TDP Sweet Sixteen: Mrs. Lapsley

Mrs. Lapsley is a math teacher at BHS, and an assistant coach for our champion girls’ track team. Her students describe her as “just straight awesome.” This is what she was listening to when she was sixteen.

dave-matthews-band-cricket-wireless-amphitheatre1.  Dave Matthews Band – Before These Crowded Streets, Favorite Song: “Pig”

I was listening to Crash for a good two years of my life nonstop, so I would say that this album was the most highly anticipated album of my entire life and it lived up to most of its expectations.  “Pig” was my favorite song because I saw a special on the making of  the album and Dave’s favorite lyric on the album was in “Pig.”  (“Here are we on this starry night staring into space and I must say I feel as small as dust lying down here”).  I was obsessed with the Dave Matthews Band from the age of 14 to the age of 24.  I wanted to name my first child Dave. I had hundreds of magazine and newspaper clippings of the band hung all over my bedroom wall. I had a videotape with Dave Matthews-only footage recorded off TV.  My first concert was a DMB concert when I was 16.  Now, as a reformed DMB fan, I will still go to their concerts and be blown away.  I will say that they put on one of the greatest live shows ever.

2.  Pearl Jam – “Release”

I would literally get in my car and drive on the highway and belt out this song.  In ‘98, it was so hard to get Pearl Jam tickets. All I wanted was to see Pearl Jam live, but that didn’t happen for another six years.  I was listening to Ten, Vs., Vitolgy, and No Code a lot.  They still hold up as some of the greatest albums ever created.

3.  Barenaked Ladies – Rock Spectacle – Favorite Song: “When I Fall”

I’m pretty sure there was a time in ‘98 that I saw BNL like four times in three months.  They were always playing these free concerts at City Hall and The Hatchshell in Boston.  They came close to becoming my favorite band over DMB.  Close.  Now I can’t stand them, but this album still holds up.

Unknown4.  Radiohead – “High and Dry”

I was still listening to The Bends even though OK Computer had come out.  I still kind of think OK Computer is overrated.  Radiohead has had the greatest evolution than any of my other favorite bands from when I was sixteen.

5.  Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn”

One hit wonder! I got Natalie’s CD for my sweet sixteen party.  The CD is actually pretty good.

6.  NSYNC – “Tearin’ up My Heart”

I was definitely an NSYNC person over a Backstreet Boys person.  I liked JC Chasez.  I didn’t see what people saw in Justin Timberlake.  I get it now.  I saw them in concert a couple of years after this song came out and they blew me away.  I’m a sucker for choreographed dancing.

7.  Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way”

If you weren’t obsessed with this song at some point in ‘98, you didn’t have a pulse.  I remember driving with my mom in our blue Dodge van and listening to this song for the very first time.  I still believe it is one of the most popular pop songs ever.

Unknown8.  Brandy – “Top of the World” (feat. Mase)

I loved this song and Mase was huge at the time.

9.  Janet Jackson – “Escapade”

I loved Janet more than Michael.  This song was a little vintage at the time.

10.  Puff Daddy (featuring Faith Evans)- “I’ll Be Missing You”

Biggie died the year before and I was still obsessed with this song.

11.  Smashing Pumpkins – “Tonight, Tonight”

I was still listening to a lot of songs released in the early and mid 90s when I was 16.  It was the best time for alternative music.

12.  Spice Girls – “Spice Up Your Life”

It was past the Spice Girls prime, but I wasn’t ready to give them up yet.  Loved this song and loved girl power.  I will still request this song at the occasional wedding.

13.  The Lion King Soundtrack – Favorite Song: “Circle of Life” by Elton John

Again, I was still listening to a lot of music that was released earlier in the 90s.  This soundtrack influenced my liking of instrumental music from soundtracks like Braveheart, Legends of the Fall, The Social Network, and Drive.

1Aerosmith94.  Aerosmith – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

Another big hit from 1998. One of the best ballads of all time.

15.  K-Ci & JoJo – “All My Life”

I loved me a good R&B song.

16.  Usher – “Nice and Slow”

I went through a little R&B phase, but this was a hit in 1998.


