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#262: Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival

2.28.2012


Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

Favorite Track(s): "Lookin' Out My Back Door" and "Run Through the Jungle" and "Up Around the Bend" and "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

Thoughts: Yes to life! Yes to love! Yes to Creedence Clearwater Revival!

"Up Around the Bend" has to be one of the top 20 rock songs ever written.

I love how the album cover is the band hanging out in a room with instruments, and Doug Clifford ('Cosmo') is sitting on a bike, as if to make you think this is just a bunch of regular guys playing some songs, as opposed to gods of Classic Rock. Which they totally are.

I do have a problem though where every song I hear by them I automatically associate with two things: Woodstock and the Vietnam War. Which I'm not sure they would want. But seriously, every single song. I think it's due to all the movies about both events that have featured CCR. And the fact that I'm sure many of the songs are actually written about those two things. Fascinating commentary, I know.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Yep.



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Sometimes I try to limit the number of colors I use.



And then I relapse.

#263: Quadrophenia by The Who


Quadrophenia by The Who (1973)

Favorite Track(s): "The Real Me" and "Quadrophenia" and "Cut My Hair" and "The Punk and the Godfather" and "I'm One" and "The Dirty Jobs" and "Helpless Dancer" and "Is It In My Head?" and "Sea and Sand" and "Love, Reign o'er Me"

Thoughts: If you're wondering why it's been so long since I did a Rolling Stone Top 500 post, see this monster I was working on. But I'm glad to be back. And what a thing to come back to: a rock opera by The Who! Yes, please.

Am I the only person slightly mystified by the album cover? At first glance I thought it looked like a 90s alternative band's cover. And then I was like, is he a Samurai? A boxer? Oh, he's on a motorcycle. I was quite perplexed.

I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of this album before it showed up here. It's a pity that--in least in my world--Tommy gets so much more attention than Quadrophenia. I mean, Tommy is amazing and deserves its recognition, but Quadrophenia was just spectacular. The lyrics to "Helpless Dancer" (Roger's Theme)!:

When a man is running from his boss
Who holds a gun that fires "cost"
And people die from being old
Or left alone because they're cold
And bombs are dropped on fighting cats
And children's dreams are run with rats
If you complain you disappear
Just like the lesbians and queers
No one can love without the grace
Of some unseen and distant face
And you get beaten up by blacks
Who though they worked still got the sack
And when your soul tells you to hide
Your very right to die's denied
And in the battle on the streets
You fight computers and receipts
And when a man is trying to change
But only causes further pain
You realize that all along
Something in us going wrong...
You stop dancing.

The BANJO in "I've Had Enough"! Roger's voice in "Sea and Sand"! The horns in "Doctor Jimmy"! The drums in "Love Reign o'er Me"!

I want to turn off all the lights in the house, plug my massive head phones into my stereo, and listen to this album with my eyes closed.

Is This Better Than Help!?:



Yes.

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The Day of Gifts

2.27.2012

It's not true that Your saints have won everything: they left me with sins enough.
Someday I'll lie on my deathbed, Lord, ill-shaven and yellow as a lifelong drunk.
And I'll make a general examination of myself, looking back over all my days,
And I'll see that I'm rich after all, ripe and rich with evil in its unnumbered paths and ways.
I haven't lost one single chance, Lord, to make matter for You to pardon.
Now I hearten myself with vice, having long ago sloughed off virtue's burden.
Each day has its own kind of crime, plain to see, and I count them like some paranoid miser.

If what you need, Lord, are virgins, if what you need are brave men beneath your standard;
If there are people for whom to be Christian words alone would not suffice,
But who know rather that only in stirring themselves to chase after You is there any life,
Well then there's Dominic and Francis, Saint Lawrence and Saint Cecilia and plenty more!
But if by chance You should have need of a lazy and imbecilic bore,
If a prideful coward could prove useful to You, or perhaps a soiled ingrate,
Or the sort of man whose hard heart shows up in a hard face--
Well, anyway, You didn't come to save the just but that other type that abounds,
And if, miraculously, You run out of them elsewhere...Lord, I'm still around.

