Thursday, December 14, 2017

tbt ~ 80s melodic guitar rock

Pat DiNizio, singer/songwriter for The Smithereens, died yesterday at the way too young age of 62. He might not be a household name, I don't know how many people even remember The Smithereens anymore, but they should. I sure do. They were great, and a big part of my musical formative years.

I got into R.E.M. at a young age, 12 maybe? That makes me sound like a cool kid but I wasn't, I was dorky as hell. But I was also smart and had good taste, so yeah, I went right from Madonna to R.E.M. and The Smithereens and The Connells, and other cool bands I've probably forgotten. When people think 80s music they probably think new wave and pop first, but it also was a great time for alt rock, college rock, power pop, whatever you wanna call it. MTV might be a hot mess now, but I would not be the person I am today if not for 120 Minutes, so I am eternally grateful to them for expanding my musical horizons. What I wouldn't give to have something like that today. Wouldn't even have to be videos, just songs.

After R.E.M., the band I was most into was The Smithereens. From the first song I heard on 120 Minutes (it was either "Only a Memory" or "House We Used to Live In"), I was hooked. I bought all their albums. They were all full of catchy, crunchy guitar songs, the kind I'm not sure see the light of day anymore. I'm sure someone's still making 'em, but everything seems to be tinged by electronic now. I'll listen to something labelled "alt rock" and I'm like, that's not rock?? If there's a guitar in there it's mushed so far into the mix it might as well be porridge.

In the late 80s my mom, grandma and I took a road trip to Athens, GA ~ a "Pilgrimage," if you will - to see the home of R.E.M. It was wonderful. I might have petted Michael Stipe's cat, or at least his neighbour's cat. Hey, at the very least, I got to pet a cat. The main soundtrack for the trip was, of course, R.E.M., but the second most played was The Smithereens Green Thoughts. It's a required listen if you like that kind of music. I revisited it yesterday and it really holds up, not just nostalgia-wise but great music wise.

Music, and the people who make it, become so intertwined in our lives that the first thing I thought of when I saw the news yesterday was that road trip, and my grandmother who's been gone for 20 years, and how grateful I am for that memory. The Smithereens helped make that, and I'd say it's much more than "only a memory." They helped shape my musical taste and who I am. Thank you, and RIP Pat DiNizio.



Good music has a way of leading you to more good music, and another band I really got into was The Connells.



Idk what he's wearing either but he's awesome, shut up.

Other than R.E.M., these bands aren't very well-known anymore except by music geeks and those of us who were there. I feel pretty blessed to have experienced all this music in my life, and because it's music, you never have to stop experiencing it. You can revisit it any time you like.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"What Makes You Country"

I'm... not a Luke Bryan fan, in general. But something about this title irks me in a special, special way.


Okay Luke, if posing in nature wearing a plaid shirt is what makes you country, I'm the countriest bitch you'll ever meet.


Look at that dirt path, I bet it leads to an old shack where we can drink some 'shine and listen to Drake and you can talk about how country you are!


Look at that lake, let's take the boat out and you can get drunk and talk so much hate about "city folks" you forget to catch any fish! Maybe later we can drive the big old jacked up truck into it because they float, right?

(Oh, they float. We all float down here, Lukie.)


Look at that damn tree! Park the truck next to it (the new truck, the old one drowned in the lake), put down that tailgate and get to drinkin'! Those cows aren't going to tip themselves you know.


Ooh, a pretty trail in the woods, let's litter it with Bud Light cans and condom wrappers, yeehaw!

COUNTRY.


Oh shiiit son, a plaid shirt in a cornfield? That's TOO country, we're overcountrying, abort, ABORT!!


Oh nooo, not the pumpkin farm! Do you know how many BACK ROADS we had to take to get there?! At least I wasn't compared to any of them.

I've got a closet full of plaid and nothin' to lose, Luke Bryan! Come at me bro. 👊

That was fun. Luke Bryan sucks. Always remember that.

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 songs I missed

Songs I hadn't heard, or forgot to mention.

Julia Michaels ~ "I've got issues, and one of them is how bad I need voice lessons!"

"Say You Won't Let Go" by Interchangeable White Guy with Acoustic Guitar #72* ~ What's the one constant in popular music? Boring adult contemporary ballads! Yaay. Seems like every year there's one of these samey-sounding "romantic" songs, as if by obligation. So what's the difference between a good ballad and a boring one? I mean, I like "Million Reasons." I guess for me ballads have to feel big, they need to be almost rock and roll in their intensity. They need to break stuff. I feel like you could walk into any coffeehouse anywhere and there'd be this guy playing this song. What's special or interesting about it?

*James Arthur, good Lord, I couldn't come up with a more generic name if I tried. Call him "Arthur James" and see if anyone even notices.

"Light it Up" by Luke Bryan ~ This song is about a phone. Really pushing those creative limits there, eh Luke?

"Mi Gente" by a bunch of people ~ Latin music can provide welcome energy to the dull pop charts, like putting mango salsa on a piece of plain fish. I was fine with "Despacito," though the original is better than Bieber. Obviously. But this? This is our 2017 entry for "what's that horrible noise?!" Except this time, the horrible noise isn't just a drop or a random sound effect. This thing plays on a continuous loop through the entire song. Or so I've heard, I can't get too far into it without a headache coming on. This hurts, not just my musical sensibilities but my actual body. That might be a new low, at least until we get to the next song.

I was wrong. There was a song I heard this year worse than "Body Like a Backroad," it just wasn't a hit. That song is "Young and Menace" by Fall Out Boy. I don't even hate FOB, their first album is some good old school pop punk nostalgia. But this... take everything you think you know about Fall Out Boy, the worst songs you've heard by them, and throw it all out the window cause this is so much worse than you could ever imagine. I didn't even think it was a real song. I will give Body Like a Backroad the most basic compliment possible and say it sounds like a song, kind of. Those are the depths we've reached here. This thing is a career killer.

I know I already talked about this "trap" thing but I have more to say, seeing how it's taken over music like an alien parasite. I'm obviously not a hip hop fan, but I still know a good song when I hear it. They played "King Kunta" at a game I went to last week and I was dancing in my seat, it's so good.



ENERGY!

Now insert "Lil ____" here, cause they all seem to have the same name and sing the same song.



Day 67 of my coma. No change. :(

But here's the really awful part. From the subject matter of some of these songs, I'm guessing the slurriness is meant to sound like being on drugs, or maybe they sound that way cause they've taken too many drugs. I mean, it literally sounds like they're overdosing in every song. I get that rap has always had a history with drugs and violence, but this is particularly depressing. There's nothing glamorous about prescription drug abuse. You're doing this shit and not even making interesting music, it's just a waste.

And who are all the people listening to this? They can't all be drug addicts, so what's the appeal? "Hmm, I want to feel down without actually taking downers... ah, Lil Banana Peel, and then maybe some Lil Shoehorn! Woo, now I'm lit!" Wait, is this music supposed to make you lit or... what's the opposite of lit, dim? I'M SO CONFUSED. I hope this trend dies hard next year. It's not just unpleasant, it's unhealthy.

And what the hell is a "lil uzi vert??" Okay I know what an uzi is, but what's a vert? Vertical blinds? You shoot your vertical blinds with an uzi? That just seems uncalled for. What did the people at Levolor ever do to you??

"I Spy" by Kyle and Lil Helicopter or whatever ~ Hey! An actual upbeat, sunny hip hop song, I can dig... "I spy with my little eye, a girlie I can get 'cause she don't get too many likes"... oh. Oh. Gosh, that's not predatory or anything.🙄 You know, as a woman that line somehow offends me more than all the bitches and hoes and strippers songs combined, and I'm not one of those people who works at being offended. You could argue the bitches and hoes stuff has a theatricality to it. I don't like it, but it doesn't hit me on any real level. But, "I'm gonna take advantage of this less popular chick's vulnerability so I can have sex with her!" That's real. And it's ugly.

