Monday, December 10, 2018

Top Minivan Songs of 2018


Five By Five

The cooldaughters are growing up. They're becoming their own people. They don't care to hear my music. Or my voice. They wear headphones in the coolvan.

And that's when we're even in the coolvan together. CoolDaughter #2 is no longer in a carpool, having switched to another swim team; and CoolMom handles about half of that driving. I only end up driving CoolDaughter #1 two evenings per week now. During those rides, it's been my music forced upon her and her befuddled teammates if we have any music at all.

I struggled a bit with how I was going to put together this year's list of Minivan Songs; but, then, I had an idea. I asked each cooldaughter to submit a list of five songs -- five of the things that they are mysteriously pumping into their brains via their headphones while they're ignoring me. It ended up being pretty interesting to see not only how their tastes are evolving but also how they're evolving differently. Here we go.

CoolDaughter #1

Of my two daughters, CoolDaughter #1 seems to have the more conventional taste in music. She submitted some very big songs for this year's list. But she also surprised me with a couple of what could be counted as "oldies" here in 2018.

"thank u, next" -- Ariana Grande

In less than 10 days, the video for this song has amassed 137 million views on YouTube. It features some funny references to Grande's real life (Troye Sivan says, "I heard she's a lesbian now and dating some chick called Aubrey," in reference to a commonly misheard lyric about self-love in the song) as well as spot-on re-creations of scenes (including cameos) from several films -- Mean Girls, Bring It On, 13 Going On 30, and Legally Blonde. CoolDaughter #1 loves all of these movies.

It's a high-budget, well-executed clip for a song I find kind of meh. I guess what I mean is: It's a fine pop hit -- the "thank u, next (next)" in the chorus does get stuck in your head -- but I don't get why it's such a phenomenon. Oh, well. I'm old.

"Psycho" -- Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Speaking of old, here's how old I am. I was only vaguely familiar with the idea that there was an act out there called Post Malone. Until CoolDaughter #1 submitted her list, I wasn't sure if Post Malone referred to a person or a band.

Anyway, "Psycho" has half a billion views on YouTube. It's from Post Malone's sophomore album, beerbongs & bentleys; and it features Malone and Ty Dolla $ign rapping about the trappings of success like Lambos, Ferraris, and jewelry. In the video, Post Malone is driving around in a tank and killing post-apocalyptic, animatronic wolves with a flamethrower, which is pretty badass.

The other fact I know about this song is that CoolMom will not let CoolDaughter #1 play it while she is driving because the siren sounds in the song confuse and frighten her when she is behind the wheel.

"broken" -- lovelytheband

I love CoolDaughter #1, and I respect what she likes. She is a thoughtful, brilliant, strong young woman. She enjoys this song, simply, for the well-crafted pop song that it is. I don't mean this to be any kind of a knock on her, but... meeee...

This is one of those "alternative rock" or "indie pop" songs that cracks the Top 40 and crosses over to SirusXM Alt Nation and SiriusXM Coffee House and maybe even SiriusXMU. It is one of those bland, lowest common denominator, mono-genre songs like those produced by Imagine Dragons or Echosmith or something. It's big -- real big -- with about 15 million views on YouTube, but not as big as those other songs; so it retains some "cool factor" and alt / indie cred. It feels manufactured, focus group tested.

lovelytheband played the New Asbury Lanes a few months ago.

"Happier" -- Marshmello ft. Bastille

Philly DJ and producer, Marshmello, did this one with Bastille. If I had been doing Minvan Songs lists back when Bastille's "Pompeii" came out, that song would have made the list without a doubt.

This video, featuring Miranda Cosgrove and a beautiful golden retriever, legit made me cry. That's all.

"Stacy's Mom" -- Fountains Of Wayne / "1985" -- Bowling For Soup

Years and years ago, when CoolMom and I first moved back to Jersey, my brother won tickets from whatever incarnation of 106.3FM was happening at the time to see Fountains Of Wayne and John Eddie. I think the show was at Naval Weapons Station Earle, if that's possible. Anyway, he gave the tickets to me; and CoolMom and I had a fun, little, outdoor evening with Fountains Of Wayne.

