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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Full Albums:

  • Alicia Keys, As I Am1
  • Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • Gym Class Heroes, The Quilt2
  • Massive Attack, Mezzanine3
  • Robyn, Body Talk, Pt. 2
  • Royskopp, Junior
  • Talking Heads, Popular Favorites 1976-1992: Sand In The Vaseline4
  • The-Dream, Love King (Deluxe Edition)
  • Thin Lizzy, Dedication (The Very Best of Thin Lizzy)5
  • Wale, Attention Deficit
  • Warpaint, Exquisite Corpse6

Random Excellence:

  • The Knux, “F!re (Put it in the Air)”
  • Porcupine Tree, “What Happens Now”
  • Nine Inch Nails, “HYPERPOWER!”
  • Lykke Li, “Complaint Department”
  • David Bowie, “Modern Love”

Songs of the Week:

  • Gym Class Heroes, “Cookie Jar”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Dance Yrself Clean”

Reviews:

1. First and foremost, I bought this album for my mom for Christmas off the strength of “No One.” My mom loves female vocalists where the focus is completely on the vocals: Babs, Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, Celine Dion, etc. What I didn’t realize at the time (because I hadn’t listened to more than just “No One”) was that Alicia can fucking sing but she can also tickle the fucking ivories. The problem here is that she plays a mean piano as well as sings the pants off of songs–the music is too much a part of the singing for my mom. Uh, plus it’s not really white-people music; which is to say, I love it because it’s R&B, well sung, well played, well collaborated, and just plain old well executed. So for me, it’s amazing even thought it’s kind of foreign for my mom. To get to the point, I listen to this album and read the reviews thinking, “Really? Four stars out of five? This can only be because we all hold Alicia to a greater standard. This album compared to most music is a six, but compared to Alicia its about a 4.5. It’s debating good versus great for an entire album.”

2. Major themes seem to be that Travie wants to be monogamous but just keeps hitting on chicks. Which is great, but The-Dream is far more decisive about that and thus the only two songs I like on this album are “Cookie Jar” and “Catch Me if you Can.” Oddly, “Kissing Ears” also features The-Dream (yes, I know “Catch Me if you Can” doesn’t) but is kind of a let-down. That song has the same problem that most of the album does: what the fuck is this hook and why is it happening so much? Really? You’re into kissing ears? I’m all about the lips.A I’ve been known to kiss ears on occasion, but in my opinion nothing has ever truly shown your appreciation of your significant other like a kiss on the lips.

3. If I was into drugs, I would be a huge fan of this album. Since I am not, I like “Angel” and “Black Milk.”

4. I talked with my dad about this. I told him, “I think they win. They win at music.” We had a chat about how they’re one of those bands that has made some songs that everyone loves. In my opinion they (art school graduates) have crafted songs that are true art because they reveal something that not only resonates with people but also reveals something new with each visit. For example, in our chat, my dad quoted “Psycho Killer” to one of his colleagues: “I hate it when people are not polite.” As recently as three days ago, this was a lyric that I had not yet listened to enough for it to register personally. But when dad mentioned it in his story about his friend, it came up in my next listen: BOOM. Classic: simple yet refined; elegant, terse, eloquent.

This is about to be the first multiple-paragraph twim review; it makes sense because these guys might have invented music after the eighties.

I started listening to them again because I was at a friend’s birthday party and he put “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)” on the jukebox and something snapped in the back of my mind: “My God. I’ve loved these guys since I was a kid. Playing Stop Making Sense in dad’s Peugot when I was, what, ten? I could never figure out the lyrics but I loved the melodies from the moment I heard them.” So I started listening again. And they win.

5. Hits and misses. I know they’re great but their Greatest Hits album isn’t entirely great: the great songs are great and some other stuff is good. I get that they were one of the originators of the twin-guitar attack matched with poetic lyrics yet the songs that hit and hit hardest are the songs that just repeat awesome choruses. I’m aware of the irony considering my here-enclosed Gym Class Heroes review, but you do realize they’re Thin Lizzy and the other dudes are Gym Class Heroes, right? Thin motherfucking Lizzy versus Gym Class Heroes. It goes back to that Alicia Keys argument: it’s arguing greatness versus generally okay.