Bebe Rexha ~ I vaguely knew who she was before the whole "country" controversy, but I specifically listened to her and... she's fine. She can sing, she's an okay pop star. Before the FGL song, which is quite possibly the most generic thing I've ever heard btw, it makes "Say You Won't Let Go" sound like "Hey Jude," she seemed to be the kind of artist who always sings before a drop. She doesn't belong anywhere near country. Obviously, I mean OBVIOUSLY. Fix this mess.

"Malibu" by Miley Cyrus ~ We've found something almost as bad as Miley's high register, and that's Miley's low register. Either way she always sounds like she has to cough. I don't dislike this, but it bugs me that so many great vocalists will never be heard, while Miss Nepotism here can barely sing.

One Direction ~ these dudes all released solo music this year, no I'm not gonna remember all their names, and the only one that piqued my interest was Harry Styles. His album is good overall, however I soured on it when I learned he did not credit Badfinger for the guitar line he lifted directly from "Baby Blue" on "Ever Since New York." I mean, Taylor Swift credited Right Said Fred for a flow basically, and Styles lifts a whole melody without credit? I still think he's talented and he makes good use of the line but come on, you owe the original writers.

"New Year's Day" by Taylor Swift ~ JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS ACOUSTIC DOES NOT MAKE IT COUNTRY. Good grief. This is one of the few songs on reputation that actually sounds like a song to me. It's fine. Put it on pop radio, it'll be one of the better songs. But this insistence of putting pop songs on country radio has NOTHING to do with evolving or expanding musical taste, it has to do with making money, like everything damn else. Stop pretending it's anything else.

We listened to different genres in the 80s and 90s too. While they were more "cliquey" back then, top 40 radio actually played a decent mix of pop, rock, r&b, dance, country crossover, hip hop, etc. It was the melting pot of what was popular, and if anything it was more diverse back then because it actually played rock. But genre-specific stations like country stuck to country, as they should, or what's the point of even having different stations? Diversity isn't new, it's just being exploited now, and the quality of popular music is suffering for it.

Aaaand that's all for 2017, may you rest in self-perpetuating obscurity. Pull the plug, put the nail in the coffin, and crack open a cold one, you deserve it.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Other Favourites of 2017 ~ Albums, Songs... um, beers?

I probably should make a list of just beers cause I spent more time drinking this year than anything else.

So, albums in 2017. I didn't listen to as many as last year, and some I did I only listened to once. You can't really judge an album by one listen most of the time, but if I didn't feel like listening to it again, that could be seen as a criticism. Or it could just be my mindset. Yeah, a lot of stuff didn't really hit me this year. I don't know if it was really that lacklustre or if it was just me.

It's probably me. :(

So I kinda just want to get this over with tbh. It's weird, but ranting about stuff I hate actually feels better than talking about stuff I like. Maybe because there was so little of it, and that makes me sad. Part of that is my own doing, I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff I missed, but... I'VE HAD A YEAR. :(

It started out okay. There were some good albums released in the first half. My favourite show, MST3K, returned in April after an 18 year absence, making me the happiest I've been since the world jumped the shark last November. While the world decided that one shark wouldn't suffice, it had to jump Marineland and possibly the entire Atlantic Ocean, I was enjoying life at least.

Then May happened and before I could recover from that, August happened. This was a year of disappointing to downright traumatizing things, and to top that off, albums were either underwhelming or just not connecting. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, WEEZER. Of all the years I needed you guys, and you let me down with that boring squirrel fart of an album. (Autocorrect changed that to "surreal fart," which I am 1000% using for something.) One album that connected with me after the May shitstorm was Kesha's Rainbow. Of all the people in the world, Kesha gave me some hope this year. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. That sort of weirdness and unpredictability is what keeps me going. It's kind of beautiful.

So here's the short list of what didn't disappoint, and a couple nice surprises.

1. Eternity, In Your Arms ~ Creeper

My most anticipated album of the year is also my favourite, hooray! Of course in true 2017 fashion, even my love for Creeper turned out one disappointment, as their Canadian tour was cancelled for some mysterious reason. Will I ever get to see them? Well, it sure as hell won't be next year, since they're coming to some shitty venue that doesn't even serve craft beer. Hard pass. OH, and get this! In the most 2017 shitstorm imaginable, the venue they were supposed to play this year, the one that sounded so nice, was shut down due to sexual harassment charges against the owner. Thanks, asshole, it's not like there are abundant venues for smaller bands in Edmonton, and now there's one less because you couldn't keep your dick to yourself. GAWD, fuck everything.

*deep breath* Okay, I can get through this. This is supposed to be a positive list. ANYWAY, at least I still have this album, this big, beautiful album. OH! And my actual favourite thing in 2017 - there's a song on here called "Room 309," and I LIVE IN APARTMENT 309. This is ridiculously life-affirming to me, for some reason. It's like a real life Easter egg.

2. After Laughter - Paramore

Paramore does Blondie-esque new wave; it's awesome. What more can I say? Just let this album wash over you. Oh, and "26" kinda sounds like a lost Takeoffs and Landings era Rilo Kiley track. It's stunning.

3. Felony Blues - Jaime Wyatt

Oh, precious early days of the year when I discovered new music! If only it ended up this way more of the time. This album just connected with me instantly, from the foot-tapping "Stone Hotel" to the introspective "From Outer Space" to the gorgeous cover of "Misery and Gin." If this was a little longer, it might have been #2. I mean damn, I'd have been thrilled with two or three more covers, from the way she handled Merle. And I love the concept of it; this is the kind of slice of life I look for in country music. Where else can a prison stint become art? It's awful that she was an addict and had to go to prison in the first place, but it sounds like she's turned her life around and we ended up with these beautiful songs.

4. Whiteout Conditions ~ The New Pornographers

And a late addition comes out strong! I already wrote about my love for this band and their melodic power pop, and this is yet another gem. It's not quite up with 2014's Brill Bruisers, but that's like saying one flower isn't as pretty as another, they're all flowers.

5. Trophy - Sunny Sweeney

I've enjoyed the majority of Sunny's work, but I think this is her best and most consistent album. This might be Peak Sunny. Which is not to say I think her next album will be a comedown, more like she hit her stride. Equal parts attitude and vulnerability, with great music and production to back her up, this album shows why I got into country and why I never give up on it, no matter how bad the mainstream gets. Just try not to think about all the undeserving shit they play on the radio instead of this, and you'll be fine.

6. Rainbow - Kesha

I don't love every song on this album, but the ones I do... oh man, the ones I do are among my favourites of the year. This album came along at just the right time and hit me just the right way. "Spaceship" is my favourite, but then there's "Bastards" and "Rainbow" and "Hunt You Down" and "Praying" and "Old Flames" and holy crap, "Godzilla" is so much fun, almost like one of those 80s novelty songs, and "Woman" is like "Man I feel Like a Woman" with the word "motherfucker" in it, and OMG, thank you Kesha. You don't know how much I needed this. I forgive you for all your past crappy songs. (And honestly, some of her older stuff is even worth checking out - Supernatural, Animal, Die Young, Warrior, even Party at a Rich Dude's House has a fun 80s rock sleaze vibe.)

