Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Great Albums with Weak Last Songs

If there's anything worse than a great album with a weak first song, it's a great album with a weak last song. I mean, you're hitting the home stretch, you're flying along on the glory of one terrific tune after another, you're just waiting for that last song to finish it off in style, and you get there, and then it's just a letdown. It's not the worst crime in the world but it's annoying. Here's my list of great albums with disappointing last songs:

"Caroline No" - Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys)

So here we are, listening to supposedly the "Greatest Album of All Time," it's better than Sgt. Pepper, etc., and we get to the end and...it's this? Yeah, I know all the rock critics say that this is the beautiful, emotional finale to Pet Sounds where Brian Wilson expresses his disillusionment with love or something along those lines, but to me it sounds like he wrote it in fifteen minutes and spend about a half an hour recording it. "God Only Knows" I understand. Even "Sloop John B." But "Caroline No"? How about "Caroline No Thanks"?

"Good Night" - The White Album (The Beatles)

Not that there was any reasonable way to close the White Album, of course. But on an album where I like almost all of the songs that other people tend to call throwaways, I would actually call this one a throwaway. Fine, so John wanted to write a song for his son (instead of actually bothering to raise him), and they had Ringo sing it passively, and they had George Martin do an over-the-top orchestral arrangement...I can see what they were going for, but in the end I can take it or leave it. I suspect most people do the latter, given that the song is stranded behind the "How much sound collage am I in the mood for today" endurance test that is "Revolution No.9." The Beatles were pretty much the undisputed masters of the last song, but not this time.

"Hippie Boy" - The Gilded Palace of Sin (Flying Burrito Brothers)

Back when I first got a copy of the Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers CD, and noticed that it included all but two of the songs from their first album, I thought, "Well why didn't they just put the other two songs on there?" When I finally heard "Hippie Boy," however, I understood why. Basically it's just Gram Parsons rambling for five minutes about a bunch of loosely-connected topical references. He starts outs saying he met a hippie boy on the street, and then he says the hippie boy showed him a box, and apparently there was a dead kid in the box who got killed at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and you keep following the story expecting it to coalesce at some point, but instead it just ends with an improptu singalong of "Peace In The Valley." Why couldn't he just write another song?

"Oh Yoko" - Imagine (John Lennon)

Let me guess: John and Yoko had probably gotten into a nasty fight over whether they were going to take a vacation to New York or to Miami, and then the next day John decided to make up for it by recording a song he'd written about Yoko three years earlier, and then for an afternoon everything was probably OK, until they started arguing about who was going to take Yoko shopping. Granted, Imagine had no conceptual unity anyway, but it was pretty uniformly strong and relatively Yoko-free. Until the last song. And even if Wes Anderson used it in Rushmore, I still don't care.

"Turn That Heartbeat Around" - Can't Buy A Thrill (Steely Dan)

Not a bad song, per se, but definitely one of my least favorites on an otherwise very strong album. Also, you've got to take into account that they'd already written a lot of the songs they would record later, and I wish they'd used one of their other ones instead.

"Soul Survivor" - Exile On Main Street (The Rolling Stones)

Again, it's not bad, but come on: if "Shine A Light" wasn't the most obvious closing song you could possibly write, then why the hell did they write it? Of course, the last three Stones albums had all followed the formula of putting the most heartfelt, touching song at the end (to make up for all the callous, nasty sentiments of the rest of the album), and so maybe the Stones wanted to switch up their formula a bit. But...couldn't they have just waited and switched it up on the next album?

"Rock and Roll Suicide" - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (David Bowie)

When Lester Bangs gleefully called Bowie one of the worst lyricists ever, he cited the line "Time takes a cigarette/And puts it in your mouth." The over-the-top lyrics don't bother me so much as the general poopiness of the song, though. Look, he should have just ended the album with "Ziggy Stardust." Come to think of it, he should have started the album with "Ziggy Stardust" and ended the album with "Ziggy Stardust." He should have just played "Ziggy Stardust" 11 times in a row and called it a day.

"Music for Money" - Pure Pop For Now People (Nick Lowe)

The album's so schizophrenic anyway that it didn't really matter, but "Music For Money" always struck me as an anti-climactic note to go out on. The British version actually ends with "Roller Show," which was a much better choice. But the British version also features "Music For Money" as the opening track! Mp3's to the rescue!

"The Overload" - Remain In Light (Talking Heads)

Again, it isn't bad, but when the rest of the album was that good, they should have come up with something better. As someone on a recent message board said in regards to this song, "Too much Eno, not enough Heads."

"Meat Is Murder" - Meat Is Murder (The Smiths)

Just to prove that they were not an "album band," apparently the Smiths decided to take their best album and put the lamest possible piece of shit they could think of at the end. I assume that even though Morrissey was the lead singer, the four bandmembers all had a collective vote in what went on the album and what didn't. The other three should have taken a stand on this one. The problem isn't so much the song's preachiness (although that doesn't help) as it is the fact that a) it didn't fit with the vibe of the rest of the album - at all - and b) it sucks. Couldn't they at least not have named the album Meat Is Murder?

I can't think of too many recent albums with disappointing last songs, which could mean either one of two things: either the artists have been pretty good at picking last songs, or there haven't been very many great albums lately. You decide.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Random Crap: Part I

Some of this stuff is pretty old, but whatever.

Rats in the Bell-frie

Makes me nostalgic for my pre-Ayurveda days.

The World's Ugliest Awards

My favorite is the Golden Bear.

The Careers of Oscar-Nominated Kids

Some did well, some did crack.

Rolling Stone: Pete Townsend Inspires Classic Rock Debate

It's a meaningless debate anyway, but my answer is no. Mostly I just agree with the guy who's annoyed that the Police are worshipped in America while nobody's even heard of the Jam.

Pitchfork: White Stripes Reveal Icky Thump Tracklist

You've got to admit, some of these titles are pretty good.

