Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I don't know if your average classic rock programmer would consider all of these artists "classic rock," but it's my blog, and they are all classic rock to me!  I'm going to be talking about some great releases this week on SiriusXM OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick.

First off is Roadkill Rising, a 4 CD box set of Iggy Pop bootlegs, which includes his entire solo career, as well as The Stooges' reunion shows.  The sound is a bit muddy in places (it is all bootlegs, although supposedly Iggy helped to choose what songs were used), but it is really cool.  The earliest performances on the box feature his great '70s band that included David Bowie on keyboards and backing vocals, Tony Sales on bass and Hunt Sales on drums.  Bowie and the Sales brothers went on to form Tin Machine many years later.  Anyway, each disc covers a different decade, I like the '70s and the '00s stuff the best.

Then, there are the reissues of the first two Ozzy Osbourne solo albums, 1980's Blizzard Of Ozz and 1981's Diary of a Madman. Both albums featured what was probably his best post-Sabbath band: the late Randy Rhoads on guitar, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake. There's an interesting story behind these reissues which you can read a bit about here. Diary comes with a bonus live disc - that band featured Ozzy, Randy, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Tommy Aldridge on drums and is pretty rocking.

Paul McCartney continues the reissuing of his catalog with 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II. McCartney was his first release after the breakup of The Beatles (and in fact was released shortly before Let It Be) and definitely comes off like a reaction to it.  It doesn't have an epic sense of self-importance, it's just Paul enjoying himself in the studio. He plays all of the instruments - it's a true "solo" album - and the songs are simple, but lovely.  "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Every Night" are on that album.  I don't like McCartney II: it was supposed to be a short break from Wings, but Wings never ended up getting back together.  I love "Coming Up," but I don't like the rest of the album.

I just wrote about Neil Young's A Treasure. It's a great document of his foray into hardcore country music from the '80s.  This isn't Eagles-like, soft-rocky country-rock, but actual country music. It's also a great tribute to Neil's longtime musical partner, steel guitarist Ben Keith, who passed away a few months ago. I really dig this album, and this side of Neil.

Finally, Levon Helm's new album, Ramble At The Ryman, where he takes his traveling version of his "Midnight Ramble" shows to Nashville's legendary venue.  As is often the case with his Rambles, he was joined by a few great artists: Sheryl Crow, John Hiatt and Buddy Miller. I think the album is a lot of fun, and reminds me that I have to go see Levon when he plays Central Park Summerstage later this summer. But I really want to go up to one of his Rambles at his place in Woodstock.

I hope you guys enjoy some of these.  By the way, if you aren't a SiriusXM subscriber, go here for a free online trial subscription.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about how Ozzy Osbourne's first two solo albums - 1980's Blizzard Of Ozz and 1981's Diary Of A Madman (both classics) - were going to be reissued.

Both were recorded with the late, great Randy Rhoads on guitar, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake. Daisley and Kerslake were beefin' with Ozzy over royalties in the '90s, and Sharon Osbourne smacked them down by reissuing the albums with new bass and drum tracks recorded by the guys who were in Ozzy's band at that time (Robert Trujilio and Mike Bordin). Sharon doesn't play around! She is definitely not someone you want to mess with. On the other hand, I hated that she did that, she was messing with two seriously classic albums, that should be more important than personal beefs.

Whatever.  The two albums are now back out in their original form, with remastered sound (which was definitely needed, I still have the original CD releases, which don't sound great). The albums are total classics.

Blizzard  features a few bonus tracks, including a song I hadn't heard before, "You Looking At Me, Me Looking At You."  It's fine. But the real deal is you're hearing these incredible songs by the guys who played them with incredible sound. Period.  Diary is a bit more bonus-riffic.   It's two discs: the first disc is the original album, the second disc is a concert from the tour (the band featured Ozzy, Randy, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Tommy Adlridge on drums) which features songs from both albums and a few Black Sabbath classics. Both of these albums, in this form, are essential to hard rock, heavy metal and classic rock fans.  They also make a great argument for Randy Rhoads being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a sideman.


