Saturday, December 17, 2005

Best of Holiday Music

With Christmas only week away, it’s officially time to break out my mix tape of my favorite holiday songs. I really try to avoid Christmas music more than a week from the holiday because it always seems I get burned out from it if I start listening to it after Thanksgiving, which most department store start to play them. Even today as I listened to my personalized Yahoo radio station (see the link in my sidebar to listen to it yourself) I heard three different versions of The Christmas Song. But anyways. Hear are my favorite holiday tunes that easily fit on a single CD and feel free to leave a comment letting me know some of your favorite holiday tunes:

1. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – John Mellencamp
3. Run Run Rudolf – Bryan Adams
4. Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer – Harry Connick Jr.
5. Christmas in Hollis – Run-DMC
6. Santa Baby – Keith Murray, Mase, Onyx, Puff Daddy, Reverend Run, Salt-N-Pepa, Snoop Dogg
7. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
8. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2
9. Merry Christmas Baby – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
10. Let it Snow – Harry Connick Jr.
11. The Christmas Song – Hootie and the Blowfish
12. Children Go Where I Send Thee – Natalie Merchant
13. Little Drummer Boy – Bob Seger
14. Silent Night – Stevie Nicks
15. O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman
16. Winter Wonderland – Eurythmics
17. I Saw Three Ships – Sting
18. Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
19. The Christmas Song – Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
20. Christmas – Blues Traveler
21. The Chanukah Song – Adam Sandler

Friday, December 16, 2005

Is He All the Things You Tried to Change Me Into

The Real Thing - Bo Bice

After won my unofficial guilty pleasure of the year award and I enjoyed ’s debut album guilt free (see my review – Oh There’s Nothing Like Oklahoma) I could be warming up to the whole American Karaoke thing. So I decided to check the dude Carrie beat in the latest installment, .

After my first listen through his debut, The Real Thing, I thought, “How horribly bland.” It is really hard to write a review of an album that constantly puts you to sleep out of boredom. The songs are very familiar to his sup-par outing on ’s album (see my review – Your Fire Fills My Soul) except Bice Bice Baby doesn’t have Carlos’ guitar to bail him out here. Instead Bice brought in members of , Chad Kroeger of , Ben Moody fresh of his work with and , and John Shanks who is also best know for working with females who try to rock. That’s not necessarily a Murderer’s Row of rock music. At least with pre-for mentioned Lohan and Simpson, their music strikes an emotion, even if that emotion is hatred, which is still better than the uninspiring music that Bice has made here. I would much rather have people hate me than to have no opinion at all.

But the music isn’t even the worst part of the album, the writing here makes Lohan’s confessionals on her latest album (see my review – You Turned Something So Good So Bad) look like Keats compared to the lyrics on The Real Thing. You’d think someone who doesn’t write their own lyrics (Bice only have co-writing credits on two tracks) would at least pick out songs that didn’t sound like a middle schooler who relies way too much on trying to rhyme like, “I’ll open every car door, I won’t go out anymore, I’ll even eat off the floor” (You’re Everything). It’s not too surprising that Kroeger didn’t save that gem for his band.

So with The Real Thing, American Karaoke’s miraculous streak of good music has ended and hopefully Bice Bice Baby will say hello to Justin (whatever his name is) on his inevitable trip to obscurity, or even worse, The Surreal Life house.

Song to Download – For the first time ever, I have absolutely nothing to recommend, although if there is someone you really hate on your Christmas list, this is the perfect gift. Although if I must make a suggestion, check out Bono and Alicia Keys team up on the charity single Don't Give Up (Africa)

The Real Thing gets a Terror Alert Level: Low [GREEN] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lyrics Quiz - Best of 2005

Today officially starts my year end spectacular with this month’s lyrics quiz culled from some of my favorite lines uttered this year and even expanded to thirty songs this month so I didn’t have to scale it down any. This doesn’t though reflect my upcoming Best Songs of 2005 that will arrive just after Christmas because I really hate publications that do their year in review in late November or early December thus missing an entire month of the year. For my full list of upcoming festivities, click on the Holiday Schedule on my sidebar. As for the lyrics quiz, leave your guesses in the comment section, both song title and artist. If you are correct, I will un-bold the lyric and give you credit. Just a little hint, the lyrics are in chronological order from when they were released so for the first couple think January while the last couple will be more recent songs. And though I disapprove of using search engines to find the answers, I don’t mind if you look threw my archives as most of the lyrics have been mentioned on the 9th Green before typically in album review (click on the Terror Alert Scale link in my sidebar for those). Now on to the lyrics:

