Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Past Is Only the Future with the Lights On

When Your Heart Stops Beating - (+44)

Don’t hate because half it’s members are from , a band that is best know for songs about prank phone calls and other sophomoric lyrics. Don’t hate the band because the other Blink-182 member, with his new band , (see my review: Everyone Will Listen Even if it Hurts Sometimes) made the most pretentious album of the year had not tried to make a concept album that sounded like Queen and Pink Floyd. Don’t hate the band because half of the members are from the , a band best known for letting one of their songs to be used for a female hair product. No, don’t even hate the band because their drummer has been seen with his tongue in ’s mouth on multiple occasions recently.

After Blink-182 when on an indefinite hiatus, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker started up the new band describing it as more experimental and more electronica oriented. But after the duo recruited Craig Fairbaugh, who Barker played with in the Transplants, and Shane Gallagher from the band , the electronic sound got pushed into the background as the guitars became more prominently featured on the release of . The result is just a slight variant of the old Blink-182 sound, a sound that the band was already going towards with the release of their last self titled album with a more mature sound and void of any frat boy humor.

There are some great modern rock tracks on the album, but some are just derivatives of other and it’s sometimes hard to distinguish the title track with the opener Lycanthrope. Little Death should like an offshoot of Blink’s I Miss You. And when the band finally lives up to its electronic promise like on 155 and the instrumental Interlude, the result is mediocre at best. An exception to that is Make You Smile where Hoppus does a heartfelt duet with Carol Heller who was part of the early carnation of the band but left to start a family.

But at least Hoppus and Barker can rest in the solace that they made a better record than their former band mate Tom DeLonge whom they may or may not have taken a dig at in the line, “This isn’t just goodbye, this is I can’t stand you” from the song No, it Isn’t.

Song to Download - When Your Heart Stops Beating

When Your Heart Stops Beating gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Car Mix: November 2006

Every once in a while I like to compile a list of songs that I’m currently listening to onto a CD to make drive time a little more bearable so I can avoid hearing that chain hang low song one more time on the radio. So here are some suggestions of songs that you should be listening to these days. This CD comes in at 76:09.

1. When You Were Young (2006 MTV Video Music Awards) - The Killers (Okay so I may have been harsh on the Vegas boys, see Nobody Ever Had a Dream Round Here, but this is one of the best rock songs of the year and one of the few good performances at the VMA’s this year)
2. God’s Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash (See the great video: Go Tell That Long Tongue Liar, Go and Tell that Midnight Rider; also check out my album review: He Said “John Go Do My Will”)
3. Goodbye Earl - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (See my album review: Yippee-I-Yah Yippee-I-Yo)
4. Call Me When You’re Sober - Evanescence (See my album review: I Want to Stay in Love with My Sorrow)
5. Wine Red - The Hush Sound (A wrongfully overlooked ditty from the summer. If you have .99 burning a hole in your pocket, it’s worth the download)
6. Smile - Lily Allen (I know I’ve been waxing poetic about Ms. Allen for a while and hopefully you picked up this song when it was free over at iTunes; and just remember where you first heard of her when she hits it big here in the States)
7. Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado (See my album review: I've Been Hurt by My Past but I Feel the Future)
8. I Wish I Was a Punk Rock Girl (With Flowers in My Hair) - Sandi Thom (See the video: When They Own the Information They Can Bend it All They Want)
9. Under the Weather - KT Tunstall (See my album review: Her Face Is the Map of the World)
10. Work it Out - Jurrasic 5 & Dave Matthews (See my abum review: We Would Say Our Rhymes to the Beat Right)
11. Dynamite (Going Postal) - Rhymefest (I can’t believe no one had sampled Jimmy Walker before; see my album review: Who Rapper You Know Before His Album Drop Is a Grammy Winner)
12. Don’t Feel Right - The Roots (See my album review: I'll Make it Hotter than Shaft in Africa)
13. Waiting on the World to Change - John Mayer (See my album review: It’s Not a Silly Little Moment, it’s Not the Calm Before the Storm)
14. The Saints Are Coming (Live from New Orleans) - U2 and Green Day (Finally this song hit iTunes this week and even though it doesn't say so on the page, I believe all proceeds go to Music Rising charity)
15. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol (check out my album review which I published long before any crappy televisions shows co-opted the song: The Final Word in the Final Sentance)
16. Don’t Download This Song - “Weird Al” Yankovic (Of course if you are feeling lucky you can always download the song at
17. Easy - Barenaked Ladies (see my review: Musings From the Back 9: Music Edition II)
18. Juicy - Better Than Ezra (see my album review 3 ½ Minutes, Felt Like a Lifetime)
19. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley (The best song of the summer, and the fall for that matter. Be sure to see how high the song land on the Best Songs of 2006 coming next month)
20. Here I Come (Late Show with David Letterman) - The Roots
21. Tribute to Rakin - 2006 Hip-Hop Honors (The best tribute at this year's event.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Like This Show, it’s Tawdry

Best still of the whole episodeSince is on hiatus, I’ve decided to go with a new name for my analysis so I wouldn’t have the “Lost vs. Veronica Mars” title for three months despite there being no Lost over that time. As for the title, it obviously a reference back to the pilot episode and has always been one of my favorite quotes and one I use quite frequently in my every days life and works for almost situation, just take out “case” and insert anything, in this instance “show.”