MSN 5Top: Least Anticipated Movies

I voted for National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Great Albums with Weak First Songs

I was thinking about something the other day. Yoggoth has previously expressed his distaste for inconsistent albums, commenting that "Even one bad song on an otherwise decent album can really turn me off." While that actually doesn't bother me too much, I do have a similar pet peeve: great albums with weak first songs. A great album should start off great right off the bat. Sometimes a great first song can even elevate an otherwise just-pretty-good album to pretty-damn-good (ex: Bridge Over Troubled Water, Morrison Hotel, Aqualung, Hotel California, Mellow Gold, Monster). If the first song is great, sometimes it doesn't even matter if the next two songs suck, 'cause man, that first song was great! But if it's not that good, it seriously brings the album down a couple of notches in my book. I'm almost inclined to say that a great first song is the key to an album's success. While I understand the need to leave some of the album's best songs in the middle, if you don't start the thing off with a bang, I'm personally much less inclined to actually put it on and listen to it. Even though the age of the mp3 has taken care of this to some degree, I still have to say that, shallow as it may sound, sometimes first impressions are everything.

Here are some albums I can think of that feature what I would call "weak first songs." The songs themselves are not necessarily that bad, but they don't really do justice to the rest of the album - at least not in the way that they should. I've taken it upon myself to name another song from the same album that would have been a much better first song.

Cheap Thrills (Big Brother and the Holding Company)

Actual first song: "Combination of the Two"
Better first song: "Piece of My Heart"

So they start out the album with a meandering live jam that barely features Janis on vocals, and then they throw the big hit single at the end of Side One? Just put it at the front! (although the live spoken intro of "Four gentlemen and one great, great broad" is still pretty good.)

Let It Be (The Beatles)

Actual first song: "Two of Us"
Better first song: "Get Back"

Well everybody knows that this album was fucked up in all sorts of ways. Of course, even though I'm no big fan of Let It Be...Naked, at least they put "Get Back" at the front where it should have been in the first place. Hell, they could have even put "Let It Be" at the front and it would have been better. "Two of Us" has always felt a little forced to me, as if Paul was trying too hard to write a song that he and John could sing together even though John wanted to punch him in the face. (I've also never been that big on "Back in the U.S.S.R." as the first song on the White Album, but it's still pretty good. For the most part the Beatles could do no wrong in this category.)

After The Gold Rush (Neil Young)

Actual first song: "Tell Me Why"
Better first song: "Southern Man"

"Don't Let It Bring You Down" also would have been better. Neil's usually pretty good at picking a good album opener, but this time he bunted.

There's A Riot Goin' On (Sly & The Family Stone)

Actual first song: "Luv n' Haight"
Better first song: "Just Like a Baby"

I've always felt this album was inconsistent, but the good songs are so good that to me it's still a terrific album. I just wished they'd put one of the good songs first.

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (David Bowie)

Actual first song: "Five Years"
Better first song: "Ziggy Stardust"

Oh Bowie, just admit that the album has no real concept and put the Ziggy song at the start. "Five Years" isn't bad but it's too slow for the first song.

Crime Of The Century (Supertramp)

Actual first song: "School"
Better first song: "Bloody Well Right"

Supertramp had no idea how to start an album. They thought they had to be all prog rock and take their time on the first song, but their strength wasn't really as a prog rock band anyway so they should have just put the catchy single at the start and said to hell with it.

Radio City (Big Star)

Actual first song: "O My Soul"
Better first song: "Life is White"

So to start it off they put on a rambling pseudo-funky jam that's mixed in mono? Try it again guys.

Another Green World (Brian Eno)

Actual first song: "Sky Saw"
Better first song: "St. Elmo's Fire"

On an album that for the most part used electronic instruments in a way that still sounds fresh today, "Sky Saw" and "Over Fire Island" always struck me as sounding kind of dated and lazily recorded. I always skip right to "St. Elmo's Fire" when I listen to the album.

Songs In The Key Of Life (Stevie Wonder)

Actual first song: "Love's In Need of Love Today"
Better first song: "Sir Duke"? "I Wish"?

Truth be told, he should have taken off the first four songs and just started with the big hit singles.

The Clash [American Version] (The Clash)

Actual first song: "Clash City Rockers"
Better first song: "Janie Jones"

The British version actually starts with "Janie Jones," and thank God for that, because "Clash City Rockers" is a weird, weird song. In fact, the guy who produced it, after he sped up the mix without telling the band and got fired for it, later said "Fuck it, I didn't even like the song that much anyway." With so many great songs to put at the start, why that one?

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo (Devo)

Actual first song: "Uncontrollable Urge"
Better first song: "Jocko Homo"

"Uncontrollable Urge" isn't bad, but "Jocko Homo" is the perfect encapsulation of Devo's sound and image. The non-album single "Be Stiff" also would have made a better opening.

Breakfast In America (Supertramp)

Actual first song: "Gone Hollywood"
Better first song: "The Logical Song"

See Crime of the Century.

The Queen Is Dead (The Smiths)

Actual first song: "The Queen Is Dead"
Better first song: "Bigmouth Strikes Again"

I used to agree with the critical consensus that The Queen Is Dead was the Smith's best album...back when I only owned one Smiths album, and its name was The Queen Is Dead. After hearing them all, however, I don't think this one's as strong as people say it is. Morrissey's lyrics were probably his best ever, but Johnny Marr didn't really match him in the music department. I've discovered that my favorite Smiths are the "rocking" Smiths, and on The Queen Is Dead there are too many ballads with synths in the background. The title song isn't a ballad, but it's kind of stodgy and cluttered when compared to their best uptempo stuff from the period like "Panic" or "Shakespeare's Sister."

Achtung Baby (U2)

Actual first song: "Zoo Station"
Better first song: "Mysterious Ways"

Hel-lo! "Mysterious Ways" is practically crying out "Put me first! Put me first!" "Zoo Station" has no hook, no catchy chorus, no anything. It's like if Nirvana put "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in the middle of the album and picked "Polly" as the opener. The luck of the Irish my ass.

Sublime (Sublime)

Actual first song: "Garden Grove"
Better first song: "What I Got"

As with Supertramp, Sublime couldn't pick a good first song to save their lives. Same with 40 oz. to Freedom. They've got a ton of terrific songs on both albums, and what do they do? They put two of the lamest songs at the front. I guess the guy probably wasn't thinking too hard about it anyway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Does This Sound Like A Good Movie To You?

