Let Them Eat Vinyl’s Top 10 Love Songs

Good morning dear readers, and welcome to the Most Romantic Day of the Year! Can you feel the love? I sure hope so. Hallmark Industries needs your support, you know. Those cards don’t just write themselves. Every dollar you spend goes directly towards raises for their copywriters. I mean, that’s where the profit goes, right? Right? Of course it does.

Anyway, we marked Valentine’s Day last year by celebrating famous musical couples throughout the ages. This year, we decided to throw together a playlist of our favorite love songs for your enjoyment. Songs about love tend to be rather sappy and maudlin by nature, but we feel that these selections have the cheese factor dialed back (as much as possible, anyway) and the music level set to awesome.

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Anything Less Than the Best is a Felony

I hope you are sitting down, because I am about to blow your mind.

Somehow — and I truly, for the life of me cannot fathom how this happened — I managed to make it through the past 22 years without ever having seen this music video:

I know what you’re thinking — how did an oversight of such magnitude occur? The situation is nothing short of tragic. I mean, the song was released in 1990, so for 22 years I could have been reveling in the supreme awesomeness that is this video. And it’s not like I haven’t seen the cinematic gem Cool As Ice (which I will delve into further at a later date, as it obviously deserves it’s own post). Or the live performance of this song on Saturday Night Live, during which Vanilla Ice sported a truly magnificent jacket with ‘WORD TO YOUR MOTHA’ spelled out in diamond studs on the back — possibly the best piece of clothing worn by anyone, anywhere, in the history of time. Sadly, this is the only picture I could find of it:

Vanilla Ice

If you ever come across a jacket like this one, please buy it for me and I will love you forever x infinity

Seriously, I don’t understand why there aren’t multiple web sites devoted to this jacket. If ever there was a garment of clothing deserving of it’s own tumblr, surely it is this one.

Anyway…clearly I am familiar with the man’s oeuvre, is what I’m trying to say. So how the viewing of this video managed to elude me until now is truly a mystery for the ages. Now that I have seen it, it feels like a piece of me that had always been missing has fallen into place.

Also, I have come to an important conclusion. You know how people always daydream about what they would ask for if they could have one wish magically granted? I have decided what mine would be — I would wish for the dance skills necessary to perform the routine in this video from start to finish. Think of how often that ability would come in handy! Like, for example, if you found yourself in the middle of an impromptu dance-off. It is important to be prepared for such things. As a bonus, if you were ever feeling blue you could bust out these moves and instantly cheer yourself up.

As for my love of this video…will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know. But I certainly hope not, because it is making me pretty happy.


Two Songs, One Name

good vibrations

You know what’s funny? When two very different songs share the same name. Especially when it leads to confusing/embarrasing conversations like this one:

Spencer’s (much cooler) friend: “‘Good Vibrations’ is such a great tune…”
Spencer: “Oh ya, I love Marky Mark!”
Spencer’s friend: “Um…I was talking about the Beach Boys song…”
Awkward silence as both parties realize the extent of Spencer’s lameness.

Don’t get me wrong, the Beach Boys’ version is also awesome, but how can you not love the Funky Bunch’s ridiculous ’90s dance moves? And Marky Mark’s shirtless posing. Not to mention that gold glitter hat…

Here are the two songs, side by side:

Oh man! I’m just gonna say it: they are both great. That’s the beauty of two songs with one name — unlike your typical classic vs. cover scenario, you don’t really have to measure how they stack up to one another, or choose between them. You can instead just enjoy each song for what it is. And although these two couldn’t be more different in some ways, when it comes down to it they are both songs about the thrill of hitting that sweet spot, where everything is just waves and waves and waves of good times.


Happy Birthday to Us!

music note bday cake

You guys! It’s our birthday!!!! One year ago today we posted our very first article, and we couldn’t be happier to have reached such an important milestone! In honour of this very excellent date, we are declaring February 4th to be a national holiday, effective immediately, and giving you all permission to take the day off work. You’re welcome!!*

*What’s that you say? Today is Saturday, and you already have the day off work? Well then. Instead, we give you permission to go out and get drunk tonight, and when you do, please raise a glass and toast yourselves for being the BEST READERS OF ALL TIME!! ‘Cause you are! We love you!

xxx ooo

Let Them Eat Vinyl

Awwww…look who dropped in to wish us a Happy Birthday! They must have liked our article.

Justin, Usher & Scooter

No word of a lie, I own the exact jacket that Justin is wearing here. I really don't know what that means. I just wish I had a pair of these 3D glasses...


More Cowbell

more cowbell

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a friend’s band play. Their name: More Cowbell.

