Category Archives: Summer Jams

New Jack Summer

Get those ears ready – you’re about to Hear It Here… Now!

Summer is around the corner, and my musical divining rod tells me that the hip hop and R&B of the years 1988 to 1991, possibly 1992, will be the most exciting and inspiring music and fashion infusion you could imagine for this season of fun on the run. Think head-to-toe style, sophistication, and mastery of beats, lyrics, samples and harmonies – and I think you just saw anywhere from 1 to 4  months ahead into the future.

Do your thing with an ’89 swing with MC Lyte

Or are you more of an Around The Way Girl with bamboo earrings?



Are you dreaming, or is this Christopher Williams with “I’m Dreamin'”?

Or perhaps you’re looking for something Nice & Smooth

If you google “hip hop 1988” like I literally just did, you’ll get Wikipedia’s entry called “Golden Age Hip Hop.” Where was I and what was I doing in that golden age? I definitely had nothing to do with hip hop, so I want to be clear that I’m coming at this from a  place of sheer ignorance and instinct.

Rhymes were focused on boasting about – of all things – one’s rhyme skills. The vibes were romantic yet cautious. And production values minted a particular warmth and soul around funky, free-wheelin’ bass lines and cooley high harmonies.  It’s going to be a New Jack kind of summer.

Some Walk By Night

One day out of the week has to be Monday, that’s for dang sure. And it’s usually on Mondays that you’re feeling the burn of unrealized dreams. Maybe you’re kicking yourself for not opening a detective agency.  Maybe you’re dreaming of a classier bygone era where a war of the wits was only matched by the richness of designer shoulder pads and skinny ties.

No matter where your heart song is, I think the opening theme of “Moonlighting” really captures a quest for sophistication that Mondays sorely lack.

When Monday throws you the old “Wrong Way – Do Not Enter – Severe Tire Damage” sign the way the Moonlighting intro does – just slip into the cool pastel world of Al Jarreau.  You can find this NOT so hidden gem on Al Jarreau’s album “Best of Al Jarreau.” Here’s the full title theme and video:

Full Moonlighting Song and Video

Aside: He also has a song called Golden Girl??

I wish I had a comfortable car to drive home in, so after I listen to the traffic report, I could roll down the windows a little, and pop this into the CD player and enjoy the great sound coming out of my speakers. Maybe I had a hard day at the office and my pantyhose are giving me trouble, so I bring the CD into the house, and play it out of my home system while I go change into a jogging suit. Better open a window, it’s nice out this evening. I think I’ll sit on the couch and enjoy the rest of this song before I have to make dinner.

Music Monday Bonus! Bruce Willis performing in the Seagrams Golden Wine Cooler commercial.This one’s for Fridays.

Step Into…

The “Step Into…” series highlights people, places and things that make the world my kind of place.

Footwear is a real BUGABOO in the world of ladies and the things they need to make it in this world. For me, every time the need for a new shoe comes around, I find myself rolling the dice of life and wishing on a rainbow that I can find something comfortable AND stylish. Hilarious!

In the great style recycling vortex that is our contemporary time, someone somwhere along the line decided to breathe life back onto the Bass line of shoes just in time for summer. I took a chance on love and never looked back, and came unto the inspiration for the “Step Into…” series: Step into some SUNJUNS!I remember moms wearing these sandals in the 80s, and sure enough their style fits perfectly into the 2011 summer canon of breezy but sensible sandals. They require no breaking-in or band-aid period. The soft suedey instep (or whatever your foot touches that isn’t strap) is like walking on a cushion of air, and my left Sunjun proves this with a satisfying, whispery hiss as I walk.

I even have a song about Sunjuns that I sing on a daily basis: Step into your sunjuns, sunjuns, sunjuns. Step into your sunjuns – I don’t think so!

See, stepping into your Sunjuns is a state of mind. It’s about deciding to wear something comfortable that’s great for relaxing or walking around. Maybe you’re going to fix yourself a snack, or go for a walk to a friend’s house. Maybe you’re going to the office and you’re like,”I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday, I’m gonna step into my Sunjuns.” Or, “You know what kind of day it is? I’m gonna step into some Sunjuns.” So even if you don’t own Sunjuns, you can step into a world where comfort, and looking like a relaxed 80s mom – are kings.