1. I’m so moving on. (Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson; guessed by Julie)
2. Hypocrites, you’re all here for the very same reason. (Breathe (2 A.M.) - Anna Nalick; guessed by Julie)
3. I can’t take my mind off of you. (The Blower's Daughter - Damian Rice; guessed by Russ)
4. With a name I’ve never chosen, I can make my first steps. (Chocolate - Snow Patrol; guessed by Dane Bramage)
5. I’ve found I’m scared to know I’m always on your mind. (Collide - Howie Day ; guessed by Ang)
6. And that REM song was playing in my mind. (A Lifetime - Better Than Ezra; guessed by Dane Bramage)
7. Sing like you think no one’s listening. (Existentialism on Prom Night – Straylight Run; guessed by Dane Bramage)
8. Still gotta let you know, a house doesn’t make a home. Don’t leave me here alone. (Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own - U2; guessed by Dane Bramage)
9. Please don’t make me cry. (Telescope Eyes - Eisley; guessed by Dane Bramage)
10. If you wrote me off, I’d understand it. (Landed - Ben Folds; guessed by Dane Bramage)
11. If a stripper named Porscha and you get tips from many men, then your fat friend her nickname is Minivan. (Diamonds from Sierra Leone - Kanye West; guessed by Dane Bramage)
12. Your favorite fruit is chocolate cover cherries, seedless watermelon; nothing from the ground is good enough. (Chariot - Gavin DeGraw; guessed by Russ)
13. Girl I’m in love with you, this ain't the honeymoon, past the infatuation phase. (Ordinary People - John Legend; guessed by Dane Bramage)
14. I don’t know why I can’t keep my eyes off of you. (You and Me - Lifehouse; guessed by Jetting Through Life)
15. While others are puzzles, puzzling me. (Speed of Sound - Coldplay; guessed by Russ)
16. Little Red Corvette, no, she was faster. (Go - Common; guessed by Dane Bramage)
17. Now watch me rise up and leave. (Ashes - Embrace; guessed by Dane Bramage)
18. The talking leads to touching and the touching leads to sex and then there’s no mystery left. (Portions for Foxes - Rilo Kiley; guessed by Dane Bramage)
19. Where can a teacher go, wherever she thinks the people needs the things she knows? (When in Rome - Nickel Creek; guessed by Dane Bramage)
20. And when he get on, he’ll leave your (expletive deleted) for a white girl. (Gold Digger - Kanye West; guessed by Prozac Chic)
21. Your top was untied and I thought how nice it would be to watch the sweat down your spine. (Dreamgirl - Dave Matthews Band; guessed by Angie)
22. I got soul but I’m not a soldier. (All These Things I've Done - The Killers; guessed by Luka)
23. A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere. (Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie; guessed by Dane Bramage)
24. I’m dieing to tell you anything you’d want to hear cause that’s just who I am this week. (Sugar We're Going Down - Fall Out Boy; guessed by Julie)
25. It’s like I wrote every note with my own hands. (The Mixed Tape - Jack's Mannequin; guessed by Julie)
26. I like studying faces in the parking lot. (Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave; guessed by guessed by Dane Bramage)
27. The Bush twins want you back. (Ohio (Come Back to Texas) - Bowling for Soup; guessed by guessed by Dane Bramage)
28. When I go home, I’m going home alone. (Boyfriend - Ashlee Simpson; guessed by Dane Bramage)
29. I have too been playing with 52 cards. Just cause I play so far from my vest. (O' Sailor - Fiona Apple; guessed by Dane Bramage)
30. Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again. (Better Days - Goo Goo Dolls; guessed by Dane Bramage)

Congratulations to Dane Bramage for becoming the first two time winner of the lyrics quiz.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

If You Catch Me Dreaming, Please Don’t Wake Me Till I’m Done

Ain’t Nobody Worryin’ - Anthony Hamilton

R&B has really fallen as a genre in recent years with most artists trying to hard to reach the hip-hop audience by singing over beats that should be reserved for rap songs. This had led to a shrinking amount of artist who sings over smooth soul grooves like Al Green and Donnie Hathaway (no relations to Anne) did in the heyday of the genre. Yeah today we have Alicia Keys and John Legend, but that’s about it. Another guy that can be added to that list is Anthony Hamilton who, even though he may be best known for singing hooks for rappers like Nappy Roots and Jadakiss, has recently arrived to help keep soul music alive.

