Monday, September 30, 2002

tomorrow we enter the top 40. and more assorted nonsense.

41. "bulls on parade," rage against the machine (1996). the revolution will be televised! (thanks stumpy!)

42. "to be in love," masters at work featuring india (1999). maw owned house music (especially deep house) in the '90s; with their muse india, here's a prime example why.

43. "rabbit in your headlights," unkle featuring thom yorke (1998). sowing the seeds of kid a, thom and dj shadow create a melancholy, frightened soundscape par excellence.

44. "my life," mary j. blige (1994). mary sings better than most people, period. so when she's singin' from the heart, you hear all the ache, the pain, the pathos. and you gotta believe.

45. "i get lonely," janet (1998). butt-head: "if I had boobs, and a mirror, I'd never leave the house." beavis: "heh-heh, heh-heh."

46. "shut 'em down (pete rock mixx)," public enemy (1992). the closest chuck and flav have ever come to sounding remotely commercial, and thanks to the masterful pete rock, it fit 'em.

47. "i'm too sexy," right said fred (1992). under 3 minutes + easy sing-a-long lyrics + stupid as hell = perfect pop.

48. "mo money mo problems," the notorious b.i.g. featuring mase and puff daddy (1997). the greatest posthumous #1 single of all time. very jiggy.

49. "what's it gonna be?!," busta rhymes featuring janet (1999). that's mr. rhymes if you're nasty.

50. "long snake moan," pj harvey (1995). polly gets her robert plant on.

no, really, I need to eat. but my roommate, whom I love dearly, won't stop playing the blasted sims!

51. "tunic (song for karen)," sonic youth (1990). fever dreams of heaven.

52. "jazz (we've got)," a tribe called quest (1991). after this, there was nowhere else for the jazz-rap union to go.

53. "kevin carter," manic street preachers (1996). so lovely in its desolation: "click! click! click! click! click! click yourself under"

54. "march of the pigs," nine inch nails (1994). animus, straight no chaser.

ok, now I'm really going to dinner.

55. "just between you and me," dc talk (1995). I fell in love with it 'cause it could either be about Jesus, or (and?) about coming out. both are good.

this site has been "under construction" for over 2 years. I don't think it's getting updated any time soon.

great new-to-me music blog which I discovered through waking ear: the rub. us bloggers - 'specially the music geeks - are all so incestuous. I love it.

and yeah, I'm gonna get back to the countdown. like axl teaches, have a little patience, y'all. first I have to go have dinner at golden corral. you can't beat those dinner rolls.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

56. "c'mon 'n ride it (the train)," quad city dj's (1994). choo choo!

57. "right here/human nature," swv (1993). proof that the last really good michael jackson song was not by michael jackson. whatever happened to coko, lele and taj, anyway?

58. "daytona 500," ghostface killah featuring raekwon and cappadonna (1996). the rza's most rambling wreck of a track ever, plus the return of the force md's!

59. "seagull," ride (1992). the essence of dreampop, male division.

60. "professional widow (armand's star trunk funkin' mix)," tori amos (1995). the bassline that ate the uk.

61. "queen of the night (cj mackintosh remix)," whitney houston (1992). wherein a shrill attempt at "rock" by la whitney is transformed into a smooth-as-baby's-skin club smash.

62. "for the cool in you (quiet storm vocal mix)," babyface (1993). the epitome of quiet storm from the man who owned r-and-b for most of the decade.

63. "friends and strangers (the l.g. experience remix)," ronnie laws (1996). from the most unfairly unknown record of the decade, the blue note remix project volume 1. here, the smooth jazz titan is souped up and smoother out simultaneously. amazing what a subtle breakbeat can do.

bowling update: kicked some ass today, with a 436 series (128/164/144). my average went up 4 pins, to a 135.

64. "welcome to the terrordome," public enemy (1990). apocalypse now.

65. "horny '98," mousse t vs. hot 'n juicy (1998). horny, horny, horny. and I'm just talking about the brass sample.

66. "every time," cece winans (1995). uplift, soaring, a gossamer voice, and the truth.

67. "smack my bitch up," prodigy (1997). in 1997, they sounded like the sex pistols with an arsenal of electronics.

68. "sweetness and light," lush (1990). the essence of dreampop, female division.

