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#300: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams

11.30.2011


Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams (1998)

Favorite Track(s): "Right in Time" and "I Lost It" and "Greenville" and "Jackson"

Thoughts: First of all, Lucinda wins all the awards for the album name. BRILLIANT. Evokes, at least for me, a very particular place and aural experience. And the cover art! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Well, the album starts right off with "Right in Time" which let's just say is a very sexy song. Good lord. But from there, the album sort of got disappointing to me. I mean, it's good music, but I expected more from it. I expected it to be more like Emmylou or Patty Griffin or Linda Ronstadt, and it just sort of felt...forced or cliched or contrived. I guess my expectations were too high, or just on the wrong track. My favorite Lucinda Williams' songs are "Minneapolis" (apparently I like her 'city songs' since my two favorites off this album were "Jackson" and Greenville") and "Are You Alright?" so I was probably expecting a chiller collection of songs on Car Wheels.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Not to me, but I can see why it would be to others.

#301: Odelay by Beck


Odelay by Beck (1996)

Favorite Track(s): "New Pollution" and "Jack-Ass" and "High 5"

Thoughts: Nope, nope, nope. I totally preferred Sea Change. The parts that I liked of this album were the country bits, and to hear that I could have just listened to Lynrd Skynrd. And I'm sorry youtube commenters, but the fact that there are so many 'great songs to get stoned to' on the album really isn't enough for me.

Is This Better Than Help!?:

If it is,



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#302: Songs for Swingin' Lovers! by Frank Sinatra

11.29.2011


Songs for Swingin' Lovers! by Frank Sinatra (1956)

Favorite Track(s): "You Make Me Feel So Young" and "It Happened in Monterey" and "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me" and "Too Marvelous for Words" and "Old Devil Moon" and "Pennies from Heaven" and "Love is Here to Stay" (or "Our Love is Here to Stay" as I, and supposedly Ira Gershwin as well, prefer it to call it) and "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Makin' Whoopee" and "Anything Goes" and "How About You"

Thoughts: I don't know, I think Frank Sinatra is kind of overrated.

Ha! Just kidding. That's impossible, of course. He's Ol' Blue Eyes! The Chairman of the Board! The Voice! To know Sinatra is to love him.

Well, except that back in 2009 I read a semi-decent fiction book called The Song is You by Arthur Phillips, and at one point the narrator's 'dream-girl' says: “...I will say that people like me think he wasn’t any good as a jazz singer—he couldn’t swing. And he wasn’t any good as a pop singer—he couldn’t arouse. He was a court minstrel for thugs. He could scarcely carry a tune. A visual artist, not a singer.” After reading that, I knew I could neither trust the music opinions of the character, nor the author, for the rest of the book, for they were clearly deaf to one of the best voices the world will ever hear.

I LOVE Sinatra. Did you know? In the 90s (maybe 1995 when he died?) I had a 365 Days of Frank Sinatra calendar. I own 8 of his movies and have seen 15 (which isn't that impressive, because we all know he did a lot of acting). When I was in Vegas my mom and I saw a Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra impersonation act (a woman in the front row sobbed uncontrollably through "My Way"). His life/persona--while often troubling--is fascinating to me. Little things like the knowledge that he was Bing Crosby's biggest fan, and so even though he no longer wanted to make musicals, he starred in High Society (1956) just so they could work together. But ultimately, I think I have exactly 150 songs* (not that impressive either) of his on my iPod because God lives in his vocal chords.

Needless to say, when I saw that this was the next album on the list, I was a little excited.



In the Survey of Popular Music class I took in college our professor talked about Sinatra's musical genius; how he would take a piece of music and give it his own touches and changes that made it his alone. This album is--in short--perfection. So many unbeatable American songbook standards sung with a voice that is so rich and full and commanding but easy and light as well. GUSH GUSH GUSH GUSH GUSH GUSH GUSH.

Props should be given to arranger Nelson Riddle (the music is at once tight AND lush), but this album proves that Michael Buble and Harry Connick, Jr. can try all they want, but we'll never hear the likes of this again. I mean, doesn't it make you want to put on a pair of heels and an apron and dance with someone in a kitchen while you make dinner? Or walk the streets of Paris at night with a stranger you randomly met in a museum? Or glide across a ballroom floor in a flowing gown, dizzy from the music and champagne? OR JUST FALL ON YOUR KNEES AND THANK GOD FOR FRANCIS ALBERT SINATRA?

