Simple Minds - "Hypnotised" and "She's A River"

"Don't You Forget About Me" would represent the peak of Simple Minds' popularity here in the United States, hitting #1 in 1984 thanks to appearing on the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club.

"Once Upon a Time," the album that followed, would be certifed Gold in the US, but sales of subsequent Simple Minds' records would follow a downward trajectory.

Too bad. Simple Minds have sold 40 million records worldwide and recorded nine studio albums in the last 25 years, all consistently excellent.

These tracks are off 1995's "Good News from the Next World," their sixth consecutive Platinum record in the UK.

The Verve - "Gravity Grave"

Most people in the States wouldn't discover The Verve until 1997, with the release of "Urban Hymns," their third and most commercially successful studio album. By then, The Verve had already dissolved at least once and would soon dissolve again.

"Gravity Grave" was the first song on The Verve's first studio release in 1992, the Verve EP. Back then they were known simply as "Verve," and perhaps were dismissed by some as being simply another shoegaze band. But it's clear from "Gravity Grave" that The Verve's sound combined elements of shoegaze, neo-psychedelia and space rock while also managing to be distinctly their own.

Talk Talk - "It's My Life"

Can you name 10 pop singles from the 1980s that are better than "It's My Life" by Talk Talk? No, you can't.

Dia de los Muertos | November 2, 2011 | San Francisco, CA

Watch live video from festivalfreak on

Last night was my third Dia de los Muertos in San Francisco. In 2009, a friend and I were observers, watching the spectacle from the sidewalk. Last year, we donned skull masks. This year we painted our faces in traditional Day of the Dead face paint and joined the procession. I carried a bouquet of orange flowers and a picture of a dear friend who passed away in July.

Caitlin Donohue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian("Start your day off dead: Your Dia de los Muertos events guide") writes:
"There is probably no more devastatingly beautiful day in San Francisco as today, Dia de los Muertos."
I agree. Dia de los Muertos is beautiful and devastating, because while it's seems festive with it's music, dance and pageantry, at it's core it's a solemn event, a time for remembering the dearly departed.

I believe we need ritual in our lives, whether it revolves around the changing of the seasons, life or death. Dia de los Muertos has become a new ritual for me, something I look forward to and take solace in.