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MUSIC THAT MAKES MY DAY

Note to Readers
I got to thinking that the "Music That Irritates Me" page makes me look like a grouch. So I created this page to give credit to those people bombarding my eardrums who play something I enjoy.

"Saturday in the Park" by Chicago (heard on the PA at KMart)
   There's a lot of joy in this music, but it's not simpleminded. I love the harmonically challenging piano riff, and Robert Lamm's vocal delivery always makes me smile. And for once he gets in his "revolution, man" philosophy in a way that even Spiro Agnew would approve. Can you dig it? Yes, I can!

"I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis (heard on "Nice 98")
   I like the song just fine, but it's not anything outstanding (the sultry delivery of "unbelievable... blue eyes" is pretty sexy, though). Why it makes my day is that this song was constantly on the air during the summer when Jessica and I first met. Ah, sweet memories!

READER COMMENTS

  • From Sam Johnson: "Hey there, just wanted to say I was very entertained by your music site...but that Donna Lewis song is "Music that Makes Your Day?" My dad bought the CD about three years ago, just for that one song, and whenever he plays that one song in the car OVER and OVER again--only when I'm with him, of course--he bangs his hands on the wheel and SINGS ALONG in FALSETTO. Because of this, I can no longer stand the song, my father has raised me all wrong, and I will now go into a state of depression and life of crime. Thanks, Dad!"
    Aside from that, though, it's an okay little pop ditty.
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Pwwuuh." Steve says: "Just like any good thing (wine, fried food, the riff from "Roll Over Beethoven"), a pop ditty can be abused. I say count your lucky stars your dad's not a Steve Miller fan (my brother-in-law apparently made his mother listen to "he knows exactly what the facts is" every day throughout his teenage years.) Thanks for writing!"

    "Silly Love Songs" by Wings (heard on the PA at the dentist's office)
       Is this the perfect pop song? The production is beautiful: a fat bass that's not murky, snappy horns, warm vocals. The arrangement is incredible: it's built on that tricky yet melodic bass line, with enough little touches to sustain the extended running time - the little sax obbligato during the bridge, the bass slide after the horn break, the congas during the round. And the main horn riff is some serious competition to the vocal melody. The lyrics may be a bit defensive in the verses, but has there ever been a truer statement than: "I only know that when I'm in it / Love isn't silly at all"? When the pot smoke clears and he pays attention, this man can make some incredible music.

    READER COMMENTS

  • From CosmicBen: "Silly Love Songs" is awesome -- and even though Paul's usually full of lyrical gibberish, that line you mentioned is quite profound. I downloaded it at work to offset all the Tupac and Biggie MP3's we have... But I'll never play it if people are around."
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Huh gah." Steve says: "Have the courage of your pop convictions. It will do your colleagues some good to listen to Joe English instead of those pre-fab Puff Daddy beats. Thanks for writing!"
  • From Brad: I agree with you on "Silly Love Songs", not only has it got a great melody but the lyrics are brilliant. It's just so true what he says in that song.
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Pwuh." Steve says: "Our man Paul has been responsible for some great love songs: Jessica and I danced to 'I Will' at our wedding, and this tune is another that has lots of fond associations for us. We even like 'No More Lonely Nights.' Thanks for writing!"

    "All I Want To Do Is To Thank You" (I guess) by an unidentified performer (heard in a car commercial)
       Assuming that this is a real song and not a jingle commissioned by Mercedes, I love the fact that someone would write a song about changing lanes on the highway. I also enjoy the snappy tune and the funky guitar part. I always get a kick out of this commercial.

    READER COMMENTS

  • From Chris Willie Williams: I just came across your site (linked from CosmicBen's site), and though I've only been looking at it for a few minutes, I've really enjoyed what I've seen so far, and will keep checking back.
    Just for your own information, the song in the Mercedes commercial that you mention on the "Songs that Make My Day" page is called "Thank You" and it's performed by Geggy Tah. It IS an actual song, surprisingly enough. It cracked me up when it first came out in 1996 or so, and I hadn't thought about it until I saw the commercial, when it cracked me up all over again. It's as disposable as disposable can be, but man, what fun!
    Anyway, I just thought you might be interested to know that. Hey - thanks for the link to my site on your page, too! (Disclaimer Music Review Archive) It's always nice to see a new face in the web review world!