I will be sad if this is his only album on the list, but still pleased as punch that at least some voters remembered him and got this one to be at 302. You could listen to this album for the rest of your life and never be disappointed.

Is This Better Than Help!?: That's a yes from me.



*Gawd almighty, how are you still reading this gushy, un-ending post? I asterisked the 150 songs in case you were somehow possibly maybe interested in my favorite song of all 150. It's a hard question to answer. I have to split it up 3 ways: by film songs, live songs, and studio songs.

Favorite Film Song: a tie between his duet with Betty Garrett in On the Town, "You're Awful", his duet with Kathryn Grayson in It Happened in Brooklyn, "La Ci Darem La Mano", and his duet with Celeste Holm in High Society, "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" (that last of which, yes, inspired the name of the game show)

Favorite Live Song: hands down, "One For My Baby" from '57 in Concert

Favorite Studio Song: It's a tie between "All the Way" and "Young at Heart" and "Lost in the Stars" and "If I Loved You" and "I Concentrate on You" and of course "The Way You Look Tonight" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and "Come Fly With Me" and sheesh this got out of hand.

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#303: Avalon by Roxy Music

11.28.2011


Avalon by Roxy Music (1982)

Favorite Track(s): "More Than This" and "The Main Thing" and "To Turn You On"

Thoughts: Things Maryann was not aware of: 1) that there was any more Roxy Music on the list (score!) 2) that they sang "More Than This" and "Avalon"! I would never have guessed these were songs written/sung by glam rockers. But I guess it was the 80s.

I love the album cover art. It looks like it belongs in an epic 80s fantasy film (of which we know there were many). Large quantities of the music made me think of Bowie, circa the same year, so maybe it's just the 80s rock vibe.

Also, there was a song called "While My Heart is Still Beating" which was just ok, but kept making me think of "Bat Out of Hell" when Meatloaf sings, "And the last thing I see is my heart, still beating." The End. Great story, I know.

Is This Better Than Help!?: You know, I'm not 100% clear on why of all the Roxy Music albums, this one is so high on the list. Is it because more of the songs were bigger hits? I just didn't feel it. And I kept waiting for Stranded to be on the list because of the utter genius that is "Mother of Pearl." So as much as I love you, Roxy Music, I was not that impressed by this album, and therefore have to say 'no, you are not as good as Help!."

Happy Turkey Day!

11.24.2011



I mean, Thanksgiving.


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#304: The Sun Records Collection by Various Artists

11.23.2011


The Sun Records Collection by Various Artists (1994)

Favorite Track(s): "Rocket 88" and "How Many More Years" and "There's A Man in Jerusalem" and "Just Walkin' in the Rain" and "Make Room in the Life Boat for Me" and "The Gospel Train" and "That's Alright" and "Baby Let's Play House" and "Someday You Will Pay" and "Let the Jukebox Keep On Playing" and "I Walk the Line" and "Dixie Fried" and "Down by the Riverside" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" and "Red Cadillac and a Black Mustache" and "Raunchy" and "Great Balls of Fire"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Yes, there are 74 tracks on this compilation album. And I am ready for THEM ALL. It's time for some musical healing after 306 and 305.

(Post-Listening) Ok, in retrospect, 74 tracks is a lot to listen to, especially when a large majority of them are very similar. And some were highly disturbing, for instance: "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" by Pat Hare. I think that title says it all. But then we got to Elvis, and that was glorious. Until he sang things like, "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than see another man with you." SO MUCH MISOGYNY.

But the main point is, there are so many of the greats here: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and B.B. King to name a few. PLUS, the song "Raunchy" by Bill Justis was supposedly played by George Harrison to John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1958 on the top deck of a bus, and he played it so perfectly that Lennon let him into their band despite the fact he was only 15.

Is This Better Than Help!?: "My Kind of Carryin' On"--especially the intro--sounded so similar to "Act Naturally." The Beatles would never have become the world's greatest band without hearing artists like these first, so yes!

Susan Blackwell is my new favorite person.

11.22.2011







Best. Interviews. Ever.

#305: Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction

11.21.2011


Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction (1988)

Favorite Track(s): "Standing in the Shower...Thinking" (it was catchy) and "Thank You Boys" (because it sounded NOTHING like the rest of the album)

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Who can guess on a scale of 1 to 10--1 being ready for death and 10 being stoked--how excited I am to listen to this album? I think it's cruel for the list to have this right after Red Hot Chili Peppers. I feel like my resolve to finish this list is being tested. I even picked a small image size for the album cover so I could fit this massive gif that describes my mood about listening to this (also because that cover's creepy):



(Post-Listening) It's over. I'm moving on.