Film Has Two Versions; Only One Is Julie Taymor's - by Sharon Waxman

OK, first of all, one the one hand you've got the director of the Shakespeare adaptation Titus and the biopic Frida, and on the other hand you've got the director of Christmas With the Kranks and Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise. Who are you going to believe? But, secondly, "a $45-million psychedelic love story set to the music of the Beatles . . . stars Evan Rachel Wood as Lucy, an American teenager, and Jim Sturgess as Jude, a British import, who fall in love during the turbulent 1960s . . . combining live action with painted and three-dimensional animation and puppets, and featuring cameos by Eddie Izzard, dressed as a freakish Mr. Kite; Bono, singing 'I Am the Walrus'; and Joe Cocker, singing 'Come Together' "??? Haven't they ever heard of that Bee Gees movie from the 70s?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Boy Am I Glad I Only Speak English!

From the Internet Movie Database:

"Efforts by overseas film distributors to cut costs by outsourcing subtitle translations to such countries as India and Malaysia have resulted in creating dialog that makes little sense to local audiences, according to today's (Monday) London Times. The newspaper observed that translators with little understanding of the nuances of English are taking the place of British subtitlers, many with long careers in the business. Kenn Nakata Steffenson, who translates English films into Danish and Japanese films into English, cited one film in which the line "Jim is a Vietnam vet" became "Jim is veterinarian from Vietnam" in the farmed-out Danish subtitles. In another film, the words "flying into an asteroid field" became "flying into a steroid field." In yet another, "She died in a freak rugby accident" became "She died in a rugby match for people with deformities." In My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Uma Thurman's line, "We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment" was translated into Taiwanese as "We hold the highest standards for sexual harassment." The Times said that Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro was so upset with the English subtitles for his 2001 film The Devil's Backbone that he himself worked on the subtitles for last year's award-winning Pan's Labyrinth."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

From the XTC Forums


Q - Who was/is your favourite Beatle and why ? Moley

A - What a tricky one Mole Flanders. Lets weigh up the choices.

John, sharp pointed wit, surreal word play, lazy musician, glasses, big mouth. Yeah I can identify with that. Paul, good melodies, ideas powerhouse, pushing the band to try new things, romantic. Yeah I can identify with that. How about George, calm, beautiful chord work, searching for the unknown, dry humour. Yeah, I can identify with that. That leaves Ringo, good sense of rhythm, likes to be funny, a face only a mother could love, the ill Beatle with a penchant for Thomas The Tank Engine. Yeah, I can identify with that.

That’s the problem, they're all appealing for different reasons. Stir into that mix the fatherly shepherding and faultless arranging of George Martin just to confuse things more. Eek, impossible Moley. File under Which Horseman of the Apocalypse? Which Marx Brother? Which Quality Street Chocolate? Ren or Stimpy? Oil or Water?

Arggh my brain, you choose for me. A.P

Reminds me of another Beatles fan I once knew...

Also of note:

Q - Beatles and XTC tour together? Pellepennan
A - Only if I could bugger Yoko using Heather's stump. That's the contract breaker. A.P

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Have I Found...The "Ultimate List"?

It's not quite what we've proposed, but it's close: The Acclaimed Music website. I've snooped around here before to take a look at their Greatest Albums list, but I never realized they had a Greatest Artist list as well. It's a pretty imposing place, all in all. They not only rank albums and artists into one big universal chart for each, they also rank albums by decade and even by year. They've even tried to rank songs, but to me such an effort is only of marginal interest. Their methodology (explained under the Q&A's section) sounds pretty statistically thorough, and their database looks rather comprehensive (incorporating lists not only from England and America, but also from Ireland, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, Serbia, and even Turkey). Please note, however, that it only takes into account critic's lists; the artists and the general public are not represented (as we had proposed). Nevertheless, I think we might agree that the results of their list are a noticeable improvement over the Rolling Stone list. Let's take a good look:

1) Pink Floyd comes in at #21

As I had suspected, their absence from the Rolling Stone list was more of a fluke than a trend. This placement reflects my notion of Pink Floyd' stature in the rock canon: not too high up there, but certainly up there. Sure, maybe I'd rank them higher myself, but at #21, I have absolutely no complaints. Already I like this list more.

2) Other big names excluded by RS appear in fighting form here

Floyd aren't even the highest-ranked band that was excluded from the RS list: R.E.M. makes it to #12 on this one. Talking Heads come in at #26, Creedence at #35, Tom Waits at #69, and Fleetwood Mac at #83.

3) The revenge of the Brits

The Transatlantic Divide has been rectified. Witness the Smiths at #27, the Pixies at #44, Blur at #46, Joy Division at #52, Oasis at #53, and the Jam at #56. Now let's go outside the top 100 here and see how close the other ones got: T.Rex at #102, Queen at #113, the Stone Roses at #122. I wasn't far off. But alas, as predicted, Suede comes in at a distant #175. I guess their standing has faded a bit with time? Or maybe they were never too highly regarded in the first place? All I know is that I'm glad Pulp placed above Suede at #90. But why the Verve (#145) and the Manic Street Preachers (#153) as well? Finally, ABBA comes in at #203. I thought they were slightly more admired in Europe than in America, and maybe they are, but apparently not by much.

4) The Generation Gap closes

To me this list does a great job of still including the early rock and roll (and soul) stars without overstating their importance in the overall picture. Chuck Berry slides from #5 to #67, Little Richard from #8 to #89, Buddy Holly from #13 to #78, Sam Cooke from #16 to #110, Bo Diddley from #20 to #194, Jerry Lee Lewis from #24 to #165, Fats Domino from #25 to #237, The Everly Brothers from #33 to#114, Roy Orbison from #37 to#132, Jackie Wilson from #68 to #312, Carl Perkins from #69 to #454, and The Shirelles from #76 to #398. Poor old Ricky Nelson slips from #91 to #799. My point wasn't that that these artists shouldn't be included, but rather that they shouldn't push more complex and multifaceted acts like Pink Floyd, R.E.M. and Talking Heads off the list. The early rock and roll stars were great, straightforward performers, but in the end I'm simply more impressed by acts (in the mold of the Beatles) who treated their own careers like they were works of art in themselves. This list seems to share my sentiments.

5) Beer Rock lingers

The Allman Brothers slide from #52 to #183, Aerosmith slips from #57 to #111, and Lynyrd Skynyrd drops from #95 to #156, but The Eagles only fall from #75 to #92, AC/DC somehow hovers from #72 to #75, and Guns n' Roses actually rises from #92 to #83. In other words, the jury's still out.

