Thursday, May 26, 2022

One-Mind Tracks: Open Your Golden Gates

2024 UPDATE: Ultimately, this was the last aired episode of One-Mind Tracks due to a dispute with the station it aired on. Maybe One-Mind Tracks will be revived at some point, but for now, all One-Mind Tracks editions will only be in print.

 I know it's rude of me to use a line from a song not included on this playlist as the title, but that's the decision I've made. 

The Golden Gate Bridge was opened on May 27th, 1937, so this week's One-Mind Tracks is all about San Francisco, the city that would be home to my alma mater had I graduated.

"San Francisco" by Scott McKenzie
San Francisco is still associated with flower children, love, and acceptance. In the '60s, the hippie movement found a home in the city, particularly in the Haight district. John Phillips (The Mamas and the Papas) wrote this song as a celebration of the city and as a means of promoting his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. With Scott McKenzie on vocals, the song ended up becoming something of an anthem for the counterculture movement in the late '60s.  

"St. Dominic's Preview" by Van Morrison
Van Morrison was living in San Francisco in 1972 when he wrote "St. Dominic's Preview" in a stream-of-consciousness writing session. The Troubles had been heavy in Morrison's heart as he had grown up in Belfast, Ireland. In 1972, things had gotten so bad in the conflicts between religious and political factions in the country that 500 citizens, mostly civilians, lost their lives that year. Morrison got homesick in the way that one might, but said he didn't long to go back with the prejudice that had become apparent. Still, while his heart went out to Belfast, his drummer Gary Mallaber longed for his home in Buffalo, New York. These thoughts, and Morrison's memories of his days in Paris as he tried to "make it" all made it into the song, with the overarching theme of prayer at Saint Dominic's. Morrison didn't realize that there was a real church in San Francisco called St. Dominic's, but thought of it more as an imagined church that would pray for peace in Ireland. Oddly enough, there is a St. Dominic's, which Morrison discovered weeks later when he picked up a paper advertising a mass being held there for peace in Belfast.

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett

New York native Tony Bennet made this his signature song. The writers, George Cory and Douglass Cross wrote it from a genuine place of longing for their hometown, as they had moved to New York to further their careers. The song was first offered to Claramae Turner, who sang it as an encore song, but never got around to recording it. She recommended they give it to Tennessee Ernie Ford, who turned it down. In 1961, Tony Bennet debuted his version of the song at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco in front of the mayor and future mayor. He has since performed it every time he appears there. 

"San Francisco (In Situ)" by They Might Be Giants
In 2004, They Might Be Giants set out to write a song about every venue they performed at on tour (however loosely associated). "San Francisco" features a list of streets in the city (ones I used to frequent as a resident). It ends on the street that also lends its name to the venue at which they were playing; The Fillmore.

"Russian Hill" by Jellyfish
The Russian Hill neighborhood in San Francisco has always been prestigious. Jellyfish frontman Andy Sturmer and keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. were both born near Los Angeles, but were moved to Pleasanton, California by their families later on. Pleasanton is only about an hour from San Francisco. After the release of Jellyfish's first album, Sturmer got an apartment in Russian Hill- only to find that he had no time to spend there, as the band were so often touring. Still, Sturmer wanted the song to convey the beauty of the neighborhood with a touch of cynicism. 

"San Francisco" by The Mowgli's
The song "San Francisco" was one of the first songs written or released by The Mowgli's. It also became their first and most successful single, reaching #2 on the U.S. Adult Alternative Airplay charts. Much like the city itself, the song is full of love. It references the song made famous by Tony Bennett with the line "I lost my head in San Francisco."

"Step" by Vampire Weekend
Are there songs that fit this theme better? Probably, but none of them just so happened to be stuck in my head already when I started developing the theme. Many elements of "Step" are lifted from the demo "Step to My Girl" by Souls of Mischief, a band from Oakland.  Vampire Weekend secured rights for the sample and spoke to the group about the song. Souls of Mischief were blown away by the finished product, and expressed desire to work with Vampire Weekend in the future. "Step" name-drops cities in the bay area during one of the verses, and that's good enough in this case to make it onto the playlist.

