Anna starts 6th grade tomorrow – her first day at the middle school. I think she’s apprehensive about it, but she’s mostly in the “I don’t want school to start again” mode. Back in March, I wrote a 7 songs post about the songs that Anna and I listen to in the car when we drive back and forth to the horse barn. Heidi thinks that she likes to go with me more than her because honestly, I just let her play whatever the hell she wants when it comes to music, whereas Heidi is usually listening to the soundtrack to which ever story she’s working on at the moment. But we usually listen to the “Dan’s Favorites” playlist, which has all my 5-star rated songs. Songs cycle in and out, and almost all of the songs that were featured in my original 7 songs post have been jettisoned in favor of others. The notable exception to this rule is the Sweet Brown “Aint Nobody Got Time For That” song, which has remarkable staying power for what is basically a joke song. I use our trips to and from the barn as an opportunity to introduce her to my favorite music so that she has something to rebel against in a few years. This is the late summer edition of 7 songs in the car with Anna. Check back with us in a few months and the songs will be all new.
1) Flashdance…What A Feeling / Glee Cast
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this is one of the rare instances where the Glee version of a song outshines the original. For whatever reason, Lea Michele’s vocal acrobatics are endearing and not annoying. It’s just so wonderfully joyous that it’s impossible to hate. We broke up with Glee at the end of Season 3, and to be honest, I kind of miss the music. Maybe I’ll end up watching Season 4 when it hits Netflix.
2) Hung Up / Madonna
This is kind of a “well, duh, of course” song considering my love for the Confessions era. It was Anna’s first big introduction to Madonna, as it was released on her 4th birthday back in 2005. The CD was on endless loop in the car, and even back then, she knew a lot of the lyrics. I’ve really gotten into “Hung Up” recently, which I consider the last true Madonna classic to enter the canon – Madge freaks, please prove me wrong on this. I also discovered yesterday that Anna did not realize that the ABBA sample used in “Hung Up” (from “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”) was, in fact, a sample. “But It goes just perfectly with the song!” she exclaimed. Indeed it does.
3) I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open / Dolly Parton
After a handful of forgettable albums in the 90s, Dolly really came back to life with her bluegrass album, The Grass Is Blue. While I’ll always prefer Little Sparrow overall, there’s no denying the song choices on The Grass Is Blue are pretty top notch. “I’m Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open” is strikes just the right blend of corny country that appeals to me so much, and Dolly sings the hell out of it. While listening to this song, I told Anna the story of my cousin who actually used to sleep with both eyes open – not sure if he still does that or not. Ever the realist, Anna was all “even if you’re sleeping with one eye open, the frontal cortex is offline so you won’t be able to see or hear or do anything.” Can’t argue with that.
4) Fist City / Loretta Lynn
When I saw that Loretta Lynn had a song called “Fist City”, I knew I had to buy it. Considering my wife’s line of work, the word fist used in that context brought up some pretty graphic images. However, a careful listen to the song reveals that Lynn was not singing about that kind of fist city, rather, it was more of a “knuckle sandwich” type fist city – “I’m here to tell you gal/To lay offa my man/If you don’t want to go to fist city.” Because we change the lyrics to everything, “Fist City” quickly became “Dish City” with they lyrics “If you don’t wanna go to dish city/You better detour ’round my kitchen/’Cause I guarantee there are dishes to do/And they are really filthy.” When I showed Anna this video, she couldn’t get over the hair. Talk about needing a special locker for the hat.
5) Lover To Lover / Florence + The Machine
I have to say that I am not a huge Florence + The Machine fan. It seems like everything is sung with the urgency of an ambulance roaring down the street. However, when we were in Chicago, Anna talked me into buying the vinyl of Flo’s latest album, Ceremonials, and I think that by listening to that, I have begun to develop a bit of an appreciation for her. This is typical Florence – bombastic singing, loud piano, a hooky chorus. To hear my 11 year-old sing along with it is something that I really do love.
6) Sun / Belinda Carlisle
“Sun” is Belinda Carlisle’s first new pop song in a half a million years (ok, since probably 2006.) But it was very much worth the wait. Carlisle proves that she still has the voice to knock a solid pop song out of the park and “Sun” is right up her alley. Our favorite part of the song is how Belinda turns the one syllable word “Sun” into a seven syllable word. Mariah Carey can still do better (with her, it’d be a 23 syllable word.) The moment Anna made the connection that Belinda Carlisle was the same person singing “Our Lips Are Sealed” was a pretty amazing moment, even though she immediately pronounced the song as “old” when I told her it was released in 1981.
7) You Wanna Bet / Barbra Streisand
Laugh all you want to, but we love this song. I first heard this song back in 1991 when I bought the Just for the Record… box set on a whim (!!), justifying its exorbitant price of 60-some dollars by the fact that I was selling a couple of my text books to a girl down the hall and would make probably that much money. Anyway, it’s one of those great unreleased gems that showcases Streisand’s vocal prowess and her amazing enunciation. The “t”s on the end of “but” and “bet” and “want” are exquisite. We know every word to this song and sing along with it every time it comes on. Heidi was amazed when this happened on our vacation. Streisand ends the song with a killer long note that we always try to hold as long as she does and although we make it sometimes, we aren’t belting like she is.
If watching the videos wasn’t enough, here’s a Spotify playlist of all the songs.