Quick Hits, Round 3

Welcome to my newest music series, Quick Hits! I once again return to my trusty ol’ iPod (that’s still alive and kicking…for now) for a monthly peek into my musical past. Each new post will cover five shuffled songs. My musings per song may be voluminous or sparse, depending on what memories they spark. So, let’s not waste any more time and get on with the music!

“There is Nothin’ Like a Dame” – from South Pacific (1958) soundtrack

We put on South Pacific in my high school — I worked backstage on the wardrobe crew, specifically as Nellie’s dresser (she’s the one who speaks to Luther — Ray Walston, aka My Favorite Martian — during the song here). Looking back, we made a lot of bad decisions in the production, especially when it came to casting any of the non-white characters, but I have fond memories of it nonetheless. The girl who played Nellie was very sweet, and a good friend of mine played one of her love interests, Emile. I don’t recall then who played Luther, but the cast always had fun with this raucous song.

“Get Real Paid” – Beck

Midnite Vultures is a weird Beck album, but it’s Beck album through and through. The album gained minor notoriety for one of its songs, “Sexx Laws,” that I think made it into MTV’s rotation. Or, at least, I kinda remember seeing video for it.” Anyway, “Get Real Paid” isn’t the Midnite Vultures‘ defining song, and if one only ever heard it and nothing else from the album, one might mistake it for some sort of stripped-down electronica outing. It’s not that at all…though it also is. It’s Beck. You pay for Beck, and you get Beck. That’s how it goes.

“The Name of the Game” – ABBA

Ah, ABBA. This band will forever be the first representation of pop music I ever heard in my house. My folks had several of their albums on cassette, and I did enjoy popping them into our little Casio tape player and listening to their dulcet disco sounds. As far as ABBA goes, “The Name of the Game” has quite the sophisticated sound when compared to some of their biggest hits. Then again, many of ABBA’s less radio-played songs are among the best pop songs, ever? That’s a bold claim, but these folks were really good songwriters, and song of the band’s songs sound very timeless, even when they contain those familiar “70s sounds.” Just take a listen, and you’ll see what I mean.

“Mars, the Bringer of War” – Gustav Holst, from The Planets, op. 32

When this song popped up, I had a sense of déjà vu and had to look back at some of my previous musical posts, because I thought it had come up before. Indeed, Holst’s suite The Planets did, but it was then a different planet, Venus. The Planets is an amazing piece of work, with “Mars” being a suitably forceful, substantial, and military-like composition. In it you can famously hear that which inspired the soundtrack to Star Wars, as well as lively inklings from Holst’s contemporaries, like Igor Stravinksy. Such drama!

“Never Been to Spain” – Three Dog Night

Just like with Holst’s piece, when “Never Been to Spain” came up on the ol’ iPod, I was sure I had covered it before. And yep, I did indeed. I don’t often go back to look through my old posts, but this one is particularly troublesome as all the video links I provided then are dead. Well, what’s done is done, and that’s too bad, because I’m sure YouTube is rife with other Three Dog Night videos, all of which I would recommend because the band is great. At least to listen to. Can’t argue with the amazing vocalizations of three excellent vocalists. “Never Been to Spain” is definitely a favorite song of mine of any band, any genre. It’s easy-going appeal is everlasting, and I love hearing it every time it rolls around.

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