Sunday, February 15, 2009
"Music to be heard but not listened to --a new kind of music whose vitalizing influence subliminally satisfies the desire for sweet music."
So says an article in the KHOL-TV (now KHGI) Telecaster of August 15, 1960.
The headline reads "Muzak Music Emblem Symbolizes Quality."
Of course, now the headlines say "Muzak Files for Bankruptcy" -- just check out the links on Google News.
As synonymous as Muzak is with "elevator music" and soulless, bland background music, it's hard to think of a time when some wouldn't play pop music in their stores because it was too "irritating" (keep reading). But now we're bombarded with the likes of Lil' Wayne, Soulja Boy, and (shudder) Nickelback when we're grabbing a sandwich or shopping for trash bags.
Continuing in the 1960 promotional piece, it says "Muzak is functionally planned and specially recorded music that soothes nervous tensions and fosters the friendly feelings of customers and employees alike."
"Muzak dose not require active listening. It filters the irritating noises of the modern age. Customers feel better, more relaxed and more congenial when they're surrounded by Music by Muzak."
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Nearly five years ago, I blogged by favorite U2 songs.
Now here's another try, probably much the same. Let's see how things change (or stay the same). In no particular order:
Until the End of the World
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
North and South of the River (favorite non-album track by far)
I Will Follow
Sunday Bloody Sunday
With or Without You
All I Want is You
City of Blinding Lights
U2 single most likely to skip: Stuck in a Moment
Other songs I can't quite put on my list but I would like to: The Fly, Mysterious Ways, One, Elevation, Vertigo, Walk On, Lemon, Stay, Pride.
Song I hope U2 closes their last ever show with: 40. No question about that one.
Lesser known songs I really like: Lady with the Spinning Head, Gone, When Love Comes to Town, Mofo, Dirty Day (Junk Day mix), Acrobat, Lemon
I do like the new single, Get On Your Boots. It's growing on me. I've been especially feeling the bass line. I think I was so caught up by the lyrics / delivery and guitar part to think about the bass part, but I like it more on each passing listen.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
If you need a new music fix this Christmas, Anberlin's new album _New Surrender_ is available to download for $3.99 from Amazon for a limited time.
If you want a sample, check out "Feel Good Drag"
Sunday, December 14, 2008
*Put your music player on shuffle.
*For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
* YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
1) IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY...
Alright, I was wrong
2) WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Christmas in Hollis
3) WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A GUY/GIRL?
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
4) HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
5) WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
Hanging by a moment
6) WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
7) WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
8) WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Livin' on a Prayer
9) WHAT IS 2+2?
10) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Five Iron Frenzy is either dead or dying
11) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Get to Heaven
12) WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Extreme North of the Compass
13) WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Fabulous, like you
14) WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
15) WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
16) WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Don't Wait (but I'm already married...)
17) WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
1979 (that would be a few years off)
18) WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
19) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
20) WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
No One Like You
21) HOW WILL YOU DIE?
22) WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Someplace Worth Being
23) WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
24) WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
25) WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
Nothing Like a Train
26) WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
27) DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
28) IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE
29) WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
I'm Not Letting Go
30) WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Into the Groove
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Now it's time to talk about what they left off.
Since VH1 seemed to have quotas to fill based on various genres and categories, I'm going to do the same. I thought it was interesting no one had two songs on the countdown, except Dr. Dre, and one of his was with Tupac and the other with Snoop Dogg, so that's a little different.
I know it's unrealistic to include all these, but pick at least one from each category.
Career artists who weren't one hit wonders, but not alternative enough either:
This is where the VH1 list really falters. It leans heavily towards the Right Said Freds of the world. But look at whose expense.
Janet Jackson. Hello?! I can think of like 8 or 9 hits she had in the '90s right off the top of my head. This is a glaring oversight. Marcy Playground makes the VH1 list, but not Janet?
Bryan Adams - "Everything I Do (I Do it for You)" This song must not be hip enough.
Amy Grant - "Baby Baby" is the obvious choice here.
Tom Petty - I think "Free Fallin'" was '89, but he had a string of hits into the '90s.
George Michael "Freedom" still sounds great.
Non-American alt rock bands with names that don't have radio or head in them:
Depeche Mode "Enjoy the Silence"
The Cure "Friday I'm in Love" was '90s, right?
So we left off Amy Grant, but there were other Christian artists who broke into the mainstream.