Is This Better Than Help!?:




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She flossed so hard, her tooth fell out!*

Tonight (this morning? I never fell asleep...) while flossing my fake tooth popped out. I've had it since...high school? I can't even remember. My immediate thought was, "Oh hell no--I CANNOT go to a hospital right now!" And then I remembered I could just go to my dentist. Which is scary in its own right, because I'm afraid of the bill.

Also, I have weird missing-tooth issues. I currently can't keep my tongue from sticking out, and I've got an advanced lisp paired with a high, childlike voice. Add to that the fact that I'm wearing my mouth-guard all day to distract me.

I'm realizing I have deep prejudices against people with missing teeth, as I am now horrified that someone will notice one of mine is missing.

(In case you're someone who's super-into dental stuff, it was technically a fake tooth that was part of a Marilyn bridge.)

*Reference to Alec Baldwin as Charles Nelson Riley at Inside the Actor's studio (SNL sketch) where he's telling a story about Betty White where she "laughed so hard, her boob fell out!"

Song of the day.

11.18.2011



"White Wine in the Sun" by Tim Minchin.

#306: Blood Sugar Sex Magik by The Red Hot Chili Peppers


Blood Sugar Sex Magik by The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)

Favorite Track(s): "Under the Bridge"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) I am crying on the inside AND outside that I have to listen to this album. No. No. No. Red Hot Chili Peppers, I REJECT YOU AND ALL YOUR WORKS. And 17 tracks? For the love of Zeus! Do. Not. Want.

(Post-Listening) I was bored or annoyed for most of it--and there was definitely TOO MUCH of it. Give it away, give it away, give it away, indeed--GIVE THIS ALBUM AWAY. Actual words I said to my co-worker: "I'm listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I want to die." We're at 306. This is unacceptable.

Is This Better Than Help!?:



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When I'm at work and I miss my cat, I look at this.

11.17.2011




And then I miss him more.

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#337 - #307: Personal Favorites

11.16.2011



The next two albums on the list are Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction. So to maintain my sanity, it seemed like time to do a 'best of' post! Because that sh*t can wait.

1. Help! by the Beatles
2. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
3. The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt by Linda Ronstadt
4. Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair
5. The Velvet Underground by The Velvet Underground
6. Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
7. Aqualung by Jethro Tull
8. Sail Away by Randy Newman
9. Wild Gift by X
10. Play by Moby

Honorable mentions: Pink Moon by Nick Drake and Burnin' by The Wailers

#370 - #338
#401 - #371
#432 - #402
#462 - #433
#500 - #463

Happy listening!

That time Oz lost his head over a Christmas tree. Not literally.

Usually Oz purchases his Christmas trees from Boy Scout troop 100. And by usually, I mean since he began living alone in 2008. But this year, he was feeling the need for the tree earlier than usual. December is going to be a hectic month for him, so he wanted the tree now while things were slower, and he could enjoy it. Plus, he has this weird thing where he needs to have the tree up before he feels like he can put up other decorations, and boy, was he ready to put up other decorations. It's his first time decorating his new condo! It's a special time where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

So over the weekend he used his little paws to look online to see if any stores were selling Christmas trees yet, but none were. However, on Monday night he left the gym, and stopped by Fred Meyer's to buy a few groceries. And with a waft of noble fir filling his tiny nostrils, he saw the rows and rows of Christmas trees lined up in the Garden Center. And he went to them. And he smelled them. And then he asked Customer Service if they were for sale yet, and THEY WERE.

So he called Maryann's mom to see if it would be crazy to get a tree this early. And she was very helpful, and said, "Maybe you should wait til the weekend, but do whatever you want!" (Paraphrasing). So Oz bought a 5/6 ft. noble fir, a new tree stand, and went home to decorate, full of hope and positivity.

But he forgot that when he went to the boy scout troop lot, it may have cost more money, but they would cut a ring off the trunk for you, AND put on the tree stand. So after making a MASSIVE mess in the condo sawing off parts of the tree, scattering sawdust and needles and dirt on every surface, he somehow managed to get the 75-100 lb. tree into the new tree stand. Which is impressive for a cat. OR A SINGLE HUMAN.