And what kind of man is so crude that he hasn't held a little something back from You,
Hasn't in his free time fashioned something special for You,
Hoping that one day the idea will come to You to ask it of him,
And maybe this little that he's made himself, kept back until then,
though horrid and tortuous, will please Your whim.
It would be something that he'd put his whole heart into, something useless and malformed.
Just like that my little daughter once, on my birthday, teetered forward with encumbered arms
And offered me, her heart at once full of timidity and pride,
A magnificent little duck she had made with her own two hands, a pincushion, made of red wool and gold thread.



- Paul Claudel

translated from the French by Jonathan Monrow Geltner. Poetry, March 2012.

So You Don't Want To Watch All Seven (Plus?) Seasons of Supernatural

2.26.2012




I was never interested in Supernatural until I joined tumblr. It was EVERYWHERE. All the people who loved Doctor Who and Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer seemed to also love Supernatural. I didn't understand. It seemed so trite and mediocre from all the promos I'd seen. I had been disappointed by so many CW shows (*cough*Smallville*cough*). But it kept showing up on my tumblr dash, and the cast seemed hilarious, and certain gifs or screen caps were so intriguing, I had to see what all the fuss was about. And now I'm a total fan. Why? Here are my top 5 reasons why I love Supernatural:

1) The Cast
Their tweets, their jokes at conventions, the number of conventions they actually go to, their clear love for one another, their obvious dedication to the show and its fans.


2) The Guest Stars
There are slews of Whedon alums, usually playing vampires or witches. The show cycles through a ton of one-episode characters, but because of that you get some very fun, talented people.

3) The Music
Don't get me started on the amazing classic/soft rock utilized in this show. It pleases me to no end. Not since Freaks and Geeks have I felt so at home in a soundtrack. Bobby Singer's favorite singer is Joni Mitchell. Enough said.

4) The References/Episode Titles
Actors referring to their former roles (in character of course), and the endless references to any number of things is shown best perhaps in the episode titles, a trend that didn't really kick off until season 4. A few choice examples (some of which show up on my favorite episodes list):

"Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester"
"Criss Angel is a Douchebag"
"Jump the Shark" (particularly amazing because in this episode Sam and Dean learn...they have a brother they didn't know about!)
"I Believe the Children Are Our Future"
"Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"
"Live Free or TwiHard"
"Mannequin 3: The Reckoning"
"The French Mistake"
"Season 7, Time For A Wedding!"
"The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo"

5) The Fans
As I said earlier, thanks to tumblr I've seen how loyal and creative the fanbase is. And that is part of loving a show--you see how fiercely other people love it and it drives your love to be stronger too. (Unless you hate a show in which case you condemn everyone who loves it.) But honestly, I'm shocked
Supernatural made it past 3 seasons. The fact that it did and was able to get to the really funny, off-kilter episodes is such a treat.

Plus, the fans makes stuff like this:



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Truth: there are a lot of just-OK episodes. Probably about 60%, in my opinion.


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And with generally 22 episodes a season, that's a lot to sludge through. Maybe you like the characters well enough, but the plots get old quickly. Or you don't feel like there's enough quality character development. I get it! So why is their such a rabid, dedicated fan base for such a perhaps-more-often-than-not-mediocre show? Because every now and then there is an episode so fantastic, you can't help but love the show, no matter how hit-and-miss.

Personally, I wouldn't argue that you need to see every single episode of Supernatural in order to appreciate the truly wonderful ones. It was important for me to watch every single one because I'm anal like that, but you don't have to be. And maybe seeing the truly awesome episodes will give you the strength you need to get through the just-ok ones! Or not. In the end, it will still be a matter of taste.

Anyway. Here are Maryann's Top 25 Supernatural Episodes (and if that is STILL too many, look for my
Supernatural Holy Trinity, which are outlined in the list below. If you can't handle 3 episodes, you don't deserve Television), and with the show now streaming on Netflix, it should be easy to watch them. I would recommend you at least watch the entire first season before you watch any of the episodes listed here--that will help them be funnier/more amazing. Another idea would be to watch the episodes that introduce important characters like Castiel, Balthazar, Bobby Singer, Crowley, etc. or season opener episodes in order to get those all too helpful flashback plot-filler-inners (also that means you get to hear Kansas's "Carry On My Wayward Son" again and again, and that never gets old. Seriously, I'm not being sarcastic. That song is the shit and in many ways, the heart of the show). Again, just a suggestion.

