Finest Worksongs
Shania Twain - Come On Over

Shania Twain - Come On Over

October 1, 2022

Boasting arguably the most famous midriff of the 1990s, Shania Twain rose out of Canada (and poverty) and reinvented country music and even the notion of what constitutes a female superstar. And she did it on her (and her producer-husband's) terms. Her 1997 album, "Come On Over," was a country and crossover tour de force, boasting eight singles including "Still the One," "From This Moment On," "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" and "That Don't Impress Me Much." In doing so, Twain dominated a male-dominated industry, empowered a new generation of female country stars, and became the biggest-selling female solo artist of all time. Not bad for a girl from rural Ontario.

Listener’s Choice – Foo Fighters

Listener’s Choice – Foo Fighters

August 5, 2022

Dave Grohl is like the Forrest Gump of the rock'n'roll world. From Scream to Nirvana to Foo Fighters, he's traversed not only the country but the globe, making friends and funny videos along the way. The winner of our sixth Listener's Choice contest, Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace had us rocking the suburbs this summer (literally, it took us all summer to finally record this one, not to mention the slow edit!). This album was full of surprises - the story of trapped Australian miners for Matt, and the mere existence of the song "The Pretender" for Also Matt. It was a fun way to close out the season, and congratulations to Joy for winning the contest! Thanks for giving us a great album to dive into!

Bob Marley – Legend

Bob Marley – Legend

June 22, 2022

There's more than a 50/50 chance you actually own this album – or did at some point in your life (Especially if you're a kid of the 80s/90s and the CD/cassette clubs like BMG or Columbia House). There's a good reason why Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Legend" was in so many disc changers back in the day and continues to be in regular rotation for many. As far as greatest hits compilations go, this one may be the greatest of them all. It contains 10 of Marley's UK top 40 hits including and features classics like "No Woman, No Cry," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Redemption Song" and more. But this isn't just a feelgood summer album (although it is that, too). Never before or since has a Caribbean artist conquered the known world like Marley did. He wrote protest songs that would make Pete Seeger smile, he gave hope to his fellow Jamaicans, and he opened up the minds of people all over the world to the types of lives that were available to those in the poorer sections of paradise. He just happened to do it all to a dancable, reggae sound.

David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

June 1, 2022

David Bowie, according to U2’s Bono, was “like a creature falling from the sky.” America may have put a man on the moon, but “we had our own British guy from space.” Bono is referring to when, in 1972, Bowie performed “Starman” on “Top of the Pops,” a seminal moment for young, inspired musicians everywhere. “Starman” was a single on Bowie’s sci-fi/apocalyptic/androgynous concept album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” and the album propelled Bowie into the stratosphere as one of the clear giants of music. (Even if the album didn’t set the record sales world by storm.) “Ziggy Stardust” was groundbreaking, gender-bending, genre-shaking, and simply unworldly for its time. The guitar riff from the title track is as well-known a riff as you will ever hear, “Suffragette City” is a rocker worthy of Bowie best-of collections, and the other tracks help inch along a captivating narrative of kaleidoscopic proportions. But it was “Starman” that changed everything. As Bowie sings, “There’s a starman waiting in the sky / He’d like to come and meet us / But he thinks he’d blow our minds.” Bowie was the Starman, and he did, indeed, blow our minds.

TLC – CrazySexyCool

TLC – CrazySexyCool

May 26, 2022

The title of TLC’s 1994 album “CrazySexyCool” was appropriate as it defined the three members of the group individually and collectively. The group – made up of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas – lays claim as arguably (still) the most successful girl group of all time. And this album is one major reason why. It’s a fierce collection of strong, confident and even risky songs that, quite frankly, female artists weren’t doing at the time. “Creep” and “Waterfalls” are still radio standards to this day; the latter of which addressed dark themes such as drug/gang warfare and the AIDS crisis. With more than 12 million albums sold, “CrazySexyCool” in many ways set the standard for female group success.

