The Chain: April 2008

I want to try out a very simple and (hopefully) fun idea.

I name a tune and put it on the blog. Then you pick a song that you think should follow it, and tell me why. What's the connecting link? Maybe one song borrows heavily from the other — it's the same key or the lyrics are similar or the beat is similar. Maybe the song features a singer who later played in another band, or the songs share the same producer.

Then someone takes your song choice and names a new tune — we'll make a selection from your posts as quickly as possible — and tells us why it should follow. Call it six degrees of musical separation. After we have enough songs, I could make a mix of all the songs using small excerpts.

Let's see how this goes, and if you love it, we'll try it again.

Robin, the other NPR Music producers, and I thought of a lot of songs to start the chain, but the one we came up with is (drum roll)...

"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" by the Talking Heads, from Speaking in Tongues.

Be sure to reference the most recent song posted, NOT the one we started with... and be sure to tell us what song you're referencing.



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1. "Genius of Love,' by the Tom Tom Club. Not only do the two songs share Tina Weymouth and a similar light-but-funky spirit, but "GoL" provides a nice counterpoint, transitioning through a number of different musical and vocal styles that will help open up the next link in the chain considerably.

Sent by Tim | 2:58 PM | 4-2-2008

2. Mariah Carey's "Sweet Sweet Fantasy"(I think that's the name of the song Im thinking of) but im pretty sure it has the beat. It least I think of one when I here the other.

I had to look this one up... hadn't heard it, but you're totally right... I can really hear "Genius of Love" in it. -- robin

Sent by Serips | 3:21 PM | 4-2-2008

3. "Come See About Me" by Diana Ross & The Supremes.

It strays away from the Talking Heads Style funk accompaniment, but it has those same airy, almost whispered vocals, and the soaring female backup singers. It helps that Diana Ross and Mariah Carey are both powerful and captivating performers.

Sent by Dan | 5:07 PM | 4-2-2008

4. "Come Fly with Me" by Frank Sinatra

A little different style, but another classic singer beckoning a lover to come hither, albeit a male perspective.

Sent by Kyle | 6:25 PM | 4-2-2008

5. "About a Girl" by Voltiare

There's nothing quite like being with the one you love. Except, maybe, being with the one someone else loves. I believe Mr. Sinatra would've agreed.

Sent by Andrew | 8:38 PM | 4-2-2008

6. About a Girl by Nirvana
This connection is obvious in the title.

Sent by Dave | 10:40 PM | 4-2-2008

7. The Cars - My Best Friend's Girl

There's nothing quite worse than losing a girl you love. Except, maybe, losing her to your best friend.

Sent by Pablo | 12:46 AM | 4-3-2008

8. David Bowie- Always Crashing in the Same Car

Cars and model wives

Sent by Jaime | 10:21 AM | 4-3-2008

9. Seu Jorge - Rock and Roll Suicide

It's a Bowie cover and a crash of sorts.

Sent by Brian | 11:19 AM | 4-3-2008

10. Beck - Tropicalia

Bossanova flavor Seu Jorge brings to his acoustic tracks.

Sent by Chad | 12:16 PM | 4-3-2008

11. Arcade Fire- Haiti

From the album Funeral because of this lyric in Tropicalia, "You're out of luck- You're singing funeral songs"

Sent by Colin | 2:36 PM | 4-3-2008

12. "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" - Broken Social Scene.

Both Canadians, same kinda lazy vocals.

Sent by Brian A. | 3:41 PM | 4-3-2008

13. Yo La Tengo - Cherry Chapstick

A slow song needs a fast one with a similar vibe to follow it. And thematically: Seventeen-year-old-girls... Cherry Chapstick... hello Lolita!

Sent by David W. | 5:12 PM | 4-3-2008

Toto ??? Africa

Both have great synth horn intros.

Sent by Lee | 5:46 PM | 4-3-2008

14. vampire weekend, 'oxford comma' for the lyric: "take the chapstick, put it on your lips."

also, has that world flavor that leads yu back to talking heads!

Sent by vanessae | 8:30 PM | 4-3-2008

15. Dan Baird - "I Love You Period"

although his punctuation (re)marks aren't as complex as an 'oxford comma', he DID lay the groundwork for incorporation of such silly things in to music.

Sent by isaac | 9:20 PM | 4-3-2008

Margerine Melodie by Stereolab off the Margerine EcLIPSe album - the lips reference in the album title and who needs an excuse to listen to Stereolab...

Sent by KT | 10:33 PM | 4-3-2008

16. Cake- "Friend is a Four Letter Word"

Fun play on words like "I love you period". Typical response to grammatically correct teenage love letter.

Sent by Joram | 12:30 AM | 4-4-2008

17. Georgie James - "Cake Parade"

For the obvious reasons. It's too early for me to get very deep.

Sent by Brendon | 9:01 AM | 4-4-2008

18. Ian Rhett - "(Didn't Know I Was) Unamerican"

Similar piano intro and connection with soldiers and sailors - Far from Talking Heads

Sent by Wayne | 11:21 AM | 4-4-2008

19. Avalon--Roxy Music

Both songs about being safe and secure somewhere, both sort of languid pace musically.