And he should have gone to sleep, but noooo he went forward and strung the lights, and then a garland on the tree, and then finally got to put on the ornaments! And Maryann was no help at all, the whole time trying to bat off ornaments and drink from the tree stand when Oz wasn't looking. But they had fun, and it was beautiful, so they went to bed, feeling like their little world was that much more magical.

The next day, Oz left work to get a coat because the library was freezing and when he got home, he noticed the tree was...listing a bit. So he was like, "Hey! I'll just fix it real fast before I head back to work!" AND THAT'S WHEN IT ALL FELL APART.

He adjusted the tree stand too much this way or that, until it couldn't stand up on its own anymore, and had to be leaned against a chair. And Maryann was super not helpful, getting right in his face and trying to nap under the tree while Oz was moving it. So Oz put her in the bathroom, because he was frustrated. And the tree would. not. go. back. into the upright position. But it was all done up with it's lights and ornaments! And it couldn't stay up on its own anymore!

And from the bathroom Maryann cried and cried, and Oz yelled, "I DON'T CARE!" Water got spilled from the tree stand onto the living room carpet, and Oz sobbed, "Why am I a homeowner? Why do I own this carpet? I'm too domestically impaired to not rent!"

So the ornaments came off the tree, and it was laid onto the carpet over a blanket, with the plan to move it to the old tree stand. But no matter how hard Oz tried, it wouldn't go on because of the number of branches. So it just laid there. On the floor.

After inventing 3 new curse word combinations, Oz slunk to his bedroom and sat on the floor in the dark. This is a sampler of his thoughts:

- "I should really call someone to come help me. But then that would mean needing someone for something. I CAN'T."
- "This is why no one believes when you say 'living alone is great!' Mom is TOTALLY gonna make me get roommates."
- "This is why my doctor prescribed online dating for me. She knew I would need someone to help hold my Christmas tree for me."
- "Just chuck the thing down a hillside, lights and all, drive your red-eyed, wet face to Target, and buy a fake tree. Then you'll really never need anyone. Never."

After these thoughts, Oz called Maryann's parents on every phone line they have, and reached her dad who said, "Put it out on the porch. I'm coming up on Thursday, we'll deal with it then."

And Oz did put that light-covered tree out on the porch. And put all the ornaments back in their boxes. And sopped up the wet carpet, and vacuumed all the needles. And made a smoothie. And felt much, much better.


(If you weren't aware, this post is entirely fictional. Oz couldn't do all those things. Well, one of these things did happen: Maryann cried and cried.)

Hilarious parts omitted for the sake of brevity:

- Oz lugging the tree from his condo parking space into his condo all by himself
- Oz inventing the term "f**kmuncher" and usually it repeatedly
- Oz trying to cut a ring off the tree trunk with a whittling knife

#307: MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana

11.15.2011


MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana (1994)

Favorite Track(s): "About A Girl" and "Come As You Are" and "Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam" and "The Man Who Sold the World" and "Polly" and "Oh, Me" and "All Apologies"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Me when I realized this was the next album on the list:



It's no secret that I am no fan of Nirvana, despite my--well, not my best efforts, but my totally decent efforts. Though if I have any chance of liking Nirvana, it's probably the most likely with an unplugged album, so I'm not put off by the grunge.

(Post-Listening) I wouldn't say this is how Nirvana deserves to be heard, but I would say this is how Maryann needs to hear them (well, and they need to do more covers). Instead of reminding me of grunge, many of the songs made me think of 60s classic rock.

I don't think I'll be rushing to add this to my music library, but I would listen to it again. I mean, I didn't love EVERY song, i.e. "Something in the Way" felt so bland and boring in world where "Something" by the Beatles and "Something in the Way She Moves" by James Taylor exist.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Not to me, but still so much better than I expected.

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What I Wore Today November - May

11.13.2011

Friends, I've reached full Warmfort. You know, that magical combination of warmth and comfort. The weather is now cold and wet enough for me to live in my sleeping bag coat for the rest of Fall, all of Winter, and most of Spring.

Last year when it got super icy all I had for my footums were my Fuggs (fake Uggs) that had nonexistent traction, and rain boots, which had zero warmth. So I decided to combine the best of both and find some sleeping bag boots to match my sleeping bag coat, and never wear anything else until the temperature reaches at least 70 degrees outside.