Sixpence None the Richer - "Kiss Me" was more popular than anything by the Geto Boys that made the list.
Jars of Clay "Flood"
Straight up pop music, that's neither hip nor ironic:
New Kids on the Block
Ace of Base
Boyz II Men "Motownphilly", "End of the Road", etc.
Offspring "Come Out and Play", "Pretty Fly for a White Guy"
Blink 182 "What's My Age Again?"
Any single from Green Day's Dookie
Remnants of the '80s hair metal days, even though that music lasted into the '90s:
Extreme "More than Words"
Poison and Motley Crue had some '90s hits
Guns N Roses "November Rain"
Third Wave Ska Influence:
No Doubt "Just a Girl", "Don't Speak"
Mighty Mighty Bosstones "The Impression that I Get"
Fatboy Slim "Going Out of My Head", "Praise You", etc
Moby "South Side"
Alternative Artists Who Aren't Soundgarden:
Blur "Song 2"
Nine Inch Nails "Closer". This omission really surprises me. I totally saw VH1 carving out a spot for this song, as the quintessential '90s industrial-pop song.
Smashing Pumpkins "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", "1979", "Disarm", "Tonight, Tonight". Again, this really surprises me.
Bjork "Human Behavior"
Jangly College Rock that's not R.E.M.
Soul Asylum "Runaway Train"
Gin Blossoms "Hey Jealousy"
Friday, December 21, 2007
Grammatical blunders aside, on to the rest of the list. I'll post some stuff left off the list later.
Again, selections on my iPod in bold.
100 Greatest Songs Of The '90s Full List
01. Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Guh. Didn't see that coming. ;) I get why it's here, but I'm 31, not 15, so the teen angst just do it for me anymore. Yeah, I know, it blew out the '80s pop and hair metal, yada yada yada. The song still has this visceral appeal, and I get it. Just too predictable on this list.
02. U2 "One" - No argument here. This would be on top of my list. It beautifully captures this kind of gripping ambiguity. But whatever it is, it's got just one of those songs that makes my hair stand on end.
03. Backstreet Boys "I Want It That Way" - I must admit, it's a perfectly crafted pop song.
04. Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"
05. Madonna "Vogue" - I'm a little surprised she's not on the list again, but I'm not sure anyone showed up more than once, did they?
06. Sir Mix-A-Lot "Baby Got Back"
07. Britney Spears "...Baby One More Time"
08. TLC "Waterfalls"
09. R.E.M. "Losing My Religion" - When it got to the top ten and I hadn't seen R.E.M. I nearly freaked it wasn't going to be on the list.
10. Sinéad O'Connor "Nothing Compares 2 U"
11. Pearl Jam "Jeremy" - I know there's plenty of grunge on this list, but where's the Smashing Pumpkins? Disarm, 1979, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, something?
12. Alanis Morissette "You Oughta Know"
13. Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg) "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang"
14. Mariah Carey "Vision of Love" - I was struck by how young (and modest) Mariah looks in this video. I'll give her one thing, she can sing.
15. Red Hot Chili Peppers "Under the Bridge"
16. MC Hammer "U Can't Touch This" - I still remember seeing, and getting close to Hammer at Cornerstone '98, where I was bummed he did none of his hits, not even Pray. Plus I remember The Echoing Green's poster that said, "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Us." Heehee
17. Destiny's Child "Say My Name"
18. Metallica "Enter Sandman" - Oh my goodness, I just remember how big this song was among the guys I knew in high school.
19. Beastie Boys "Sabotage" - Classic video, plus they showed they weren't just party rappers, they could rock too.
20. Hanson "MMMBop"
21. Celine Dion "My Heart Will Go On"
22. Beck "Loser" - I remember cranking the radio when this came on. And I remember thinking we'd never hear from this guy again. I love songs that feel on the verge, like the whole time you're just a step from losing it.
23. Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue "Whatta Man"
24. House of Pain "Jump Around"- They got more rhymes than the bible's got psalms.
25. Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun" - I have a cover of Copeland doing this. Weird.
26. Eminem "My Name Is"- Never got into Eminem, but I see the appeal.
27. Counting Crows "Mr. Jones"
28. Ricky Martin "Livin' la Vida Loca"
29. Vanilla Ice "Ice Ice Baby"
30. *NSYNC "Tearin' Up My Heart"
31. Radiohead "Creep" - Anberlin covered this. Personally, I would have put "Karma Police" on the list over "Creep", but whatever.
