Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Best of Prince

From time to time, I like to share CD’s I’ve made and one type of CD I like to make is my very own “Best Of” completion. Most Greatest Hits packages leave off some of my favorite songs so I have to make my own. Plus I prefer my Best Of albums to be in chronological order which some are not. This Best Of is from one of my top five favorite artist of all time, The Artist Sometimes Known as Prince. Granted there is only one song from the symbol era. Now I heard a rumor that the Purple One recently showed up on a karaoke show recently, which begs the question: If you are singing your own song that you wrote, is it still karaoke? But anyways. Here are my favorite Prince songs that fit on a single CD (unfortunately there are some holes in Prince’s iTunes library, so that is why I can’t link to some of the songs):

1. 1999 - 1999
2. Little Red Corvette - 1999
3. Let’s Go Crazy - The Purple Rain Soundtrack
4. Purple Rain - The Purple Rain Soundtrack
5. When Doves Cry - The Purple Rain Soundtrack
6. Raspberry Beret - Around the World in a Day
7. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man - Sign ‘o’ the Times
8. Sign ‘o’ the Times - Sign ‘o’ the Times
9. Money Don’t Matter 2 Night - Diamonds and Pearls
10. Cream - Diamonds and Pearls
11. Gett Off - Diamonds and Pearls
12. Diamonds and Pearls - Diamonds and Pearls
13. 7 - The Symbol Album
14. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? - The Hits/The B-Sides
15. P Control - The Gold Experience
16. Musicology - Musicology

The Best of Prince comes in at 1:16:27. Did I leave your favorite Prince song off? Feel free to tell want songs you would have exchanged in the comments section.

Friday, June 02, 2006

For Those About to Rock

VH1 Rock HonorsOne of the shows that has quickly become must see television has been VH1’s Hip Hop Honors that for the past to years have given props to the genre’s founding fathers with performances by the artists and tributes by rappers of today. So to capitalize on that success, about a month back VH1 announced that is was going to do its first ever Rock Honors. I was a little skeptical when I heard this because, just from a logistical standpoint, it much harder to pull off. All rappers need are two turntables and a microphone. To have the band, and another as doing a tribute, there will be a lot of time devoted for changing between bands. So instead of paying tribute to about eight rappers, all we get are four bands. And those four inaugural bands: Hendrix? ? Zeppelin? AC/DC? Well, nope, nope, nope and nope. Here are some thoughts on the first Rock Honors:

- Jamie Pressly is are host most likely because she looks like every woman you see at Ozzfest, well the ones you see backstage at Ozzfest (which I know from experience). The best part of the whole show is when that huge nerd who comments for I Love the (Insert Decade) tells her “My name isn’t Earl, but his is” when he points to, well, Little Earl.

- The first honoree is who performs a couple songs with and some dude not named Freddie Mercury. Queen was always a little too theatrical for my taste. But anyways. They did do a really cool version of We Will Rock You with three drummers. I seriously doubt that any song will dethrone that song as greatest stadium anthem ever. And even the dude not named Freddie Mercury can’t screw up the song because it’s all about fan participation.

Yeah, that's pretty gay- Next up is who is preceded by having do a medley of their songs. Seriously, if it weren’t for , I probably would never of heard of Judas Priest. And watching his leather-clad performance, you gotta wonder, much like , how no one figured out was gay. And add this to the previously honored Freddie Mercury; this is turning out to be a pretty gay show. Well this is VH1.

- are next to pay tribute to with Photograph. This ended up being the biggest of their songs performed tonight.

Brittany Snow rocks! Well at least compaired to Def Leppard- I have to say, when I think of rock, the first thing that comes to my mind is the chick from American Dreams. Although I guess it’s only appropriate that she introduces Def Leppard because throughout their career, their main fan base was teenage girls. And I may be dating myself, but whenever I hear that German opening, my first thought isn’t Rock of Ages, but rather Pretty Fly for a White Guy. Then for some reason in lieu of Pour Some Sugar on me they perform 20th Century Boy, the old song. Oh, that’s right; the song is part of their new cover album that everyone ignored when it came out last week.

