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Archive for the tag “Music”

My Complicated Feelings on Nirvana

nirvana-kurt-cobain-dave-grohlWhile impossible to separate music from those who made the music, we all make some attempt to do this. If we didn’t, no one would ever listen to Michael Jackson again. Everything produced by Phil Spector would be burned and shunned. Jerry Lee Lewis (modern reference, I know) would have banned from radio forever ago. If questioned, we make some argument about the music standing on its own.

With Nirvana the music never stands on its own. Every song lyric carries the weight of Cobain’s eventual suicide. We look for signs of his pain, as if pain isn’t the reason for 90% of all music to begin with. We give deep meaning to every breath heard on Unplugged in New York. We like to believe that Nirvana’s whole catalog is really a look behind the curtain of an impending suicide case that we all missed in real-time. If we had just recognized the signs from “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle,” then everything would have been different. This is ridiculous. Read more…

Should We All Hate Aerosmith?

High on Fire’s Matt Pike appears to hate Aerosmith more than you’ve ever hated anything ever:

I’ve just always had this thing with Aerosmith. The guy sounds like a goat. [Bleating.] “Baaa, baaa, dude looks…” It just gets under my skin. I have this button called the off button or the mute button that I call the Aerosmith button on all my stereos. I just have this weird thing with Aerosmith, where I don’t even care what people say about their old shit. I think they’re the crappiest, most overrated shit band of all time. And I fucking can’t stand them. [Laughs.] And that particular song gets under my skin to where I want to stab people.

The song he is referring to is “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).” I’ve always been fairly neutral on Aerosmith, but this man (I admit to knowing nothing about High on Fire or Matt Pike) does make some good points. Bad Aerosmith is really, really bad. “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” is a stupid song, but have you ever listened to “Pink” all the way through? I bet you haven’t because it’s terrible. The same goes for “Rag Doll,” “Mama Kin,” and “Eat the Rich,” to name a few other Aerosmith hits that do nothing but make me change the station. And don’t even bring up that song from Armageddon. Jesus. That song…

I lost a lot of respect for Aerosmith when I saw them live about 3 years ago. I know that one shouldn’t expect too much from a band that has been touring since the 70s, but I’ve also seen the Stones within the past decade, and they can still bring it. Aerosmith did not bring it. They were embarrassing. Steven Tyler’s voice is still ok, but the whole thing had the feel of a bad Vegas act. The real horror came about halfway through when, well, I’ll let Mr. Pike explain it:

Oh God, I saw a live show. We played at some festival they played on. They were the headliner, of course, and Joe Perry had his little Guitar Hero videogame, and he did a guitar solo with his fucking videogame guy. It’s cartoon him and real him having a guitar-off. That made me want to puke, too.

Can you beat animated Joe Perry on Guitar Hero? No?! You know who can? The real Joe Perry.

Can you beat animated Joe Perry on Guitar Hero? No?! You know who can? The real Joe Perry.

Yep, that happened. Joe Perry, one of the world’s great guitarists, had an onstage guitar battle with the animated version of himself. He did this in front of people. Have we all just been giving them too much credit for making “Dream On” forty years ago? Maybe we have, but man do I still love “Crazy.” Oh, and “Cryin’,” and “What it Takes,” and “Livin’ On the Edge,” and, oh hell, nevermind. I still like Aerosmith. Crap.

[A.V. Club]


Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes

This is one blog’s search for the definitive “Best Pop Song of the 1990s.” Ground rules can be found here. This will be done by analyzing these songs far more than any song, or thing, deserves to be analyzed. You can find the other entries here.

“What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes
Released June 23, 1993
Reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100

I was a little surprised to see that this song never made it higher than 14 on the Billboard charts, which led me to look at the songs that were number one during the months when this song would have had major airplay. The song “Weak” by SWV was number one for two weeks during this period. SWV! Also, Meat Loaf had the number one song for five weeks in November-December of 1993. I hope you feel shame, 1993.

Anyway, 4 Non Blondes. Here we go:

Twenty-five years I’m alive here still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
This is one of those classic songs that begins with acoustic strumming tailor-made for any first time guitar player, followed by an electric guitar riff tailor-made for any second time guitar player. I feel like the 90s were full of those. Also, I have spent my entire life believing that the first line was “Twenty-five years and my life is still.” This version makes more sense, but barely.
I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
What does that mean? Seriously. What the hell does that mean?
And so I cry sometimes
When I’m lying in bed Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar.

