Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Am in NH, tired and sore; spent the day moving furniture and boxes. More of it to come tomorrow. Oof.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hopping a plane in a couple of hours to NH, to help my roommate-to-be Brian move stuff into the house we'll be sharing, and get things set up to move my stuff in (in a couple weeks' time). Back in a week. Posting will happen between now and then, but will assuredly be intermittent.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Hubris is, ultimately, the fall of men. And today, no one's showing more hubris than Ralph Nader, who announced this morning that he's running for President, again. Ralph Nader doesn't give a damn about the Green Party, or about any other party, or even if Bush is re-elected. Ralph Nader only cares about serving his own ego, and saying "look at me! I can change things!" No, he didn't lose the 2000 election for Gore - Gore's horrendous campaign lost it, and William Rehnquist then stole it for Bush. When he goes on about how there's hardly any difference between the Dems and the GOP, I'd love to ask him, point-blank: do you really think the U.S. would be this much of a mess right now were Gore the President? Of course, Nader'd likely stick his head in the sand and say, "Sure it would!" I respected Nader for many, many years for his tireless work as a consumer advocate. But no more; if I saw Ralph Nader on fire today, I wouldn't even stop to piss on him. I honestly believe that Nader only cares about Nader - and for that, I can't respect him, not one iota.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Which of these do you like best? They're some excellent new desktop pics courtesy of LEE TV. Right now, I've got the Isleys up, but I think I'm gonna rotate these three for the time being.

I'm digging hard on the new Incubus single, "Megalomaniac." [I also love that it's in theory forcing a nation of "modern rock" dimwit DJs to say "megalomaniac" (and say "in theory" because you'd have to pay me well to listen to what passes for "modern rock" these days), but I digress.] They're still not full-fledged album artists, but their singles keep progressively getting better - I caught late, but now wholeheartedly love, 2001's "Wish You Were Here," for example, which shows off their gift for melody in fine fashion. [And for that matter, I still attest that Missy Elliott's no album artist, either, so since when is that a crime?] And so, most certainly, does "Megalomaniac." Incubus were never convincing as a nu-metal band, doing the whole hip-hop/rock hybrid; it always felt a little forced from them. Tuneful, hard or soft(er) rock, however, is their strong suit. Increasingly, Incubus reminds me of Stone Temple Pilots in that they're a strong rock combo with hardly any (critical) cred - with the major difference that the lyrics lead singer Brandon Boyd is voicing are generally superior and more intelligent than those of STP. "Megalomaniac" has a brief, Police-ish bridge and that superb push-pull dynamic which has been heard all to little in rock of recent vintage. Push up ya lighters.

For reasons completely unknown to me, all day I've had a burning need to hear Loverboy's "Hot Girls In Love." I mean, Loverboy?!?! Also fulfilling random musical urges this weekend: "Been Around the World" by Puff Daddy featuring Notorious B.I.G. and Mase, wherein the bad boys of Bad Boy interpolate Lisa Stansfield and slow down David Bowie to marvelous effect. And if you've not yet heard UK pick-to-click "Follow Me" by Red Astaire, a truly odd, yet compelling pseudo-bossa nova track which samples D'Angelo's "Left and Right," get thee to Fluxblog posthaste and enjoy the download.

It's Bracket Buster Saturday, baby! If anyone needs me, I'll be on the sofa.

Friday, February 20, 2004


[Cue sound of breath being taken out of me.]

I saw Monster this evening, and I can tell you right now, with my hand on the Bible I was given when I was 8 years old, that I will never, ever forget this film.

If Charlize Theron isn't awarded the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance - if soupy sentiment and "isn't she cute!" for a 13-year-old girl gives the award to Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider - I'll approach crockery-hurling levels of anger. Roger Ebert is utterly dead-on in his review when he says of Theron's performance,

"This is one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema."

I'm having immense difficulty articulating my thoughts on this astonishing first film by director/screenwriter Patty Jenkins; I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Speed round, quick 'n' dirty all-sports edition:

I'm not a big baseball fan; never have been. However, I always have rooted and always will root for the Cubs. Game 7 of last year's NLCS was so, so heartbreaking. The mood is high at training camp, though - especially what with the Cubs' murderer's row of a starting rotation - welcome home, Mr. Maddux! [Still a total hottie, too.] The A-Rod deal just increased my hatred of the Yankees that much more, but I'm not concentrating on that. This year, it's all about the Cubbies, baby!

While my Boilermakers (16-9, 6-6) have played themselves right on to the bubble (losing 5 of your last 7 can do that to you - and if they lose at Big Ten cellar-dwellers Minnesota tomorrow, the coffin may be nailed shut, barring winning the conference tournament), my Lady Boilers are helping stem my black-and-gold bleeding somewhat. As always seems to be the case, they're locked in a battle with Penn State for the Big Ten regular season championship, both at 12-1 conference with two games left before the (regular) season final?, which will likely be for all the marbles - as it's at PSU. Purdue's Shereka Wright is a finalist for the women's Naismith Award, as well. Yay! And the Lady Boilers are in their usual near-season's-end place in the polls: the top 5. Purdue's ranked 5th in both polls (PSU is 7th).

Ex-Florida guard Christian Drejer? Hmm, I believe the words I'm looking for are along the lines of selfish little bitch. You don't just quit on your team mid-season to mint coins. Dickie V agrees.

Countdown to Selection Sunday: 23 days.

"I feel affirmed as a [heterosexually] married man by what's happened here in San Francisco."

Further reason that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is amazing.

And don't miss this at the end of the article:
"Meanwhile, New Mexico's Sandoval County said it will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it had no legal grounds to refuse them.

New Mexico law defines marriage as a civil contract between contracting parties and does not mention gender.

"This office won't say no until shown it's not permissible," said Victoria Dunlap, county clerk of Sandoval County, which is home to 90,000 people just north of Albuquerque.

It's happening, folks. It's happening, and we're here for it. Don't forget to sign the Million for Marriage petition, either - I'm not necessarily a big fan of the HRC, but this is something worth doing.

Yeah, Coach Barnett? Maybe it's not such a good time to remortgage your house, okay? Hubris will get you nowhere. [He's gone. Whether it's next week or 2 months from now, Gary Barnett will not be coaching the Buffs next season.]

Sex(y) blogs, new to me: thinking & drinking and Best of Queer Sex.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Not much posting today - busying cooking spaghetti squash and cleaning, in preparation for dinner for 8 this evening.

Got a fucking rockin' package from the newly-29-year-old Matos today, including not only his mightily impressive C700 Go! discs for 1970 and 1980, but a copy of an amazing four-disc Jouis Jordan comp, Jivin' with Jordan, and foremost, an incredible promo comp which EMI Music Publishing put out in celebration of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis in the mid-'90s: 78 tracks by the men who, production-wise, owned the '80s (and part of the early '90s, as well). Wow.

I heart Daddino. I'm just sayin'.

Finished the second book of Felice Picano's memoirs this morning, Men Who Loved Me. Fucking A, he's an amazing writer - and needs to be considered one of the best American novelists (and memoirists, natch). Starting the third book, A House on the Ocean, A House on the Bay this afternoon. [It's called multitasking!] Did some laundry this a.m., too; productivity is good. I've found that one way I've been able to keep my spirits up as the jobhunt seems to continually go nowhere is to make sure I attack each day. None of this sitting-around-watching-talk-shows-and-not-bathing for me, oh no. If you feel good, you'll be able to accomplish more, so I've made certain to do just that, and do at least one job-related thing per day (some days, many more). That's another way to feel good about myself, too. Yay.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Here's the text of Gov. Dean's speech today, withdrawing from the race for the presidency. And here's the video, courtesy of C-SPAN. Dean the candidate is done, but Dean For America lives on - and I can't wait to see what the good doctor's next move is.

Speed round:

Sex and the City: The Movie? I'm not so sure this is a good idea. Dunno why, there's just something that gnaws at me about it. If it's done, it's done, y'know?