6) Rap hangs around

Some fall: Run-DMC from #48 to #94, Dr. Dre from #54 to #152, N.W.A. from #83 to #189, and Tupac from #86 to #384. Some rise: Public Enemy from #44 to #29, the Beastie Boys from #77 to #34, and (to our chagrin?) Eminem from #82 to #71. We also get two new rap entries in the top 100: OutKast at #54 and Missy Elliott at #87. Keep going and there's plenty more: Kanye West at #125, Grandmaster Flash at #131, Jay-Z at #135, De La Soul at #142, A Tribe Called Quest at #169, L.L. Cool J. at #177, Eric B. and Rakim at #178, and the Notorious B.I.G. at #198. We'll let everybody's entourage fight this one out.

7) Artists not on the RS list (besides the names already mentioned):

A lot more recent alternative/indie rock acts seem to have made it into the top 100 here. There's Beck at #38, Sonic Youth at #50, New Order at #56, PJ Harvey at #63, Bjork at #64, Massive Attack at #65, The White Stripes at #70, The Cure at #73, Nick Cave at #84, Primal Scream at #85, and - lo and behold - who's this at #86? Why it's Pavement! Congratulations Yoggoth. In terms of the classic rock era, the list leans more toward underground/cult acts in general: Lou Reed (as a solo artist) at #49, Kraftwerk at #59, Brian Eno at #77, Captain Beefheart at #79, Frank Zappa at #80, Leonard Cohen at #96, and Nick Drake at #98. Then there are those mainstream artists who probably just didn't happen to make the Rolling Stone list: Steely Dan at #61, Frank Sinatra at #72, Paul Simon at #92, Blondie at #95, and the Pet Shop Boys at #100 (I suspect the Transatlantic Divide came into play on that one). Oh, and there's John Coltrane at #62 (but who the hell is he anyway?).

Leaving the RS list behind, here are some general observations on this list alone:

1) This thing is freaking long! Look at the bottom 200: Flipper? Planxty? Pentangle? If your favorite act didn't make it somewhere onto this list, then you might as well shove a hot poker up your ass.

2) Prince at #7? Radiohead at #18? Oh, but I could go on all day. Better to let you guys have a say.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wish They Were There

Given our recent discussion of "greatest album" lists, I thought I would call attention to another list that caught my attention a few days ago. Actually, it's been around for a while, but only now have I decided to give it greater scrutiny.

Back in 2004, Rolling Stone put together a list of "The Immortals" - their idea, one can assume, of the greatest artists of the popular music era. Back when the list first came out, I thought it was pretty respectable, and quite thorough (with most of my favorite artists making a placement), if not exactly my idea of how I would rank the greatest acts of rock and roll myself. What was interesting about the list, however, was Rolling Stone's decision not to write crappy, pretentious blurbs of their own, but to give other rock artists the chance to write something about one of their favorite acts. Suddenly, instead of being a bunch of snarky posturing from rock critics, the list was a celebration of mutual fandom between other musicians. This gave the list a much more positive, productive dimension, since not only did we want to read about the artist on the list, but we were also curious about what another artist we liked had to say about the artist they were writing about. Thus we got to hear what Elvis Costello thought of the Beatles, what Lou Reed thought of David Bowie, what Peter Buck thought of the Kinks, what Keith Richards thought of Gram Parsons, and what Paul Simon thought of the Everly Brothers, and so on and so on. Obviously this approach was only as fruitful as the artist assigned to do the writing. I'm not sure how interesting it is to hear what John Mayer has to say about Jimi Hendrix, what Flea has to say about Neil Young, what Lenny Kravitz has to say about John Lennon, what Jewel has to say about Joni Mitchell, or what Dave Matthews has to say about Radiohead. But you've gotta take the highs with the lows, I guess.

(You might want to take a good look at the list before you read the rest.)

Anyway, what brought this list under renewed scrunity was a realization I had a few days ago. It had been a while since I'd taken a look at it, and I suddenly became curious to see who they'd picked to write about Pink Floyd, and what that person might have said (given that I've been on a Yoggoth-inspired Pink Floyd kick as of late). But as I scanned the list, a chilling realization dawned on me: Pink Floyd . . . were absent! I checked and I checked again, but out of 100 artists, Pink Floyd were somehow not among them. There must have been some mistake. It was like if one of my best friends suddenly wasn't allowed to graduate high school with me; it kind of takes the fun out of the whole thing. The previously harmless list suddenly took on a sinster, evil aura. I became instantly bummed. How could they have left off Pink Floyd? Who was behind this list anyway? How could they be celebrating all these great bands and not even give at least one spot to Pink Floyd? Was my high opinion of Pink Floyd misplaced? Were they not as universally admired as I had assumed they were? Was I somehow out of touch with the rock canon? I get anguished over a lot of questionable bands I like, but I always figured that I was safe with Pink Floyd; their greatness was not in dispute. But maybe it was. God what a headache. I felt like my whole aesthetic world was crumbling. I had to get to the bottom of this.

I tried to see if there were any other obviously great bands that were missing, as if their absence would further discredit the list. Led Zeppelin? Nope, they were way up there at number 14. The Clash? Maybe Rolling Stone would have been lame enough to leave off The Clash. Nope, they were pretty well-represented at number 30. I inspected the list several times over. Nirvana made it to 27, but no love for Pink Floyd, huh? Aerosmith? The Police? AC/DC? The Eagles? Guns n' Roses? Radiohead? Radiohead wouldn't even exist without Pink Floyd. But there they were, with a loving article by Dave Matthews, while no one was assigned to write an article for Pink Floyd, because THEY WEREN'T ON THE FUCKING LIST.

But wait, there was some hope yet. Where was Creedence Clearwater Revival? Hey. That's a pretty major omission. Some would say that's a worse omission than Pink Floyd. Yeah! No CCR? This list is a joke. And where were Talking Heads? They should have made the cut easily. If Patti Smith and The Stooges made the cut, then Talking Heads should have been a shoo-in. But no Talking Heads. And how about R.E.M.? We get Nine Inch Nails but no R.E.M.? What about Tom Waits? Or Fleetwood Mac? Suddenly my brain had brought the list down a couple of pegs. It wasn't perfect. But still, it was a pretty good list. I mean, if your favorite album didn't make it onto that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list, it didn't matter at all because that list was ridiculous. But this list was pretty credible. The absence of Pink Floyd still stung.

