This is a page of links but hopefully not the boring kind where you have to figure out why I think it is notable. I am starting with music.
My first time in South Africa this Zulu song was blared from every street corner in Johannesburg. This epitomizes infectious African pop music. Thank God for YouTube; I used to waste a lot of time looking for this song in record stores. I like the endearingly low production quality of this video, too. I think it cost about 20 bucks to shoot it.
I associate this song with the misery of several overnight Ukrainian trains I took on a trip in the 90's. I played it over and over and over as long as my Walkman would allow before the batteries gave out.
Midnight Oil-"Beds are Burning"
I was in Australia when this came out. No other album represents a country or a feeling as much as this does.
(Usually this means I am not getting a ride and am angry)
Hüsker Dü-"Eight Miles High"
Creedence Clearwater Revival-"Lodi"
On the video it looks like the lead singer is going through the motions, but it is the best video I can find of this song. I would go up to random people in Brazil and say the refrain to them: "Like I am a sunflower, you are my sun. Hoo-hoo-hooooooo!" Sometimes it didn't go over well.
Vanessa da Mata - "Vocę Vai Me Destruir (You Are Going to Destroy Me)"
I think in Brazil she has the reputation of being all looks and a musical lightweight, but I like this song.
Cansei de Ser Sexy - "Superafim"
I have Fabio to thank for this. I was praising the pure Japanese pop innocence of Spitz and he suggested Cansei de Ser Sexy, which means Tired of Being Sexy. I have the sneaking suspicion that they could become big and this website will look old for my suggesting they are new to me, so for the record it was July 2008 when I first heard CSS. I am not so crazy about the video and the sound is bad. Here is another, cleaner-sounding version with lyrics.
Cansei de Ser Sexy - "Off the Hook"
Not a big fan of the video, again, but I like the song.
Cansei de Ser Sexy - "Let's Make Love (Listen to Death from Above)"
This is live in Glastonbury. It isn't my favorite song but I love the first seconds before the song where the singer inhales a scary amount of helium and then says in classic deadpan for everyone, "Take care of yourselves." I like the lead singer, Lovefoxxx. She's Japanese-Brazilian and though she isn't petite, the free way she moves and dances is very un-Japanese.
Rita Lee - "Ovelha Negra (Black Sheep)"
This reminds me of the Hillside Singers Coke song from the 1970s. "Baby, baby...!!!"
Casa das Maquinas - "Casa de Rock"
1970's Brazilian rock! Fun video, lots of treble. Heavy glam sound. You have been warned.
Elton John - "Funeral For A Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)"
This has nothing to do with Brazil, but inexplicably I listened to this 11 minute song a zillion times on my MP3 player and it therefore makes me think of Brazil.
Soda Stereo - "Musica Ligera (Light Music)"
I heard great Argentine music only after I left the country. Rival Chile, in fact, was the source of my learning about this 80´s song. Since then I've heard it on the radio and seen the video on TV in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, too.
Soda Stereo - "Musica Ligera (Light Music--a cover by The Gauchos, a regular family in Salta, Argentina)"
Suddenly I want to have kids. We will tour the country! I just hope they don't acquire the look of the boy in the foreground who seems to be crying out: "Daddy, if we get it right this time will you let us out of the basement?"
Cienfue - "Terroristas Tercermundas (Third World Terrorists)"
From Panama. I don't know anything else.
I am a huge fan of Japanese pop music, and Spitz is my favorite band. This particularly chirpy pop song has an oddly compelling video that makes me miss Japan; I could watch the first 15 seconds over and over, but that´s just me.
Shena Ringo-"Koufukuron (etsuraku hen)" (the song doesn´t start until 55 seconds in)
On another end of the Japanese music spectrum is this screamer from Shena (Sheena? Shina? Shiina?) Ringo. The song ends with a thundering crescendo--worth the wait.
Tegan and Sara-"Walking with a Ghost"
Tegan and Sara-"You Wouldn't Like Me" (acoustic version)
These are my favorite Canadian lesbian twins by far.
Palmy-"Yark Rung Dunk Dunk"
I will not listen to any criticism about this song or video! This is Palmy from Thailand, although I think she is half Thai and half something Western. The video is refreshingly innocent and highlights her winsome personality and facile dancing. It is impossible not to be a fan of Palmy. I subject my nieces to repeated viewings of this video every time they visit. They don´t come around much anymore.
Norway has some surprisingly good bands. Frode told me about these guys.
Krokus-"Eat The Rich"
I can´t say I am a big fan of Krokus, but the most famous person ever to pick me up hitchhiking was the lead guitarist, Fernando Von Arb. He drove me to Solothurn, Switzerland and told some great stories; one of my favorite rides ever.
Piroska turned me on to this German band. My favorite song is "Day 7", but the video has bad sound.
Pál Utcai Fiúk-"A Bál"
Kispál és a Borz-"Jövobol jövo lövo"
I used to live in Hungary and for many years I memorized the lyrics to these two songs even though I didn´t know what they meant! Great memories.
Deerhoof-"Milk Man" (live)
This is one of those songs where I can neither explain why I like it nor hear it too many times because it can make me crazy. What´s going on here, you ask? There´s the manic drummer, the starts and stops of the song, the perfect utilization of a female Japanese lead singer, and not least, the bizarre lyrics.
There is no regular video for the album version of this song that I could find, just concert footage. The first live version shows off the drummer, and the second comes closest to capturing the song´s essence.
Let's Active-"Every Word Means No"
Let´s Active was my favorite band in college. I joined the fan club and on a drive around America I stopped by Winston-Salem, North Carolina to see Mitch Easter´s famous Drive-In Studio. Mitch is pretty glammed up in this video. He was young! Cut him some slack.
Minutemen-"Ain't Talking Bout Love"
I wish I could take out the first 12 seconds of this video
Mates of State-"Goods (All in Your Head)"
The Go! Team-"Ladyflash"
A song I am looking for is "Yesterday" by a band called Gravel. It isn´t a Beatles cover.