RossRadio

Building the perfect play list:

Song of the Day (Sept. 24
): “Method of Modern Love,” by Daryl Hall & John Oates. Once you hear the duo spelling out the title of the song within the melody, you won’t forget it. So ’80s.

Sept. 27: “Just Breathe” by Eddie Vedder. Such a calming meditation on love. Uh-huh. BTW – Best group out of the ’90s: not Nirvana, but Pearl Jam, because of Vedder.

Sept. 30: “Weather With You” by Crowded House. Shifts in mood, lyrical, great stuff.

Oct. 6: “Be Near Me” by ABC. In its glory days in the ’80s, ABC released five albums — astonishing. This is a lesser hit than “Poison Arrow” and “The Look of Love” but just as catchy.

Oct. 7: “Beautiful Day” by U2. Well, it was a beautiful day — a blue-sky, windows-rolled-down day when Phoenicians realized they survived another summer.

Oct. 22: “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon. I’m not so sure about this group’s latest album, but I’m not tired of this radio hit from earlier this year. Ooooh, I’m blushing ….

Oct. 29: “I Go to Extremes” by Billy Joel. Although I am in the midst of a Billy Joel moratorium because his hits get played on the radio so darn much, I do like this song from the ’80s. A little less piano ballad, a little more rock.

Oct. 30: “Sign My Name Across Your Heart” by Terence Trent D’Arby. Mellow, fluid. Where is this singer now?

Nov. 16: “Island in the Sun” by Weezer. I’ve always liked this song; the other day I finally figured out the artist.

Dec. 1: “Show Me” by the Pretenders. Mellower than usual for Chrissie Hynde — maybe that’s why I like it.

Dec. 17: “Beg, Steal and Borrow” by Ray LaMontagne. Wondering why I didn’t start listening to this mellow artist years ago. Oh, yeah — Phoenix radio sucks. But I heard him several times on KBCO and was reminded of Dan Fogelberg, although his fans probably would disagree with that comparison.

Jan. 27, 2011: We interrupt this celebration of Ray LaMontagne (I broke down and bought the new CD) to note a 1983 song, “Send Me an Angel,” a hit from the Romantics movement spearheaded by Duran Duran. Great song, but it took me a while on iTunes to figure out the artist: Real Life, out of Australia. This was their one-hit wonder.

Feb. 1: “A Girl in Trouble (Temporary Thing)” by Romeo Void. In the news lately is legislators’ attempts to even further restrict insurance coverage for abortions. Hearing this song gave me an a-ha moment — it’s about abortion. And it’s a good ’80s tune.

March 9: “Fall on Me” by REM. Oh joyous occasion — a new REM album in 2011 and radio stations are responding by playing older tunes like this gem. Layered harmonies and jangly guitar to the max.

March 18: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. When I was on iTunes a moment ago to make sure of this song title, I noticed “21” is the top album. That’s good to see that a solo female artist doesn’t have to be a Lady Gaga or a Britney Spears to have a hit. I like a few songs on “19,” and this first tune from “21” reminds me of Motown girl groups of the ’60s, with great vocal range and a backup chorus on a song about love gone wrong.

March 24: “The Great Defector” by Bell X1. I was sure this was the Talking Heads when I heard it this morning. Wrong — the lead singer of the Irish quartet Bell X1 has a warmer voice. Still, the song’s got the snarky lyrics and catchy chorus. “I love the colors of it all…” Released in 2009.

March 28: “I Drove All Night” by Cindy Lauper. It’s easy to forget she released this steamy song, what with all the fuss about girls, fun, etc. Saw her on daytime TV a while back, and she looked terrific.

March 29: “Marry Me” by Train. It’s not that I love this song, but I am bracing for its reprise at many, many weddings — a “Danny’s Song” for the next generation. Plus, the unrequited love aspect is a nice twist.

April 5: “Windows Are Rolled Down” by Amos Lee. A song that’s really growing on me. A metaphor for enjoying life while you can — or at least that’s what I get out of it.

April 15: “Heart Shaped Locket” by the Gin Blossoms. Today I’m enjoying the Ginny B’s recent album Major Lodge Victory, which they’ve recently followed up on with No Chocolate Cake (great title). Love that sweet-voiced Robin Wilson.

April 22: “Modern Man” by Arcade Fire. It might take several listens before I decipher the messages of the critically acclaimed “The Suburbs,” a concept album. But I know I like this song — a lot. Lots of musical elements, grandly arranged.

April 26: “(Pride) In the Name of Love” by U2. I was watching a rerun of a VH1 special featuring the Top 10 U2 videos and my appreciation grew for this song — to see the boys of the band rehearse it with such fervor. They argue it’s one of their best works.

May 3: “A Long December” by Counting Crows. This group was kind of out of my radar during the ’90s. I don’t know why — this is one of several of their songs that I like these days.

May 5: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles and various. Best Beatles song ever? Maybe. I listened to three versions of the song from my iTunes today and it stood up well to the test of interpretation. From Eric Clapton, Santana and “Across the Universe.”

May 12: “Conversation” by Joni Mitchell. Yes, she can … she can write “miraculous repentance” into the lyrics for this song and you, entranced by her storytelling, will pronounce it as holy as a church service.

May 17: “Rhiannon” by Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac. Her signature song, I would say. A nice passage about Nicks from the New Yorker, reviewing her new album and admiring her career: “Her voice has steely sides, but its center is warm and approachable, like suede. Her ability to apply vibrato in small, brief doses is a marvel of control …”

June 10: “High and Dry” by Radiohead. One of those songs I’ve heard and appreciated but never figured out the group. I’m not a Radiohead freak, but now I like a few of their songs.