69. "the future," guy (1990). don't forget that for a run of about 8 years pre-timbaland, teddy riley was the most innovative producer in r-and-b and hiphop.

70. "how do u want it," 2pac featuring k-ci & jojo (1996). "baby, just alleviate your clothes": 2pac gets as sexy as he was in real life.

71. "4 men," kitchens of distinction (1992). a gay love song set to waves of crashing guitars, almost dreampop but not of it.

72. "everytime you touch me (beatmasters 7" mix)," moby (1995). moby visits planet uplifting-house, likes it.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

oh, one more thing before I go to bed: I found a better website for info on rehomo beach [rehoboth] than if you're in the mid-atlantic region, delaware pridefest is 10/12 at rehoboth. woo hoo!

73. "mama said knock you out," l.l. cool j (1990). for reminding us not to call it a comeback.

74. "goodbye earl," dixie chicks (1999). if cash can shoot a man in reno just to watch him die, then I'll be damned if the chicks can't kill off that asshole earl. as country as country gets.

75. "i touch myself," divinyls (1991). i honestly do.

76. "nothing compares 2 u," sinead o'connor (1990). one single tear sliding down her face.

77. "the beauty of being numb," nine inch nails/aphex twin (1995). the art of deconstruction. with bassoons!

78. "otherside of the game," erykah badu (1997). "tyrone," the prequel.

79. "no ordinary love," sade (1992). aural velvet.

80. "common people," pulp (1995). grandiose in its simplicity: the way jarvis quietly sneers "are you sure?" going into the second chorus is magnificent.

81. "spanish heart," 808 state featuring bernard sumner (1991). hot-and-cold running synths. new order's two best children each got a half of the decade to themselves; 808 took the first half. [the second-halvers are at #19, and they're not the chems.]

82. "gypsy woman (she's homeless)," crystal waters (1991). la-da-dee, la-de-da.

83. "smells like teen spirit," nirvana (1991). the song that got a thousand shitty bands signed. for better and worse, my generation's "stairway to heaven."

84. "i love your smile," shanice (1992). doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-do-de-le-do.

85. "missing (todd terry club mix radio edit)," everything but the girl (1994). todd terry does the hustle with tracey and ben; world finally notices tracey and ben.

86. "silver and gold (remix)," kirk franklin and the family (1995). after the gold rush, what then?

87. "who's gonna ride your wild horses," u2 (1992). "you're dangerous/'cause you're honest": the best lyric bono's written.

88. "supermodel (you better work)," rupaul (1993). the best dance-pop single by a drag queen ever.

89. "tomorrow," morrissey (1992). mozzer's got a hoople, and he's gonna use it.

the top 90, after far too much talking about an unfinished project, is finally complete. and it has at least one error, a song released in 2000 (and to think I disqualified d'angelo's "untitled" because, while it technically came out in december of '99, it just felt like a 2000 record). but we'll get to that. and tracking down record labels for every last track (as I did with the top 80) is too annoying and time-consuming even for me. without further hue and cry, tom's top 90 of the '90s.

90. "the diamond sea," sonic youth (1995). c'mon down to the sprawl. [note: I almost specified the 25-minute alt. ending version, but decided in the end that I preferred the 19:35 album version.]

more proof that rocks hard beyond belief: this very moving piece on another member of the hall of fame's class of 2002, drazen petrovic.

I'll admit it - I teared up watching indiana's own "larry legend" induct magic johnson into the basketball hall of fame. maybe you will, too. [remember, you're reading the blog of a man who cries at only one movie: hoosiers. really.]

Friday, September 27, 2002

I know, I know, sometimes I sound like I'm on nate's jock, but really - really, folks. if there's been a better piece of writing on music this year than his review of the single of the year (and if ya don't know, ya ain't been payin' attention!), well, prove it.

yeah, that's what I thought. the defense rests.

