A promise for the next year

In the next year, I will be continuing my “why do people love…” series, I have several Top 25 lists in mind, the end of the year list(again, whenever Hanukkah rolls around is my deadline), etc.
I will also be reviewing every vinyl album I purchase, whether new from a store or from a thrift shop. If I borrow an album from the library, and like it as an album, I will likewise review that album. If I come across a song released in 2014 that I fall in love with, I will post about it.

Most excitedly from my perspective, I will be starting a series called “It Was 20 Years Ago Today”. I have a list of 12 albums, one from each month of 1994, which I will be reviewing, ideally on the anniversary of the day it was released. 1994 was a big year from me, I moved to a new school and so I had to decide what sort of person I was going to be. I decided that I would relate to people through musical interests, so I poured my interests into the Alternative music scene. I can’t believe 20 years has passed since that time.
The first album on my list was released at the end of January 1994, it will be reviewed at that time.

“I’m going to make it through this year, if it kills me”

Advertisements

This Charming Charlie

I found this website several months ago, albeit well after several other people knew about it, but was just thinking about it today.

Somebody had the bright idea of putting The Smiths lyrics over captions of old Peanuts comics.  Several of them don’t work that well, at least not from my perspective, but I thought I’d share nonetheless.

 

http://thischarmingcharlie.tumblr.com/

 

Warning, the tumblr website is the subject of a legal battle, but it is my belief that this should be covered under the fair use doctrine.

The Sound from Way in the Underground

As in, I don’t think this band has yet had a hit song in the New World.

I just found out that one of my favorite British rap acts (yes, that’s a thing) put out their third album this year.  Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip write off-kilter lyrics about serious subjects.  Their albums aren’t as focused on  a coherent storyline much, which is why I like The Streets better, but their lyrics are what makes them memorable.

Get Better is a song that attempts to reach out to kids who have bought into the idea that drinking, sleeping with several people, and the consequences that come with that, are the way that life is supposed to be lived.

Letter from God to Man is a 4 minute screed about how humans have really messed up the planet; in other words, an imagined response from God regarding what might go on in God’s mind upon seeing how bad the planet has gotten.

Thou Shalt Always Kill has so many good lines, unfortunately I couldn’t find an official video version that was lyrically unedited.  It works like a list of commandments, for example:

“Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, John Hartman, Desmond Dekker, Jim Morrison, Jimmi Hendrix or Sid Barrett in vain”

“Thou shalt not think any male over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a pedophile, some people are just nice”

“Thou shalt not stop liking a band just because they became popular”

“Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls pants…use it to get into their heads”

“Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals, no matter how great they are, or were.  The Beatles were just a band.  Led Zeppelin, just a band.  The Beach Boys, just a band.  The Sex Pistols, just a band.  The Clash, just a band.  Crass, just a band.  Minor Threat, just a band.  The Cure, just a band.  The Smiths, just a band.  Nirvana, just a band.  The Pixies, just a band.  Oasis, just a band.  Radiohead, just a band.  Bloc Party, just a band.  The Arctic Monkeys, just a band.  “The next big thing”, just a band”

“Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-english speaking countries as to those that occur in english speaking countries”

“Thou shalt remember that guns, bitches and bling were never part of the 4 elements and never will be.”

“Thou shalt not shake it like a polaroid picture.  Thou shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak, like me.”

“Thou shalt spell the word “Pheonix” P-H-E-O-N-I-X.  Not, P-H-O-E-N-I-X, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells you”

“Thou shalt think for yourselves.”

A little more on why I’m a Pearl Jam fan

In 200, they released an album called Yield.  The highlight of that album, at least for me, was a song called Soon Forget.  It was Eddie Vedder on a ukulele singing a song about a man who loves money to the exclusion of everything else.  I previously included it on my top 25 favorite songs of all time.  In a 2000 concert in Seattle, he even admitted he wrote the song with Bill Gates in mind…

 

Well, several years later, I read that the chord progression was ripped from a song by The Who, called Blue, Red and Grey.  This song is basically fantastic too.  It’s a song about appreciating every part of the day.  I hope you enjoy.

Come on Beatles, you can do better for your US fans

I meant to post this sooner, but the holiday rush and everything kept me busy.

The Beatles announced early last week that, in the US, they would be releasing the US albums collection so that people who grew up hearing their songs in a certain order could have CD or digital versions of those albums.  Now, me, I got into them in the mid 90’s, so I’ve only ever heard the British versions that were released on CD in 1987.  I don’t care to have them in a different order, that’s what shuffle is for on my Ipod.  So, thanks? Beatles…

On the same day, they announce that, in the UK, they would be releasing bootleg live and studio outtakes from 1963 exclusively to Itunes in order to extend the copyright on those versions of the recordings under British law.  Apparently, copyright lasts 70 years if the take is released, but only 50 years if the take is unreleased.  Shrewd move by the most famous band in the history of forever?  Definitely, but why give this gift to only people in the UK Itunes store??