"Piazza, New York Catcher" by Belle and Sebastian
In 2009, when I first moved to San Francisco, Belle and Sebastian were seeing a resurgence thanks primarily to the film Juno. "Piazza, New York Catcher" is partly about New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza, whose sexuality saw rumors swirl around it (Stuart Murdoch, frontman for Belle and Sebastian saw Piazza in a game and was himself drawn to the mystique of the man). The other part of the song, however, demands its inclusion on the playlist, as it tells the tale of Murdoch romancing his future wife in San Francisco. The tale of new, young romance is adorable, with lines like "I love you, my responsibility has found a place." While I still lived there (though it may have been 2010 or 2011), one of the free San Francisco newspapers featured Belle and Sebastian on the cover, and an interview with Murdoch in which all I can remember is that he talked about the impact the band's success in San Francisco had on them. 

"San Francisco" by Foxygen
I thought at first that I was hearing another Belle and Sebastian song when I first listened to this one. But that's offensive to The Kinks, who you can also hear the influence of in the song, and to the band Foxygen themselves. There does appear to be one more influence though, as the female voice pops in about halfway through the song with what I hear as an interpolation of a line from The Beatles' "Northern Song." Actually, there's yet another thing: a reference the aforementioned Tony Bennett song, this time manipulating the line to "I left my love in San Francisco." Don't let all this deter you- it's a great song that benefits rather than suffers from its influences. 

"San Francisco" by Vanessa Carlton
Vanessa Carlton may have had a couple of smash hits, but I've always felt she still deserved more than that out of her career. "San Francisco" hails from Carlton's second album, Harmonium, much of which she wrote with her then-boyfriend Stephan Jenkins, lead singer of Third Eye Blind, a band formed in the titular San Francisco. Though Jenkins had the connection to the city, "San Francisco" is one of the songs on the album that Carlton wrote alone. It ended up as the only love song on an album otherwise filled with dark, introspective songs from what Carlton called her "diary" phase of songwriting.

"We Built This City" by Starship
Jefferson Airplane was formed in San Francisco during the '60s. From there, the band became Jefferson Starship and then simply Starship. The three bands saw varying levels of success, but out of anything post-1970 (possibly even before that, I'm growing out of touch with what people remember of classic rock anymore), most people would be most likely to recognize "We Built This City." "We Built This City" was penned in part by band member Peter Wolf, along with Dennis Lambert, Martin Page, and none other than Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin. Taupin stated that the song was about the disappearing live music scene in Los Angeles. The song is formed as something of an open letter to corporate interests who were shutting down live performance clubs left and right. Since Starship and their predecessor bands were all based in San Francisco, the references to Los Angeles were changed to San Francisco. The music scene in San Francisco has always been strong, so it's fair to say that they also built their city on rock and roll.

"Grace Cathedral Hill" by The Decemberists
Very like "Russian Hill" in presentation, "Grace Cathedral Hill" captures the atmosphere of the places in San Francisco that it mentions, yet it still holds the typical storytelling and mystery of a Decemberists song.

Catch these songs on the One-Mind Tracks radio show this week! The show starts at 7PM EST on Thursday. You can catch it streaming over at Or you can listen in for an episode of One-Mind Tracks any Thursday at 7pm!

Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have a song that fits the theme!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A Brief History: The Sony BMG Copy Protection Scandal

During what some (certainly I) call the Napster era, high-speed internet access had entered nearly every home in the U.S.A. File-sharing became not only widespread, but a source of utter terror for record companies. CD burners were also standard equipment, which meant you didn't have to own even a digital copy of a file to share it. In fact, record companies were realizing that no one ever needed to pay for music again. And to be fair, the consumers had been realizing it first.