32. BLACKstreet "No Diggity" - I had totally forgotten about this song, but I dig the beat.
33. Spice Girls "Wannabe"
34. Third Eye Blind "Semi-Charmed Life" - I never got into these guys, or Matchbox 20.
35. Oasis "Wonderwall" - Not as good as say U2's "One", but I do like the song. Green Day apparently does too. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is essentially the same song.
36. C+C Music Factory "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)"
37. Green Day "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" I like how people think it's this sweet sentimental song, when the title is "Good Riddance." Come on people, think about it. He's telling someone to get lost.
38. Christina Aguilera "Genie In A Bottle"
39. Goo Goo Dolls "Iris"
40. Color Me Badd "I Wanna Sex You Up"
41. Spin Doctors "Two Princes"
42. Collective Soul "Shine" - Glad to see the guys make this list.
43. En Vogue "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"
44. The Fugees "Killing Me Softly With His Song"
45. Hootie & the Blowfish "Only Wanna Be With You" - I would have picked "Hold My Hand" but you have to include Hootie on this list.
46. Shania Twain "You're Still the One"
47. Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch "Good Vibrations" - Come on, who out there figured this guy would not only still be around, but would be an A list actor. I mean, he was the brother of a New Kid.
48. Matchbox Twenty "3 AM"
49. Jewel "Who Will Save Your Soul"
50. Alice in Chains "Man in the Box"
51. Tupac (featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman) "California Love"
52. Sugar Ray "Fly"
53. Naughty by Nature "O.P.P." - They don't do rap anthems like they used to, what with stuff like this and "Jump Around."
54. Joan Osborne "One of Us"
55. Fiona Apple "Criminal"
56. L.L. Cool J "Mama Said Knock You Out"
57. Jay-Z featuring Amil and Ja Rule "Can I Get A..."
58. Sophie B. Hawkins "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover"
59. Weezer "Buddy Holly"
60. Bell Biv DeVoe "Poison"
61. Sheryl Crow "All I Wanna Do"
62. Live "I Alone" - I forgot how compelling Live was.
63. The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Mase & Puff Daddy "Mo Money Mo Problems"
64. The Presidents of the United States of America "Peaches"
65. Digital Underground "The Humpty Dance" - I can't believe I have this song. It was on some compliation.
66. Edwin McCain "I'll Be" - Edwin apparently has some time on his hands. I think he commented on like half the songs on the countdown.
67. Deee-Lite "Groove Is In The Heart"
68. Will Smith "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It"
69. Korn "Freak on a Leash" - Can. Not. Stand. Korn.
70. Jamiroquai "Virtual Insanity"
71. Arrested Development "Tennessee" - I really liked this album. The whole positive rap vibe works for me.
72. Barenaked Ladies "One Week" - OK, why is this not on my iPod? That's got to be some mistake. I'm glad there was a pop song name checking Smoking Man from the X-Files, one of my favorite '90s shows.
73. Marcy Playground "Sex and Candy"
74. Cher "Believe" - You've got to be kidding me.
75. Kris Kross "Jump"
76. Blues Traveler "Run-Around" - The royalty checks must still be coming in on this. I still hear this on the radio.
77. Ice Cube "It Was a Good Day"
78. Lenny Kravitz "Are You Gonna Go My Way" - Probably my favorite song of his. He hasn't done anything I've been interested in yet this decade.
79. Meredith Brooks "Bitch"
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Some thoughts on songs 100-81... songs on my iPod in bold:
81. Paula Cole "I Don't Want to Wait"
82. Geto Boys "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" - I barely recognized this. Have no idea why it's on here. There's much better '90s hip hop than this. What about Coolio (Fantastic Voyage, Gangsta's Paradise), or something poppy like PM Dawn, or even Biz Markie's "Just a Friend".
83. The Breeders "Cannonball" - Reminds me of Viva Voce's Wrecking Ball, another low-fi catchy girl rock song with ball in the title.
84. Snow "Informer" - You've got to be kidding me. This made the list why?
85. Cypress Hill "Insane In The Brain"
86. The Cranberries "Linger" - Why don't I have this on my iPod? I kinda dig the Craberries.
87. Billy Ray Cyrus "Achy Breaky Heart"
88. Duncan Sheik "Barely Breathing" - Saw him open for Jars of Clay at the Fargo Dome. Can you say that?
89. Liz Phair "Never Said" - Never got Liz Phair, to be honest.
90. New Radicals "You Get What You Give" - Dang this song is catchy. From the moment it came out, it just sounded like a classic. Reminds me of Fine Young Cannibals "Good Thing", a band who in similar fashion disappeared as quickly as it came.