June 15: “Turpentine” by Brandi Carlile. She must not get much radio play locally, but luckily KBCO in Boulder comes through. A soul-infused rock song.

June 22: “Let It Go, Let It Flow” by Dave Mason. “… let it flow like a river. Let it go, let it go, let it flow through you.” My latest mantra whenever I’m having a hot flash….

June 23: “Stone in Love” by Journey. This is one of my guilty pleasure bands; I like them much better now than when I didn’t listen to them in the ’70s and ’80s. Any idea what the title means?

June 28: “How Soon is Now?” by the Smiths. I’m not sure I get the adoration of Morrissey and the Smiths that continues even now from the ’80s. But I do see that this is an excellent and memorable song.

July 6: “Your Song” by Elton John. In making a mix CD of songs from VH1’s Top 100 Artists, I was having a hard time picking a fave by Sir Elton. This is probably the one I’ll most remember when I am old.

July 15: “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. My go-to image for the phrase “hauntingly beautiful” — the song and the man. A concert preview I recently read noted that he’s 55! And his last name was a clue in a crossword I just did. Of course I knew how to spell it.

July 19: “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis. Hard to say whether this song or “Wonderwall” is my favorite Oasis song. But you can’t beat this lyric: “Where were you while we were gettin’ high? Someday you will find me, caught beneath a landslide, in a champagne supernova …” Say that like a Brit — super-novahr.

July 28: “Off of Wonderland” by Jackson Browne. Something new and melodic from the mellow rocker, whose CD cover shows him with a salt-and-pepper beard.

July 31: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John. Whenever Sir Elton fatigue sets in, I listen to this and remember why I adore him.

August 13: “Slave to Love” by Roxy Music. One of the lesser-known super-sexy musical stylings from Bryan Ferry.

August 27: “Under the Milky Way” by The Church. Wonder what happened to this group. I also like their “Reptile.”

Sept. 2: “Miss Disarray” by the Gin Blossoms. Another fine song from the newest CD; it capitalizes on all the classic strengths of the GB sound — confident guitar, slightly tremulous vocals, thoughtful lyrics.

Sept. 8: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I’m thinking of the version performed that week in a benefit concert. Even fiercer in its quiet undertones vs. the original (also great) track.

Sept. 15: “Jump into the Fire” by Harry Nilsson. Actually, I didn’t realize this was a Nilsson song until I was importing a greatest hits CD. Quite diff from “Me and My Arrow.”

Sept. 21: “I’m a Loser” by The Beatles. Sometimes I forget how good the old stuff is. I’m still trying to pull off the nosedive in the musical scale when John (or is it Paul?) sings: “Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown.”

Oct. 6: “Something in the Air” by Wilco. Echoes of the Tom Petty version, with a bit more twang.

Oct. 13: “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon. Thanks, WMFO in Medford, for reminding me of this classic song — so true on so many levels.

Oct. 21: “Whataya Want from Me” by Adam Lambert. I frequently hear people talk about guilty-pleasure songs. This is one of mine.

Dec. 2: “Paradise” by Coldplay. Anthemic, catchy. Chris Martin is quite charismatic in performance.

Dec. 9: “49 Bye-Byes” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. A ’70s throwback that I wish I heard more often.

Dec. 27: “UBerlin” by REM. Michael Stipe’s yearning and aching vocals in top form. I was unfamiliar with this song until getting the “Part Lies …” double CD.

Dec. 30: “Magnificent” by U2. Anthemic in the U2 mold.

Jan. 14, 2012: “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. New music that caught my ear on KBCO.

Feb.28: “Foregone” by the Decemberists. A group I’d like to continue to listen to, given their pleasingly dirge-like sound.

April 13: “Shadow Days” by John Mayer. Although I’m not a big fan of the big-headed Mayer, I do like this song, esp. the lilting chorus.

May 25: “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” by Elton John. Enjoyed humming this vintage Sir Elton song while walking the streets of New York.”Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters, sons of bankers , sons of lawyers, turn around and say good morning to the night …”

June 2: ”Right Down the Line” by Bonnie Raitt. This pure-Bonnie remake of a Gerry Rafferty hit comes from an album that critics say is her best in years.

June 12: ”Heat Wave” by Linda Ronstadt. Perfect iPod listening when walking the canal in 90-degree heat. Boy, she could belt it out.

July 7: “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men. Lively vocal interplay, jolly accordion. Just a different sound for pop radio and pretty catchy.

July 14: ”Wrapped Around Your Finger” by The Police. I feel so well grounded in the classics when I sing along … Mephistopheles, Scylla, Charybdis, etc.

July 17: “A Good Feelin’ to Know” by Poco. In liner notes on my greatest hits album, the band says this song was the result of much labor and patience and was slow in getting acclaim. You can hear the polish they put into it, though, and it is probably their best song.

August 6: ”Alone in the Dark” by the Devlins. Reminiscent of ”Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart for the single-note guitar interlude. Otherwise, it has its own moody sound.

August 12: ”So Sad” by George Harrison. Not a song I know well since it’s so little heard. He wrote it after the breakup with his first wife. Beautiful guitar and sitar (?).

Sept. 3: “Dangling Conversation” by Simon and Garfunkel. The song wastes no energy and no lyric in pointing out that our interactions can be as out of sync as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.

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