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What a title for a song, right?

Sia is an Australian singer that used to do acid jazz but now does a poppier, Kate Bush style. The regular version of this off of her upcoming record, "Some People Have REAL Problems".

And that album version's cool.

But the Stonebridge remix of "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" has "Hit dance record of winter, 2007" written all over it. It just gets taken to a much darker place and manages to get you moving as well.

Thankfully, someone put the song up on YouTube. I promise, you're going to start moving in your seat:

Seether is a rock band from South Africa and even though they've been together for a few years, I just heard their single "Fake It" a couple of days ago. It's got a great lyrics like:

"Who’s to know if your soul will fade at all
The one you sold to fool the world
You lost your self-esteem along the way"

Are they sure they don't live in LA now? Those lyrics seem tailor made for this city!

But even more than the song, the "Fake It" video cracks me up, especially the part halfway through where the video director is teaching the model exactly how he wants her to shake her rear into the camera. It just shows how ridiculous rap and r&b videos are these days:

Billy Idol is one of those artists that probably shouldn't still be alive. But, despite ingesting massive amounts of drugs over the years, he is still around and looking as slim as ever. Unbelievably, this poster child for sex, drugs and rock-n-roll's about to be 52 in a couple of weeks.

I loved his whole look when I was a teenager: the classic sneer, the bleached out spiky hair, the leather. If I could have been a female version of this look, I would have in a heartbeat.

The music wasn't half bad either. Who didn't love rocking out to tunes like "White Wedding" and "Dancing With Myself"? I was certainly part of the crowd who loved those tracks. But, my favorite Billy Idol song hands down is "Eyes Without a Face".

My favorite lyrics come from the second verse where a seemingly heartbroken Billy sings:

"I spend so much time
Believing all the lies
To keep the dream alive
Now it makes me sad
It makes me mad at truth
For loving what was you"

For some reason I've been listening to this for the past two days, the haunting synths, the emotion coming through his voice. Yeah, this song stands the test of time. I bet it could be played on radio today and still be a huge hit.

“I want you behind my bedroom doors. Ready or not we’re about to speed up.”

Yeah, I think it’s pretty obvious what the song “Speed Up” by Dutch house DJ Funkerman is about.


Except that the beat is so great I seriously doubt anyone is having sex while they’re listening to this one. Everyone is probably too busy dancing.

This song is one of the most infectious dance records I’ve heard in awhile. I've been listening it to for a few months now and it just doesn't get old.

I haven’t been out to a club too recently, but every time I hear this track, I wish I was out somewhere dancing. Instead, I find myself running to it and the song works well in that capacity too.

It's a weird video. I don't understand it at all, but I definitely enjoy the song.

" Life, will flash before my eyes
So scattered and lost
I want to touch the other side
And no one thinks they are to blame
Why can't we see
When we bleed, we bleed the same"

And that's why my obsessive song of the week is Muse's "Map of the Problematique".

If you don't know about Muse, well... they're very talented British alt rockers. They sing about social change, conspiracy theories and, um, aliens. And folks consistently say they're one of the best live acts out there right now. I get to do a little investigative reporting on the veracity of that statement when I go see them in September.

In the meantime, I'll keep enjoying this live clip of Muse performing "Map of the Problematique":

I'll confess, I'm all over any book that has to do with discovering what happened to the mysterious treasure of The Knights Templar. After all, I've wanted to personally discover that treasure since I was about nine years old.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet so it was with pleasure that I picked up a copy of Steve Berry's 2006 novel, The Templar Legacy.

The book has action,intrigue and a main character named "Cotton". (Who names their child that?!?)

Anyway, I wish the book would have just stuck to treasure hunting because it got waaay too Da Vinci Code on me. I didn't need for the treasure to be some secret about the Bible that proves that Jesus didn't do something we all think he did.

Along the way to finding out this major secret, some rogue, CIA agent type Templar monks try to kill each other. At times, their dialogue is so catty and fraught with sexual tension that found myself wondering if what they really needed to discover is the secret of having a wife.

