For My Sunday Song #70, I am going with a lesser known band called Thirdstory. The song is called “G Train”. It is off their debut E.P called ‘Searching’ which I did a review back in 2016. The band consists of only three singer/songwriters – Elliott Skinner, Ben Lusher, and Richard Saunder. And let me tell you, these guys can sing.
I first came across them when they opened for Tori Kelly back in 2016 on her tour. The guys were so incredible and their harmonizing was second to none. Their performance made me go out and download their E.P. because there was one song in the show that stood out to me and is now one of my favorite songs.
“G Train” was written due to the band’s schedule in rehearsing. One of the members was was always taking the NY Subway back and forth. On the video, theFader.com states…
…the three members of the group trade stories about lovesickness as they ride the subway through New York City’s boroughs. The song is a perfect soundtrack for the type of deep contemplation that only happens on the train, when you have altogether too much time with your own thoughts.
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My Sunday Song #69 is “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall. The song was released as a single in 2005 from her 2004 debut album ‘Eyes to the Telescope’. It was a sensational debut song and reached as high as #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and made it to #1 Adult Pop Songs chart.
The acoustic guitar and drum beat had you tapping your feet and bobbing your head instantly. When you add in that gritty voice, you had an instant classic. KT’s song was a little blues, a little soul and a little rock, but a had a lot of character. I never knew what the song meant and it didn’t really matter. It was catchy and had a certain charm to it. I would catch myself singing it all the time when it was released and it was one of the best songs of 2005 for sure.
KT Tunstall discussed the meaning of the song at Contactmusic.com. She said the following:
“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” is inspired by old blues, Nashville psycho hillbillies & hazy memories. It tells the story of finding yourself lost on your path, and a choice has to be made. It’s about gambling, fate, listening to your heart, and having the strength to fight the darkness that’s always willing to carry you off.
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My Sunday Song #68 is “Hold Back the River” by James Bay. You could say I have become a huge fan of this young man. I have his album “Chaos & the Calm” (on vinyl and a picture disc at that) and my daughter and I have seen him in concert (Great show – read the review HERE). He has been posting pictures on Facebook of him in the studio and a new album coming in 2018 which got me listening to him again.
When I hit this song in the playlist, I remembered how much I love this song. The quiet opening with just some slow picking on the guitar and his voice. The slow build up and a little faster pace and faster and faster. It actually has the feel that as you try to hold back the river, it get harder and harder and more intense.
In an interview with The Sun, James said the following about the song:
“I wrote it after my first really busy period as an artist, when music had taken me around the world for the first time, and at the end of the year, I’ve become really eager to see friends and my family properly. ‘Hold Back The River’ is a metaphor for that feeling.”
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For My Sunday Song #67, I am going with a song that randomly pops in my head more often than not, “I Started a Joke”. The song is by the Bee Gees and I don’t honestly know why I find myself singing it at the most odd times. I guess it means I really like this song and I actually do. I was not a Bee Gees fan at all because when I grew up and got in to music, Disco was the Devil. I actually love the Bee Gees now, but their real early stuff from the late 60’s and early 70’s is the best.
“I Started a Joke” was released back in 1968 and was on their album ‘Idea’. The song was written by all three brothers and was sung by Robin Gibb. The song has such a relaxing, somewhat hypnotic sound that is beautiful and psychedelic. It has a sadness to it and the lyrics do as well (“I started a joke, which started the whole world crying”). The song has stuck with me and is constantly playing in my head. For years, I will just start singing this song and looking back it might be at times I was sad but I truly don’t know why it stays with me.
Robin has never explained what the song is about as he felt the song interpretation is up to the listener as any real explanation would detract from what the listener feels it is about. Robin’s vocals on this song are stunning. His squeaky, high pitched voice and the melody just makes me feel the song is about loneliness. I think with the loss of my parents over the last couple years, there is a little part of me that feels a little lonely since they aren’t with me anymore.
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My Sunday Song #66 is the first current release I have done in some time. It is the song “Feel the Still” by the band Portugal. The Man. The song is the second single off the band’s 2017 album “Woodstock” and their first #1 on any chart. What surprised me about the band when I looked them up was that this is their 8th studio album. 8th?? I had never heard of these guys…how did that happen??
I first heard this song on an Apple commercial and then later I started hearing it on the radio. It was so damn catchy and had a 60’s kind of vibe to it with the fun beat and John Gourley’s very high pitched vocals. As it turns out, the song has borrowed heavily from the song “Please, Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes which was released way back before my time in 1961 (not really that far before my time but definitely before).
Lyrically the song seems all over the place. It jumps from references to the civil rights movement in 1966 up to their introduction to the Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill in 1986 and all the way to today and what is happening with the current administration. I saw where the song was inspired by his daughter growing up while they were making this album. To me he seems to be worried about the world she is going to inherit and that we need to fight for our rights like people have done in the past. Now is the time. Maybe I am reading too much into this short song at only 2:43.