It kind of surprised me when CoolDaughter #1 included both of these aughties power pop hits on her list. I shouldn't have been surprised, though, as she clearly likes a good hook and a sing-alongable chorus. Both of these songs have those in spades. There's a striking similarity between these songs and their videos (which is why I'm making this a two-fer). I did have to go back and make sure she meant the original, Cars-inspired, Fountains Of Wayne version of "Stacy's Mom" and not the very popular Bowling For Soup cover. She went with the Jersey Fresh version.

CoolDaughter #2

A few months ago, CoolDaughter #2 told me that she enjoyed theatrical, baroque pop and emo-type stuff. I'd see her walking around the house with her wireless headphones on mouthing the words to "Welcome to the Black Parade" (my kids do like their NJ music, I guess). That taste for theatrical pop seems to have evolved into a taste for musical theater.

"Roaring 20s" / "Golden Days" -- Panic! At The Disco

Earlier this year, Panic! At The Disco announced a surprise, pop-up Pray For The Wicked preview set at the Stone Pony. By the time I'd heard about it, it was really too late to hope to get into the show. I mentioned it to CoolDaughter #2 later in the afternoon, and the stricken look that came across her face when I told her we weren't going made me realize how badly I'd messed up. I bought floor seats for her, CoolCousin, and CoolMom for the band's show at Prudential Center next month.

Anyway, she submitted two songs from Panic! At The Disco for this list. Brendon Urie definitely brings a flair for the dramatic to his performance, and it doesn't surprise me that a budding musical theater kid would be drawn to these. I can only imagine what level of production value will go into this live show. And, I'm not going; so imagining is all I'll be doing.

"Golden Days" comes from the band's 2016 album, the platinum-selling Death of a Bachelor; while "Roaring 20s" is off of this year's Pray for the Wicked.

"The World Will Know" / "Watch What Happens"-- Newsies (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

CoolDaughter #2 loves this musical. I know she's seen it at least once at the Axelrod in Deal. She's watched the movie with CoolMom, and I think they've watched some performance on YouTube, too. She plays the cast recording in the car on the way to and from swim meets (with CoolMom).

These songs are my first exposure to this show. "The World Will Know" comes as main character, Jack Kelly, launches a protest against the exploitation of the "newsies" by publishing robber barons Hearst and Pulitzer. "Watch What Happens" is cool as it's sung from the point of view of a female reporter covering the protest and trying to make it in the face of 19th century attitudes towards women.

Fighting for the little guy / gal. New York. Unions. Sounds like my kinda thing. My only disappointment is that she didn't pick "Brooklyn's Here" which features the Brooklyn newsies coming to the aid of Jack and his crew. People from Brooklyn are so badass.

"D.O.A." -- The Lighting Thief Original Cast Recording

CoolDaughter #2's other passion is the work of author Rick Riordan. Riordan writes children's fantasy novels based around Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology. His most famous series is Percy Jackon and the Olympians of which The Lightning Thief is Book 1. But you knew all of that.

In what has to be the coolest development ever for CoolDaughter #2, there is now a musical based on The Lightning Thief. She and CoolMom will be seeing a touring production early next year. This is another soundtrack she plays in the van all the time, apparently.

Me, and a Poll: "Spirit FM" -- Bad Moves vs "Who's Got Time?" -- Flasher

I recently put these two songs to a vote in the coolvan among CoolDaughter #1, CoolDaughter #2, and CoolMom as to which should be the Song of 2018 on the CoolDad Music Year-End Favorite Songs List. As is the nature of these things with me, I'm not sure now if either will be number 1; but both will definitely be highly-ranked. Bad Moves' Tell No One and Flasher's Constant Image will both make the albums list for sure.

The female members of the CoolFamily come down unanimously on the side of "Spirit FM." If you had to pick one of these, which would it be?

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