Yes, I re-watched all these episodes to make sure they were worthy of the list.

Season 2, Epsiode 12: "Nightshifter"

Is my love for this episode entirely encapsulated in the last scene (a scene that's been done before, but to SUCH GREAT MUSIC)? No. But it makes up about 80%. The 20% left is due to the opening re-cap interruption and Ronald "Ron" Reznick.

Season 2, Episode 15: "Tall Tales"

The boys are stuck on a case and call Bobby to visit so they can share the details with him and get a fresh perspective on what they might be missing. The fun of the episode lies in the fact that the brothers are totally annoyed with each other at the moment, so they're individual 're-tellings' of the case are biased against each other with comedic brilliance. Jared Padalecki's (Sam) impression of Dean's impression of Sam in genius. Plus, the greatest alien abduction story ever.

Season 2, Episode 18: "Hollywood Babylon"

The tram tour, the McG references, Canada jokes, the Three Men and A Baby myth, and PA Dean.

Season 3, Episode 3: "Bad Day at Black Rock"

The brothers learn that one of their dad's storage units has been broken into, and a cursed rabbit's foot was stolen. They recover it and learn that it's possessor has perfect good luck, but when they lose it, the luck turns bad, then fatal. Unlucky Sam is the cutest of all the Sams. Also there's a character named Grossman, and for some reason I really enjoy that.

Season 3, Episode 11: "Mystery Spot" (Holy Trinity Part 1)

This is the first actually perfect episode of Supernatural. It hit a new level here. Just watch it!

Season 3, Episode 13: "Ghostfacers"

The Andrew Wells episode of Supernatural. "Stay in the kitchen when the kitchen gets hot!" If the Supernatural Trinity was actually a Quadinity then this would be in it. So many funny moments, so many quotable lines.

Season 4, Episode 6: "Yellow Fever"

Dean catches a ghost sickness that causes anxiety/fear to the point of heart failure. The episode is very funny and entertaining in and of itself, but be sure to watch to the credits. My only beef with this episode is that it has scenes of a man (well, a ghost) being dragged from a car by his neck, so...yeah. FYI.

Season 4, Episode 17: "It's A Terrible Life"

Fun AU episode. Amazing intro with the Kinks. Jack Plotnick! And Ghostfacers!

Season 4, Episode 18: "The Monster at the End of This Book"

The lead-in episode for "The Real Ghostbusters" episode. SO AMAZING. Clearly made for the fans. Just watch it. If the Holy Trinity were a Quinity, this would be in it.

Season 5, Episode 1: "Sympathy for the Devil"

"The Road So Far" segments are one of my favorite things the show does. The only other show with such a good re-cap segment is BSG. Beyond that, though, is the amazingness of fangirl Becky Rosen. An otherwise just-OK episode is made wonderful every time she appears on screen. Which is not often enough.

Season 5, Episode 8: "Changing Channels"

TV tropes abound, both old and current. Supernatural spoofs sit-coms, Japanese game shows, Knight Rider, procedural cop dramas, pharmaceutical commercials, and Grey's Anatomy for the delight of all. Almost made the Trinity.

Season 5, Episode 9: "The Real Ghostbusters" (Holy Trinity Part 2)

Perfection in TV episode form. The show makes fun of itself and its fans. Amazing.

Season 5, Episode 11: "Sam, Interrupted"

Sam and Dean admit themselves into a mental institution to help an old friend hunt a monster that's been killing patients. The plot has twists I didn't see coming, the boys 'play crazy', and just a solid episode all around.

Season 5, Episode 12: "Swap Meat"

Really, just the opening scene is worth a place on this list. Pure awesome. Also, Bob Seger. The monster case, on the other hand, is freaking disturbing. So be warned.

Season 5, Episode 16: "Dark Side of the Moon"
Interesting, well-executed plot and touching memorable moments. I can't tell you anything about it. Just watch it. The scene after the title is my favorite (the song is PERFECT) but there are many great ones that follow it.

Season 6, Episode 2: "Two and a Half Men"

Don't let the title throw you--this episode has not been tainted by Jon Cryer or Charlie Sheen. Or Ashton Kutcher for that matter. It's exactly what it sounds like though: the guys and a baby. Wonderful. Except for the opening sequence. That shit is terrifying.

