Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Return The Call Home — U2: No Line On The Horizon

March 3, 2009

nolineonthehorizoncoverIt’s been about five years since U2 released a new album — How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Back then I was in a weird point in my life — a lot of things were changing in my world and I found myself having a connection with most of the songs from that album. Well, half a decade later U2 has released No Line On The Horizon, and once again I’m apparently at another point in my life where I’ve got some thinking to do and some choices to make. Apparently, I’ve got another “soundtrack album” for my current situation and point in my life.

Having listened to all of the songs on No Line On The Horizon a few times now there a few songs that really click with me — Magnificent, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, and Cedars Of Lebanon. But, the album isn’t without a few missteps… Get On Your Boots just seems to be out of place with the collection of songs offered on this album. That’s not to say that it’s bad, just may have been better suited on one of their earlier albuma — like Zooropa or Pop. Moment Of Surrender may seem to run a little long at 7 minutes and 42 seconds, but once you’re into the heart of the song you don’t notice the length so much. But, of the 11 tracks on the album, it’s the song Breathe that probably doesn’t connect as well with me as much as the rest of the album.

In a way, No Line On The Horizon — to me, anyway — sounds as if it could be the second album of a double album effort if you were to combine it with How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Combining the two efforts onto a single playlist and hitting shuffle on iTunes works out quite well. Overall, I’d say for the most part that I dig this album.

Tom Petty — It’s Not You, It’s Me

February 3, 2009

Hey, Tom… We have to talk. It’s just not working out right now with us. It’s not you. It’s me. Well, actually it’s her.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I respect and appreciate your music — and have since I first saw the Refugee video on Mtv way back in the day. Cool Road Warrior imagery. You’re definitely a rock icon — there’s no denying it. But, you see… Here’s the deal. The girl that I just split with after almost close to four years is a major Tom Petty fan. You are, without a doubt, her all-time favorite musical performer.

Before she came into my life I think I may have had one of your greatest hit collections in my CD collection. But her influences during the time we were together got me to much more into your music than I had previously been. I’ve got a number of your albums in my current iTunes collection. I had never attended one of your concerts before going with her — we went to two different shows. To be honest, I didn’t spend a lot of my dollars playing your tunes on the jukebox before she came around, but I’d hunt for your songs (especially Here Comes My Girl) whenever I was at a bar with a jukebox. And, when one of your songs came on the radio while driving I instinctively reached over to turn up the volume.

But, like I said, we broke up. And, I’m sorry to say the same goes for you and I. Right now, we’re just not… What we were. Again, you haven’t changed. It’s all on me. Your music hasn’t changed — just how it affects me now.

That’s not to say that you and I still can’t be friends. I’m sure I’ll come around, and not always switch the station on the radio when you come on. I’ll eventually play your tunes on jukeboxes again (just not Here Comes My Girl).

This isn’t the first break up like this that I’ve been through – and I’m sure the same can be said for you. There was one girl that was both a Steeley Dan fan and a U2 fan. Now, before she came into my life I was already a fan of U2 myself, so after that relationship ended the separation between me and the quartet from Dublin didn’t last all that long. We had already had a history together before this other girl and I were together. But, there was a time that I felt very uneasy and uncomfortable listening to U2. As I said, this other girl did turn me on to Steeley Dan, too. I wouldn’t have seen them live without going with her. I wouldn’t have played their tunes on the jukebox if she wasn’t a part of my life. Now though, I just don’t feel the same about them as I did then.

The other major girl in my life had horrible taste in music, so the split between those performers and I was easy.

I think you and I will be okay someday. Not right away, but I’ll come around, and I hope that I can enjoy your music as much as I did over the last four years. It really meant a lot to me. And, I’m sure it will mean a lot more to me in the future. I’m still hurting, and I hope you can understand that. You keep playing your music and making her happy. I’ll miss you’re music.

Damn Kids And Their Loud Rock And Roll

November 15, 2007

I really don’t need anymore evidence to the fact that I’m getting older. I’ve got the receding hairline, my goatee is sprinkled with gray, and my doctor has informed me that regular prostate exams will begin with my next visit. But KROQ’s recent announcements regarding their line ups for both nights of their KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas has hammered yet another nail into my coffin.

First off, a little history… Growing up in Southern California I grew up listening to KROQ (history). I remember when the morning show was Raymondo & the Blade before Kevin & Bean (where Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel got their starts). I remember “The Roq of the 80s.” In fact, as I type this I”m listening to the online feed of KROQ Roq of the 80s (with Frankie Goes To Hollywood currently playing). In the past I have attended a number of KROQ Weenie Roasts as well as the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas. I still listen to the radio station — mostly in the morning — but not as often as I used to.

And since the Holiday Season is upon us, KROQ recently announced the line-up for this year’s Acoustic Christmas shows:

Night One (December 8, 2007)

  • Linkin Park
  • Angels & Airwaves
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • Bad Religion
  • Paramore
  • Rise Against
  • Serj Tankian

Night Two (December 9, 2007)

  • Muse
  • Feist
  • Jimmy Eat World
  • Modest Mouse
  • Silversun Pickups
  • Spoon
  • The Shins

Now I still listen to enough KROQ to be familiar enough with just about all of the acts on the two-night bill, but not enough to really want to drive the hour plus to Universal City to see either night. I’ve seen Bad Religion, past on a local Modest Mouse show a few years ago, my girlfriend likes the Feist tune they use in the iPod commercial, and I like The Shins tune in Garden State (though it didn’t change my life).

Back in the day… I remember witnessing the fan mini-riot at the L.A. Collusium during the first U.S. Monsters of Rock (Kingdom Come, Dokken, Metallica, Scorpions, Van Halen), tearing my patella tendon while in the pit during Jane’s Addiction at the very first Lollapalooza in ’91 (Jane’s Addiction, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, Ice T & Body Count, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, Violent Femmes), and seeing Pearl Jam open for Nirvana, who opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers in ’92.