But what is a list, anyway? What does Rolling Stone know about the greatest acts of the rock era that I don't? Well lucky for us, they tell you who voted. Suddenly it starts to make a little more sense. First of all, a total of 54 people voted on this list. 54 people. That's it. All this list tells you is what 54 people think represents the greatest rock acts of all time. Hardly something to whine about. But now look at the people who voted. It's a pretty interesting crowd, to be sure. But you don't exactly expect Jackson Browne, Dr. John, Jon Landau, Greil Marcus, Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Stills, or Jerry Wexler to be big fans of Pink Floyd, do you? Still, I would have thought that they'd have gathered enough votes from people like The Edge, Kurt Loder, Ric Ocasek, Moby, and Pete Townsend to at least make the top 100. Hell, maybe even Don Henley and Santana would have pitched in as well. I could see it happening. But I guess it wasn't Pink Floyd's night.

Nevertheless, seeing the list of voters led me to formulate some more general observations on the list as a whole:

1) The Generation Gap/Singles Artists vs. Album Artists

The list heavily favors the first generation of early rock and roll and soul stars. Because rock and roll wasn't really an album-oriented medium yet, these artists' recording legacies essentially rest on their singles. One of my biggest criteria for judging the "greatness" of a rock act would be the depth and variety of their recording career. Thus I would not rank essentially singles-driven acts like Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino as highly as I would 60s and 70s artists who have deeper discographies. But I can understand how the second (and in my opinion, better) generation of rock performers would hold the first generation in higher regard than they would their peers or their followers. To them, Chuck Berry and Little Richard laid the whole groundwork for what everyone else did. As such, it is hard to argue with their placement on the list; I can only say that I would not rank them as highly myself. They may have been first, but I don't think they were necessarily the best, or the most eclectic. Chuck Berry had one basic "song" and most of his other songs were just variations on his one main "song." It was a pretty good "song," but I'm not sure it's as musically rewarding as a later act that mastered several different styles. I wonder in 50 years who's music will have deeper appeal - Chuck Berry's or Jimi Hendrix's. Yet to that 60s generation, Chuck Berry could simply not be beat. John Lennon loved Chuck Berry much more than he loved the Beatles. But to me (and I bet most people) the Beatles were just something else entirely. Thus this list reflects the Baby Boomer generation's unease with rock's transition into album-oriented ambitiousness. I think it's all about perspective. It is hard to outright dislike a lot of these early acts (like Howlin' Wolf, Jackie Wilson, Carl Perkins, The Shirelles, Booker T. and the MG's, Ricky Nelson, or the various Motown groups), but even their greatest hits collections sound a little repetitive to modern ears. How high should they be ranked if their legacies rest on a few influential singles? Witness the recent induction of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No one seemed to deny that they were being inducted on the merits of one song alone. Yes, it was a great song, but was that enough to place them up there with bands that had album after album of great songs? I guess it just depends on who's doing the voting. Why don't they just induct The Kingsmen for "Louie Louie"? (Who knows, maybe they will.)

2) The "Beer Rock" Tendency

I guess when you've got Joe Perry, Rick Rubin, Butch Vig, Slash and ZZ Top voting for the greatest rock artists of all time, you can't expect too much love for Pink Floyd. Instead we get artists like Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, AC/DC, The Eagles, Guns n' Roses, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I like these acts well enough, but I'd drop them all for Floyd. Just listen to Al Kooper talk about Lynyrd Skynyrd: "In 1972, I was searching for a great three-chord band to produce. The radio was logjammed with progressive rock like you wouldn't believe: Yes; Pink Floyd; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Genesis; King Crimson. As a student of rock history, I knew it wouldn't be long before basic rock returned like the cavalry, and I wanted to be leading the charge, albeit behind the scenes." Yes, Prog Rock was getting bloated, but was Southern Rock really what the moment called for? And he lumps Pink Floyd right in there with Yes and Genesis? Lunkhead.

3) Rap

I don't think rock criticism still has any idea what to do with rap. And yet here they are: Public Enemy, Run DMC, Dr. Dre, The Beastie Boys, Eminem, N.W.A., and Tupac. Some of it I like, some of it I've never listened to all that much, but that's sort of beside the point. Do any of these guys deserve to be up there with the best acts of the 60s and 70s? Just because I don't personally like them all that much, does that mean they don't belong on this list? Wouldn't somebody else look at this list and feel that these were the only guys that deserved to be there? Who gets to decide?

4) The Transatlantic Divide

Apparently in England they've got a rather different sense of rock history than we do here (I'm inclined to say that it's a better sense - with much less "Beer Rock" at least). If this list were undertaken by a British magazine (like Mojo), my guess is it would look quite a bit different. Here are some of the artists excluded by the Rolling Stone list that a British magazine would probably include: T.Rex, Queen, ABBA, The Jam, Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Pixies, Suede, Blur, and Oasis. But with Art Garfunkel voting, these guys didn't stand a chance.

So in the end, what does it all mean? That Americans are dumb? That Baby Boomers lack perspective? Is there a better way to ascertain the significance of individual rock musicians on the artform as a whole? Should we care? Ultimately I think it's a lot easier (and more useful) to compile "greatest album" lists than "greatest artist" lists, because as I've already discussed, the artists themselves are like apples and oranges. Do Al Green and Roxy Music even belong on the same list together? If I like Roxy Music more than I like Al Green, does that really make Al Green any worse? Hell no; Al Green is awesome. He's not even trying to do the same thing. I can see why someone else would think Al Green is better than Roxy Music, even if I don't share that opinion myself. There's probably a bit of a race question hanging in all this somewhere, but I don't even personally feel qualified to tackle it. Maybe Pink Floyd is just more of a white guy's band?

Hell, as far as I know, they're at number 101. In the end, a list is just a list. You could never make one list that would satisfy everybody. It's not like the Periodic Table. "God, Hydrogen is just so overrated." "I can't believe oxygen is only at number 8! WTF?"

Still, I almost wish they left off some of my own personal favorites that actually made the list, like Elton John or Roxy Music, just so that Pink Floyd would be on there. I don't always expect Elton John or Roxy Music to make the cut; but my shared admiration for Pink Floyd is one of the things that I've felt has always tied me, however tenuously, to the rest of humanity. To think that such a bond is an illusion creates within me a deep sense of loneliness. BUT - it is just one list. Even so, it's not enjoyable to realize you have such a different idea of popular music than other people. Pink Floyd so strongly represent my ultimate idea of popular music that to see them excluded almost suggests a clash in values. How could Ricky Nelson speak to someone more deeply than Pink Floyd? What did Ricky Nelson have to say to the world that Pink Floyd didn't? What am I missing? It doesn't matter; I will be vindicated by history.