Sent by Phil | 3:58 PM | 4-4-2008

20.Wonderful World, Beautiful People - Jimmy Cliff.

Sent by Judd6149 | 7:19 PM | 4-4-2008

21. What a Wonderful World/Somewhere Over the Rainbow--Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Both are world music, both are optimistic in a realistic way. (I've set up anybody that's a fan of Robin Williams, Judy Garland, and EToys.)

Sent by Tom EG | 10:36 PM | 4-4-2008

Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby - Islands

Israel was a giant Hawaiian man, Hawaii is an Island (I know that was a stretch)

Sent by Kyle | 1:51 AM | 4-5-2008

22. The Man That Got Away - Judy Garland

Tom EG did indeed set me up well! The Judy Garland connection isn't very creative, I'll admit, but gosh, does this song soar or what?

Sent by Tamara Vallejos | 8:11 PM | 4-5-2008

23. I got rhythm - George Gershwin
with lyrics by Ira Gershwin

Ira Gershwin also wrote the lyrics for "The Man that got away". There's a marvelous version of this standard played by Thelonious Monk. Great idea, Bob! This is fun!

thanks Kaiser

Sent by Kaiser Soze | 10:14 AM | 4-6-2008

24. 'I Got You (I Feel Good)' - James Brown

It's got rhythm and it continues the 'got' theme.

Sent by Matt Hocker | 2:33 AM | 4-7-2008

25. Feeling Good - Nina Simone

Nina's got as much soul as Mr. Brown, and she's also feelin' good.

Sent by Emily | 1:19 PM | 4-7-2008

26. Freedom - The Isley Brothers

Both songs are soulful sharings of the joy of freedom. Nina: " ... freedom is mine and I know how I feel ... ."

This exercise is like Pandora meets the Telephone game ...

I love that description
bob boilen

Sent by Patrick | 4:17 PM | 4-7-2008

27. Freedom - Jimi Hendrix

A song of the same name but from a more desperate place. Additionally, Hendrix played w/ the isley Brothers in his younger days.

Sent by Jeffrey Mason | 5:21 PM | 4-8-2008

So, two poosibilities. The worst one, which is a terrible suggestion, David Hasselhoff's "Looking for Freedom" (which is apparently the shiza in Germany). Or, Propaghandi's "Stick The ***king Flag Up Your G*dd*m *ss, You Sonofab*tch", which doesn't get much points in the way of tact. In fact, I guess we should scratch both those choices and go with, Handsome Boy Modeling School's "The Truth," because of the conviction that carries over from the way Hendrix sings "right on, straight ahead" to Roisin's "The truth hurts because the truth is all there is"

Sent by zach | 9:50 PM | 4-8-2008

28. Freedom of '76 - Ween

Even Ween people everywhere gotta be free

Sent by Darren | 12:08 PM | 4-9-2008

29. Had To Phone Ya - The Beach Boys off of "15 Big Ones" released in '76

Sent by Mac Coldwell | 2:52 PM | 4-12-2008

30:Don't Come Round Here No More:
Tom petty and the Heart Breakers

Because the phone call went bad

Sent by J.Danz | 9:47 AM | 4-13-2008

31. Don't Lose My Number - Phil Collins

a) Continuing the phone call scenario
b) Call and response vocal harmonies

Sent by L.Korn | 3:26 PM | 4-15-2008

32. and through the wire - peter gabriel

the genesis connection
the phone call scenario

Sent by OlderMusicGeek | 4:20 PM | 4-16-2008

33. New York Telephone Conversation - Lou Reed

obvious phone connection

connection to the start of the thread with the "home" lines in each song...
(...home is where I want to be pick me up and...)
( I even home. Did you see...)
A stretch, but, the phone is common in house as well as the lamp which plays a major role in the beautiful lamp dance David Bryne performs while singing Naive Melody.

Sent by Jonathan Carpenter | 6:17 PM | 4-18-2008

34. Mr. Telephone Man - New Edition

Give some love to Bobby B. Besides, no list is really complete without either Bell, Biv, or DeVoe. New Edition...well, that just takes care of THAT now, doesn't it?

Sent by BroRo | 11:03 PM | 4-19-2008

35. Mr. Tambourine Man-Bob Dylan

In response to Mr. Telephone Man-New Edition
We could probably play this game using only Dylan songs.

I like the Dylan idea.

Sent by Ned Meier | 11:40 AM | 4-20-2008

36. Cymbal Rush, Thom Yorke, The Eraser

Sorry, it's not Dylan! Maybe for another list ...

"No more conversation
No more conversation
You should took me out when you had the chance
You should took me out when you had the chance
All the rooms were numbered
And the losers turned away
Don't turn away
Don't turn away"

Sent by Kate G | 2:18 PM | 4-21-2008

39. "Turning Away" by Pink Floyd.

"On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we wont understand
Dont accept that whats happening
Is just a case of others suffering
Or youll find that youre joining in
The turning away"

.....response to "dont turn away"

Sent by K.Walsh | 10:49 PM | 4-22-2008

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