Joe Orton fans, who've either read the John Lahr biography Prick Up Your Ears or seen the film based on said book, are aware that Orton and his partner, Kenneth Halliwell, covered - literally - the walls of their bedroom with pictures cut from books. Its re-creation in the film is quite an astonishing example of collage. I saw something this evening which is just as astonishing, albeit a bit scarier. Remember the "can I borrow some porn" guy, almost exactly one year ago? Well, he still lives in my bldg, and tonight, whilst making my way up the stairs, I noticed he had his door wide open, and couldn't help but glance that way. Shock and awe, let me tell you: he appeared to have every inch of wall space covered in cut-out pictures of women from fashion magazines. Very gay, very disturbing, and a bit Mad Love (thanks, Chrisafer)-via-One Hour Photo. Eeesh.


1.02 million: that's how many copies Norah Jones sold of Feels Like Home last week. Whoa.


Billy Corgan's finally talking about the dissolution of Smashing Pumpkins on his website (entry dated 2.17.04), and it's worth reading. I have tempered, but high hopes for his forthcoming solo album (later this year). That Zwan record was pretty solid, you know.


Acute readers may have noticed that earlier today, I posted an mp3 of Chaka Khan's "I Know You, I Live You." It's a really, really great song (especially in its Tony Humphries mix, from Life Is A Dance - The Remix Project), but I had to take it down tonight and replace it with her 1981 smash "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me." Why? Because it's just. So. Fucking. Hot.

Posted by Gov. Dean himself on his campaign blog:

A Beginning not an End

Today my candidacy may come to an end--but our campaign for change is not over.

I want to thank each and every person who has supported this campaign. Over the last year, you have reached out to neighbors, friends, family and colleagues--building one American at a time the greatest grassroots campaign presidential politics has ever seen. I will never forget the work and the heart that you put into our campaign.

In the coming weeks, we will be launching a new initiative to continue the campaign you helped begin. Please continue to come to www.deanforamerica.com for updates and news as our new initiative develops. There is much work still to be done, and today is not an end--it is just the beginning.

This Party and this country needs change, and you have already begun that process. I want you to think about how far we have come. The truth is: change is tough. There is enormous institutional pressure in our country against change. There is enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change. Yet, you have already started to change the Party and together we have transformed this race. Along the way, we?ve engaged hundreds of thousands of new Americans in the political process, as witnessed by this year?s record participation in the primaries and caucuses.

The fight that we began can and must continue. Although my candidacy for president may end today, the most important goal remains defeating George W. Bush in November, and I hope that you will join me in doing everything we can to support the Democrats this fall. From the earliest days of our campaign, I have said that the power to change Washington rests not in my hands, but in yours. Always remember, you have the power to take our country back.

Gov. Howard Dean M.D.

He's apparently making it "official" (will be very interesting to hear how he words his words) at a 1pm EST news conference in Burlington, VT. And remember: this ain't over. As a proud American first, a proud Democrat second, and a proud Dean supporter third, my goal is the same as it's always been: to give W just what we gave his Daddy, ONE TERM ONLY. Election Day is November 2 - make sure you're registered to vote!

Linking Squirrels With Coffee. Apparently, it's three (semi?-)well-known bloggers doing their thing anon., so they can talk about shit without anyone knowing who/what/where. But mostly, it's about good, hot sex. Hot like fire.

The new Brandy single, "Turn It Up" (produced by Timbaland):
a) doesn't even sound like Brandy, her vocals have been so heavily, annoyingly processed.
b) makes a fine argument that (gasp!) Tim's running out of ideas. Or at least saving all his good ones for Missy and Bubba.
c) includes an early contender for worst lyric of '04, "give my people somethin' to shake ya butts."
d) makes me finally, completely tired of references to missing Aaliyah on record. I mean, you don't still hear artists making lyrical references to Left Eye or Lennon or Elvis, do you?

Yes, it's that bad.

DammitIreallyreallyreallyfuckingloveBiggie's"EverydayStruggle"! I actually think "Struggle" (from his debut, '94's Ready to Die) might be my favorite Notorious B.I.G. track, ever. From its opening sample (from a Bob James record?) to its ridiculously loud, jacked-up snare beat, this is gritty, genuine hip-hop perfection. Every single element of this track is real, and works - even Puffy's "right"s, muttered in the background (back 'n the day, he actually knew so little as to be inobtrusive). Produced by Norman & Digga/Bluez Brothers (who dey?), and buried 11 tracks into Ready to Die, "Struggle" has always had all the earmarks of a hidden classic to my ears. Lyrically, it's the flipside of "Big Poppa," a lament about what the character's life has become:

"I don't wanna live no mo'
Sometimes I hear death knocking at my front door
I'm living every day like a hustle
Another drug to juggle
Another day another struggle."

BIG sound so raw, so real, so vulnerable on this track - and I think that was one of his greatest victories, why he was such a success; there was always something in his voice which was relatable. He may be rapping about the drug game here, but you can't help but feel that he understands your struggle, too. Even when it was all champagne-and-caviar for the man, he never seemed to lose touch with his roots. His fans never forgot that. Hmm, perhaps it's time for a Rough Guide to the Notorious B.I.G....

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

You are experimental!
You are experimental!

What kind of techno music are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

So, in my continuing quest to sell off nearly my whole CD/record collection, I'm making available my entire collection of Madonna CD singles. There are 15, all but 2 of which are maxi-singles. All but one (as noted) are U.S. singles. They date from 1992-2001. If you want these, let me know. I'm selling the entire lot for $75 OR best offer. The details:

1. "Deeper and Deeper," 1992. Digipak. 7 tracks: Album Edit, 4 versions by Shep Pettibone, and 2 by David Morales.
2. "Rain," 1993. Digipak. 4 tracks: Radio Remix, Album Version, "Waiting (Remix)" (additional vocals by Everlast, remix and add'l production by Danny Saber), and "Up Down Suite (Non-Album Track)" (produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone).
3. "I'll Remember (Theme from the Motion Picture With Honors)," 1994. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 4 tracks: Album Version, "Guerilla Beach Mix" (remix and add'l production by William Orbit), "Orbit Remix" (same), and "Why's It So Hard (Live from the Girlie Show)."
4. "Secret," 1994. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 6 tracks: Edit, 3 versions by Junior Vasquez, 1 by Bizarre, Inc., and 1 by Allstar.
5. "Bedtime Story," 1995. *UK Single.* Slimline jewel case. 5 tracks: Album Edit, 3 versions by Junior Vasquez, and 1 by Orbital.
6. "Human Nature," 1995. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 9 tracks: Radio Version, 6 versions by Danny Tenaglia, and 2 by Howie Tee.
7. "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," 1997. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 6 tracks: "Miami Mix" Alternate Ending, Edit, and Instrumental Version; "Miami Spanglish Mix" and Edit; and "Miami Dub Mix." "Remix produced by Madonna, Pablo Flores and Javier Garza."
8. "Frozen," 1998. Carboard and plastic packaging. 4 tracks: Album Version, "Stereo MC's Remix" by Stereo MC's, "Extended Club Mix" by Victor Calderone, and "Meltdown Mix" by William Orbit.
9. "Ray of Light," 1998. *2-track single.* Cardboard slipcase with plastic pull-out. 2 tracks: "Ray of Light" and "Has To Be (Non-Album Track)" (produced by Madonna and William Orbit).
10. "Ray of Light," 1998. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 4 tracks: Album Version, "Sasha Ultra Violet Mix," "William Orbit Liquid Mix," and "Victor Calderone Club Mix."
11. "Nothing Really Matters," 1998. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 9 tracks: Album Version, 6 versions by Club 69 (a/k/a Peter Rauhofer), 1 by Talvin Singh, and 1 by Kruder & Dorfmeister.
12. "Music," 2000. *2-track single.* Jewel case. 2 tracks: "Music" and "Cyberraga (Non-Album Track)" (produced by Madonna and Talvin Singh).
13. "Music," 2000. Cardboard and plastic packaging. 9 versions: 2 versions by Hex Hector and Mac Quayle, 2 by Victor Calderone, 2 by Deep Dish, 2 by Groove Armada, and 1 by Tracy Young and the Young Collective.
14. "Don't Tell Me," 2000. Jewel case. 7 versions: 1 version by Timo Maas and Martin Buttrich, 1 by Tracy Young, 2 by Richard Humpty Vission, 2 by Thunderpuss (a/k/a Chris Cox and Barry Harris), and 1 by Victor Calderone.
15. "What It Feels Like for a Girl," 2001. Jewel case. 9 versions: "Lo Que Siente La Mujer (What It Feels Like for a Girl)," 1 version by Paul Oakenfold, 2 by Richard Humpty Vission, 1 by Victor Calderone and Mac Quayle, 2 by Tracy Young, and 2 by Above & Beyond (a/k/a Jonathan Grant, Tony McGuinness & Paavo Siljamaki).