Season 6, Episode 5: "Live Free or TwiHard"

Exactly what you think it is. Making fun of Twilight and people who love it, Supernatural-style. It's also a pivotal episode for the season.

Season 6, Episode 9: "Clap Your Hands if You Believe"

Supernatural does The X-Files! And an amazing line about Oberon, King of the Fairies.

Season 6, Episode 15: "The French Mistake" (Holy Trinity Part 3)

One AU episode to rule them all. The title is a perfect, PERFECT Blazing Saddles reference. The 'acting' scene is one of my favorite things in the world.

Season 6, Episode 18: "Frontierland"

Western time-travel! Let the references commence!

Season 7, Episode 3: "The Girl Next Door"

Jewel Staite! A Doctor Who reference! Childhood flashbacks! The Long-Suffering relationship between Dean and pie!

Season 7, Episode 5: "Shut Up, Dr. Phil"

James Marsters! Charisma Carpenter! But really, the greatness can be summed up in this scene that was deleted from the episode:



Season 7, Episode 6: "Slash Fiction"

First of all, the TITLE. Second of all, a specific car scene. Third, COLONEL TIGH!

Season 7, Episode 8: "Season 7, Time For a Wedding!"

If the title isn't tempting enough, add one of the very best recurring characters (who we don't see often enough), and two, count them TWO great new characters, a song by The Association, and it's just very, very funny.

Season 7, Episode 12: "Time After Time"

Time travel! Again! But with a surprisingly well-written script, actually tender moments, fun one-liners, a Veronica Mars alum playing his usual butt of a character (that's right, IT'S LOGAN), and naturally, a load of time travel pop culture references. Plus, guess who's a hunter!


If nothing else, there's always the legendary bloopers. You know, gag reels. Outtakes. They probably keep the show's fanbase happier than the actual show does.

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6

Carry on, my wayward sons. And daughters.

Songs of the day, courtesy of Drive.

I couldn't stop listening to these songs after seeing Drive.



"Real Hero" by College.



"Under Your Spell" by Desire.

I wouldn't recommend the movie to every one (it's exceptionally violent--like most movies I've been into lately...) but the soundtrack is sublime.

To em[be]llish or not to em[be]llish, that is the question.

2.21.2012



Questionnaires are fun!

2.17.2012

I got tagged by Allie at No Small Dreams, so here we go!

1.
What is your favorite memory from your childhood?
Many things, but the first thing that came to mind was sailing with my family in the San Juan Islands.

2. What historical figure would you like to go on a date with?
Alan Alda. He's historical to me, even if he's not dead! Deal with it.

3. What do you do when you've had a bad day?
Sleep like it's my job.

4. What is your specialty in the kitchen?
Take-out.

5. If you found $20 on the ground, how would you spend it?
Take-out.

6. What did you have for breakfast today?
A fruit roll-up.

7. What is your dream vacation?
Right now, visiting Kj in Scotland (once she's there). Someday, New Zealand. And yes, I would do all the LOTR touristy stuff.

8. Your cocktail of choice?
Anything with peach nectar or Bailey's. Not together, though.

9. What were you into as a teenager?
Jesus.

10. What is your beauty product of choice?
Burt's Bees pomegranate chapstick.

11. If you could live in any other decade, which would you choose?
The 70s.

Thanks, Allie!

peach, plum, pear

2.16.2012

I've decided to try adding some text--mostly song titles/lyrics--to some of my coloring. Here's my first go.

nuzzle-bunny


I swear, he hates cameras. Can't stand them.



This picture turned out blurry, which is a shame, but I will cherish forever his head pressed against my face of his own accord.

The song (and quote) of the day.

2.15.2012



"Comfort" by Deb Talan (of The Weepies).

If you can't remember a better time
you can have mine, little one
In days to come when your heart feels undone
may you always find an open hand
and take comfort wherever you can


And from the movie Stranger Than Fiction:



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#264: There Goes Rhymin' Simon by Paul Simon


There Goes Rhymin' Simon by Paul Simon (1973)

Favorite Track(s): "Kodachrome" and "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" and "American Tune" and "St. Judy's Comet" and "Loves Me Like a Rock"

Thoughts: YES! Paul Simon makes his first appearance on the List! I'm relieved, excited, content. Feels good, feels right.

