July Shuffle


It’s been a few months since I did one of these.  What can I say?  Between the General Assembly, Joint Finance Committee, and a series on Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance practices, it has been hectic!

Life On Mars, David Bowie: I didn’t listen to this song that much until the 2008 tv show came out.  This is vintage Bowie.  Sometimes, living in Delaware, I feel like I do live on Mars!

Steam, Peter Gabriel: This song reminds me of an ice storm back when I was in college.  They were debating whether to shut the college down.  The power was out.  The cafeteria was closed.  But through it all we were able to get to the liquor store.  The storm happened on a Thursday night and went on the whole next day.  I remember a bunch of us singing “Feed Cabrini, let us know it’s dinnertime” to the tune of the old Band Aid song.  A bunch of us would play Hearts, the card game.  That Saturday, they sent us home.  My roommate and his friend from New Jersey drove me to my parent’s house in Pennsylvania.  My dad played Hearts with us.  I just remember laughing until I couldn’t anymore.  Whenever we would wait forever for our friend Chris to actually make a move, my friend Matt and I would just sing the beat of this song.  Good times!

Lead Me Into The Night, The Cardigans: This reminds me of those Spring of 2004 days when my son was born.  Also when I moved from California later that summer.  I remember sitting in my old house after the movers got everything out.  It felt so strange seeing it so empty.  It had only been a few years since I brought stuff in.

The Game, Echo & The Bunnymen: Is this song already 30 years old?  Yes.  1987.  I first heard this song at a party at a friend’s house.  Back when I was a teenager, life seemed soooo complex.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have spent less time worrying and more time living.  “Everybody’s got their reason why their favorite season is their favorite season”.

The Long Road, Pearl Jam: Winter of 1996.  I was preparing to move to Sweden.  It was exciting and frightening at the same time.  I heard this song and it echoed exactly how I felt in the weeks before the move.  I was literally giving up everything: family, friends, all that was familiar to me.  All in a quest for something new.  While it didn’t work out in the long run, I will NEVER regret making that decision.  It taught me a lot.  I can look back on that time now with fond memories and lessons learned.

All Day Long, New Order: December of 1986.  New Order released “Brotherhood” and I was hooked on them forever.  This song was one of the reasons why.

Kill Your Heroes, AWOL Nation: One of those Firefly bands from the first year of the festival.  One of those songs you can blast in your car while driving on a highway and sing your soul out!

Buffalo Soldier, Bob Marley: It was the night before my 2nd attempt at the SAT in the fall of my Senior year of high school.  I should have been home in bed.  But no, I was at a party.  Having far too much fun that I should the night before a big test (before the College Board made it like Common Core).  Needless to say, I didn’t do as well as I did on the SAT the 2nd time.  Remember my lesson high school students!  Don’t party the night before you take the SAT!

Hey Hey Hey!, Michael Franti & The Spearhead: I wrote about another song by Franti in an earlier shuffle.  Another one of the 2012 Firefly happy moments.  This song was the same feeling.  Just pure fun and letting go of all that was going on in my life at the time.  The whole crowd singing “Hey Hey Hey” and dancing, throwing beach balls around.  “No matter how life is today, never gonna let a moment slip away”.  True words.  Ones to live by!

Sometime Around Midnight, The Airborne Toxic Event: For many years, the only station to listen to in Dover was 92.9 (used to be 94.7).  In 2009, I found a new station called 104.5.  Finally, an alternative music station!  Based out of Philadelphia, it is my first choice when I turn on the radio.  This song was playing all the time back then.  It took a couple days to find out who sang it.  A doomed tale of a man meeting a woman at a bar and getting massively rejected by the end of the night.  I’ve never had nights like that.  Nope.  Never.

Home By The Sea, Genesis: From their self-titled album in 1983, this song haunted me.  Literally.  It is about a haunted house.  It leads into “Second Home By The Sea”.  If you ever saw Genesis in concert back in the day (I did twice), they always played this.  I remember sitting in my room as a young teenager listening to this tape on my Sony Walkman and just letting my mind drift to the lyrics of the song.

Summer, Highland Falls, Billy Joel: Love this song!  Billy Joel was (and probably still is) an awesome pianist.  He told stories in a lot of his songs.  Ones many of us could relate to.

In My Life, The Beatles: One of my favorites by the Fab Four.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  Love the piano solo in the middle of the song.  A song about remembering those we love or loved.

Born In The U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen: Where were you in the Summer of 1984?  If you were like a lot of us, you were listening to Bruce Springsteen all summer long!  He took over the airwaves.  This song just makes me feel American.  I’m proud to be an American.  For all its faults, America is still the greatest country in the world to live in.  Don’t take your freedom for granted.  And if you don’t feel free, make a hell of a lot of noise!

Fireflies, Owl City: I love fireflies!  I have ever since I was a little kid.  We only enjoy them for a little less than a month.  Nothing better than going out on an early summer night with nothing but fireflies lighting up all over the place.  It makes me think of my youth.  The real early days when everything is so enhanced and open.

Growing Up, Peter Gabriel: After eleven years, Gabriel finally came out with a new album in 2003.  This song hooked me from the start.  “My ghosts like to travel”…

Can’t Help Falling In Love (With You), U2: Out of all the cover versions of the original Elvis song, this is probably my favorite.  I found this during a massive CD binge in the Winter of 1993.  I found an awesome record store near my college, Cabrini, and they had tons of bootlegs and rare items.  When I heard this, I was immediately taken by Bono’s haunting singing of this song.

Happy Home, Garbage: It seems like yesterday I first heard this song, but it was twelve years ago.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.  But that is how life is.  We are supposed to go through the hard parts so we can one day say we would have done it differently.