If you want/need any further details, please ask. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blogging.

One of the best news stories I've seen in quite some time: "Polaroid Warns Film Users Not to 'Shake It'."

This man needs to be considered the new hero of homos everywhere. He's Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco. Why should he be considered a hero? Because after only 2 months in office - an office he only won 53%-47%, mind you - he's made one of the boldest moves of any major city elected official in - well, in a very long time. He's put his ass on the line and defied CA law by issuing thousands of marriage licenses to same-sex couples (over 2,300 by Monday night). Today it may all come to a halt as conservative groups file suit to both cease the gay weddings and make those already performed null and void. They might win - but they might not. Newsom's got cojones in great measure, and is showing just how big they are right now. He says he made this bold move in reaction to Bush's support for a Constitutional amendment which would ban gay marriage - the first time an amendment denying rights, i.e. legalizing bigotry and discrimination, would be added to that great document. I can give nothing but respect to a man who stands up in such a courageous manner for what he feels is right, public opinion be damned.

And brace yourselves, kids - especially my homo brethren. Karl Rove and his minions are about to engage in what's likely to be the ugliest Presidential race this country's seen in quite some time, and gays and lesbians are about to become to '04 what Willie Horton was for Bush I in '88. It may get worse before it gets better, but trust, it will get better, and those opposing gay rights today will be looked at in 30 years as we see segregationists today. As John Mellencamp sang back in '85, "You've got to stand for something/Or you're gonna fall for anything." Where do you stand?

Update: Yay! The marriages will continue until at least Friday.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Anyone have a good (and preferably simple) recipe for squash pasta? I need one ASAP - am cooking dinner for ten on Thursday.


One I just discovered, one I started reading a coupla weeks back. Need to blogroll both. So I have. Quality stuff. Dubscrape, in particular, feels like reading The Wire - so very full of musics I don't know but want to, entertainment and education rolled up like a burrito in the best way.

C700 Go! 2001: this shit here feels like a whole entire world collapse

001 Kelis - Young Fresh 'N New
002 Jadakiss featuring Styles - We Gon' Make It
003 M.O.P. featuring Busta Rhymes and Remy Martin - Ante Up (Robbing-Hoodz Theory) (Remix)
004 Jay-Z - Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
005 Britney Spears - I'm A Slave 4 U
006 Destiny's Child - Bootylicious
007 Eve featuring Gwen Stefani - Let Me Blow Ya Mind
008 Sunshine Anderson - Heard It All Before
009 Daft Punk - One More Time
010 Kid Rock - American Bad Ass

011 System of a Down - Aerials
012 Doves - Catch the Sun
013 Bob Dylan - Mississippi
014 Elton John - This Train Don't Stop There Anymore
015 R.E.M. - Imitation of Life
016 Aerosmith - Jaded
017 Toby Keith - I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight
018 Kenny Chesney - Don't Happen Twice
019 Alison Krauss + Union Station - The Lucky One
020 Mark McGuinn - Mrs. Steven Rudy

021 Rodney Crowell featuring Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line (Revisited)
022 Soggy Bottom Boys - I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow
023 Right Said Fred - You're My Mate
024 Bob the Builder - Can We Fix It?
025 soulDecision - Ooh It's Kinda Crazy
026 Aaliyah - More Than A Woman (Masters at Work Alternate Mix)
027 Kings of Tomorrow - Finally (MAW Kosmic Mix)
028 Michael Jackson - Butterflies
029 Mary J. Blige - No More Drama
030 Artful Dodger featuring Craig David - Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say "Bo!" Selector)

031 Sticky featuring Ms. Dynamite - Booo!
032 More Fire Crew - Oi!
033 So Solid Crew - 21 Seconds
034 Nelly Furtado - Turn Off the Light (So Solid Crew Remix)
035 *NSync - Pop
036 Usher - U Don't Have to Call
037 Busta Rhymes featuring P. Diddy and Pharrell - Pass the Courvoisier (Part II)
038 Mariah Carey featuring Da Brat, Ludacris, Shawnna, and 22 - Loverboy (Remix)
039 Joe featuring Mystikal - Stutter (Double Take Remix)
040 Faith Evans - I Love You

041 Jon B. - Don't Talk
042 Babyface - There She Goes
043 Petey Pablo - Raise Up
044 Timbaland and Magoo featuring Static and Aaliyah - I Am Music
045 Radiohead - Pyramid Song
046 Eric Heatherly - Swimming in Champagne
047 Sigur Ros - Svefn-g-Englar
048 Metro Area - Miura
049 Girls on Top - We Don't Give A Damn About Our Friends
050 Freelance Hellraiser - A Stroke of Genius

051 Robbie Williams - Rock DJ
052 Pulp - Sunrise
053 Demon vs Heartbreaker - You Are My High
054 Blaze - How Deep Is Your Love?
055 Jamiroquai - Little L (Bob Sinclair Remix)
056 Maxwell - Lifetime (Ben Watt Lazy Dog Extended Remix)
057 EBTG vs Soul Vision - Tracey In My Room
058 Jill Scott featuring 4Hero - Gotta Get Up (Another Day)
059 Angie Stone - Brotha
060 Nikka Costa - Like A Feather

061 White Stripes - Fell In Love with a Girl
062 Sum 41 - Fat Lip/Pain for Pleasure
063 Andrew W.K. - Party Hard
064 Basement Jaxx - Where's Your Head At
065 Peaches - Fuck the Pain Away
066 Depeche Mode - Dream On (kid606 mix)
067 Squarepusher - My Red Hot Car
068 Tortoise - Monica
069 Alicia Keys - Fallin'
070 The Isley Brothers featuring R. Kelly and Chanté Moore - Contagious

071 R. Kelly - A Woman's Threat
072 Ginuwine - Differences
073 Jaheim - Just In Case
074 Erick Sermon featuring Marvin Gaye - Music
075 Roots Manuva - Witness (1 Hope)
076 Janet Jackson featuring Missy Elliott and Carly Simon - Son of a Gun (Flyte Tyme Remix)
077 DMX - Who We Be
078 Roni Size/Reprazent - Dirty Beats
079 Bubba Sparxxx - Ugly
080 Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On

081 OutKast featuring Snoop Dogg - So Fresh, So Clean (Remix)
082 Gorillaz - Rock the House
083 DJ Pied Piper & Master of Ceremonies - Do You Really Like It
084 Dream - He Loves U Not
085 Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
086 Sophie Ellis Bextor - Murder on the Dancefloor
087 5ive - Let's Dance
088 Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This
089 Nicole Kidman - Sparkling Diamonds
090 Jennifer Lopez - I'm Real

091 Royskopp - Eple
092 Garbage - Androgyny
093 New Order - Crystal
094 Texas - Inner Smile
095 Sugar Ray - When It's Over
096 Cake - Short Skirt/Long Jacket
097 Mick Jagger - God Gave Me Everything
098 Linkin Park - In the End
099 Incubus - I Wish You Were Here
100 PJ Harvey - This Is Love

101 Dave Navarro - Rexall
102 Ryan Adams - New York, New York
103 Noir Desir featuring Manu Chao - Le Vent Nous Portera
104 Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell - Virus B
105 Armand Van Helden - Why Can't You Free Some Time
106 Chemical Brothers - It Began In Afrika
107 Beta Band - Squares
108 Macy Gray - Sexual Revolution
109 Tricky - #1 Da Woman
110 Gossip - Got Body If You Want It

111 Strokes - Last Nite
112 Jimmy Eat World - Sweetness
113 Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs
114 Black Crowes - Lickin'
115 Manic Street Preachers - Found That Soul
116 U2 - Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
117 Musique vs U2 - New Year's Dub
118 Jakatta - American Dream
119 Roger Sanchez - Another Chance
120 Superman Lovers - Starlight

121 The Ones - Flawless
122 Modjo - Chillin'
123 Stuntmasterz - The Ladyboy Is Mine
124 Madonna - What It Feels Like for a Girl (Above and Beyond Club Mix)
125 The Avalanches - Since I Left You
126 Bjork - Hidden Place

Free copy to the first person to tell me (in the Comments) which song the title's from (except for you, since you're already getting one). Offhand, I think I like this one better than 1986; for the most part, it flows better, and more interestingly. I'm especially fond of the Eric Heatherly -> Sigur Ros segue.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Speed round:

Both New York London Paris Munich and Spizzazzz have moved. Over a month ago (in the case of Spizzazzz, before Christmas!). Oops.