As for some favourite songs, here's a handy Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/emperorcupcake22/playlist/1Wwzl8TKhdEvfdln9y46Gn

Other releases that were notable to me:

Chris Stapleton ~ As I mentioned in my best songs list, I think I've hit burnout on Stapleton for a while. I listened to From A Room Vol. 1 and I liked it, there's some damn good stuff there, but I didn't feel compelled to listen again. I don't know if that's me, or something lacking in the album. So I will revisit it and give Vol. 2 a listen sometime next year, with fresh ears.

Zac Brown Band ~ An album that seemed to be an attempt to return to their country roots, yet somehow left me cold. And there's nothing really wrong with it, the production is nice, Zac and the band all sound great (in fact, I recall some really nice instrumentation in spots). I guess the weakness is the songwriting itself, nothing really stuck out like on their past albums. Even the maligned Jekyll and Hyde had some real standout tracks. I heard the acoustic "Tomorrow Never Comes" in a shop the other day and didn't want to leave til it was done, it's so lovely. I'll revisit this one at some point, but I can't say it's a priority.

Beck ~ I really liked "Wow," so I was looking forward to this. Again, I've only listened once, but other than a handful of tracks it left me cold. Overproduction does not suit him, it takes too much of the Beck-ness away. Sometimes it works and provides nice layers of sound. I do like the title track "Colours," it has a sweet 80s dance vibe. But a lot of this just doesn't feel uniquely Beck. You hear it in a bar and it could be any pop dude, you know? For such an experimental artist, I have to call this a letdown. If you're like me and your favourite Beck is Odelay! Beck, this probably won't do much for you beyond a few cool tracks.

The Killers ~ You know, I really like this band, but I have to say that overall they make stronger songs than albums, and Wonderful Wonderful is no exception. There's some good stuff on here, but not enough for me to recommend the album as a whole. Check out Run for Cover, Rut, and Tyson vs Douglas though, that's some prime Killers.

The Maine ~ When I did my little retrospective of this band, who have done different sounds on different albums, I predicted their next album would stick with the American Candy sound. I was not wrong. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, the sound obviously suits them. But here's the thing. While I like that album, and I did enjoy Lovely Little Lonely to an extent, I found myself wishing more for the classic rock vibe of Pioneer or the darker tones of Forever Halloween. One album of lighter, airier pop rock worked for me, but I guess this was too much of a good thing. A lot of their fans loved this and I totally get why; this isn't a letdown album. This is just me. I found myself missing their rougher edge. Maybe their next album will take a new direction?

Weezer - *clenches fists* I already talked about this, and I don't want to raise my blood pressure talking about it again. This is the only album I listened to this year I didn't enjoy at all, and it's by one of my favourite artists. That's nothing new with Weezer, I just had such high hopes after their resurgence. This album has no teeth.

Harry Styles ~ A promising debut, dig the classic rock vibe. Credit Badfinger though, dude. (my next post will have more on this)

Margo Price ~ Two songs on her EP are among my favourites of the year, "Weakness" and "Paper Cowboy." That said, I haven't yet listened to the full-length album she dropped later in the year. I'm a little nervous. I've seen some kinda "ehh" reviews and I don't want to be disappointed again, especially when I liked her debut album and EP so much. I don't have the best approach to music listening right now, I know this.

Turnpike Troubadours ~ I've heard so much positive buzz around these guys, I need to just sit down and listen to them. I don't know why getting into a band seems like such a huge undertaking these days. I certainly like "The Housefire."

You know what it is with country, and why I think I've shifted more to rock? Country was always driving music for me, and I don't drive here. I walk everywhere, both for errands and for exercise. And I just like rock better for walking. So I think that's part of why I haven't gotten into many new country artists. And I can't stream music while walking, so first I have to determine whether I want to download it to my iPod. That requires sitting and listening, to which my brain says "you want to watch Youtube or Rifftrax or a cheesy movie instead." Not to mention half the time I listen to something new and it doesn't hit me. Well, that's par for the course. ANYWAY, I am gonna make a concerted effort to listen to this one damn band lol.

Oh and we didn't get that new System of a Down album, because of course we didn't. I could have used some good righteous anger this year.

Well, we're almost done with 2017. I'll have a "songs I missed" post and that's it, at least musically. Still planning another movie post or two. Tomorrow I'm seeing "The Disaster Artist," which I've been looking forward to all year. I'm pretty sure that won't let me down like most things I looked forward to this year. *fast-forward to tomorrow, sitting in the theatre all pumped with my popcorn and the projector explodes and catches fire* You know, that would be a pretty fitting end to the year.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday ~ How the New Pornographers Saved 2017

So I've been working on my albums post for a few days, and... no matter what I do, it keeps coming out kinda dark and angry. And this is my positive post. This year has just sucked for me since the end of May, personally not only music wise, and for some reason making this damn post keeps reminding me of everything that went wrong. The albums I have to talk about are the same handful I already talked about, like back in bloody APRIL, because when bad shit happens I dive right into the old comfort barrel instead of seeking out new stuff.

So basically, I had nothing new to say. Then I decided to get back into an old favorite band, one I hadn't listened to since the mid-2000s. They put out a new album this year, Whiteout Conditions, and it's really good. It's going on my list. HOWEVER, it was eclipsed by their previous album Brill Bruisers, and HOW THE HELL DID I SLEEP ON THIS THING?? Was I in a damn coma? This is not only one of the best albums from a band that's never made a bad one, this is one of my favorite albums I've ever heard. I've been listening to that and Whiteout the past couple days and, no lie, I feel better. Why do I ever forget the power of music, when it's always been there for me? I guess that's what depression does, seasonal depression among other things. It's been rough. But this?



BLISS!



BLISS!



BLISS!

This is the soundtrack to depression lifting. I'll try to not burn myself out on these guys this time.

This reminded me of some other bands I got into around the same time. I never stopped listening to Rilo Kiley, but others got put aside for some reason. I got into the Elephant 6 collective through a band called of Montreal. I have no idea how I used to find these bands, I guess I was just always looking for indie stuff back then. of Montreal sounds like The Beatles on even more drugs, and I dig them. Their early stuff, anyway.



"birds have no heads when you come around" WTF I love it.





There were also the Apples in Stereo and High Water Marks. Quirky, retro, melodic. I'd be surprised if Best Coast wasn't inspired by Elephant 6. For that matter, P!ATD's Pretty. Odd. kind of has this sound too.



My favorite of their songs, "Seems So," isn't on Youtube.



I think the mid-90s through mid-2000s were the golden age of "indie rock," but since I'm feeling it right now I'm gonna start digging for new stuff. I'll probably still post the um, angry best albums list (?) since it does accurately represent my year, but I'm feeling more hopeful now than when I wrote it.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Feel Good Friday ~ it came out magical

I've been listening to a lot of New Pornographers lately. I kinda burned myself out on this band about 10 years ago - listen to Mass Romantic, Electric Version and Twin Cinema and you'll see why I played them over and over and over and over and AGGGHHHHH. I did it to myself, I did, and that's what really hurts. I don't know what Radiohead has to do with this either.

But I guess 10 years is the sweet spot for coming back around cause I am totally feeling these guys again, both their old stuff and newer stuff which I hadn't heard. If I had to pick ONE favourite, damn, it's a tough choice between The Laws Have Changed and From Blown Speakers. There's just something about this one though, something... magical.



Next week begins my winter/holiday themed horror marathon, so I'll be back to Frightful Friday for a while. Scheduled movies:

Gremlins (maybe Gremlins 2?)
Krampus
The Visit
The Thing
The Shining
Black Christmas
Nightmare Before Christmas
Not sure I can handle Silent Night, Garbage Day again, maybe if I really get 'nogged

Thursday, November 30, 2017

tbt ~ my songs list from last year!