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For My Sunday Song #65, I chose “Lunatic Fringe” by Canadian rock band Red Rider. The song is off their 1981 album ‘As Far as Siam” and is probably the band’s most famous song. The song charted as high as #11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, but never cracked the Top 40 of the Bill board Hot 100. Actually, they never had a song chart in the Top 40 so I guess you could categorize them as a No-Hit Wonder, at least here in the States.
But for me the song was a hit. MTV surely played it a lot as that was the only place I ever heard it at the time. The creepiness of the song was what drove me to liking it. I like dark and creepy songs for some reason. The song really starts out with a creepy keyboard sound, almost evil feel to it. From the keyboard sounds, you then get a quick couple guitar notes that add a punch to it. And from there, the song kicks into full band mode and Tom Cochrane’s vocals. The song ends with city street sounds including sirens and then ends with the guitar riff from the beginning. The song worked form beginning to end.
According to Mike Bell of the Canadian Online Explorer, “Lunatic Fringe” was inspired by “what Cochrane saw as an alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the ’70s, and was also partially inspired by a book he read on Raoul Wallenberg, who helped thousands of Jews escape Nazi Germany”. And per Wikipedia, “lunatic fringe” is a “term used to characterize members of a political or social movement as extremists with eccentric or fanatical views. The term was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote in 1913 that, “Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.”” which is why he named the song as he did.
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For My Sunday Song #64, I chose a classical pop track called “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling. If you don’t know Lindsey, shame on you, she is an American violinist who performs what is called classical crossover. It is classical music with a Pop twist to it is how would describe it. The song “Shatter Me” was off her second album of the same name. It was actually Lindsey’s first attempt at writing lyrics and normally the songs are instrumentals only. I have loved this song since I first heard it and was reminded of it when I saw Lindsey on Dancing With the Stars…and she is pretty good.
The song features the powerhouse vocals of Halestorm’s lead singer Lzzy Hale. The combination of Lindsey’s musical stylings and Lzzy’s rock vocals delivers one of the best songs of 2014. The song would go on to reach #39 on the Billboard Adult Pop songs and was her first charting song.
The song has a positive message about breaking free or shattering the image of what you think people want you to be to being what you want to be. It is about being strong and having the courage to push the limits of who you can be and what you can do. The rock edge to the song and that violin together prove to be a powerful force in delivering this strong message.
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My Sunday Song #63 is from The White Stripes. The song is “Seven Nation Army” and is one of their most popular songs. It is off their fourth album, ‘Elephant’, and went on to hit #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks back in 2003.
What I love about The White Stripes is the quirkiness of the songs and the band itself. The band only consists of two people, Jack and Meg White. They were husband and wife at one time, but have since divorced. The band is no more, but thankfully, their music lives one.
The song that resonated most with me from them was “Seven Nation Army”. The song was a standout because of that bass line riff that starts off the song and plays throughout. Imagine my surprise to learn that was not a bass. The band doesn’t ever use a bass in their music. They only use a drum and guitar. According to Wikipedia, to get that effect, Jack White’s semi-acoustic, 1950s-style Kay Hollow body guitar was run through a DigiTech Whammy pedal which was set down an octave. It is a really cool sound.
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My Sunday Song #62 is the song “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. The song is off the album, Face Value, and was released as a single on January 8th, 1981. The song is one of Phil’s most recognizable and most popular songs and it reached #2 in the UK and #19 in the US on Billboards Hot 100.
What makes it so recognizable is the drum work throughout. The slow build up to that drum beat that comes screaming in and there throughout the rest of the song. Who hasn’t been in their car and when that part comes up, you air drum and everyone around you looks at you like you are a nut…and also wondering why you aren’t holding on to your steering wheel.
The song’s popularity even increased when it was used in the pilot episode of Miami Vice in 1984. That helped it remain a part of pop culture forever. The creepiness of the song and the dark overtones worked nicely in the episode and showed how well music and TV could work together.
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My Sunday Song #61 is Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. I needed to crank things up a bit and this is great song to turn up to 10 and blast out some windows and shake some walls. A good song to test out my new speakers on. The song is off the 1991 album, Metallica (or The Black Album) and was the song that made Metallica mainstream and helped turn them into megastars. The song was released two weeks before the album and helped the album debut at #1 and go on to sell well over 22 million copies.
If you are not familiar with this song, it just might be one of the most recognizable metal songs of all time and one of the scariest. The song is about children’s nightmares and what might be lying under your bed. I think what helps give it that eerie feeling is the child’s prayer that is in the song:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord, my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
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