From the Rumor Mill at Hits Daily Double (simple registration req.), proof that I was underestimating Ms. Norah Jones's first-week abilities:

CAN'T KEEP UP WITH JONES: Look out above. The combination of post-Grammy sales fever and Valentine's Day has Norah Jones' sophomore Blue Note effort, Feels Like Home, blowing out of stores to the point where it will easily top 800k with a hectic shopping weekend coming up. Wonderers are wondering if it could even approach a million, which would be the highest debut since 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' sold 806k last February 2003 in just four days at retail. If it tops a million, it would be the highest bow since Eminem's The Eminem Show hit stores early Memorial Day Weekend 2002 and did 1.3 million in its first 10 days.



Not sure how I missed this earlier in the week: further proof that the U.S. is the most fucking puritan country this side of the Islamic world comes in the further J*net fallout. MTV is apparently shoving "controversial" videos (such as, er, Britney's "Toxic" and Incubus's "Megalomaniac"?!) to late night hours. I watched some of this week's FCC/"decency" in broadcasting Congressional hearings yesterday on C-SPAN, and they were utterly absurd. FCC chief Michael Powell has gotta be the biggest administration boob this side of Ashcroft, and sounds like it. Soldiers continue to die in Iraq, the economy's shit, and our Congress is concering itself with a bared breast?! Color me digusted.


Being as I'm currently single (legit applications currently being accepted), I "celebrated" V-Day yesterday by watching Fatal Attraction. And Glitter. Apparently, I'm a masochist - who knew?


I will be posting things other than Speed Rounds, mind. Probably later today. C700 Go! 2001 is nearly complete, too.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Speed round, extra speedy edition:

Working on a new C700 Go!, for 2001. It's more difficult than you think. Anyone know where I can find lists upon lists of releases from that year, especially in the R&B, country, and jazz genres? [And yes, I've already exhausted RockList.]

Discovered OverEasy today. Does that come with toast?

You go, San Francisco.

Friday the 13th was pretty uneventful; unfortunately, it appears that V-Day will be as well. Another year, perhaps...

Janet Jackson's "Janet Megamix 04 (Chris Cox Remix)" is a national fantasia on gay themes.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Speed round:

Via ILM, I present Pazz & Jop's Nashville(ish) cousin, Nashville Weekly's Country Music Critics Poll. Instead of OutKast, this one's dominated by the Cash clan - specifically, patriarch Johnny and ex-son-in-law Rodney Crowell.

"I Can't Wait," by Sleepy Brown featuring OutKast, is sensational. Cushy R&B with competing rhythm tracks, while Sleepy works his post-Teddy P. mojo and leaves plenty of room for Big Boi and Andre 3000 to drop their raps (and yes, Andre raps again). Superbly post-neo-soul, or whatever it's being called these days.

Still jobhunting, waiting for places to make up their minds and call me for a damn interview. Also still working up the master list of my vinyl and CD collections; thanks to those who've already alerted me to their interest. If you haven't yet and want to, you still can.

John Edwards thinks he's going to pick up a lot of Wes Clark's former supporters. Meanwhile, dkos reports that it appears Clark's going to endorse John Kerry. What does this ultimately mean? Sadly, these appear to be some of the final nails in Howard Dean's coffin. Time to start putting together that Kerry/Edwards ticket (I still believe the Dems have got to have a southerner on the ticket - and how great would and Edwards vs. Cheney debate be?) and start planning for the general election, methinks.

Ladies and gents, the farewell tour that never ends. Cher's starting to make the Who look like slackers.


I had a dream last night in which I was on a talk show - I think it was Oprah, unbelievably - and she was questioning (nay, criticizing) my choices for Pazz & Jop.

Either I need to be paid as a rockcrit, now, or it's time for a "rest" at the "special hospital." Or, of course, both.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

For the 4:19 it takes to listen to it, Amil's 2000 single "4 Da Fam" (featuring Jay-Z, Beanie Siegel, and Memphis Bleek) is the most exciting single ever. It also features the greatest use of a timpani on a hip-hop record ever - sorry, 50. But where'd she disappear to, anyone know? Holla at ya boy.

Yup, I'm yet another white rockcrit getting onto the crunk bandwagon late - but bear with me, if you would. My two fave Pazz & Jop comments about crunk each say so much (if different things) about it.

Lil Jon says bend over! Lil Jon says touch your toes! Now shake ya tailfeather! Ho, Lil Jon didn't say to shake no tailfeather!

Bordentown, New Jersey

I actually think hip-hop is getting better nowadays, mainly because of Southern crunk pulling music from all over the place and remembering Bambaataa and Mantronix and dub space and Delta crossroads and discovering bluegrass and goth metal and oi! chants and winding up way more beautiful and sad and joyful than songs commanding women to do tricks with their vaginas have any right to be.

Brooklyn, New York

Listening to David Banner's "Lil' Jones" (featuring Bonecrusher) a double-digit number of times, I still hear the chorus as "Is that you, Lil' Jon?" Which makes sense, since Lil' Jon is the - what, black Elvis? - of crunk, bringing it to the (white) masses. Now, crunk ain't nothin' new; Lil' Jon's Get Crunk, Who U Wit: The Album came out back in '97. But akin to '89 being the year of gangsta thanks to N.W.A. (when Schoolly D's "P.S.K." had been released three years prior), 2003 was undoubtedly The Year Crunk Broke.

Lil' Jon I find largely useless beyond the sheer bizarreness of "Get Low" and its various remixes (especially the Merengue Mix!), but Banner's another matter. Take "We Ride Them Caddies" from his latest, MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water. It opens sounding like a cross between "Planet Rock" and "Tubular Bells," and largely keeps it up. "Gots To Go," featuring Devin the Dude and Bun B, I'm positive rips Loose Ends, and comes off as the first quiet storm hiphop to discuss nut-lickin'. Musically, Banner succeeds where some of his dirty south peers fail, because so much of his record just plain sounds weird - for pete's sake, he remixes Nelly's "Air Force Ones" by adding in huge chunks of metal guitar! And when he's not talking about bitches and hos, he's got some surprisingly astute sociopolitical commentary hiding in the corners. This album improves with each listen, ya heard? [And "Bush," from Mississippi The Album, is downright stellar.]

[An amended version of this post appears at Blogcritics.]

For most of the past two days, I've been immersing myself in new-to-me music, notably three current hip-hop albums, one superb single (which I somehow missed last year) from the current king of R&B, and as much as I can get my hands on from arguably the original king of R&B. I'll address the rhythm-and-bluesmen first.

