Songs and ceremonies: Semisonic, “Closing Time” (1998)

Quickly, now - think of the last wedding that you attended.  What was the song that the bride and groom danced their first dance to? Now, think again - can you name a song that was referenced in the ceremony itself? I'm guessing that the first question was a lot easier than the second one.  … Continue reading Songs and ceremonies: Semisonic, “Closing Time” (1998)

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Welcome back: Steely Dan, “My Old School” (1973)

Above: Bard College, Annondale, NY. Above: Mary Idema Pew Library, GVSU, Allendale, MI. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan attended Bard College in Annondale-on-Hudson, New York. I attended - and now teach - at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Aside from seemingly similar town names, the schools don't have a lot … Continue reading Welcome back: Steely Dan, “My Old School” (1973)

Now here’s something we hope you’ll REALLY like: Boris Badenough, “Hey Rocky” (1986)

Oh, where to begin with this one.... Further to the subject of mixtapes from the other day: for every one that was completed, I probably came up with ideas for another three.  One that was started and abandoned - for reasons that shall become clear - was called "Obnoxious Cruising Music."  Now, why anyone would … Continue reading Now here’s something we hope you’ll REALLY like: Boris Badenough, “Hey Rocky” (1986)

Self-help music: Will Powers, “Adventures in Success” (1983)

(Above: What a Friday night at home looked like, 1984.) If you lived in a place without cable television in the early 80s, you weren't a part of the revolution that MTV was bringing to music distribution, at least not directly.  The success of music video led other networks and even local stations to offer … Continue reading Self-help music: Will Powers, “Adventures in Success” (1983)

Summer’s over: Breathe, “Hands To Heaven” (1988)

(Above: Quite possibly, the world's shortest album.)   There are usually a few signs that summer - and with it, summer vacation - is coming to a close. The main ones that I noticed each year were the intensity of annual cicadas each August and the first broadcast of exhibition football on television.  Hearing both … Continue reading Summer’s over: Breathe, “Hands To Heaven” (1988)