Come to think of it, I didn't see Pavement on the list either.


Slate has a little article about The Enlightened Bracketologist up. I prefer my theory. Bracketing things like that relies too much on initial positioning.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Re: Towards a General Theory of Artistic Taste

I like it!

This is just the tip of the iceberg for a very rich topic, however.

With your music test I think I make it all the way to Pavement. I don't really have anything against The Fall, but I don't really "get" them either. Still, they have quite a few fans (like...Pavement!) so I don't think you're in too small of a minority there. With the movie test I think I make it all the way to the top. But I must admit that I need to see La Dolce Vita again, because 1) I barely remember anything about it, 2) I didn't really know how to watch foreign films back then, and 3) I'm much more familiar with Fellini's filmography now.

Anyway, let me give this a try:


75% - Pink Floyd

This would tell me almost nothing about a person.

50% - Tom Waits

This tells me a little more but still not that much. A few years ago this might have been 25%, but not these days.

25% - Early Roxy Music

Now we're talking. This person would have to be a little more of a rock historian.

5% - The Hardcore Elton John Fan

I've never met anyone, with the possible exception of my brother, who was as big of an Elton John fan as I am. Obviously a lot of people like Elton John's most famous songs, but how many people own at least three of his albums, let alone every single album/b-side/bootleg?


75% - The Wizard of Oz

I think you'd have to have a genetic defect not to like this movie at least a tiny bit.

50% - The Wild Bunch

The casual moviegoer would not know this movie, but even the casual cinema buff probably would.

25% - Five Easy Pieces

Now we're stepping into something a little more offbeat and challenging, but still quite admired in certain circles.

5% - Barry Lyndon

Like you said with La Dolce Vita, I can understand why people might not like this movie, but I knew after the first five minutes it was the film for me.

You've done it! It's a fool-proof system. You should call it, "How to distance yourself from the rest of humanity in four easy steps."

Towards a General Theory of Artistic Taste

As I walked to my car the other day I thought about the artistic tastes of friends of mine. What do we have in common? Do I want us to have more in common? What does artistic taste tell us about someone?

I thought about it for a while and realized that there are different levels of similarity in artistic taste. To make things simple I catagorized them by percentages; 75, 50, 25, and 5%. At the 75% level I'm not learning much about the person because whatever we are talking about is appreciated by so many people that having that in common with someone means little. At this point I think it's easiest if I just provide an example of what I'm talking about by looking at my taste in music under this framework.

75% - The Beatles 50% - The Talking Heads 25% - Pavement 5% - The Fall

So if I find that someone else likes the Beatles it tells me almost nothing. Almost everyone does, and those that don't usually have some silly personal bias that it's best just to ignore. Now, if someone likes the Talking Heads I think it tells me a little bit more about them. If they like Pavement I'll know that I'm talking to someone with at least a passing knowledge of less popular music and a tolerance for more experimentation in music. When we get to the 5% mark, however, this nice progression stops. I don't think I've ever met anyone that really likes The Fall in the way I do. The Fall just don't sound good when you think about them in normal musical terms. Somehow I really really like the way in which they don't sound good, but I don't expect anyone else to.

This theory isn't intended to explain how people relate to each other. Artistic taste is far from the most important factor in most relationships and people are willing to shift their tastes quite a bit to enjoy something with their friends. It's just a way of thinking about what you like in a way that gets you thinking of other people as well.

For fun I'll do my tastes in movies:

75% - The Godfather

Who doesn't like The Godfather? Of course, if someone doesn't like it because it's too long or boring then I know I can ignore what they say about other movies.

50% - Pulp Fiction

Many people think this is overrated. I don't. If they think it's overrated I probably know what to expect them to think of other films.

25% - Schizopolis

If you don't find this movie funny you've lived a different life than I.

5% - La Dolce Vita

Heck, if they've even made it all the way through this movie I know that we have something to talk about. Still, if someone thought this movie was boring I wouldn't be able to argue otherwise and I wouldn't think less of them.

Dear Pitchfork

RE: this.

Specifically, "Not that any voice could save the lyrics: Between the poorly-scanning turns of phrase ("She can get plump off of beer and meatloaf," from "You Never Had It So Good"), the pointless similes ("Little princess/ With her little ways gone bad/ You should ask her/ About the dates she had/ Mr. Legend, Dr. Civic and Mr. Lexus," from "Sweet Piece")".

That last passage contains no similies. As for the first, how is it 'poorly-scanning'? Are song lyrics supposed to come in a certain meter? Is getting plump off of beer and mealoaf a turn of phrase? Isn't the real problem here that the doctor is driving the crappiest car of the three??

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Improving The Unimprovable

Just when you thought that the world's most impressive DVD collection could not be improved, I have gone ahead and done it. Our two new selections add the perfect amount of spice and flavor to the already tasteful souffle that is on display in my kitchen:

1) Brief Encounter (David Lean) - Few know that the master of the widescreen epic was also the master of the intimate black-and-white drama. But now with the addition of this Criterion edition of Brief Encounter to my collection, more will hopefully discover this.

2) The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolluci) - Before he went off the deep end with Last Tango In Paris, Bertolucci actually made a movie that you could take seriously. . . and its name is The Conformist. Worth it alone for the cinematography of Vittorio Storaro, who later went on to photograph some obscure little war movie called Apocalypse Now.

So there we have it. Once again I have demonstrated my unparalleled taste in DVD acquiring-ness. Unfortunately, neither of my purchases may be suitable for our proposed "Black-and-White French and Italian Film Festival," although they come close; one is Italian but not in black-and-white, while the other is in black-and-white but is neither French nor Italian. Nevertheless, they shall be viewed eventually?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

When The Janitor Picks The 200 Greatest Albums of All Time

I'm no absolute believer, but on the whole, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame generally exhibits a reasonable sense of musical taste. At least they were smart enough to institute the "25 years" rule when considering the inclusion of new inductees, which at least separates the wheat from the chaff simply by virtue of the passage of time. If only they had utilized such a rule regarding their list of the "200 Definitive Albums". As reported here in Rolling Stone, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has managed to compile the worst "greatest albums" list I have ever seen. It is embarrassing. It is beyond description. Many have concluded that it is, in fact, a prank. Ultimately it must be seen to be believed, but heed my warning - staring directly into the list may cause blindness:

The Definitive 200 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Yoko Strikes Again

Here's the latest in her attempt to "protect" John's legacy. These comments reveal how successful her efforts have been.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Reality Victorious

French thinker Baudrillard lost his long battle with reality today. He is survived by the The Ultimate Matrix Collection.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Laughter Of The Bitches

Ayn Rand - Wikipedia entry

Even though she was a big fat nutcase and only three people alive have actually been able to finish Atlas Shrugged, reading this article I couldn't help but be reminded how much I really dug The Fountainhead when I read it back in college, and why I still have a twisted place somewhere in my heart for her abstractly over-the-top shenanigans. Some of my favorite highlights:

"I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline, the sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body."

