100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #69: “Dizzy” by The Million Reasons

The song at #69 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is the magnificent “Dizzy” by Chicago alternative indie rock band The Million Reasons. The song was released in July 2018, and I loved it at first listen. (I love this band and all its members too, as they’re as gracious and kind as they are talented.) The Million Reasons released their debut EP The Runaround in 2017, but “Dizzy” was my first introduction to them. The song made me an instant fan, and I’ve followed them closely ever since. At the time “Dizzy” was recorded, the band consisted of Scott Nadeau (vocals and guitar), Ken Ugel (guitar), Mike Nichols (guitar) and Colin Dill (drums). Bassist Jason Cillo joined the band later in 2018, and sadly, Nadeau left the band in 2019, but was replaced by an equally great vocalist Taylor Brennan.

The song is about a relationship in which both parties are blinded by an obsessive and possibly irrational desire for each other. Musically, the song is a slow burn. It starts off with an enthralling guitar riff that immediately pulls us in with the promise that something really beautiful is about to unfold, and as the music swells into a soaring anthem, we’re not disappointed. The instrumentals are incredible, and Scott Nadeau’s powerful, expressive vocals are perfection. By the time the final chorus arrives with Mike Nichols’ jaw-dropping screaming guitar solo and Nadeau’s raw, impassioned wails, I’m left covered in goosebumps and gasping for breath. This is truly one of the most beautiful rock songs I’ve ever heard.

The stunning video showing the band performing the song was directed and edited by Stephanie Battista.

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #70: “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

The song at #70 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera. While I would be the first to concede that it probably doesn’t qualify as a truly great song, it’s still a deliciously catchy electropop dance tune that’s just too damn fun to resist. When it came out in the summer of 2011, I couldn’t get enough of it, and it’s my biggest guilty pleasure song on this entire list. The song was a massive worldwide hit, reaching #1 in the U.S. and 25 other countries from Brazil to Finland to South Korea, and selling over 15 million digital units.

“Moves Like Jagger” was the the fourth single to be released from Maroon 5’s third album Hands All Over. Both Christina Aguilera and Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine were judges and coaches on the hit music competition show The Voice at the time, and their great chemistry shines through in the song. The video was filmed at the historic Los Angeles Theater, and features a bevy of costumed dancers doing their best Mick Jagger imitations along with Aguilera singing and Levine shown performing shirtless, of course, interspersed with vintage footage of Jagger dancing at several Rolling Stones concerts. In an interview on the ABC program Nightline in November 2011, Jagger stated he was flattered by being named in the song, and later joked on the Late Show with David Letterman about not seeing any royalties from it.

Fun fact: “Moves Like Jagger” is one of two songs on this list featuring prominent whistling, the other being the upcoming Foster the People song “Pumped Up Kicks”.

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #71: “Holding On” by The War on Drugs

The song at #71 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Holding On” by Philadelphia-based alternative rock band The War on Drugs. They’re quite honestly one of the best bands making music today, and I love their lush melodic sound that’s a beautiful mash-up of alternative, heartland rock, neo psychedelia and Americana. The band was formed by Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile in 2005, but Vile left after the completion of their first album to pursue his solo career. The band has undergone quite a few changes in lineup over the years, and now consists of the aforementioned Granduciel on guitar and lead vocals, David Harley on bass, Jon Natchez on sax & keyboards, Anthony LaMarca on guitar & keyboards, Robbie Bennett and piano, keyboards and guitar, and Charlie Hall on drums & organ.

I became a fan of The War on Drugs in 2014 after hearing their spectacular song “Red Eyes.” So it was natural that I’d love their beautiful song “Holding On” from their magnificent, critically-acclaimed and Grammy-winning 2017 album A Deeper Understanding. Having six band members, including three guitarists, three keyboardists, one of whom also plays sax, a bassist and a drummer, gives their music a full, almost orchestral sound. The piano, guitars, xylophone and synths on “Holding On” are breathtaking, and I love the powerful driving rhythms. Granduciel’s sublime vocals bear a striking resemblance to Bob Dylan on this and some of their other songs.