Neil Young just released A Treasure, release #9 from the Neil Young Archives Performance Series (but only the sixth to be released, go figure). This one features a bunch of performances from his mid-'80s era when he went country in a big way.  He used a bunch of great Nashville musicians, he called them The International Harvesters. His label at the time - Geffen Records - weren't into the idea of Neil going country. He wasn't doing country rock like The Eagles or Poco, but real country music.

In a way, you can't blame them. They didn't know he was going to do country music when they signed him, they didn't have a country music department, and oh yeah, the country audience probably wasn't too eager to embrace the guy who wrote "Southern Man" and "Ohio." On the other hand, he's Neil Young, he does what he wants.

The album serves as a great epitaph for Neil's late long-time collaborator, steel guitarist Ben Keith.  Ben  started working with Neil on the Harvest album, and played on most of his non-Crazy Horse albums (and some albums with the Horse) since then. He played lots of instruments, but he was most at home playing country steel guitar, and he really shines on this record.

Much of the album features songs that have never been released commercially, but there are a few familiar ones.  "Get Back To The Country" was from his studio album with the Harvesters, Old Ways, "Are You Ready For The Country?" was from Harvest, and "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong" is an old Buffalo Springfield classic. But unlike the Springfield's music, this isn't country-influenced rock, but  straight up country music. It's too bad that the country audience wasn't more receptive to Neil (despite the fact that both Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings guested on Old Ways - but even they were part of the "outlaw" movement anyway). But this album is a great reminder of yet another interesting part of Neil's career.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


My wife and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, but given recent events, I thought it would be cool to post the tracklist from the CD that we gave out at our wedding.  OK, it was a double CD, it was really difficult to edit it down!

I'm so glad that our gay brothers and sisters are now allowed the same legal rights (in New York, and a few other places) that my wife and I take for granted. I won't presume to tell religions what they should recognize, but I do think that we should all have the same legal rights. I'll dedicate this one to my friend and former boss, Dane Hall, who I wish lived to see this day. Dane, if you're reading this, I still disagree with your theories on Susanna Hoffs. OK, onward!

Billie Holiday - "Come Rain Or Come Shine"
Billie Holiday - "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Ray Charles - "Ain't That Love"
Buddy Holly - "Everyday"
Paul McCartney - "Every Night"
The Beatles - "Here, There and Everywhere"
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - "I Second That Emotion"
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - "You're All I Need To Get By"
The Temptations - "The Way You Do The Things You Do"
Stevie Wonder- "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)"
Stevie Wonder - "As"
Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
Otis Redding - "That's How Strong My Love Is"
Ben Harper - "Gold To Me"
Neil Young - "Harvest Moon"
Chris Whitley - "Spanish Harlem Incident"
Joan Osborne - "To Make You Feel My Love"
Aretha Franklin - "Baby I Love You"
Bonnie Raitt - "Thing Called Love"
Prince - "Nothing Compares 2 U"
Sade - "By Your Side"
Ben Harper - "By My Side"
Ben Harper - "Not Fire, Not Ice"
Cowboy Junkies - "Angel Mine"
The Indigo Girls - "Least Complicated"
Emmylou Harris - "One Big Love"
Pearl Jam - "Thin Air"
Bruce Springsteen - "Prove It All Night"
The Ramones - "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
Elton John - "The One"
John Hiatt - "Have A Little Faith In Me"
Etta James - "At Last"
Bruce Springsteen - "If I Should Fall Behind"

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I was waiting for Eddie Vedder to take the stage tonight when I heard the awful news that Clarence Clemons passed away.  It wasn't a huge surprise: he had a stroke last weekend. But still, really, really sad news.

I don't know what makes a good sax player from a technical standpoint. But I do know that his playing added something to Bruce Springsteen's music that added even more heart, soul and excitement. Listen to "Jungleland," "Night," "Secret Garden," "Pink Cadillac." Of course "Tenth Avenue Freezeout."

Clarence tried lots of other stuff outside of E Street: his solo career, playing with other people, smooth jazz, acting, writing.  I think he'd admit that things never clicked for him more than when he was onstage with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. I remember seeing the reunion tour in 1999, it was just electric.  Seeing those guys onstage together, it was larger than life.