Elasto-Rand? Imagine the comic book possibilities. Or look at this one:

"I can say - not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and aesthetic roots - that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world."

Now when was the last time you heard a proud American defend the love for their country with words like that? Or get a load of this one:

"Rand viewed herself equally as a novelist and a philosopher, as she said "(I am) both, and for the same reason."

It's like a Zen koan or something. Or how about her all-encompassing hatred of...wait for it... Kant. I mean, how many people in the world absolutely loathe Kant with every fiber in their being? He's kind of hard to get worked up about. But not for Ayn Rand:

"Suppose you met a twisted, tormented young man and... discovered that he was brought up by a man-hating monster who worked systematically to paralyze his mind, destroy his self-confidence, obliterate his capacity for enjoyment and undercut his every attempt to escape... Western civilization is in that young man's position. The monster is Immanuel Kant."

Now see if there's any logic at work in her political beliefs:

"Rand detested many prominent liberal and conservative politicians of her time, including prominent anti-Communists, such as Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, Hubert Humphrey, and Joseph McCarthy.[39] She opposed US involvement in World War I, World War II[40] and the Korean War, although she also strongly denounced pacifism: "When a nation resorts to war, it has some purpose, rightly or wrongly, something to fight for – and the only justifiable purpose is self-defense."[41] She opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, "If you want to see the ultimate, suicidal extreme of altruism, on an international scale, observe the war in Vietnam – a war in which American soldiers are dying for no purpose whatever,"[41] but also felt that unilateral American withdrawal would be a mistake of appeasement that would embolden communists and the Soviet Union.[40]

So basically she sat around and didn't bother to take a meaningful stand on anything. I like it. Then, of course, comes the good stuff:

"Rand's views on gender roles have created some controversy. While her books championed men and women as intellectual equals (for example, Dagny Taggart, the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged was a hands-on railroad executive), she thought that the differences in the physiology of men and women led to fundamental psychological differences that were the source of gender roles. Rand denied endorsing any kind of power difference between men and women, stating that metaphysical dominance in sexual relations refers to the man's role as the prime mover in sex and the necessity of male arousal for sex to occur.[43] According to Rand, "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship – the desire to look up to man." (1968)"

Oh you know it. But it gets better:

"In a Playboy magazine interview, Rand stated that women are not psychologically suited to be President and strongly opposed the modern feminist movement, despite supporting some of its goals.[45] Feminist author Susan Brownmiller called Rand "a traitor to her own sex," while others, including Camille Paglia and the contributors to 1999's Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, have noted Rand's "fiercely independent – and unapologetically sexual" heroines who are unbound by "tradition's chains... [and] who had sex because they wanted to."[34] In Atlas Shrugged, Rand writes that the "band on the wrist of [Dagny's] naked arm gave her the most feminine of all aspects: the look of being chained." (One must note that this description is from the character Lillian Rearden, whose views certainly are not intended to reflect those of Ayn Rand.) This novel, along with Night of January 16th (1968) and The Fountainhead (1943), features sex scenes with stylized erotic combat that borders on rape. Rand herself noted that what The Fountainhead clearly depicted was "rape by engraved invitation." In a review of a biography of Rand, writer Jenny Turner opined,

"the sex in Rand’s novels is extraordinarily violent and fetishistic. In The Fountainhead, the first coupling of the heroes, heralded by whips and rock drills and horseback riding and cracks in marble, is ‘an act of scorn ... not as love, but as defilement’ – in other words, a rape. (‘The act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted.’ In Atlas Shrugged, erotic tension is cleverly increased by having one heroine bound into a plot with lots of spectacularly cruel and handsome men.)[17]

Another source of controversy is Rand's view of homosexuality. According to remarks at the Ford Hall forum at Northeastern University in 1971, Rand's personal view was that homosexuality is "immoral" and "disgusting."[46] Specifically, she stated that "there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality" because "it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises."[47] A number of noted current and former Objectivists have been highly critical of Rand for her views on homosexuality.[48] Others, such as Kurt Keefner, have argued that "Rand’s views were in line with the views at the time of the general public and the psychiatric community," though he asserts that "she never provided the slightest argument for her position, [...] because she regarded the matter as self-evident, like the woman president issue."[49] In the same appearance, Rand noted, "I do not believe that the government has the right to prohibit [homosexual behavior]. It is the privilege of any individual to use his sex life in whichever way he wants it."[46]

So then maybe it follows that it's the privilege of any individual to rape somebody, because that's what all girls want anyway. Finally, we come to the bitter end:

Rand died of heart failure on March 6, 1982 at her 34th Street home in New York City,[57] years after having successfully battled cancer, and was interred in the Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York. Kipling's poem "If" was read at the graveside by David Kelley.[38] [3] Rand's funeral was attended by some of her prominent followers, including Alan Greenspan. A six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket.[14]

Warms your heart, doesn't it? Ultimately, her philosophy seems like nonsense, but so does most philosophy, so I really don't care. For example:

"A notable exception to the general lack of attention paid to Rand in philosophy is the essay "On the Randian Argument" by Harvard University philosopher Robert Nozick, which appears in his collection, Socratic Puzzles. Nozick is sympathetic to Rand's political conclusions, but he does not think her arguments justify them. In particular, his essay criticizes her foundational argument in ethics, which claims that one's own life is, for each individual, the only ultimate value because it makes all other values possible. Nozick says that to make this argument sound Rand still needs to explain why someone could not rationally prefer dying and having no values. Thus, he argues, her attempt to defend the morality of selfishness is essentially an instance of begging the question and her solution to David Hume's famous is-ought problem is unsatisfactory."