"Kodachrome" is one of the greatest songs ever. So sing-a-long-able, so peppy and full of awesome lyrics, like "When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." Plus the incredible piano towards the end. My only complaint really is that it's about his Nikon camera, and I'm in a Canon family. But I'll let it slide.

As for "Something So Right", I recommend serenading your significant other with it. Or if you're not much of a singer, play it on the stereo at least. Really romantic and sweet.

"American Tune" confused me for ages because it sounded like one of my favorite hymns, "O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded" which apparently is also known as "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" and "O Sacred Head, Surrounded" and it's a chorale from St. Matthew's Passion by Bach. And "American Tune" does borrow heavily but also expands on it.

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right
For lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
We’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing an American tune
Oh, it’s all right, it’s all right
It’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest

Fantastic. Reminds me of a Bruce Springsteen song.

And finally, "St. Judy's Comet." This song goes on every lullaby CD I ever make for myself for couple friends who have babies. Either Paul's version or Kenny Loggins, from the most amazing lullaby CD of all time, Return to Pooh Corner. The song is about waking up your sleeping boy to see a comet. What more do you need to know? Wonderful. Kenny's version has bird chirping!



Is This Better Than Help!?: Yes!



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#265: Psycho Candy by the Jesus and Mary Chain


Psycho Candy by the Jesus and Mary Chain (1985)

Favorite Track(s): "Just Like Honey" and "The Hardest Walk" and "Cut Dead" and "Some Candy Talking" and "Sowing Seeds" and "My Little Underground" and "Something's Wrong"

Thoughts: The Jesus and Mary Chain was a band I heard about a lot, but I never had a grip on what genre of music they played. Death metal? Electronica? Turns out the answer is alternative rock, and they're Scottish!

I didn't love every single song on the album (the ones with loads of distortion were rough for me) but the tracks I did like were really good. I like Andy Gill's review: "A great citadel of beauty whose wall of noise, once scaled, offers access to endless vistas of melody and emotion." Couldn't have said it better myself. It's kinda dark, pretty 80s, and yet lovely on a regular basis. Sort of like The Cure and The Smiths wrapped together, but grittier.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Yeah, it's pretty awesome.



A little Valentine's present.

2.14.2012





It's a miracle this picture exists--he batted it off every. other. time. before I could get a non-blurry photo. Which is his right. And yes, he got a treat afterwards.

Happy Valentine's Day, Nobody!



[etsy]

Ha ha! But seriously, you guys...here's an infographic on divorce in America.



No, but really. This time I mean it. Happy Valentine's Day.



"P.S. You Rock My World" by The Eels.

I was at a funeral the day I realized
I wanted to spend my life with you
Sitting down on the steps at the old post office
The flag was flying at half mast
And I was thinking 'bout how
Everyone is dying
And maybe it is time to live


For as Simon Amstell reminds us, "death is coming."

Birthday Wishlist

2.13.2012

Awww yeaaaaah. My birthday's in a month! As I thought about what I wanted, I realized this is quite an 'grown-up' list for me. Practical things. Not a DVD or even piece of clothing in sight (though there's always my amazon wishlist, which is full of that stuff--be sure to sort by priority. Aaaaand there's the UK one as well). Just stuff for the home, the car, and personal hygiene.

(And let it be known I am posting this for my family who reads my blog--gifts are not expected from anyone else!)

Sonicare Toothbrush Heads.



San Juan Islands Clock.




Clinique Happy Heart



Adobe Photoshop Elements 10. (Or any version.)




Carved Starling Doorstop.



A 'Cargo Cover' for my car trunk.



These olive oil and vinegar cruets.





(Ok, ok, I cave. Here's some DVDs I want! Law and Order: UK seasons 1-4)

munchkin.








Song of the day.

2.10.2012



"Sadness is a Blessing" by Lykke Li.

#266: Some Girls by The Rolling Stones


Some Girls by The Rolling Stones (1978)

Favorite Track(s): "Miss You" and "Beast of Burden"

Thoughts: Well, well, well. What have we here? A Rolling Stones album. Let's refresh our memories from as long ago as yesterday:

"I've noticed that whenever a Beach Boys or Rolling Stones album comes up on the list, I feel the need to compare them to The Beatles and no matter what, prove why The Beatles are the BEST and the Beach Boys and Stones could never TOUCH their majesty or genius!"