6. The kids are alright, but I imagine if I’d been the producer I probably would have said, after every song, “This is great…but can we tighten it up? It’s a 30-minute EP with only five songs.  You’re very, very talented but I want an album that isn’t averaging 6 minutes per song: you can’t sell that shit. America wants 3 minute songs. America has the attention span of a four-year old. Get to the point. Make it rock? Yes. Experiment? Yes. Guitars? Yes. Cool lyrics? Yes. Seven-minute songs? No.”

Comment:

More sorry than usual that this was very late. It’s the season where everyone around me is suddenly sick so I freaked out and bought Vitamin C, Zyrtec, 12-hour Sudafed, Chloraseptic, Benadryl and Zicam. As a result, I have no idea if I’m actually sick, but I sometimes sleep poorly and spend my day exhausted. It doesn’t help that the only place paying me is retail, a wondrous place where all of a sudden I’m back on the scheduleB–a place where 95% of my job is lifting things and the rest is placating managers or answering stupid questions from customers. So if I wasn’t sick, my back would hurt anyway. And so I lost track of my heart, my blog–I forgot what was important to me.

Damn you, Fall. You ain’t got shit on Winter.

A. BOOM! DOUBLE ENTENDRE.

B. Because I’m good at stuff. Seriously, ask me to do something I’ve never done before, give me about an hour and there’s a 95% chancei I’ll be better at it than you. However, give me something to do that I’ve been doing for over 2 years with nary a challenge? I will be underwhelmed, unimpressed, vacant and probably hateful. I regret that. I love challenges but I hate monotony. Grammar? Perpetual challenge and ever-developing debate. Beauty products? Same place, different day, different dumbasses.

i. Turns out 95% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Post Script: The wait was worth it, amirite? There is neither joke nor addendum here. I salute you for checking in and waiting.

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Full Albums:

  • Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
  • Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Pt. Two: Return Of The Ankh
  • Ghostface Killah, Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City
  • Kings of Leon, Because of the Times and Only by the Night
  • Mark Ronson and The Business Intl, Record Collection
  • Mike Posner, 30 Minutes to Takeoff…
  • Owl City, Ocean Eyes
  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, Mecca & the Soul Brother
  • Prince, Prince
  • Robert Plant, Band of Joy1
  • Robyn, Body Talk Pt. 2
  • The Rolling Stones, Beggar’s Banquet
  • Santogold, Santogold
  • Soundgarden, Telephantasm
  • The-Dream, Love Hate
  • Wiz Khalifa, Kush & Orange Juice2

Random Excellence:

  • The Wildbirds, “It’s Alright Now”
  • Usher, “There Goes My Baby”
  • Shakira, “She Wolf”
  • Public Enemy, “Shut ‘Em Down”
  • The Postal Service, “This Place is a Prison”

Songs of the Week:

  • The Temper Trap, “Sweet Disposition” and “Fader”

Reviews:

1. I had high hopes for this but I think the only song on it I like is the first one. The dude can still sing but folk music is just not my thing. Like every once in a while someone pulls it off–and it’s usually only the folk songs with huge gospel flairs–but I don’t think this is one of those situations. I have nothing but respect for Mr. Plant, but I do not like this album.

2. With the release of his music video for “Black and Yellow,” this had to happen. Although I don’t smoke anything, I understand the appeal of having a vice. So I can’t entirely relate to 60 minutes of waking and baking, he can still rap.

Comment:

Owl City’s “The Tip of the Iceberg” reminds me of The Postal Service’s “Brand New Colony” which didn’t get played this week but The Postal Service’s “This Place is a Prison” did. I don’t have anything insightful to say, just playing a miniature game of six degrees of separation.

Out of the new interns, there are two I would consider making out with; one kissed me tonight. No making out but holy shit that girl can kiss. That was the beginning and end of our interaction all night, but it made me wonder a couple of things: What the hell am I doing right? Why do girls want to kiss me more in the last month than they have in the last four years? Am I fucking crazy or, after a girl kisses you, do you want to spend the next 12-48 hours with a woman doing the kind of stuff you can’t blog about? Perhaps more importantly, should I even be taking any of these girls seriously? If they want to kiss me after laughing at some bullshit I made up, will any of them want to date for more than an hour? Are my questions stupid and will anyone besides me ever try to figure this crap out?

No. I will go on, write some more copy editing cover letters and look forward to the next woman that wants to lace my lips with lascivious offerings of temporary love.

