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Five songs off my iPod

March 13, 2014 - Zach Baker
Five songs off my iPod, at random. On a musical kick lately.

1. The Underdog, by Spoon Why it's here: Heard it when traveling in a car with my much more hip brother and sister-in-law. Ridiculously catchy and bouncy, it's brass parts elevate the song to a a classic.

Favorite line: "The thing that I tell you now, it may not go over well."

Final thoughts: Try to hear this and not dance.

2. Do For The Others, by Stephen Stills

Why it's here: It's long been my contention that Stills was the driving creative force and catalyst for every band he was in. Totally underrated, but a brilliant songwriter who fused musical formulas to the point where the styles he was blending became one. "Do For The Others" is a gem on an album overshadowed by Stills' biggest solo hit -- "Love the One You're With."

Favorite: "She is gone. There is no tomorrow. It is done."

Final Thoughts: Stills was a source of some of the eras most creative and interesting work, and Stephen Stills 1 is him at what very well may have been his creative peak. This record is a must-have.

3. The Heart of the Matter, Don Henley

Why it's here: It's pop, but some of the lyrics in this song really get to me. It's a song of sadness and regret, but rises above most of Henley's solo work, in my opinion. Which isn't to say I dislike his solo stuff. But this song, with its conversational lyrics -- an oddity for the period and frankly the genre -- is a standout.

Favorite line: "I'm learning to live without you now... but I miss you baby. The more I know, the less I understand. All the things I thought I'd figured out, I have to learn again."

Final thoughts: Look, Henley is not exactly my favorite artist. I often kid my dad because his favorite song -- Desperado -- was written by Henley. But this song is one of his most heartfelt, and important.

4. So Serious, ELO.

Why it's here: I just talked about this on my friend Kevin Wernert's Club MoneyDubs Podcast about the Traveling Wilburys. By this time, ELO was effectively a Jeff Lynne production vehicle, as he was honing the sounds that would become prevalent in the hit solo work of George Harrison, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison later in the 80s. Lynne produced most of that. If you liked that (and I love it), you'll like this. "So Serious" is catchy and slick, rocking at a good pace and over before it wears out its welcome, a Wilburys song before the Wilburys existed.

Favorite Line: "I guess we've really been out of touch. But can it really be so serious."

Final thoughts: The final track on ELO's Greatest Hits release, it sounds nothing like early ELO, but by this point Lynne was moving on, or at least it seemed that way.

5. I Won't Back Down-- Tom Petty.

Why it's here: One of the best tracks from one of my favorite artists. Period.

Favorite line: In a world that keeps on pushing me around but I'll stand my ground. And I won't back down."

Final Thoughts: More slick Jeff Lynne production, though this song has proved just as effective when Petty scales it back to an acoustic performance. Everyone can relate to this song.


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