Drink the Kool-Aid

The details of the proposed “stimulus” package have come out. The Wall Street Journal has a good article about where the money will be going and, surprise, most of it can’t be remotely defined as stimulus. And here is a rather long but good article about how Keynesian theories have been disproved time after time. It’s a shame that we’re going to saddle our children and grandchildren with this nonsense. But hey, Hope and Change baby, Hope and Change.

Top 10 Pop/Rock Songs of the 80’s – 1983

Well, as I get into the years ’83, ’84 and ’85 the task of getting down to 10 songs is getting harder and harder. For 1983 there were at least 10 songs that I really loved that I had to kick off the list. For why I started doing these lists and for the 1980 list see this post. Here are the lists for 1981 and 1982.

10. Photograph, Def Leppard – Def Leppard was the first hard rock band that I remember crossing over to the pop charts although Van Halen might have something to say about that. Anyway, this song had a great melody and the vocals were great. Mutt Lange became famous producing these guys and I read once that he would have them lay down up to 30 vocal tracks for each song which is why they sound so full. One of the other great things about this song, and the album Pyromania, is that the band members had all of their limbs.

9. Always Something There to Remind Me, Naked Eyes – The way this song starts out with the ringing church bells makes this song instantly recognizable. I had a hard time choosing between this song and “Promises, Promises” which is a moodier song. This one won out mainly because the melody – of the chorus especially – is one of the best of the 80’s.

8. Jeopardy, Greg Kihn Band – This song has a sparse, groovy feel to it. It’s one of the best one hit wonders of 83.

7. Goody Two Shoes, Adam Ant – I had a friend who had very eclectic musical tastes and had all of the Adam Ant import albums. So I actually heard this before it was big here in the States. This song is hard to describe. The horn section kind of sounds like Big Band and Swing. The beat is almost Rockabilly. The melody is great and Ant is probably the whitest guy to ever mention Al green in a song he was singing while dressed as an Indian.

6. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Journey – This is one of my favorite Journey songs. The thing I remember most about this song is that in the video the band is shown playing “air” instruments, which I always thought odd. This was a great power ballad and is a great showcase for Steve Perry who has one of the stronger voices in pop.

5. Sweet Dreams, Eurythmics – This brooding, dark hit from the Eurythmics is one of my favorite songs from them. The lyrics and synth parts combine to give this song a sinister feel. Annie Lennox has one of the greatest voices of her generation.

4. Africa, Toto – I don’t know if this or “Rosanna” was a bigger hit for Toto but, for me, this is Toto’s signature song. I remember it seemed weird to me that there was a pop song about Africa. Like all Toto songs this one has a great melody and lush instrumentation. It also may be the only pop song to mention Kilimanjaro.

3. Little Red Corvette, Prince – Since I was an innocent, church-going kid when this song came out, it took me a while to figure out that it was dirty. I really thought that this was a car song. Prince is a master of groovy, infectious melodies and it was hard to choose between this and “1999” for inclusion on this list. If I remember correctly, this song is what caused my parents to ban me from listening to Prince and afterwards I had to hide any subsequent Prince tapes that I bought.

2. Billie Jean, Michael Jackson – Well, we now know that the kid was indeed not his son (unless a turkey baster was involved) since Jackson is a freakish, gay pedophile. I really hate to put a Jackson song on the list but Thriller and all of the singles off of it were just huge. Plus Jackson probably wrote the most infectious melodies of the 80’s. It’s really too bad he went off the deep end.

1. Every Breath You Take, The Police – This is probably the biggest hit by the Police. Everything about this song is subtle from the beautiful, understated guitar part to the lyrics that you don’t realize are creepy stalker lyrics until you’ve listened to the song a few times. Like “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”, Sting and the Police manage to make a huge pop hit with a creepy subject and this time they actually make it sound like a sweet love song.

Why I Love Bush

The following is from a story on Politico:

 
 

In one of his final actions in the White House, President Bush on Thursday declared Jan. 18 to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.”

“All human life is a gift from our creator that is sacred, unique and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world,” reads the presidential proclamation.

“The most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent. My administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence and funding crisis pregnancy programs,” the proclamation continues.

“The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.”

I fear that it will be a long time before we have a president that will stand up for the rights of the unborn the way that this president has. In a time when conservatives seem to be loosing ground in the “culture wars”, I am thankful that we had a man that was willing to stand in the breach, regardless of criticism, and do what was right. If for nothing else I will always love Bush for that.

Preparing Conservatives for the (at least) Next Four Years

There is a good blog entry by John Hood that gives conservatives some good resources for countering the inevitable name calling and obfuscating that liberals will be doing for at least the next four years.

Top 10 Pop/Rock Songs of the 80’s – 1982

For the reasons I decided to do these lists, the rules I used, and the 1980 list see this post. For the list for 1981 see this one.