Full Albums:

  • B.B. King, Live in Cook County Jail1
  • Best Coast, Crazy for You2
  • Eagles of Death Metal, Heart On3
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
  • Lupe Fiasco, Enemy of the State
  • Mark Ronson and The Business Intl, Record Collection4
  • Owl City, Ocean Eyes5
  • Robyn, Body Talk, Pt. 26
  • Santogold, Santogold7
  • Soundgarden, Telephantasm8
  • The Temper Trap, Conditions9
  • The-Dream, Love Hate and Love King (Deluxe Edition)

Random Excellence:

  • Wu Tang vs. The Beatles, “Run”
  • Brand New, “(Fork and Knife)”
  • Slim Harpo, “Shake Your Hips”
  • Pearl Jam, “Last Exit”
  • Outkast, “Life is like a Musical”

Songs of the Week:

  • Motherfucking Child Rebel Soldiers, “Don’t Stop!”10
  • Mark Ronson and The Motherfucking Business Intl, “Bang Bang Bang”

Reviews:

1. As far as I’m concerned, “Worry, Worry” is a perfect song. It’s right up there with “Once in a Lifetime” or “Ventilator Blues.” And “The Thrill is Gone” is right there, too: it’s funky, it’s bluesy and it shows just how good everyone in that band is. An excellent album.

2. I don’t know if I copped the wrong version or something, but this is like a female-led short-bus version of The Beatles. There was a lot of hype but the repetition was killing me.

3. I was surprised I listened to this all the way through because it’s a spotty record: parts are sublime and parts are plain old mediocre. At the time I was donating platelets, an hour and a half process, and I couldn’t stop listening. I didn’t want to. It just made sense at the time. (I’m only getting this now, but…HeartOn…) Afterward I tried to listen to The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs because that’s been receiving all kinds of critical acclaim, but I had to stop early and switch back to Mark Ronson. I know it’s good and I did like it but I think I’m still angry with them for making such a terrible sophomoric debut. I hated it. “No Cars Go” was good and I guess “Keep the Car Running” was okay. So This album and Ronson’s were good for me while I was deathly afraid the needle in my vein had pierced no vein and was sapping my life force instead of platelets.

4. It’s like prog-pop. Lots of notes, lots of guest vocalists, lots of quality.

5. I worry “Fireflies” will be his only hit. It’s good and he’s a witty guy, but the production makes it hard to differentiate between songs. However, there is a good chance I’ll rescind that judgment as I continue to listen. Right, Sleigh Bells?

6. Where have you been all my life?

7. Like I hinted last week, this is a great album. There’s a lot of great material here and I still think I’ve only just scratched the surface. Even so, “Lights Out” stands above and beyond for me–it’s catchy, it’s cool and those guitars are fucking working for her. She’s like the indie Alicia Keys. And it’s awesome.

8. Right now the best two songs are the first and the last ones. But of course, it makes me wonder why I loved “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage” and “Fell on Black Days” (among many other radio-friendly songs) and only recently decided I love Soundgarden. I remember in high school the very same best friend whose mother decided we should make time capsules was a huge fan of Queens of the Stone Age and Soundgarden. And for some reason, I don’t pick up on those bands until way after the fact. Regardless, they played the shit out of their instruments and wrote some incredibly intelligent songs.

9. I really like “Sweet Disposition” and “Fader” and I think the rest of the album makes me want to murder them. Not sure yet, but I am pretty sure I don’t like anything on there but those two songs.

10. This came out on Friday. My playcount for it as of Sunday, 12AM was 10. Note, though, that playcount doesn’t account for when I first heard it on the internet and played it again and again or the times I’ve listened to it or the “back” button. I award highest points possible to all parties involved. It’s G.O.O.D. as hell.

Comment:

That was the scariest platelet donation I’ve ever made. The lady checked to make sure the needle was in the vein like three times. Even after that, the apheresis machine decided the pressure wasn’t enough to draw blood three times, which means there was an alarm and flashing lights everywhere. I had just been listening to B.B. King so I was perfectly relaxed and content, but this lady and this machine are freaking me the fuck out. I don’t want to die because, in the process of attempting to help people in need of platelets, some lady poked my secret, oddly located Achilles heel with a needle. So I listened to Record Collection again to keep me from ripping the needle out and going on a rampage in downtown Brooklyn as if my name was Teddy Daniels.

