Monday has arrived – hopefully some of you don’t have to work today – I’m actually taking the day off myself, a long overdue mental break if nothing else. Sorry to those that had the “220;” in front of things – I’m having trouble with the latest upgrade of my Chrome browser with the font on multiple sites pixelated, so I thought to do my post in Firefox instead, where I could actually see the text I was typing – and somehow that browser decided to change all quotation marks to the HTML code instead. 🤦 Still having trouble with Chrome and typing blindly, but hopefully you won’t have the “220” code on your browser this time. 😉
Since it is Monday, you know that Monday means music! For the month of May, our Spotlight Dancer is our friend and regular stellar MMMM participant, John of The Sound of One Hand Typing! The theme selected for this week is “Musical acrostic time! spell out “Memorial Day” in song titles (i.e. the first letter of the song title)” Let’s get this memorial party started!
Representing the letter M, let’s start with with a favorite artist who introduced this country-flavored power ballad in October 2016, but it really got notice when she performed it at the 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show. Every time it comes on, I crank it up and belt it out!
The artist was quoted as saying:
“I wrote this song with a Nashville native, Hillary Lindsey. We sat on a couch together, and we were going back and forth, guitar and piano, and we were going, ‘Why these men, you know?’ All these men – my dad, my boyfriend, all the men in my life – they gave me a million reasons [to leave], but I just need one good one to stick around but you’re giving me a million to walk away…”
The lyrics were rumored to be about the artist’s breakup with her former fiancé, but the singer said they were written about all the men in her life, including her ex-fiancé, her father, and every other guy she’s had a relationship with.
“It’s never just about the guy. It’s always about that guy, the guy before him.”
The song was also written for women all over the world. She was quoted as saying:
“How cool is it that it was #1 in Saudi Arabia?… I just really want women to be heard. I’ve dated a lot of cowboys and I just really want women to be heard… Not in a way that ‘men are bad,’ but I think it’s time for us to heal from those wounds that divide us. In this country we are so divided. I just hope this album provides some healing.”
Here’s the inimitable Lady Gaga with “Million Reasons”:
Next up, for the letter E, is my favorite country-turned-pop artist hooks up with a rapper, along with her pal (and another of my favorite artists) on this easy listening hip-hop track. The pop princess croons about how the world sees her and how her boyfriend should look past her reputation as a boy crazy female who conducts her relationships in public.
Big reputation, big reputation / Ooh, you and me, we got big reputations / Ah, and you heard about me / Ooh, I got some big enemies (yeah) / Big reputation, big reputation
Her two artist friends each contribute verses about their trials of being constantly in the spotlight. The album title and the theme of her media perception comes into play as she says the word “reputation” 13 times. She frequently sneaks in references to the number 13 in her songs, for instance on Red’s thirteenth track “The Lucky One” the word “lucky” is similarly repeated thirteen times. Swift’s affection for the number is believed to originate with her birthday being December 13th.
Some fun facts about the video:
- During the Tokyo portion of the clip, Taylor can be seen sipping on a juice box. The Japanese words on the drink carton translate into English as “End Game.”
- When Taylor is partying in Tokyo, the Japanese writing on three of the four billboards that can be seen feature “End Game” lyrics written in Japanese. The fourth one translates to “Meredith Olivia,” her cats’ names.
- When Taylor sings the line “Here’s the truth from my red lips” in the visual, she’s not wearing her usual bright red lipstick. The director explained: “When Taylor sings ‘truth from my Red lips’ her lips are nude because I think it means her lips that sang the Red album.”
Here’s the inimitable Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran, and Future with “End Game”:
Next up, for the next letter M, the lead singer is a frustrated man here, trapped in a system, caught up in the titular machine. He longs to break free, to live outside the box others had put him in, so that he can “paint this town with my very own vision.”
The song started with that simple drum thing at the beginning, then the lead vocalist started vocalizing in the studio and the guitarist quickly latched onto and laid down some guitar. The lead matched what the guitarist was coming up with vocally and this song took off from there.
Here’s Imagine Dragons with “Machine”:
Next up, for the letter O is a new song from this artist that details his crippling anxiety before he proposed to his now wife. It’s one of four releases on the deluxe version of his new album, which follows the moment he asked his 30-year-old childhood sweetheart to marry him in 2017.
The artist has previously revealed he popped the question under a pergola in the garden of his sprawling Sussex estate after the couple enjoyed a bottle of wine. He says in emotional lyrics on this song he felt “so nervous” before getting down on one knee. He was quoted as saying:
“It is the most human I have ever felt because in my career. Sometimes you find it is like, ‘Can I do this?’ and people are like, ‘Yeah’. You kind of get to a point where it becomes normal and then you are in a situation where you are literally on your knees being like, ‘Will you marry me?’ “It is such a huge life decision someone has to make in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, she did say yes.”
“On the day it was p***ing down with rain and I’d built a f****** pergola at the end of the garden to do it. “Sunset, pergola, some wine… and it was p****** down with rain. I kept saying we should go for a walk and she was like, ‘No!’ I was like, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to go for a walk?’
“Time was ticking. There was a date engraved on the ring and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do it today!’ It gets to 9pm and I was like, ‘For f***’s sake!’”
