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A Somnolent Song?

19 Apr

The last time I did a SWOD was July, 2010. SWOD (song/word of the day) is a category that I started to profile vocabulary words and corresponding songs. On the way back to my house today, “Sleep” by The Dandy Warhols lulled me into a state of musical bliss, and somewhere in the repetitive riff I thought today would be a good day to bring back the SWOD. Thank the Dandy Warhols for their help!

Word: Somnolent (adj)- sleepy; drowsy

The Dandy Warhols formed in Portland, Oregon back in 1994 and they have released 10 albums to this date, spreading their alt/indie rock sound and apt pun band name. It is fitting that one of the band’s main inspirations is the Velvet Underground. In 2000 they released arguably their best album Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, and today’s somnolent hit resides on track eight. Is “sleep” a drowsy song?

In one word, yes, “Sleep” fits neatly into the term somnolent. The song is carried by a repetitive guitar riff that mixes with Courtney Taylor-Taylor‘s whispered croon. The band also uses drawn-out studio effects that mesh with melodic chanting. The Dandy Warhols also use a neat song technique in “Sleep” that contributes to the soporific quality of the music. In a melodic move most similar to turning the volume knob on a stereo system down and up, the band slowly drops the studio-effects to highlight the chanting and then gradually works them back into the song. This “lulling” works to achieve a dreamy piece, and this works for the song because of the constant riff in the background.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie…Bijou bikini?

13 Jul

That she actually wore for the first time today

Today’s Word:

Bijou (adj) – Something small or delicate

Musical Example

Everyone knows the tune and the famous bijou bikini. It is itsy bitsy and teenie weenie and yellow and polka dot and did I mention a bikini. The song, which tells the tale of a shy girl who is afraid to let people see her in her small bikini, is an infectious and cheery tune that can seriously embarrass you if you know all of the lyrics and tend to often tell people, “what she wore.” But, I don’t care. I am not ashamed and neither should bikini girl.

The song was written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss and was first released in June of 1960 by Brian Hyland. It skyrocketed to #1 on the U.S. charts in August of the same year.

The song also was more than just a superficial diddy. It also incited a large increase in bikini sales, which were still looked at as risqué in the early 60s. It is cited as being one of the earliest contributors to the acceptance of the suit in society.

SWOD: Come On, Come On and Make a Haptic Move at Me

29 Jun

Today’s Word:

Haptic (adjective): Relating to the sense of touch; tactile.

He's not afraid

Musical Example:
As the title evinces,  The Doors made a mistake when titling their 1969 hit, “Touch Me.” Obviously, haptic move would have been a better choice.

The song, which was written by guitarist Robby Krieger, implements a riff inspired by The Four Seasons’ “C’mon Marianne.” It is perhaps one of the most known Doors’ songs, and a perfect example of Jim Morrison’s excellent croon.

It also includes both brass and string instruments, which, according to fans at the time, was the problem with The Soft Parade, the album which the song finds itself on.

But, while the album faced controversy then, it has, like a fine wine, aged well.

Did You Know…

The album had numerous working titles before the Doors’ finally settled on “Touch Me.” Fortunately, “Make a Haptic Move at Me” was not in the running. “I’m Gonna Love You,” a lyric of the song, was a possibility. “Hit Me,” a reference to the card game black jack, also was a working title. Actually, the famous first line of the song originally went, “C’mon, hit me, I’m not afraid.” But, Jim Morrison frequently changed the line during live performances fearing that the “hit me” line would encourage fans to challenge him to a fight.


SWOD: Here Comes the Sun

21 Jun

Time for another instalment of the song/word of the day.

Today’s Word: Heliolatry

Oh...Now the post title makes sense

Heliolatry (noun): Worship of the sun.

Musical Example:

For those who reside in the Northern Hemisphere the concept of heliolatry was quite prevalent yesterday. Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, occurred yesterday and with it brought sunshine, warm weather (at least on Long Island, NY) and the welcomed beginning of summer. Trust me, I would know. I was out yesterday reporting on how people were spending their solstices around Long Island.

And, to help welcome in summer, I could not think of a better song than “Here Comes the Sun.” I wonder if there will ever be a word like Beatlolatry. The worship of the Beatles (in case you did not realize what I was getting at). I may suffer from a taste of this. Luckily, Beatlolatry won’t lead to eventual skin cancer. Though it may lead to a serious case of Beatles’ lyricitis (a condition which provokes constant singing of Beatles’ songs). Anyway, moving away from my stupid comments, here is what you all came here for. Quality George Harrison (who wrote “Here Comes the Sun” on one of Eric Clapton’s guitars, by the way) playing “Here Comes the Sun” with some other talented musicians.

SWOD (Song of the Day/Word of the Day) #20: Hobbledehoy

7 Jun

Today’s Word:

An example of a hobbledehoy

Hobbledehoy (Noun): An awkward, gawky young fellow.

Musical Example:

Ah, now you get the image above. Now, before I get into a musical example of this odd word with unknown origins, let me alert you all of my posting schedule for the summer. Internship orientation was exciting, but a tad bit confusing and overwhelming. That was to be expected. After most likely getting hopelessly lost in the building tomorrow, I believe things will become more clear when I am put in front of a computer and told to write. I can do that well. Heck, I am doing that now. Maybe I will write about a hobbledehoy. I work on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for now. Does everyone remember the posting schedule that I used when I was in college just a few months ago? Court links will grace your screen on Monday and Thursday. Tuesday’s will be reserved for a SWOD. So, consider this a Tuesday post. Wednesday and Friday will change weekly.

Now, on to the music. You know, “Why must I be a hobbledehoy in love.” Wait, those are not the lyrics Dion and the Belmonts famously sing? That’s right everyone. Tonight is reserved for an oldie but a goodie. “A Teenager in Love” was written by Doc Pomus and partner Mort Shuman in March of 1959. The song hit #5 on the Billboard pop charts. The song was originally sung by Dion and the Belmonts and you can watch a video of a performance of the song below.

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