TDP News: ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ Turns 50

cooke2_custom-ae5445405a69dbde65787c691849562cf6bf09c0-s4-c85It was fifty years ago this week that Sam Cooke recorded one of the most important songs in American history.  The political message in “A Change is Gonna Come,” touted by Rolling Stone as “one of the greatest songs of all time,” quickly became an anthem for civil rights activists after it was released on Cooke’s album Ain’t That Good News in March of 1964. Sam Cooke, one of the few artists able to crossover from gospel to pop, did so with love songs like “You Send Me,” which went to number one on the pop charts; thus, recording this socially conscious song intended to serve as a vehicle for political change was a risky career move. Although Cooke did not want to alienate his new and growing audience with a song that encapsulated the feelings and experiences of many black Americans of the time, and highlighted the social issue that is arguably the most divisive in American history, he felt that “he could not ignore the moral outrage right in front of him” (NPR Music). The song did cause controversy and Cooke felt the impact of its message on those who were not ready to hear it. He and his band were turned away from shows and hotels; he was arrested and jailed for disturbing the peace; his family feared for his life. Cooke didn’t often play the song publicly, partly because of its complex arrangement and partly because of the threat that it could incite violence. It was not initially favored by his fans, mainly because it was not scheduled to be released as a single until December of 1964, nine months after the album dropped. Sam Cooke was shot to death at a motel in Los Angeles just before that release.

Cooke biographer, Peter Guralnick, discusses the song as being one with a message not isolated to the civil rights movement, but rather as a song with “a universal message of hope…that does not age.” “A Change is Gonna Come” has a lasting impact on all who hear it. Guralnick states that “Generation after generation has heard the promise of it…We all feel in some way or another that a change is gonna come.” The message is “almost endlessly adaptable to whatever goal, whatever movement” that needs Cooke’s voice. It was, however, the civil rights movement that inspired it, and Cooke’s voice in this song will forever echo the struggle and the courage of those who fought (and continue to fight) for racial equality in America.

TDP Sweet Sixteen Playlist: Mrs. Ford

Mrs. Ford is an amazing English, Drama, and Media teacher at BHS who also masterfully advises the school’s improv troupe, Idle Hands. She is described by her students as “funny – like for real,” “inspiring,” and “dedicated.” Here is what she was listening to when she was sixteen.

1.) “One Thing Leads to Another” — The Fixx

2.) “What You Need” — INXS

3.) “Taking My Chances” — The Outfield

4.) “Don’t Get Me Wrong” — The Pretenders

5.) “Life in a Northern Town” — The Dream Academy

6.) “Love Reign o’er Me” — The Who

7.) “I’m on Fire” — Bruce Springsteen

8.) “Party Girl” — U2

9.) “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” — The Police

10.) “Relax” — Frankie Goes to Hollywood

11.) “Let’s Go Crazy” — Prince and The Revolution

12.) “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” — Georgia Satellites

13.) “You Give Love a Bad Name” — Bon Jovi

14.) “Can’t Get Enough” — Bad Company

15.) “Mama Kin” — Aerosmith

16.) “Dance the Night Away” — Van Halen

When I was sixteen, my musical tastes were heavily influenced by other people, but maybe that’s as it should be. Regardless of where I first heard each of these songs, I wouldn’t be who I am without the music and lyrics of my youth. I distinctly remember turning sixteen, and thinking that I was leaving behind childish ways, so although their pictures still graced my wall (along with images of Doug Flutie) there are no Duran Duran songs on this mix. And though I would like to think of my sixteen-year-old self as listening to REM, Joy Division, and The Cure, the truth is, I really didn’t start listening to them until my college years. My sixteenth year focused mostly on hard rock with a little bit of pop.

images“One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx and “What You Need” by INXS remind me of the early days of MTV (when they still played music videos). I almost put “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel on the list for the groundbreaking video, but these two songs better reflect the fact that I am a sucker for catchy beats.

“Taking My Chances” by The Outfield reminds me of a particular moment: the long drive from my hometown of Clinton down to Princeton University to see my older brother play baseball. I remember sprawling in the backseat with my Walkman on, listening to my cassette of The Outfield. Though I could have included the more popular “Your Love” — I prefered the lyrics to “Taking My Chances.”

Unknown“Don’t Get Me Wrong” by The Pretenders is a brilliant song by a brilliant band. The Pretenders join Bruce Springsteen and U2 as artists that I still listen to on a regular basis. I remember hearing it for the first time riding the school bus home which is how I was also introduced to “Life in a Northern Town.” The Dream Academy song instantly struck a chord, mainly because the song felt so different from anything else I had heard on the radio to that point. I defy you to listen to it, and not sing along with the chorus: “Hey um ma ma ma (doobie doo-n-aya) / Hey um ma ma ma (heeeeey-yaaa).”

“Love Reign o’er Me” serves to represent all of The Who that I was listening to at the time. My older brother introduced me to their songs, and I was hooked. I could’ve included “Baba O’Riley” or “Behind Blue Eyes” or “Squeeze Box” or “Eminence Front” — but I selected “Love Reign o’er Me” because my first ever “real” boyfriend included it on one of the mixed tapes he made me.