In 2000, Sony vice-president Steve Heckler spoke at the Americas Conference on Information Systems, saying: "The industry will take whatever steps it needs to protect itself and protect its revenue streams [...] It will not lose that revenue stream, no matter what [...] Sony is going to take aggressive steps to stop this. We will develop technology that transcends the individual user. We will firewall Napster at source – we will block it at your cable company. We will block it at your phone company. We will block it at your ISP. We will firewall it at your PC [...] These strategies are being aggressively pursued because there is simply too much at stake." In 2001, Sony made their first faux pas in the copy protection field, releasing copies of Natalie Imbruglia's second album White Lilies Island with copy protection not warned of.

Copy protection was not uncommon by 2005: many record companies had started to encode the CDs to be more difficult to rip to your computer; partly to prevent sharing, and partly in the hopes of gaining both physical and digital sales. Artists such as Weird Al fired back at this sort of greediness by actually adding extra content for those who inserted the disc in their computers. And still, for every copy protection measure, someone created a new plugin or application that was smart enough to get around the protection.

So, enter Sony BMG, a merger formed in 2004, who in 2005 were ready to make good on the promise Heckler made in 2000. Without a word to consumers or artists, Sony BMG launched a copy protection measure on 22 million CDs that they released. That alone wasn't the issue: as stated, many companies were enacting similar measures. What was different this time, however, was that their protection didn't just make the CD harder to encrypt. No, this protection went so far as to download software immediately onto the user's computer that invited in malware. 

Desktop computers in the '00s were in nearly every household. By then, the majority of folks had high-speed internet, a set of decent desk speakers, and no reason at all not to make the computer one of their primary household entertainment devices. There were plenty of completely innocent reasons to insert CDs and even DVDs into your disc drive. I myself had a desktop computer before I had a CD player with speakers. My primary way of listening to music was through headphones or a powerful set of desktop speakers, either one connected to my computer. So if I got a new CD, it was immediately going into my disc drive. 

You were really in trouble if you inserted these Sony BMG discs into your computer. The first thing that would happen was that you were offered a new music player. That "music player" would then install one of two programs onto your computer that would modify your operating system to interfere with your computer's ability to copy CDs in general. The program would be installed on Windows operating systems even if you declined it, and it could not be uninstalled. While it was surely a pain to be unable to copy CDs, that's not the worst this software had to offer. The next thing to happen was that with one of the programs would come a "feature" that sent private listening data back to Sony BMG. One of the two protection software programs explained what it was doing in the end-user license agreement, while the other program did the exact same thing, but without even telling you what it was up to in the end-user license agreement.

These programs created vulnerabilities in the systems of those who inadvertently downloaded them. The programs have been classified since their initial time of release as "rootkits." Usually, a rootkit is intended to be malicious (not in the way Sony BMG intended to be malicious). A rootkit enables access to a computer or an area of that computer's software that is not typically allowed. Sony was using this rootkit to disable a user's ability to copy the CD. But if you put a cat flap in your front door, nothing is stopping other animals from coming through. Hackers were able to exploit the newfound vulnerabilities. Malware was now able to attack the computers of those "infected" without having to jump through the normal hoops, because the cat flap for gaining unauthorized access to a person's computer was already there. 

Creator of the program RootKit Revealer, Mark Russinovich discovered the rootkit Sony installed on one of his computers. He posted about it on his blog on October 31st, 2005, stating that digital rights management had gone "too far." He found numerous problems with the XCP software, from what I've already mentioned to the fact that the program would constantly run in the background, slowing down a user's computer whether or not a CD was being played. The XCP rootkit also stopped and started using unsafe means that could cause the computer to crash. Attempts to remove the rootkit could even cause the computer to stop recognizing existing drives. Following the blog post, more worms and viruses were created to exploit the newly discovered vulnerabilities.

Sony BMG initially denied that their software was a rootkit, but suddenly, there was a public knowledge of rootkits, and a scandal surrounding Sony BMG's use of such software. Sony released patches in an attempt to help users uninstall the rootkits, but somehow, those patches opened computers up to even more vulnerabilities. The patch made the rootkit files visible, but installed even more files that couldn't be removed and this time, collected the user's email address also. 

