Author Archives: HI-FI Janna

“Need You Tonight” — INXS


So slide over here

And give me a moment

Your moves are so raw

I’ve got to let you know…

You’re one of my kind

Here’s the thing: I feel like the best, most magical aspect of music is its innate ability to communicate an emotion, a feeling, a mood. Need a pick-me-up? Well, you can always call on Phish‘s “Bouncing Around the Room” to gift you a lift. Need to chillax? Okay – spend some time with Erykah Badu or Jill Scott. Mad at the world and feel like indulging that emotion? I find Fiona Apple‘s music to be an excellent choice on just that sort of occasion.

But this song? Well, this is a *letsseehowfastwecangetouttatheseclothes* song. And that’s always fun.

Seriously, I can’t understand how anyone could listen to this without getting turned on. And of course, this isn’t the only song for provocative underwear dancing–not that I’m into that type of thing…but, you know what I mean (zip those lips HI-FI Andrew!). I would guess a lot of other folks (myself included), respond in a similar way to songs like “Come Undone” by Duran Duran and “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. Even still, “Need You Tonight” is really where the money is – I kind of think of it as the definitive naughty thoughts song.

Come on – that guitar riff? Damn. It just sounds like sex. How the heck did they do that? Add in those suggestive lyrics and Michael Hutchence‘s delicious vocals, you’ve got the song that has been touted as “the three steamiest minutes of the eighties.”

Uh, hell-to-the-yes they were – and I think all the more so because the lyrics are not explicit at all. Suggestive, yes – but it’s what *isn’t* said in this song that makes it so intoxicating.

It’s also what makes current pop songs that *try* to be sexy fail so miserably at it. You don’t need to say it all to awaken sexual feelings in a listener – in fact, being too crude or explicit can have a very opposite effect. Case in point: when I hear Nicki Minaj sing (and I’m using that term loosely) “when he gimme that look then the panties comin’ off”, it just makes me want to puke. It most certainly does not turn me on, because there’s something so base about it that it literally makes me cringe.

Now these lyrics, on the other hand, are a completely different story:

I need you tonight

Cause I’m not sleeping

There’s something about you girl

That makes me sweat

Um…WHOA. Are you freaking kidding me?

How do you feel?

I’m lonely

What do you think?

Can’t think at all

Yeah, me neither. I certainly can’t concentrate on writing anything else.

So if you all will excuse me, I think I’m gonna go take a cold shower…

Find more artists like INXS at Myspace Music.


HFL Celebrates 20 years of Nevermind

This week we asked, “What does Nirvana’s Nevermind mean to you?”

Here’s what was said.

From the HFL panel:

Nevermind, for me, was not too dissimilar to Star Wars. I wasn’t alive for the original Star Wars film, but Return of the Jedi was one of the first films I saw in a theater. I was 11 when Nevermind came out. I knew it was cool, different, and somehow important, but too young to understand exactly why it was so. In Utero was the first record I was old enough to really “get”, but I diligently went back for Nirvana’s earlier records and became a fan for life. To this day, if I am to go back and revisit Nirvana, I reach for In Utero or Incesticide the same way I would prefer watching Jedi or Empire. Both Nirvana and Star Wars are special to me, personally, but the importance of Nevermind to Nirvana’s legacy holds the same place as A New Hope does for the Star Wars faithful. Cheers…  –IronJ146

My favorite band when I was twelve was Poison, and for some reason I thought they were the toughest and coolest guys in the world, and somehow that I was cool by extension. Then I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time. These three grimy dweebs from Seattle scared the shit out of me and I didn’t know why, buy I knew I liked it. Looking back, I think Nirvana tapped into a part of me that was angst ridden and disillusioned, and at the time it was comforting to know that I was not alone in those feelings. Nirvana helped me through my teenage years and cured me of that shameful Poison phase.  –HI-FI Andrew

I can’t think about Nevermind without thinking of Kurt himself. As much as I love that music and as instrumental as I know it was (and is) to the direction that rock music has taken in the last twenty years, that album is as much a painful reminder of loss. I was 14 when he died. I had all the Nirvana albums. His blue eyes consumed me—as did the way he forced us all to look in the mirror and observe our own shallowness.