Ronnie: I'd hit thatAs for the latest episode, Of Vice and Men, it was as great an episode can be that didn’t feature Dick or Parker. But you really can’t beat starting an episode with a straight from the shower in boxers Ronnie. Really, how can she fault Piz for staring? And you gotta love the look everyone gave Vee when they needed someone to help the chick from Much Music (fun fact: She was up for the role of Parker) as she quickly became the go to helper in college much like at Neptune High. Although it was odd that Ronnie did this case pro-bono. If Piz was upset about the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend I can’t imagine he was too happy that some random chick got her services for free and took his bed at the same time.

Slow dancing in a burning roomThe case itself was just your run of the mill wild goose case but at least some of the spots along the way were fun, specifically Ronnie’s return to The River Stix. I didn’t know if I should have been scared or laughing when Liam picked Vee up to “dance.” And Merle picking up the bottle was just the topping on the cake. And it was nice to see Vinnie do something redeemable and not self severing for the first time in the series. I was also glad that the Fitzpatricks show up again because I never thought they would be ones to let the whole Not-Kendall thing end like it did especially when they knew Keith was involved. Granted it still has been left unresolved although I wonder if Vinnie is still under retainer after his stunt.

End of my seatAs for the end sequences, they were some of the best of the series. I not convinced that the person we saw last night was the rapist, you’re not going to shave a chick’s hair before you rape her (granted this backs up Not-Lucky’s no DNA thing and maybe there were never rapes in the first place). I’m betting that it was just Nish who was backing up her threat to make Ronnie pay. And now for my far out there theory of the week: The R.A. Yes Mr. Frak himself. He has access to the dorm rooms; he’s the only dude with a small enough frame that would match the person in the parking lot, and let’s face it, dude’s probably not that lucky with the ladies.

Then there were the previews for next week, which for the third week in a row hints at a Ronnie/Logan split. Seriously end it already. I never liked the coupling in the first place and have the break up be teased for almost a month straight is just making it worse. And am I the only one who thinks we haven’t learned the whole truth about the trip to Mexico. Mercer said to Vee that Logan had a good reason not to tell anyone about the trip. Maybe he’s in debt to him also. And with a title like The Lord of the Pi’s it’s safe to assume that Ronnie will be looking into Chip Diller’s debt next week. And hopefully that means more Dick. And who doesn’t (heart) Dick?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lyrics Quiz: Mystery Theme

I’ve decide to switch things up this month for the lyrics quiz and not giving you the theme outright. If you guess the theme of this quiz, you will receive three extra points and of course the person with the most points will then be added to the Lyrics Quiz Winners list on my sidebar. I tried to make the quiz hard enough that the first person who guesses a lyric won’t be able to guess the theme nor will be too hard that it will take a MENSA member to see the pattern. But as usually you need to put both artist and title in the comments section (along with the theme if you think you know it) and if you are correct I will un-bold it and give you credit. Now onto the quiz:

Theme was correctly guessed by Angie. It is an alphabet theme as the lyrics are in alphabetic order (no Z though). She also guessed the most lyrics this month so congrats to her. Check back on December 15th to see if you can do better than her on the next Lyrics Quiz. And a hint to the quiz: The Best Lyrics of 2006, so study up.

1. There’s been times, I’m so confused. And all my roads they lead to you. Just can’t turn and walk away. It’s hard to say what I see in you, wonder if I’ll always be with you. (All for You - Siste Hazel; guessed by Dara)
2. Hope you got your things together. Hope you aren’t quite prepared to die. Look like we’re in for nasty weather. One eye is taken for an eye. (Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival; guessed by Cybercelt)
3. My kid turned ten just the other day, he said, “Thanks for the ball dad c’mon lets play. Can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today I got a lot to do.” (Cats in the Cradle - Harry Chapin; guessed by Monique)
4. When they pumped out your guts, filled you full of those pills. You were never quite right deserving all those chills. (Desperately Wanting - Better Than Ezra; guessed by Monique)
5. I know it sounds funny but I just can’t stand the pain. Girl I’m leaving you tomorrow. Seems to me girl you know I’ve done all I can. You see girl I’ve beg, stole and I borrowed. (Easy - The Commodores; guessed by Monique)
6. I hear the train a coming, it’s rolling round the bend and I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. (Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash; gueessed by Angie)
7. Get to mackin’ to this (girl) named Sadie. She used to be the homeboy's lady. Eighty degrees, when I tell that (girl) please. (Gin and Juice - Snoop Doggy Dogg; guessed by Angie)
8. Drying up in conversation, you’ll be the one who cannot talk. All your insides fall to pieces; you just sit there wishing you could still make love. (High and Dry - Radiohead; guessed by Kristi)
9. I got to get my props, cops, come and try to snatch my crops. These pigs wanna blow my house down, head underground, to the next town. They get mad when they come to raid my pad and I'm out in the nine deuce Cad’. (Insane in the Brain - Cypress Hill; guessed by Cybercelt)
10. Standing in the rain, with his head hung low. Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show. Heard the roar of the crowd, he could picture the scene. Put his ear to the wall, then like a distant scream. (Jukebox Hero - Foriegner; guessed by Angie)
11. If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? (Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down; guessed by Angie)