UnknownBruce Springsteen and U2 — are artists who are still going strong. I’ve seen both in concert many times, but these songs in particular remind me of my sophomore year in high school. As I recall, “Party Girl” got a lot of play on the parks & rec bus trips that I and my friends took to places like Hampton Beach.

“Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police introduced me to reggae, ska, reggaeton, and dancehall, all of which I still love to listen to. It was also a favorite at high school dances, as was “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. So was “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy — but that song is just terrible.

images“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and The Revolution also got a lot of play at dances, but it resonates with me because it reminds me of my high school field hockey team, which used it as a psych-up song. “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by Georgia Satellites reminds me of bus rides to basketball games with all of the cheerleaders singing this at the top of our lungs. “You Give Love a Bad Name” is the song I most associate with bus rides to softball games, again, with a bunch of teenage girls singing loudly.

Mark Sullivan 70's Rock ArchiveWith “Can’t Get Enough” by Bad Company, I return to the mixed tape from my boyfriend. At sixteen, I fell in love for the first time, so it is only right that I include several songs from that mix, as I know I listened to that tape incessantly. Aerosmith was featured heavily on all of his mixes for me, and “Mama Kin” is one of the best. If I were allowed more songs, I might have also included “Little Miss Dangerous” by Ted Nugent and “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush (how did he know I would become an English Teacher?)

Finally, I end the list with “Dance the Night Away” by Van Halen. Van Halen was my second ever concert (Duran Duran was the first) and they were in heavy rotation on the soundtrack of my youth. Really, any VH song prior to my sixteenth year could have made the list, but “Dance the Night Away” always makes me happy.

Thanks to The Devil’s Playlist for running with this idea! I can’t wait for 30 for 30…

My cut list:

“When the Levee Breaks” — Led Zeppelin

“Wuthering Heights” — Kate Bush

“Day by Day” — The Hooters

“Alive and Kicking” — Simple Minds

“Gimme All Your Lovin'” — ZZ Top

“Foolin’” — Def Leppard

“Never” — Heart

“Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” — Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin

“West End Girls” — Pet Shop Boys

TDP News: The 2014 Grammys

imagesThe Grammys, although highly disappointing for those who watched mainly to catch the much-hyped finale – featuring Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham – had much to offer its viewers. So much, in fact, that it seems the show’s producers overbooked, considering they started to run promo ads and the end credits about one minute into the finale. That problem aside, the Grammys were entertaining, and served as an accurate reflection of what’s happening in popular music today. The show, which aired for just under four hours, featured a wide variety of performances, including some great collaborations.

Here are some of the stand-outs:

Beyonce with Jay Z: “Drunk in Love” – This husband/wife duo provided, as expected, an exceptionally strong start to the show. As is becoming customary, Beyonce’s performance included hyper-sexualized costuming, dancing, and facial expressions while her husband, wearing a tuxedo casually reacted to her expressions of love and lust. Although the dynamic of the performance brings up typical feminist questions, this is a talented pair without question.

Imagine Dragons with Kendrick Lamar: “MADD City/Radioactive” – This collaboration was the perfect mash-up, and highlighted what the audience loves best about each of the performers.

Lorde: “Royals” – The young singer’s stripped-down performance of her Grammy-winning song was interesting and showed her more Goth side.

Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder: “Get Lucky” – This song is amazing  – even better live.

Sarah Bareilles and Carol King: “Beautiful/Brave” – Carol King is a true talent and proved that she is still an impressive force in music.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s reunion on a new McCartney song “Queenie Eye” – Ringo played drums alongside Paul’s current drummer, Abe Laboriel.

Kacey Musgraves performed her hit “Follow Your Arrow” with an enthusiastic throw-back vibe – complete with light-up boots. She beat Taylor Swift, who also performed, for Country Album of the Year.

Gary Clark Jr. and Keith Urban added some strong guitar soloing to the event.

The Maleficent Trailer, which debuted during the show, features the vocals of Lana Del Rey covering Disney’s “Once Upon a Dream,” and also got quite a bit of buzz.

Macklemore‘s pro-gay marriage song “One Love,” which served as the backdrop of a 33 couple marriage ceremony that featured Madonna as their wedding singer.

See the full list of winners below.