The public was absolutely outraged by Sony's behavior. Many of the affected CDs were recalled with the promise of being replaced by CDs without the software. Sony BMG continued to deny allegations that their anti-piracy software was dangerous, even after more reports about the malware and viruses it opened the door for. Retailers who were asked to pull the CDs and ship them back for credit were in many cases not doing so. Being that it was after Thanksgiving by that time, the issue raged on as shopping increased for the Christmas season. Only about 10% of the recalled CDs ever made it back.

Class-action lawsuits were filed throughout the United States and around the world. Making matters even worse for Sony BMG: they had failed to follow licensing laws themselves when using the open-source software in the program. LAME MP3 encoder was the primary software, and its developers stated that they hoped Sony BMG would take appropriate action. 

By 2007, Sony BMG decided to completely get out of the copyright protection game. But the damage was done for many.

A great number of artists' works were wrapped up in this scandal. Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten was among those affected, and it sold over one-million copies in her home country of the United Kingdom, and saw plenty of sales in the U.S. also. Though the U.K. version of the CD was released through an RCA subsidiary, the U.S. version was released through Epic, one of Sony's subsidiaries. The album sold 34,000 copies in the U.S. during its' first week of release. Many compilation albums were also released with this rootkit software, including some by older artists like Burt Bacharach, Pete Seeger, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday, with some by slightly newer artists like Cyndi Lauper also affected. Neil Diamond's 26th studio album Twelve Songs, Rosanne Cash's King's Record Shop, Ricky Martin's Life, and George Jones' duet album My Very Special Guests were all affected albums. To me, these titles show that a wide range of age groups and musical tastes were all hit with this. There are almost too many affected albums to name, but of course we can't forget one of the bands who became most vocal about the situation: Switchfoot. 

Switchfoot's fifth studio album Nothing is Sound sold half a million copies in the first month of its release. It debuted at number three on the Billboard albums chart, and was their first release after the monstrously successful The Beautiful Letdown. It was only their second studio album with Sony. As soon as the problem was discovered, the band were upset on behalf of their fans. Bassist Tim Foreman posted on the group's forums with a way to get around the protection, but the post soon disappeared mysteriously, with many believing Sony had threatened legal action against Foreman or the band. Strangely, many British copies of the album under EMI suffered from a similar copy protection problem, although that situation was handled much more gracefully. The scandal left such a bad taste in the mouths of the band that they were only too happy to get out of their contract with Sony, which they were able to do after Oh! Gravity, the third in their contractually obligated three albums on the label. They then formed their own label, "lowercase people," which was distributed by Atlantic. Lead singer and songwriter Jon Foreman felt as though the situation tainted their album, which was already considered to be one of their darkest works.

I have a copy of Nothing is Sound that I purchased used not too long ago. Updates to computers between 2005 and the present day have since made the type of vulnerability that the CDs initially created much more difficult to end up with accidentally. Aside from that, my copy doesn't seem to have the correct barcode on it to make it one of those affected (the barcode ends in XCP on affected CDs). Yet still, when I tried to rip the CD to my digital music library for use in my radio shows, I couldn't touch the tracks. Obviously I'm not making an effort to find a way around the copy protection but whatever they put on those CDs was certainly effective. 

I think by this point, most artists are just happy to have their music out there. Royalties are gained from streams and Youtube views. But I don't know if record companies will ever fully be over the new technology that the internet beckoned in so many years ago. It took a lot of time and situations such as this scandal to get them even close to over it. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

One-Mind Tracks: May Flowers

As promised by the "April Showers" playlist, One-Mind Tracks is now experiencing the joys of May flowers. So join us on this spring-ey playlist full of the flowers that bloom in the spring.

"Fresh as a Daisy" by Emitt Rhodes
The great, under-rated Emitt Rhodes recorded this flowery song at his home studio completely solo, which was a violation of union rules at the time. Albums were only supposed to be recorded at professional studios, meaning Rhodes' one-man accomplishment couldn't be mentioned on the album sleeve.

"Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James & the Shondells
Since it was originally leaked by a radio station, it seems only fitting that this one should play on an episode of One-Mind Tracks on the air. Tommy James was able to gain full creative control after the success of their single "Mony Mony." "Crimson and Clover" was a title before there was even a song to go with it. The "final" version we are all familiar with was not even intended as a final version, but a demo for the record label. Since it was leaked, that's what ended up being released.

"Sunflower, Vol. 6" by Harry Styles
Harry Styles set out to make a record with Fine Line. He wanted every track to be a worthwhile contribution to the whole. Thus, we get solid album tracks like "Sunflower, Vol. 6." I wanted this playlist to be a fun and romp-ey kind of floral, and this song does nothing but add to that vibe. Suggested by cohost, Erin Howard, this song is also a hint at a possible future playlist, dedicated solely to sunflowers.

"Tiptoe Through the Tulips" by Tiny Tim
After ties to the horror genre, it's safe to call this one infamous. Tiny Tim only intended his cover of a track from 1929 to be a lighthearted bit of fun. Tim used falsetto not just in his songs, but in public and in interviews throughout his career.

"Blue Orchid" by The White Stripes
Pumping up the energy a little bit, here's a song Jack White wrote about the complications newer entertainment industries created and how he wishes things were just the way they used to be. Rumors surrounding the song attributed the subject matter to White's breakup with Renée Zellweger, but he has always stated that that is false.

"Daisy" by Switchfoot
Jon Foreman brings us this sweet and lovely track from the album Nothing is Sound, an album which is beautiful, yet tainted by the Sony Extended Copyright Protection scandal. The band did their part to help out fans whose computers could otherwise be exposed to malware through the flawed attempt by Sony to protect their copyright, but they still feel like it ruined even their own perception of the album. Perhaps partly because of that scandal, Switchfoot have since chosen to work with smaller, independent labels. I may do a whole article on the Sony scandal at some point, so stay tuned.

"Wildflowers" by Tom Petty
For an album primarily about Tom Petty's divorce, Wildflowers is an incredibly comforting album for me, with the title track being not the exception, but the rule. Although it was never released as a single, "Wildflowers" managed to chart, making it to #16 on the Billboard Hot Rock charts and becoming his 4th most streamed song. Petty says the song came to him all at once in a stream-of-consciousness songwriting session of three and a half minutes. Petty kept assuming something was wrong with the track due to the ease with which it was written, but he found there was nothing wrong with it. I agree- there's nothing wrong with "Wildflowers."

"Daffodils" by Mark Ronson (Featuring Kevin Parker)
Of all the albums Mark Ronson has released, Uptown Special has the most perfect flow to it, feeling like a story. Part of this can be attributed to the involvement of author Michael Chabon, who cowrote many songs on the album, including this one, which he wrote with Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Parker wanted Chabon to understand the feeling of coming down from a high in order to get the feeling he thought the song could have. He had Chabon listen to "Blinded By the Lights" by The Streets to get the correct vibe without doing drugs. 

"Orchids" by The Shacks
A fairly sad song about flowers, the quality of this song demands its inclusion. It does end on an upbeat note, with the implication that karma will eventually give the protagonist of the song the flowers she is due.

"Flowers on the Wall" by The Statler Brothers
This song has always reminded me of the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper." "Flowers on the Wall" was the winner of the 1966 Grammy for Best Contemporary Performance, and it's not hard to see why. The song has a lasting quality to it that also carried over to a cover version by Nancy Sinatra.

"Daisy Fingers" by Edu
After the breakup of Tally Hall, keyboardist Andrew Horowitz was quick to release an album on his own. Originally, Sketches was only available on cassette, intended to seem like a mixtape. In fact, Horowitz did produce this run of cassettes himself. My copy of Sketches is still the only cassette in my home music library. "Daisy Fingers" is both complex and childlike, making it perfect for this playlist.

