• Our Album of the Week features will return in June.

What Cuts Remind You Music is Fun?

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
This morning, Sting's Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" popped on. I'd forgotten just how good it is! Solid vocals, clever lyrics, and a sparkling piano... and a killer crescendo ending.
And I remembered that music could be fun. What a kick!

What record reminds you that music can be fun again?
 
The Talking Heads Song "once in a lifetime" was one of several that had fun humor and clever lyrics oftentimes silly but it was fun especially The repeating of the Catchphrase "SAME AS IT EVER WAS". Still a fun tune
 
Going back and listening to a lot of the music that was emerging during high school years, even some music I had heard but never really grabbed my attention. For instance, I knew Devo's "Whip It" (didn't we all?) but who knew they had other songs beside that one? 🤣 I like many of their songs now, but the super-nerdy "Through Being Cool" makes me laugh every time. The lyrics remind me of nerds trying to sound like they're tough guys..."We're gonna beat some butts, show those evil spuds what's what" and "Eliminate the ninnies and the twits." It's funny on the surface, but clever how the lyrics were written as though they were someone who was a bit of a social misfit and out of touch, and also inferred that we should just be ourselves vs. what society demanded of us.

And the B-52s? "Rock Lobster," "Private Idaho," etc., were always a lot of fun, and again it took me years to finally appreciate them as I'd heard the songs at parties and on the radio but never owned the records.

J. Geils was big in high school, especially their final album with Peter Wolf--"Flamethrower" actually got airplay on local R&B stations, and the album track "Insane Insane Again" is so kooky and off the wall that it's a must-play every time the album comes out.

The early Cramps records also wrapped up a lot of fun in many of their songs. That first EP, especially with its chaotic, apocalyptic take on "Surfin' Bird" reminds me of a couple of drunken nights I can barely remember. 🤣

Some songs with a lot of swagger, like Robert Plant's "Tall Cool One," have catchy hooks and some grinding riffs that are always a fun listen.

If the song "Through Being Cool" was funny/bizarre, Devo had a video for it as well.

 
"Insane, Insane Again" is loopy and quite busy, and it's a roller coaster ride all the way through. It's a lot to digest in one sitting!

 
Just about anything from the last four albums by Cheap Trick (one of which is a Christmas album). Those guys still have a blast playing together and it shows.
 
While I didn't watch Saturday morning TV, this song is still embedded into my DNA. Hearing it a few years ago was a blast from the past, and I've had the album on my wishlist for a while now. But anyway, take a ride on the Banana Buggies!

 
This is a case of the circumstances of a double album kind of tie together a group of songs in unexpected ways that makes it a fun listen.

I've been putting together an 80s playlist in my spare time (what's that again?), and sort of sidled into Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I'd remembered seeing all the hype when they tried to make a splash around the world (the "FRANKIE SAY" t-shirts were all the rage), but didn't actually hear anything until I found their debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome on CD at a used record store in the mid 80s. Turns out that the album is largely Trevor Horn's production and hired musicians (including Yes guitarist Steve Howe), with lead singer Holly Johnson providing the vocals throughout.

What makes it fun to pick through some of the tracks today is that so much of it is dated--there's everything from dire predictions about the atomic bomb (this was still the Cold War era), even down to featuring an air raid siren and a Ronald Reagan impersonator on a few tracks. So it's a mix of Trevor Horn's slick synth-based stylings, along with some jarring surprises like a hard-rocking version of "Born to Run" that runs circles around anything its composer Bruce Springsteen could do. Yet the album ends with a serious ballad, "The Power of Love," that was a hit over in the UK.

It's still a mystery as to how this album was packaged around the world. The original LP version featured "San Jose," which turns out to be the Bacharach/David song, but that is not on the US CD I purchased. That, the Springsteen song, and "Ferry Cross the Mersey" are still jarring to hear amidst the other songs, and that makes the whole experience even more giddy than it has any right to be.

The video for "Two Tribes" kind of sums up the Cold War battle--it has a unique mix, some of the apocalyptic voiceovers, and features Reagan and Gorbachev impersonators fighting in a ring. Yeah, it's that silly. 😁

 
I've just experienced musical fun from a most unexpected place - STAR TREK. If you're a viewer of this series and don't want any spoilers at all, skip this post.










This past week's episode of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS, called "Subspace Rhapsody" on Paramount+ was incredible - it was a full-blown musical. The premise was the usual STAR TREK-y double-talk space anomaly causing everyone to break out in song, and while that sounds hokey, it was executed to perfection and was a lot of fun.