Record of the year
“Get Lucky” — Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers — WINNER
“Radioactive” — Imagine Dragons
“Royals” — Lorde
“Locked out of Heaven” — Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines” — Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell

Album of the year
“The Blessed Unrest” — Sara Bareilles
“Random Access Memories” — Daft Punk — WINNER
“Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” — Kendrick Lamar
“The Heist” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
“Red” — Taylor Swift

Song of the year
“Just Give Me a Reason” — Pink featuring Nate Ruess
“Locked Out of Heaven” — Bruno Mars
“Roar” — Katy Perry
“Royals” — Lorde — WINNER
“Same Love” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best new artist
James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — WINNER
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

Best pop solo performance
Sara Bareilles — “Brave”
Lorde — “Royals” — WINNER
Bruno Mars — “When I Was Your Man”
Katy Perry — “Roar”
Justin Timberlake — “Mirrors”

Best pop duo/group performance
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers — “Get Lucky” — WINNER
P!nk featuring Nate Ruess — “Just Give Me a Reason”
Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko — “Stay”
Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell — “Blurred Lines”
Justin Timberlake and Jay Z — “Suit & Tie”

Best pop instrumental album
Herb Alpert — “Steppin’ Out” — WINNER
Boney James — “The Beat”
Earl Klugh — “Handpicked”
Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair and Richard Elliot — “Summer Horns”
Jeff Lorber Fusion — “Hacienda”

Best pop vocal album
Lana Del Rey — “Paradise”
Lorde — “Pure Heroine”
Bruno Mars — “Unorthodox Jukebox” — WINNER
Robin Thicke — “Blurred Lines”
Justin Timberlake — “The 20/20 Experience — The Complete Experience”

Best dance recording
“Need U (100%)” — Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E & MNEK
“Sweet Nothing” — Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
“Atmosphere” — Kaskade
“The is What it Feels Like” — Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie
“Clarity” — Zedd featuring Foxes — WINNER

Best dance/electronica album
“Random Access Memories” — Daft Punk — WINNER
“Settle” — Disclosure
“18 Months” — Calvin Harris
“Atmosphere” — Kaskade
“A Color Map of the Sun” — Pretty Lights

Best traditional pop vocal album
“Viva Duets” — Tony Bennett and various artists
“To Be Loved” — Michael Bublé — WINNER
“The Standards” — Gloria Estefan
“Cee Lo’s Magic Moment” — Cee Lo Green
“Now” — Dionne Warwick

Best rock performance
Alabama Shakes — “Always Alright”
David Bowie — “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”
Imagine Dragons — “Radioactive” — WINNER
Led Zeppelin — “Kashmir”
Queens of the Stone Age — “My God is the Sun”
Jack White — “I’m Shakin’ ”

Best metal performances
Anthrax — “T.N.T.”
Black Sabbath — “God is Dead?” — WINNER
Dream Theater — “The Enemy Inside”
Killswitch Engage — “In Due Time”
Volbeat featuring King Diamond — “Room 24″

Best rock song
“Ain’t Messin’ ‘Round” — Gary Clark Jr.
“Cut Me Some Slack” — Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear — WINNER
“Doom and Gloom” — The Rolling Stones
“God Is Dead?” — Black Sabbath
“Panic Station” — Muse

Best rock album
Black Sabbath — “13″
David Bowie — “The Next Day”
Kings of Leon — “Mechanical Bull”
Led Zeppelin — “Celebration Day” — WINNER
Queens of the Stone Age — “… Like Clockwork”
Neil Young with Crazy Horse — “Psychedelic Pill”

Best alternative music album
Neko Case — “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You”
The National — “Trouble Will Find Me”
Nine Inch Nails — “Hesitation Marks”
Tame Impala — “Lonerism”
Vampire Weekend — “Modern Vampires of the City” — WINNER

Best R&B performance
Tamar Braxton — “Love and War”
Anthony Hamilton — “Best of Me”
Hiatus Kaiytoe featuring Q-Tip — “Nakamarra”
Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar — “How Many Drinks?”
Snarky Puppy with Lala Hathaway — “Something” — WINNER

Best traditional R&B performance
Gary Clark Jr. — “Please Come Home” — WINNER
Fantasia — “Get It Right”
Maysa — “Quiet Fire”
Gregory Porter — “Hey Laura”
Ryan Shaw — “Yesterday”

Best R&B song
“Best of Me” — Anthony Hamilton
“Love and War” — Tamar Braxton
“Only One” — PJ Morton featuring Stevie Wonder
“Pusher Love Girl” — Justin Timberlake — WINNER
“Without Me” — Fantasia featuring Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott

Best urban contemporary album
Tamar Braxton — “Love and War”
Fantasia — “Side Effects of You”
Salaam Remi — “One: In the Chamber”
Rihanna — “Unapologetic” — WINNER
Mack Wilds — “New York: A Love Story”

