Song of the Day #4,284: ‘Miami’ – Randy Newman

If national treasure Randy Newman releases an album, you can bet it’s going to make my list of that year’s best work. And indeed, Newman’s Trouble in Paradise is my #6 album of 1983.

Best known for the minor hit ‘I Love L.A.,’ Trouble in Paradise is a satirical exploration of hedonism and excess, with songs such as ‘My Life Is Good’ and ‘There’s a Party at My House’ showcasing some of the most despicable characters Newman has ever voiced. Of course, they’re also hilarious.

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Song of the Day #983: ‘Miami’ – Counting Crows

Starting off the final week of my series on great albums, I arrive at a band that has released only five studio albums over 18 years… two of which were strong contenders for this list.

Counting Crows don’t get a whole lot of respect from critics and music snobs, for reasons I’ve never understood, but I’m a huge fan of their brand of literate, earthy pop rock. They borrow from Van Morrison, The Band, and R.E.M. but the product they whip up in their musical blender is distinctly their own.

The band exploded out of the gate in 1993 with ‘Mr. Jones,’ still the biggest hit they’ve ever had. That song appeared on their debut album, August and Everything After, a record that stands as one of the 90s’ best.

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