That single from the current king - and is he made of Teflon, or what? - is R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love (Remix)," from Chocolate Factory. This is why I fell in love with him in the first place, nearly 12 years ago, hearing "Dedicated" et.al. (whither Public Announcement?). His best suit isn't the sex stuff, which by and large comes off immeasurably smarmy (even without considering the whole peeing-on-young-girls thing). It's the loverman, celebratory stuff, the stuff with which he larded '95's R. Kelly album, like "Step in My Room" and "Religious Love," where Robert is nearly without (current) peer. "Step" is a loving ode to steppers - for the unfamiliar, stepping is a distinctly African-American dance form, for everyone from black college fraternities (cf. Spike Lee's School Daze) to 60-something couples at weddings - which comes off like the finest blend of Chicago and Philly soul you've ever heard. Backdate the production ever so slightly, and this could've come out in 1973. Damned right that's a compliment. When R. starts wailing "tell 'em that - [we] did it for love!," I totally believe him. I'm not being funny, or smirking, or ironic, either.

Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five owned R&B in the 1940s, accruing a jaw-dropping 113 weeks atop the Billboard - that's still the record by furlongs - with 18 charttoppers (only Aretha and Stevie have had more). Of the 57 singles Jordan charted, 54 of them made the top 10. No one else has ever come close to that kind of strike rate. How'd he do it? By marrying the bandleading brilliance of Louis Armstrong with a pop sensibility and a sense of humor just thisside of novelty, while cutting a series of oh-so-clever songs with titles like "The Chicks I Pick Are Slender And Tender And Tall" and "What's the Use of Getting Sober (When You Gonna Get Drunk Again)" (those are actually both sides of a 1942 #1 single) (and Matos has some thoughts on the latter). But while much of Jordan's stock-in-trade was funny jump-up tunes designed for the boogie-woogie, he could just as ably pull off smooth stuff like "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in a duet with Ella Fitzgerald (for the 1949 Esther Williams film Neptune's Daughter). I recently made a mix for a friend which opens with Jordan's "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" back-to-back with Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love," and you know what? It works like blazes, 'cause the energy in both songs is, amazingly, equivalent (the comparable horns don't hurt none, neither). That's how exciting the best of Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five is.

[A slightly tweaked version of this post appears at Blogcritics.]

Mondo crazy Pazz & Jop-o-rama!

I'm always interested to see how my picks line up with the electorate (and I did this each year long before I was a voter, trust). I end up 229th (out of 726) in the Critical Alignment Ratings, which mathematically determine just that. [And as if we needed further proof, it's now official: Paul is so much more indie than me; he's 352nd in the Ratings. Here's his ballot.]

Here's my album ballot:
# [overall P&J placing] artist title (label) points I gave each album
1 [8] Basement Jaxx, Kish Kash (Astralwerks) 17
2 [17] Postal Service, Give Up (Sub Pop) 13
3 [853] Soilwork, Figure Number Five (Nuclear Blast) 12
4 [282] DJ/rupture, Minesweeper Suite (Tigerbeat6) 11
5 [10] Dizzee Rascal, Boy in Da Corner (XL) 10
6 [37] Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won (Atlantic) 10
7 [85] Erykah Badu, Worldwide Underground (Motown) 9
8 [552] Camp: Music From the Motion Picture (Decca) 8
9 [236] Richard X, Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1 (Astralwerks) 5
10 [1] OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista) 5

So, half of my top 10 placed in the top 40, another at #85, but then you've gotta go down to #236 to find the first of my remaining four picks. I was the only person who voted for Soilwork, and one of two who voted for DJ/rupture and Camp. Richard X received 6 votes including mine.

# [overall P&J placing] artist "title" (label) - singles aren't given points, but are ranked by number of ballots on which they appear
1 [2] Beyonce featuring Jay-Z, "Crazy in Love" (Columbia)
2 [6] Johnny Cash, "Hurt" (Universal)
3 [8] R. Kelly, "Ignition (Remix)" (Jive)
4 [12] Justin Timberlake, "Rock Your Body" (Jive)
5 [142] Electric Six, "Dance Commander" (Beggars XL)
6 [61] Freeway, "What We Do" (Roc-A-Fella)
7 [42] Dizzee Rascal, "Fix Up, Look Sharp" (XL)
8 [10] Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z, "Beware of the Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke)" (Sequence)
9 [49] Basement Jaxx featuring Dizzee Rascal, "Lucky Star" (Astralwerks)
10 [5] 50 Cent, "In Da Club" (G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)

All of the singles on my ballot received multiple votes, least among them "Dance Commander," which only received four mentions. ["Danger! High Voltage!" placed 11th.]

Here are the main threads regarding P&J on ILM - a/k/a music geek central (and I proudly include myself among those legions). Christgau was on NPR this a.m. talking about the poll - here's the link to listen, and here's his essay accompanying P&J. I disagree with much of what the Dean says this year, but oh! what gorgeous writing.

No matter what, I still "heart" Pazz & Jop.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Pazz & Jop is out; I'll talk about it (at length, trust) tomorrow. To tide you over, however, here's an ILM P&J thread in which I quote a Silk lyric to Michael Daddino (shucks, he called me "sexxxy"!).

Just because they look so damned good.

[Photo Copyright 2004 Billboard.]

Speed round, regular edition:

Proof that Janet really does have a Dirty Mind comes in the form of her new single, "Love Me for a Little While." This record is so absurdly circa-1980 Prince-influenced it's, well, absurd. In a good way.

Dirt McGirt interpolates, of all things, a Coors Light jingle in his guest spot on JC Chasez's "Some Girls (Dance with Women)." Hopefully, that doesn't - it shouldn't - overshadow the fact that Chasez's increasingly sounding pretty damn interesting in his own right. Entertainment Weekly intimated recently that he's sounding awfully Princey, too. In a good way. The single certainly does the elastic funk-pop business.

Duke. Stanford. St. Joseph's. And...??? Who wants to be the fourth #1 seed in the Big Dance? As he does every year, ESPN's Andy Katz went to the NCAA selection committee's "refresher course" last week, and reports that it's anyone's guess.

So, obviously, Dean, even the hardcore Deaniacs have to admit (if being realistic), is done in his quest for the White House. But I hope and pray that the DNC doesn't forget his impact and influence on the primary campaign - or his legions of supporters, who will not take kindly to being left out in the cold if that's the way this is played. I'm not the biggest fan of Kerry, but I'm warming up to him, and if he's the Dem nominee, I will support him - though stupid statements like yesterday's one made to NPR, stating that he could conceivably support a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage, don't help. Today's the VA primary election, and I will be casting my vote for Dean, if only as a "thanks for everything you've done to get people excited again" gesture. [More on Dean: The Village Voice's Rick Perlstein on the sting he's packed, and how it may affect the Dems - and the GOP - in November.]

Holy shit, Batman! After a year-long absence, Fred's back! Praise be.

My gosh, Ludacris's new single, "Splash Waterfalls," is really, really dirty. Me, I'm just a sucker for those shag carpeting-plush synth chords.

Speed round, personal ch-ch-changes edition:

Yes, I'm moving to New Hampshire next month.
No, I don't yet have a job, but I do have some very good leads, have a number of resumés (and apps) out, and am determined to do whatever I have to do. If it means working at Hannaford until I can get in at a radio station, I'll do it (and frankly, they pay pretty well). I'm moving because:
1. There's a ridiculous amount of opportunity and possibility up there for me. The area (SW NH) is positively filthy in independent, mostly small-town radio stations. And I am going to get back into radio, period.
2. There's a lot of challenge involved, and I need that. For me to achieve my ultimate goal of being a professional music critic, I need to learn more planning, discipline, and focus. A lot of that will be built in to this move. Such as the fact that I've gotta get my driver's license - so I'm starting driving school next week.
3. My friend Brian and I get along very well, and feel strongly that we're a good match as roommates.

By Mother's Day, May 9th, I will be a non-smoker. I've decided that one of the best things I can do re: quitting is set a reasonable, realistic date and stick to it. Feel free to harass me about it as the date nears.

As I mentioned above, I'm starting driving school next week. No, I've never had a license. I've got a VA learner's permit - i.e., I passed the written test - but precious little behind-the-wheel experience. If all goes as planned, by this time next month, at the age of 33, I'll finally have my first driver's license.

I'm still looking for work here in Norfolk in the meantime, of course.