As sad as it makes me to think of Kurt’s suicide, when I go back and explore his music and social commentary, I can’t help but fall deeper in love with him. Um hello, a guitar player in ripped jeans and a cardigan? Who is also clearly enlightened and abhors the patriarchal system our society subscribes to? Are you kidding me? That’s hotness on a whole new level! *sigh*

In the end, I guess, his empathy for those who suffer overcame him. Or the drugs. Or both. That sucks and I do not believe that it is “better to burn out than fade away.” Besides, he could never have faded…not to me.

And, of course, he hasn’t. His influence remains because we can channel at least some of his spirit any time we hear Nevermind. For that, I’m grateful.  –HI-FI Janna

I had not yet turned 9 when Nevermind was released, and at that point in my life, my parents still made my music choices for me. My mother would never have bought an album with a baby penis on the cover, and I had no one in my life who would introduce me to such music. My exposure to rock was what my dad listened to, what we today call “classic” — anything made before the early 1980’s. As an adult, my appreciation for Nevermind is limited to how much fun it is to play any of the first five album cuts on Rockband or Guitar Hero.

Sorry to be a bummer, but it’s the truth.  –I Think Not

Nirvana… where do you start?

When I was in middle school we were known as the “alties” (altie = alternative). Every dance we would all huddle together in a corner of the gym and make fun of all of the poppy music. We would even talk to the DJs who happened to be in a punk band themselves. They would always play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the last song for us. We would have our own little mosh pit together. It was awesome. I still listen to that album to this day.   –BmoreVegan

I don’t really care about Nirvana’s Nevermind. I can’t understand half the words Cobain sings and I never owned any albums of his.  Yes, I’m a Nirvana party pooper.  I was too busy listening to the Shirelles and the Carpenters.

I also hate Bob Dylan, so there! I’ve said it!  –Starr

Nevermind is possibly the most important album of our generation. One could argue otherwise because it may lack the artistic punch of OK Computer, Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness or any number of beautiful albums from that time but if we are simply talking about iconic status, then it stands alone. Nevermind is credited for killing hair metal, which I think we can all agree were some dark days. It opened the door for what I think may be the best period of music.  – Just Tony

From HFL fans (via Facebook & Twitter):

To me, Nevermind is an escape from whatever else is happening around me. It applied to the adolescent social pressures I experienced, and continues to apply to my everyday stress (in both a nostalgic and a present manner). As in, “nevermind your troubles, here’s an answer”.  -Chad

When I think of Nevermind, the first thing that pops into my head is where I was when I bought it. It was the old record store in Columbus, Georgia’s Peachtree Mall down by Macys – where a shoe store is now located. I just started 11th grade and that was pretty much the record of my school year. Purchasing it was definitely a defining moment in my musical life as well. Even Timm, my younger brother, will tell you that he learned about them from me. It stands out because it was and still is great. -Erin

Seeing Nevermind is 20 years old makes me feel really old but also proud to have been a part of the grunge movement. In my opinion, it has been the best music scene in my lifetime that lasted for years. I am still mad at my Mom for not letting me go with my older brother to see Nirvana and The Breeders in concert – I was in 8th grade at the time. The mosh pit was on ice in the arena!! Also, I still have a good friend who makes fun of me for crying when Kurt killed himself. Growing up in Columbus, Georgia, you were either into grunge or rap. I am proud to have been on what I consider to have been the hippie side of things! -Casey

Nevermind means a lot because that album changed me. The lyrics are passionate. There’s a Nirvana song for any moment in my life. I love that record ❤ Nevermind is amazing!  @AnOldEnemy

Clearly an album that broke new musical ground and continues to do so 20 years later. My kids will listen to this.  @FakePlasticTune

Nevermind means being free from corruption.  @Naveed4am

Nevermind means everything to me. Absolutely genius- it’s the peak of good music. Kurt Cobain won’t be forgotten. @PennyroyalFee