Why, oh why, would anyone want to throwback to 2016? Well, cause I was reading over my worst songs posts - there are three of them - and I had a surprisingly good time with such a bad year. A lot more fun than this year. But I have a feeling there will be another "songs I missed" post after I see other lists, just cause I missed so many.

The original list: http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2016/12/#8949893238014244308

Addendum one, what's that horrible noise?: http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2016/12/#5556572524142033829
Addendum two, songs I missed: http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2016/12/#3673343158021240189

Maybe I can still squeeze a little bittersweet joy from this lemon of a year. And from the "toot my own horn" department, my "Rae Sriracha" joke and "what's that horrible noise" bit were also used by two prominent Youtubers. Obviously they didn't copy me, nobody reads this, but I like knowing I'm on the same track as someone people actually listen to, I guess. Okay, that was the saddest horn ever. But you take what you can get.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Favourite Hits of 2017, Should-be Hits, and More!

Again, I didn't hear a lot of the hits this year. I heard a lot more pop than country because it's inescapable if you go to sporting events, bars, outside your house, etc. Looking at the list of country hits and I know like five of 'em. One thing about bad country, it's pretty easy to avoid unless it crosses over like *shudder* Sam Hunt. But that also means I might have missed some good stuff. That's why I'm sad country radio sucks now, I don't wanna slog through a bunch of bad to meh stuff for a couple songs that might be good. In the 90s you could just pick your favourites from the radio cause most of it was at least okay.

This list is only hits and singles that should have been hits. I'll get to the rest of my favourite tracks in my albums post. Obviously anything I talked about last year, like Eric Church's songs, are ineligible. I define a "hit" as peaking in the top 20 of the Billboard pop or country chart.

1. Tin Man ~ Miranda Lambert

In a just world, this would be one of Miranda's biggest hits, because it's one of her best songs. It hit the top 20, but for such a great song by such a popular artist to not hit the top 5 shows there is something really rotten in country music. Well, we already knew that, but usually when an established artist releases a great song, it hits. I guess it's just too good for our world now. If you like music that gives you goosebumps instead of herpes (hi, Sam Hunt), check this out.

2. Redbone ~ Childish Gambino

Not only is this a great song, it's an interesting one. Interesting music so rarely makes the charts anymore, the last one I can think of is Macklemore's "Downtown." (A song so layered and amazing it just keeps growing on me every year.) This song is classified on Wikipedia as "psychedelic soul," and just let that sink in. In the midst of all the Justin Bieber, boring trap, and affected as hell Selena Gomez voices, we had a little bit of PSYCHEDELIC SOUL. Thank you, Get Out, both for being an awesome movie and for putting this song into the collective conscience. PLEASE, more like this, I miss good soul and r&b so much.

3. Million Reasons ~ Lady Gaga

Gaga has a beautiful, powerhouse voice, the opposite of all those affected little twerps, and she has never sounded better than she does here. This was actually a pretty big hit, but I feel it could have been bigger? Like, I don't think this really stuck around very long or gets talked about much, compared to something like say, Shape of You. This is so much better than that in every way and it briefly peaked at #4, while that was number one for 937 weeks or something. Why do these things still surprise me? I think I'm forever stuck in a time when people actually had taste.

4. I Feel it Coming ~ The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

Damn you autocorrect, I know you're trying but it really is the weekND, okay? Anyway yeah, another smooth, lush, beautifully produced song from this perfect collaboration. Keep making them and I'll keep putting them on my list. Daft Punk proves again that electronic music can be just as beautiful as organic, even to someone like me who prefers real instruments. Just make it sound big and expensive instead of cheap and cashing in. (hi, Chainsmokers!)

5. Broken Halos ~ Chris Stapleton

I think I might have a little burnout on Stapleton right now. I listened to this album and it didn't stick with me like Traveler did. I obviously need to give it more listens, but I'm gonna wait awhile. This song, however, is a major standout and one of my favourites in his catalog. The gospel feel suits him perfectly, and I love the gentle mix of his and his wife Morgaine's voices. Subtle, but it really makes the song.

6. It Ain't My Fault ~ Brothers Osborne

How'd this get on the radio??? Rollicking country rock that would have fit right in in the 90s. I can only imagine the reaction of a modern country radio listener the first time they heard this driving ass BEAT coming out of their speakers. "What the hell is that?" they probably asked. "Where's the tinny drum machine? Where's the boring mid tempo beat that sounds like everything else? Where's the half second of banjo sample to qualify it as country?" Pause. "Um, can I have some more?" I hope to God you can, good sir or ma'am.

7. Feel it Still ~ Portugal. The Man

Hoo boy, random punctuation in band name, this is gonna be pretentious as... hey wait a minute, this is kinda slick! Kinda funky! Kinda, dare I say, groovy? I have no idea what "I'm a rebel just for kicks now" means, but it sounds good so who cares!

Honorable mentions:

Either Way ~ Chris Stapleton
This one's good too, killer vocal performance, I just like Broken Halos a little better.

Every Little Thing ~ Carly Pearce
I like this kind of pop country. Nice voice. Nothing earth-shaking, but not bad at all, and I'm happy to see any quality song by a female artist hit.

That's What I Like ~ Bruno Mars
Another solid r&b hit from Bruno, I just got really sick of this one. Partly my fault, but some songs stand up better to overplay than others.

Sign of the Times ~ Harry Styles
Not at all my favourite song from his album, but I like the classic rock feel. This isn't a song I seek out, but I sure don't get mad if I hear it. (A 2017 compliment: "It doesn't make me mad!")

Singles that should have been hits, but weren't:

Hard Times ~ Paramore
I like this better than their songs that were hits. I'm not sure why it didn't catch on more. I think this will be one of those songs that wasn't a hit but will be looked back on fondly like, why wasn't that a hit?

Better Bad Idea ~ Sunny Sweeney
Another fun, rollicking country song, this could have been right at home next to "It Ain't My Fault," but it's by a woman and they only let a couple of those out of the cage at a time, apparently. :( But sure, keep the milquetoast Kelsea Ballerini crap like "Yeah Boy" coming, that fills your quota by keeping it nice and empty, doesn't it?

Run For Cover ~ The Killers
Somewhere in 1985, this is a top 10 hit. But it's 2017 so Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, burp.

Praying - Kesha
THIS DIDN'T EVEN CRACK THE TOP 20. Her complete garbage song "Blah Blah Blah" went to #7, and this emotional powerhouse can only manage #22?? I hate people sometimes. As good as this song is, it's only like my 6th favourite off of Rainbow. But it should have been huge.

And now, this is what I call the "football" list. We had season tickets to the Eskimos this year, so I heard a lot of music, from good to meh to bad, played very loud. There are certain songs that made me want to die every time I heard them, like "Truck Yeah" and "Ghostbusters" by Fall Out Boy. Dear God, was that a misguided piece of crap. Then there were songs that were tolerable by comparison, and that's what this list is. "Songs I heard at a football game that didn't make me want to die."

Justin Bieber was everywhere this year and look, I don't hate him anymore. Oh not because I like him, I'm just not sure he's even a sentient being at this point. He's just kinda... there. Like a houseplant or a meatloaf. Inoffensive, but utterly lacking in personality. It would be like hating your drapes. "Despacito" and "I'm the One" were unavoidable this year, and yeah, I've heard worse. They're passable summer jams. At least we HAD summer jams this year. Remember what was popular last summer?

"I needa one dance... zzzz... oh never mind, I fell asleep." Don't take NyQuil before your recording session, kids.

So yeah, I'll take a Bieber feature that has the charisma of kitchen tile but is at least upbeat any day.