Did Linda Perry just create emo?! Read more…

Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.

This is one blog’s search for the definitive “Best Pop Song of the 1990s.” Ground rules can be found here. This will be done by analyzing these songs far more than any song, or thing, deserves to be analyzed. You can find similar posts here.

Now a guest post by Zack:

“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M
Released February 19, 1991
Reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100

If there is a “dark horse” for best pop song of the ‘90s, it has to be R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.”

The tune by the Athens, Georgia, band was a surprise Grammy-scoring smash of 1991. Surprising not because the band wasn’t talented, but rather because the song seemed just so unconventional and had such a dramatic tone.

It actually could be considered a great example of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. No, really. Think about it. Have you a better example?

Parts, parts, parts.

Pop music is all about parts, and none of which is more important than the hook. The hook, which is more often than not a catchy chorus, can be the difference between making millions and making rent. Because really, if you think about it, Marcy Playground is definitely not a great band, but does anyone who grew up in the ‘90s not know the lyrics to “Sex and Candy”? Exactly. That group of Minnesota clown shoes raked in dollars hand over fist, all because of that little six-word (I smell sex and candy here) hook.

Parts, parts, parts.

Something else the usual hit pop single has is a “relatability.” For the sake of argument I’ll just reference Marcy Playground again. Who can’t relate to sex? No one, that’s who. Even virgins relate, and maybe to even a more extreme degree than your average slut, because not having sex to a virgin is much more important than getting laid to the average skeez.  And candy? Well, if you don’t like candy, or can’t relate to it, then you suck at life. Period. Read more…

Song I Secretly Love: INXS’ “Never Tear us Apart”

That’s right…

Earth Prays Black Eyed Peas Stay On a Break

Just look at these guys

The Black Eyed Peas are an abomination to art in general and specifically art that involves production of sounds pleasing to humans. For years, despite this lack of any discernable talent, the “band” appeared on seemingly every national sports broadcast including the 2011 Super Bowl. It seemed that nothing or no one could stop their inevitable destruction of all things music. That is, until the band announced in July that they were mercifully taking a break. The world applauded, if by applauded you mean generally paid no attention. Unfortunately, today the Peas have announced that they are not breaking up. They are just on a break. Let’s all hope they’re full of shit.

You, Sir, Are No Ray Charles

R Kelly completely overvalues his own talent and career:

Best Albums of 2010

It’s becoming harder and harder to find good music.  Not that there is actually less good music made, only that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find.  MTV gave up on music long ago.  Rolling Stone gave up on good music long ago.  Publications that actually tried to cover good music are either dead or on the verge.  See Paste Magazine. The ten best selling albums of 2010 are all likely horrible (1.18 million people bought an album made by Usher in the year 2010???).  But all hope is not lost.  There were a lot of excellent albums released in 2010.  Here’s the best of the best (that I was fortunate enough to listen to).

Here we go (in no particular order):

The Black Keys, Brothers

This was the best album of 2010, hands down.  While many albums on this list are great, this is one of those albums that will be considered as one of the “best of the decade.”  It’s also the only album on this list that approached “mainstream success.”

Listen if: You like great music.  That is all.

Don’t listen if: You are one of the 1.2 million people who bought an Usher album in 2010.

Best Song: All of them, although “Tighten Up” is definitely the most well-known.  That’s as good of a place to start as any.

She and Him, Volume Two

Volume Two is She and Him’s followup to their first album, wait for it……Volume One. This album is not quite as great as their debut, but still excellent. Read more…

Let’s Have a Look at Rolling Stones’ Top Ten Beatles Songs

As mentioned before, Rolling Stone is more or less an embarrassment to music magazines at this point.  However, there must still be a few people working for the magazine who actually like music, because occasionally they’ll make a desperate attempt at promoting good music.  These ol’ standbys usually include a Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Hendrix cover story that tells you absolutely nothing new about these bands or their music.  Of course, no standby is worth more to a music magazine than The Beatles.  For this reason, RS has decided to publish a “Special Collector’s Edition” issue of “The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs.”  Of course, even I love lists, so let’s take a look at the top ten. Shall we?  Read more…

Song You Should Know-May 18, 2010

I’m the man who walks the hillside in the sweet summer sun
I’m the man that brings you roses when you ain’t got none
Yes, I can run and jump and fish, but I won’t fight
You if you want to push and pull with me all night
Give me little drink from your loving cup
Just one drink and I’ll fall down drunk

Rolling Stones, “Loving Cup”

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