So hard to answer in 140 characters… @OurVinyl

Just takes me back to my teen years. Lucky enough to see them live right before KC passed. Incredible show. @cyuskoff

Nevermind doesn’t do it for me but I appreciate that without the impact that album had, many artists might not have emerged. @myrandomjukebox

‘Drain you’ was always my favorite song off of Nevermind. Kurt’s too. Apparently I have good taste. @LeadingUsAbsurd

Nevermind means Kurt Cobain, the ’80s, REAL GRUNGE and the cult songs. @cobainismine

Nevermind to me is the culmination of over a decade of great NW music, to an audience looking for something authentic. @nwpassage1

Other Nevermind reflections:

Communication Breakdown:

Leading Us Absurd:

Physical Graffiti:

The Audio Perv:


Tim Freeman Journal:

The Byronic Man:

Musical Mashup:

A Century of Nerve:



The Daily Beast:


The Wall Street Journal:

And let us not forget Rolling Stone’s 1991 review of Nevermind:

Happy 20th, Nevermind!

Please feel free to share your experiences with this game-changing music in the comments. 

“Rhythm Nation” “If” & “I Get Lonely” — Janet Jackson

I was quite moved by metaphoricalgretchasketch‘s discussion in her most recent post about experiencing music, in a rather profound way, via performing it. She was talking about singing which I certainly have no talent for – however, her post resonated with me as I began thinking about all the years I spent in dance classes as a young girl.

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who knows me would not be surprised to hear that I was not an all-star on the athletic field. I didn’t play a sport, per se. However, I don’t think many folks who’ve hung out with me (particularly in college) would be shocked to know that I took dance lessons for several years, because evidence of those lessons resurfaces from time to time when I allow my inner “woo girl” to come out and play. It is also possible that some of my former students might not be surprised by this either, since I may or may not be guilty of allowing them to teach me to crank that “Soulja Boy” or to “Walk it Out”. I plead the fifth.

Dance gets a bad rep sometimes, because you hear a lot about girls coming out of it with lots of body image issues and the like. I can’t say I completely escaped all of that, but in my case, I’d say my self-image problems were largely due to the pressures communicated by the mass mediaadvertising in particular. My dance teachers, on the other hand, were supportive and kind. They challenged us to become the best dancers we could be, but that didn’t mean we had to starve ourselves or whatever. I was fortunate to have had the chance to grow up in those studios under the care of women who were really about helping girls feel good about their accomplishments…even if those accomplishments weren’t going to take us to Broadway.

I was definitely not Broadway-bound, but by the end of my senior year I think I could *bring it* on stage. I’ve always been able to hold my own in a dance club and I could attract attention if I happened to want it (Don’t you judge me! I’m just being honest – and everyone knows that a lot of the time, going out dancing is all about getting attention!). More importantly, though, the experience of studying dance (ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip-hop, and my favorite genre tap) played a huge role in my development as a young girl and onward to womanhood. And I have Janet Jackson to thank for inspiring my interest. It all began with “Rhythm Nation”.


I was nine years old when the video for “Rhythm Nation” was released. I was old enough to appreciate the positive message communicated by the lyrics, but I was more intrigued by the choreography of the video. Even at that early age, I loved thinking about how to interpret music though movement. I hadn’t started taking classes yet, but I knew I wanted to after I heard this song and saw the accompanying routine. Looking back at the video now, I am still taken aback by the brilliant choreography. The dance is militaristic in its movement and if you’ve never studied dance before, I’m not sure you can appreciate the intricacy of the steps or the virtual impossibility of people being able to move in synch with one another to this extent. The result is powerful and the music video is, rightfully so, an important icon of the 90s. For my nine-year-old self, it was a beacon that led to me asking my mom to enroll me in dance classes and it was certainly not the last time Janet Jackson would inspire me to keep dancing.

“If” was released in 1993. I was thirteen years old and I had been in dance classes for a couple of years by this point. And, as pubescent kids are wont to do, I was becoming a little bored. It made me sad that I didn’t feel as excited about dance classes anymore. Luckily, “If” changed my mind.