Best R&B album
Faith Evans — “R&B Divas”
Alicia Keys — “Girl on Fire” — WINNER
John Legend — “Love in the Future”
Chrisette Michele — “Better”
TGT — “Three Kings”

Best rap performance
Drake — “Started From the Bottom”
Eminem — “Berserk”
Jay Z — “Tom Ford”
Kendrick Lamar — “Swimming Pools (Drank)”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz — “Thrift Shop” — WINNER

Best rap/sung collaboration
J. Cole featuring Miguel — “Power Trip”
Jay Z featuring Beyoncé — “Part II (On the Run)”
Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake — “Holy Grail” — WINNER
Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige — “Now or Never”
Wiz Khalifa featuring the Weeknd — “Remember You”

Best rap song
“F***in’ Problems” — A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar
“Holy Grail” — Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake
“New Slaves” — Kanye West
“Started From the Bottom” — Drake
“Thrift Shop” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — WINNER

Best rap album
Drake — “Nothing Was the Same”
Jay Z — “Magna Carta … Holy Grail”
Kendrick Lamar — “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — “The Heist” — WINNER
Kanye West — “Yeezus”

Best country solo performance
Lee Brice — “I Drive Your Truck”
Hunter Hayes — “I Want Crazy”
Miranda Lambert — “Mama’s Broken Heart”
Darius Rucker — “Wagon Wheel” — WINNER
Blake Shelton — “Mine Would Be You”

Best country duo/group performance
The Civil Wars — “From This Valley” — WINNER
Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill — “Don’t Rush”
Little Big Town — “Your Side of the Bed”
Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban — “Highway Don’t Care”
Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton — “You Can’t Make Old Friends”

Best country song
“Begin Again” — Taylor Swift
“I Drive Your Truck” — Lee Brice
“Mama’s Broken Heart” — Miranda Lambert
“Merry Go ‘Round” — Kacey Musgraves — WINNER
“Mine Would Be You” — Blake Shelton

Best country album
Jason Aldean — “Night Train”
Tim McGraw — “Two Lanes of Freedom”
Kacey Musgraves — “Same Trailer Different Park” — WINNER
Blake Shelton — “Based on a True Story”
Taylor Swift — “Red”

Best Latin pop album
Frankie J — “Faith, Hope y Amor”
Ricardo Montaner — “Viajero Frecuente”
Draco Rosa — “Vida” — WINNER
Aleks Syntek — “Syntek”
Tommy Torres — “12 Historias”

Best Latin rock, urban or alternative album
Café Tacvba — “El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco”
El Tri — “Ojo Por Ojo”
Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas — “Chances”
La Santa Cecilia — “Treinta Dias” — WINNER
Los Amigos Invisibles — “Repeat After Me”

Producer of the year, nonclassical
Rob Cavallo
Dr. Luke
Ariel Rechtshaid
Jeff Tweedy
Pharrell Williams — WINNER

Best compilation soundtrack for visual media
“Django Unchained”
“The Great Gatsby” (deluxe edition)
“Les Miserables” (deluxe edition
“Muscle Shoals”
“Sound City: Real to Reel” — WINNER

Best score soundtrack for visual media
“The Great Gatsby”
“Life of Pi”
“Skyfall” — WINNER
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Best song written for visual media
Coldplay — “Atlas” — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Jessie J — “Silver Lining” — “Silver Linings Playbook”
Adele — “Skyfall” — “Skyfall” — WINNER
Colbie Caillat featuring Gavin DeGraw — “We Both Know” — “Safe Haven”
Lana Del Rey — “Young and Beautiful” — “The Great Gatsby” (deluxe edition)
Regina Spektor — “You’ve Got Time” — “Orange is the New Black”

Best music video
Captial Cities — “Safe and Sound”
Jay Z — “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton — “Can’t Hold Us”
Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z — “Suit & Tie” — WINNER
Jack White — “I’m Shakin’”

Best music film
Coldplay — “Live 2012″
Green Day — “¡Cuatro!”
Ben Harper With Charlie Musselwhite — “I’m in I’m Out and I’m Gone: The Making of Get Up!”
Paul McCartney — “Live Kisses” — WINNER
Mumford & Sons — “The Road to Red Rocks”

TDP Sweet Sixteen Playlist: Ms. Diozzi

Ms. Diozzi is a guidance counselor at BHS, who is described by her students as  “energetic and fun” – a “wicked nice lady” who “tells it like it is” and is “always on top of her game.” She also co-advises our gay/straight alliance, Spectrum, and assists on the production of BHS’s musicals. Ms. Diozzi is pictured below (on the left), next to one of her favorite high school teachers. Here is what she has to say about what she was listening to at age sixteen. 

