Tag Archives: No Doubt

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 Danger Mouse’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

About Bill Cosby, rapper A$AP Rocky recently said, “He did so much positive things leading up to one thing, which he was convicted of being innocent for, by the way.” First off, it’s so many positive things, not so much. Secondly, it’s for which he was convicted of being innocent. Thirdly, one gets convicted of being innocent? No wonder our nation’s jails are overcrowded. Go on, $AP. “All you remember is the 56 woman and all that kind of shit.” Yes, all that kind of serial rapist shit. Nobody remembers he introduced the world to Fat Albert and Raven Symone. Just rape rape rape and more rape. Oh, sorry. I interrupted this genius again. Back to you A$$. “I’m not his lawyer, but I do know he’s innocent.” And even if he is guilty, “All we know is that he was accused, he allegedly raped however many woman he raped, which, you got, it’s so much issues in the world, you know I’m saying?” I know what you’re saying! There are so many issues in the world, so why spend any time on one of the issues in the world, that being the issue of crime?

I expected better from the guy who rapped “I be fuckin’ broads like I be fuckin’ bored / Turn a dyke bitch out have her fuckin’ boys, beast” and “I swear that bitch Rita Ora got a big mouth/ Next time I see her might curse the bitch out/ Kicked the bitch out once cause she bitched out/ Spit my kids out, jizzed up all in her mouth and made the bitch bounce.” It turns out he’s not as intelligent, articulate and thoughtful as those lyrics make him out to be.

The only time I ever bought the “clean” version over the “explicit” version of a song is when I got A$AP Rocky’s “F**kin’ Problems,” from which the dyke bitch lyric is taken. The beat is great, but the lyrics are so over-the-top misogynist, and that’s saying a lot for a genre in which far too many lyrics are extremely misogynist.

Rocky is a talented guy, albeit one with a vile attitude toward women. Usually I can separate the person from the art. I love the movie Chinatown, even though its director, Roman Polanski, pled guilty to statutory rape. I love the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” even though the producer of those records, Phil Spector, is presently serving time for second degree murder. I love Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” even though he’s Robin Thicke. I don’t know what I’ll do if Chris Brown ever releases a halfway decent song. Good things the odds of that ever happening are mighty slim.

I’m not defending these artists. Being a monster and being talented are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes I can listen to or watch the art and not think about the crimes allegedly committed. Is that wrong? If it is, that’s my f**kin’ problem.

CeeLo Green gave us the great “Fuck You” in 2010. In 2012, Green was accused by a woman of drugging and sexually assaulting her. CeeLo’s attorney said the sex was consensual, with the singer tweeting “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously, so WITH Implies consent. People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” Fuck you.

I still listen to Green’s “Fuck You,” but I don’t set out to listen to his newer music. In part it’s because of his attitude. Even if he didn’t drug and or rape this woman, I read his tweets about rape and think “Does that make him crazy? Probably.” To be honest, I also don’t listen to his newer music because it sucks. Everything the man has done since “Fuck You” is pretty bad. Did you hear his song “Robin Williams” from last year? It’s shit. I’m not saying I’m glad he died, but the actor is lucky he never had to hear it.

So I’ll listen to “Fuck You” and I’ll listen to “Crazy,” the worldwide smash he had as one-half of Gnarls Barkley. The other half of the duo, Brian Burton, professionally known as Danger Mouse,” celebrates his 39th birthday today. Tunes du Jour kicks off its weekly dance party with Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Will I be celebrating when CeeLo’s birthday comes around? Maybe by singing “Fuck You.”


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Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Here is your soundtrack:


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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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My Birthday Advice: Don’t!

doggies + Elvis
Today is my birthday. Over my 25+ years on earth, I’ve learned many life lessons. Most of them came from songs. My birthday gift to you is a playlist of 100 songs offering advice as to what not to do.


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Gwen Stefani, the lead singer and lyricist of the band No Doubt, wanted to do a dance-oriented solo album, but when the band finished its Rock Steady tour in November 2002, all she wanted to do was sleep. “I wanted to take a break and was really burned out, but the record company were ready to go.” Her label, Interscope, wanted her to work on her solo album with singer-songwriter Linda Perry, who was available for only five days.

Without the time to recharge, Stefani’s anxieties about doing the record rose to the surface and she spent a lot of time crying in bed. She’d been with the guys in No Doubt for seventeen years at that point; could she do a record without them?

On their second day in the studio together, Perry presented Stefani with the music of a song she stayed up the previous night to write. Stefani was to come up with lyrics, and she took the speed with which Perry came up with the song as a dare, as if to ask her “What are you waiting for?”

That was the inspiration Stefani needed. She wrote the lyrics to “What You Waiting For?,” addressing her fears about doing the record, her lack of inspiration, and the pressure the felt her label was putting on her. The song opens with Stefani referencing her bandmates and their years together – “What an amazing time / What a family/ How did the years go by?/ Now it’s only me.” Then the repeated background vocals of “tick tock” suggest the clock is ticking and she needs to get to work on this solo venture. Her nervous side sings “I’m worried if I go it alone,” to which her confident persona responds “You never know, it could be great” and “Take a chance, you might grow.”

“What You Waiting For?” was the first single released from Stefani’s first solo venture, Love, Angel, Music, Baby. The album sold seven million copies worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Hit singles from the album were “Hollaback Girl,” “Rich Girl,” “Cool” and “Luxurious.”

Of the experience making the record, Stefani said “I think it’s very important to put yourself in a situation that’s uncomfortable to be able to grow.”

Is there something you wish to do but have not yet started to tackle? What you waiting for?
doggies + Gwen 2014-07-18 11.34

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. We kick off this week’s party with Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For?”

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A Beginner’s Guide To Pharrell

dogs + Neptunes 002

Perhaps while you were watching the Grammy Awards this past weekend you asked “Who is this cute guy with great hats who sings “Get Lucky?” He is Pharrell Williams and he has been having hits for more than twenty years.

He first hit the Top 40 as one of the writers of Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker,” which hit #2 in 1992. Since then he has co-written and co-produced hits for many pop and hip hop superstars. He has also performed as a member of N.E.R.D. Today’s playlist is a sampler of his work. You may be surprised as to how many of his hits you already know.

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An Atheist Jew’s Guide To Christmas Music, Part 2

xmas cds 002

Today Tunes du Jour presents more Christmas music. As with Part 1, I mixed standards with lesser-known songs. In the Comments section let me know what songs you discovered.

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Happy Britney Spears’ Birthday!

Britney Spears was the first recording artist to thank me in her CD booklet liner notes. The album was 2000’s Oops!…I Did It Again, which set a record when it sold over 1.3 million copies in the US its first week. At the time I was running the licensing department at Zomba Recording Corporation, parent company of Jive Records, to which Britney was signed. It was a great time to be at that company. I worked with smart, creative people, and I got to apply my skills to our superstar roster (Britney, Backstreet Boys, R. Kelly, NSYNC), enabling us to increase licensing revenue four-fold during my four years of employment there.

Britney plaque

When I started at Zomba, Britney was 17 years old and was on her second hit single, “Sometimes.” Today she turns 32. To date she has had 23 top forty hits in the US. Her latest album, Britney Jean, was released last week.

Enjoy today’s Britney-inspired playlist.

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