In fact when I saw that this album was called Some Girls, I decided to argue that they had stolen the title from Rod Stewart's song, "Some Guys Have All the Luck" but was bummed because it was from the 80s, so of course they couldn't have been stealing. But then I learned that the song was originally sung by The Persuaders in 1973, and written by Jeff Fortgang. HA! The Rolling Stones are cheats.



Now that's out of the way, let's talk about Some Girls. And what could be more appropriate than to start with the actual song, "Some Girls." The lyrics are FULL of gems:

French girls they want Cartier, Italian girls want cars
American girls want everything in the world you can possibly imagine
English girls they're so prissy, I can't stand them on the telephone
Sometimes I take the receiver off the hook, I don't want them to ever call at all
White girls they're pretty funny, sometimes they drive me mad
Black girls just wanna get fucked all night, I just don't have that much jam
Chinese girls are so gentle, they're really such a tease
You never know quite what they're cookin' inside those silky sleeves

I mean, what is there NOT to like about those lyrics? I can't find a single fucking thing.

The other anecdote is that my mom used to think that Mick sang, "I want to be your pizza burnin'" instead of "Beast of Burden." I prefer her lyrics.


Is This Better Than Help!?:



No.

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#267: The Beach Boys Today! by The Beach Boys

2.09.2012


The Beach Boys Today! by The Beach Boys (1965)

Favorite Track(s): "Help Me, Rhonda" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" and "I'm So Young"

Thoughts: I've noticed that whenever a Beach Boys or Rolling Stones album comes up on the list, I feel the need to compare them to The Beatles and no matter what, prove why The Beatles are the BEST and the Beach Boys and Stones could never TOUCH their majesty or genius!

I'm not sure why that is. In fact, why am I so obsessed with defending the Beatles? They certainly don't need it. And I'm sure they'd all want me to cool off and get a life. Ok, maybe John would say that. The rest of them would be like, "Thanks for being such a dedicated fan, but we actually really like those other bands and there's no need for an imaginary competition." But before I can go any further, let me just make this clear in case there is any doubt or confusion: THE BEATLES ARE BETTER THAN THE BEACH BOYS. (It's immature, I know, but I don't care.)

This album was fun, and reminded me a lot of childhood and listening to Oldies. So...yep. Full disclosure, I didn't actually listen to the whole album. The last track is an interview, "Bull Session with the 'Big Daddy'" was edited down for the release of the album because it's over 20 minutes long. But the 20 minutes long version is the only one on YouTube. I tried to listen to it, but it made me want to punch everyone in the recording. Especially Brian Wilson. I mean, I think the person I disliked the most was Brian. All their voices sounded the same.

Is This Better Than Help!?: NO!



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#268: Going to a Go-Go by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles


Going to a Go-Go by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (1965)

Favorite Track(s): "Tracks of My Tears" and "Ooo Baby Baby" and "All That's Good" and "Let Me Have Some"

Thoughts: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles! I love Motown. I was a little bummed though that my favorite Smokey song, "I Second That Emotion", wasn't on here. But "Tracks of Me Tears" was, which will always remind me of Linda Ronstadt.

This album was really good, but had a lot of just OK songs. I enjoyed listening to it, but I wasn't blown away.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Not to me.

#269: Nightbirds by Labelle (1974)

2.08.2012


Nightbirds by Labelle (1974)

Favorite Track(s): "Lady Marmalade" and "Are You Lonely?" and "It Took a Long Time" and "Nightbird"

Thoughts: Hmm. Well I like Patti Labelle, and I love disco, and good girl groups too. But this album seems to be ranked this high because of one thing: "Lady Marmalade." Yes, it is a fantastic, funky song. But the rest of the album couldn't touch it. None of the other songs, even the ones I liked, could be considered worthy of this ranking. So I think "Lady Marmalade" should be ranked as one of top 500 songs of all time, but Nightbirds didn't deserve to be in the 200s. One stellar song does not make an otherwise good album worthy of 269. Unless it's some epic 9 minute song like "Purple Rain." (Which isn't to say that the rest of Purple Rain isn't so chock-a-block full of incredible songs that our human ears don't even deserve it, because it IS.)