AC/DC – Back in Black

AC/DC – Back in Black

May 4, 2022

Ask someone to name some of the best-selling albums of all time, and there’s a very good chance they will overlook AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” In some ways, it’s easy to dismiss the band as overly simplistic .. or even stuck in time. But that would be a mistake to discount the impact that the band has had on the trajectory of rock and roll. “Back in Black” came out in summer of 1980, and it’s such a great summer party album. (Or course, you could probably say that about every AC/DC album.) “Back in Black” came out just months after the death of lead singer Bon Scott, to whom the album is dedicated. The record is 10 songs of pure fist-pumping fun – with just the right amount of deviousness to boot. “Hells Bells,” “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” are radio and arena staples more than four decades later, and they sound as fresh and relevant as they did then. Do yourself a favor and give a listen to “Back in Black,” particularly if you never have before. After all, it has sold more than 50 million copies ... for a reason.

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

April 22, 2022

She may be petite and blonde, but don't let that fool you. Phoebe Bridgers is a GIANT. A songwriting giant. And her mid-2020 album "Punisher" was not only the perfect accompaniment to Covid quarantine, but it solidified the Californian as a bona fide commercial and critical star. Her ability to weave in angst, anger, humor and indifference into compelling, catchy, layered songs resulted in a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album, while "Kyoto" was also nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. Other highlights of the album (of which there are many) are "Garden Song" and "I Know The End." The latter version, which she performed on "SNL," garnered headlines when she screamed and smashed her guitar – not unlike how she has already smashed stereotypes.

Midnight Oil – Blue Sky Mining

Midnight Oil – Blue Sky Mining

March 29, 2022

Midnight Oil burst onto the TV screens all over America in 1987 with the videos to "Beds Are Burning" and "The Dead Heart." It was like they were from another world. Well, they kinda were. They were from the other side of the world, at least: Australia. But their follow-up album, 1990's "Blue Sky Mining," proved the Oils were more than just a one- (or two-)hit wonder, or just a vehicle to showcase the frenetic dancing of the tall, lanky, and bald lead singer Peter Garrett. "Blue Sky Mining" brought a rich album across the oceans, an album full of Oils topics du jour: the environment, overdevelopment, the plight of indigenous people, and so on.  "There are people who do it really well," R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe once said about artists who sing about politics. Garrett was one of them, with Stipe calling him "brilliant." "Blue Sky Mining" is brilliant in its own right with Midnight Oil creating anthemic, rocking sing-alongs that just so happen to be about asbestos mining, war, or killing the earth.

Arrested Development – 3years, 5 months, and 2 days in the life of…

Arrested Development – 3years, 5 months, and 2 days in the life of…

March 9, 2022

Sometimes the albums we discuss are deemed classic by the masses; sometimes they are deemed classic by a Matt (singular). Sometimes those albums are classic ...question mark? In the case of Arrested Development's debut album, "3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of ..." (so-called because that was how long it took the group to land a recording contract), the question is not really whether it's a classic album or not. It's not. But it is an important album. When it was released in 1992, it was unleashed on a world that was coming to grips with gangsta rap. White America, in particular, wasn't sure what to make of it all. Arrested Development came along and offered up pro-African and pro-family beats and rhymes that came across as a more positive (if, in the long run, a milquetoast) version of hip-hop that still hit on uncomfortable topics like America's racist past, homelessness, the hypocrisies of faith, and so much more. They just did it with far fewer curse words. "Tennessee," "Mr. Wendal" and (the now cringe-worthy) "People Everyday" were some of the biggest hits of their era, landing the group millions in record sales and even a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Rap Group ("Tennessee"). Oddly enough, they are seemingly forgotten these days ... unless you are a middle-aged white person.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik

February 14, 2022

Released on the exact same day as both Nirvana’s “Nevermind" and A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” took radio and MTV by storm thanks to massive hits like “Give It Away” and especially “Under the Bridge.” The Rick Rubin produced album was a crossover hit for a band largely known for funk, punk, and wild on-stage antics. The antics continued, but now to much larger, mainstream audiences. And while the album is full of things that long-time Peppers fans had grown to love, it also gave a glimpse of a more melodic and stronger songwriting ability to come. But there’s still a ton of songs about sex.

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