The song lyrics speak to the passage of time and how it allows a different perspective about a life-changing relationship that ultimately failed. The singer ponders as to whether he left the relationship too soon, or was it possible he held onto it longer than he should have – something many of us have probably wrestled with in less than happy relationships.

Ain’t no way I’m gonna last
Hiding in the seams, I can’t move the past
Feel like I’m about to crash
Riding the same line, I keep keeping on

And he never gonna change
He never gonna learn
I keep moving on the path, yeah
Holding on to mine

When you talk about the past
What are we talking of?
Did I let go too fast?
Was I holding on too long?

Here’s the official video for the song, featuring Granduciel and Frankie Faison:

And here’s a live performance without a visual storyline, which I almost prefer:

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #72: “The Joke” by Brandi Carlisle

The song at #72 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is the stunning “The Joke” by singer-songwriter Brandi Carlisle. Written as a comment on the sociopolitical climate following the 2016 US presidential election, the song is a deeply poignant ode to the delicate boys and striving girls who continue to struggle in our society. In an interview with NPR, Carlisle explained her inspiration for writing the song: “There are so many people feeling misrepresented. So many people feeling unloved. Boys feeling marginalized and forced into these kind of awkward shapes of masculinity that they do or don’t belong in…so many men and boys are trans or disabled or shy. Little girls who got so excited for the last election, and are dealing with the fallout. The song is just for people that feel under-represented, unloved or illegal.”

Carlisle has a commanding voice and her stirring, passionate vocals on on this song send chills up and down my spine. Hearing her sing the defiant lyrics in her beautiful voice, backed by haunting piano keys and soaring instrumentals highlighted by gorgeous strings courtesy of the late Paul Buckmaster (a music genius who arranged Carlisle’s album By The Way, I Forgive You, as well as such legendary recordings as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and many of Elton John’s early hits), is a religious experience indeed.

“The Joke” was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award in four categories, including Record and Song of the Year, and won for Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance.

You’re feeling nervous, aren’t you, boy?
With your quiet voice and impeccable style
Don’t ever let them steal your joy
And your gentle ways, to keep ’em from running wild
They can kick dirt in your face
Dress you down, and tell you that your place
Is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine
I see you tugging on your shirt
Trying to hide inside of it and hide how much it hurts

Let ’em laugh while they can
Let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind
I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends
And the joke’s on them

You get discouraged, don’t you, girl?
It’s your brother’s world for a while longer
We gotta dance with the devil on a river
To beat the stream
Call it living the dream, call it kicking the ladder
They come to kick dirt in your face
To call you weak and then displace you
After carrying your baby on your back across the desert
I saw your eyes behind your hair
And you’re looking tired, but you don’t look scared

Let ’em laugh while they can
Let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind
I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends
And the joke’s on them

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #73: “Heartbreak Warfare” by John Mayer

The song at #73 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Heartbreak Warfare” by American singer-songwriter and guitarist John Mayer. My first introduction to Mayer was his wonderful debut single “No Such Thing” in 2002. The song was a poignant look back at the high school experience that really resonated with me, as it was played a lot on the radio during the time of one of my milestone High School reunions. I loved that song so much it ended up at #17 on my Top 100 Best Songs of the 2000s list.

“Heartbreak Warfare” is another of Mayer’s songs that I love. The darkly beautiful song is from his fourth studio album Battle Studies, and though it was released in October 2009, it became a hit in early 2010, so in my book, it should be celebrated as one of the best songs of 2010, and also of the 2010s. The song is has a mellow, almost hypnotic tempo, albeit with a haunting undercurrent. Mayer is a fine guitarist, and his work on this track is particularly good, and I love the sense of bitter frustration that comes across in his silky vocals. The lyrics speak of a toxic relationship, and are a plea for his lover to ease up on her poisonous behavior in the hope they can salvage what’s left: “How come the only way to know how high you get me is to see how far I fall? God only knows how much I’d love you if you let me but I can’t break through it all.”

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #74: “Just Give Me a Reason” by P!nk feat. Nate Ruess

The song at #74 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is the beautiful “Just Give Me a Reason” by P!nk, featuring guest vocals by Nate Ruess. The deeply moving piano ballad is one of my favorite songs from P!nk, and was the third single from her outstanding 2012 album The Truth About Love. The song was a massive worldwide hit, topping the charts in 21 countries including the U.S., and received unanimous critical acclaim.