There’s only one upcoming concert that I really want to catch… Next month Cheap Trick is playing at a local venue. I am getting old.

For the record, the acts that performed the first time I attended KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas in 1992 — Adam Ant, David Byrne, Cause and Effect, The Cult, dada, Duran Duran, EMF, The Farm, Michael Penn, The Rembrandts, Seal, Soul Asylum, The Soup Dragons, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Suzanne Vega, The Violent Femmes. (I just realized that I’ve seen a lot of The Violent Femmes over the years when I also include various Weenie Roasts and playing with No Doubt.)

Fiddy or Kayne? Fiddy or Kayne?

September 12, 2007

50centcurtis125.jpgOh, no. It looks like 50 Cent may be up for retirement. Regardless about the real importance of yesterday’s date — September 11, 2007 marked the drop date for new albums Curtis from 50 Cent and Graduation from Kayne West. 50 Cent had has declared that he would quit the rap game if his new G-Unit/Interscope album, Curtis, was outsold by Kanye West’s Def Jam set Graduation, interestingly enough both of which were released on the same day. And in the world of rap music, what’s better than a little friendly competition, right?

kaynegraduation125.jpg Sales data won’t be finalized until midnight on Sunday when the Nielsen SoundScan week officially ends, but early indications are leaning in the direction that Kayne West will be the victor — at least in the first week. And, how could it not be? Look at the absolutely adorable cover. What is that? An cute little teddy bear in a letterman’s jacket bursting out of the psychedelic happy fun world of an astronaut’s helmet with big-bosomed cheerleader cats in tight sweaters dancing with a pig and I don’t know what in their pajamas. You see, Fiddy? You gotta think out side the box every now and then. Enough of the the “thug mug.”

But, alas… I don’t see either of these CDs making it into my collection. Sorry I can’t help you out Fiddy. And that concludes the “hip-hop” portion of my blog.

My Pick Six Of ’06

January 3, 2007

Let’s start 2007 by taking a look back at 2006 with my Pick Six of ’06. Now I didn’t see as many new movies as I should have. I didn’t read as many new books as I should have. I didn’t listen to as many newCDs as I should have. I didn’t… etc, etc, etc…

But yet, I feel that I’m still qualified to pick the best from the various forms of media that the year 2006 had to offer. And in my oh-so-clever way I’m picking my favorites from six different catagories. Let’s start picking…

Comics: The Pride of Baghdad. Written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Niko Henrichon, and published by Vertigo. This 136-page hardcover graphic novel is a must read for anybody and everybody — not just comic book readers. I praised this title earlier when it was first released (Vaughan Can Be Proud Of Pride Of Baghdad) and I still stand by my words of praise. Set during the spring 2003 U.S. bombing raid on Iraq, a pride of lions escape from the Baghdad Zoo. They wander the war-torn streets confused and hungry, yet free — struggling for their survival. Now this is the sort of animated talking animal movie that George Miller of Mad Max and The Road Warrior fame should be making instead of a flick with dancing penquins.

Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Now while the second installment of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise may have been my favorite movie of the year, it wasn’t exactly a perfect movie… It was long. It was long and it still managed not to tell a whole story. Now don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the flick, but you wade through a lot of movie for what is essentially the set up for third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. My viewing tip — do not drink a large soda during a two and a half hour movie that takes place mostly at sea.

Music: Stadium Arcadium – Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ve been a Chili Peppers fan for a long time and this two disc set did not disappoint. While there may not be anything ground-breaking regarding this outing — their 9th studio album — it definitely shows maturity in their craft. Stadium Arcadium made a long eight hour road trip much more tolerable. The single Dani California is definitely memorable, but for me it was the track Snow (Hey Oh) — a mellower tune reminicent of their earlier hit Under the Bridge — that seems to have made the heavy rotation playlist in my head.

Podcasts: Keith and the Girl. If it weren’t for the Keith and the Girl podcast I probably would’ve driven my pickup off a cliff during my hour and a half commute each way to work and back. Although they premeired in 2005, it was in 2006 that I became hooked on this “no holds barred” podcast that Keith and his girlfriend, Chemda (the Girl) have themselves described as free comedy and a talk show where they “talk shit.” Nothing is sacred, nothing is tabboo, and I’m hooked. I’m probably never going to recommend Keith and the Girl to my mom, but if you’re not easily offended and like a good laugh (often at the expense of others) at the end of a long day you should give Keith and Chemda a listen. Note — you’ve been warned.

Television: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. My favorite new show to premiere during fall 2006 — without a doubt. It’s dramatic, it’s poignant, it’s humorous, it’s probably too good for television. Like Aaron Sorkin’s short lived Sports Night, Studio 60 is a look at the hectic behind the scenes going-ons of television — only this time the show focuses on a weekly latenight comedy/variety program (ala Saturday Night Live) instead of a cable sports channel. And like Sorkin’s previous effort, Studio 60 may just be too good for television, and although NBC has ordered a full season this smartly written and witty drama is having a hard time finding a steady audience. Do yourself a favor and check it out before it’s too late. Episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip are available on iTunes.

Video Games: Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. I’m probably the last guy who should offer any sort of video game review since I very rarely play any at all. If it weren’t for thePSP that I won at Dave & Busters this catagory pick would not even exist. But I did find out in ’06 that a PSP is a nice little device to take along on long business trips when you’re spending countless hours in airports and on planes. Of course, being a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy doesn’t hurt while playing this game which is filled with cute (yes, I’m using the term “cute” in my review) scenes featuring Lego minifig Star Wars chracters that are as entertaining as the gameplay itself.