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by Chuck Eddy

April 28, 2014

Sleepless Songs of Insomnia

by Chuck Eddy  |  April 28, 2014

Ever have one of those nights where the brain lights just won't switch off, no matter how many sheep you count, and even concoctions chemically compounded for such frustrations don't help? Judging from this playlist's scope, pretty much everybody has -- from close-harmonizing pop and country crooners mooning over the love that got away to rappers and metalheads shivering over demons going bump in the night and visions of bodies being burned. Four artists here -- Jill Scott, Craig David, Faithless, Megadeth -- even flat-out name songs "Insomnia." And several selections -- from Bobby Lewis' "Tossin' and Turnin" and Jimmy Clanton's "Another Sleepless Night" to The Fifth Dimension's "Last Night I Didn't Get to Sleep at All," the Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" and Green Day's "Brain Stew" (featuring riffs descended directly from Chicago's even bigger and equally sleepless "25 or 6 to 4") were sizable pop hits.

Chicago's song admittedly stretches the definition a bit: Though set at 3:34 or 3:35 a.m., the fellow in that one is trying to keep his peepers open, and the same could be said of Warren Zevon in "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" and the Beastie Boys in "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" and a couple other numbers here (especially after-after-partying hip-hop ones). The Persuaders' "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" even concerns a jerky husband stumbling home at 5 in the morning and his wife waiting there with a frying pan, not necessarily to cook breakfast with. But let's not split hairs -- whatever the specifics, every song here should at least convince you you're not alone while lying alert in bed in the wee small hours, as Frank Sinatra calls them.

And heck, that eight-minute Decemberists snoozer near the end might even help you get some shuteye after all! Whether you'll stay that way -- with "At the Gates of Sleep" by Finnish death metal alarm clocks Insomnium right after -- is another question.

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