Close-up of the boots. (North Face, FTW.)



I love being heated and cushy.

#308: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill

11.10.2011


The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill (1998)

Favorite Track(s): "Ex-Factor" and "To Zion" and "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and "Final Hour" and "When It Hurts So Bad" and "I Used to Love Him" and "Every Ghetto, Every City" and "Everything is Everything"

Thoughts: How is this in the 300s? HOW? This record is pure gold. Am I personally biased because I listened to it non-stop in middle school? Maybe. The memories came flooooooding back.

First off, the album cover. IT'S HER FACE CARVED INTO A SCHOOL DESK. Pure brilliance. And the music itself? Proof of its quality: my dad loves this album and he hates rap. Ok, that might not be proof enough for you. It's just so funky and sharp and fresh but it's not about reinforcing her ego (Eminem) or trying to convince us what a *opposite-sex-genitalia*-magnet she is (almost every male rapper). It's about her life and personal issues and struggles, as well as issues facing society. Plus, she's able to talk openly about her faith without sacrificing the quality of the music.

"Doo Wop (That Thing)" gives me chills, it's sooooo goooood. And "To Zion" is so powerful and moving. "I Used to Love Him"'s beat is undeniable. There's so much to be found here: funk, reggae, hip-hop, R&B, classical. To know this album is to love it dearly. Lauryn Hill, come back to us and make another studio album.

Is This Better Than Help!?:



Oh HELL YES. But they should BOTH be in the top 100.

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#309: Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1979)

Favorite Track(s): "Refugee" and "Even the Losers" and "Don't Do Me Like That" and "What Are You Doin' in My Life?"

Thoughts: Yay! I'm so glad to have gotten to some Tom Petty on this list. He's always been an artist whose catalog I wanted to dig into, but never found the time. My favorite Tom Petty song (right now) is "Down South" which my dad introduced to me. It's a perfect road trip song.

Also, I think his song "Wildflowers" is the PERFECT walk down the aisle song if you're outdoors. And he's in the Traveling' Wilburys! J'adore.

Anyway, enough gushing about Tom. Let's get to the album! It was a joy to listen to. Full-bodied rock. "Don't Do Me Like That" alone will last forever.

Is This Better Than Help!?: I'm afraid so. So good!

#310: The Velvet Underground by The Velvet Underground

11.04.2011


The Velvet Underground by The Velvet Underground (1969)

Favorite Track(s): "Candy Says" and "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Jesus" and "Beginning to See the Light" and "I'm Set Free" and "That's the Story of My Life" and "After Hours"

Thoughts: Reminders: (because I need them--I don't know if you do) Lou Reed and Nico were in The Velvet Underground. This is a band I hear about often, but I've never been sure I could recognize their music. I tended to confuse them with Velvet Revolver. And The Verve.

But now I will remember the distinction! My favorite songs on the album were hands-down "Pale Blue Eyes" and "After Hours." Perfection.

Though I thought it was weird that they had a song called "What Goes On" that has the actual lyric, what goes on in your mind? and then in "Murder Mystery" they sang about "Mr. Moonlight." Beatles, anyone? And the beginning of "I'm Set Free" totally reminded me of the start of the finale to AD/BC: A Rock Opera.

In summation, this was an album of marvelous 60s pop-rock. Definitely recommend.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Yes.



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#311: Surfer Rosa by The Pixies


Surfer Rosa by The Pixies (1988)

Favorite Track(s): "Bone Machine" and "Broken Face" and "Gigantic" and "Where is My Mind" and "Cactus" and "Vamos"

Thoughts: I really enjoyed listening to this album, even though it probably isn't one I'll need to revisit. There was plenty of variety between tracks, and I adored the male/female lead vocals. Not my usual go-to music, but definitely quality. 311 quality, however, is pushing it. I realize this the debut album of the Pixies and it influenced a lot of other artists, but it's just not at the caliber I'm expecting at this point in the list.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Sorry, no.

Adventures in Gym Membership: Part 1

For some reason I have a hard time going to my gym without wearing make-up. This is laughable considering I rarely wear make-up at work (if ever) but for some reason when I'm going to exercise, I want to look presentable. I think somewhere in my mind, I imagine being chatted up by some kind, single heterosexual male fellow member in the cardio room, and I want to look my best. But I'm not quite sure what I'm thinking will happen.

Expectations:

- "Hello there. I see you're wearing a Bruce Springsteen t-shirt. What's your favorite album?"

