So, it’s April Fool’s Day.
I’m not going to write something humorously or maliciously misleading here today. Not that I’m saying I’ve never pranked a person on April Fool’s Day. I have. When I worked in the office, before I was a full time homemaker, mom, and writer, there was this guy that sat near me who would leave his keys in the ignition of his truck every day. Not only did this dude not lock the door, but he *left his keys IN the IGNITION.* He was begging to be pranked, right?
I got together with another friend in the office and moved it. And took the keys out and locked his doors. Plus when we gave him his keys back and told him where we moved the truck, I’m extra short, so all his mirrors and his seat had to be readjusted. He was a good sport about it. J and I have also pulled the, ‘Well, shit, the car won’t start,’ on each other, and have each fallen for it a couple of times. But we’re not really pranksters. And I definitely don’t like ACTUALLY scaring people or lying to people, even when it’s supposed to be funny. The world is full of scary shit and liars and the not fun kind of fools who spread hate and deception and negativity to drag people down, and I’m not going to be a part of that.
So I pretty much look at today as a day to celebrate nonsense and silliness and weirdness, and I have some really important people in my life (not me! not J or The Boy! Don’t worry about us!) who are having a hard time getting a handle on joy and light and hope and laughter lately. So I thought I’d share a feel good (mostly), nonsensical playlist here. This doesn’t mean the songs are all silly (a couple of them are gravely serious) or that they don’t make sense (because most of them do). It’s just that these songs don’t go together in any way or for any reason, other than I just like them, and I thought the songs themselves or the image of me enjoying these songs (for the most part) might make people smile. Might give some people some uncomplicated joy. Some of these songs I like because I like to sing along with them…or dance to them…(when I’m alone in the house with the dog, obviously)…and some I just like because they are funny and weird…some I consider those ‘guilty pleasure’ songs…some are one hit wonders that I really love when they roll around on internet radio…some I like because the music style and lyrics are contradictory (I’m drawn to songs like that for some reason). You know. I guess I just wanted to put some random positivity out into the world today, and I’m kind of a music dork, so loving random music was an easy way to do that for me. So here you go…no links this time because it’s a long playlist.
- We Belong, Pat Benatar (I sing along with this because great lyrics and Pat Benatar rocks. Enough said.)
- Flagpole Sitta, Harvey Danger (I sing along because this song is somehow both goofy and serious and it’s so weird and it has some great lines for a one hit wonder. ‘I’m not sick, but I’m not well…And I’m so hot…’Cause I’m in hell…’)
- One Moment in Time, Whitney Houston (I can really belt this one out while folding laundry…you can ask my dog. Also Whitney Houston…arguably the best woman vocalist of all time. Also, it’s April now, but One Moment in Time is kind of a March Madness-y song for basketball tournament time, and I always think about it a lot this time of year.)
- No Myth, Michael Penn (Who doesn’t love a pop song from the 1980s that references Shakespeare AND Emily Bronte?)
- Mmmbop, Hanson (This song is completely absurd. The lyrics are full of existential angst and loneliness…if you can catch them all, because Taylor Hanson sings them about 1000 miles an hour because the music is so upbeat. Hanson is a band of three brothers who recorded this album/song…their biggest hit by far…when they were children. I think lead singer Taylor Hanson was 14 when he recorded this…maybe younger. I dare you to not be in a chipper mood while listening to it. You might even have to shake it a little. I usually do. Weird. And awesome. Bonus…J caught me singing to this on the treadmill yesterday morning…he got that smirkity smirky smirk face…you know the face…I’m not embarrassed! Mmmbop forever!)
- Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, The Temptations (You know that scene in The Big Chill, where the friends are cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and Kevin Kline puts this song on the record player <YES! The *record player*!> and they all dance around the kitchen? I do that too. Alone. In my kitchen. To this song.)
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Deep Blue Something (I know. Some people totally hate this song. I don’t. I like it. It’s a good, ‘get some shit done’ song for me because the music is sort of ‘move you along’ music and the lyrics are repetitive. And I like that the lyrics are about finding common ground, even if the only thing you can find is that you both like the same movie. Also, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a great book. Truman Capote is bad ass. I’ve never seen the movie <I know>. I love Audrey Hepburn, but I know the film brass made a racist, white-washing casting move and I can’t get past that.)
- Nasty, Janet Jackson (‘No, my first name ain’t ‘baby.’ It’s Janet. Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty…’)
- Badlands, Bruce Springsteen (Another song I sing at full volume while walking on the treadmill and stuff. The Boss Rulz.)
- Groove is in the Heart, Deee-Lite (A 1990 nod to classic funk featuring THE Bootsy Collins and a rap verse from A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip. Plus, this song unapologetically has two slide whistles in it. I mean…)
- Hiroshima, Ben Folds (I like the pounding piano in this and I love that Ben Folds wrote a song about falling off the stage at a show in Japan. What a bad ass and hilarious way to shrug off a social anxiety nightmare come true. I listen to it whenever I feel like I’ve done something unintentionally offensive or rude or something dumb or inept or clumsy, because like…Ben fell off the STAGE in a packed stadium in Japan and he…wrote a song about it. It reminds me that it’s gonna be okay. Life is mostly how you deal with crazy shit. ‘You wanna see what’s in my head? Check it out, ’cause I got pictures of what’s in my head…They’re watchin’ me, watchin’ me FALL…’)
- Twisting, They Might Be Giants (The organ in this song is great and the opening verse is just…’She set your goldfish free, and now she’s sighing…blew out your pilot light and made a wish…she doesn’t have to have her DB’s records back now…there’s not a lot of things that…she’ll take back…she wants to see you again…she wants to see you again…slowly twisting in the wind…’ It’s such a peppy rock song with organ that’s a break up ‘fuck you.’ I love songs like this. Whose lyrics are super heavy or angry but the music makes you feel great. Plus, just listen to the entire Flood album from They Might Be Giants. Every song is gold.)