I don’t think it is a coincidence that this video spoke to me at a time when I was just beginning to become aware of my own sexuality. I was starting to realize that I found boys attractive and I was starting to want their attention. And here was Janet Jackson, performing this incredibly provocative (though not too vulgar) dance with her crew and really owning her sexuality. She seemed to explode with confidence and power, and, as per usual, I thought the choreography in the video was amazing. When I had friends over to spend the night, I can remember us jumping up in front of the television set anytime the video was on so that we could try to learn the dance – eventually, I had to make a VHS recording and we wore out that tape within a few weeks. We managed to learn the dance, too, but we didn’t feel half as cool as Janet since we didn’t have any hot guys dancing along with us. Despite that, my love for dance was renewed and I continued with my lessons through the end of high school.

I mentioned earlier that I had some pretty amazing dance teachers. Jennifer, the teacher I had through high school, was the best of the best. I loved her and I loved that she allowed any dancer who was a senior in high school to perform a solo at the spring recital, regardless of her level of ability. I loved Jennifer even more for letting me choreograph mine.

I chose not to go the solo route. Instead, I choreographed a piece for two friends and myself to perform. In homage to the muse who kept inspiring me to go back to dance class, I chose her song “I Get Lonely” for my senior number. I was so proud of the result. The girls that danced along with me were amazing and they didn’t roll their eyes about me being the choreographer – I think that’s probably because they could tell that doing the choreography meant so much to me and because of the culture of mutual support and camaraderie among the students that Jennifer cultivated within her school. After the performance, I left the stage of the Springer Opera House with a full heart. I’m still extremely proud of that accomplishment, and full of gratitude for everyone who helped me achieve my goal of choreographing and performing that dance. It’s one of my most favorite memories from my youth and I count myself lucky for being able to transport myself back to that important night with the touch of a button on my iPod.


Have you ever been inspired by someone’s music or other artwork to pursue a personal goal?
Have you had a life-changing experience while creating or performing something that made you proud?

Tell me all about it in the comments, won’t you? Peace!

Find more artists like Janet Jackson at Myspace Music.

“Ladder” — Joan Osborne


I have a diag-nonsense. Two of them, actually: Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

You were probably hoping for something sexier or more exciting, like Borderline Personality Disorder or Paranoid Schizophrenia. Sorry. I agree that mine aren’t terribly interesting, but they are enough to color my view of myself and, in a certain way, how I see the world. Oh, and most of the time they annoy the shit out of me.

That said, though, sometimes I kinda dig the fact that I can say that I’m crazy and my psychiatric file can back me up on it. Is that weird? I don’t know…I guess it might be. All I know is that when I’m feeling like *embracing my crazy*, the first song I turn to is “Ladder” by Joan Osborne.

You might remember Joan from her most recognized track “One of Us“. That’s a great song, but I don’t feel it the way I feel “Ladder”. I can still remember the internal dialogue my brain engaged in the first time I heard this song. It went something like this:


Today and everyday….          

***Janna’s brain: Joan! I am liking that piano. Good times.

I’m standing here in your closet

Unbuttoning all your clothes

***Janna’s brain: Whoa. That’s not normal.

I sleep in your bed tonight

But I never find you home

***Janna’s brain: Hmmm…

You’re giving me crooked answers

I’m cracking your little code

I’m learning another language

So full it’s about to explode

***Janna’s brain: Aha! I think I see where you’re going with this, Joan, but let me hit the back button on my player so I can make sure I got all that.

So that’s what I did–and it made me so happy, because I was RIGHT!

If you listen to the rest of this song, you can tell it is about a woman who is still in love with a guy who is losing (or has already lost) interest in the relationship. However, she can’t shake her obsession and she’s totally fine with admitting that to herself.


You gave me a ladder, now

I surely believe I’ll climb

It don’t even matter, now

I’m willing to take my time

I’m gonna love you anyway

Today and everyday

Okay, I’m not saying it’s healthy. I’m not even saying it’s normal…but damn, I have a hard time not loving a song that provides me with an opportunity to honor my crazy. And I feel like that’s really the point here. For whatever reason, this guy’s still got her heart. I think she knows the relationship isn’t gonna go the way she wants, but she can’t help herself. And she doubts whether she’ll ever be able to. And that’s insane!

