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Seven Great Songs from Minneapolis Bands

In honor of the Elephate in the Room podcast with Marty Weintraub (who spent years in Minneapolis), I decided to put together a list of great tunes from Minneapolis bands. Since music is so subjective, I went with songs that I have a personal connection to. Are you a fan of any of these artists? Maybe another group from Minneapolis has your ear. Feel free to tell me all about it, after you read the article. 

Prince and the Revolution “The Beautiful Ones”

Like damn near everyone in 1984, I was completely taken with Prince and the Revolution’s masterpiece Purple Rain. I didn’t own a lot of music at the time, but this was one album I had to have. And a movie I had to go see, despite its R rating (I was 12). I watched it again after Prince’s untimely death in 2016, and it is, uh, not great, but the album more than holds up.

To this day, “The Beautiful Ones” is my favorite track on the album. Not to be contrarian, because the singles are still bulletproof, but this was the song that burrowed deepest in my head, and the one that I have carried with me the longest.

Soul Asylum “Somebody to Shove”

In 1992 I was working at my university’s radio station as a DJ. Even 5 years earlier, there was a significant difference between rock radio and college radio, but this was right when those distinctions were blurred. Also at one point during this year, I went through a pretty bad break up. But I had that radio booth, 2 hours a day, 3 days a week as a refuge.

While Soul Asylum had long been part of Minneapolis’s alternative scene, it was with Grave Dancer’s Union that they broke big. Lead single “Somebody to Shove” wasn’t as successful as the follow ups “Black Gold” or smash hit “Runaway Train” but it was the one that I played on repeat during a pretty bleak period. Even though this song is so viscerally associated for me with those times, and the line, “You’re a dream for insomniacs, prize in the Cracker Jacks/All the difference in the world is just a call away” can cause me to relive some early 20s cringe, I still LOVE this song.

The Jayhawks “Poor Little Fish”

I am a big music lover, and during my time as an English teacher I tried to bring some of that to the classroom. One activity I did was to play 3 songs while the students read the lyrics, and they had to write down what they liked about each song, and what they thought they were about.

Picking the right songs is much harder than you would think. A lot of songs that tell a story aren’t always open to much interpretation. “I think this song is about a boy named Sue, and he doesn’t like his name.” Not a lot of discussion. Most songs let the music carry the emotion, but the lyrics themselves don’t say a whole lot. Finding that sweet spot was tricky.

One song that made it was The Jayhawks’ “Poor Little Fish” from the excellent The Sound of Lies. This was an album that I picked up based on a recommendation from a co-worker while I was working at the long-lamented Vinyl Fever in Tampa, FL. If not for that assignment, I’m not sure if I would have chosen this song for this list because I always listened to this album as a whole. Now that you’ve listened to the song, why not tell me what you think it is about in the comments?

Dessa “The Crow”

Eight years ago I had read a couple of reviews of Dessa’s Badly Broken Code. It probably would have ended there because despite the fact that they were positive, it didn’t sound like it would be for me. However, Elephate’s Digital Content Director and my soon-to-be best man, Christian A. Dumais, sent me an email asking if I had heard of Dessa. He was crazy about the record and wanted to pass it along. So I listened and was immediately taken in.

Most years I make a mixed CD of cool tunes from the year, and give it away to friends and family. “The Crow” was the cut that I included on 2010’s version. And it’s a song that will stick itself in my head. If that CD gets put into the car stereo, there is a 100% chance that song will get multiple plays. Thanks, Chris.

The Time “Jungle Love”

A huge pop song from a few years ago bit off a large chunk of The Time’s signature sound. No shade thrown to that song, because it was catchy as hell, but also because it lead me down the YouTube rabbit hole with The Time and other groups from that time and place.

While they would probably always be in Prince’s shadow, listening to their songs from that era made me wonder why they weren’t more popular for longer. Morris Day had personality for miles and they could fill a dance floor. We can always wonder what could have been, but we definitely enjoy what was.

The Replacements “Bastards of Young”

It doesn’t happen nearly as much as I would like, but getting “walk on” music before doing stand-up is thrilling. Something about that lift that music can give you and the crowd, along with the theatricality of it all is hard to beat. Finding that right 15 seconds or so of a song that fits your persona, and that the audience will react to is a labor of love.

I am not a huge fan of The Replacements. I knew them by reputation, and they are one of those bands that I wish I would have found at the right time. I appreciate them, and enjoy their music, but I never got into them. Except for this song. I was looking for walk on music for a show I was doing. I perform with people who are legit young enough to be my kids, hence the name The Bastard Sons of Derrek Carriveau. We didn’t get to use this one, but I spent a lot of time playing it over and over.

The Shout “I Should be with You”

During our podcast, it was obvious that Marty Weintraub is a guy who lives life turned up to 11. We had a lot of fun, and a lot of laughs. He had invited me to like him on Facebook, and I took him up on that. The best thing that has come from that so far was him sharing a video that his band, The Shout, had made in 1986.

Icy cool and twice as catchy, give a listen to one of Marty’s past lives. 

Then get onto the podcast and hear about what he is up to now.

Elephate in the Room is a weekly podcast featuring the best and smartest from SEO, marketing, and tech from an outsider’s perspective. Hosted by me, Derrek Carriveau, it can be found on our website, along with iTunesStitcherRSS and more.

  • 16 August 2018

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