- I’m Gonna Be, The Proclaimers (I love the song. I love the lyrics. I love the music. I love the movie it was on the soundtrack for <Benny and Joon…a very rare love story I like because of the originality>. But I love it specifically because The Proclaimers are twin, ginger, bespectacled brothers Charlie and Craig Reid from Scotland. Normally, I can’t hear an accent listening to a non-American singer, but WOW. They are SCOTLAND. You can hear the brogue in every line, and one of the lines uses the word ‘haver’ which I had to look up because it’s soooooo Scottish <for those of you who haven’t already looked it up and aren’t actually native Scots, it basically means to chit-chat or babble or bullshit>. I bounce around the house to this all the time.)
- The Humpty Dance, Digital Underground (Just…just look this up. Just…no words.)
- Pour Some Sugar on Me, Def Leppard (I siiiiiiiiing this song. No shame. Ha!)
- Tainted Love, Soft Cell (When I’m feeling really 80s, there’s really no better song to listen to…except maybe number 18)
- Kiss Off, Violent Femmes (‘I hope you know that this will go down on your PERMANENT RECORD…’)
- Kyrie, Mr. Mister (It’s Mr. Mister. It is the epitome of 1980s pretentious pop anthem rock. I also like Broken Wings for the same reasons, but Kyrie edges it out to make this list. It’s so 1980s. It’s so…Mr. Mister. It’s just awesome. I’m probably singing it right now.)
- Cherry Cherry, Neil Diamond (This is a song I both love to sing AND dance around to AND it’s Neil Diamond AND it’s featured in a movie I like starring the incomparable Winona Ryder, How to Make an American Quilt. So…there.)
- Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-a-Lot (I shouldn’t even have to explain this one. It’s a classic.)
- Hold On, Wilson Phillips (Similar to #3, this is just a really great song to belt out as loud as you can for fun while loading the dishwasher. And similar to #18, if you watch the video <I’m an MTV kid…back when MTV actually played music videos>, how utterly seriously Wilson Phillips takes themselves singing it always makes me smile. I’m kinda mean like that I guess.)
- Tennessee, Arrested Development (Not a funny song at all. There is nothing funny about it. But I love it. The musical style is relaxed and feel good, sure, but I think it’s important that everybody listen to it at least once with the lyrical transcription handy, and then go look some shit up about the American South. Plus, it’s just a great song.)
- Praise You, Fatboy Slim (Watch this video if you can find it. You’re welcome. Bonus: Also watch Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice video if you have an extra couple minutes.)
- (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes from Dirty Dancing (Great song from a great movie that will take me immediately back to fifth grade and practicing that dance hold in the swimming pool and singing the whole entire soundtrack. I had ZERO clue about just how adult themed this movie was when I watched it as a kid, but I loved it innocently then and I maybe love it even more now that I grasp all the seriousness. I love Jennifer Grey. I love all the movie quotes. I love the dancing, obviously. Love love love.)
- Canned Heat, Jamiroquai (This song is great to dance around to anyway. It’s definitely a feel good song on it’s own. But…if you’ve ever seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite? This is THAT song. I defy a person to watch Napoleon Dynamite dancing to this and not smile. Go ahead. Look it up on Google. You won’t regret it. ‘You know this boogie is for reeeeeal…Nothin’ left for me to do but dance…all these bad times I’m goin’ through, just dance…got canned heat in my heels toNIGHT baby…Hey, I’ve gotta dance…oh the nasty things that people say…but I’m gonna make it anyway…got canned heat in my heels tonight…’)
- You May Be Right, Billy Joel (So. This is a song I love to sing along with, and I’ve loved to sing along with it since I was 4. Yes, really. This was on the first vinyl LP I owned, and it wasn’t Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl…it was…
There weren’t any real punk rock songs on it and Rolling Stone panned the shit out of this album for obvious reasons, BUT…it did contain not only this Billy Joel track, but also rock gems from Tom Petty, The Cars, Queen, and Blondie. And because Alvin, Simon <Simon was always my favorite chipmunk…I know some readers are going to think that’s hilarious for reasons…it IS hilarious…for those VERY reasons>, and Theodore were on the cover art and ‘singing’ the songs <unedited for musical styling OR lyrical content>, 4 year old me sang right along with Refugee and Let’s Go and Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Call Me, and listened to the ‘real’ bands asap, and also found out what real ‘punk’ was, so…hello Ramones and Misfits and Dead Kennedys. I guess I’m kind of partially in debt to Chipmunk Punk for my sophisticated and eclectic musical taste.)
- Good Life, Onerepublic (Because, ‘When you’re happy like a fool…let it take you over. When everything is out…you gotta take it in.’)
Happy April Fool’s Day. Hope you smiled reading this. Or laughed out loud. Or found a cathartic song or two to sing and dance to. Or a new movie to watch. Or all of that.