Inspired by Mother’s Day, the passing of Betty Wright, and the May 10 birthdays of U2‘s Bono, Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious, Spinners’ Henry Fambrough, Donovan, Traffic’s Dave Mason, Larry Williams, Fred Astaire, Underworld’s Karl Hyde, Young MC, Filter’s Richard Patrick, Jay Ferguson, Craig Mack, Sunscreem’s Lucia Holm and Young Disciples’ Carleen Anderson.
I knew I was in trouble when the doctor walked into the examination room, looked at me, and said “Mrs. Garcia?”
Unfortunately, I was forced to change health care plans this year. By doing so, I could not longer see the doctor I’ve been going to for the past eleven years. Of those affiliated with my new insurance provider, I selected the doctor who was closest to my home.
I went to his office today because of my eyes. My eyelids are itchy and flaky, and beneath my eyes is swollen and red. I asked him how I should treat them, and he answered “I don’t know. I’m not a dermatologist.” Per the rules of the plan, I had to see him before I could go to a specialist, which seems to me to be a silly waste of time. He took a photograph of my eyes, instructing me to close my eyes for an effective photo. I didn’t go to medical school, but I could have figured out on my own that the best way to photograph my eyelids is for me to have my eyes shut. He’ll send the photos into headquarters, who will then contact me with the name of a dermatologist I can see. Until then, all I can do is scratch my eyelids until they bleed.
On the plus side, the doctor said I’m not pregnant. That calls for a dance.
Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with Neneh Cherry’s “Kisses on the Wind.”
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Every April, to coincide with Tax Day, my former Sony colleague Rich Appel creates the IRS countdown. In this case, IRS stands for It Really Shoulda, as in It Really Shoulda been a top ten hit. People vote for songs that they feel should have but didn’t make the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100. Rich collates all of the entries and comes out with the Top 100 IRS songs.
Today is my birthday. Usually on birthdays, Tunes du Jour creates a playlist around the music of the birthday boy or girl. As Friday is dance day in these parts, I decided I would take inspiration from Rich’s IRS countdown and present to you a playlist of songs that I love to dance to that didn’t crack the pop top ten. Here are fifty such IRS tracks. (Actually, fifty-one, not because that’s how old I am but because the Diana Ross entry is two songs.) It’s my birthday and I need to dance!
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That quote from Lily Allen summarizes one of my favorite attributes of her music – sunny melodies coupled with not-quite-sunny lyrics, a juxtaposition that makes for some wonderfully subversive pop tunes.
The song that put her on the map, “Smile,” exemplifies this. It’s a catchy song – upbeat, major chords. Lily wrote it about an ex-boyfriend who was cheating on her. Then the ex got dumped by his new girlfriend and he called Lily to console him, which brings us to the awesome chorus: “At first when I see you cry, it makes me smile. Yeah, it makes me smile / At worse I feel bad for a while, but then I just smile. I go ahead and smile.”
“Smile” appeared on Allen’s debut album Alright, Still, released in 2006. Her follow-up album, 2009’s It’s Not Me, It’s You, contains another brilliant example of this style, this time aimed at a well-known public figure.
The song was initially released by Allen on her MySpace page in 2008 as “Guess Who, Batman.” The song is not about anyone connected with Batman, but rather, someone whose initials match the first letter of each word in this title. If you’re still not sure, I’ll let Lily give you a clue: “It was originally written about this fucking arsehole who used to be the President of the United States of America. His name is George W. Bush.”
She made that comment after Bush left office and after the song was released with an additional verse and a new title, “Fuck You.”
Among the things for which she takes Bush to task is his perceived homophobia: “So you say it’s not okay to be gay / Well, I think you’re just evil.”
Shortly after the second album’s release an Australia guy with the YouTube moniker steviebeebishop created a video for the song that featured members of the L, G, B and T populations and their supporters around the world lip-synching the tune. It became a phenomenon that spread to other countries, with lip-synched versions emanating from countries such as France, Croatia, New Zealand, Hungary, Mexico and Brazil.
The song was no longer specifically about Bush, but directed towards anyone who expresses anti-gay sentiments. As steviebeebishop explained when he posted his video:
theres a disgusting amount of hate on the internet (especially on youtube!) directed at minority groups (especially the LGBT community) so i was inspired to organize this collab video. i never set out to change the world. i did not make this for the gay haters to see. i wanted to make something light hearted and funny for the victims of gay hate, to teach them to brush off the hate and stand strong and confident as who they are. you’re not alone! stevie loves you 🙂
Today is Lily Allen’s 29th birthday. As Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, we’ll kick off our playlist with a remix of “Fuck You.” By the way, Lily’s third album, Sheezus, is out today.