Mariska Hargitay, Troye Sivan, Halsey, Iggy Azalea, Sara Bareilles, JoJo, Adam Lambert, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Margaret Cho, Zedd, and Jack Antonoff. Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with her financial needs.

Also supporting Kesha is Claire Elise Boucher, the Canadian singer-songwriter who records under the name Grimes. In response to a question from a Time Out reporter about Kesha’s legal situation, Grimes, whose “Kill v. Maim” is #3 this week in Glenn’s Ten, said the following about recording agreements: “You shouldn’t be allowed to sign a human being, regardless of what the allegations are or what anyone said or did. It’s basically like slavery.” Yes, making millions of dollars doing your dream job is basically the same as being forcibly taken from your home and forced to do a job you don’t want to do for no pay, much like Spaghetti Carbonara is basically the same thing as a nuclear missile, which is to say, both exist. (Grimes’ two most recent albums were released by the 4AD label, with whom, I assume, she is signed to a recording agreement.)

If Kesha’s allegations against Dr. Luke are true, then I hope at the very least she is let out of her agreement with Kemosabe, as being forced to aid your rapist make money is unconscionable, and that is where the slavery comparison applies.

British singer-songwriter Sam Smith may or may not know what slavery is, but he exhibited a lack of grasp on history last weekend at the Academy Awards. As he couldn’t pronounce Anohni or The Weeknd, Common announced as the winner of the Best Original Song award the easiest name to remember and pronounce, Sam Smith.

In his acceptance speech, Smith claimed to be the first openly gay person to win an Oscar, which is true, if you don’t count Dustin Lance Black, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, John Schlesinger, Stephen Sondheim, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Scott Rudin, Pedro Almodovar and the other openly gay people who have won. Maybe Smith meant to say he’s the first openly gay person to win an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2016. He says he got his information from actor Sir Ian McKellen via an interview Smith read, which is true, if you leave out the part where McKellen refers to no openly gay winners in the Acting categories.

It was pointed out to Smith that he is not the first openly gay person to win an Oscar, to which he responded “I think I’m the second openly gay person to win it,” which is true, if you don’t count Dustin Lance Black, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, John Schlesinger, Stephen Sondheim, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Scott Rudin and the other openly gay people who have won less one. In the real world, Smith is not even the first openly gay person in the category of Best Original Song. When told that openly gay Howard Ashman won that category twice, Smith replied “I should know him. We should date.” Ashman died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, the year for which his title song from Beauty and the Beast won, but sure, Sam, date him. You’ll be the first openly necrophiliac to win an Oscar. #Trailblazer. I do agree with one thing Smith said. He should know of Ashman.

Which brings us to Anohni. Along with her collaborator, J. Ralph, Anohni was nominated for Best Original Song for “Manta Ray” from the film Racing Extinction. Unlike Sam Smith, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga, Anohni, a transsexual woman, was not invited to perform her nominated song at the Oscar ceremony. In a year in which The Academy was taken to task for a lack of diversity among the nominees, the producers felt it was more important for the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to give a speech on the show about the importance of diversity in Hollywood than it was to allow only the second transgender person to be nominated for an Oscar to perform (not a Sam Smith second person, but truly the second). Besides, The Danish Girl received nominations, including one for Best Actor for Eddie Redmayne as the titular character Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of gender correction surgery, and who better to represent trans women at the Oscars than a heterosexual cisgender man? Also, the award show needed time for clueless Clueless actress Stacey Dash insult the .04% of viewers who know who she is. #Priorities

Here’s your chance to get to know Anohni, who previously recorded under the name Antony. Her distinctive voice will grab you and her songs will move you. Check out twenty of her best, including guest appearances on other artists’ tracks:


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The Grammys Are Coming And I Need To Dance!

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Today’s playlist includes the five recordings nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Dance Recording. Those nominated recordings are:

“We’re All We Need” – Above & Beyond Featuring Zoë Johnston
“Go” – The Chemical Brothers Featuring Q-Tip
“Never Catch Me” – Flying Lotus Featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Runaway (U & I)” – Galantis
“Where Are Ü Now” – Skrillex And Diplo With Justin Bieber

The Best Dance Recording category was introduced in 1998. It hasn’t been the most accurate barometer of innovations in dance music. The nominating committee has a thing for Gloria Estefan, who was well past her prime in 1998, as she was in 1999, when she was nominated, and 2000, when she was nominated, and 2002, when she was nominated.

In 2001, the Grammy for Best Dance Recording was awarded to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men. I admit that I love that song, but Best Dance Recording? What the fur? Other tracks nominated that year were performed by Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and Eiffel 65, which suggests that 2000 was a very bad year for dance music. It was not. The fifth nominee, Moby’s “Natural Blues,” is the kind of record that should win. It sets itself apart from the other recordings in this field. Of course, one could say “Who Let the Dogs Out?” is unlike the other dance recordings of 2000, mostly because it is not a dance recording.

There are no embarrassing nominees this year in this category. Tune in Monday evening to see who wins. Actually, this may not be one of the four or so awards presented in the telecast, so you may have to find out who won online.

For now, enjoy this playlist consisting of this year’s nominees plus fifteen of the better recordings nominated in this category in past years.


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A Lady Gaga Playlist

Ringo + Gaga 003

The 1000th record to hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Many complained about the song’s similarity to Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” I don’t hear it, but even if it’s there, what’s wrong with sounding like “Express Yourself?” If more pop hits sounded like “Express Yourself” I’d listen to top 40 radio more often. Also, how many #1 songs besides “Born This Way” expressly called out for LGBT rights? You can count them on one fist.

Today Lady Gaga celebrates her 29th birthday. Here are twenty career highlights.


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Grammy Predictions

The 2014 Grammy Awards will be handed out tomorrow night. Here are my fearless predictions:

RECORD OF THE YEAR – “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Beyoncé – Beyoncé
SONG OF THE YEAR – “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
BEST NEW ARTIST – Sam Smith
BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE – “All of Me” – John Legend
BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE – “A Sky Full of Stars” – Coldplay
BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM – Cheek to Cheek – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM – X – Ed Sheeran
BEST DANCE RECORDING – “F for You” – Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
BEST DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM – While(1<2) – Deadmau5
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE – “Fever” – The Black Keys
BEST ROCK SONG – “Blue Moon” – Beck
BEST ROCK ALBUM – Turn Blue – The Black Keys
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM – Reflektor – Arcade Fire
BEST R&B PERFORMANCE – “Drunk in Love” – Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z
BEST R&B SONG – “Drunk in Love” – Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z
BEST URBAN COMTEMPORARY ALBUM – Beyoncé – Beyoncé
BEST R&B ALBUM – Give the People What They Want – Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE – “i” – Kendrick Lamar
BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION – “The Monster” – Eminem featuring Rihanna
BEST RAP SONG – “i” – Kendrick Lamar
BEST RAP ALBUM – Oxymoron – ScHoolboy Q
BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE – “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE – “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood
BEST COUNTRY SONG – “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM – Platinum – Miranda Lambert
BEST COMEDY ALBUM – Mandatory Fun – “Weird Al” Yankovic
BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA – “Let It Go” – Adele Dazeem
BEST BOXED OR SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE – The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One
BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM (NON-CLASSICAL) – Morning Phase – Beck
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR (NON-CLASSICAL) – Max Martin
BEST REMIXED RECORDING (NON-CLASSICAL) – “All of Me” (Tiesto’s Birthday Treatment Remix) – John Legend

Enjoy the show!

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