The B’s Knees

As explained in my previous post, I’m taking the challenge of listening to all the songs in my iTunes Music Library in order by album. I finished listening to the albums titled beginning with “B” this last week Monday.

There were a lot of “Best of~” in this series. U2’s Best of 1980-1990 and Best of 1990-2000, Best of Berlin 1979-1988, Best of Bollywood 2005, Best of Chris Isaak, Best of En Vogue, Best of House of Pain, Best of L’arc~en~ciel 1994-1998, Best of Mucc, The Best of Ritchie Valens, Best of SWV, Best of the Firing Squad, and The Best of the Gypsy Kings. Of these, only the U2 and L’arc albums are complete in my library, the rest are just one or a few songs.

Lately it often happens that I end up really liking a song that I first heard used in parody on a YT video, and “Ante Up” from the Firing Squad compilation came to my attention just like that:

XDD

I actually bought the aforementioned L’arc Best of album during my first trip to Japan, back in 2004. I was doing a homestay ( = staying with a Japanese family) in Toyota City, and my host younger brother was a big L’arc fan. I knew a few of their songs at the time, and when I said so, he put on a concert DVD for me to watch. I ended up seriously digging the track “fate,” and the next time we went to the mall, I stopped at a CD shop to look for an album with that song on it. I remember bumpin’ that CD in my hotel room in Kyoto near the end of the trip. This was back when some people still used portable CD players instead of MP3 players. Ahh, the good old days of…7 years ago. ^o^;

Moving on…

While I had watched a couple of Indian movies back in the day, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the University of Windsor radio station CJAM 99.1FM (you can pick their signal up in Detroit if you live on the west side; don’t know how far it reaches) and their world music radio shows on Sunday afternoon that I started to actively look for Indian pop music. I’ll bring up the songs that got me hooked when I do the M albums, but for now, I’d like to highlight my favorite hype track from Bollywood Dancebusters: “Dhoom Machale” by Sunidhi Chauhan.

Not sure what she’s saying, but I imagine it’s similar to the subject matter in the English-language song “Dhoom Dhoom” by Tata Young, which is from the same movie (also titled Dhoom).

As I listened to B.O.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray, I couldn’t help but admire how well the album comes together as a whole, and how each track is strong enough to stand on its own. That’s not something I can say about a lot of albums, hence why I love the iTMS: I can just buy the one or two tracks I like. But it wasn’t on purpose that I bought the whole album. This album came to my attention because I kept hearing the track “Airplanes” getting played at Tsutaya whenever I went there! If it weren’t for moments like these and me checking the Billboard chart occasionally so that I can answer my students when they ask me, “What’s popular in the States right now?” I probably wouldn’t know what was going on in the world of American music. Anyway, I Googled the lyrics and found out what the song was. While my iTunes Music Store-addicted self usually only downloads a choice track, the version of “Airplanes” featuring Eminem was an album-only deal. I snarled at the iTMS, previewed all the tracks, and decided it seemed interesting enough to risk getting the whole album. I’m glad I did! (But I still snarl at the iTMS whenever they pull one of those album-only stunts.) Bobby Ray’s lyrical versatility and the many featured artists, along with creative arrangements that don’t confine themselves to a single genre, make the album great for single sitting listening.

One of the tracks I like as much as “Airplanes” is actually the track that was the debut single, but I didn’t know that.

I had mentioned previously that I loved a radio show called “Big Sonic Heaven.” The fateful track that was playing as I fiddled with the dial was “Renaissance Affair” by Hooverphonic, originally on the 1998 album Blue Wonder Power Milk. This track was later used in a commercial for the “Vapor” colored VW Beetle, and the popularity it gained there is, I assume, what prompted the track’s inclusion on Hooverphonic’s next album, The Magnificent Tree. Since there’s no good quality videos on YouTube showing the original album’s artwork, I’ll use this video that uses the cover of the latter album. Enjoy!

Finally, I end with some stats.

Number of Albums Represented: 68
Number of Albums available in their entirety: 8
Number of Songs: 197

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