  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Huhbwah." Steve says: "A mystery solved. I knew someone would come through with this info! (I followed up your info with a check on allmusic.com, and the song's title is "Whoever You Are.") I am honored by the compliment; I thoroughly enjoy your site as well. Thanks for writing!"

  • From Eli Pomerantz: I also heard that song once on the radio, and have forever wondered who did it. After some research, here's what I got:
    Mid '90s appellation. Lasted the duration of the fame for one-hit wonder Geggy Tah and their catchy-yet-largely forgotten hit "Whoever You Are," featuring the poetic lyrics "All I want to do is to thank you/Even though I don't know who you are/You let me change lanes/When I was driving in my car."
    And after searching for lyrcs, this seems to have been confirmed here and here.

  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "I want pink milk." Steve says: "A mystery solved again. Thanks for writing!"

    "Jessica" by the Allman Brothers Band (heard on the Weather Channel)
       Not only does it bear the name of the sweetest woman in the world, but this song is an absolute delight, from the opening guitar melody to the lickety-split piano lines. It fills my heart with boundless glee every time I hear it.

    READER COMMENTS

  • From Jessica (aka Mrs. Steve and Abe): You're too sweet.
  • From Cole Bozman: Well, that's surprising, any time I turn on tWC, they've got some elevator jazz playing.
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Uh hah." Steve says: "I know; sometimes I have to mute the sound just to get through the forecast. But there's at least one person working there with some good taste. As long as they don't start playing "Whipping Post"! Thanks for writing!"

    "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (heard on Classic Rock 94) (for more, please see this note)
       What a gorgeous riff! And the piano playing at the end knocks my socks off. I'm not sure why a bunch of Floridians felt compelled to write about Alabama, but as a proud Michigander I know there's something special about the unloved places of the world, and I'm glad there's at least one rock and roll anthem that's not based in LA or New York. Amen, brothers!

    READER COMMENTS

  • From Jessica (aka Mrs. Steve and Abe): I totally agree with you on "Sweet Home Alabama". You have to listen to it even though the lyrics go against your better judgement. I have a hard time turning it off. It's the opening riff... damn!

    "What's Love Got to Do with It?" by Tina Turner (heard on Light 106)
       A slinky beat, a husky voice, a keyboard that sounds like a tin whistle mated a harmonica... this is the essence of eroticism, boiled into four minutes. I dare you to listen to this in front of your parents and not blush.

    READER COMMENTS

  • From Frizz: Well... if you like Tina Turner... you're crazy. Unfortunately, I love that song (although I reeeeealllllyyyy don't want too.) Ike is the man, though.
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Nyanya." Steve says: "Call me crazy, then, but Tina is an immense talent. And Ike is indubitably NOT the man; he's a despicable person with a moderately interesting voice and guitar style. Thanks for writing!"

    "Come Dancing" by The Kinks (heard on the PA at Toys BackwardsR Us)
       As Dave Marsh says, nostalgia is no cure for what ails you. But this song, with its sprightly horn line, giddy vocal, and smile-inducing storyline, found me and Abe shuffling through the aisles. And dancing with your baby is definitely a cure for what ails you.

    "Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss (heard at the Olympics closing ceremony)
       I like the song OK, but what really impressed me was Paul Stanley's fortitude - playing bare-chested (hairy though it is) in the cold Utah night. And I hope Gene Simmons kicked the Child of Light's ass.

    "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding (heard on the PA in the grocery store)
       This is such a sweet vocal, and the whistling simply transports me. For a number of minutes I found it quite difficult to care which brand of brown sugar was cheaper per ounce.

    "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne (heard on Rockin' 101)
       While I don’t find the entertainment value in watching him dodder around the house like a senile junkie, I’m always glad when I hear this song, with the world’s greatest song intro (BAH-BAH, “ai-ai-ai”, * sproing *), a killer riff, and that undeniable chorus. A fond reminder of the days when metal had tunes, not just shouting.

    "End Theme to Sex and the City" by Douglas J. Cuomo (heard on HBO)
       The rhythmic complexity of this is simply dazzling, with three separate melodies starting on different beats, and I'm intoxicated by the sax oozing over the marimbas. They need to play this a lot longer (maybe just let it go on instead of plugging the next inane episode of "Arli$$").

    READER COMMENTS

  • From David Sowd: I love the end theme, too. The credits list everybody down to the show's caterers but fail to give credit to whatever band we're listening to. Do you happen to know who it is -- especially the sax player?"
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Goldfish, please." Steve says: "No, sorry. I'll post your thoughts here and maybe someone who knows will write in. Thanks for writing!"