I'm also selling off the vast bulk of my CD and record collection. Later this week, I'll have a comprehensive list of the collection typed up and available to fire off to any interested parties. If you're one of 'em, you know what to do, right?

Monday, February 09, 2004

So, the Grammys.

In short, one of the best Grammy shows I can remember. Most of the performances were actually exciting - foremost among them Prince and Beyoncé, Justin and Arturo Sandoval, Foo Fighters and Chick Corea. [It was mostly about the collabos, y'all.] Even Christina let her music - her voice, really, with no melismas! - do the talking. The White Stripes reminded me that I've been sleeping on them, coming off like a stripped-down, bluesman version of Sonic Youth or something, just white-hot. And the USC Marching Trojans joining Andre 3000 for "Hey Ya!" was just sick. Beyoncé was queen of the night, which made sense, since she was so clearly the queen of 2003. The wins for Luther were largely expected, I thought. Evanescence winning Best New Artist was not, but remember, folks: groups who win that award don't tend to have long shelf lives. [cf. Men at Work, Hootie and the Blowfish, and lest-we-forget Starland Vocal Band. Bring on the curse!] My favorite moment, I think, was seeing Yoko onstage, talking about John and the Beatles (and shedding a tear - she, not fucking McCartney, is the true protector of the Fab Four's legacy). I love Yoko - and her music. So bite me.

Oh, and here are Kurt Loder's thoughts.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#1 “Crazy In Love,” Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z (Columbia)

And you can’t help but move to “Crazy In Love,” period. Destiny’s fiercest Child erases the thought of anyone else even attempting this song from your brain from the first listen. This is her coming-out party, her “Faith,” her “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Jigga accents rather than overpowers here, and actually plays his role, but it ain’t about him. It’s about that bass drum, so loud it hurts your head, it’s about that thrilling Chi-Lites horn riff, and it’s about B wailing like she knew we’d been waiting for her to do. This is pop perfection. This is the greatest single song released in 2003. It all comes down to alchemy, doesn’t it?

And for the sake of archiving, here's the rest of the top 100, with links to each post:

#2 "Hurt," Johnny Cash
#3 "Ignition Remix," R. Kelly
#4 "How Shall I See You Through My Tears," Sasha Allen, Steven Cutts and Company
#5 "Rock Your Body," Justin Timberlake
#6 "Dance Commander," Electric Six
#7 "What We Do...," Freeway f/Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel
#8 "Clark Gable," Postal Service
#9 "Fix Up, Look Sharp," Dizzee Rascal
#10 "Mundian to Bach Ke," Panjabi MC
#11 "Lucky Star," Basement Jaxx f/Dizzee Rascal
#12 "In Da Club," 50 Cent
#13 "Say Yes," Floetry
#14 "Just Because," Jane's Addiction
#15 "You Don't Know My Name," Alicia Keys
#16 "All the Things She Said," t.A.T.u.
#17 "Surrender," Javine
#18 "Beautiful (Peter Rauhofer Remix)," Christina Aguilera
#19 "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," the Darkness
#20 "Back in the Day (Puff)," Erykah Badu f/Lenny Kravitz
#21 "Sexual Guarantee," Alcazar
#22 "Stacy's Mom," Fountains of Wayne
#23 "She's Not Just A Pretty Face," Shania Twain
#24 "The Want of a Nail," Company
#25 "21 Questions & Answers (Gee Money Remix)," 50 Cent f/Nate Dogg/Lil' Mo
#26 "Finest Dreams," Richard X vs. Kelis
#27 "The Present Lover," Luomo
#28 "Whenever...," Jody Watley
#29 "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa," George Strait
#30 "Jump," Girls Aloud
#31 "Excuse Me Miss," Jay-Z
#32 "Shannon Stone," Go Home Productions
#33 "The Way You Move," OutKast f/Sleepy Brown
#34 "99 Problems," Jay-Z
#35 "Are You Ready For Love," Elton John
#36 "Frontin'," Pharrell f/Jay-Z
#37 "Lone Cat (Holding On)," Ben Watt
#38 "I'm in Heaven," Jason Nevins presents UKNY f/Holly James
#39 "The Ladies Who Lunch," Alana Allen and Anna Kendrick
#40 "Senorita," Justin Timberlake
#41 "No Letting Go," Wayne Wonder
#42 "Nah!," Shania Twain
#43 "Clocks," Coldplay
#44 "Plug It In," Basement Jaxx f/JC Chasez
#45 "Sly Beyoncé Walks Like A Nerd," Go Home Productions
#46 "Laundromat," Nivea f/R. Kelly
#47 "Three Mississippi," Terri Clark
#48 "December 4th," Jay-Z
#49 "Cell Block Tango," Catherine Zeta-Jones and Company
#50 "Cab Driver," Daryl Hall
#51 "Stormy in the North, Karma in the South," the Wildhearts
#52 "Beautiful," Snoop Dogg f/Pharrell and Uncle Charlie Wilson
#53 "Signs," Beyoncé f/Missy Elliott
#54 "Raining on Sunday," Keith Urban
#55 "Danger! High Voltage!," Electric Six
#56 "Can We Still Be Friends," Mandy Moore
#57 "Faint," Linkin Park
#58 "My Love Is Like...Wo," Mya f/Missy Elliott
#59 "You (Better Let Me Love You x4) Tonight," Richard X f/Tiga
#60 "Bring It On," Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
#61 "Milkshake," Kelis
#62 "Ghettomusick," OutKast
#63 "Get It Together (Peter Rauhofer Classic Club Mix)," Seal
#64 "countryside," brainchild
#65 "Emerge," Fischerspooner
#66 "Photographs," Jody Watley
#67 "Alright," Allen Anthony
#68 "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight," Postal Service
#69 "Baby Boy," Beyoncé f/Sean Paul
#70 "Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)," Willie Nelson and Norah Jones
#71 "Back in the Mud," Bubba Sparxxx
#72 "Sound of the Underground," Girls Aloud
#73 "Love Story (Vs. Finally) (Tim Deluxe Vocal Mix)," Layo + Bushwacka!
#74 "I'm Gonna Take That Mountain," Reba McEntire
#75 "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl," Brooks & Dunn
#76 "Overture/And All That Jazz," Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, and Taye Diggs
#77 "Feeling This," blink-182
#78 "I'm Glad," Jennifer Lopez
#79 "Comin' From Where I'm From," Anthony Hamilton
#80 "Forever and For Always," Shania Twain with Alison Krauss + Union Station
#81 "X Gon' Give It 2 Ya," DMX
#82 "Righteously," Lucinda Williams
#83 "United States of Whatever," Liam Lynch
#84 "Like A Pimp," David Banner f/Lil Flip
#85 "Powerless (Say What You Want)," Nelly Furtado
#86 "Smoothie Song," Nickel Creek
#87 "Bump It," Erykah Badu f/Zap Mama and Caron Wheeler
#88 "Special Cases," Massive Attack f/Sinéad O'Connor
#89 "Drop the Pilot," Mandy Moore
#90 "Into You," Richard X f/Jarvis Cocker and Hope Sandoval
#91 "Move Your Feet," Junior Senior
#92 "Rain On Me," Ashanti
#93 "Comin' Round," Bubba Sparxxx
#94 "Hot In Herre," Tiga
#95 "Miracles," Pet Shop Boys
#96 "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me," Keith Urban
#97 "Pon De River Pon De Bank," Elephant Man
#98 "B R Right," Trina f/Ludacris
#99 "Me Against the Music," Britney Spears f/Madonna
#100 "Pump It Up," Joe Budden

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#2 “Hurt,” Johnny Cash (Lost Highway)

Props to Stumpy, who pegged this as a pick-to-click by placing it in his 2002 list. Cash takes a Trent Reznor classic – about heroin addiction, no less – and just fucking owns it, turning it into a virtual valedictory for his life. I shed a tear the first time I saw the video, and got choked up everytime I saw it after the Man in Black’s passing. Just as classic as “Ring of Fire,” and just as timeless; we’ll be listening to this in 50 years, I’m certain. You can’t help but be moved by “Hurt,” period.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#3 “Ignition Remix,” R. Kelly (Jive)

Marvelously self-referential (“It’s the remix to ‘Ignition’”!), sly and playful instead of sleazy, at moments utterly bizarre (“It’s like Murder, She Wrote once I get you out them clothes”?!), sung chiefly against the beat (point-counterpoint is always a plus)... and it’s got no burn factor whatsoever. If anything, it sounds better the 1,000th time than the 50th or 1st. Whether it’s the freakin’ weekend or not. R’s best single, hands down, since “Bump ‘N Grind.”