Imagine Dragons ~ I swear these guys used to be good. Well, they sure do make football music now, don't they. I mean, "Radioactive" was too but not in quite such an obvious way, I guess? I think their recent stuff was made to sound big, rather than be big. And boy can you tell the difference.

It Ain't Me ~ Kygo and Selena Gomez
Not my style of music, but an actual catchy chorus in 2017! Also, Selena's wispy ass voice is okay if you layer it with what sounds like an entire cheerleading squad. In the midst of all the droning, tuneless "trap" crap, I had to at least call this out for getting stuck in my head.

2017: the year you desperately want a song, any song, to actually stick in your head. Please, just give me something I can hum til it drives me nuts, that's all I ask!

Probably the biggest hit of the year after "Despacito" was "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran. I don't like it, but I don't dislike it enough to put it on my worst list. I covered it here: http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2017/04/#5071978149925664112

And that's all I have to say about popular music in 2017. As with last year, if I hear any songs on other people's lists, good or bad, that I hadn't heard and want to talk about, I'll make another post.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Worst Music of 2017 I Had the Misfortune of Hearing

I didn't hear a lot of popular music this year. I didn't seek it out. Most of what I did hear was bad to meh, and songs I feel should have been big hits weren't. So this isn't really an official list, just a rundown of the worst shit I heard in an effort to cleanse it from my soul. I guess they're sort of in order from worst to least worst.

This was just a terrible year, not only music-wise but for many reasons I don't even want to go into. Let's just say, I can't wait til 2018. Of course, I said that last year about 2017 and look what happened. I'm starting to have this creeping fear that every year's just gonna be bad now, but maybe that's a better outlook than pointless optimism. Then if things get better it will be a nice surprise. That said, there's still something cathartic about putting a bad year behind you, about new beginnings, even if it's only in your own mind.

1. Body Like a Fucking Backroad


ROMANTIC!!!

Okay, let's just get it out of the way. Worst song of the year, of the decade, possibly ever?? There's just nothing to recommend or redeem this thing, every note, every word, every measure of its wretched existence is pure bile. I've never before hated a song with the intensity I usually save for horrible people, an intensity only magnified by it being such a big hit. WHY??? This should have festered in obscurity like "Donkey" (hey, remember Donkey? Remember old whats his name who sang it? Exactly). But NOOOO, since the US decided to become a crass, cultureless, ugly cesspool of corn dog sweat and PBR vomit, this thing took hold like a burrowing parasite. I guess it's only fitting.

2. Look What You Made Me Do (and reputation in general)

T. Swift's human-to-meme transformation is now complete. How does an artist who started out as a teenager get less mature? This isn't a song, it's a cautionary tale. A once-promising songwriter consumed by celebrity gossip and her own image, two things I couldn't possibly care less about. Taylor has written honest, insightful songs throughout her career, from "Back to December" to "Wildest Dreams," so I have no reason to believe this isn't just as honest. Fame is kinda ugly and depressing, is the takeaway. So don't follow your dreams, kids! Do drugs. Start forest fires. The world makes no sense.

"...Ready for It?" I kinda like the... can I call it a pre-chorus if there's no actual chorus? The "in the middle of the night" part. But then it slams into "are you ready for it?" BOOM BOOM BOOM, and it's just more noise and nonsense. It's bad enough other instrumentation has been replaced by percussion in pop music, must vocals be replaced by it, too? Speaking five words followed by POUND POUND POUND CLANG is not a chorus, it's a letdown. Have we forgotten how music works? You're supposed to build to something, not throw your song off a cliff.

"Call It What You Want" - "My baby's fly like a jet stream" Sure you don't mean LIKE A G6, Taylor?? This is someone who's known as a serious songwriter. What's next, Joni Mitchell's twerking anthem? I just can't with this. Edgy Taylor Swift does not work. I miss choruses. The end.

3. anything "trap"

I'm still not sure what this is, but I'm pretty sure I've ruled out "music." The latest and possibly worst culprit that unfortunately made contact with my ears: "Gucci Gang." The lyrics go, "Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang." Actually wait, it might be, "Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, Gucci Gang, yah!" And boy howdy, I just love those little random sound effects like "brrrrrr!" that are in every rap song now, how did we ever live without those. LAAA-ZYYYY. I'm putting more effort into this blog entry than you put into your top 10 hit song. That's a problem. We're not that far off from just putting farts in music, I'm convinced of it. Next trend, fartcore!

4. Rockstar

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

5. anything by Halsey

If I had to pinpoint the specific pop singing style I detest, it would be this breathy, autotuned, stuttery* crap. See also: Selena Gomez. But Halsey is worse, because she seems to think she's "deep" and... alternative??? This is the most boring, basic pop music and vocals you could possibly make and you think you're alternative? I think Selena Gomez at least knows what kind of music she's making, so Halsey gets the nod for pure pretension. When someone says they don't like millennials, which is admittedly silly, I think this is what they're talking about.

*"stuttery" isn't quite the right word. She doesn't stutter like "You Ain't Seen Nothin Yet." Syncopated, maybe? It's the opposite of flowing, melodic, or ear-pleasing. Just listen to "Now or Never." It's like having your ears repeatedly hit with a tiny mallet.

6. anything by The Chainsmokers

"When someone says they don't like millennials, which is admittedly silly, I think this is what they're talking about." Oh good, I didn't have to write anything new. Hmm, maybe I should add a "brrrrrr!" or a "hey!" or a "pbbbbbt" noise to fill up more space? I don't want it to seem like I have nothing to say. Yah, whoa oh, blurp, woo, the cat says meow, sit Ubu sit, good dog, ruff! cha ching.

Worst lyric of 2017 that isn't "body like roadkill," "why? because she's DEAD!" or "Gucci Gang, MOOOOOO!" -

"Your precious heart is a precious heart," from "The Fighter" by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. "Your thing is that thing I just said it was." It probably took five people to write that. I'm depressed.

Anything terrible I missed? Well, I probably didn't hear it, so I'm just gonna count my blessings and move on. Autocorrect keeps insisting that I do not mean "fartcore," but I assure you that I do. One day you'll know. #trendsetter

Friday, November 24, 2017

Feel Good Friday ~ soundtrack by my little brother's Casio!

Frightful Friday is on hiatus this week, but I do plan to get up to 10 so I can have Friday X: Friday in Space. Cause these are the important things in life.

So in honour of Season 12 of MST3K being announced, here's the most feel good, inspirational movie song of all time, the Pumaman theme!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

I had a busy weekend and decided to catch up on season 2 of Riverdale (the most wonderful and terrible show ever), so only two movies today. But they're good ones.

One Dark Night - I had a vague memory of writing about this the last time I watched it about 10 years ago, and yup!

November 25, 2008 - "I'm watching a movie with some creepy dead psychic guy and a bunch of reanimated corpses. And sorority girls, of course! Why do I watch movies like this?

It has Meg Tilly in a ruffly 80s sweater, so that's good."

Some things never change, except I apparently used to question my life choices. I don't do that anymore. And yeah, that about sums it up. I mean, ANOTHER sorority initiation?? This one's a little different though, since it involves this undead psychic instead of your usual slasher, and it takes place in a mausoleum which is always fun.


Am I too late for the slumber party? I brought Shasta!

Now it's time to play, WHAT'S MORE 80S? This bedroom


or Meg's sweater and overall Mallory Keaton-ness?


As cliche as the setup is, and I have no idea why Meg would want to hang out these "sisters" who clearly don't like her (other than to prove a point??), I have a soft spot for this movie. It must be the sweater.