“Just Give Me a Reason” was co-written by P!nk, Jeff Bhasker (who produced the album), and fun. lead singer Nate Ruess, who also provides his stirring vocals. The song is a heartfelt plea between two people desperate to hold on to a relationship that appears to be falling apart. It was originally intended to be sung just by P!nk, but she soon realized that she needed someone else to sing the song with her, as she felt it was more of a conversation between two people rather than from the perspective of just one person in the relationship. She asked Ruess to sing the song with her as a duet, and the result was magical. The raw emotional power achieved by their dual vocal harmonies gives me goosebumps every single time I hear it.

The lyrics are so honest and relatable that I feel compelled to include them in their entirety:

Right from the start
You were a thief
You stole my heart
And I your willing victim
I let you see the parts of me
That weren’t all that pretty
And with every touch you fixed them

Now you’ve been talking in your sleep, oh, oh
Things you never say to me, oh, oh
Tell me that you’ve had enough
Of our love, our love

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
It’s in the stars
It’s been written in the scars on our hearts
We’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

I’m sorry I don’t understand
Where all of this is coming from
I thought that we were fine
(Oh, we had everything)
Your head is running wild again
My dear we still have everythin’
And it’s all in your mind
(Yeah, but this is happenin’)

You’ve been havin’ real bad dreams, oh, oh
You used to lie so close to me, oh, oh
There’s nothing more than empty sheets
Between our love, our love
Oh, our love, our love

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
I never stopped
You’re still written in the scars on my heart
You’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

Oh, tear ducts and rust
I’ll fix it for us
We’re collecting dust
But our love’s enough
You’re holding it in
You’re pouring a drink
No nothing is as bad as it seems
We’ll come clean

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit’s enough
Just a second we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
It’s in the stars
It’s been written in the scars on our hearts
That we’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

EML’s Favorite Albums – PAUL SIMON: “Graceland”

One of my most beloved albums in my collection is the magnificent Graceland by the legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon. The iconic masterpiece is generally considered the finest work of his long and illustrious solo career, as well as one of the greatest albums ever recorded. When it came out in August 1986, I was living in the Los Angeles region and, like many who live in that sprawling megalopolis, had a long daily commute. I would record albums or make mixtapes onto cassettes so I could listen to my favorite music on my long drives to and from work. Graceland was one of the best of that time period, and I had it on repeat for many months.

Before digging into the album and songs, a bit of background would be helpful to provide some context for its creation. Following his successful run of hit albums and singles as a solo artist throughout the 1970s, by the early 1980s Simon had hit both a personal and professional slump. His relationship with Art Garfunkel had deteriorated yet again, his 1983 album Hearts and Bones was a commercial disappointment, and his marriage to actress Carrie Fisher had fallen apart. After suffering through a period of depression, in 1984 he became fascinated with a bootleg cassette tape of an album Gumboots: Accordion Jive Hits, Volume II, that had been loaned to him by singer-songwriter Heidi Berg, with whom he’d been working as her producer. In his liner notes for Graceland, Simon described it as “very up, very happy music” that sounded familiar, yet foreign.

The album was by South African band The Boyoyo Boys, and was in a style of music known as Mbaqanga, also informally called “township jive”, the street music of Soweto. Simon was so smitten by the music that he considered buying the rights to his favorite track on the tape, “Gumboots”, and using it to write his own song, as he had years earlier with “El Condor Pasa”. Hilton Rosenthal, a South African record producer who Simon’s label Warner had put him in touch with, suggested instead that he record an album of South African music. Rosenthal sent him dozens of records by South African artists, which Simon immersed himself in. He began improvising his own melodies and decided he wanted to go to South Africa to record with some of the musicians whose albums he enjoyed. The problem was, at that time the United Nations had imposed a cultural boycott of South Africa due to its policy of apartheid. This forced “all states to prevent all cultural, academic, sporting and other exchanges” with South Africa and ordered “writers, artists, musicians and other personalities” to boycott it.