Diozzi 16I had some trouble coming up with this list, because at first, I simply couldn’t remember what I was listening to when I turned 16 in April, 1981, the year MTV made its debut and the year I began listening to Matty in the Morning. Though I’ve had a few phases in my life during which I listened to music out of the time it was written, such as my great Beatle obsession of 1978-­79 and my Led Zeppelin/Bob Seger/Steve Miller Band stage of 2000, I tend to prefer music that’s of the time we’re in. I know that whatever was on the charts in mid-­1981 had to be what I was listening to, even if I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it now or then. I was disappointed to be reminded that so many of the songs that year were ones I truly disliked. (And not just me, a couple of them, “Morning Train” and “Theme from The Greatest American Hero” would be fodder for episodes of Seinfeld in the early 90s.) Though I’d liked a lot of the sentimental music of the 70s by such artists as Hall and Oates and Olivia Newton ­John, by the time the 80s rolled around, my angsty teenage self had had enough already. Where was the new music? Which artist or artists were going to lead us into the new decade? We had thought that John Lennon might, but he had been killed five months earlier. We didn’t know it at the time, but music from J. Geils, the Cars, Cyndi Lauper, the Police and the Go­Go’s was imminent, and Madonna, U2 and (say it like Jay­Z) Michael Jackson’s Thriller were right behind them, ready to take on and define pop music for the rest of the decade.

Ms. Diozzi’s Sweet 16 (April, 1981 -­ March, 1982):

“Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon (This song isn’t available on Spotify, so be sure to click the link to hear it. It’s amazing!)

“Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes

“Keep on Loving You” by REO Speedwagon

“Sukiyaki” by Taste of Honey

“Angel of the Morning” by Juice Newton

“The Best of Times” by Styx

“Celebration” by Kool & the Gang

“Rapture” by Blondie

“I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones

“Whip It” by Devo

“Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” by Elton John

“Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash

“Centerfold” by J. Geils Band

“Since You’re Gone” by The Cars

“Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Gos

“Open Arms” by Journey

TDP Playlist: Mid-Year Exam Preparation

TDP MYE 4Experts do not agree on the potential benefits or detriments of listening to music while preparing for a big test. Some studies suggest that listening to music is nothing but a distraction; while you think you are reviewing your Latin notes, you are really focusing on Lorde lyrics.  Others assert that listening to music triggers the release of dopamine, which makes whatever task you are undertaking while listening more pleasurable, thus increasing productivity. Some indicate that listening to music with a driving beat is best, and others recommend peaceful, calming music. Most, however, believe that the best studying environment varies from individual to individual.  And all experts indicate that listening to music at all times while studying is not smart. There is ALWAYS a need for QUIET while preparing for certain subjects and certain tasks.

TDP MYE 2 If, on occasion, you need something to drown out the sometimes distracting silence during a few of your study sessions, your best bet is to listen to instrumental pieces that won’t prompt you to sing along with any lyrics. These songs can provide an effective, rhythmic backdrop to your review, and – in some cases – might even hep you focus. If  listening to any music at all while studying doesn’t work for you, but you like to crank up the tunes during study breaks, sticking with instrumental sounds might be the way to go. Sometimes switching from silent study to your favorite jam can be too drastic and distract you even further. Instead, consider trying out some of these all instrumental exam prep playlists.

  • “The Mozart Effect” – Although the theory that playing Mozart for babies and children can increase their intellectual capabilities has, for the most part, been debunked, sometimes a little Mozart is inspiring. If you’re still on board with the “Mozart Effect” concept, or if you just feel smarter while listening to classical music, this playlist has you covered.
  •  “Independent Study” – Looking for a more mellow vibe? Or perhaps you’re just a fan of indie darlings like Yo La Tengo and Broken Social Scene? Either way, this mix of indie and electronic music will certainly trigger enough dopamine release to make studying a pure joy.
  •  “Rap Genius” – Need a more high energy playlist to help you get through your chemistry notes? Want a driving beat to drill those 180 vocab words into your brain? Try the Hip Hop Genius playlist.  It’s full of instrumental versions of rap, hip hop, and electronic/hip hop cross-overs. Designed to energize, this mix should help you make it through those long study sessions.  Honestly, it’s probably better for study breaks, or the drive in to school.
  • “Jazz, Man” – If you want a more swanky soundtrack to your study sessions, perhaps this playlist full of jazz classics will do the trick. From Coltrane to Gillespie, these songs will add a little ambiance to your review.