Whittling 1982 down to 10 was actually a lot easier than the previous years. Mainly because 1982 had several songs that were immediately recognizable as above the rest…

10. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, The Police – One of the more upbeat and romantic police songs, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” has a very infectious melody. It almost has a Caribbean feel to it. The song was very easy to relate to since, in my early years of negotiations with the fairer sex, I was awkward and pretty shy. This song also is unique in that there’s a line in it – “Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met? It’s a big enough umbrella, but it’s always me that ends up getting wet” – that’s used in at least one other Police song, “O My God” from Synchronicity, and at least one Sting solo song, “Seven Days” from Ten Summoner’s Tales.

9. Workin’ For The Weekend, Loverboy – Like “Jessie’s Girl” from ’81, this song just sounds like the 80’s. It has the generic DX7 keyboard part and the 80’s guitar sound. This song has a really driving beat and would sound like a good early 70’s classic rock song if not for the keyboards. This song was a big player at the roller skating rink that I used to go to during the summer, and all the hot shot skaters would start doing their various tricks during it. This song, probably more than any other, reminds me of middle school and all that that entails.

8. Heat of the Moment, Asia – I struggled with putting this at number 8 or “Open Arms” by Jouney. In the end, this won out because of nostalgia. As I’ve mentioned before, in my early childhood I listened to what my parents listened to which was Country, Gospel and Elvis. Around 6th grade I started listening to top 40 stuff because that’s what my friends listened to. “Heat of the Moment” really struck a chord with me because it sounded so different than anything I had hear up to that point. The heavy reverb on the vocals and the drums. The interplay between the guitar and synths. The lush backing vocals. All these elements combine to create a classic 80’s one hit wonder.

7. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – When I was a kid the only music I listened to was Country, Gospel and Elvis because that was what my parents listened to. The only pop/rock music I was exposed to was from my aunt. I distinctly remember that she had a copy of Wings at the Speed of Sound and remember listening to it at her house. So when “Ebony and Ivory” came out, my first reaction was, “Hey, that’s that keyboard player from Wings.” I’m still embarrassed by that. A duet sung by two certified rock legends, this song was a huge hit in ’82. The lyrics are a bit simplistic and trite but are still pretty good for a pop song taking on a tough subject. I read that this song was recorded live in the studio which, if true, makes the song even more impressive because it has a really great sound to it.

6. Rosanna, Toto – When I first started listening to top 40 music I was instantly drawn to Toto. In general, all their songs are very melodic but their production is a step above easy listening. This song is mellow but the arrangement has enough guitar to be on the rock side of pop music. The song is marred by the incredibly, almost unbearable synth solo. But the horn section and the melody more than make up for it.

5. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis & The News – There was a girl in middle school that I had a huge crush on who was a big Huey Lewis fan. We eventually “went together” for a while and during that time, I bought all of the Huey Lewis albums that were out to date. I didn’t really get into this song until the stuff from Sports was popular. This song is classic Huey Lewis. It has a real doo-wop feel to it updated with the ubiquitous 80’s snyth sound. Lewis is one of the better song writers to come out of the 80’s. He is also one of the most distinctive vocalists.

4. I Love Rock & Roll, Joan Jett – I don’t know why I remember this, but the first time I ever heard this song was on a jukebox at a restaurant that my Aunt and Uncle owned. The only thing I remember about the restaurant is that they had awesome coconut cream pie. But I instantly liked this song. Having listened to Country music most of my life, this song had a somewhat sinister feel to it – in a good way. Joan Jett’s voice was also a complete 180 from any woman I had ever heard sing, she sounded sexy and dangerous. It was almost too much for an 11-year old boy to take. My friend and I were talking about this song and about how, when we were young, we both thought that Jett was hot. When I look at pictures of her from back then she definitely does not seem hot. I think that voice is what made her seem that way. This song was another roller rink staple and has one of the classic guitar riffs of rock and roll.

3. Centerfold, J Geils Band – It’s hard to know where to begin with this song. First off, I challenge you to listen to this song and sit still. You just have to move when you hear it. The melody is infectious and the guitars are understated but awesome. It has a bouncy quality to it and the lyrics are hilarious. Like others on this list this song was a big roller rink player. And though tame by today’s standards, the girls in negligees in the video made my 11-year-old pants go crazy. Nah, nah, na-na-na-nah indeed.

2. Hard To Say I’m Sorry, Chicago – I am a sucker for a sappy love ballad. This song basically started a new career for Chicago. Before this album, Chicago 16, most of Chicago’s hits had been really jazz influenced. This album was their first foray into mainstream pop music. There’s not much to say about this song. It’s a straightforward love ballad with a great melody and lots of 80’s synth on it. My favorite part is the end where it segues into another short song “Get Away”, which has a fast tempo, driving guitars and piano and a great horn arrangement. It’s such a contrast to the first part, but it really works…pure genius.

1. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor – Even now that I am older and fat this song still makes me want to put on a gray sweat suit and run through the streets of a cold city. I don’t do it – but I want to. However, when I’m on my treadmill and it’s set to 3 miles an hour and this song comes on, I push it up to 3.2 miles an hour. Survivor didn’t have a lot of hits in the 80’s but the few they did have were monsters. This song has a driving feel to it and great vocals. It’s definitive 80’s.