I mentioned the "big dumb driving songs" disc I made for my rehoboth trip 2 weeks back; what I didn't mention was a potential companion I burned, but didn't take (I was unsure of it working on a roadtrip). I brought it in to work today, never have test-driven it, and am sorry I didn't take it. it's upbeat, rhythmic stuff, and sounds great. I'll comment on it shortly, but for now, the tracklisting:

untitled rhythmic roadtrip project #1
1. space cowboy, "i would die 4 u"
2. trina, "pull over"
3. thee jamie starr scenario, "welcome to thee lite"
4. ultra 396, "rock the party"
5. wendy and lisa, "everything but you"
6. the klf f/tammy wynette, "justified and ancient"
7. new kids on the block, "step by step"
8. vhs or beta, "teenage dancefloor"
9. moby, "james bond theme"
10. kylie minogue, "love at first sight"
11. karyn white, "romantic"
12. sophie ellis-bextor, "murder on the dancefloor"
13. jennifer lopez, "if you had my love (pablo flores extended club mix)"
14. luther vandross & janet jackson f/bbd & ralph tresvant, "the best things in life are free"
15. rupaul, "supermodel"
16. missy elliot, "work it"

joshblog is back! awwright! and not only does that utterly rule, he also introduced me to waking ear, which is alarmingly superb in concept and execution.

stereolab is on the new common lp?! absurd, sick, gorgeous, can't wait.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

something I observed today and shared with jeffy tonight: I really like nickel creek, but admire this side more than I love it. it's a group of kids (they're all three of 'em under 22; they're kids) still figuring shit out, what they can, what they want to do. some of it's pretty damn great. some doesn't quite come together. as opposed to home, which to me is the dixie chicks, a great band, at the height of their powers, firing on all cylinders. it never lags (not the same as getting slow), the songwriting is fairly impeccable (whether by them or others), and most of all, the harmonies are strawberries-and-cream perfect. better than me'shell, better than n.e.r.d., dixie chicks have the album to beat this year, just as missy's got the single.

listening to my top 90 in random order. yum.

all of the top 90 has been downloaded. ranking and disc-burning can now commence. watch this space.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

after reading don allred's review of the new dixie chicks album in the voice, I poked through some of his past columns. and I realized two things. one: he writes kinda like I do, which amazes me. two: it's about damned time the voice got a country-music writer, let alone someone like allred. yee-haw!

yeah, I know, where did my love go, you're asking? well, I've been very very busy of late, and on top of that, have consumed little-to-no new music in the last week and a half. my hitlist, were I to update it, would be mostly retro and retread: been spinning kate bush's hounds of love and the steely dan boxed set a lot. one more reason: I've been cracking away on finishing up my top 90 of the '90s. it's almost ready to be revealed - and I've already come up with a song I left out: duran duran's "serious" (from liberty, 1990, whaddaya mean you haven't heard it?! their best full-length, period. it was my #11 album of '90). also of note, three songs which I named the #1 songs of their respective years didn't make the cut. those are nine inch nails' "closer" ('94), "scream" by michael and janet jackson (which I'll still defend, '95), and george michael/mary j. blige's cover of stevie wonder's "as" ('99). ok, maybe that was a fuck-up. especially considering like five other songs from '99's top 10 made the list. ah, retrospect...

Thursday, September 19, 2002

since I've getting very close to revealing my top 90 of the '90s, thought I'd mention some odds 'n related sods...

things I stupidly left out of the top 80 of the '80s:
chaka khan, "i feel for you"
george jones, "he stopped loving her today"
about 3 or 4 possible kate bush songs ("running up that hill," "hounds of love," and especially "experiment iv")
shannon, "let the music play" (genius!)

the last 12 songs cut from my top 90, alphabetically by artist:
beck, "devil's haircut"
boyz ii men, "thank you (untouchables remix)"
chris rock, "no sex"
garbage, "vow"
hole, "doll parts"
kitchens of distinction, "polaroids"
ltj bukem, "music"
method man f/mary j. blige, "i'll be there for you/you're all i need to get by"
oasis, "cigarettes and alcohol"
pj harvey, "down by the water"
r.e.m., "losing my religion"
tricky, "black steel"
...and I somehow forgot to put guns 'n roses' "november rain" on the master list, but decided that it wouldn't have made the finals anyway. it hasn't aged particularly well, I think.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

why, why, why do I love together's "so much love to give" so much? [together is dj falcon + thomas bangalter. bangalter is a/k/a half of daft punk and a/k/a half of stardust - i.e., absolute godhead.] it's so simple, maybe even simpler than stardust's "music sounds better with you" (to cite another french house example). oh, wait - "music sounds better with you" is one of the greatest singles ever recorded. oh, ok. that makes it clearer...