Seriously, Steve Berry should have left all the theological philosophising to someone else and stuck to solving clues in order to find bars of gold and caskets of diamonds. When he does just that, the book shines. However, by the time Cotton and company find the "treasure", I felt like I'd just sat through a really bad "Lost Books of the Bible" Dateline NBC special. It's not a book I'll pick up again for the pleasure of rereading.

This reader gives The Templar Legacy a C+.

Some people don't like their favorite musical artists to change.

Some people want artists to stay the same. Sameness, as in wear the same clothes, have the same hair, have the same musical sound over and over again. Year after year. Forever and ever till death do them part. After all, it's comfortable.

To me, that's pretty boring. That's why I'm so thrilled that Davey Havok and Jade Puget from AFI have gone ahead and worked the goth-electro-industrial thing through their new side project, Blaqk Audio.

With lyrics like, "How it breaks their hearts, that we made an art of desecrating our sanctuaries," their first single, "Stiff Kittens" channels some mid to late 80's Depeche Mode and New Order. In my world, that's an infinitely good thing.

This isn't an official video, but here's the very danceable song. Enjoy:

I don't remember exactly when I downloaded "Girl and the Sea" by Australian duo The Presets. But, fortunately, I rediscovered this hypnotic indietronica gem on Friday night as I was shuffling through my iPod while driving to Pasadena.

It's a hauntingly beautiful song and I get especially choked up on this chorus:

"No place, some time
We'll clear our eyes.
And when you're down
I'll come around."

I know they look weird in the masks and all, but trust me, it's a good song. No, actually it's a great song. So great that you can click on this link to watch the video on You Tube. But, I'd recommend just plugging in your headphones, turning up the sound, closing your eyes, and letting the waves of the song wash over you.

I'll come clean and admit that I have no idea what this song "The Creeps" by Camille Jones is really about. Is it about drugs? Is it about going insane? Was it originally written for a scary movie?

I have no idea.

All I know is that the electro-house remix of Camille's "The Creeps" by Fedde Le Grand is damn hot! Camille is a Danish singer and a singing star in her own right. She released "The Creeps" two years ago and it's been remixed a couple of times since then with so-so results. But this song in Fedde Le Grand's hands, man oh man, it's magical.

I'll admit I'm biased since I love Fedde thanks to last year's massive tech-house track "Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit". I'd say he's definitely worked his magic once again. He needs to be remixing Depeche Mode.

Here's the link to the video for "The Creeps" on YouTube if you want to hear what I'm loving these days. I'll warn you, the video is a bit over-the-top sexy but Camille is quite entertaining (and I love her outfit!).

Feel free to turn up the sound and put on your dancing shoes.

I'm sure that someone somewhere has done scientific research about how long it takes for people to decide whether or not they like a song. For some songs, you need to wait till you get to the 32nd count or at least till the 16th count. With "Sunday Morning" by K-OS, a song I stumbled on tonight, halfway through it, I was hooked after the first 8-count.

I wrote down the lyrics to the chorus, googled, and was led to some links. I skipped those and headed straight to iTunes to download this gem. Why iTunes has this listed as hip-hop/rap is beyond me since this is about as far from what nowadays passes as rap as you can get. It's not really pop either.

What genre is it? I suppose it fits best into the "breath of fresh air" genre.

I read up a bit about K-OS and here's what I've found out: For one thing, he's a mature man...a few months older than moi. He's from Toronto of Trinidadian descent. He's not feeling being a record-industry puppet. He's been doing music his whole life. Oh, and Wikipedia claims he's a Depeche Mode fan. His music is good so I'll trust that fact.

Want to take a listen? You can check out the video for "Sunday Morning" on Youtube. I did a little more investigating and found out that K-OS is playing the House of Blues here in LA tomorrow night with Gym Class Heroes. Tickets are only $14. I may have to get myself over to the Sunset Strip to check him out, if only to sing along, "Everyday is Saturday night...but I can't wait for Sunday morning."

You know you want to sing the chorus to this one:

"Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win"

Yes, I heard "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House on the radio today and, sap that I am, I got all choked up with emotion, just like I used to in 1986 when this song was first released. Back then, I got emotional because I was a lowly freshman and having a hard time not being depressed about the four long years of high school that were ahead of me. Ah, high school and her maliciousness. Those four long years certainly dragged in their passing.