- To honor the final group, , VH1 assembled an all star lineup that included , Slash, and Scott Ian, who happens to currently be staring in VH1’s reality show, Supergroup, as well as Gilby Clark and who will be participating in the next Rock Star incarnation coming this summer on CBS (by the way both VH1 and CBS are owned by the same company). Boy and girls, today’s word of the day is synergy.

- Closing out the show is Kiss. I wanted the best, but all I got was a bunch of extremely old dudes in face paint. I’m not sure what is more sad, the band or the old dudes who still worship them. An anticlimactic end to a mediocre show.

- Hopefully next year they ask for my input on whom to honor. If for some reason you want to see the show, you can watch it anytime on VH1’s broadband channel which includes four performances that weren’t even good enough to make it into the broadcast version.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Well I’m Mike D and I’m Back from the Dead

Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys

I have a dirty little secret I must confess, I just recently got . As someone who has been called a music snob, you’d think I would have gotten back in ’89 and look down on everyone who overlooked what is widely considered not only the best album, but the best rap album ever made, but much like the rest of America at the beginning of the 90’s, I was expecting License to Ill 2 and could quite understand the direction they were going in.

Even when I got those songs, I still didn’t pick up Paul’s Boutique until discussing the rap troupe around the release of To the 5 Burroughs and a co-worker of mine asked to borrow my Beastie Boys collection and then chastised me for my lone omission from their catalog (granted, keep in mine that this dude had none). So this exchange finally to plug the hole and the album somehow exceeds all expectations which makes the album this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

Much like every Beastie Boys album, the songs are chock full of enough pop culture references that would make Buffy Summers and Veronica Mars blush even if not all of them are all that popular. Am I the only one who looked up Sadaharu Oh? Also the wordplay is tight with my favorite being the phonetically pronounced “knowledge” from The Sound of Science. But the key to making this the greatest album is all the intertwining samples, roughly four hundred, throughout most of the song from such diverse artists as and as well as some artist so obscure even I’ve never heard of the. And thanks to licensing fees put in place right after the release of this album, it’s a good bet that Paul’s Boutique will stay on top of the best rap album list for a while.

The songs on the album are some of the group’s best. Hey Ladies is a great transition from the sophomoric lyrics heard on their debut but trade rock riffs for disco beats and a cowbell that even could approve of. Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun shows you how good the rap/metal genre could be in the hands of real artists. High Plain Drifters showed that rappers could slow things down and still be creditable. And Shake Your Rump should be required be on the playlist of every house party. Or if you are lazy, you can just throw Paul’s Boutique on and everyone will be happy.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Third Impressions: Rescue Me

Denis LearyJust days after winning the STA for Best Cable Show for the second straight year, Rescue Me is back for its third season. The main problem with the show though is that it has been so long since the second season ended, about nine months, it’s hard to remember what’s going on with Tommy Gavin and the boys, the minute “previously on” segment wasn’t nearly long enough. In fact, I remember watching Everwood the past two weeks wondering where I have seen Andy’s dad before only to watch the season premiere of Rescue Me to realize he also played Tommy’s dad too.

So once everything started to come back to me, Tommy’s kid was hit by a drunk driver who his uncle then killed in retaliation, the chief had to put his wife in a home, the chick firefighter bolted without a way for Franco to find her, Kenny got conned by a prostitute, Garrity got schooled by Tommy’s youngest, and the probie got kicked to the curb by the fat chick, it was time to kick back and enjoy the best drama on television not named Veronica Mars. So a couple months have passed and Tommy’s soon to be ex-wife still hasn’t talked to him as she blames Tommy for Conner’s death. Then to make think worse, for at least little Tommy, is that it looks like Shelia has lost interest too. But that doesn’t stop her for asking for favors like find out whether her son is having sex and needless to say, Tommy doesn’t handle the situation very well but at least there are a few good laughs at his expense. And since he’s been hitting the bottle again, that means the return of his dead cousin who doesn’t care too much on how Tommy’s handling the situation.

