In the day and age of streaming, I always feel a little bad for the songs I’ve actually purchased that take up space on my hard drive. It seems they get neglected in favor of the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of Spotify or Amazon Music. Well, not so recently. There are still songs that, for whatever reason, are not on Spotify or other streaming services, and it’s one of the reasons that I will never completely abandon iTunes and actual song files. Recently, I’ve been really hooked on my “Dan’s Favorites” playlist which happens to feature a lot of songs that you won’t find streaming anywhere. So I thought I’d put together a little playlist of seven of these songs. Normally, for posts like these, I embed a Spotify playlist at the end of the post, but well, see the title of the post. 🙂
1. “Handy Man” / Mayer Hawthorne
“Handy Man” is a cast off from the How Do You Do album that was released, most bizarrely, as an mp3 in Mayer Hawthorne’s store on a 1 GB flash drive shaped like a hammer. No other way to get it, and only 250 were made. I didn’t buy the flash drive since I was not fast enough, but I did make a YouTube rip of it.
2. “Gang Bang (Bit Error Remix)” / Madonna
Fan remixes sure have gotten a lot better since the late 90s/early 00s when they mostly consisted of someone throwing a generic back beat over the album version of the song. Don’t get me wrong – there are still plenty of shitty ones out there, but the wheat is starting to outnumber the chaff, with fan remixes sometimes being better than the official remixes. “Gang Bang”, from Madonna’s 2012 album MDNA, did not get any official remixes, and I do have a soft spot for it even though there’s no way that Madonna could get away with this song and especially her gun-heavy live performance of it.
3. “I’ve Been Everywhere (Live at the Grand Ole Opry)” / Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves did this at her concert that I saw back in May and it was just fantastic. Last week I got to wondering if there was a half-way decent video of it on YouTube that I could rip to an mp3 and lo and behold, there was a fantastic live video from the Grand Ole Opry. Perfect sound and an on-point vocal performance from Kacey. As Anna and I say, “that song has too many words!”
4. “Thief of Hearts” / Melissa Manchester
I remember hearing this song for the first time on Entertainment Tonight, playing over the end of the show. Naturally, I was hooked. I am pretty sure I downloaded this during the Napster days, and it’s still not available digitally anywhere.
5. “How Will I Know” / Tides
Easily my favorite Whitney Houston cover, and it beats the shit out of Sam Smith’s dire remake of “How Will I Know”, I have Paul Reynolds to thank for this. It captures the unbridled joy of the original while also bringing a little something new to the table. It also reminds me of how the bridge in this song, followed by the key change is one of my favorite moments in pop music. Sadly, this was never officially released and the YouTube rip I made of it is of middling quality, but beggars can’t be choosers.
6. Simply Irresistible (Live) / Brandon Flowers
Full disclosure: I have always hated “Simply Irresistible.” I felt it a lame attempt to copy the success of “Addicted To Love” with zero of the that song and video’s originality. Leave it to Brandon Flowers to change my mind. He performed this at his concert that I saw in Minneapolis and it instantly went from the trash pile to a song on my karaoke bucket list. I still don’t care for Robert Palmer’s version much, but I’m glad that “Simply Irresistible” could be redeemed.
7. Buy The Stars / Marina & The Diamonds
OK so this one is a bit of a cheat because if you live outside the U.S., this is probably streaming on Spotify. “Buy The Stars” is one of the bonus tracks on the U.K. version of Electra Heart, but by the time the album got a U.S. release, it was nowhere to be found. That’s too bad because I have been seriously stuck on this song lately.