Monday, September 16, 2002

we got a lot of rain today. a lot of rain. don't believe me?

apart from drooling uncontrollably when I see kirk herbstreit on espn's college gameday, I haven't mentioned much about what a college football fan I am. the best writing, week in and week out, on the game is done by's gene wojciechowski. his "bmoc" column is appallingly well-researched, superbly written, and funny as hell. best line in this week's column (regarding the end of the cal upset of msu): "it was so quiet [in spartan stadium] you could hear the spartans drop in the polls."

of course, I'd still take an hour with kirk over a season's worth of "bmoc." half an hour if he was already nude.

don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years.
boo-ya! had an absolutely blissful weekend in rehoboth beach. great weather, gorgeous men, tax-free shopping. and I was told by one attractive man that I had "the best butt on the beach." life is so good!

Friday, September 13, 2002

gustav, btw, was a little tease. bitch. some healthy amounts of rain and wind down on obx, but nothing much here. I feel cheated and used.

woo hoo! after a long, cranky week, the best antidote is the beach - and even better is an out-of-town beach! so a pal and I are going to rehoboth beach, de this weekend. we leave tonight after work and get back sunday night: a nice long, relaxing 2 days. not to mention that I've never set foot in delaware, or traversed all the way up the eastern shore. in celebration of this weekend, I made a new roadtrip cd, "big dumb driving songs," including such glorious trash as journey's "don't stop believin," kenny chesney's "she thinks my tractor's sexy," "legs" by zz top, and of course, the ne plus ultra of deliciously bad music, warrant's "cherry pie" ("I mixed up the batter and she licked the beaters" - awwright!). much better than another one of those horrid gay-marketed "club dance" discs. and easier to sing along with, too. [for rhythmic needs, I'll bring some masters at work and vhs or beta (who have new tour dates, btw).]

Thursday, September 12, 2002

I didn't blog yesterday because I wasn't sure what I wanted to say about 9/11. fortunately, my cousin-in-law carolee sent out a beautifully eloquent email which sums things up very well. she and her husband (my cousin) steve live in washington, dc.
Friends & Family,

The weather is just as picture perfect today as it was last September 11th,
though a bit windier. Steve is reporting from the Pentagon, same as last
year. I am on [our street], same as last year.

Last year, the city became as quiet as it's been in hundreds of years. No
traffic, no kids, no dogs, no sirens, no airplanes or helicopters. I don't
even think the crickets were chirping. I walked down the street last year,
and the only sound I remember hearing was the occasional tv anchorman or
radio reporter's voice seeping through a house or car window.

This year, it is quiet, but the wind is rustling the tree leaves, the street
sweeper went by, and the swoosh of fighter jets overhead is non-stop.
Military helicopters buzz the house. Someone just honked a car horn.

As many of you know, our masonry crew was on the roof of the Pentagon when
the plane hit last year. They lost one colleague. I didn't expect them to
work today, but they all arrived at 7:30 a.m. and have been working hard ever
since. They've been listening to memorial services on the radio while they
work. Most everyone around here is doing their usual thing. Some of my
neighbors have expressed my sentiment that we don't want additional reminders
of today's anniversary: the constant drone of the fighter jets above, the
extra security at every office building, and the construction cranes around
the Pentagon are reminder enough.

Our NPR affiliate is playing Bach's "Joy of Man's Desire" as part of it's
anniversary programming. At the same time, the wind is rustling the tree
leaves hard. I can't think of anything I'd rather hear right now.

Love, Carolee

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

tropical storm gustav is getting stronger as he picks up warm water and energy from the gulf stream. I really hope he becomes a hurricane, not because I want folks on the obx to lose property or lives, but because severe weather is exciting.

nate has upped the popcult content on his blog, while still keeping the music in there. unbelievably, I think it's actually improved. "hipster detritus" is one of my daily stops, and should be one of yours, too.

update: I've started making cuts to the master list for my top 90 of the '90s. should have the 90 songs selected by week's end.