I hadn’t seen a cover band in a long time and I had forgotten how good it feels to know song after song and be reminded of old favorites. There is a real pleasure in the experience of hearing the soundtrack of your life and sharing it with other people. The Cars, the Cult, Areosmith, Blondie, U2, No Doubt, the Foo Fighters, the Ramones… More Cowbell ripped things up for the duration of three satisfying sets. They didn’t play any Rush songs (it’s not often that you hear a band cover Rush), but my buddy on the kit was doing his best to sneak in fills when he could. I found myself singing along and grinning all night.

Weirdly, it felt like a vacation — a vacation from all the new stuff out there, and I don’t only mean new releases. I mean anything new to you – bands your friends suggest, albums that critics write about, music you hear on TV or in movies…There is so much out there and I really do want to give it all a try, but sometimes I just want to listen to the Cars’ first album for days and not feel like I’m missing out on something.

Seeing More Cowbell, and the happiness I experienced that night, made me realize that maybe I’m reaching my cut off point. I might be full, no more room for new stuff. I have assembled my musical cannon and I’m happy with it. I don’t like to believe this. I like to think that I will always be open to new music, but something inside me smirks and says stop foolin’ (immediately thought of Def Leppard) yourself. I remember when it began for me: in 1979, buying 45s at records stores with my allowance money…and now I’m buying my music on the internet with my credit card — innocence lost!

Am I really ready to end my search for new music? No, of course not…but I believe I have learned a valuable lesson: take a vacation, have fun, go out and see a cover band.


Classic vs Cover: I Think We’re Alone Now

You guys! For my inaugural ‘Classic vs. Cover’ post I am very excited to be writing about this song! I grew up with the Tiffany version. I remember rocking out to it at sleepovers in grade six while we did each others’ makeup (peach lip gloss was big that year) and gossiped about the boys we liked (Aaron Prosser, in my case)*. Good times.

*Super embarrassing if he is reading this now.

Back then, I was not aware that the song was a cover. The original was done by Tommy James and the Shondells (their other hits included ‘Crimson and Clover’ and ‘Mony Mony’ – which was, of course, later covered by Billy Idol).

Here is the Tommy James version:

Pretty awesome, right? It’s got a great pop-meets-garage vibe, and I love how they do the ‘heartbeat’ part.

Now, the cover by Tiffany:

Right off the top, it’s way more poppy than the original, with those sweet synth beats and the hilarious/awesome ’80s overproduction. Also, I don’t think we can discount the amazingness of this video. I mean…the dance moves! The acid wash denim! Gumby!! Gah…it’s all so good!

So, which version is best? The classic is much more stripped down than the cover, and I would argue that since it’s a really great song to begin with, the original shows that off perfectly with no need for embellishment. On the other hand, Tiffany’s version is a pretty glorious piece of sugary bubblegum perfection.

One thing I really like about this tune in general is the fact that, for a song that’s all about sneaking off to hook up with someone, both versions are pretty innocent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude — but in this day and age of explicit sexuality and raunchy lyrics, it’s kind of refreshing to listen to a song that contains a line like “The beating of our hearts is the only sound” — rather than, say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me” from Rihanna, this generation’s incarnation of a pop princess (possibly being listened to at little girls’ sleepovers as we speak). I dunno, maybe it’s just the romantic in me.

As for these two versions of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now,’ what’s your preference? Classic, or cover?


Spotlight on Style: Converse All Stars

converse all stars

When I was 9 or 10 I got the idea in my head that I wanted a pair of plaid Converse high tops. Believe it or not, they weren’t such an easy thing to find back then. I mean, nowadays you can get all sorts of crazy prints, colors and styles, but at the time it was the mid-’80s, and I wanted a pretty specific color scheme — dark blue and turquoise plaid. I was a very particular 5th grader. I searched for ages but couldn’t find what I was looking for, and finally settled for a classic pair of bubblegum pink ones (whether you are a guy or a girl, 10 years old or 50, you cannot go wrong with pink Converse).

So began my love affair with Converse All Stars. Since then, not a year has gone by that I haven’t worn them. I’ve had numerous pairs — navy, kelly green, black (of course), silver zebra print, turquoise velvet, and most recently white leather. My favourite pair ever were black and white checkered canvas. I bought them in grade 10 and I still have them to this day. They are pretty beat-up by now, as you can see:

all stars

I went to visit my friend Ryan in L.A. the summer after my first year of university, and in the midst of a particularly late night drinking session I inexplicably decided it would be a good idea to color them in black with a magic marker. I regretted this move the next morning, but luckily the black wore off some and you can still see the checkered pattern underneath. I have been wearing them for 20 years and they are still one of the best pairs of shoes I’ve ever had.

 

Not surprisingly, I love it when dudes wear Converse. It’s just such a great look. Gets me every time.

kurt cobain

To this day I have still never stumbled upon a pair that are dark blue and turquoise plaid, but I’ve always got my eyes open. I am confident they will find their way into my life someday.