I remember I interviewed Clarence during the long years between the breakup and the reunion.  I think it was around the time of Bruce's first solo acoustic tour for The Ghost Of Tom Joad. I told him that my prediction was, after that tour, he would reunite with The E Street Band. That made him perk up, and he asked me why I thought that.  I said that I thought that he just wanted to try playing with other people (the band he used in the mid-'90s), and, by appearances, he seemed to have been wanting to do a solo acoustic thing for a long time, and now he'd done that also.  I knew he'd go back to rock and roll, I doubted he would reassemble his '90s band, and I didn't think he'd put together a new rock band. So, my feeling was, his next project would be The E Street Band. That seemed to make The Big Man happy and he thanked me for sharing my theory.  I'm glad I was right and I'm glad I had that bit of time with the man.

It's weird that his last performance was playing sax for Lady Gaga on American Idol, but life is weird sometimes.  The fact that he played with Gaga turned a new generation on to his talents and he was probably grateful for that.

I wonder if Bruce can possibly have the E Street Band go on without Clarence. I guess it would be a shame if those guys never played together again, on the other hand, how do you replace a guy like that.  My suggestion: use an entire horn section, but retire "Jungleland" and "Freeze-out."


Tonight, I saw the third show of Eddie Vedder's solo tour at The Mortensen Hall in Connecticut.  He's touring for his second solo album, Ukelele Songs.  This show made a great argument for the man having parallel careers: one with Pearl Jam and one on his own.  The show was divided fairly evenly between his first solo album Into The Wild, Ukelele Songs and Pearl Jam stuff. Ed did spend a lot of time on the uke, but also played acoustic and electric guitar and even a bit of mandolin.

He kicked off with a bunch of cuts from Ukelele Songs, including his uke-d up version of Pearl Jam's "Can't Keep."  I will review that album in a later post, but I will say that I happen to like it a lot. The title is not false advertising: the album is mostly Ed on uke, and it's  lovely.  Most of the songs are less than three minutes, some less than two, but the songs are solid. 

But back to the show itself: predictably, the Pearl Jam songs got a huge reaction: once he played "Sometimes," people were going crazy.  I think their latest album, Backspacer, has aged really well, and he did great versions of some of the songs, including "Just Breathe," "Speed Of Sound" and "Unthought Known ." One of his most emotional performances was "Better Man."  He mentioned performing that song onstage with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, and instead of a guitar solo, Clarence Clemons played a sax solo. (I was at that show, it was at the end of the Vote For Change tour).  Eddie didn't know, however, that Clarence had died earlier that evening, until his tech came out and told him.  When he went into the song (a much different version that Pearl Jam's), it was pretty heavy. He didn't play any Bruce songs though. It would have been cathartic if he did: and he actually covered two the other night ("Dead Man Walking" and "Open All Night.") But still, it was a great show. 

Speaking of aging well, his first solo album, 2007's Into The Wild soundtrack, gets a great reaction and the songs hold up to Pearl Jam's.  He played most of the record, and some of those songs, like "Hard Sun," "Far Behind" and "Guaranteed" are classics. 

I always get nervous when a singer from a band that I like starts to do solo stuff, but in Eddie's case, I think doing the solo acoustic (and ukelele) stuff probably recharges his batteries to go back to playing with the band, and I know they're doing a short tour later this summer, including a 2 day festival celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band. But taken on its own merits, his solo career is developing into it's own thing. Hopefully he will do both for a long time. 

Glen Hansard opened: he's from the band The Frames, also The Swell Season and he starred in the film Once. He was really good, and he joined Eddie for a few songs: you can tell that they have a cool bond (as Eddie did with his opener on his last tour, Liam Finn). 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


So, today on SiriusXM OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick, I talked about a lot of great summer songs.  We didn't even get to all of the ones I wanted to play.  But here's the list of what I had in mind.

Bruce Springsteen - "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" from 2007's Magic

Blake Shelton - "Honey Bee" from his upcoming album, Red River Blue, which comes out next month.
The Beach Boys - "Surfin' U.S.A." I could have picked a number of their songs. 2003's The Very Best Of The Beach Boys: The Sounds Of Summer is a good place to start with The Beach Boys.