Monday, September 09, 2002

clash! costello! chic! and that's only the "c"s. just think what the 2003 class of the rock 'n roll hall of fame could look like... (of course, you could also go the all-punk route: patti! pistols! clash! mc5!). oh, and lest I forget later: steve fucking winwood?!?!
I've gotta blog a little bit 'bout this. my bestest pal stumpy and I spend far too much time every year thinking about the rock hall (and if you've never visited, it's actually very cool, though not very punk, if that kinda thing's important to you). chic, the clash, and costello should be obvious first-ballot choices. how patti smith and kraftwerk and sabbath aren't in yet is beyond me. mc5 and the pistols are trickier: yeah, they changed a lot of things, but for both of them, they'd basically be going in on the strength of one album. dunno 'bout that. abba? yes, but give 'em a year or two. and I don't care how pretty their voices are, I hate the fucking righteous brothers. [though to be fair, I s'pose if I want hall & oates in, you gotta let those two in. hmm.]

re: tbc: gaz, you're welcome. and update your fucking website!

if you ever decide to vacation on the eastern shore of virginia (which you should), be sure to visit cape charles, and make certain you stay here.

some comments on "the big chart" (a/k/a "tbc")...
you can see that not only had underworld's second toughest in the infants just come out, but the trainspotting phenomenon was just underway. "born slippy" continues to rock me to this day.
most of '96's big albums and singles (for me) were represented: ndegeocello, pet shop boys (bilingual is a very good album, but "before" [especially in the love to infinity version] is a stunning single), debuts from maxwell and jay-z. r.kelly's classic single from his self-titled album, "down low," still makes me swoon, even though he's a disgusting fucking pig.
granted, I was a little too into the tina turner album from that year.
and what a year for singles! "c'mon and ride it," "my boo" (the dual last gasps of quality bass music), "how do u want it," even eric fucking clapton's "change the world." not bad, not bad at all.

subtropical storm gustav is coming. it shouldn't hit us here in norfolk directly - in fact, it's not positive it'll even make landfall on the carolina coast - but we're gonna feel him. I want so badly to go down to cape hatteras tonight, or better yet, ocracoke! [where howard's pub never, ever closes - not for christmas, and not for hurricanes (let alone subtropical storms!). they're probably having a gustav party tomorrow. check out their beer list and be very impressed, if you like that kinda thing.]
do you have any idea how much I love weather?!

turns out it's on a disc I have with me. cool. and all my "-"s were converted to boxes when I imported this from disc, but I kinda like the effect. enjoy. comments to follow.
The Big Chart w/e 15 September 1996

1 1 5 4 Born Slippy Underworld 1(2)
2 3 3 9 Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) Maxwell 2
3 2 1 8 Before Pet Shop Boys 1(1)
4 8 11 5 Can't Knock The Hustle Jay-Z f/Mary J. Blige 4
5 6 9 4 Key West Intermezzo John Mellencamp 5
6 11 18 11 My Boo Ghost Town DJ's 6
7 7 13 3 In Your Wildest Dreams Tina Turner & Barry White 7
8 10 12 6 Who Is He And What Is He To You Me'shell NdegeOcello 8
9 5 2 17 Leviticus: Faggot Me'shell NdegeOcello 1(8)
10 4 4 13 C'mon 'N Ride It (The Train) Quad City DJ's 4
11 12 21 5 Brooklyn's Finest Jay-Z f/Notorious B.I.G. 11
12 20 22 5 Twisted Keith Sweat f/Kut Klose 12
13 13 19 4 Walking Wounded Everything But The Girl 13
14 9 7 11 Bittersweet Me'shell NdegeOcello 2
15 22 27 10 Pearl's Girl Underworld 15
16 24 ﷓﷓ 2 Po Pimp Do Or Die 16
17 17 23 3 Unfinished Sympathy Tina Turner 17
18 16 6 10 Loungin (Who Do Ya Luv Remix) L.L. Cool f/Total 3
19 15 10 7 Dead Presidents II Jay-Z 10
20 14 14 5 Your Secret Love Luther Vandross 14
21 23 ﷓﷓ 2 Keep On Jumpin' Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown 21
22 31 ﷓﷓ 2 Banstyle Underworld 22
23 19 15 7 Change The World Eric Clapton 6
24 18 8 12 Stay Me'shell NdegeOcello 8
25 27 31 14 Sumthin' Sumthin' Maxwell 11
26 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 I Love You Always Forever Donna Lewis 26
27 38 35 4 Djed Tortoise 27
28 21 16 9 Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of... D'Angelo 9
29 28 28 11 Ill Vibe Busta Rhymes f/Q-Tip 20
30 25 26 5 Floatin' On Your Love Isley Brothers 25
31 35 ﷓﷓ 2 Thyow Zae 31
32 32 ﷓﷓ 2 Something Beautiful Remains Tina Turner 32
33 37 ﷓﷓ 2 I Wanna Dance With… (Mixes) Whitney Houston 33
34 33 36 3 Ecclesiastes: Free My Heart Me'shell NdegeOcello 33
35 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 East Coast West Coast Killas Group Therapy 35
36 26 25 30 How Do U Want It 2Pac f/K﷓Ci & JoJo 1(2)
37 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 No Diggity Blackstreet f/Dr. Dre 37
38 36 40 41 Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) R. Kelly f/Ronald Isley 1(4)
39 29 20 22 I Can't Sleep Baby (If I) R. Kelly 7
40 30 17 12 Mary Magdalene Me'shell NdegeOcello 4