Love At First Listen

smashing pumpkins

Happy Monday, kids, and welcome to a new column that we hope to post on a regular basis, entitled ‘Love At First Listen’.

There are some songs that grow on you. The first time you hear them you may not be completely blown away, but upon further listening you end up appreciating the nuances that, with any song, reveal themselves over time (an example of this for me is U2’s ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’). With others there may be an initial strong attraction, deepening gradually into love (most of my favorite songs fall into this category). Then there is the type of song that you fall for, head over heels, the moment that you first hear it. Love at first listen.

Probably the first time this ever happened to me was the fall of 1993. My friend Chris lent me his copy of The Smashing Pumpkins’ new record Siamese Dream (released in July of that year, but we were living in Singapore at the time and everything came out there a bit later). I remember, vividly, lying on my bedroom floor and pressing play. I liked the first two tracks, but as soon as song #3 started, after literally the very first bar, I thought to myself “This is it. I am in love”. And I was right. As the song progressed, it just kept getting better and better, and I listened along dreamily, stars in my eyes. I was a total goner. I must have played that song 20 more times that day, and had it on repeat over the following months.

The fact that Billy Corgan wrote the song about a day in which he was having suicidal thoughts, with lyrics of depression and self-mutilation, did nothing to diminish my ardor – in fact, being sixteen at the time and suffering myself from the requisite dose of depressive thoughts that go along with being a teenager (though no self-mutilation or suicidal ideation, thankfully), it made me feel less alone to know that there were other people experiencing similar emotions.

As is the case with any true love, my romance with this song continues to this day. It is still as relevant to me ‘Today’ as it was the first time I heard it.

How about you? What song did you fall for the first time you heard it?


We Like It Hot

Hot to the Touch

I love it how new music sometimes finds its way to you in the coolest and most random of ways. I was at a friend’s show last week at Rancho Relaxo and just by chance started chatting with the guy standing next to me in the crowd as I waited for the band, Goodnight, Sunrise, to go on. He explained that he was meeting some friends who hadn’t arrived yet. Never being one to pass up the opportunity to promote our little site here, I mentioned that I blog about music. When his friends showed up, he introduced me to one of them, Ryan, saying “this guy is in a really good band”. I am always intrigued by what’s going on in Toronto’s local music scene so I noted down the name of his band, Hot to the Touch, and promised to look them up.

You guys. Am I ever glad I did! I am seriously loving this band! Their first song, ‘Don’t Wanna Think About It’, is straight-up amazing from the very first listen. It is super catchy and has been stuck in my head since New Year’s. I am also totally digging ‘Part the Sea’, the other song on their single, a whimsical, upbeat pop extravaganza.

I highly suggest checking out the video for ‘In the Morning’ as well, to get an idea of their live sound.

Hot To The Touch – In The Morning from Sydney Tam on Vimeo.

Check out their website here for more info and to purchase their single. Looking forward to seeing more good stuff from these guys in the near future!

THIS JUST IN: HOT TO THE TOUCH WILL BE PLAYING A SHOW LATER THIS MONTH AT THE MOD CLUB — HEAD ON DOWN THERE JAN 29TH TO CATCH ‘EM LIVE!


New Year, New Name

hello

Happy 2012 everyone! You may have noticed a little change here on the site. When we launched this blog 11 months ago, what we really wanted to call ourselves was Let Them Eat Vinyl. This was partly inspired by something Kurt Cobain said, a rant in an unsent letter in which he famously denounced the insular world of indie elitists and music scenesters, proclaiming: “They can starve. Let them eat vinyl”. This little phrase jumped out at us and lodged itself in our minds, and when it came time to name the site it was our first choice. Unfortunately, the address ‘letthemeatvinyl’ was already taken, by a company that actually sells vinyl records (fair enough, really. We can’t argue with that). We settled on Let Them Read Vinyl because the focus of our blog at the time was music book reviews. However, as is often the case in life, what we set out to do has evolved over time. Book reviews are still a big part of our deal, but we’ve also expanded to include live music reviews, album reviews, fashion and style, and general pop culture commentary. We’re still all about the music, though. Music is everything.

Anyway, we figured that it was high time we embraced the name that we love. Accordingly, we’ve updated our address to www.let-them-eat-vinyl.com. Clicking on our old address will still bring you here, so not to worry. And we’re still the same great site, just slightly modified. After all, we figured that if Prince can change his name to a symbol, or P.Diddy can change monikers on a seemingly monthly basis, then the difference of two letters in our name is No Big Deal.

Our goal for 2012 is to keep bringing you awesome & informative articles about music. So check back often, and join us for some good old-fashioned rocking out.


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