The Wraith - More 80s fun, this time new to me. Starring Charlie Sheen, Sherilyn Fenn, and Clint Howard. Guess whose boobs are in this? (If you guessed Clint Howard, well, you're my kinda reader.) If this was a cheesy blog for 12 year olds I'd make a joke about Sherilyn's Twin Peaks, but I'm obviously too mature for that. Anyway! I found the story pretty Stephen King-ian, revenge and bullies and cars in a small town, but it wasn't derivative. It opens with a song that's somehow ALL mid-80s soundtrack songs. It kinda sounds like "Danger Zone," but isn't. That's just what 1986 sounded like.

This wasn't anything earth-shattering but I enjoyed it. The cars and race scenes are cool, and you can kinda forget how Charlie Sheen turned out cause he's reasonably charming here. A fun diversion, especially for 80s movie fans.

Since we're nearing the end of the year, I'm gonna be slowing the movies down except for my Christmas/winter list. I'll probably still watch a few here and there, but I think this is the end of the official marathon. All the more for next year!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Game time!

What's inside this rather large parcel? (Cat included for scale and cuteness)


A: Ant farm
B: Unabridged dictionary
C: Ant farm AND unabridged dictionary
D: Entire country of Belgium
E. A single pair of socks

Frightful Friday Part VI - FRIDAY LIVES

Okay, who didn't see that coming. We've got a few movies to sink our teeth into today, so let's do it!

The Legacy - This movie is AWESOME. Not awesomely bad, just flat out awesome. Starring Actual Actors Katharine Ross and Sam Elliot, and Roger Daltrey from The Who? Sure, why not. Katharine and Sam are an American couple trapped in a British country manor with other mysterious guests, a creepy nurse, and an old, dying, unseen host upstairs. Dun dun dun! Oh yeah, this is my jam.

So there's a rather informal satanic ritual (I guess) at the old man's bedside, and Katharine has this great wry look on her face, like "WTF, guess I'll just humor 'em" but then, unexpected evil ring! And it won't come off! The guests start dying, Roger Daltrey has a wonderfully hammy* death scene, and of course Katharine and Sam want to gtfo, but there's NO WAY OUT. Even when they steal a car, all roads lead back to the manor. DUN DUN okay you get the point.

*pun sorta intended? He ate ham, but choked on a chicken bone! Oh, that wacky Satan!

Katharine comforts herself by petting a cute white cat, which is exactly what I would do. Sam spies on one of the servants feeding a roasted body to dogs and is understandably perturbed. Then he gets chased by the dogs and the whole time I'm like "DON'T LET SAM ELLIOT DIE," I already had to deal with that shit in Road House, but HE DOESN'T. Instead he finds a CROSSBOW, and Sam Elliot shooting Satanists with a crossbow is now my favourite movie thing ever. Maybe even better than "The Double Douche." Okay, nothing's better than that. Sam Elliot is awesome, is my point.

So Katharine, who's either the reincarnation or ancestor (?) of a dead witch who was the mother of the (really) old guy, rushes up to see him (the old guy). He's on his last breath, and what's that in the air? Oh shit, it's Satan! Sam pushes the nurse down the stairs and apparently she was the white cat? Well I don't blame them for petting her, she might be an evil nurse but she was adorbs. But he's too late to stop the Satan Transfusion, the old man is dead and passed his legacy (oh hey, that's the title!) on to Katharine. He did kill a bunch of people so she could inherit it so I guess it would've been kinda rude to refuse at that point, y'know?

Sadly, even Sam isn't immune to the Devil Virus, or maybe that's just true love, because now it's his turn to put on an Evil Ring. He does it in a very laid back, Sam Elliot-y way, and it's kind of funny, for someone giving their soul to Satan. y'know. THE END!

I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Why this isn't talked about or considered a classic, I have no idea. Maybe it is in some circles, but this was the first I heard of it. And hearing about old horror movies is kind of my thing. The kills in this movie are so good, they're all different (to suit the victim) and the pool scene was especially creative.


WTF? I'm never coming to this YMCA again!

Note: this movie has NO BOOBS. I guess nobody likes 70s boobs.

The Lamp (AKA The Outing) - My first, and probably last, evil genie movie. Well, at least it's something different. Is it good? Well... it's very, very 80s, so if you can enjoy a movie based on fashions and Grade-A 1987 Tiffany Mall Hair, this might be for you.


Actually, I think that might be Tiffany.

The acting in this movie is terrible, and the dialog doesn't help. BUT, I actually liked the effects and most of the death scenes. They were surprisingly well done. Though I was a little sad when the Figaro-singing security guard got a spear though the chest. He had such joie de vivre!

So a bunch of high school kids are locked in a museum with an evil genie. That's your movie. The characters are generic, except for the aforementioned security guard. He was cool. Somewhere there's an angel singing "Figaro." Anyway, there's a lot of setup in this thing, so once they're finally locked in the museum the killing spree gets right underway. Snakes in a bathtub! (Yes, this is the kind of movie where people take random baths. In a museum. Next to the snake storage area.) Dude goes in search of beer and gets a snake up his trousers, oops! In case you didn't know it was filmed in Texas from an earlier Astros reference, a wild "y'all" appears! And oh no, the BULLIES got in! (It's an 80s movie, so bullies. These are more psychopaths/rapists, though. Yikes. They get a good serving of Genie Justice, but I could have 1000% done without that rape scene.)

There's a really cool death scene involving a reanimated museum specimen. I dug the hell out of that effect. The green glowing genie is a bit cheesy in an 80s kids commercial way, but I kinda dug that too.


Hi kids! Not sure if I'm here to murder you or sell you fruit roll-ups. Guess I'll murder you just to be safe.

We also have our second piece of Evil Non-Removable Jewelry in as many movies, and hey kids, you might wanna be careful what you wish for while wearing a cursed genie bracelet. Like you know, not wishing your dad was dead or something ridiculous like that. Oh, you already did that? Well dayum, that's a stone cold bummer ending. The dad actually died. I thought it would end with him and Tiffany having a "moment," but nope! Dead as shit. Also, the acting in the bracelet scene is SO BAD. "No, this isn't happening. No." In the end, only Tiffany and her teacher are alive. I kept expecting her to turn to her and say, "I think we're alone now."

So this movie was pretty uneven, but I think I recommend it. They tried, and actually came up with a few cool scenes. I doubt I'll watch it again, but I'm glad I watched it once. Oh, and random boobs because 80s.

The Video Dead - Here's some aptly named, good old 80s straight-to-video cheese. This wasn't "good" but I enjoyed the hell out of it. In our second (I think?) zombie movie, we have zombies that come out of an old, dusty, busted up 80s tv, the kind with all the intestines and whatnot in the back. The kind you get up to change the channel. *sigh* Okay I don't actually miss that at all, but nostalgia, dammit!

This tv was supposed to be delivered to the institute of occult studies or something, but nope, house in the suburbs! Dumb, sure, but it was kind of cool seeing the zombies climb out of the old black and white movie into the coloured world of reality. Well, straight to video 80s reality. Also: ZOMBIE IN A WEDDING DRESS WIELDING A CHAINSAW. That's not an image you're likely to forget.


Til death do we part? Don't mind if I do!

How did the zombie bride get a chainsaw, you might ask? Well Mr. "listen to me, I'm wearing a hat" here is like the worst zombie hunter ever, and fell asleep (??) when he was supposed to be shooting zombies. The other guy had a chainsaw and well, it's stupid. The answer is it's stupid. But it's great.


The original You Had ONE JOB.

There's a lot of stupid dialog and stupid in general, but it's what you'd expect and maybe a little better. Recommended if you like zombie flicks or this kind of camp. Also, random boobs because 80s.