The Chantays - "Pipeline" you don't think you know it, but you know it.  One of the most well known surf rock songs ever. It's hard to find, but you can download it.  I have it on a various artists collection called Big Waves (Five Decades Of Surf Rock)

Chuck Berry - "Carol" again, there's a hell of lot of songs here I could have gone with. To me, The Great Twenty-Eight is the best Chuck collection, but I don't think you can find it.  But the Gold compilation is great too.

Sly & The Family Stone - "Hot Fun In The Summertime" is really one of the best summer songs ever. If you're just starting with Sly, the Greatest Hits collection pictured above is well titled, but I think it's out of print.  You can find The Essential Sly & The Family Stone though.

Peter Gabriel - "Sledgehammer" from So was a monster hit when I was in high school, and I never got tired of it.

The Police - "Every Breath You Take" from Synchronicity, see "Sledgehammer," but I did get tired of it at one point.

Asia - "Heat Of The Moment" was such a great song. I just ordered the album on Amazon.  I am embarrassed to say that I didn't have it.  It might be possible that I had it on cassette and never upgraded. I don't like much of what they did after their debut, but damn, that debut was pretty great.

The Cars - "Magic" is so summer... even if Ric Ocasek didn't sing "summer, summer, summer!" in the song.   It's from their 1987 album Heartbeat City.

Ben Harper - "Steal My Kisses," which is a collaboration with former Roots beatbox Rahzel. Probably the closest Ben has come to having a hit, it's from Burn To Shine.

Craig Mack featuring The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes - "Flava In Ya Ear (remix)" That sample is just incredible, amazing song and everyone was in top form on their verses. I downloaded this - it's from a Bad Boy 10th anniversary collection.

Black Sheep - "The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)" was recently used in a commercial, for good reason, it's timeless. This one I have on a various artists collection called Hip-Hop Gold.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Give It Away" is still one of the funkiest grooves ever. From their best album, 1991's Bloodsugarsexmagik.

The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon" is just another great Ray Davies song. It's from the 1966 Face To Face album, which will be reissued later this month.

Willie Nelson - "Whiskey River" just because. From 1973's Shotgun Willie.

The Zac Brown Band - "Toes (Live from Bonnaroo)" available on iTunes.

The Cocktail Slippers - "In The City" from their 2009 classic St. Valentine Day's Massacre.

The Jessica Fletchers - "Summer Holiday and Me" from their 2005 album Less Sophistication.

There are tons of songs I've missed here - I don't have anything from Van Halen for instance, another great summer band, or Creedence Clearwater Revival.  But let me know what your favorite summer songs are in the comments section!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


It's that time! I love summer. Outdoor concerts, no jackets, fun movies and cool tunes. So, tomorrow on SiriusXM OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick, I'm going to talk about some of my favorite summer jams. And, it gives me a chance to talk about one of my favorite modern groups, The Cocktail Slippers, whose "In The City" is a summer classic. I'm really looking forward to their next album, which will be their first with new singer Ms. Liberty. Anyway, here's the "In The City" video from their last album, St. Valentine's Day Massacre. I listened to it again today, it's just an incredible album.

Another band from the Nordic corner of the world is The Jessica Fletchers. I don't really follow them as much, but their song "Summer Holiday and Me" is one of my favorite summer jams ever. Check out the video here.

Finally is this group Foster The People. I don't know if they have staying power, but I filmed them recently at my job at SiriusXM, and this song "Pumped Up Kicks" is pretty damn catchy. Here's the acoustic version they did for us.

I'll post the list of songs that we play tomorrow, as well as some that I didn't get around to.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Well, anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I am a huge fan of The Drive-By Truckers.  Last night, I went to see them for the third time (at Montclair, NJ's lovely Welmont Theater), but I took my wife, and it was her first time seeing them. (She took some incredible pictures - see more of them here).  I wasn't totally sure she really wanted to go. Afterwards she said, "They are a really great live band."  And they are.