TDP3If you need some more low-key study music, try listening to a few movie scores . The soundtracks to Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and similar films work well. Really, most hero’s journey films have scores with a nice combination of both tranquil and inspiring music, which can be helpful when looking for some sounds to help you focus on your work. These soundtracks  are easily accessible with a quick search on Spotify and other music sharing sites.

If you aren’t the type of student who can listen to music while preparing for exams, you should definitely take off those headphones and put away all other technology. In fact that is one of the tips listed in the BHS mentors’ advice for mid-year exams. The BHS Help Desk students highlight this great advice in the video below.

It’s time to crack the books, Devils!

We wish you the best of luck on your exams.

TDP Sweet Sixteen Playlist: Ms. Fishel

Ms. Fishel is a BHS history teacher, who is described by her students as a “super nice” educator who “always tries to make things fun and interesting for the kids in her classes.” Here is what she has to say about the songs she was listening to when she was sixteen. 

 UnknownI turned 16 in the Fall of 2005.  I remember music being particularly important to me during my sophomore year of high school and my brown paper bag covered textbooks were covered in lyrics that managed to describe my life perfectly.  I listened to my overwhelming library of music on my pink 1st Generation iPod mini and while I always had it on me in school, I took my headphones off during class (grrr).  I made playlists for every event or potential situation – “Songs for Driving Around”; “Songs for Running”; “Songs that Make Me Miss [enter name of boyfriend].”  Looking back it seems laughable, but it was what I spent hours and hours doing.  I had a skater-punk boyfriend at the time (skinny jeans, sleeveless jean jacket with patches, studded belts, etc.) and he would always ask me to download him music, which eventually landed on my iPod as well.  I tried to stay pretty diverse – you never know when you’ll need a good ‘driving around’ song, a dance party jam, or a song that just understands exactly how you feel at that particular time.

The Songs of Sixteen (Fishel-edition)

1.  FM Static – “Hey Now” (This song was a hidden track on the album What Are You Waiting For?. It’s not on the Spotify playlist below, but  you can listen to it on  YouTube here.)

2.  Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”

3.  Bubba Sparxxx – “Miss New Booty” (hilarious)

4.  Nelly – “Grillz”

5.  Ne-Yo – “So Sick”

6.  Alkaline Trio – “Time to Waste”

7.  The Veronicas – “4ever” (This was my ringtone the summer of 2006 – it only played 30 seconds of the chorus and it was so obnoxious.)

8.  Silverstein – “My Dagger vs. Your Sword”

9.  Anti-Flag – “The Press Corpse”

10.  Mario – “Let Me Love You” (still one of my personal favorite jams)

11.  Against Me! – “Cavalier Eternal”

12.  Sia – “Breathe Me” (I did this for a recital – still can’t get enough of it.)

13.  Rilo Kiley – “Portions for Foxes”

14.  Dashboard Confessional – “Hands Down” (so many feels..)

15.  Panic! at the Disco – “Time to Dance” (Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve always loved how Panic! took so much of his books in their early songs)

16.  Taking Back Sunday – “There’s no ‘I’ in Team”

TDP Recommends: “Miss Teen Massachusetts” by SKATERS

UnknownNew York-based band SKATERS released another single from the upcoming album Manhattan earlier this week. Although now New Yorkers at heart, two of the band members – singer, Michael Ian Cummings, and drummer, Noah Rubin (both formerly of local band The Dead Trees) – grew up in Newton, MA. While the nod to their home state in the title of this beautifully punked-up unrequited love song, “Miss Teen Massachusetts,” warms the hearts of local fans, they don’t need any help impressing listeners. “Miss Teen Massachusetts” highlights the band’s characteristic angular guitar and catchy lyrics reminiscent of The Strokes and The Walkmen. Cummings’ vocals, which are by no means typically punk, but rather effortlessly natural, provide an almost admirable longing – a sort of harsh wistfulness. The song combines the best qualities of 60’s pop and early punk to create a simultaneously dreamy and hard sound, reaching a golden mean of high energy and mild calm.  Manhattan, the band’s first full-length album, which was recorded in Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York, is scheduled for release this February. In the meantime, check out “Miss Teen Massachusetts.” Dig it, Devils.

BHS’s Best of 2013

The results of our survey are in.  Thanks so much to everyone who responded. According to you, this is what BHS students were listening to in 2013.

