After taking nearly a month off from sharing new-ish music, it’s time to start getting caught up. So an extra-long playlist this week, filled with recent songs and a few classics.
“Funny Farm” – The Hold Steady
A late 2020 treat, and THS has a new album due out on February 19. That day is going to be a motherfucker for new music. Right now there are four albums out that day that I am very excited about.
“Anywhere” – Hannah’s Little Sister
A fun, ass-kicker of a song.
“Julia Take Your Man Home” – Wolf Parade
Wolf Parade released the album this track is on almost a year ago. I don’t remember knowing about it, or listening to it, although I may well have. If I did, nothing struck a chord with me at the time. I’m glad this popped up in my feed recently because it’s a terrific song, and after spinning the entire album yesterday, it’s very good as well.
“Eastern Rain” – Nathan Womack, RUMTUM
A little down-tempo palate cleanser.
“School Boy Crush” – Average White Band
In the Bee Gee’s documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, the opening segment of this song is used as background when the band takes residence in Miami to record. I nearly leaped off my chair: the Bee Gee’s provided the main sample upon which Eric B and Rakim’s “Microphone Fiend” was based? (Along with many other classic tracks.) How did I not know that?
That didn’t seem right, though, so I paused the movie, checked, and confirmed this was where that sample came from.
“I Am a Patriot (And the River Opens for the Righteous)” – Little Steven
Fuck all those false “patriots” and their narrow, exclusive view of what it means to love your country.
“(You Can Still) Rock in America” – Night Ranger
I really wanted to use this song in a Reaching for the Stars post. Sadly this song never hit the Top 40. So this will have to be a long-winded story for this video.
I came to recall this song in a round-about way. While listening to the Top 100 of 1984 last week, Casey shared a story about the origins of Night Ranger’s biggest 1984 hit, “Sister Christian.” It’s pretty great; I recommend checking it out.
While on genius.com I noted some of the other songs on NR’s Midnight Madness LP, including this one. It got some minor airplay in early 1984 on KC rock stations. The one over-the-air TV station that had a music video show leaned to hard rock, and the video was in high rotation for a couple weeks. (Sadly the original video is available online, but not on YouTube so I can’t embed it. The guy playing his solo with a guitar string in his mouth was pretty epic if you were 12.)
Anyway, I decided to check the lyrics to see what it was all about. I couldn’t recall any of them beyond the chorus so wasn’t sure if it was some ode to the Reagan era, an anti-hippy screed, etc.
It was none of those things. Turns out it’s just about teenagers trying to get out and party. And probably get laid. There is nothing in the lyrics about Big Government, the commies, or anyone else keeping Americans from their God-given right to rock.
If I had to guess, someone in Night Ranger either came up with that phrase, or heard it somewhere, thought it would make for a kick-ass song, and then when it came time to write, all they could come up with were lyrics more suited to the Footloose soundtrack than for the Young Republicans to jam to. Which is probably for the best.