Despite this restriction, Simon was determined to go to South Africa, and told The New York Times: “I knew I would be criticized if I went, even though I wasn’t going to record for the government … or to perform for segregated audiences. I was following my musical instincts in wanting to work with people whose music I greatly admired.” Prior to leaving for Johannesburg, Simon participated in the recording of “We Are the World”, the charity single benefiting African famine relief. He spoke to producers Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte about his wanting to record in South Africa, and though they had some reservations, both encouraged him to do it. The South African black musicians’ union also voted to let Simon come, feeling it would benefit their culture’s music by bringing it international attention.

At the time, musicians in Johannesburg were typically paid $15 an hour, and Simon arranged to pay them $200 an hour, triple the going rate for top players in New York City. He also offered writer’s royalties to those he felt had contributed to compositions. Nevertheless, he still received harsh criticism from organizations such as Artists United Against Apartheid, and anti-apartheid musicians like Billy Bragg, Paul Weller, and Jerry Dammers. At an album launch party, Simon bluntly clarified his position on the controversy: “I’m with the artists. I didn’t ask the permission of the ANC. I didn’t ask permission of Buthelezi, or Desmond Tutu, or the Pretoria government. And to tell you the truth, I have a feeling that when there are radical transfers of power on either the left or the right, the artists always get screwed.”

Simon and his engineer Roy Halee traveled to Johannesburg in February 1985, and spent two weeks recording with Lulu Masilela, Tao Ea Matsekha, General M. D. Shirinda and the Gaza Sisters, and the Boyoyo Boys Band. The album’s opening track “The Boy in the Bubble”, recorded with Lesotho band Tao Ea Matsekha, was one of the songs recorded at those sessions. The song has a powerful, bass-driven rhythmic groove, highlighted by an accordion that provides a lively, almost carnival-like vibe, setting a nice tone for the album.

Overall, Graceland is characterized by an eclectic mixture of music styles and genres, including pop, rock, a cappella, zydeco, isicathamiya, and mbaqanga, and reflecting the various locations where the album was recorded. Consequently, some songs are clearly African, while others sound like songs that you’d hear in New Orleans or Nashville. The album has a wonderful flow, alternating between playful and more serious songs. Simon thought of it as like a play: In that New York Times interview, he explained “As in a play, the mood should keep changing. A serious song may lead into an abstract song, which may be followed by a humorous song.”

Every track on the album is great, but one of the standouts is the title track “Graceland”, a gorgeous, contemplative tune. The song features flawless performances by fretless bass player Bakithi Kumalo and guitarist Ray Phiri, as well as Simon’s childhood heroes The Everly Brothers on backing vocals. In his album liner notes, Simon remarked that the song had the feel of American country music, adding: “After the recording session, Ray told me that he’d used a relative minor chord—something not often heard in South African music—because he said he thought it was more like the chord changes he’d heard in my music.” The song is thought to be about seeking solace from the end of his relationship with Carrie Fisher by taking a road trip. “Graceland” was awarded a Grammy in 1988 for Record of the Year, a year after the album itself won for 1987 Album of the Year.

The album cuts featuring South African styles and sounds are pure delight. “I Know What I Know” is based on music from an album by General M.D. Shirinda and the Gaza Sisters, who collaborated on the song and sang backing vocals. I love the unusual guitar notes and distinctive lilting chant-like vocals of the Gaza Sisters. “Gumboots”, the song that got this whole thing started, is named for the term used to describe the type of music favored by South African miners and railroad workers, and refers to the heavy boots they wear on the job. With support by the Boyoyo Boys themselves, the song has an upbeat Cajun zydeco feel, highlighted by charming synclavier and dual alto and soprano sax. Another favorite is “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”, a wonderful collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, one of South Africa’s best known and loved groups.

Another collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the sublime a capella track “Homeless”, with lead vocals by Joseph Shabalala, who co-wrote the song with Simon. With a melody based on a traditional Zulu wedding song, the lyrics are in both English and Zulu, and address poverty within the black majority in South Africa, telling of people living in caves on the side of a mountain, cold and hungry. “Crazy Love, Vol II” is a lovely, joyful song, with instrumentals played by guitarist Ray Phiri’s band Stimela.