91. Sarah McLachlan "Building a Mystery"
92. Public Enemy "911 Is A Joke" - If this is on the list, surely "Fight the Power" will be on the list, unless it came out in the '80s.
93. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories "Stay" - Great song, cool chick with glasses, what's not to like?
94. Fastball "The Way"
95. Montell Jordan "This is How We Do It" - Another one of those stupidly catchy songs. If I could write something half as catchy, I'd be happy.
96. Nelson "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" - Didn't three generations of Nelsons hit the charts? Ozzie, Ricky, Nelson?
97. Prince & The New Power Generation "Gett Off" - I'd have picked "Thieves in the Temple" or "7" or something else from the '90s, but Prince needs to be on this list.
98. EMF"Unbelievable" - Another one of those riffs that will never die.
99. Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"
100. Gerardo "Rico Suave"
20 songs so far, only four on my iPod. Let's see where this takes us...
Friday, October 12, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Apparently the ability to play instruments factors little into today's pop music, or so the annual MTV Video Music Awards would lead one to believe.
We didn't get to see a complete song from a single rock act. And those we did hear snippets from either peaked ten years ago (Foo Fighters) or will be quickly forgotten (Fall Out Boy).
There's really not a band even nearing the same level as U2 or Bon Jovi, let alone Red Hot Chili Peppers or Coldplay.
That's not all bad. A lot of arena rock and stadium rock bands of the past frankly stunk.
And there are tons of decent bands that either play regionally or rely on an internet fan base. They don't need label support, radio play, and heavy rotation on MTV. I think we're officially beyond that.
A killer live show coupled with a strong web presence is enough to get by. Not Aerosmithian fame, but not fleeting like some quickly forgotten flavor of the month.
I think of bands I like, like Mute Math, Anberlin, and Mae. I think these are bands that will put out more than an album or two (and mostly have). I think these are bands that continue to play for a while. I think we're going to see a lot of these mid-level bands, and fewer acts reaching U2's stratosphere.
(That's not a knock on U2, after all they are still my favorite band of all time).
But as Sara and I were talking during this farce on MTV, honoring videos no one has seen, the iPod may have killed the video star.
Of course, these things are cyclical. Britney certainly appears done. That turn of the millennium pop is out, thank goodness.
Hip hop certainly has proven its staying power, but it does feel very clean and poppy. When it gets too safe for suburban America, the tide could change.
So, as expected, the VMAs pretty well sucked. But then again, I loose all credibility when I suggest they should have graphics up telling me who these performers are. When you have to ask, you're too old.
We'll have our Fall Out Boys and My Chemical Romances, but for each of them we'll have a bunch of quality acts too. And those will be artists we don't have to shell out $150 bucks to see in an arena. So maybe the rock isn't dead after all; It's just gone to television purgatory.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Mute Math tickets in Omaha:
FULL PRICE TICKET US $15.00 x 2
Total Convenience Charge(s) US $5.65 x 2
Order Processing Charge(s) US $3.30
TOTAL CHARGES US $44.60
At least they're not charging to have tickets sent in the mail.
Sheesh. I still want to know what a convenience charge is. Convenient for Ticketmaster it would seem.
But Mute Math is more than worth it. I'd gladly write the band a check for $45 and not mess with the middle men.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Top 10 Influtential Works of Art Since 1900.
1. The Great Train Robbery
3. The Wizard of Oz
5. Super Mario Brothers
6. Sesame Street
9. Walt Disney Land
10. The Lord of the Rings
10a. Star Trek
Others mentioned but left off the list:
Superman, Saturday Night Live, The Honeymooners, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Star Wars IV, Breakfast Club, Three paintings by Picasso, Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell, American Gothic by Grant Wood, Schindler's List, 1984, The Late Show, Sgt. Peppers, Elvis's Sun Sessions, Johnny Cash's Live From Folsom Prison, West Side Story, Nirvana's Nevermind, Playboy Magazine, Fallwater by Frank Lloyd Wright, The Simpsons, Citizen Kane, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Survivor, Led Zeppelin IV, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and others.