I don’t really relate to the obsessing over a man you can’t have facet of this story (at least not now), but I totally get being obsessed with something that you can’t change or fix. See, I’ve got my own ladder–it just leads me to a different (though equally nutty) place. I’m better off when I keep my feet firmly planted on the ground of sanity. Nevertheless, I occasionally climb it anyway. My ladder might not take me anywhere that’s positive or helpful but it’s part of who I am and sometimes that urge to climb up and see how freaked out I can get about something just wins. It.just.wins! And I think I have to be okay with that.

In all seriousness, I have a good handle on my anxiety most days…but those times when I just can’t help myself, I really appreciate this song being there for me and helping me embrace my crazy. So thanks, Joan! xoxoxo!

Find more artists like Joan Osborne at Myspace Music.

“6 Underground” — Sneaker Pimps


There was no way I wasn’t going to go and see The Saint as soon as it was released–I was infatuated with Val Kilmer at the time and 116 minutes of him on the big screen was something I couldn’t bear to miss. Once I heard him slur “I’m your huckleberry” the first time I saw Tombstone, well, I was a goner. So in April 1997, off to Carmike I went to see Val playing a recreated version of Simon Templar.

I can remember that the reviews of The Saint weren’t all that great, but I didn’t care. I really enjoyed watching Val the movie. I used to have a VHS copy and I’ll still watch it once in a while if it happens to be on HBO or OnDemand. I also loved the music that was incorporated into the film, so I bought a copy of the soundtrack shortly after seeing it in the theater.

That CD lived in my car from 1997-1999, and for the last half of my senior year of high school I found myself constantly putting “6 Underground” by the Sneaker Pimps on repeat. I was mesmerized by how the combination of the piano motif (which was sampled from the Goldfinger score), Kelli Dayton‘s sexy vocals and everything else that made up that song sounded just like I felt.

I’ve got a head full of drought, down here…

It isn’t an easy feeling to verbalize, but the word that comes to mind is bored. Not the “wowthereisnothingontvtonight” variety. I’m talking about the “whydoeseverythingfeelsoemptyandpointless” type. Perhaps bored isn’t the word. Hmmm… stifled? Smothered? Trapped? Maybe those are better.

Anyway, that’s how I felt for the last few months of my senior year. I hid it well (I think) but I was damn sick of everything. I was tired of the persona I was wearing: smart, straight-laced, predictable. I wanted to reinvent myself. I wanted to be reckless, mysterious, alluring. I think that’s why the line “I’m open to falling from grace” resonated with me.

If you do a little reading online, you’ll find many interpretations of the “6 Underground” lyrics. Some believe it is about a prostitute. Some believe it is about being in the grips of a drug addiction. Some believe it is about dying.

I’ll be honest: I don’t have a clue as to whether any of those suggested meanings are correct. I guess I never really heard the song as a narrative. I don’t think it tells a story, exactly, but I do think it captures a feeling of dissatisfaction and that was something I could relate to at the time. The words are dark and I liked that, because I was so over being a *good* girl (whatever that means) and I desperately wanted to break out of that role. “6 Underground” was a great place for me to go to process and try to figure out those feelings, strange and frightening as they were. It was a song that was all about wanting to go a different way, to be a different way. Maybe that way wasn’t the *right* way (again, whatever that means), but to me it promised the excitement of new experiences, new people, and a new scene. And, you know, I guess I just really wanted to misbehave.

After graduation and during college, I was finally able to take off my good girl hat–at least some of the time anyway. I was never brave (or stupid?) enough to push the limits as far as I imagined in my high school dreams, but I did have a bit of fun and I escaped it all with minimal damage. I suppose I was lucky since I know that not everyone who makes similar choices comes out okay on the other side. But I did. And it was awesome.

Find more artists like Sneaker Pimps at Myspace Music.