- "Hi, nice tattoos. Can I ask you about them?"

- "I'm sorry, I was watching you channel surfing, and I couldn't help but notice your excellent taste in television."


Reality:

- "Excuse me, ma'am, but you're breathing so heavily while you power-walk that myself and others near by are worried you need medical attention."

- "I'm sorry to interrupt, ma'am, but an inordinate amount of cat hair is flying off your work-out clothes and it's causing fellow members to have allergic reactions."

- "Ma'am? Would you mind keeping it down? Your loud snorts of laughter while watching [Modern Family/Community/30 Rock, etc.] are disrupting other people's workouts."


Also, there are multiple flyers in the ladies' locker rooms advertising for boot-camp-like exercise workshops. I'm not sure if it's lightheadedness from working out, but my mind keeps reading the word 'calories' as 'ovaries.' And for a flash second I think, "WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BURN MY OVARIES?"

#312: Rock Steady by No Doubt

11.03.2011


Rock Steady by No Doubt (2001)

Favorite Track(s): "Hella Good" and "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All"

Thoughts: Aww, I remember when this album came out! So good. I mean, I didn't buy it, but I heard it often in my daily doses of MTV and Z100. I don't think we've seen No Doubt since we listened to Tragic Kingdom, which was fantastic.

This album is very fun, and has funky beats, but come on. 312? I don't think so. There weren't necessarily a bunch of throw-away songs, but it was just fun and groovy. And nothing's wrong with that--I just don't see why it's better than so many mind-blowingly incredible albums we've heard so far. Is it the Prince collaboration on "Waiting Room"?

I want this album on in the background of a party, not as a desert island disc, you know?

Is This Better Than Help!?: Nope. Sorry!

I'm often asked to bring my exceptional insight and perspective to important topics affecting our society and the globe.

Other times, Yankee Candles. Which is what I talked about last night. For 20 minutes. With Kj.

People who are not allowed to watch this video: Jenny (because it would spoil a surprise) and my mom, because it would worry her. (Though that thing that would worry her shouldn't worry her anymore because I no longer do it!)

You're welcome.

#313: The Eminem Show by Eminem

11.02.2011


The Eminem Show by Eminem (2002)

Favorite Track(s): Just the chorus of "Business" and "Without Me" and all the Steven Tyler parts of "Sing for the Moment" (aka "Dream On")

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) I would never say that Eminem is not a talented rapper. He has definite skill. But from what little I know of his music, that's the only part of him I can respect. I don't appreciate the content of his lyrics, and musically his songs don't appeal to me. I know a lot of people enjoy listening to his stuff when they're mad or angry, but for me, this isn't music that I feel like I can feel 'safe' being angry to. His anger borders way too close to hate, misogyny, violence, and ignorance. In other words, I'm in no way excited to listen to this album, and I am frankly appalled at how high it is on the list. Let's see.

(Post-Listening)

Ugh.

My favorite part of "White America" was the reference to TRL, and how now that show no longer exists, so it's no longer relevant. I personally feel that artists like Eminem are created precisely for the MTV crowd--it's of-the-moment and all about beating out your competition, instead of trying to make music that will last. Almost every song seems like a cry to remember how controversial and talented he is, and trying to respond to critics. The whole album feels defensive and petty.

Instead of listening to "Say Goodbye Hollywood" I wanted to be listening to "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Billy Joel. Let's not even talk about "Drips." I DO like "Without Me" because it makes me feel nostalgic, and it's in one of my favorite Doctor Who fan videos. "Superman" is just ridiculous and awful, and not in a fun way. The song "When the Music Stops" just made me think of the song "Heart of Worship" where the lyrics go, "When the music fades, and all is stripped away..." Right?

Anyway, I'm bummed this album is on the list, and this high up.

Is This Better Than Help!?:



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This Gentle Surgery

11.01.2011

by Malachi Black



Once more the bright blade of a morning breeze
glides almost too easily through me,

and from the scuffle I've been sutured to
some flap of me is freed: I am severed

like a simile: an honest tenor
trembling toward the vehicle I mean

to be: a blackbird licking half notes
from the muscled, sap-damp branches

of the sugar maple tree...though I am still
a part of any part of every particle

of me, though I'll be softly reconstructed
by the white gloves of metonymy,

I grieve: there is no feeling in a cut
that doesn't heal a bit too much.





Poetry, November 2009