Song of the Day #4,195: ‘Burning Down the House (Live)’ – Talking Heads

Here’s a real Random Weekend treat: a clip from Jonathan Demme’s 1984 Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense. This movie, and the accompanying soundtrack album, make up one of the greatest live performances ever captured on film or tape.

The creativity and energy of David Byrne and company are at an all-time high in these performances, captured over four nights at the Hollywood Pantages Theater.

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Song of the Day #4,194: ‘Love/Hate’ – Liz Phair

Happy Birthday to my lovely wife!

It’s a Random Weekend, so you know the drill. I spin the wheel and see what song shall forever be associated with her special day. Here we go…

Well, OK. ‘Love/Hate’ is a deep cut from Liz Phair’s 2003 self-titled album, which itself was something of a love/hate affair (probably tilting a bit more toward hate).

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Song of the Day #4,188: ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ – Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne’s 2008 album Just a Little Lovin’ is a tribute to Dusty Springfield, with Lynne covering nine songs popularized by the late English chanteuse.

Lynne drew comparisons to Springfield after her 1999 album I Am Shelby Lynne (a great one to check out if you haven’t already) and was later encouraged by Barry Manilow, of all people, to record a collection of Springfield’s songs. Lynne shelved the idea but returned to it several years later.

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Song of the Day #4,187: ‘Are You Down’ – Lucinda Williams

This track, from Lucinda Williams’ 2001 album Essence, is a perfect example of that record’s spare, haunting loveliness.

Like many songs on the album, ‘Are You Down’ has few lyrics and a whole lot of atmosphere. The interplay of guitar and drums on this track has a distinct Dire Straits vibe, which is certainly a good thing in my book.

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Song of the Day #4,181: ‘Look Out Any Window’ – Bruce Hornsby & The Range

Today is my birthday, and because it falls on a weekend, the Random iTunes Fairy gets the chance to serve me up something appropriate, ironic, bizarre or boring to mark the occasion.

Let’s spin the dial and see what song sums me up as I turn 47…

Well, Bruce Hornsby’s ‘Look Out Any Window’ doesn’t have much meaning to me personally, but it’s a great song about the state of the world, and one just as relevant today as when it was released in 1988.

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Song of the Day #4,180: ‘What If We Give It Away?’ – R.E.M.

Eleven years ago, I ranked R.E.M.’s albums and placed 1986’s Lifes Rich Pageant at #3. I have some quibbles about that list and would likely shuffle some titles were I to revisit it today, but I stand by the placement of this album.

Pageant was the album where R.E.M. started the transition from the alternative to the mainstream. It’s more polished and muscular than its predecessors, but not as radio-friendly as what was to come. It sits nicely in that sweet spot.

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