Rifftrax: Ruby - I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS MOVIE. I don't know who these people are, what they're doing, why the kid is so uncanny valley despite being an actual human, why it randomly turns into the exorcist in the last 10 minutes when before it was about dead gangsters (I think??), and why I just generally want my mommy.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

tbt - eat them up, yum!

Straight on Til Morning Presents... those weird novelty videos they played in the early days of MTV!

There are a lot of things I've forgotten, but I'll never, ever forget any of these videos. They really knew how to make randomly memorable stuff back then.



I don't know why either, but it's awesome! I guess this was kind of the 80s version of a meme. It's weird, it's random, nobody actually knows why it's popular, it just is.



My first Weird Al video, though I didn't know who he was at the time. It made me laugh, and Lucy is voiced by the Crazy Catlady from The Simpsons!



And here it is, the holy grail of novelty videos and all novelty-related things, Roly Poly Fish Heads. This video was directed by Bill Paxton (RIP). What a cool dude. I used to sing this over and over to annoy my mom. Nothing will ever be that fun again, folks, that was peak life. If I could sum up my early childhood in four words, it would be "eat them up, yum!" Just thinking about it now makes me happy, so I'm gonna do that for a while before the next 2017 thing happens and makes me sad again. The 80s weren't perfect but man, they were uniquely fun.

Oh, another one was Julie Brown's "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," but in today's climate that's not really funny anymore. :( See how 2017 ruins everything? Damn you, the present!! 😡

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

Touching a little on my last post - I wonder if horror fans, especially female horror fans, are more prone to separating art from culture? How many misspent hours watching slasher and exploitation movies do I have under my belt? The kind that often feature nudity and violence against women I'd consider inappropriate in any other forum. Lots of people don't get why I'd enjoy that, and that's okay, but to me they're just escapist fun. They have no bearing on how I feel about the world, and I can easily separate them from reality. Maybe I've subconsciously adopted that mindset about entertainment in general, idk.

So what have I watched recently? Let the good times roll.

The Brain - Okay, this movie is AMAZING. It's about a giant brain with a face and big snarly teeth. It eats people and rats. It wants to control your mind. IT LOOKS LIKE THIS


So by "amazing," I obviously mean very, very, very bad, but in the best way. This would make a killer Rifftrax. Everyone should see this movie. Also, it's Canadian, and there's a scene in the school where the principal says, "Where do you think you are, America?" to a student and I'm like well nope, obvs Canada, but then the principal says "YOU'RE IN HIGH SCHOOL." Oh, okay. My question is, why do these Canadian movies pretend they take place in America? Is there a reason they can't just say Canada? Also, random boobs because 80s.

Night of the Demons - I felt like revisiting an old favourite. This one is similar to Hell Night in some ways but maybe even better. You've got the big, spooky house with the murderous history, except this time it's an abandoned mortuary. Oh, yeah! And instead of a deranged killer you've got demon summoning, but it actually makes sense here cause it's not just "welp nothing on tv, let's summon demons I guess."


That girl clearly showed up to summon some demons, and nothing else will do.

So, story time. It's not a happy story but an interesting one, and the most personal connection I have to a horror movie. The goth girl is actress Amelia Kinkade. She's the niece of Rue McClanahan, and she had a brother. I went out with her brother a few times, and it seemed to be going well, until the third date. No, this isn't about "third date expectations," unless you expect your date to tell you he's a white supremacist. Oh yeah, that happened. I didn't want any conflict, I just wanted to gtfo, so I kind of nodded and smiled through the rest of the evening and never looked back. Maybe I should have said something, but I was in my early twenties, alone in a car with an older dude who'd just quoted a Klansman, and I was all about flight over fight.

A few years ago, I rewatched Night of the Demons for the first time in many years. Seeing the actress' name brought back those long forgotten memories, so of course I looked the guy up on FB. He was married and had a kid. And he'd died in a car accident. Man, what a weird mix of emotions. I hope he changed his heart before he died. I'll never know.

Amelia Kinkade seems like a cool person and I have no idea what her beliefs are, so this is not to reflect on her in any way. And Night of the Demons is stone cold classic horror. Also, random boobs because 80s.

Blood on Satan's Claw - This was new to me, and it's a pretty cool little atmospheric period piece. Nothing too mind-blowing, but it pulls you into its world. If you like satanic ritual and possession horror, I'd check this out. And definitely check it out if you liked The Witch. Also, random boobs because... 18th century? Okay, horror movies just like boobs.

Devil Dog: Hound of Hell - The crown jewel of 70s tv horror, this is every bit as awesomely cheesy as it sounds. I love the title too, I guess they couldn't decide which alliteration was better so heck it, just use both! It's about a devil dog. From hell. Really, this doesn't require much commentary. Just watch it.

When Michael Calls - more classic 70s tv, with a Michael Douglas so young you'll do a double take and say, "Is that Michael Douglas?" This is actually a pretty damn good psychological thriller. Man, I miss tv movies like this.

Prom Night - I just wanted something on in the background, so I threw on this slasher I've seen many times. This is a famous one but it's pretty standard, elevated mostly by Jamie Lee Curtis and the sweet disco theme song. "Prom Night, no more feeling uptight!" Well, technically that's true if you're dead. Not a bad 80s slasher at all, but the two (unrelated) sequels are way better and more inventive imo. Part two is an all time favourite. Think I'll rewatch those next year.

I'm slowly working through my list, with a lot more still to watch this month. I actually started a really cool movie last night but I couldn't stay awake, so that and more coming on Friday!

Art vs artist?

With the recent revelation that most artists, nay, most people! are scum, what do we do with the art left behind?

Okay I exaggerate, but considering there's a new person outed as a creep almost daily, it's pretty obvious this is only the tip of the iceberg. So what do we do, as we wait in dread for the news that one of our favourite things has been tainted? Well, I wasn't even gonna write about this, as none of the creeps had (so far) been relevant to my interests or this blog. But then Jesse Lacey of Brand New was outed as a predator of teen girls. While Brand New is far from my favourite band, I have a fair amount of songs from their first couple albums on my iTunes. These are songs I've been listening to for 10-15 years. Are they tainted beyond repair now? Do I keep them, considering I already bought them, and just not buy anything else from them in the future? Or do I delete them and wash my hands of it?

Can I live without those songs? Absolutely. That's not the issue here. The issue for me is how far we go in shunning art made by bad people, and what happens if something we can't live without gets hit. The fact that there are certain things I couldn't live without shows how important art is to us. It almost takes on a life of its own. And we need to be realistic here. This is not a new issue.

How many of us own Michael Jackson songs, or at least listen to "Thriller" every Halloween? I do.

How many of us listen to music produced by Phil Spector? I do, and he's a straight up MURDERER.

How many of us watch Rosemary's Baby at Halloween? I do, it's a great movie, made by a man who fled the country due to statutory rape charges.

This is art that is very much still in the mainstream, made by people who did very bad things. What's the difference? Is it because their crimes happened so much longer ago? I could and still might delete those Brand New songs. But I'm sure as hell not deleting Michael Jackson or The Ronettes, so does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe, or maybe it's okay to look at art as its own entity. I don't have any answers here. I mean, all people are inherently sinners, but art is pure by definition. Maybe it's up to us to decide what we're comfortable with, where we draw the line.

The only advice I can offer is that which I follow myself. I will not financially support anyone I know to be a predator, going forward. And - here's the most important point - SUPPORT FEMALE ARTISTS. Support them emotionally by listening to them and believing them. Support them artistically by seeking out their work that might have been buried by men. Support them financially by buying that work if you enjoy it. THAT is how we change the culture, not by deleting a few songs or tv shows from our memory.