I mean, don't get me wrong, I would listen to this album and this album only for the rest of my life before I would listen to another Eminem album. The production is quality, the singing exceptional, the songs enjoyable. I'm just surprised we're listening to it at this particular point.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Not to me.

#270: Slim Shady LP by Eminem

2.07.2012


Slim Shady LP by Eminem (1999)

Favorite Track(s):

Thoughts: Sigh. Yes, that is a woman in the trunk in that album cover photo.

I have made clear my feelings about Eminem in previous posts, so I won't bore you with them again here (or will I?). I did actually listen to this album, even though I thought about skipping it. This man and his music should have no more of my attention or energy after this post, as I believe and hope and pray it's the last of him on the List. I thought about hijacking this post with an album that deserves its ranking more, but I just want to spend as little time here as possible.

Rolling Stone
voters, you make me not want to live on this planet anymore.



Is This Better Than Help!?:



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#271: Mothership Connection by Parliament


Mothership Connection by Parliament (1975)

Favorite Track(s): "P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)" and "Unfunky UFO" and "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)"

Thoughts: I wants to get funked up! We've had George Clinton's first band Funkadelic, but I think this is our first Parliament album (hopefully not the last!).

This album has perhaps the best funk song of all time, "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" which is just amazing. I think "P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)" comes in at a close second. This album is just full of delightful sci-funk. It was over too soon for me.

Whenever I think of Parliament and how they got 'the Funk', I think of this ridiculous little story-cartoon from The Mighty Boosh, told to us by Old Gregg:



Is This Better Than Help!?: Oh yeah. Super funky. Makes me wanna dance.



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Song of the day.



"Sorrow" by The National (I'm loving this band more and more and more and more).

Sorrow found me when I was young
Sorrow waited, sorrow won
Sorrow they put me on the pill
It's in my honey, it's in my milk

Don't leave my hyper heart alone on the water
Cover me in rag and bone sympathy
'Cause I don't wanna get over you
I don't wanna get over you

#306 - #272: Personal Favorites

2.06.2012



It's that time again! If I could recommend any albums from the last 34 I listened to on The List, these would be them! There were quite a few I enjoyed that didn't make this list (and quite a few I despised so much I could barely stand them) but these are really the cream of the crop.

1. Songs for Swingin' Lovers! by Frank Sinatra
2. Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake
3. Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson
4. I'm Still in Love With You by Al Green
5. Meat is Murder by The Smiths
6. Grace by Jeff Buckley
7. The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and the Band
8. Music of My Mind by Stevie Wonder
9. Can't Get Enough by Barry White
10. Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy

Honorable Mentions: Something Else by The Kinks by The Kinks and Master of Reality by Black Sabbath

#337 - #307
#370 - #338
#401 - #371
#432 - #402
#462 - #433
#500 - #463

Happy listening!

#272: Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson


Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson (1989)

Favorite Track(s): "Rhythm Nation" and "Miss You Much" and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" and "Alright" and "Escapade" and "Black Cat"

Thoughts: Is this our first Jackson family member on the list? I think so! Which had better mean there's a lot more of them to come, ok?

My parents owned this album, and I remember its importance (in her career and the music world) whenever I watched Janet Jackson: Behind the Music or some other VH1 show about her that I must have seen a lot as a kid. Later in college I would dance with my dorm floor to the title song in front of the other dorms, much to my embarrassment. But all that is to say, this album is pure gold. IT'S TIME TO GIVE A DAMN LET'S WORK TOGETHER!

I'd take Janet Jackson over Madonna any day for Best Diva (for the 80s and 90s in pop). This album weaves back and forth between social responsibility and sexy fun (like most Jackson family music), and Janet oozing sensuality while flirting with androgyny (like another one of her siblings). But despite the unavoidable similarities to her brother, her music keeps a lightness and playfulness that I would argue Michael had a hard time of capturing in his music from the end of the 80s and onward. That likely had to with his obviously more troubled mind and life, but I think Janet's producers and co-writers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had a lot to do with it too. Janet's songs on this album, at least for me, never become too preachy or cater too much to 'shock factor.'

Rhythm Nation 1814 had 8 singles, 4 of which went to #1.

Is This Better Than Help!?: Oh yeah. In fact, I'm pissed this isn't in the top 200.