"A Rose For Emily" by The Zombies
The Zombies released Odessey and Oracle just after disbanding. The album is now widely regarded as a classic, and deservedly so. The songs throughout the album are unique and beautiful and "A Rose For Emily" is no exception.

"Lily" by Benjamin Gibbard
"Lily" is about a girl of that name (as some of the other songs on this playlist are), but the tone is perfect for this time of spring and a playlist with several other primarily acoustic tracks. 

"Throw Down the Roses" by Kate Pierson
Kate Pierson went hard for her first solo album, which included this upbeat track about someone who refuses to be a groupie. "Throw Down the Roses" was written as a collaboration between Pierson, Sia, and Dallas Austin.

Catch these songs on the One-Mind Tracks radio show this week! The show starts at 7PM EST on Thursday. You can catch it streaming over at Or you can listen in for an episode of One-Mind Tracks any Thursday at 7pm!

Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have a song that fits the theme!

Friday, May 13, 2022

Headcanon: David Bowie's Toy Story

I just got back from a work trip to Vegas and I have a cold. So my brain is just addled enough to finally explain this idea I've had for 10+ years. I've been ranting and raving about this to anyone who will listen for so long, I don't even remember how I thought of it.

So here goes: Randy Newman did a fine job with the soundtrack to Toy Story. His songs are iconic and deep-seated in the minds of anyone who grew up in the '90s. But what if he didn't write the songs for the soundtrack? What if Disney and Pixar decided instead to go with the back-catalogue of legendary singer-songwriter David Bowie? I'm here to show you what an easy swap it could have been.

"You've Got a Friend in Me" becomes "Golden Years"
"Golden Years" acts as a perfect tonal match for the opening scene of Toy Story. Woody is living in the "golden years" in which he is Andy's favorite toy by far. Sure, there's no replacement for "You've Got a Friend in Me" but if there were, it would be "Golden Years." Start the Toy Story video and then immediately "Golden Years" for full effect. Don't forget to mute the Toy Story video. And of course, it would fade down as Woody lays on the bed.

"Strange Things" becomes "Changes"
Woody begins to see "Changes" in this scene. His world is turned upside down by what Randy Newman calls "Strange Things." "Changes" calls to mind the very literal changes in Andy's interests and therefore Woody's life. This time, start the Bowie song first, then click on the muted Toy Story video. This one would fade out just at the end of the Toy Story video, before another chorus begins.

"I Will Go Sailing No More" becomes "Space Oddity"
Buzz is a spaceman (or at least thinks he is), why would he "go sailing"? He wouldn't! "Space Oddity" captures his feelings of hopelessness as he discovers that he is a toy, while still calling back to his belief in genuine space roots. Start this one with the sound on for both videos. "Space Oddity" first, then the Toy Story scene. Mute the Toy Story video when the Al's Toy Barn logo appears on-screen. 

Everyone I've shown this to so far has been very surprised by the results and congratulated me by patting me on the head and telling me I'm not crazy. Promise. Anyway...that's all I've got. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

One-Mind Tracks: Mother's Day

This week, One-Mind Tracks celebrates Mother's Day with a playlist for the moms out there. 

"You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes
First thing, we're going to get some advice from Mom. Written and produced by the powerhouse that was Holland/Dozier/Holland, "You Can't Hurry Love" was partially inspired by the hymn "You Can't Hurry God (He's Right on Time)." Some of the lyrics are almost exactly the same as the song by Dorothy Loves Coates. It's nice to get advice like this. I think I got basically this advice from my mom, she just didn't phrase it this catchily.

"Mama Said" by The Shirelles
The next piece of advice came from five years prior to "You Can't Hurry Love," back in 1961. It's a similar kind of advice but sounds very different. Many have covered this track over the years, but there's something that can't be beat about the original.

"The Best Day" by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift wrote this moving song about her mother for her 2008 album Fearless (but of course, listen to Fearless (Taylor's Version)). The rerecorded song featured a music video consisting of old home movies. 