“I was getting down on one knee and I said, ‘Will you marry me?’ And she was like, ‘Are you f****** joking?’ There was this long silence and I just went, ‘Please?’
The pair tied the knot in 2019 and welcomed their first child Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran in August 2020, with their second baby girl arrived recently, on May 19, 2022.
Give a listen to Ed Sheeran with “One Life”:
Next up, appropriately representing R, is a carefree song about simpler times. The artist was quoted as saying:
“It’s a nice little Country song about the way we grew up. I didn’t have much growing up but the car radio was everything. You’re driving around listening to the songs, especially when you’re getting to high school. ‘[This song]’ is about that time in life where music is all that matters.”
“The song, I want somebody to go, ‘I know exactly what he’s talking about.’ When I was in high school, that’s what we did. We got in the car, we listened to the radio, and you went out and played with your friends. Every time you heard a song you loved, you turned it up as loud as you can.”
Here’s Darius Rucker with “Radio”:
Next up representing I, this next song is about a man whose girl gives him an ultimatum: fishing or her. I love that the artist has his future wife, Kimberly Williams star in his video – theirs is a unique love story, Kimberly first caught his eye when he saw the movie “Father of the Bride” in 1991 – when he was on a date.
Four years later, he returned to the theater alone for the sequel and was impressed with Kimberly’s performance as Steve Martin’s daughter. He remembered thinking, “She seems like a great girl – smart and funny and all those things that are so hard to find.” They began dating in 2001 and married in 2003. Williams also makes an appearance in Paisley’s “Little Moments” music video.
Here’s one for your funny bone – Brad Paisley with “I’m Gonna Miss Her”:
Next up, representing A, is a poignant and powerful ballad in which this artist duets with John Legend. The pair know each other well as John played the title role opposite the artist’s Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar.
So say the Lord’s prayer twice, hold your babies tight / Surely someone will reach out a hand / And show you a safe place to land
The song is said to be about immigrant family separation at USA’s southern border.
Get ready for some goosebumps, here’s Sara Bareilles featuring John Legend with “A Safe Place to Land”:
Next up, representing L is another hilarious song from this favorite artist who’s wife provided some inspiration for the opening lyrics as the singer recalls the first time he heard her swear and when she put a dent in his truck. She also appeared in this music video, which is filled with couples sharing their funny little moments.
At the end of the video, it should be noted that the very last clip of he and his real-life-wife was an accident, but they decided to leave it in because it was funny. You’ll see. This song peaked at #2 on the country chart.
Here’s Brad Paisley with “Little Moments”:
Next up, representing D is an empowering ode to this artist’s personal resilience. Released on May 15, 2020, the California native wrote the song prior to the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak as she reflected on staying “true to the course you’ve set for yourself, regardless of what others may think.” As Coronavirus spread worldwide, the song took on a new meaning for the artist:
“…in light of what the whole world is experiencing. Each of us is one in more than seven billion, with our own story of strength and resilience to tell.”
“We’ve had a lot of time to reflect and think about possibly what we took for granted in the past and how we’ll change for the future. This song is kind of about doing that, about going and getting your dreams, and not letting anyone or anything stand in your way.”
The song title comes from the artist’s declaration to her doubters that she will walk her own path under her own terms until she’s pushing up daisies.
They tell me that I’m crazy, but I’ll never let ’em change me / ‘Til they cover me in daisies, daisies, daisies
The song was released as the lead single from her newest album that was conceived during a difficult couple of years when the singer suffered depression after her previous record failed to gel with the public and critics. Aptly, one day before the album’s release, the superstar started a new season in her life when she gave birth to her first child, Daisy Dove.
Here’s Katy Perry with “Daisies”:
Next up, representing A is a song that caught my ear on Sirius XM while driving around – I turn it up every time. The term “A-O-K,” meaning everything is in excellent order, is a US space-age expression. Here, this Los Angeles singer-songwriter uses the term to say no matter how life hits him, he will take it in stride.
The tune is a pop song where the artist offers reassurance to a girl who has been left on the shelf. He playfully refers to a children’s book along the way.
I’ve had terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days
A reference to Judith Viorst’s 1972 children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which Disney adapted into a 2014 American family comedy film.
Fun Fact: NASA public relations officer Lt. Col. John “Shorty” Powers popularized the term “A-OK” during astronaut Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 flight on May 5, 1961, the United States’ first manned space flight.
Without further ado, here’s Tai Verdes and 24kGoldn with “A-O-K”:
And finally, representing Y, is an artist who sings about his refusal to dwell on bad decisions in the past. Instead he is looking to the future. The guitarist of the group was quoted as saying:
“We wrote that in a green room while touring off Smoke & Mirrors. Alex Da Kid produced that one. We were emailing files back and forth. Dan had the whole song finished on practically the first take – melody and lyrics. We all added our parts and by the end of the day the track was basically done.”
Without further ado, here’s Imagine Dragons with “Yesterday”:
That’s a wrap for this week – see you on the dance floor!
I have the supreme honor and privilege of being a co-host with the inimitable Xmas Dolly and our musical cohort, the awesome Cathy from Curious as a CAThy, Callie of JAmerican Spice, and Alana of Ramblin’ with AM!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!
John of The Sound of One Hand Typing