Record bin Roulette

Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Our favorite solar-powered pop music

Painful Solar Flares
thebadastronomer Flickr

At this time of year, most of us in the northern hemisphere are pretty darn glad to be seeing more sunshine. But our old Sun has been having some flare-ups lately, sending massive bursts of energy towards Earth, threatening communications and electrical grids. So before the power goes out, here are some of our favorite solar songs.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Around the world in 80 songs

I see London, I see France...
Trent Strohm Flickr

Despite the emergence or rock and roll, Lawrence Welk had a #1 pop single “Calcutta” in 1961. At age 57, he was the oldest  performer to achieve that milestone. (3 years later Louis Armstrong, at 62 topped the charts with “Hello Dolly”.) “Calcutta” the song doesn’t seem to have anything remotely to do with Calcutta the city, in fact the song was originally called “Tivoli Melody”.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Musical inspiration from religion

Religion and secular music don’t often cross paths, but many a pop singer and song has a religious inspiration … George Harrison raised some eyebrows with his 1967 composition “Within You Without You”, with lyrics that reflected the teachings of Hinduism.

From the Buddhist message of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” to the uplifting spiritual “Oh Happy Day, we have tolerated and embraced religious meaning in our pop tunes.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Pop songs from real life

Don McLean's American Pie

From “The Star Spangled Banner” to “Walk on the Wild Side”, popular music has re-told real-life events, stuff that actually happened.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu February 9, 2012

Here's some lascivious love songs for V-Day

You'll put an eye out with that thing!
--(@rwen flickr

Love songs are the heart, soul and spleen of the music business. And musicians, being rebels and upstarts, have always been pushing the boundaries of taste and decency, leading to some surprising outcomes…

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Sound effects in pop music explored

The 1812 Overture calls for cannon

The Beatles were famous for using sound effects they found in the Abbey Road library, and many other artists used sound to great effect. (haha)  Babby Darin’s “Splish Splash” had a gurgling bath in the track, and The Ronettes “Walking in the Rain” was Grammy-nominated for use of thunder sound effects.

Maybe the first use of sound effects in music was in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, which calls for live cannons.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Singing about 'quiet desperation'

jerebu Flickr

Maybe sometimes the desperation isn’t so quiet, but we begin with a premise by Thoreau, and head straight downhill from there.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu January 19, 2012

Singing about 'the slammer'

Johnny Cash outside Folsom Prison
WBUR Flickr

The Hoosegow, the Big House, The Clink, Up The River, The Pen. We’ve never been ourselves, but we did time listening to scores of songs about "the slammer."

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Slaying dragons and other pop song suffering

Queen For a Day!

This week we learned that it’s good to be the king. But it’s a long road from being a lord or lady to becoming a duke, princess or king. Along the way there are dragons to slay and pop songs to suffer through.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Time is on our turntable

Time is Nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once. And the sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up. It’s deep thoughts like this that keep us up at night and make us sleepy during the day.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Singing about ... pants?

Clothes make the man.
chappo2002 Flickr

Clothes make the man, and in this case, the radio episode. Who knew that there would enough songs about pants to fill a front loading washer?

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 22, 2011

The infamous 'Christmas Carol Bloodbath' of ... 2011

Can Lady Gaga defeat Bing Crosby?

This week we pit musical legends against upstarts and imitators, in a duel to the death. You be the judge and jury.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 15, 2011

What are memories and what's the brain doing with them?

Memory explained
luciana christante Flickr

Whenever we think about the past it brings back so many memories.

But what are memories, exactly?

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Exploring the 'sugar rush' phenomenon in music

There is a lot of disagreement about whether a “sugar rush” exists, but these studies have  obviously been conducted by scientists who don't have young children.

Nevertheless, there is agreement that anything this good must be bad for you. And it’s clear that sugar consumption is a factor in obesity, diabetes and dentists’s BMWs ...

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Marking the decline of fashion ... and fashion music

Puttin on the Ritz

Fashion never goes out of style, and popular music has always provided the sonic accessory. From “Buttons and Bows” to “Chantilly Lace," musicians love to sing about fashions, but arguably there has been a decline in the looks — and the music.

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