"Julia" by The Beatles
John Lennon had a complicated relationship with his mother. She often entered and exited his life, passing away in 1958 when John was seventeen. During the time The Beatles spent in India, Lennon decided to write a song for her. He learned "Travis Picking" from Donovan, who also claims to have helped him with the line "seashell eyes//windy smile." With the help from Donovan on the concept, "Julia" became the only Beatles song Lennon played alone on. 

"Single Mothers" by Young Beautiful in a Hurry
I interviewed lead singer/songwriter Brendan McCreary (now going by Bear McCreary) back in 2015 when the band was promoting this single. McCreary said it was a tribute to his own mom who raised him as a single woman. McCreary told me "it was about three years in the making, nearly. The inspiration simply just came from having a single mom that I loved very much and love very much. [...] There's not a whole lot of content out there for these women. For me, I was just really passionate about single moms and I think that came from working with so many of them."

"Veronica" by Elvis Costello
Mother's day is also for Grandmothers. Costello wrote this one with Paul McCartney, inspired by his grandmother, as he watched her suffer from Alzheimer's. Costello started the lyrics using his paternal granmother's first name, Mabel (or the more casual 'Molly"). Through his collaboration with McCartney, they decided upon using her Catholic confirmation name: Veronica.

The One-Mind Tracks Single of the Week: "Coat of Many Colors" and "Mama Say a Prayer" by Dolly Parton
One-Mind Tracks on the air does a weekly "single," where we play two related songs grouped together. It's not a real single, but pretend with us. This week, our single comes to us from Dolly Parton. "Coat of Many Colors" is an autobiographical track she wrote on one of Porter Wagner's dry-cleaning receipts. Parton appreciates her mother in the song for all of the love she passed on to Parton through her caring and through the coat. "Mama Say a Prayer" represents an older version of Parton, asking her mother to keep her safe and pure of heart though she went away to the big city.

"Mama You've Been on My Mind" by George Harrison
Though this song was written for Dylan's ex-girlfriend, the wistful tone could also apply to someone missing their mother. Dylan has performed his song live over 200 times, but it has never made it onto a studio album, instead appearing four times on Dylan bootleg releases. Likewise, another popular version of the song is by Jeff Buckley, who also didn't put it on an album, but it was released as a studio outtake. Some versions have made it onto albums, such as one by Linda Ronstadt (retitled "Baby, You've Been on My Mind"), one by Johnny Cash (who altered some of the lyrics), and a version by Rod Stewart. George Harrison played it as a jam with the other Beatles during the "Get Back" sessions before recording it himself. His version remained unreleased until 2012, when it was released on Early Takes: Volume 1.

"Loves Me Like a Rock" by Paul Simon
Paul Simon recorded this song in Muscle Shoals with backing vocals from gospel group The Dixie Hummingbirds. Though not outwardly a gospel song, The Dixie Hummingbirds were proud to be on the song and even released their own version of it. The song is about a mother's love transcending all kinds of things, including being the president when congress calls his name. This has been interpreted to be a reference to Nixon during the Watergate trials. Simon also states "she loves me like a rock of ages," which pushes the song closer to a gospel track. "The rock" is often used to describe God's strength and dependability in The Book of Psalms. God is also referred to as the "rock of our salvation." Jesus is the subject of a hymn called "Rock of Ages." Simon, however, was Jewish, so he may have been inspired by the title of the song or by a Hebrew poem "Ma'oz Tzur," which refers to God as "my refuge, my rock of salvation." Either way, Simon is comparing a mother's love to that of God.

"My Mother & I" by Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus wrote this both beautiful and heartbreaking song about her love for her mother and her struggles with body image because of her mother. She released the song for Mother's Day 2019, and has since performed it live with her mother multiple times. Their tender harmonies represent both love and acceptance of each other and of themselves. 

"Mother Stands for Comfort" by Kate Bush
Kate Bush sings of a mother's unconditional love. The character in this song is a son who has committed a murder, yet his mother shields him from the law because she loves him and will protect him from anything. Bush has also said of the song "in a way it's also suggesting that the son is using the mother, as much as the mother is protecting him."