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#4 “How Shall I See You Through My Tears (from Camp),” Sasha Allen, Steven Cutts, and Company (Decca/UMG Soundtracks)

Give Allen ten years – maybe five – and Broadway exposure, and she’ll be a Tony winner. She’s that good. So is this song, originally from The Gospel of Colonus. That rare song from a musical soundtrack which you don’t even need context to appreciate, “Tears” is the epitome of feel-good in a completely uncheesy way – and like “Clark Gable,” it’s actually a sad song, but you can’t help but feel uplifted when it’s over.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#5 “Rock Your Body,” Justin Timberlake (Jive)

If you can’t have someone naked by the end of this song, you’re clearly not trying hard enough.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#6 “Dance Commander,” Electric Six (XL/Beggars Banquet)

”It would be awesome if we could dance-ah/It would be awesome, jah, let’s take a chance-ah.” Now, this is DOR as it should be (remember that marketing term from the early ‘80s, kids, Dance-Oriented Rock, used at the time to describe acts like Blondie?): rock you can dance to, not the other way around. 2003’s best adrenaline rush not involving The Chi-Lites.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#7 “What We Do...,” Freeway featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel (Roc-A-Fella)

Mr. S. Carter sure knows how to pick ‘em, doesn’t he? The year’s finest rap single, “What We Do...” showcases to blinding brilliance the gritty US grime and spitting ability of Jay’s protégé Freeway whilst also serving to spotlight the clean-up batter in the Roc lineup, Beanie Siegel (who could make one hell of an excellent Bonnie-and-Clyde kinda record with his Philly pal Eve, if so inclined). But it’s Freeway who shines brightest here, as it should be. His voice and cadence have such as urgency to them, it nearly sounds like he’s pushing the beat along here, instead of the other way around. Best moment: when Freeway’s ever-supportive boss tells him not once, but twice, to “keep blowin’.” And he does, like Miles and Coltrane.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#8 “Clark Gable,” Postal Service (Sub Pop)

Postal Service’s Give Up is the best record released by Sub Pop in years and years, and the reason isn’t it’s largely electronic-based instrumentation; it’s the lyrics, which are some of the most cut-you-to-the-quick in their emotional honesty and clarity that I heard all year. Even when PS sound jaunty, such as on “Clark Gable,” they’re largely sad. But it’s a kind of make-you-feel-good-in-spite-of-the-sadness sad, if you know what I mean. And I hope you do.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#10 “Mundian to Bach Ke,” Panjabi MC (Sequence)

As great as “Lucky Star” is, however, it can’t top this in sheer shock-of-the-new open-up-your-ears make-you-say-“whoa!” factor. One of the freshest-sounding singles of ’03 is the biggest beachhead yet set up by bhangra, a fusion of trad Indian instrumentation (tablas, et.al.) with hip-hop rhythms and feel. This is the sound of Indian Britain and is, I think, a pointer to the direction global musics are headed in – i.e., true world fusion.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#9 “Fix Up, Look Sharp,” Dizzee Rascal (XL UK)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Billy Squier, grime star... What gets me so crucially about Dizzee’s stunning debut Boy In Da Corner is its minimalism. Perversely, he’s about musicality at the same time that his own music is so stripped-down as to bring to mind a burned-out Cadillac chassis. Simon Reynolds (who should know) calls Dizzee the most important British MC since Tricky. I think he may prove to be even moreso.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#11 “Lucky Star,” Basement Jaxx featuring Dizzee Rascal (XL/Astralwerks)

Wherein the Jaxx fix up and look sharp with an assist from the most exciting rapper to come down the pike since maybe, just maybe, a similarly-aged L.L. Cool J upon the release of his debut. There are amalgams of sound here you’ve never before heard in a pop record – which is what, inherently, this is.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#12 “In Da Club,” 50 Cent (Shady/Aftermath)

Yeah, it’s catchy as fuck, but do you realize why? It’s the timpani. Further proof that Dr. Dre is still a giant among men.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

No more downloads until next month due to bandwidth issues. Sorry.

Back from New Hampshire. More as I'm able.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Speed round:

I haven't heard the Empire Carpet jingle for years, since I was spending lots of time in Chicago (which I believe is Empire's home). Now that they're apparently nationwide, they're advertising quite a bit on the Boston-area TV stations. Anyone else remember their great jingle? "Five-eight-eight, two-three-hundred, Empire!" I just love that their (admittedly not great) website plays it.

It's already snowing, and has been for over an hour. Estimates vary, but I'm leaning towards 4-6" of snow, topped by sleet and ice.

Brian's gotten me sucked in to Survivor: All-Stars. I'm bitter about it - never having watched Survivor before now - but I have to admit that it's pretty compelling television, especially since all of these people have been through it before, which adds an interesting spin to the proceedings.

With all of the "Janet's boob" hysteria, it seems to be going unnoticed that of all of the announcements made this week in advance of Sunday's Grammys - no Janet presenting, 5-second delay, tributes to the Beatles, Warren Zevon, and funk - there's been one very quiet, very big one: Prince is performing! I don't know why, and don't care (as long as it's not something from his freakishly-nommed NEWS album). It's motherfucking Prince, people! Get up, get excited!

Via Waremouse, via Chrisafer, and pretty cool - these are all of the states I've visited:

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Thursday, February 05, 2004

More pics from New Hampshire, thanks again to Paul:

Here's the log cabin in which I'm staying.

It's New Hampshire state law that you have to sweep the snow off of your car roof, so that it doesn't fly back and hit vehicles behind you while you're driving.

Wednesday morning, the trees were drenched in gorgeous, heavy snow, as were the roads.

And, finally, I can get rid of the beachy self-portrait on my Yahoo! profile, now that I've taken a new one, complete with my new winter hat. :-)

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#13 "Say Yes," Floetry (Dreamworks)

A long, soft, slow, wet French kiss of a single from a pair of British chicks who rap as well. The wonders never cease... unquestionably the sexiest record of 2003.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#14 "Just Because," Jane's Addiction (Capitol)

Senoras y senoritas, say a long-needed "welcome back" to Jane's - individually, much less than the sum of their parts, but combined, a tremendous leviathan of a rock band. If possible, they may be even more crucial now than back in the Ritual de lo Habitual days. 'Cause we need 'em more. Paired with the Led Zep triple-disc set, this suggests that no one's doing more to uphold and update Zep's legacy more than Perry and his band of merry men. "Because" bobs, weaves, roars, and head-fakes its way into your personal-space bubble before sucker-punching you - and making you not just like it, but get all "please Sir, may I have another?"

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#15 "You Don't Know My Name," Alicia Keys (J)

Don't let this single's current ubiquity prevent you from noting how sensational it is. Produced, shockingly, not by Keys but by man of the moment Kanye West, the piano, the lyrics, and most of all the I'm-gonna-bring-spoken-word-interludes-back-to-pop-singles-even-if-I-have-to-get-all-Betty-Wright-on-your-ass, um, spoken word interlude all scream Keys. The Diary of Alicia Keys is where she shows and proves the promise of Songs In A Minor; "Name" is the sound of Keys storming a musical beachhead at Normandy. She's back, she's bad, and she's nationwide, y'all. Brace yourselves - this single alone makes it clear that she's gonna be making records that mean something for the next, oh, quarter-century. At least.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#16 "All The Things She Said," t.A.T.u. (Interscope)

Faux-lesbian Russki teens in Trevor Horn-produced excellent record shocker! "Things" has got everything plus the kitchen sink in its mix, and t.A.T.u.'s broken English pronunciation only serves to bring the sound of the single further to the fore. Back in February 2003, I thought this might be the record of the year; obviously, it's not, but it's still damned fine.