Several members of the cast come from musical theatre backgrounds so that helped with the production immensely. The songs themselves were enjoyable and fit the story really well. The characters of La'an, Una, Chapel and Uhura really excelled, and when it came to the big finale, all hands were on deck for a big finale number.

I knew I was in for something special when the opening credits music was actually sung by a chorus.
 
This past week's episode of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS, called "Subspace Rhapsody" on Paramount+ was incredible - it was a full-blown musical.
There was an episode of the 80s series Moonlighting where all of the lines were spoken a la Shakespeare, with wardrobe to match, and halfway through they break into a version of Good Lovin' (originally by The Rascals). The Shakespearean turns of phrase made for some humorous moments on top of the storyline. "I must aweigh (away?), for I am off to floss," after which a character pulls out dental floss and starts flossing. The whole thing was worth watching; even my grandmother, who didn't care for the show, enjoyed that one.
 
Looking over at my record shelves, I see a copy of Squeeze's Cool For Cats.

"Slap and Tickle" and the title track (which bookend the record) make good use of Difford and Tilbrook's wordplay, and ability to paint a scene with lyrics.



And from "It's Not Cricket," this gem:

She used to do a topless down at the Surrey Docks
With tassels on her whatsits she did a t'riffic job

😁 ("It's not cricket" is a phrase referring to unsportsman-like conduct. "I can't name names cause that's not cricket.")
 
There was an episode of the 80s series Moonlighting where all of the lines were spoken a la Shakespeare, with wardrobe to match, and halfway through they break into a version of Good Lovin' (originally by The Rascals). The Shakespearean turns of phrase made for some humorous moments on top of the storyline. "I must aweigh (away?), for I am off to floss," after which a character pulls out dental floss and starts flossing. The whole thing was worth watching; even my grandmother, who didn't care for the show, enjoyed that one.

I never saw that show when it was first on (I was too young for it to have caught my interest at the time, sadly), but I was able to discover it belatedly a few years back via checking out full-season DVD sets from the local library, and I was instantly hooked. [I actually quite love all the fourth-wall breaking, especially the trick opening sequence in the final season where they start playing an instrumental version of the title theme and then pretend that Al Jarreau didn't show up for work since the show had changed time slots. Ingenious. That song's actually my favorite television theme song of all-time, so I love that they padded the episode out by doing a whole opening sequence about it.] That Shakespeare episode is an absolute riot! Arguably the best episode they ever did.

This morning, Sting's Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" popped on. I'd forgotten just how good it is! Solid vocals, clever lyrics, and a sparkling piano... and a killer crescendo ending.
And I remembered that music could be fun. What a kick!

Definitely one of his most fun songs. I think it's my favorite cut on Ten Summoner's Tales, actually (which is really saying something, considering that's one of his most solid solo albums).

As far as songs that remind me music is fun? Del Amitri's "Roll to Me" and XTC's "The Mayor of Simpleton" always do that for me, certainly. Both are extremely lighthearted and effervescent songs. I know Rod Stewart's '80s-and-after output tends to alienate most critics, but I'll forever defend "The Motown Song" - I can absolutely never resist dancing and singing along to that one. It may not be his best song per se, but it's arguably the most fun one, especially during the breakdown when he has the Tempts take a chorus all by themselves. Something about that record just perfectly captures the joy of listening to music. A couple others (and considerably more obscure ones) off the top of my head that have a similar effect on me: "Love So Pure" by Puffy Amiyumi (a female power-pop duo from Japan, though the song's in English and both penned and produced by Jellyfish's Andy Sturmer), "Elevate" by St. Lucia (probably my favorite song of the last ten years, actually, though it sadly didn't score enough radio play in this country to crack the Hot 100), "If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)" by Leon Bridges, "Says" by Al Jarreau (a non-single from his album L Is for Lover that's my all-time favorite song of his), and "Andy Norris" by Badfinger (a horribly obscure cut - but first-rate power-pop - that closes their self-titled first outing on Warner Brothers but a song I love even more than any of the classics they cut during their years at Apple).

Great topic, by the way! I could go on about this for hours, I'm sure!
 
"Says" by Al Jarreau (a non-single from his album L Is for Lover that's my all-time favorite song of his)
That album is criminally overlooked and underrated. Nile Rodgers had such a clean production style on that one--it wasn't as cluttered as a few of the albums surrounding it. "'Cross The Midnight Sky" and "Golden Girl" are others from that album which are among my favorites.