12. If you, if you could get by, trying not to lie, things wouldn't be so confused and I wouldn't feel so used. But you always really knew, I just wanna be with you. (Linger - The Cranberries; guessed by Dara)
13. Americano got the sleepy eye, but his body’s still shaking like a live wire. Sleepy seorita with the eyes on fire. (Mexico - James Taylor; guessed by Kristi)
14. I told you that we could fly. ‘Cause we all have wings, but some of us don't know why. (Never Tear Us Apart - INXS; guessed by Angie)
15. I only smile in the dark. My only comfort is the night gone black. I didn’t accidentally tell you that. (Only Happy When it Rains - Garbage; guessed by Dara)
16. I see your face every time I dream, on every page, every magazine. So wild so free so far from me, you’re all I want, my fantasy. (Photogragh - Def Leppard; guessed by Dara)
17. Knowing it ain’t really smart. The joker ain’t the only fool who'll do anything for you. (Queen of Hearts - Juice Newton; guessed by Angie)
18. Built like she was she had the nerve 2 ask me if I planned 2 do her any harm. So, look here, I put her on the back of my bike and we went riding down by old man Johnson's farm. (Raspberry Beret - Prince; guessed by Angie)
19. I don’t mind spending everyday out on your corner in the pouring rain. (She Will Be Loved - Maroon 5; guessed by Angie)
20. Ooo, traffic jam, got more cars than the beach got sand. Suck it up, fill it up ‘til no more. I’m no crazy creep I got it coming to me ‘cause I’m not satisfied the hunger keep on growing. (Too Much - Dave Matthews Band; guessed by Angie)
21. Hold this thread as I walk away. Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked lying on the floor. (Undone - The Sweater Song - Weezer; guessed by Dara)
22. Uno, dos, tres, catorce. (Vertigo - U2; guessed by Angie)
23. And that’s about the time that (girl) hung up on me. Nobody likes you when you’re 23 and are still more amused by prank phone calls. (What's My Age Again? - Blink182; guessed by Monique)
24. A million lights are dancing and there you are a shooting star, an everlasting world and you're here with me eternally. (Xanadu - Olivia Newton John; guessed by Angie)
25. My outfit's ridiculous, in the club lookin' so conspicuous. And Rowl! These women all on the prowl, if you hold the (expletive deleted) steady I'ma milk the cow. (Yeah! - Usher, Lil John & Ludacris; guessed by Angie)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

She May Rise if I Sing You Down

9 - Damien Rice

With the release of O, made some of the most beautiful, yet haunting, music in recent memory. He even won the Shortlist Music Prize for the album back in 2003. Of course that award is a blessing and a curse because it means you’re really good but you haven’t sold very many records (less than 500,000 to be eligible). But the album did have some staying power as many with songs showing up in different movies and television shows, most recently Delicate was used to close out an episode of two weeks ago. This wasn’t first time the song was used for ending an episode because as it was also done previously on and . Gee it’s not like television producers to use songs that have been used multiple times before for the same reasons. End sarcasm.

Just when you think Rice couldn’t come up with a more simplistic title for an album than O, he does with the release today of . The new album is much of the same as the songs still manage to be beautiful and haunting at the same time. Although the songs sound a little more polished this time around, they don’t lose their emotional rawness and even with all the emotion seeping from the songs they still avoid being sappy. And before you make a The Blower’s Daughter comparison to Elephant, Rice beat you to the punch as it was originally titled The Blower’s Daughter II before the title was changed during recording.