In some ways, they have a Pearl Jam type thing going on when they play live - they can play any song, from any era, at any time (provided that the writer is still in the band - so, for instance, they don't do songs by former guitarist-singer Jason Isbell). They don't have any songs that they "have" to do (the way, say, Tom Petty will play "American Girl" at every single show). So you really feel like they are playing you a set that they really want to be playing - it comes off in the performances. The other thing that comes off is the camaraderie, especially between the founding members, singer/guitarist/songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. Hood is the guy who is usually the focus of their press photos, he writes the Questlove-ish essays in the albums, gets interviewed the most, and writes and sings more songs, but I'd argue (and I think he'd agree) that they are of equal importance.

I think they usually open with one of Cooley's songs, and they did so last night, with "Carl Perkins' Cadillac," (a great song about Sun Records founder Sam Phillips - the only man Jerry Lee Lewis would call "sir," according to the song).  The band just glided right into it, like a finely tuned, well, Cadillac, and they were off. While they don't have what you'd call "hits," the first few songs were not among their more well known ones: "Where The Devil Don't Stay," "Go Go Boots" and "Get Downtown."

Things kicked into high gear with one of their early classics, "Buttholeville," which went into a rocking version of Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper." (Interestingly, last time I was at the Wellmont - for Chris Cornell - he also covered that song - it's so cool to see the respect Bruce gets these days). There were two songs from their Pizza Deliverance album - "Uncle Frank" and "Nine Bullets" ("My roomate's gun got nine bullets, nine bullets has my roomate's gun.  I'm gonna fine a use for every last one!").  After that, Shonna Tucker got her vocal slot of the night, she sang "Dancin' Ricky."

After that, the show got truly epic, with Patterson singing his incredible version of the Eddie Hinton classic "Everybody Needs Love."  I love seeing all these tattooed badasses singing "Love, love, love!" and meaning it!   A bunch of classics followed: "Women Without Whiskey," "A World Of Hurt" (it moves me EVERY TIME), and "Shut Up And Get On The Plane."  They broke for intermission (people just would not leave the theater, we knew they were coming back).

The encore started with "I Used To Be A Cop" from the new album (I would have played that one earlier in the set, it doesn't feel like an encore-ish song, but that's just me), "Marry Me," and then one of my favorites, "Let There Be Rock."  Once again, Springsteen was referenced, as Patterson changed the lyrics a bit: "I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd.  I never saw The Clash! But I sure saw Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band!" of course the crowd loved that.  It was a truly great show. I think I liked it more than the last time I saw them, but I don't know if it tops the Brooklyn Bowl show.

I have to mention the great opening act, Alejandro Escovedo, he totally rocked. I listen to his music on SiriusXM Outlaw Country, and this reminded me that I have to pick up some of his albums.  He did a great version of Neil Young's "Like A Hurricane" and also my favorite song of his, "Castanets" ("Always A Friend" - a duet with Bruce from his latest album - probably would have gone over well, had he played it). I was glad to have the opportunity to see him perform, it was a good reminder that he's a great, and under appreciated, American singer/songwriter.


...and now for something completely different! A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Duran Duran on SiriusXM OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. He was surprised that I like them.  I can't say I'm the world's biggest fan - I have their great Decade "best of" - but I love great pop songs and they have written a ton of them.

That said, a Duran Duran post by me wouldn't be as interesting as one by my friend Katy, she works for the band.  In fact, she has her own section on their website - it's called "Ask Katy." She probably knows more about the band than they know about themselves. And she's friends with them also.  Simon LeBon took Katy to the big SiriusXM Paul McCartney concert last year - and introduced her to Sir Paul after the show. She's definitely a big part of their team. So I thought it would be fun to ask her what some of her favorite - but lesser known - Duran songs are.

So, without further adieu...

