March 5 – Song of the Day

Today, it was announced that Democrats in the Senate have agreed to cut jobless benefits in the COVID-19 aid bill by 25% per week. The 1983 Bryan Adams hit “Cuts Like a Knife” is about romance, not politics, but this bureacratic knife wound is so deep that it seems appropriate to use the tune for our Song of the Day.

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26th Annual Critics Choice Awards are Sunday

Longtime readers know that I have been a voting member of the Critics Choice Association for more than a decade. In fact, I usually attend the ceremony in person. This year, due to the pandemic, the show will be handled like most major events, with few people in attendance and most celebrities attending virtually. But don’t worry. I am confident that it will be as entertaining as ever. In fact, there will be something particularly memorable about a distanced awards show. Would it really seem like 2021 if things were handled normally? Taye Diggs is hosting, and the president of our association — Joey Berlin — pointed out in a note I received today that — unlike the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — our membership is remarkably diverse both in terms of geography and demographics. That means a really interesting slate of nominees. We also pride ourselves on strong artistic choices. So, tune in Sunday and give the show a watch. You may find that you like it better than the Golden Globes. Presenters include: Kevin Bacon, Angela Bassett, Mayim Bialik, Phoebe Dynevor, Morgan Freeman, Gal Gadot, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Hemsworth, Jameela Jamil, Eva Longoria, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jared Padalecki, Kyra Sedgwick, Yara Shahidi, Courtney B. Vance, John David Washington, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The show airs Sunday, March 7, on the CW at 7 p.m. (6 central).

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March 4 — Song of the Day

One of today’s top headlines is that Las Vegas Sands is selling the Venetian and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Although these properties will remain (under new ownership), this basically means the end of major U.S. operations for the company. The sale comes about two months after the death of Sands founder Sheldon Adelson, a man who had outsized influence on Las Vegas culture. This major shakeup in Nevada business led me to choose “Waking Up In Vegas” by Katy Perry as the Song of the Day.

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March 3 – Song of the Day

Citing credible threats from political extremists, House leaders canceled tomorrow’s legislative session. Apparently, there is enough fear of events similar to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that the cancellation is viewed as prudent. Today, we turn to one of the best songs ever written about political extremism and the inherent susceptibility many have demonstrated when facing the rhetoric of charismatic political leaders. Here is “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour.

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March 2 – Song of the Day

Reggae legend Bunny Wailer has died at 73. Considering Wailer’s contributions to music, it seems fitting to pay tribute with his song “Reincarnated Souls.”

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March 1 – Song of the Day

There is growing outrage surrounding allegations of sexual harrassment and unwanted physical advances by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Obviously, it’s important to let the investigations surrounding these incidents play out in fairness to all parties. That said, allegations of this sort are — unfortunately — commonplace. That sad fact left me thinking about Glenn Phillips, vocalist and guitarist with the alternative rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket. Phillips has long promoted the idea that men need to treat women with more respect, and he and the rest of the Toad boys offer a powerful meditation on sexual assault with the 1991 song “Hold Her Down.”

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Song of the Day Recap – February 2021

At the end of each month, my plan is to recap of every Song of the Day. It may be fun for you to look at the list and try to recall the news event that inspired the selection. I know this was an interesting exercise for me. Also — for those of you who use Apple Music — I am sharing my public Song of the Day playlists. If you like what you see, just add it to your phone or other device: February 2021: Song of the Day

Feb. 1 – Lawyers in Love by Jackson Browne

Feb. 2 – Even Flow by Pearl Jam

Feb. 3 – Royals by Lorde

Feb. 4 – S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) by The Glorious Sons

Feb. 5 – Vote for Me by Joe Walsh

Feb. 6 – Fastest Girl in Town by Miranda Lambert

Feb. 7 – Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

Feb. 8 – Netflix Trip by AJR

Feb. 9 – Let’s Impeach the President by Neil Young

Feb. 10 – Forever by Kenny Loggins

Feb. 11 – Happy Birthday Blues by B.B. King

Feb. 12 – Lawyers, Guns and Money by Warren Zevon

Feb. 13 – In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins

Feb. 13 (Bonus Song) – Not Guilty by George Harrison

Feb. 14 – (If You’re Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To by Weezer

Feb. 15 – Hero by Chad Kroeger

Feb. 16 – Snowblind by Styx

Feb. 17 – Radio Song by R.E.M.

Feb. 18 – Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

Feb. 19 – Concert for Aliens by Machine Gun Kelly

Feb. 20 – What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) by Information Society

Feb. 21 – Don’t Let Your Guard Down by Nils Lofgren

Feb. 22 – Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett

Feb. 23 – A Lifetime by Better Than Ezra

Feb. 24 – Things Can Only Get Better by Howard Jones

Feb. 25 – Freedom! 90 by George Michael

Feb. 26 – Testify by Rage Against the Machine

Feb. 27 – Help! by the Beatles

Feb. 28 – What’s Going Om by Marvin Gaye

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Feb. 28 – Song of the Day

This is the last day of Black History Month and — obviously — black artists have made far too many contributions to American music to pick a single song that could fairly represent that fact. I briefly thought about using a song by Chuck Berry or Jimi Hendrix or Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston … only to think about the countless other artists who created equally compelling music, changing the face of American culture along the way. So, choosing to celebrate the end of this important month with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is not meant to downplay the contributions of any other artist … nor is it meant to argue that Gaye’s contributions to American music are somehow superior to those of his musical peers. I chose this song because Gaye was a wonderful artist who unquestionably changed music … like so many other black artists, living and dead … and because this particular song demands a higher standard from all of us, regardless of race. Arguably, the only way the world will improve is if we all address injustices and inequities head on. So, as we listen to Marvin Gaye on the final day of Black History Month, let’s move beyond his soothing voice and the fantastic instrumental performances and think deeply about the lyrical poetry. “You know we’ve got to find a way to bring some lovin’ here today.”

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Feb. 27 – Song of the Day

Today, President Joe Biden is calling on the Senate to rapidly approve the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that was passed in the House. While Congress goes through the sometimes daunting approval process for such things, millions of Americans continue to struggle. Because of this, I can think of no better Song of the Day than the Beatles’ 1965 song “Help!” Here’s hoping relief makes it to those who need it in short order.

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Feb. 26 — Song of the Day

When Rage Against the Machine wrote “Testify,” the band was pretty clearly thinking about the U.S. government’s willingness to sacrifice lives for political goals, including greater access to foreign oil. Although the circumstances of the song do not perfectly match details surrounding the horrifying death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the outrage seems more than appropriate. Today, declassified intelligence shows that the U.S. has long believed his assassination was ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince. Yet the U.S. government response was nil. “Testify.”

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