Ahhh, yes, the famous is-ought problem. I stayed up late a couple of nights ago wrestling with this one. Then there's the question of the merit of her fiction:

"The most famous review of Atlas Shrugged from a conservative author was written by Whittaker Chambers and appeared in National Review in 1957. It was unrelentingly scathing. Chambers call the book "sophomoric"; and "remarkably silly," and said it "can be called a novel only by devaluing the term." The tone of the book was described as "shrillness without reprieve"[84] The Intellectual Activist published a reply, alleging that Chambers did not actually read the book, as he misspells the names of several major characters and never uses quotations from the novel in his critique."

Shrillness without reprieve - that should have gone on the back of the book jacket!

The bottom line is that even though she was bonkers, she was bonkers in her own special way. I find her and her followers essentially harmless, even though there are definitely some misguided elements in her philosophy. My bet is that I would get along better with someone who called themselves an "Objectivist" more than someone who called themselves "Jewish" or "Christian"; we would probably share a certain tendency for the grand gesture and bold idea. I mean, she gave it a good try, you know? The problem is that you have to lead by example, not by idea. If she had just presented Objectivism as a system of thought that happened to work for her personally, then she would have been much better off. Instead she started heading into the territory of trying to establish, in some absolute way, the manner in which all people can be happy. But she was far from the average person, and didn't have a clue what most people were actually like, so her philosophy comes off as the kind of thing that will only work for geniuses. If you happen to be a genius, you'll understand what she was trying to do. But most people just can't relate, so for a lot of people I imagine her books are rather boring and useless and offensive. The reason why The Fountainhead was so good was because it was basically the story of an artist. I could identify with Roark as a guy who wanted to do something different with his art and was looking for the patience and inner strength he needed in order to make his mark in a way that would be more meaningful than most. That was why I connected with it. The rest of the stuff was just Rand's frustration with other people. I can understand that too, but you just have to let it go, not turn it into a virtue. That's why Roark was so cool, because, in his best moments at least, he let that frustration roll off his back. But if you're not an artistically-inclined person, then I don't think the book would mean shit to you. And that's why I got bogged down in Atlas Shrugged, because who gives a shit about railroad barons? Roark was good because you could sense a bit of Rand's own artistic journey in him; like her, he was an outsider. But Atlas Shrugged was just a bunch of weird capitalist people. They seemed like insiders, and I just didn't care. Still, I really dug her unique combination of the highbrow and the lowbrow in her fiction - these complex philosophical ideas mixed in with a pulpy, sleazy quality. She was also a master at generating perfectly WASP-y names as well. Hey, "real" philosophers might laugh, but the truth is she probably reached more people than they ever did, and got more people to think about arrogant shit than they ever did. Bet Kant didn't have a dollar sign on his grave.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Mike Tyson Quotes

I thought I'd leave you with this to enjoy over the weekend.

My favorites:

[To a female reporter] "It's no doubt I am going to win this fight and I feel confident about winning this fight. I normally don't do interviews with women unless I fornicate with them. So you shouldn't talk anymore... Unless you want to, you know."

"My power is discombobulatingly devastating I could feel is muscle tissues collapse under my force. It's ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm."

You're my Fact Checkin' Cuz

"In a way, both John and I ruined our careers by getting together, though we weren’t aware of it at the time,” Ono reportedly mused. “My initial reaction to rock music was, ‘Oh dear, how simple can you get?’ At first I thought John would carry on with The Beatles and I would do my own things, but he felt it wasn’t right that we were working separately, that the union we had might not last, because of the pressure of the world.”

Not exactly how I remember it going down. What does our diminutive nobleman think?

Also in Rolling Stone, a profile of Keith Olbermann. They set him up as the liberal counterpart to O'Reilly. Apparently he made one of his former collegues cry. As big of an ass as O'Reilly too??

Another Documentary Gem

This one was about the Athens, GA music scene. It was filmed in 1987 when Micheal Stipe still had hair. Or at least he had some that stuck out around the fringes of his hat. They interviewed him a bit and he seemed quite normal, if a bit on the nervous side. The most ammusing part of the film was the interviews with up and coming Athens bands, none of whom I had heard of.

They had footage of an instrumental band named 'Love Tractor' lamenting the fact that the audience didn't take them seriously as a rock band. I don't know but maybe you should get a singer and not name yourselves Love Tractor. Might help.

Aside from Family Guy reruns, is there anything else on any channel that can compete?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Warm Up Your Audio Editing Software!

Lunchtime Poll: Make Your Favorite Record Better

This topic has already been discussed of course, most notably one memorable night in the Sunset District (with a certain pony-tailed philosopher who will go unnamed). But let's make it official for the record. The only rule is that you can name only one song. Below is my list. Some of these songs aren't really that bad, but I almost always skip them one way or another. Let the passions fly:

"Til There Was You" - With The Beatles
"Wait" - Rubber Soul
"Yellow Submarine" - Revolver
"Sex Machine" - Stand! (Sly & The Family Stone)
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" - After The Gold Rush (Neil Young) - this was the single!
"Evil Woman" - Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
"The Motivator" - Electric Warrior (T.Rex)
"Four Sticks" - Led Zeppelin IV
"Indian Sunset" - Madman Across The Water (Elton John)
"Brooklyn" - Can't Buy A Thrill (Steely Dan)
"There's A World" - Harvest (Neil Young)
"Loves Me Like A Rock" - There Goes Rhymin' Simon (Paul Simon)
"Zawinul/Lava" - Another Green World (Brian Eno)
"I'm In Touch With Your World" - The Cars (The Cars)
"Lovers Rock" - London Calling (The Clash)
"Red Light" - War (U2)
"Meat Is Murder" - Meat Is Murder (The Smiths)
"Anywhere I Lay My Head" - Rain Dogs (Tom Waits)
"Live To Tell" - The Immaculate Collection (Madonna)
"Zoo Station" - Achtung Baby (U2)
"Bring It On Down" - Definitely Maybe (Oasis)
"Tracy Jacks" - Parklife (Blur)
"Cast No Shadow" - (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (Oasis)
"Garden Grove" - Sublime (Sublime)
"In The Lost And Found (Honky Bach)" - Figure 8 (Elliott Smith)

Bizzo to the A to the CK to the Lash

Hip-Hop Faces Increasing Backlash