“Someday You Will Be Loved” — Death Cab for Cutie

In the morning I fled

Left a note and it read

Someday you will be loved.

Death Cab for Cutie consistently create amazing music and lyrics. This song, like so many of their works, uses simple words to convey powerful feelings. This power of the simple, combined with the vocals and composition, gels into a song that is haunting, emotional, beautiful.

That said, this is not my favorite song. It can’t be.

I don’t listen to it very often. I can’t.

When I do listen to it, I don’t connect much with the *speaker* of the lyrics. Instead, I think of the girl he sings about. In my mind, she is the girl I used to be: my middle school and high school self.

I like that girl. She’s really pretty cool. She knows how to have fun, she’s intelligent, she’s cute, and she makes people laugh. But in spite of all that, I can’t hang out with her too often because she breaks my freaking heart.

Her tragic flaw is that she bases about 90% of her self-worth upon whether or not she has a boy’s attention. This is a dangerous game to play, especially if you aren’t the most emotionally stable kid on the block. And she isn’t.

In this game, she can’t win. So instead she loses. Every single time.

There are lots of reasons for why she’s like this, reasons that aren’t that interesting to me anymore. The *why* of it isn’t the point, anyway. The point is the *is* of it.

Since she is cute and fun, boys do take an interest in her from time to time. When one does, she clings to this guy and tries to figure out ways to keep him interested. Inevitably, the boy one day decides that he wants to date other girls or just be single. When this happens, she can’t handle it. Her reaction is huge, irrational, broken. The hammer smashes her heart. She isn’t being fair, but she can’t see that. And the cycle happens again and again.

With a couple of exceptions, these boys aren’t *bad* guys — but they are teenagers. She is, too, but her wiring doesn’t allow her to see that school-age dating is supposed to be casual and fun. She needs it to be something else, to do something else. She needs it to fill a void. Sadly, she doesn’t understand that high school romances aren’t real or deep enough to do that.

The worst bit is that she is so fixated on obtaining and holding onto a guy’s attention (which she equates with approval), that she misses out on opportunities for some really positive teenage experiences. I don’t mean to say that she doesn’t have any positive experiences. She does. But she misses out because she can’t always appreciate them because of the control she allows this unhealthy obsession to wield over her life during these tender years. That’s really tragic, you know, because she can’t have a *do over* (unless time travel becomes a real option).

I feel an overwhelming sadness for my teenage self. She’s so wrong about so many things. But she’s also important to me. I need to remember her experiences, honor her emotions (no matter how crazy they were sometimes), and accept that she plays a crucial — maybe necessary? — role in how I *finally* woke up. (That happened in college.)

I can’t do it often, but there are times when I need to take a moment to love on this girl. I like trying to heal her wounds, because I know that I carry a part of her within me. And so, “Someday You Will Be Loved” is the vehicle I use when I need to visit her. I imagine holding her hand, wiping her eyes, brushing her hair, and telling her about all the experiences she will have that will help her to understand that she is bigger than the trivial way she measures her worth. I try to explain that in a few short years the things she’s so worried about right now won’t matter to her anymore and that she will gain a new, clearer understanding of herself. I show her pictures of the friends she will meet in college, the man she will marry, the students she will teach, the son she will have.

I stay with her for a while and then I go, and while I can never change her past, I can always acknowledge it as a part of the journey that made me who I am today. It feels nice to do that.

Oh, and that stuff I said earlier about most of those ex-boyfriends being good guys? I meant that. Really. reallyreally.

But I have to say, the guy in the song is an ass and a coward. Yeah, yeah, I know. He is saying she will be better off with someone who will love her like she deserves to be loved. Sorry, I call bullshit on that. Good intentions or not, this dude gets no respect since he essentially breaks up with this girl (who he knows is in love with him) on a Post-It.


And even though I know most of the guys I dated in high school weren’t total jerks, I do get a sick sort of vicarious pleasure in really hating the guy in the song (calling him inappropriate names, imagining ways to make him suffer, etc.).

I mean, geez, I’m only human.

Find more artists like Death Cab For Cutie at Myspace Music.