Thankfully, it's twenty plus years since freshman year. Nowadays when I hear this song, I get choked up over the possibilities, over what could have been, and what still can be if I only have enough courage to make things happen. It's the reason why the only poem I've ever memorized is "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. All of it makes me think back to the different directions my life could have taken. Sometimes I am amazed by the choices I made. Often, I'm utterly saddened by them. So you see, I have to remember it's never over.

Goodness, who knew a 21 year old song by a little Australian band called Crowded House would inspire such musings?

I know, it's Black History Month so you might think I'd probably be reading something related to black history. Well, I'm not. Go ahead, revoke my black card if you want to.

Instead of slave narratives or Toni Morrison, this past Friday night, I picked up a copy of The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir. This tale of post-World War II angst and how people do or don't pick up the pieces when they've been existing in the midst of a living hell has been on my reading list for many years.

It's terribly cheesy but I remember the book catching my eye when I was a teenager for two reasons. First, isn't "Simone de Beauvoir" a great name? I didn't know a thing about her, but I wanted that name. (After all, what teenager doesn't want to change their name at some point?) Second, I'd heard that although it deals with weighty realism and existential questions, parts of it read a bit like a romance novel. I'm a terrible romantic and a morbid realist, even though the combination of those two things just seems impossible.

I've heard that the writing is a bit dry at parts, even though the opening seems fine to me. We'll see. If you've ever read The Mandarins, let me know what you thought of it.

Everybody has an opinion about Mariah Carey. I find folks go to extremes of either loving her or disliking her a whole lot. For the first few years of her career, I veered toward the dislike side of the spectrum. I was not a big fan of her ballads or her attempts at danceable pop.

Then, one night in August of 1998, I was trying to keep cool in my sweltering Harlem studio apartment by lying on the floor in front of a fan. I happened to be listening to the radio, New York's ubiquitous urban hit factory Hot 97, and heard the song that changed my opinion of Mariah forever: "Breakdown".

The song is an R&B/Hip-Hop crossover ballad about the heartache of post-breakup unrequited love, something almost all of us have experienced. Mariah's lyrics shimmer with sadness as she asks, "Do you cling to your pride, and sing "I will survive"? Do you lash out and say, "How dare you leave this way?" Do you hold on in vain as they just slip away?"

The song also features Bone Thugs-n-Harmony who harmonize throughout, "Break, breakdown. Steady breakin' me on down" and pose the profound question, "Whose shoulder can a thug go cry on?"

I remember heading down to the Virgin store in Times Square to purchase the cd single of the song, the first and only Mariah record I've ever purchased. Although it's been many moons since I first heard "Breakdown" I still find myself occasionally pulling the cd single off the shelf to give it a listen. Today was one of those days. You can hear it and see the video here. Even though her latest work has been admired, to me "Breakdown" is Mariah at her best.

My AFI love continues unabated due to their live concert dvd, I Heard A Voice.

The actual concert was filmed at the Long Beach Arena last fall. I wanted to go to the show but I was a little worried I'd get smashed in a mosh pit or something.

Thankfully, I got the dvd as a birthday present so I can now watch the show from the relative safety of my living room. I've been watching parts of it every day for the past week.

To see why, you can watch the live performance of "Silver and Cold" from I Heard A Voice here. If you think you're going to have a hard time getting past AFI's tattoos, the theatrical makeup and the hair dye, just remember, both Little Richard and Prince wear make-up and James Brown straightened the heck out of his hair and wore a cape on stage.

"Silver and Cold" is one of my favorite AFI songs anyway, but this live version of the song really sucks me in every time I hear it, especially when everyone sings the chorus:

Your sins into me, oh, my beautiful one. Your sins into me, whoa.
As a rapturous voice escapes I will tremble a prayer and I'll beg for forgiveness.
Your sins into me, Your sins into me oh, my beautiful one.

I dubbed the audio of the entire concert onto cd so I can listen to this version of "Silver and Cold" anytime I want to. You may not want to watch the entire dvd, but go ahead, give this clip a listen.

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