Bubbling Under:
1 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 People Of The Sun Rage Against The Machine
2 5 ﷓﷓ 2 Lift Off Groove Collective
3 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 Bug Powder Dust Bomb The Bass
4 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 Playa Like You And Me Do Or Die f/Johnny P
5 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 Tricky Kid Tricky

Slabs o' Wax:
1 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 L.T.J Bukem Presents Logical... V/A
2 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z
3 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 London Records CMJ Sampler '96 V/A
4 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 Millions Now Living Will Never Die Tortoise
5 <﷓﷓﷓﷓ 1 Wildest Dreams Tina Turner

gaz pointed out recently, and I think stumpy did too, that my "hitlist" (to your left) is basically an unnumbered, list-y version of "the big chart," which was the old weekly 40-position chart I did back in college. [I had lots of free records, being md of my college radio station, and lots of free time, since I spent all said time listening to said records.] I think I've still got one "tbc" on an old floppy at home; will try to find and post it (for general sng) soon.

I need to say this more emphatically (even though I know every music blog is saying this these days, and i love music, too): missy elliot's "work it" is SICK! probably - no, definitely - her best lyrics ever, plus all sorts of really weird noises on the record, and what I can only assume is a sample from "heart of glass." AMAZING. yeah, it's definitely the single to beat in '02. I'm on missy's jock like I'm addicted to vicodin.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

fall 2002 mid-atlantic bowling league (a/k/a mabl) started today. we established averages for the season. I threw games of 102 (embarassing), 169 (shoulda been a 200 if not for three consecutive, unfortunately-timed open frames), and 120 (mediocre, but not badly bowled). my average is a 130, the same score you get for having a vacancy. so why did I bother? ['cause honestly, it's a lot of fun, even when I do bowl like shite.] I take next week off, 'cause I'm going to rehoboth beach, delaware for a late-summer-weekend vacation.

oh, and I forgot to mention I got daft punk's alive 1997 this weekend. very nice. works much much better than a decks-and-drives dance record should, live. if you already love thomas and guy, you'll likely love them even more after hearing this. if you don't, you might afterwards.

musically speaking, have spent the weekend downloading some tasties. yes, missy's "work it" is as good as everyone's been saying. [apologies to matos, from whom I stole that different-link-on-every-word method.] I like the backmasked lyrics the best. found seej's "odb's got all saints' money" boot via mcsleazy's boot forum (click on "msg board"); it does the unthinkable in that it makes dirty sound, um, relaxing?! finally admitted to myself that I kinda like busta/diddy/pharrell's "pass the courvoisier part II." jess is pretty much spot-on about "neighbourhood" by zed bias. and then there's some creamy deep house delights snagged thanks to winmx (and version 3.3 rocks, btw): jody watley's new "photograph" (not a def lep cover; I'm so glad she's come to the light - and yes, I'm being melodramatic on purpose - and started making house records), louie vega and julie mcknight's "diamond life" (repetitive lyrics, but gorgeous production), and the masters at work whitelabel remix of earth wind & fire's "can't hide love" (oooh!).