Sun Jun - also a former world #1 singles badminton player from China

Oooh Ladies First, Ladies First

So I was watching the cinematic triumph “Bringing Down the House” the other day. Before I continue, I’d just like to say that every blog entry in the history of time should start this way.

Anyhoo, I love Queen Latifah. She’s classy, a talented comedienne, singer, etc. and a good role model. What’s not to love? She’s had an enduring career spanning all the performing arts and her persona exudes easy going positivity.

Hats off to you Dana Owens. Oh what’s that? Sure I would love to come over to your mansion n New Jersey and have some iced tea by the pool.

Note to self: add her books to summer reading list.

Anyway, this homage has a burning question yearning below the surface. Everybody knows her hit Ladies First, the catchy feminist rap anthem that has stood the test of time. Everybody especially knows the catchy chorus.

WHY OH WHY then on current available recordings is the best chorus in the world replaced with a horn sample? I can’t find anything about why the Ladies First chorus would disappear – rights issues, what have you. I can’t find out what the horn sample is from either.  Who took the sweet melody out of Ladies First?

Here’s the original.  How sweet it is.

Pet Music™ Music for Pets®

What a weekend! From the Tony Awards to the Weiner Awards, what’s not the love about contempo topics? So to keep it exotic, the next installment of this blog for the ages is not one, but TWO double-album reviews.

Yes, that’s 4 compact discs and over 4 hours of music. Sit back as Pet Music™ Music for Pets®  presents two installments of “Music for Pet Stress and Separation Anxiety:” Just Chillin’ and Creature Comforts.

Just Chillin’ eases in with the track “Serenity.” Not only is it serene, but it really brings it home that the next 4+ hours of music are the kinds of song that dreams, hair removal  appointments and 80s action dramas are made of. Synth drum journeys, Native American warrior flutes and proggy arpeggios will bring your pet to the max of chill.  Actually forget the cats,  pop this CD in for your next dream catcher making party or shaman consultation and set your spirit free.

The only artist credit on these says “Thank you for your support, Dan and Andy – Creators and Pet Lovers.”I’ll say!

So far I’ve only made it through the first CD of Just Chillin’. I’m too de-stressed and unanxious to even begin to describe this music. Some tracks that look like they’re going to be fantastic: Refreshing Paws, Cozy Companion, Wet Kisses, Hearts Aglow, Snuggles, and Forever Together.  I better put these CDs in a safe place or I’m going to come home to my cats lounging over a bottle of wine and massaging each other in the candlelight.

Just Chillin’: Music for Pet Stress and Separation Anxiety

Creature Comforts: Music for Pet Stress and Separation Anxiety

Song of 2011

When summer hits, the temps go up, the party shades come out, dogs are strutting their stuff, bare feet are visible and everybody wants to know – What’s the Big Summer Hit? Well as you can imagine I’ve got one heck of a hunch!

I have been hacking away at this post for the better part of a cheese sandwich, so as I was about to post I thought, “I better google this very question to make sure I’m on top of my blog game.” Finger on the pulse, people! It turns out Stereogum posed that very same question today. Today! Are you hearing it here last – or at the same time? Totally zeitgeist.

I was relieved to see that my prediction is neither one of this year’s pop frontrunners, nor was it a summer jam in its day. For the summer treat that can’t be beat, might I recommend a nice piquant 1983 vintage called Heart and Soul?

At the crossroads of David Lee Roth and Daryl Hall vocal emotions is Huey Lewis, blue collar bar-rock creampuff.

In this amazing video, Huey gets seemingly lost at a party in Williamsburg circa now looking for the gal who will called him at 2 AM.  See, she left him at nine o’clock this morning. Where are you, heart and soul? You’re hot and cold! You’ve got it all!!!

What a Party

Huey you better close that door quick – there’s a train coming!

Pop this sucker on your iComputer and blast it poolside, beachside, at a similar Williamsburg party, or at an outdoor eating gathering aka BBQ and people will say things to you like, “Where have you been all my life?” and “I want to hear this song again – right now!”

Bonus points for the languorous JerseyShore fist-pumping and Vampires of the night referencing contemporary cultural overtones.

Good night Huey and Heart and Soul lady.