30 Days Challenge Songs Pt. 3

13 – A song you like from the Seventies

I have liked the Ramones since I first heard them as a youth. I was exploring beyond my parents’ musical tastes when I discovered Punk as a genre. It is the perfect thing for a preteen misfit to stumble upon. I loved the Ramones because they were high energy and their lyrics sounded crazy and exciting. They were counterculture, slacker weirdos and with their long hair and leather jackets, they felt like they were on a similar wavelength to me. What is interesting is that this song and many of their songs from early albums did not even chart. However, now I hear this song everywhere. It is in plenty of movies, television shows, commercials, and video games. Everything goes commercial eventually. That used to annoy me more. The Ramones were my happy introduction to the land of Punk, somewhere I still love to visit.

14 – A song you like from the Sixties

Jimi Hendrix was my jam for a long time when I was in high school. One of my friends was a total music snob but we could connect through our love of Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix transcended a lot of boundaries because just about anybody I knew loved at least one of his songs. I remember listening to this friend’s coffee house version of All Along the Watchtower and just really enjoying it. Hendrix was a consummate performer who had a strong creative mind. His stage antics and stunts are well known (ie smashing or burning a guitar on stage) but he was also known for changing up how he played and sang songs while on tour which gained him the ire of his more purist fans. My youngest brother was actually the one who really taught me about the guy. He played a right-handed guitar upside down because he was left-handed, for example. My brother first learned guitar by watching Jimi’s fingering in videos of live performances.

15 – A song you like that’s a cover by another artist

It is hard to pick just one song, actually. I picked the above GWAR cover of Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” because their performance before and during the song is just legendary. Covers are really hit and miss but that does not make them inherently bad. Many times a band can really nail another band’s song and make it something new and fun. Sometimes they simply make a safe copy of the original song with just a few tweaks and that’s alright. Other times they seem to miss the point of the original completely or make it into something unfun. For example, I am not a fan of bands that turn modern, upbeat songs into dirges or stripped-down slow versions. Some of those bands’ sole purpose is to change the genre of the original song. At the same time, I am always in for a good Metal, Punk, or Dubstep cover of a slow song that speeds it up. I guess I just really like uptempo music more.

16 – A song that’s a classic favorite

I am not sure what ‘classic favorite’ means here but I figure it is another throwback to what folks would consider falling under the classic modifier in musical genres. I am actually going to say a bit about classical music because I am sure it is underrepresented in these sorts of lists. This is one of the tracks that I would listen to in the afternoons after attending high school while I rested my eyes so I could do my night owl thing. Also, I would turn it on low when I had a migraine and drift off to sleep with the help of a handful of acetaminophen. Mozart has always been my favorite classical composer because he has such complex compositions that are rich in different sound textures. He also wrote a lot of symphonies and operas which are more fast-paced than slower composers. This particular composition, Jupiter, always made me think of both the Roman God and the Sailor Scout at the same time.

17 – A song you’d sing a duet with someone on karaoke

This is a song that does not really feel like it is not that hard to sing. It is slow enough to get the words in but fast enough to be fun. I like a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival but this is probably my favorite. I used to sing it to myself a lot when I worked and lived in New Jersey. It has a simple, jangly tune and there are not that many lyrics to it. Come to think of it, that may be why people gravitate toward so-called classic rock. It has the less complex composition that they are used to while modern music adds a lot more noise to the signal. I like either, myself. Also, it would have to be a duet because there is no way I am going on stage to do karaoke by myself. I just do not see the appeal.

18 – A song from the year you were born

Of course, it is not what I was listening early on in life but mainstream Rap music was really being born during the same year that I was. Sampling was becoming more of a thing and we were experiencing a new explosion of culture in the United States. Thanks to the Hip Hop movement, new innovations and influences were brought into mainstream music. The original DJ work will never be commercially available because of the rights issues with sampling and record companies shying away from any sort of lawsuit. There is some work being done on platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud but even those are not safe spaces from legal challenges (legitimate or not). However, the music underground still exists offline at least here in Baltimore as I have been exposed to Club and House mixes that were pretty spectacular done. I used to do some remixes myself but stopped when I lost access to better equipment and software.

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