 

i mean, in your 2012 vinyl re-release announcement, it was said said that the mono versions of those records would be released in 2013.  I held off getting Sgt Pepper because I want the trippier version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, because I want the slightly slower version of She’s Leaving Home, I want the superior-sounding version of the album on vinyl.  And after a year of waiting, I get the US versions of your albums?

 

The Beatles, I love you, but you can do better than this.  I have waited patiently for what you announced would happen, now at least throw a bone and release a statement saying why that didn’t end up happening?  Do you hear me Beatles??

 

Sincerely, 

Seattle Music Nerd

Why do people love Pearl Jam?

Pearl Jam are now 10 albums and 21 years into their careers as musicians.  Their first 3 albums are impeccable and well respected pinnacles of the grunge catalog.  Where people stopped listening was their 4th album, No Code.

No Code was their effort to expand their sound.  There’s tribal drums, several acoustic numbers, weird songs (possibly about Doctor Dolittle imaginary animals) and a 1:00 long punk number finding solace in a crazy world on the couch of the bass player from Mudhoney.

For Pearl Jam-aholics like me, there are several tracks from No Code that have become live highlights.  Up in My Tree, Sometimes, Who You Are, and of course that 60 second blast, Lukin.  I’ve only seen Pearl Jam live once, in September 2009, the day after I finished my last class to earn my Master’s Degree.  This was my reward, paying $75 after ticketmaster fees to see one of my favorite bands.  There were 3 songs I wanted to see them play, and the video posted below has 2 of them back to back.  The other song I wanted to hear, Black, was also played.  It was a no frills concert, but there wasn’t a single person sitting for the whole show.  I was at the back of the stadium with a full view of the stage, but that didn’t even matter.

It is my opinion that Pearl Jam will be my generations (well, they’re older than me really) The Rolling Stones.  Regardless of whether they’re still a going concern in rock radio 30 years from now, I believe they will still be pleasing fans with their concerts, digging out old rarely played nuggets just so that the concerts can be a unique experience.  Oh, and at 17 seconds, the high pitched scream you can hear is me…

Now, why do people love Pearl Jam, because once in a while they do the unexpected and turn a 45 second (in concert song) into a slow burner backed by a string quartet.  Affectionately called “Slow Lukin” by fans, this version was only played on the back end of the same tour on which I saw them, but when I heard they did it this way, I knew I had to buy their official bootleg of this concert.  Oh, by the way, they’ve successfully created secondary industry in which their fans buy several concerts from their shows because they’re high quality recordings of unique experiences.  Pearl Jam don’t create a standard playlist, they want people who’ve seen them 50 times to be thrilled by what they see.  They want people who’ve never seen them to have a memorable experience.  And that is why people love Pearl Jam.

…day after Christmas…

Ben Folds Five- Brick

Perhaps the most popular song ever written about two young kids in love and the mixed feelings they have after getting an abortion. But, it’s written so tenderly, you hardly even notice. Too bad I posted at 7:30AM the day after Christmas, I couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed at the 6AM of the song…

Wish granted

Several weeks ago, I wrote that my earbuds had suddenly stopped working.  I used that opportunity to shop around for a nice pair of over ear headphones that offered the highest frequency range at the most reasonable price.

Now (nerd alert), the average human frequency range is 20hz to 20Khz.  That happens to be the same range as Beats by Dre.  Which are expensive.  Luckily, American Audio offers a pair of headphones with a frequency range of 5hz to 30Khz at about a quarter of the price.

Mostly, people don’t know what to get me for gift buying occasions.  But I did happen to mention this specific pair of headphones.  What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a new pair of headphones (but no tiny reindeer).  Thanks family!

#1 Alt-Christmas Song

The Fairytale of New York
The Pogues f. Kristy MacColl

As I said in my 25 favorite songs of all time, there’s so much heart in this song. I love singing it. It’s now 27 years old, but has charted in the top 20 in England every December for the last 12 years running. Kristy MacColl was killed under mysterious circumstances in 2000 and a portion of the singles proceeds go to the Justice for Kristy campaign.

I have to thank my best friend. 14 years ago, he asked me to find “Christmas in the Drunk Tank” to put on a christmas music album that was mostly The Beatles holiday recordings, and that suggestion was how I found this song. Because of that, I became a fan of The Pogues. Last year, my girlfriend bought me the record with this song on it. So yeah, that started it all.