Friday, September 06, 2002

paddy mcaloon is one of the finest songwriters of the last two decades (plus he has a really great name). if you're somehow unbelieving, pick up a copy of prefab sprout: the collection, which holds 38 tracks, all of which were written by mcaloon, alone. there are two definitions of perfect pop: stuff like "i'm too sexy," and stuff like the smiths. prefab sprout split the difference with aplomb and loveliness. "cars and girls" alone should earn paddy some sort of pulitzer or nobel prize. this is one of those rarities, a perfect hits collection, which means it contains everything you need, and nothing you don't (like bowie's the singles: 1967-1993, or the new aerosmith comp) (and yes, I know I already used that phrase regarding the 'smith. don't email to tell me so).

time out of mind: have been working my way through bret easton ellis' american psycho, and last night, I caught most of the film of the book, on cinemax. wow. after the film, the phrase "time out of mind" kept running through my head, along with not dylan's album, but the steely dan song of the same name (from the underrated gaucho), all california gloss and razor-sharp lyrics. I was primarily amazed at how the film adaptation got it, saving the nuance and shadow of easton ellis' novel, preserving its bitter, pickled jaundice for future generations. the novel itself is a work of great satire (or is it?) anyway, lacerating the '80s wall street-era like never before or since; patrick bateman is to reagan-era greed as holden caufield is to existentialist teen angst in the '50s. with the exception of glamorama, I'm now prepared to proclaim bret easton ellis as one of the finest, most acutely observant novelists of the last 20 years. [on the same note: if you can find it, anywhere, grab a copy of the audiobook of less than zero. it's read by kevin bacon, at the time one of the great 20-something actors of his generation, and he reads it as if he truly understands it. a marvelous, mannered performance on par with robert downey, jr.'s as julian, in the film version.]

Thursday, September 05, 2002

back to "strangeways": I'll grant you that "paint a vulgar picture," while somewhat witty, is the sound of mozzer beating a dead horse he'd later become a bit too familiar with, but then subtlety hasn't necessarily been his greatest strength. "I won't share you" (again) is a triumph. there's a reason he was tagged "morose-y."

side one is even better - these were the days of albums, remember, and they had 2 sides. "a rush and a push and the land is ours," with its roadhouse piano and eerie opening lyric fading in to the mix ("I am the ghost of troubled Joe"), is a sterling opener, proving both that the smiths felt they still had something to prove and that (as they knew the end was nigh) they weren't going quietly. you can hear all over the record that it was morrissey/marr's last will and testament; you could even take the title "I started something I couldn't finish" as pro forma proof, as the mancunians didn't die, but faded away (and still radiate, natch). "started something" starts with a grinding guitar lick from marr and adds a kitchen-sink drum part from mike joyce, leading eventually into a vocal unlike any morrissey'd put to vinyl before: listen to the way he growlingly leans into the line "that's what tradition means" in the second verse. he does it again in the third verse, but not so much chutzpah. and at the end of that verse, moz's "seems... fair enough!" sounds almost flip, as if the shackles were off and he could finally let loose (this bore fruit more on his solo viva hate the next year).

"death of a disco dancer," featuring piano by morrissey himself, is a perfect segue from the side's first two tracks to its latter two. marr spends the first two verses ekeing scraping noises out of his guitar, sounding nearly proto-'90s sonic youth (but not quite). as ever, the lyrics are not entirely a triumph, but include one of moz's pithiest lines ("love, peace and harmony/very nice, very nice, very nice/maybe in the next world"). after some very noel gallagher-esque strumming through the bulk of the song, marr starts playing ever more dissonant lines as the song reaches its climax, and then suddenly stops. like that.

the song following, "girlfriend in a coma," briefly got the smiths on mtv during primetime hours (I believe as a "buzz clip"), and is one of their classic pop songs. short and to the point - well, whatever point there is, exactly. but a fine single nonetheless, leading us to one of their alltime towering achievements, "stop me if you think you've heard this one before." a true wall of sound washes over the listener from the first notes, layers upon layers of marr's guitar setting the scene for a tour de force vocal performance by morrissey, pleading, nearly crying, begging, all atop a chugging bo diddley beat (he and chuck berry were always marr's major touchstones).

anyone who thinks the smiths left on a low note with "strangeways, here we come" is a fool. just listen to the introduction of "last night I dreamt that somebody loved me": the sampled screams, johnny marr's late night maudlin piano chords, and then suddenly - skronk! - the guitars gatecrash the proceedings, mike joyce begins bashing his snare, and morrissey opens his golden throat, giving voice to legions of disillusioned lovers the world over ("so tell me how long before the right one?," he pleads). "I won't share you" is the indie equivalent of "do you really want to hurt me," though boy george's voice, soulful as it may be, can't contain the pathos the mozzer does. musically, "unhappy birthday" could nearly be r.e.m. - can't you just hear those guitar lines coming through buck's rickenbacher? except for the mournful curls of sound at the end of the chorus, of course (those are pure marr, and one of the smiths' defining traits). more to come on this phenomenal album after I get home.