Having said that, "One Way" (from Heart's Horizon) has always been a standout for me.
 
I've posted some of my "fun" tracks in the "two minute song" thread. One that comes immediately to mind is Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances." Not only do the lyrics call out several major dance fads, what gets me going is the sound of that record. It's slightly overdriven, giving it a "louder" sound level without increasing the signal level.

A lot of soul from that era is similarly a lot of fun, like Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music."
 
I have to agree with most of what everyone else has posted as far as "fun" music.... I'd add "Pop Music" by M to the list...

More later...

--Mr Bill
 
A Theme From A Summer Place-Percy Faith 50’s
We’ll Sing In The Sunshine-Gale Garnett 60’s
Only Yesterday-Carpenters 70’s
Steppin’ Out-Joe Jackson 80’s
All remind me of summer vacations with the radio on, riding or driving down the highways.
 
This just came up on my playlist. "Shark Attack" from the Split Enz album True Colours. (Which had album jackets in an array of colors...) One of those crazy fun songs, this one hailing from New Zealand. "I Got You" was the hit.

 
Some songs with a lot of swagger, like Robert Plant's "Tall Cool One," have catchy hooks and some grinding riffs that are always a fun listen.
"Tall Cool One" is definitely my favorite solo song of his. Aside from being incredibly catchy, it shows off an especially lighthearted side of Plant that very rarely comes out on his solo albums. I also love that he had enough of a sense of humor to embrace the idea of working in all kinds of Zeppelin samples into the aural collages.

That album is criminally overlooked and underrated. Nile Rodgers had such a clean production style on that one--it wasn't as cluttered as a few of the albums surrounding it. "'Cross The Midnight Sky" and "Golden Girl" are others from that album which are among my favorites.

Having said that, "One Way" (from Heart's Horizon) has always been a standout for me.

"One Way" is extremely overlooked, but I agree that that one's a real gem. And L Is for Lover as a whole is horribly underrated, I'd agree. Nile did a fabulous job as producer on that one, and even though the album may not have spawned a major crossover hit like Breakin' Away or Jarreau did, it's one of the strongest batches of songs Jarreau ever cut. I'd have to rank that one at least amongst my top five favorite albums of his, maybe even my top three.

Only Yesterday-Carpenters 70’s
Steppin’ Out-Joe Jackson 80’s
All remind me of summer vacations with the radio on, riding or driving down the highways.

Nice choices! "Only Yesterday" is most definitely my favorite Carpenters single; it does such a masterful job of being equal parts infectious, stunningly beautiful, and downright fun all at the same time.
I'm such an avid Joe Jackson fan that it's hard for me to pick a sole favorite (obviously, I love all his biggest hits, especially "Breaking Us in Two," but I'm just as fond of some of his deeper cuts like "Happy Ending" or "One to One" or "Be My Number Two" or "Another World"), but nothing in his catalog is quite as playful and sparkling like "Steppin' Out" is. Like "Only Yesterday," it somehow manages to be both incredibly fun and utterly gorgeous at the same time - not an easy feat for any songwriter. I love the studio recording of it, but I was just as floored by seeing him play it on TV at one point with Graham Maby playing that synth-bass line on an actual bass (and at a noticeably faster tempo as well, at that!) and totally nailing it.
Just about anything from the last four albums by Cheap Trick (one of which is a Christmas album). Those guys still have a blast playing together and it shows.

Definitely. I was admittedly sad to see Bun E. Carlos go, but the band is still clearly having as much fun as ever, and their output from Rockford onwards has been a real return to form for those guys. They can still write some killer hooks, too. "No Direction Home" especially is as infectious as anything from their earliest albums.
 
This just came up on my playlist. "Shark Attack" from the Split Enz album True Colours. (Which had album jackets in an array of colors...) One of those crazy fun songs, this one hailing from New Zealand. "I Got You" was the hit.
Not just that, but laser etching on the vinyl, too! (Which, yes, does affect the sound, unfortunately, but when I was much younger and less of an audiophile than I am now, I thought that was such a cool added touch.) Underrated band. They never did crack the Top 40 here (though "I Got You" did still climb as high as #53, if memory serves me right), but two of the members would find much greater commercial success in the band Crowded House, who are every bit as underrated and still putting out masterfully-crafted albums to this day.
 
Back
Top Bottom