Lisa Hannigan, who shined on O’s Volcano, is back and featured on the album opener 9 Crimes but unfortunately is relegated to backup singer for the rest of the album because their back and forth is always something great. That’s not to say Rice can’t handle a track by himself. He even branches out on the album with the harder sounding Rootless Tree and Me, My Yoke & I with all the rage, screaming and lyrics that wouldn’t get past my censors. Then on Coconut Skins, Rice straps on an acoustic guitar and channels early Dylan. And be sure to turn up the volume when the album ends because the last sixteen minutes features a Tibetan singing bowl that supposable has healing powers. But it’s The Animals Are Gone with its soft beginning into a souring orchestral ending that will most like be co-opted that will likely be closing out an episode of your favorite television shows for years to come.

Song to Download - The Animals Are Gone

9 gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Damien Rice on iTunes

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Think Rock and Roll Is Really Funny When it's Serious

The Great Burrito Extortion Case - Bowling for Soup

Grammy nomination day is always a great one as I scour the five hundred categories to see who got the nod. Every year there are always a few surprises like someone getting a nomination you wouldn’t have thought would even be a contender, and rarely there is an act that comes out of nowhere to grab a nomination in a major category or two. That was the case back in 2003 for the Texas based quartet that got the nod in a couple of pop categories. The boys walked away empty handed that year, but they took the momentum and scored a hit the following year with the nostalgic 1984 and the even catchier follow up Ohio (Come Back to Texas). Now the band is back with their eighth full length album .

On the new album, the boys get serious and try to channel their inner-U2. Just kidding, it’s just more of the same power-pop sounds with lyrics that borderline on territory of silliness much like their previous work. Headlining the album is the ever so true High School Never Ends that chronicles this nation’s obsession with celebrity likening to the Prom Queen, to the quarterback, and Bill Gates as the captain of the chess team.

Other sophomoric ditties include Val Kilmer where they sing about who there life isn’t how they thought it would turn out using movie themes as metaphors and even throw in a debate about the title’s namesake’s career. Then there’s I’m Gay. No the band hasn’t been outed by some lame blogger with nothing better to do, they instead are kicking it old school, so old that they are referring to the time when the word meant happy, ask your grandparents. See what they did, they made you think one thing, but then they turned around and meant something entirely different, you know, like you did in middle school. And there in lies the problem with the band, they create fun pop song but the shelf lives are not that long, and that’s no different here on The Great Burrito Extortion Case. The songs are fun the first time around, but the more you hear them the less entertaining they become.

Song to Download - High School Never Ends

The Great Burrito Extortion Case gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

There Were Moments of Gold and There Were Flashes of Light

Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose - Meat Loaf

Back in my youth, my parents talked of this mythical creature they called . Unlike the mystery meat that would show up on the dinner table every couple week, the other Meat Loaf was a singer who released an Bat Out of Hell before I was born and was a massive hit only for Meat to disappear into obscurity not to be heard again. But then out of nowhere the same dude somehow had a hit song and accompanying video, the puzzling titled I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) that somehow made it onto MTV at the height of alternative rock and gangsta rap as well as the top of the singles chart. But unlike the previous album, Loaf didn’t fall back into obscurity and found successes as a character actor staring such cinematic gems as and .

But much like its predecessor, came out a decade later than the previous volume. But unlike the other two Bat Out of Hell records, number three is the first that doesn’t have “Songs by Jim Steinman” on the cover as Meat Loaf’s partner decided not to partake in the third go around which caused a major riff considering Steinman controls the trademark on “Bat Out of Hell” and took the Loaf to court to keep him using the name. Obviously an agreement was reached that let Meat use the title but he won’t be able to use the phrase in the title so when his next album is released in 2020, it won’t be named Bat Out of Hell IV.

So Meat Loaf brought in Desmond Child, best know for his work with , to produce and help write a big chuck of the album. The still has the grandeur feel as it mixes Broadway theatrics with hard rock, but without Steinman, most of the songs just don’t have the same emotional connection that the previous songs had with him on board. Steinman does show up in the writing credits as the Loaf tackles some of his older work that he hasn’t done before including two song that were featured in the MTV version of which surprised me because I never realized that Wuthering Heights was a musical. He also poached two songs from Steinman’s Batman: The Musical project. I think it’s lucky that the musical never came to fruition from the lackluster songs the Loaf sings here despite showing up on In the Land of the Pig, the Butcher Is King, a song that most have been the villains theme.

Then there is It’s All Coming Back to Me Now, a song from a never released Steinman album that was made famous by . This time around Loaf turns it into a duet, a long staple in the Loaf catalog which plays to much effect by pitting Loaf against a female singer. On the song his counterpart is who you might remember as a member of the early 00’s Norwegian pop act (wait you don’t, well me neither). Meat also shares song with longtime concert partner Patti Russo on What About Love? as well as Jennifer Hudson, who appently lost some karaoke contest on television, for the song The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be. But none of the songs stand up to Meat’s past greatness which makes you wonder how much better this project could have been had Steinman been fully involved.

Song to Download - It’s All Coming Back to Me Now

Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Meat Loaf on iTunes