Ten Underrated Duran Duran Songs, in the opinion of Katy Krassner + Brian Hughes

1) "The Valley" from Red Carpet Massacre: It has driving rhythm, an amazing bass line, and just when you think the song will end it picks up somewhere else].
2) "Lonely in your Nightmare" from Rio:  A real fan favorite, it's very textured and romantic. I always thought this track deserved more respect but other songs from Rio  get the most attention.
3) "Missing" from Duran side-project Arcadia's So Red the Rose: A gorgeous, ethereal, haunting track.
4) "Serious" from Liberty : This was a single, but never got the respect it deserved. It is very '90s sounding, but in this case, that's ok.
5) "Breath After Breath" from The Wedding Album : this was a great collaboration with Brazilian artist

 Milton Nascimento 

6) "Careless Memories" from Duran Duran : This song has 100% stood the test of time, and you can't say that about many songs written in the early '80s.

7) "Tiger Tiger" from Seven and The Ragged Tiger is an incredible instrumental, you can see a story unfold before your eyes
8) Their cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" and "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin: Both from the much maligned album, Thank You -- go find a better cover version of either song, I dare you!
9) The entire Notorious album: a huge transition for Duran Duran, the entire album is underrated.
10) The Electro Set/ Red Carpet Massacre tour, featuring the songs "All She Wants Is," "Warm Leatherette," "I Don't Want Your Love," "Skin Trade" (and sometimes "Showroom Dummies" or "Last Chance on the Stairway." This was so fucking cool, go on to youtube and find it if you've haven't seen it live]. 
10.5) "Girl Panic!" from their latest, All You Need is Now I hope it doesn't become under-rated because it's such an amazing track off an incredible album. Let's discuss this time, next year! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Tomorrow at 4 pm ET on SiriusXM E Street Radio, I will be part of a panel discussion about the best cover versions of Bruce Springsteen songs. E Street Radio's Jim Rotolo is hosting, and the other panelists include Ben Lazar (also often heard on E Street Radio), Nick Masi from Brooklyn Vegan (he also hosts Sirius XMU's Blog Radio one day a week) and singer/songwriter Jesse Malin. The event is to promote "Cover Me," a weekly show of Springsteen covers that Nick is going to host on E Street Radio. It was a lot of fun to be on this panel, I hope you can tune in.

In honor of that, here are some of my favorite Bruce covers, in no order:

  • Bettye Lavette's "Streets Of Philadelphia" (which I was turned onto by Nick Masi)
  • Rage Against The Machine's "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" 
  • Chris Cornell's "State Trooper" and "Atlantic City" from the concert I attended a few weeks ago
  • Johnny Cash's "Johnny 99," "I'm On Fire" and "Further On Up The Road" 
  • Eddie Vedder's "My City Of Ruins" 
  • Steve Earle's "Nebraska"
There are probably many more, but those are the first ones that come to mind.  What are your favorites? And by the way, if you don't have SiriusXM, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free online trial here and tune in tomorrow. 


First off: this (very obviously) photoshopped image is from Rolling Stone.

Second: sorry I haven't been posting in the past week.  Things have been busy.

Onward! So tomorrow morning I will be on SiriusXM OutQ's The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick  (and co-host Keith Price) at about 9 am ET. Every so often, I go against type and bring in a bunch of straight up pop records.

Right now, the biggest pop record on earth is the latest from Lady Gaga, Born This Way. I don't have as strong of an opinion on her as everyone else seems to.  I think she is talented, she's written some good songs, and she's a savvy marketer. On the other, I think she goes way out of her way to prove her intelligence, her artsiness and how much of an outsider she is.  I don't buy into her like other people do.  I think her new album is pretty good, but it's about as edgy as a Loverboy or REO Speedwagon album from the '80s.  I do enjoy the fact that she used Clarence Clemons from The E Street Band on two of the songs.  His playing is very '80s: it reminded me of his playing on "Dancing In The Dark" or Aretha's "Freeway Of Love."

I choose a couple of other prominent pop records: a Britney/Ke$ha/Nicki Minaj collab, a Katy Perry/Kanye West collab and some new Beyonce songs.  I have to say, I wasn't really impressed by any of them. Also a newer artist named Christina Perri: she's not my thing, but I can appreciate her a bit.

And also, the artist who I think will be one of the stories of 2011: Adele.  Right now, I bet that 21 will be one of the big Grammy albums, and it may make lots of critics lists also.

And what's that you say?  You don't have a SiriusXM subscription?  Get on that! Get a free online trial and check out what you're missing!