Hamilton’s latest album, Ain't Nobody Worryin' focuses on all the tried and true soul theme of love whether it lost love (Where Did It Go Wrong?), trying to hold on love (Can’t Let Go), and right in the middle of love (Truth) as well as the general I Know What Love’s All About. And singing the hook on Jadakiss’ Why stirred some political awareness too in the vein of Marvin Gaye with songs like the title track (How the children gonna learn when they gotta take turns cause they ain’t got books to read) and Preacher’s Daughter (She had a habit that she couldn’t really stop, needed money so she had to hit the block) which also features Tarsha McMillian, who added some gravity to the already deep song, and just happens to be Hamilton's wife

Pass Me Over is the best song here as it’s the total package. The song is a gospel like ode about waiting for your Savior and is highlighted by a space piano and crescendos at the end with a choir backing Hamilton up, in his best vocal performance on the album, then comes down and concludes in a beautiful instrumental as Hamilton tells us he will “meet you on the other side.” There are a few speed bumps on the way through the album including Southern Stuff that has too much of a heavy hip-hop beat and the almost reggae Everybody. But Hamilton’s voice does a good job at trying to save those songs.

Be warned, this CD is copy protected, so buy it at your own risk.

Song to Download – Pass Me Over

Ain’t Nobody Worryin’ gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

American Edit

I have been a big fan of mash-ups ever since I heard somebody put together Skee-Lo’s I Wish with Survivor's Eye of the Tiger and the Breeders’ Cannonball. Ever since then I have searched the internet to find other such musical brilliancy. Some were better than others with the best being Danger Mouse’s Grey Album which combined songs from Jay-Z‘s Black Album rapping over music from The Beatles’ White Album. The latest full album mash-up takes ever song from Green Day’s American Idiot and gives each song its very own mash-up. Unfortunately as soon as the artist, Dean Grey, put the album up on the internet, he got a cease and desist letter from Green Day’s record label because they are evil as seen by my Record People Are Shady series (use "search this blog" function at top). But in a sign of civil disobedience, Dean and a few other people have posted the album one day only. To get a copy of your own head over to the website and choose from the gracious people who are hosting the album and hear the Green Day album mashed-up with such songs as (but not limited to):

Kanye West – Gold Digger
Smokey Robinson – Tears of Clown
Bryan Adams - Summer of 69
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Gary Glitter – Rock & Roll part 2
Oasis – Wonderwall

Travis - Writing to Reach You
Aerosmith – Dream On
U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own
The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing
Ashanti - Only U
Buffalo Springfield - For What it's Worth
The Eagles - Lyin' Eyes
Nelly and Tim McGraw - Over and Over
The Bangles - Manic Monday

And speeches from George Bush and John F Kennedy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Better Run Through the Jungle

It's down and dirty timeThe latest season of Survivor set in Guatemala seemed to be the hardest yet in the series run. The show started out with an 11-mile hike to an ancient ruin, the winner who then wins it as their camp. Now an 11-mile hike doesn’t sound that bad, but when it is done deep in a jungle with very little in the way of help or a clear path, I wouldn’t be surprised if the tribes logged more than 11-miles in total distance traveled. And challenges didn’t get much easier from their including multiple challenges where tribes squared off head to head in brute strength competition rather than the usual race format. Also much of the challenges had multiple layers to them making sure the winner earned the reward or immunity. And to top things off, most of the challenges took place in triple digit temperatures, or at least that’d what Jeff Probst would have us believe.

But Survivor is more so about the social experiment than the competition itself. It’s always interesting to see how people interact with strangers who just so happen to be their way of winning a million dollars and may cast a ballot on whether they get the money or not. The big twist in terms of the social experiment this year was to bring in people the other contestants may already know in Survivor: Palau alumni Bobby John and Stephanie. I was surprised how little maneuvering their was to get these two out early fearing that they would be huge threats, but the other players were content to let Stephanie control the game securing herself into the final two while Bobby John ended up just being a casualty of a numbers game. Aside from Jamie floating the idea of bumping Stephanie off at their first tribal council, I don’t think either was ever considered until Bobby John hit the merge.