Now, my list. I don't necessarily disagree with a lot on that list. It's a good starting point. Here, though, are some additions and explanations:
Execution of a VietCong Guerilla - I'd chose either this or the shot of the Flag at Iwo Jima. Photography as art and journalism at the same time. Film (and video) may be the 20th century's most prominent art form, but photography needs to be recongized on this list.
Zapruder Film - The leader of the free world killed, and it's captured on film. Plus it ushered in the era of the citizen journalist. The average person could create their own multimedia presentations, leading to home video, leading to Bob Saget narrating clips of men getting hit in the crotch.
Wizard of Oz - A cultural landmark. A huge movie for color.
Star Wars - Darth Vader is universally recognized. Everyone knows the quotes. "May the force be with you". "I am your father." Ushered in the special effects blockbuster.
The Simpsons - Postmodern sitcom that deconstructed earlier shows like "Ozzie and Harriet"
Great Train Robbery - first film that showed what the medium was capable of. Bridged the gap between low and high culture, leading to our current pop culture world (something that's bigger than the medium of film itself). Lead to Citizen Kane, etc. While you could pick another early film (like The Jazz Singer, Battleship Potemkin) this would be my choice.
1984 - "Big Brother" is fully ensconced in our cultural lexicon.
I Have a Dream - Wordplay is an artform. Delivery is an artform. This is those at their highest.
LOTR - what do I need to say? Huge influence on music, books, movies. Even the Beatles at one time talked about making a movie of it.
Coke bottle - mass marketing as pop art. How very modern.
White Christmas - The song, not the movie.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us - introduction of the internet meme.
Run DMC - Walk This Way. Brought rap into the mainstream. Rap is inherently postmodern, borrowing elements from other genres then recontextualizing them in a new form. Rap borrows from jazz, rock, pop. the blues, disco, etc. The latter part of the 20th century saw a rise in this kind of art. Take something old, twist it into something new. You could say that's a lot of what we see on YouTube. Take something from pop culture, spin it into something new.
Warhol - soup cans are iconic.
West Side Story - representative of the great American musical, the only true innovation American theater has brought to the centuries old artform
Cars - Model T, the '56 Chevy, the Vette, the Mustang. Cars are designed; They are works of art, and worshiped for their aesthetic appeal, in addition to their other qualities.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Saturday, March 31, 2007
How it works: Shuffle your iPod, mp3 player, or iTunes. Whatever. Shuffle through the first 25 songs. Take the first line of the song. As Jeff wrote, "No cheating and skipping embarrassing songs! List out the first lines of each song. Now, it’s up to you, the reader to guess the songs. How many can you figure out?"
I expect you to comment here, with the appropriate answers.
1. Where do we go? Nobody knows. I've gotta say I'm on my way down.
2. This is where the light starts to go backwards.
3. I was born long ago. I am the chosen I'm the one.
4. I keep trying to find a life, on my own, apart from you.
5. A lonely doll. She came again. Frozen wall. Like teenage skin
6. Am I alone in this? Never a night where I can sleep myself 'til day.
7. I can’t help my feelings; I’ll go out of my mind. These players come to get me ’Cause they’d like my behind.
8. I was just, thinking about you, thought I could call you, see if, I should tell you
9. Part of me. You are a part of me. I never want to lose.
10. What else should I say. Everyone is gay.
11. I walked into the room, and she was right there waiting. Leaning up against the bar,well she was perpetrating.
12. Well, I left Kentucky back in '49 And went to Detroit workin' on assembly line.
13. Today I watched the boats. Moving through the harbor.
14. You've got me feeling (song title) deeper than I've ever dreamed of.
15. The one (song title) In my life has gone away. I don't know why.
16. The world is a vampire.
17. Tough, you think you've got the stuff. You're telling me and anyone you're hard enough.
18. High, higher than the sun. You shoot me from a gun.
19. Toe to toe. Dancing very slow.
20. I was blinded by the devil. Born already ruined.
21. Take a step to what's real or at least to what it is I'm chasing.
22. She take my money, when I'm in need. Yeah she's a trifling friend indeed.
23. Now there's a backseat lover. That's always undercover.
24. You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold.
25. With music by our side. To break the color lines.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I'm so excited! Mute Math is coming to Nebraska in a few weeks! W00t!!
If you haven't seen these guys, you owe it to yourself. I've seen them twice before. And I saw the band that the lead singer used to be in. These guys are on the cusp of something huge. It's electro-alt-rock, or something like that.