Rescue MeThe rest of the boys seemed to be put on the backburner this week getting minimal screen time, but were able to up the entertainment when they were there specifically when the boys leaned that the smoking ban in the firehouse was going into effect much to the chagrin to Tommy and Kenny who apparently didn’t get the memo five months ago. Then Kenny finds a video made by the escort that ripped him off that led to some great scenes.

There was some predictability to the episode, so thanks to the preview that revealed who Garrity’s new girlfriend was, and it wasn’t too surprising to me to find out that Janet’s new beau was as I called it about five minutes in. They aren’t the only one’s who will find new love this season as Oscar winners and pop up for a couple episodes each. Much like the past two, Rescue Me will likely be the cure for the summertime rerun blues.

Rescue Me airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on FX and if you want to know more about what’s coming up on the show, check out highlights from my chat with star and producer of the show Denis Leary - Tonight the Part of Denis Leary Will be Played by Denis Leary.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's Been Two Long Years Now Since the Top of the World Came Crashing Down

Taking the Long Way - The Dixie Chicks

Some say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but sometimes that isn’t always true, like, say, when you offend the majority of your fan base and have your records pulled from the radio like the did at the start of the Iraq War. Of course that was back in a time where is you were against the president, you were anti-American, and now, a couple years later, even some Republicans have been piling George Bush leading him to the lowest poll numbers by a two term president not named Richard Nixon.

But even before their comments, the Chicks have been alienating country radio by drifting to more bluegrass and pop sounds on their last album Home. That tend continues on their latest outing, Taking the Long Way, as the group even brought in noted rock and rap producer Rick Rubin who had much success resurrecting the career of Johnny Cash with his American Recoding sessions. But unlike the American Recordings, there are no cover songs as the Chicks wrote all the songs on the album with help from artist as diverse as and .

At the beginning of the album, most of the songs seem to focus on the infamous comments mentioned earlier, most notably on the aptly titled Not Ready to Make Nice. So if you think the Chicks have soften on their position on this administration, the title pretty much says it all and they even touch on the backlash with lyrics like, “How in the world can the words that I said send somebody so over the edge that they’d write me a letter sayin’ that I better shut up and sing or my life will be over.” But that theme doesn’t linger long as songs quickly transition into more familiar territory like relationships. Then the album ends with the I Hope, a gospel song that was released last year to benefit those hit by Katrina.

As the Chicks move away from traditional country, they start moving into genre, the best result being I Like It, a song that sounds influenced by the girl group of the sixties. Then there is the album opener, The Long Way Around that sounds exactly like Learning to Fly by but with fiddles. Lullaby is as soft as the title suggest. Baby Hold On hits the emotional intensity of songs like You Were Mine from their first album. Really the only song here that would have fit on previous albums the brilliantly titled Lubbock or Leave It which has that same pure rage as Sin Wagon. Unfortunately some songs on the album suffer from being uneven where the verses are great but the chorus doesn’t hold the intensity or vice versa. This is most apparent on Silent House where the chorus just rubs me the right way.

Song to Download - The Long Way Around

Taking the Long Way gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Dixie Chicks on iTunes

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Best Shows of the 2005-2006 Season

Much like the STA’s, to be eligible, the show must have had the bulk of the season’s episode between June 2005 and May 2006. So without further ado, here are the top ten best shows of the past year:

1. Veronica Mars 2.x (UPN)
2. My Name Is Earl 1.x (NBC)
3. Rescue Me 2.x (FX)
4. Lost 2.x (ABC)
5. Arrested Development 3.x (FOX)
6. Everwood 4.x (WB)
7. Everybody Hates Chris 1.x (UPN)
8. Smallville 5.x (WB)
9. How I Met Your Mother 1.x (CBS)
10. Survivor: Exile Island (CBS)