    Freestyle Rap by an a capella hip-hop group (heard on the campus of Wayne State University)
       While I'm not the world's biggest hip-hop fan (I think the last hip-hop record I bought was "Mama Said Knock You Out"), I was thoroughly impressed by this group of guys standing in a circle and recreating the complete sound, with one human beatbox, another singing bass, a third doing the keyboard line, and a flowing MC (minus the M, of course).

    "Build Me Up Buttercup" by the Foundations (heard from the neighbor's house across the street)
       My neighbor likes to "blast the oldies" when he's working around the house, so we all get to enjoy his taste in music. Fortunately, this weekend he played this groove, with the world's catchiest broken heart and a scintillating piano hook. The Knowl-Tones massacred this a few times, and it's still one of my all time favorites.

    READER COMMENTS

  • From Pedro Andino: Guys! I do not hear radio shit no more! I like XM Satellite radio! My favorite is Queensryche's “Silent Lucidity”! Fuck “Build Me Up Buttercup”! Gay ass song! Fuck “Sweet Home Alabama”! Fuck “Just What I Needed”! “Silent Lucidity” is my choice! I am much more serious about music than hearing radio shit owned by fucking Clear Channel! Fuck rap up its gay ass! I wanna hear non-commercial shit! For instance, R.E.M. “Nightswimming.” Pearl Jam's “Nothingman” and Beastie Boys’ “Hey Ladies!”

    "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns 'n Roses (heard on VH1 Classic)
       I was just flipping through the channels when this stopped me in my tracks. When you haven't heard it in a while, it's amazing just how powerful this song is. With one of the last two-guitar bands that actually knew how to use them (you hardly see Izzy in the video, but you hear him all over the mix, sliding into riffs just a hair ahead of Slash) and Axl Rose actually making a point, this is a sock in the gut coming between "Making the Band II" and "Food Finds."

    "Twelve Days of Christmas" by Bob and Doug McKenzie (heard on Magic 106)
       "Good day and welcome to day 12." The brothers McKenzie's gift suggestions are both funnier and more practical than the traditional list, and whenever I hear the tune I keep thinking of theirs first ("three turtlenecks, two French toasts, and a beer in a tree") and have to remind myself to sing the "right" lyrics.

    "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra (heard on a Volkswagen commercial)
       I forgot how much I like this song until its thumping beat grabbed me from across the room. The moment when a chorus of overdubbed Jeff Lynnes (a recipe for disaster in other contexts) breaks into the operatic bridge is like a musical ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds.

    READER COMMENTS

  • From Rudager P. Marshall: That's one of the best commercials I've ever seen. I went searching for the song and artist online and found out--much to my shock--that there's an ELO song I like. The looped commercial version is better than the album version, I think.
  • STEVE AND ABE RESPOND: Abe says, "Off!" Steve says: "I think you're right. I went back and listened to the record, and it does on far too long. The commercial definitely contains all the best bits. Thanks for writing!"

    "Every Day I Write the Book" by Alison Brown and Sam Bush (heard on public radio)
       When you can get past his pretensions as a crooner, the fact is that Elvis Costello writes some damn fine melodies. This unaffected bluegrass rendition of his only Top 40 hit is a refreshing reminder of just how catchy and enduring his best work is.

    "Crazy on You" by Heart (heard on Rockin' 103)
       While all the other heavy metal bands were trying to find ever-tighter underwear to get their vocalists to sing like women, Heart just went out and hired a woman. Smart move, too, because Ann Wilson's pipes have the raw power and melodic finesse to carry almost any hard rocking tune, and she especially shines here.

    "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child (heard on Modern Dance 106)
       Not only is the title one of the finer demonstrations of the flexibility of our excellent language, I'm awfully glad they found a way to use this killer riff without having to endure Stevie Nicks.

    "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant (heard on Magic 105)
       It's nice when someone as chronically modest as Merchant takes the time to assert herself, and especially when she comes up with a piano riff as delightful as this one.

    "The Power of Love" by Celine Dion (heard on the mall PA)
       I realize the songwriters are pulling out every trick in the book to manipulate my emotions, but damn it, it works! The slow burn, that ecstatic chorus, the weepy vocal, it tears me up every time. This is how co-dependence feels.

    Complaints, criticisms, or bribery reviews: Contact me!
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