Party All The Time, Eddie Murphy: Yes, in the middle of Eddie Murphy’s comedian/movie heyday in the 1980s, he took up the microphone for a different reason.  This song is horrible hearing it now.  It is absurdly bad.  There was a lot of that in the 1980s.

Show Me What I’m Looking For, Carolina Liar: Sometimes we are looking for answers when we didn’t even know we were.  Even if you think you are stuck in a rut, the sub-conscience wonders.  It seeks.  By the time it catches up with the rest of the brain we could be over that moment.  Or it can provide us with the clarity we need to make a decision.

Uninvited, Alanis Morrisette: In the Spring of 1998, “City Of Angels” came out.  That movie made me wonder for a long time after if angels really did hover around us.  Watching us.  Giving us that pat on the shoulder when we are lost and lonely.  Whispering words to us to help us heal.  This song was from the movie and is probably one of her best songs.

New Year’s Day, U2: The one that started them all.  I first heard this song in 1983.  This new band was different.  Of course, they had a couple albums before “War” but not everyone knew that.  This was their breakthrough album in America.  I still remember watching the video on MTV (when they actually played videos).  I had this feeling the band was going to stick around for a while.

Summer In Berlin, Alphaville: From their first album.  “Open your eyes and let the sun break in for a while.   There may be something that you’ve never seen, you’ve never seen before.”

Take The Long Way Home, Supertramp: One of the most under-rated bands of all time.  This is one of those songs that stands the test of time.  I’ve taken the long way home in my life.  More recently!

Evil Eye, Franz Ferdinand: I remember in the summer of 2013 hanging out at Governor’s Café in downtown Dover.  I was doing some side work at my son’s school.  Afterwards, I would get coffee at the café and just listen to music.  This was before education took up a big part of my life.  I was looking forward to a new school year for my son and felt things were on track for my son to have a successful year.  And then I met Chuck Taylor.

Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac: Living in the early 1980s, I can’t think of too much time when Stevie Nick’s raspy voice wasn’t out with some new song, whether it was her solo outings or her time with Fleetwood Mac.  This one is definitely in my top five Fleetwood Mac songs of all time.

Burn It Down, Fitz and the Tantrums: This band is one of those that can’t miss.  Sometimes you get a hunch something isn’t right.  It could be paranoia or it could be reality.  Both are sucky moments to go through.  Sometimes someone can burn something down so bad there is zero chance of recovery.

Forgotten Years, Midnight Oil: This is another one of those songs I will break out into loud singing in my car when it comes on.  Which is kind of funny with Peter Garrett’s Australian accent.  “This is the feeling too strong to contain.”  “These should not be forgotten years.”  A staple since 1990!

Last Goodbye, Jeff Buckley: I always wonder how big this singer would have gotten if he hadn’t passed away a few years after his debut album came out.  This was the first single.  The summer of 1995.  Pretty much every song from the months of May to September hold special meaning for me.

Demons, The National: After my mom passed away four years ago, I spent a lot of the months after in solitude.  I was sad and depressed.  I was lonely.  I felt like no one could understand what I was going through.  I chose to do this and I wish I had opened up instead of shutting down.  It was a time of reevaluating many aspects of my life.  Looking back now and all that has come since, it was a moment of chrysalis, coming out of a shell and preparing me for what came next.  A year later, Exceptional Delaware was born.

Continental Drift, Rolling Stones: This over-looked gem from the bands “back to basics” album, “Steel Wheels”, in 1989 was probably my favorite from the album.  When I heard them play it live in Philadelphia that September, the whole stadium just shook.  With a mid-eastern sound throughout the song, it added an exotic feeling to the song.  In the middle of it, the song starts building up in this soaring crescendo that lasts for two minutes.  You have to hear it to understand it.

Green Eyes, Judah & The Lion: From their latest album released earlier this year, this is my favorite song on the album.  It reminds me of taking back roads between Milford and Camden after I dropped my son off at school.  I love exploring new roads.  One day I found a little fishing area on the side of the road by a stream.  I took a little hike in the woods.  It was peaceful and quiet.  Nothing but nature all around me.  I had a lot on my mind on that day and the escape felt good.

Ride, Cary Brothers: I didn’t have a lot of friends when I first moved to Delaware.  I was busy with Jacob as a baby, then a toddler.  I worked a lot in those days.  I was a home boy in every sense of the word.  I watched a ton of movies back then.  This song comes from a movie called “The Last Kiss”.  A poignant movie about infidelity and how it destroys lives.

Shadow, Chromatics: This is probably my favorite song this summer.  It is two years old, but it got a ton of exposure with the return of Twin Peaks at the end of May.  The world of Twin Peaks is bizarre and strange.  And the return series has been some of the oddest tv I’ve ever seen in my life.  Only those of us who faithfully watched the first two seasons and have been brought back to David Lynch’s insanity can understand the brilliance of what he is doing now.

Be Still, Killers: This song always reminds me of Jacob.  My little boy, now a teenager.  Who has been through the worst but still smiles and laughs as much as he can.  He has a ton of heart and I always view him in my mind as my little fighter.  He is all that I am.  No matter what crap life throws my way, he is there.

Everyday, Dave Matthews Band: Sometimes you think you have forever.  Then the rug comes out from underneath you.  It sucks.  You lose your bearing.  Everyday can be torture.  It drags you to depths you didn’t think existed.  But then one day you just wake up.  You see the world through eyes you never had before.  What was once depressing is now new and exciting.  Everyday is something new.

Nearly Home, Broken Records: I heard a part of this song in a trailer for an upcoming episode of LOST back in 2010.  I found it in about five minutes.  I hadn’t heard it for years until recently.  Truer words have never been said.  It’s personal for me.  Like one of those angels is singing it to me over my shoulder…

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