BEST SONGS of 2013

1. “Holy Grail” – Jay –Z

2. “Wake Me Up” – Avicii

3. “Some Type of Way” – Rich Homie Quan

4. “Shot at the Night” – The Killers

5. “Babel” – Mumford and Sons

6. “Say Something” – A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

7. “Team” – Lorde

8. “Chasing Rainbows” – Marc Goone

9. “The Language” – Drake

10. “M.A.A.D City” – Kendrick Lamar

11. “Doin’ It Right” – Daft Punk

12. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke

13. “Drunk in Love” – Beyoncé and Jay Z

14. “Rap God” – Eminem

15. “Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus

BEST ALBUMS of 2013 

1. Reflektor – Arcade Fire

2. True – Avicii

3. Beyoncé – Self-Titled Visual Album

4. Born Sinner – J. Cole

5. Bangerz – Miley Cyrus

6. Random Access Memories – Daft Punk

7. Stars Dance – Selena Gomez

8. Yours Truly – Ariana Grande

9. Pure Heroine – Lorde

10. Paradise Valley – John Mayer

11. Ligntning Bolt – Pearl Jam

12. Well Done 4 – Tyga

13. Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend

Best Alternative Music of 2013

December 31, 2013

These songs are some of my personal favorites from 2013. In no particular order:

images1) “It Wants What It Wants” by Andrew Belle
It’s always great to find an artist that you’ve never heard of before in a genre of music that is relatively foreign to you. Andrew Belle was that artist for me in 2013. Listening to this track from his August release Black Bear never fails to calm me down and put me in a good mood. The atmosphere of the song is ethereal.

2) “Keepsake” by Balance and Composure
There’s always a sort of tension behind waiting to hear a band’s sophomore record after a dauntingly successful debut, and on their follow-up record, Balance and Composure were able to impress with a plethora of tracks with guitar-heavy, lyrically deep, and dark moods, best exemplified by this track “Keepsake.”

Unknown3) “Pompeii” by Bastille
Rarely do I hear a song on the radio that I thoroughly enjoy, but Bastille has created an exception. This track is both commercially accessible and universally enjoyable. The chorus is catchy yet not too reminiscent of any other top 40 single, and the lyrics for this song aren’t unnecessarily explicit garbage. “Pompeii” is just a feel-good jam.

4) “The Summer” by Citizen
This record has shot Citizen into the alternative music scene with full force, and this single from their 2013 release Youth is the perfect example as to why the band has gained so much popularity. The song’s pensive lyrics, swaying vibes, and dark atmosphere make for a captivating listen.

TCAS PROMO5) “Graves” by The Color and Sound
This song is an absolute party, and not to mention one of the unique songs I’ve heard in a long time. This track combines elements of folk, indie, alternative, all wrapped up with a wonderfully catchy poppy chorus. And there’s a banjo. What’s not to love?

6) “To the Sun” by Grandview
Even from a biased perspective, this song is just impressive. “To the Sun” captures the overall lyrical depth and stylistic complexity of Grandview’s new record and highlights just how much they have grown as a band.

images7) “Ways to Go” by Grouplove
I recommended this as a ‘Dig It, Devils!’ post a few weeks back, and this song is still as a bumpin’ and fun as it was then. This song is perfect for one of those mediocre days when you just need to be cheered up.

8) “In On It” by Daylight
From the perspective of an avid listener of 90s music like myself, this song and this record hits close to home. This song is brooding as it is wonderfully grungy.

9) “Hands” by Moving Mountains
I am a fan of songs with dreamscape-esque repetitive sections that build, build, and build some more throughout, and this song delivers on just that. I am also a fan of post-rock influence alternative music, and this song by Moving Mountains satisfies on all fronts creating an easy and enjoyable listen.

Unknown10) “There, There” by The Wonder Years
Watching a band that you were once not really a fan of prove you wrong with a new song or album is always an interesting situation, especially in the case of the Wonder Years. While I was not a huge fan of much of their past material, this track from their new album undeniably shines through, regardless of my preconceived notions with its haunting lyrics and impressive instrumentation.

11) “Shame” by The Dear Hunter
The Dear Hunter, a captivatingly genre-bending artist, drew me into his new album with this outstandingly unique track with its amazing compositional complexity and musicality.

12) “Skyline” by Gates
With a song that has a title to perfectly describe the atmosphere of the track, Gates have created a masterpiece of compositional skill that evokes an awe-inspiring melodic atmosphere characterized by carefully-crafted guitar work and amazing cohesion that will leave listeners with a sense of existential perplextion.

13) “Let’s Talk About Your Hair” by Have Mercy
Rising local band Have Mercy truly impressed me with this stand out track from their debut album The Earth Pushed Back not only with the heart-wrenching lyrics and vocals but also with its well done loud-to-soft sections and absolutely huge grooves.