Perhaps the biggest and best-known song from the album is “You Can Call Me Al”, a bouncy and clever tune about a man going through a mid-life crisis: “Why am I soft in the middle? The rest of my life is so hard.” The musical highlights are Simon’s six-string electric bass, the exuberant sax, trumpets and trombones, and the charming pennywhistle solo played by Morris Goldberg.  The names mentioned in the wonderful lyric “I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al” came from an incident at a party that Simon went to with his first wife Peggy Harper. Noted French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, who was at the same party, mistakenly referred to Paul as “Al” and to Peggy as “Betty”.

The humorous video for the song was actually a replacement, as Simon didn’t like the original video that was made. The replacement video was conceived partly by Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels and directed by Gary Weis, with SNL alum Chevy Chase lip-syncing Simon’s vocals and making silly gestures punctuating the lyrics while Simon lip-synced to the backing vocals and brought into a room various instruments to play. The huge discrepancy in their heights made the video all the funnier.

Unfortunately, some of the songs generated a bit of controversy. Simon invited Linda Ronstadt to sing with him on the lovely “Under African Skies”, for which he received criticism, as three years earlier she had accepted $500,000 to perform at the South African luxury resort Sun City. “That Was Your Mother”, recorded in Louisiana, features the American zydeco band the Good Rockin’ Dopsie and the Twisters. Dopsie felt Simon had derived the melody from his song “My Baby, She’s Gone”, and was upset over not being credited, but decided not to take legal action. And on the rousing final track “All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints”, a collaboration with East Los Angeles-based Mexican-American band Los Lobos, the band felt they deserved writing credits. Band sax player Steve Berlin later recalled that Paul Simon “quite literally—and in no way do I exaggerate when I say—he stole the song from us. We go into the studio, and he had quite literally nothing. I mean, he had no ideas, no concepts, and said, ‘Well, let’s just jam’ and then goes, ‘Hey, what’s that?’ We start playing what we have of it, and it is exactly what you hear on the record.”

Be that all as it may, Graceland earned unanimous praise by music writers and critics, and was awarded the Grammy for Best Album of 1987. It’s Simon’s most successful solo album, selling more than 16 million copies worldwide, and in the recent update of their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Rolling Stone ranked it at #46 (up from #71 in 2012).

The last word comes from The Clash’s Joe Strummer, who in a 1988 interview with Richard Cromelin for the Los Angeles Times spoke of his love for the song “Graceland”: “I don’t like the idea that people who aren’t adolescents make records. Adolescents make the best records. Except for Paul Simon. Except for ‘Graceland’. He’s hit a new plateau there, but he’s writing to his own age group. ‘Graceland’ is something new. That song to his son is just as good as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’: ‘Before you were born dude when life was great.’ That’s just as good as ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ and that is a new dimension.”

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #76: “Pink Lemonade” by James Bay

The song at #76 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Pink Lemonade” by British singer-songwriter and guitarist James Bay. He broke onto the music scene in 2014 with his wonderful hit single “Hold Back the River”, which I liked a lot, though I didn’t really follow him or his music very much. But with his earnest, low-key style of folk rock, combined with a casual look consisting of his signature hat and long hair, Bay quickly built a huge following.

On March 7, 2018 he released “Pink Lemonade”, and a few days later, appeared on Saturday Night Live, revealing a major change in both his look and sound. When I watched his performance on SNL, I nearly fell out of my chair! Bay had ditched the hat, cut his hair and replaced his casual clothing style with a hot pink sequined shirt and black leather pants, and he looked hot! I developed a major man crush on him right then and there. As my friend Anthea commented – “who knew all that beautiful bone structure lay hidden beneath the hat and long hair!

Not only that, I loved the song’s exuberant rock’n’roll vibe, with scratchy guitars and a soulful and sexy bass-driven groove that reminded me of some of the great songs of the 60s. The song actually has a rather rough, gravelly production sound, which some felt detracted from its overall quality. My feelings are mixed about it, and perhaps James wanted a more rugged sound. In any case, many seemed to prefer his mellower folk ballads to this edgier, heavier rock sound (not to mention his casual look with long hair, to which he has since returned), so “Pink Lemonade” was not as successful as his other singles. Oh well, their loss, as I love it and couldn’t hear it enough. The song spent five weeks at #1 on my Weekly Top 30.