Spent some time today cleaning snow off the roof (possibly a very nasty storm moving in tomorrow, so largely a preventative measure) with Brian, and gathering wood for the wood stove. I need boots; chunks of snow in your sneaks is not a fun feeling. Also rocked down the highway at 50 mph (around here, that's kinda fast, frankly) to Daft Punk's Discovery. Awwright! Unfortunately, wasn't able to make it up to Portland today to see him and him, but hopefully another day, or another trip. No job offers yet, but still workin' on it. Likely lots of writing (maybe even here, shock! horror!) tomorrow, as we expect to in all likelihood be snowed/iced in. But that doesn't mean no writing tonight...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Had to get some writing done today, so I've been typing things up in Word while Brian works on his work, and then rapid-fire posting 'em all at once (ergo the post times on the pieces below). Still jobhunting and weighing possible options. About 4" of heavy, fluffy snow last night; we plowed and shoveled this morning. Possibly even more Friday p.m. into Saturday a.m., maybe mixed with ice (though we hope not). More pics as I'm able, thanks to Brian's digital camera and Paul's FTP assistance.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#17 “Surrender,” Javine (EMI UK)

“Crazy In Love”’s more grounded big sis - just as exciting, but more responsible.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#18 “Beautiful (Peter Rauhofer Remix),” Christina Aguilera (RCA)

Gay club anthem of the year, deluxe. As much as I’m loathe to admit it, Linda Perry’s lyric here works a charm – and magically transformed from a decent if slightly overdone ballad into a mondo floor-filler, it works even better. If “Up With People” were actually inspiring, it’d sound like this minor masterpiece. Rauhofer gets much of the credit here, for creating a mega-anthem, yet somehow doing it subtlely.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#19 “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” The Darkness (Atlantic)

They mean it, maaaaaan. All hail the would-be (and might-be) new kings of rawk.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#20 “Back in the Day (Puff),” Erykah Badu featuring Lenny Kravitz (Motown)

Badu’s channeling the soul greats of the interstellar mid-‘70s here, and pulls it off. Worldwide Underground is the grooviest of the past year’s groove records, and this is the groovin’-est of its tracks. *Puff.*

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#21 “Sexual Guarantee,” Alcazar (E-Magine)

If Army of Lovers were gayer. If all Swedish disco groups sampled Chic’s “My Forbidden Lover.” If lyrics really didn’t ever have to make sense.

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#22 “Stacy’s Mom,” Fountains of Wayne (S-Curve)

Great not only because it’s the finest Cars homage ever, and not only because it’s a clever, winking look at adolescence. No, “Stacy’s Mom” is truly great because of the tenderness tucked away inside it: the lyric “since your Dad moved out your Mom could use a guy like me” is heartbreakingly “yeah, your Mom’s a babe, but I care, too.”

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#23 “She’s Not Just A Pretty Face,” Shania Twain (Mercury)

Proving that female-empowerment anthems needn’t be clichéd and trite, Shania’s take very simply goes through the veritable laundry list of working women of every stripe, ably and to-the-pointly. Fiddle and steel guitar give it that extra countrypolitan kick, while the heavy synths make it clear it’s a production by her husband, Robert John “Mutt” Lange. Two great tastes which taste great together, you know?

submeat’s top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#24 “The Want of a Nail (from Camp),” Company (Decca/UMG Soundtracks)

Amazingly, the second Todd Rundgren cover on my list, this one a transforming take on his “Want of a Nail” by the entire Company of Camp. The kids imbue his song about how one little thing can, frankly, fuck it all up (if you let it), with a youthful innocence which is simultaneously knowing, in a way only teens can pull off. And their joy is utterly infectious, unless you’re a pigfucker.

Monday, February 02, 2004

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#25 "21 Questions and Answers (Gee Money Remix)," 50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg/Lil' Mo (unreleased)

The upper quadrant of my chart commences with a record that's the combo of two, but not a bootleg; it's one played after the other. 50's "Questions" is a smashing record, due not only to the sensitivity 50 shows on it as opposed to "In Da Club" (wait for it, it's coming), but to Dr. Dre's shattering acoustic guitar loop. But with any uber-smash comes the requisite answer record - in this case, Lil' Mo's "21 Answers." Combine the two and you've doubled your pleasure, eh? Right on.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#26 "Finest Dreams," Richard X vs. Kelis (Astralwerks)

The word is blinding. The finest Kelis track of 2003, this is the natural extension of Richard X and his prior life as a mashup artist, a/k/a Girls On Top. Take one part Human League's Kraftwerk-esque "Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of," one part The S.O.S. Band's "The Finest," get Kelis to cut the vocals, turn up the heat, and then ice it all down to finish. On this track, we hear what robots should really sound like: sexy black divas.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#27 "The Present Lover," Luomo (Force Tracks Germany)

Has The Present Lover ever come out in the US? I don't think it has, but its title track makes it sound like it's going to be well, well worth the wait. [And if Luomo isn't signed here, why the fuck not?!] This is warm, sexy microhouse, which isn't quite the contradiction in terms it sounds like. Luomo are advancing and enlarging the genre (is it a genre yet?) singlehandedly. Minimalist yet expansive - and proud of it.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#28 "Whenever...," Jody Watley (Shanachie)

"Everybody needs someone to love, someone to care." Some might think the mere thought of Watley becoming a deep house diva (which is not the same as becoming a house diva, nor a dance diva) odd or even absurd, but it's really not when you think about it: she's always been prone to making seductively sexy house-oriented tracks, so deep house, drenched in real instrumentation and soul, is a natural fit. "Whenever..." is superlative vocal deep house, sensual and sexy and warm enough to heat up any night, no matter what the temperature.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#29 "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa," George Strait (MCA)

Slow, sad, and twangy, from the king of twang, if not slow and sad. Honkytonkville was one of Strait's best album's in nigh on a decade, the epitome of trad country; he couldn't make a pop album if you put a gun to his head. "Tulsa" is one of the preeminent reasons why its accompanying album is such a success. Now in his 50s, Strait's phrasing and voice just gain strength with each passing year, as he continues to doggedly carry the torch for what country's supposed to sound like. It's this.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#30 "Jump (from Love, Actually)," Girls Aloud (Polydor UK)

Not quite metal machine music, more a mechanized, industro-pop complex - from the UK, of course. The Girls just sound so fierce, not in a "we're just happy to be here" way but in a "we deserve this, bitches! Now give it up!" way. So you might as well.

Super Bowl: thrilling game, especially the second half. You've gotta love Adam Vinateri whiffing two field goals, and then making one to win the game. Congrats, Pats. As for the halftime show... well, Miss Jackson didn't get nasty during her performance, which was pretty boring (and lip-synched), as were those of P. Diddy and Nelly. At least Kid Rock was singing live. The big surprise, of course, was Justin, whom no one knew was going to be performing. And damned if he didn't rock Janet's body. [Thanks to Paul for the pic; check this post of his for all of the CBS/MTV/NFL back-and-forth bang-and-blame.]

I wonder if J-Tim's suddenly become the favorite (or at least most-admired) popstar of hundreds of thousands of heterosexual males across North America?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

New Hampshire is amazing. Loads of snow where I am (in the woods outside of Rindge), loads of pine trees, amazing mountains, cold (and oh-so-crisp) air, and lots of people racing their cars around frozen lakes. On the lakes, as you can see.

Here I am, standing on the lake. The ice is approximately 6 feet thick here; the water depth is about 20 feet.

Two views from the front door of where I'm staying with my friend Brian. I'll post pictures of the interior later this week; it's a phenomenal log cabin with cathedral ceilings.

Looking more like parts of the Appalachians in West Virginia than NH, here are a slew of trailers stuck into the sides of a mountain.

And finally, a view from a balcony at Brian's lake house (.2 mile from the log cabin), of a snowmobiler driving down the lake. You haven't seen anything till you've seen this in front of you, y'all.

Tomorrow begins the job hunt; more as I'm able.

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