That's our playlist for mothers! Catch these songs on the One-Mind Tracks radio show this week! The show starts at 7PM EST on Thursday. You can catch it streaming over at Or you can listen in for an episode of One-Mind Tracks any Thursday at 7pm!

Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have a song that fits the theme!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

State of the Music Address: May 2022

Spring is exciting because everything suddenly feels alive again. Whatever turmoil we went through over the winter is seemingly gone now, as we look forward to our new future. We are refreshed and the world feels new. We can be positive again after the sad slog of winter. 

Right now, I feel like we are in the spring of music. 

Music had a pretty long winter, from about March of 2020 to probably last month. Album releases were halted, touring was banned for a long time, still feeling taboo after live shows were allowed again. That's not to say there weren't any good releases, because there were. That's not to say there were no good live shows, because there were. It's just that nothing was quite the same. 

Until now. When I look at the album releases coming up, the tours...I'm blown away. I know artists missed playing live, but I was close to forgetting how much I missed hearing live shows. I am completely overjoyed by the amount of things coming up in music. I may not be able to cover everything on here, so I'm just doing a quick overview of some exciting stuff coming up.

Album Releases:

-May 6th, Belle and Sebastian A Bit of Previous
-May 13th, Florence + the Machine Dance Fever
-June 3rd, Andrew Bird Inside Problems
-June 10th, Of Monsters and Men Tíu 
-June 21st, Weezer SZNS: Summer
-June 24th, Regina Spektor Home, Before and After

Singles already released:

-Belle and Sebastian have released "Unnecessary Drama." Belle and Sebastian have long been compared to The Smiths, between the album covers and poetry of their lyrics. This song sounds the most like The Smiths to me.

-Florence + the Machine have been releasing videos for a great many songs off of the upcoming album, all of them directed by Autumn de Wilde. They're all stunning and of course the songs are great too. While I think "King" is among the strongest, there's something about "Free" that really draws you in (and I don't mean Bill Nighy).

-Regina Spektor has released two songs off of her forthcoming album, the most recent of which is "Up the Mountain." 

Concerts in Central Ohio (and just ones I'm excited about):
-I've been to a few shows this year, but I'm gonna go ahead and say that my concert season kicks off on May 12th, when The Regrettes come to Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio. They're also playing a Big Room show for cd92.9 earlier in the day.
-Tame Impala is playing at KEMBA Live! on May 26th. It's going to be on the outdoor "parking lot" stage as I like to refer to it. Honestly, though I'm ribbing it, it's a very fun setting. I saw The 1975 that way most recently, but also fun., with Tegan and Sara as their opener a few years back.
-The Nude Party is the opener for Orville Peck on his spring tour. If you're not familiar with either of those acts, you should check them out. Orville Peck just dropped a new album last month and it's great. So if they have a stop on the tour near you...I'm jealous.
-Eric Hutchinson has a group of dates coming up in early June that are all solo, acoustic shows in Ohio/Michigan/Indiana. I've always seen him with a band but I know he's great at this type of show so I can't wait. 
-Cut Worms is a retro-sounding artist I really got into the last couple of years and he's playing the A&R Music Bar on June 13th.
-Motion City Soundtrack are finally playing their 2020 dates that were in celebration of the 15th (now 17th) anniversary of their album Commit This to Memory
-Switchfoot and Collective Soul are playing a show together at KEMBA Live! on July 20th. After I got tickets because of Switchfoot, I thought I would see what songs I know by Collective Soul. Holy moly, it's a lot. Collective Soul are apparently one of those bands that have had a lot of hits but you just don't realize it's them. Or at least I didn't.
-Florence + the Machine are on tour in September.
-Crowded House are on tour this fall.
-There are a lot of festivals coming up, but I really like the looks of the Bourbon and Beyond Festival September 15th-18th in Louisville, Kentucky.

I'm not going to list shows past September (but I do have some tickets for October already).

I'm really looking forward to this summer because of all of these things to look forward to. And I imagine more announcements are on the way!