Over six years ago, one of my best friends’ mom had all of us fill out a time capsule we were supposed to open five years later. One of the questions was about what we wanted to do, where we saw ourselves in five years. Actually, some of my favorite songs are still Led Zeppelin’s “Wanton Song” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” and my favorite food is still Macaroni and Cheese, but I digest. I accomplished what I wanted to do: I’m a published writer, but on the way I realized it’s exactly what I don’t want.

There’s a history of alcoholism in my family and, as previously discussed, some of my best writing is done under the influence. Sometimes it’s inadvisable or regrettable, but some of my most humorous, insightful and well-written stuff happens when I can barely see straight. I’d like to pretend I write after hanging out with friends all the time, but that’s a bold-faced lie: sometimes when I have to write something I don’t want to write, the only thing that can get me to sit down is a drink–the only thing that can get the words flowing is something I jokingly call “writing juice.” And I hate that. It intimidates me to directly associate the task with the drink, even as a joke.

I know I can’t write and drink for the rest of my life. I like being alive, I like being a functional human being. I don’t want to lose my marbles (yep, line up ladies–that’s family history, too), I don’t want to ever have to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting–I’ve seen Rescue Me. I understand how hard it is to get back and stay back and I don’t want to ever have a reason to have to learn how to get back.

But on the other hand, I have been able to copy edit (or copyedit) and enjoy it while sober for over four years. That is, I’ve enjoyed it and lost hours of my life to it for four years. The best example was when I was interning at a publishing house and they had me edit something. I looked at the clock around 4:30 and checked it again when it was about 8:30. Four hours disappeared and merged the definitions of work and play together for me. Those were the kind of hours I want to have for the rest of my life. If I die in a cubicle while copy editing, then I might have fulfilled my life’s purpose. Hopefully that doesn’t come off as bleak because I mean it strictly in the inspirational sense–coping with workoholism seems like a much healthier life than coping with alcoholism.

And of course my intent is still to work for the FDNY and I took the NYPD test, but those are, realistically, just alternate options I’m considering while I wait to get called up to the big leagues. The reason the FDNY appeals to me is because they’re helping people and saving lives. While a copy editor won’t save any lives, I will most certainly help people. Copy editing and possibly freelance writing on the side is the ideal because I get everything I want without diving too deeply into the family history. But the FDNY still fits into that dream too, because I would be able to save lives while saving copy in my spare time and possibly between calls. I only took the Police Officer Exam because this city’s been good to me and I don’t want to have to leave because of a stupid fucking recession.

So I wait. And apply.

Full Albums:

  • The Afghan Whigs, 1965
  • Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux (Deluxe Edition)
  • Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
  • GZA, Pro Tools
  • Interpol, Interpol
  • LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening!
  • Mark Ronson and The Business Intl, Record Collection1
  • The National, High Violet2
  • Passion Pit, Manners
  • Pearl Jam, Vs.
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St. (Deluxe Edition)
  • The Roots, How I Got Over

Random Excellence:

  • Van Halen, “(Oh) Pretty Woman”
  • U2, “New Year’s Day”
  • Sleigh Bells, “Crown on the Ground”

Songs of the Week:

  • The Rolling Stones, “Ventilator Blues”
  • The Heavy, “How You Like Me Now?”
  • Gorillaz, “Orchestral Intro” and “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach”
  • Erykah Badu, “Honey”

Reviews:

1. On first listen, this is just as good as I was hoping. New favorite business includes “Bang Bang Bang” and “Selector.” It’s just like the album cover advertises: new people singing new songs with all the synth trappings of the ’80s.

2. I’m having a hard time getting into it because I know the lyrics are depressing but I also know the music’s pretty great. Unique sounds, beats I love (just keep hitting that hi-hat) and a solid voice yet still those lyrics are beyond me right now and I’m kind of trying to keep it that way.

Comment:

I finally got to do a copyedit test over the weekend and it was part funnest test ever and part terrifying triple checking my own work to make sure I did everything right. If I can copyedit for these people, there’s a very good chance I will have my dream job. So I listened to like four albums to silence all the distractions and how excited I am.

I know I said new music was coming but the reason I got a virus last time was because of new music. So you’ll understand if I was a little apprehensive about upping my tracks. But I have a bunch of new jumpoffs to listen to now so I might be okay for a while. You’ve heard about this Santogold character, I presume? I was thrown off by the album cover when her shit dropped, but I’ve been listening and I’m beginning to get the impression she secretly runs music. I’m beginning to realize how great (influential?) she is despite the gross cover.