As for the newbies, the breakout star was Judd who gave the biggest exiting tirade ever with his scumbags outburst, in fact I don’t remember anyone ever having a post vote out hissy fit unless you count Greg, who may or may not have been faking during his exit in the first season. The there was the gay Mormon who moral compass led him to not holding Danni to their final two agreement. Odd that he blamed it on his morals after orchestrating the outing of two of his alliance not to mention the whole being gay is considered one of the worst sins by the church. But Anyways. Sadly what could have been the most interesting characters were all voted out early with the three token hot chicks being voted off in consecutive weeks after the token old dude got shafted first. Survivor should really make a rule that keeps this from ever happening again. Instead we were left with Danni, who quickly started to look like Skeletor in a stupid hat, Cindy, who surprisingly had a hot twin sister yet looked worn out as if she had been the star of one hundred too many pornos. And I was never sold on Stephanie as being attractive. She had that annoying accent and her eyebrows just creeped me out. Add on to that she wore more makeup at the reunion than Bozo the Clown. If there is one rule I live by, never trust girls who wears a lot of makeup because they have something to hide.

One thing I notice for the first time in the last episode as the final three did their usual look back upon the fallen survivors was how white everyone’s teeth were. The producer had to be slipping them some sort of teeth whitening products during the game because there is no way after weeks without brushing your teeth that they would still sparkle. This leads me to wonder what other amenities they get throughout the show.

In the words of Chris Rock, take off that silly ass hatIn the end, Skeletor wins because everyone else is a moron. Stephanie and Rafe had the game won until they decided to pick off people in their alliance too early by blindsiding Jamie, Judd, and Cindy. Had they stuck to the plan and vote off the old tribe first, they could have still gotten to the final four because Stephanie had Lydia and Judd in her back pocket while Rafe had Cindy. And since Skeletor only betrayed Rafe of the last day, the vote ended up in a blowout. I really don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t look at Judd and Jamie and think, “That’s who I want next to me in the final two.” It would have been an easy win had you brought either two along with you. I don’t care how annoying someone is, I’ll spend a month with them if it gives me a better chance at a million dollars.

During the finale we got a look at the next season which once again puts the survivors in Panama. For those keeping track that would be the third time in about five seasons. It seems no one outside of Latin America really want to host the show anymore. The big new though is that they look to have the biggest twist in the game since they switched tribes back in Africa. Next season, every week (presumably in real life this will only be a day) someone will banished to live alone on a separate island. Granted the island may hold the key to winning the million dollar prize. I assume the key will be a hidden immunity idol much like the one Gary found this season. Although the other twist in which the 16 (yes they are going back to only 16 contestant unlike the 18 in recent seasons) will be split up like never before will be less interesting much like every “big twist” since the Africa shocker.

Survivor: Guatemala gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Anger and Resentment Can Stop You in Your Tracks

The Upside of Anger

It is understandable that any woman would go off the deep end after thinking that her husband ran off with his Swedish secretary back to her home country. Added on top of it being stuck in a house with four daughters with issues of there own and the only option for a rebound is a washed up ex-baseball player who refuses to talk baseball and enjoys his alcohol and other recreational drugs doesn’t help.

breaks out of the supporting mom role to take the liquored-up lead of The Upside of Anger. As for the washed-up baseball player, that of course is played by as he has some contract that states he always gets first crack at all baseball character. As for the daughters, they are played by the hot chick from Swimfan, the hot chick from Felicity, the formally hot chick from Urban Legend, and the hot chick from Green Day’s Wake Me up When September Ends video who has officially taken over Christina Ricci’s spot as the go-to indie teen.

The acting itself is as good as you would expect from the actor listed above except with four daughters to share screen time, none of them are able to shine as much as they have in past endeavors. Most wasted was as the laid back daughter who starts the film off as the narrator that goes away until the end of the film. In the middle she was stuck in a very predictable storyline, the most boring of the four, not too mention the unfortunate nickname Popeye, which was never explained unless I completely missed it. The other storylines do hold up better to the point that the poor plot twist at the end doesn’t ruin the whole movie.

The Upside of Anger gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.