Ask and you shall receive (except for "La Vida Loca" and Sheryl Crowe, so sorry). First up is DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince before Will Smith tried acting, with "Summertime":
I always liked Toad the West Sprocket. Just the band's name was pretty cool (even more cool that Hootie and the Blow Fish). I liked their melancholy songs. I guess I just gravitate to that kind of thing. My only problem was they were lumped with the whole phony "alternative rock" thing in the early and mid 1990's, and they weren't at all. I like this song because it traces the deterioration of a relationship in a realistic way. The man is mourning the fact that his lover and he just cannot connect, "Something's always wrong," even though he can't see it. It's a very sad song, in many ways, because it tells a real story, rather than relying on cliches. I especially like the image of the guy beating himself with a "penance rope". How many of us have flagellated ourselves needlessly? This song is a good antidote to romanticism.
I liked Smashmouth until I saw them on Letterman at some point. I realized watching them they couldn't do it live. But, there's just something fun about their music, especially this song that is all retro late-60's psychedlia (the organ and guitar remind me of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky"):
Next week I would like to do something completely different - recent or contemporary performers of classical music (no, I do not mean Sarah Brightman, although her CD covers are hot). Glenn Gould is an obvious choice, as is Yo-yo Ma, so I would like to avoid them if at all possible (although Gould's cocaine-soaked rendition of Bach is wonderful). Choral groups and directors (except for Leonard Bernstein) are also acceptable because, especially the latter, are interpreters in their own right. Any Rostropovich fans out there?