The lyrics touch on escape and not wanting to commit to a relationship. The official video for the song is cleverly done, showing scenes of James dressed in a sparkling top and performing the song with his back-up band, alternating with scenes of him dressed in a silver spacesuit and sneaking into the garage while his parents are asleep to live out his childhood dream of building his own spaceship. He told People magazine: “The inspiration behind the video comes from the theme of escape that runs through the song. I was reminded of a time when I was about 4 years old and I told my parents I’d had enough of living with them and would be leaving home.”

Here’s his riveting and charismatic SNL performance, where he seems to channel John Mayer with a hint of early Elvis Presley swagger.

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #77: “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars

The song at #77 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Locked Out of Heaven” by the amazing Bruno Mars. Born Peter Gene Hernandez in Honolulu, Hawaii (but given the nickname “Bruno” by his father at the age of two, because of his resemblance to professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino) Bruno Mars is a hyper-talented singer, songwriter, producer, dancer and multi-instrumentalist dynamo with a style and showmanship reminiscent of Michael Jackson, James Brown and Little Richard all rolled into one. He comes from a musical family which exposed him to a diverse mix of music genres. His mother was both a singer and a dancer, his father performed Little Richard rock and roll, and his uncle was an Elvis impersonator, and encouraged three-year-old Mars to perform on stage. By the time he was four, he began performing five days a week with his family’s band The Love Notes, and became known in Hawaii for his Elvis Presley impersonations.

Mars moved to L.A. in 2003 when he was 18, and a year later signed a recording contract with Motown Records, but the deal went nowhere. Success eluded him until 2010, with the release of the successful singles “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B and “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy, both of which featured his vocals. Soon after, Mars struck gold with his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans, which generated the hit singles “Just the Way You Are”, “Grenade”, and “The Lazy Song”. In 2012, he followed up with his hugely-successful second album Unorthodox Jukebox , the lead single of which was the fantastic reggae/pop/funk song “Locked Out of Heaven”. Among the producers who worked with Mars on the album and single were Jeff Bhasker (who also worked with fun. on Some Nights) and Mark Ronson (who produced the smash hit “Uptown Funk” that Mars sang vocals on).

“Locked Out of Heaven” was a massive hit, becoming his fourth single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it held the top spot for six weeks. It also topped the Canadian singles chart for three weeks, and received mostly positive reviews by music critics. Tim Sendra of AllMusic described the song as “a breezy mashup of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’, The Police, and Dire Straits“, while Paul MacInnes of The Guardian called it “a brazen but successful welding of Dire Straits’ ‘Sultans of Swing’ and ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ by the Police.” In fact, Mars stated that The Police were a strong influence for him in writing the song, which addresses the rapturous feelings of a loving and sexual relationship, something all of us can identify with. And I especially love the pounding drumbeats just before each chorus.

100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #78: “Trouble” by Cage the Elephant

Interest in these posts (and my blog in general) seems to be falling faster than a lead balloon, but I’ll soldier on. The song at #78 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Trouble” by American alternative rock band Cage the Elephant. Cage the Elephant are one of my favorite bands, and “Trouble” is one of three of their songs on this list. The song is the second single from their fourth album Tell Me I’m Pretty, (after the uneven “Mess Around”) and was released in April 2016. The album was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, and really shows his strong influence.

“Trouble” has a cool, almost magical vibe, thanks to its twinkling piano keys, xylophone and intricate chiming and gnarly guitars. I love singer Matt Shultz’s wonderful swooning falsetto in the chorus. Shultz explained to ABC Radio in an interview that the song was inspired by a conversation he had with someone close to him. “We were both presenting ourselves as being very honest in the conversation. And I felt there were several places where I was holding back, or kind of curating the idea of what I wanted projected pretty heavily as inside the conversation. So I was curious at what level they were doing the same. “So the song’s kinda just about honesty and adversity and struggle.

The song’s entertaining video was shot in a Western theme at Joshua Tree National Park, which is near my home and one of the most popular places to make music videos.