I know this is over a year old, but it's still fascinating. I would've killed to do something like this back in highschool. once, while hanging at my grandparents' house over the summer (they had cable, we didn't [living in the country - it was the mid-'80s]), I kept a journal (the pre-blog!) of every video I saw over 7 hours - and yes, mtv actually showed nothing but videos for 7 consecutive hours (and more) back then. of course, they also showed kenny loggins videos.
I wish I still had that journal.

added fred solinger's great "vain, selfish & lazy" to blogs I love; thanks to matos for the tip-off.

"you're so cute when you're frustrated" - interpol, "pda"

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

woo-hoo! scott's made mondo updates at rockcritics, including new top 5 lists, and the return of "radio on"! awwright!

a couple of other random vma observations:
1. jimmy fallon was painfully unfunny as host.
2. eminem has lost any sense of humor he might've ever had. he's talented and all, but what a dick.
3. justin timberlake, while clearly lip-synching, is a born performer. he can dance (not as well as usher, but can you?), and he's got a supple, soulful voice on him. I've suggested to friends for the last couple of years that his solo debut (justified, 11/12) could be a faith for a new generation. I'm doubting that now, largely because of the whole "I must get every super producer for my project" mindset most popstars have these days. [george, you might remember, produced himself.] but it could still be massive. and he, or pharrell, or whoever, gets bonus points for putting the clipse - the clipse?! - on his debut solo single. weird. the verses are bland lyrically and musically. the chorus is just bland lyrically. the bridge is the shit.
4. christina aguilera officially frightens me. we all knew she was following the mariah career template, but mariah never looked this bad, or this hookerish.
5. good god, nelly's an idiot.

saw the last hour of the mtv vmas last night. the hives vs. vines "battle" was pointless; the vines are like silverchair with amps that go up to 11, while the hives are iggy and the stooges better-dressed (and with cooler names). that "you are crime/the hives are the law" thing was genius. and then there's g'nr. axl looked okay, I thought, though I'm not sure psuedo-dreads are the best look for him. "welcome to the jungle" was a bit ragged on axl's part; he seemed oddly out of breath. but the new song, "madagascar," was certainly intriguing, and "paradise city"'s finale rocked hard, for the most part. here's what struck me more than anything, though: all of his new players still look just like they did in their old bands. tommy stinson? still a placemat. josh whatever-his-name-is, from the vandals? he looks it. robin finck? like he just walked offstage with trent reznor. and buckethead is his own being, for ever and all time. he did quite a nice job replicating slash's parts, too. and axl was clever and completely non-belligerent when (briefly) interviewed by loder. rumors abound of a fall tour of the u.s. start saving your money now. whatever their shortcomings on a televised awards show, you know they're gonna fuck shit up live on stage. and say what you will, w. axl rose is one of the last true rock stars.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

gaz, I almost forgot: had some tasty sushi at no. 1 china buffet for lunch yesterday, including some succulent smoked eel and some very nice tuna. yum.

even when I disagree with 'em, I love the writing done by the kids at spizzazzz. added to the renamed "blogs I love," to your left.

great, great, great piece by chet flippo about the importance of what the dixie chicks are doing right now.

yeah, yeah, I know I haven't blogged in 5 days already. I was busy, y'know? sassi 2002 went off without a hitch, and I couldn't be happier about it. my roommate, mike, was the tournament director [co- in name only], and he was amazing all weekend. I bowled like poo (never once hit my 135 average in 9 games, and in fact threw a 118 average for the tournament), but hey, what can you do? somedays you gotta dance, as the dixie chicks sang. speaking of, finally got my copy of their new one, home, this weekend, and it's a certified knockout. traditional country at its finest. a full review will come soon.

full tracklisting of the forthcoming u2 hits package! be advised that the album will come out one day later in the u.s., november 5th.

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