Now back to our regularly scheduled shitty movie posts.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I still have 45+, maybe 50 movies left on my List of Doom. And that's not counting the Christmas/Winter ones.😨

Frightful Friday 5 - Seed of Friday

I'm a dirty cheater. I've never actually seen Seed of Chucky, but it was the best part 5 name I could find. I mean come on, "A New Beginning?" That sounds like a rehab clinic, not a horror movie.

Anyway. I'll probably have a few things to say about Stranger Things, but let's get to the five movies I watched the past few days!

Graveyard Shift - A Stephen King movie I hadn't seen, this one was a really cool surprise. While Brad Dourif as the exterminator was fun (I think he chewed more scenery than the rats), the real star of this movie was the SETS. Old mist-shrouded cemetery, abandoned basement full of rusty machinery, and whatever the hell you'd call the lair of the rat-bat (??) thing. A pit of doom? It looked AMAZING, whatever it was.


MY AESTHETIC 100%

Killer Party - I watched this cause I was in the mood for something light, and it was okay. A cross between a slasher and possession movie, so something a little different. But OMG, another freaking sorority horror! I feel like I've seen 100 of these and I haven't even rewatched the Sorority House Massacre movies yet. Yeah, I'm a little burnt out on campus slashers and 80s slashers in general, so I'll be watching different stuff for a while. However, with fresh eyes I think this would be pretty fun. I mean, if you're in the mood for this kind of thing, there's no reason not to watch it.

Legend of Hell House - And now for something completely different, a 70s British haunted house movie. Oh man, I love this one. I THINK I saw this way back in the day, as I had an obsession with haunted house movies as well as Roddy McDowall after Fright Night. But I would have been like, 13 if I did and I remembered nothing, which was awesome. This is one of those movies where the characters help make the mystery even more compelling. I especially liked this medium, fresh off her win of the prestigious Britain's Floppiest Collar award.


It set a new record! Seriously though, good flick.

Brotherhood of Satan - Ah, nothing like a good old-fashioned devil movie. This was slow in parts but had a lot of cool elements that made it worth watching. At first, with the couple and the kid in the car I had Manos flashbacks (NOOOOO), but luckily this was much better. I loved the MO of the kills, very cool and original. And the ending was great. Not perfect, but pretty compelling with a good payoff.

Return of the Living Dead - Aw man, what a perfect Friday night movie. I just finished watching this, and it was pretty funny. "Send more cops" lol. This is another one I might have seen way back in the day, but it might as well have been new to me. This was actually pretty groundbreaking. It was the first to introduce zombies saying "braaaaains," as well as (I believe) the first significant zombie comedy, 20 years before Shaun of the Dead. Complete with laughs, genuine scares, cool practical effects and a kickass 80s soundtrack, I'd call this a classic. Oh, and our 2nd Clu Gulager alert of the season! I do plan to watch part 2. I mean, this was already pretty stupid, so if the sequel's stupid I won't mind so much. Also, people in the 80s sure liked to get naked for no reason. I don't remember that happening. :P

I've been watching a lot of these 90 minute movies cause they're easy to slot in. I have some longer ones on my list to tackle (The Exorcist, The Thing, The Omen) so hopefully I'll squeeze them in soon. This Frightful Friday is still young, so time for another movie or two!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

tbt

This was supposed to be the day I saw Creeper, but for some unknown reason, I'll be home watching sports as usual. NOT THAT I'M BITTER OR ANYTHING. So, on what could be another shitty day in 2017, let's instead have some sunshiney 60s goodness!



Addressing a couple things

This blog is a 99% safe, politics-free space. However, when politics enters into music, then it's in my territory and I've got something to say.

I did not watch the CMA's last night, because I never watch awards shows. I hate them. There are three kinds of people in the world - people who watch awards shows, people who hate-watch awards shows, and people who don't watch awards shows. Seriously, I can't think of a better way of stereotyping people. Anyway, looks like some of the good guys won, for whatever that's worth. Stapleton, Miranda, and that Brothers Osborne song freaking kicks, good for them! Tin Man should have beat the hell out of Keith Urban, though. :( I don't get Garth Brooks winning, I love him but he hasn't been relevant since like, Third Eye Blind was relevant. Think about that. Nor Taylor Swift, who has never really been country but has officially not been country since 2014. See, this is part of why I don't watch awards shows, I don't need to overthink silly stuff that doesn't matter. (The other reason is they're boring and inane.)

Anyway, apparently Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood made some Trump jokes, which sent dumb people who don't understand how things work into a tizzy. Here's the main point I want to make: The US is SO. FREAKING. POLARIZED right now they no longer realize that people joke about whoever's in office, regardless of "side." How many Clinton jokes did Letterman and other liberal comics make back in the day? Not only that, apparently these same two people also made Obama jokes when he was in office, because that's how things work. Making a damn joke doesn't mean you're on one side or the other.

(That said, it is way easier to joke about Trump because he's a buffoon. Maybe this whole thing is a conspiracy by comedians to make up for the comedy dry spell of the Obama years.)

ALSO: this whole towing a party line thing is ridiculous, and has gotten out of hand to the point of being destructive. Putting aside that joking about a president doesn't automatically mean you dislike them, why would joking about or even disliking ONE person in a party automatically mean you're on the other "side?" You have to fall in step with everyone who claims to be part of your side or you're a traitor, or something? That is some dangerous thinking. What are all the conservatives who hate that their party has been hijacked by a buffoon supposed to do? They should fight, not cower behind a damn party logo. We've really lost sight of things like context and critical thinking. It scares me.

One last point, which is tangentially related: A music critic I follow was being harassed on twitter by someone I can only call a "fangirl" for criticizing certain artists. These were all artists the critic likes and has praised more than criticized. Look, IT'S OKAY TO CRITICIZE THINGS YOU LIKE. It's healthy, even. This goes back to my points about critical thinking and not just falling in step with every damn thing because you're "supposed" to. "I'm a fan of this person, so I have to like everything they do or I'm a hater!" "I support this political party, so I must agree with everyone who stamps that label on or I'm a traitor!" NO. This is not how we make great art or great nations.

Criticism is vital to society, and is not the same as "hating." This fangirl mentality, this "if you're not with us you're against us" bullshit contributes to the bigger picture of what's happening in the world today. We WERE NOT always like this. I know that social media and biased 24/7 news have helped create and exacerbate this problem, but it's still, always, up to the individual to think for themselves. I know it feels good to "belong" to something, but if the thing you belong to discourages independent thinking, it's not worth belonging to.

Not everything is black and white. Some things are, like Nazis are bad. But most things aren't. Embrace the grey.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go clear my head with a nice devil movie, BYEEEEEEE

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

Just finished Stranger Things season 2. It was amazing. Still processing. I love Dustin more than most things on earth right now. That is all.

Now, back to movies! First up: Stephen King's Graveyard Shift, which is new to me.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

SpoOOoky Saturday - how much Keeffe is in this movie?

I haven't had a lot of movie time the past few days, but I managed to sneak a few in. :) Mostly shorter ones, but I finally got to Conjuring 2. 134 minutes, dayum!

It was worth it though. Awesome movie, some of the best modern horror I've seen. If you liked the first one, this one might be even better? It had so many sweet character moments, genuine scares (that creepy flooded basement, you couldn't pay me to go down there), great performances by everyone, and I thought the "hoax" part added some interesting texture. I have such an interest in hauntings, possessions, the occult in general, and while I don't know for sure if I believe, I definitely think it's possible. I mean, if there's a God, which I do believe, I don't think other supernatural elements are so far-fetched. Whether you believe or not, it's an endlessly fascinating subject and I love how this movie covered different aspects of it. Just a great watch, and wonderfully spooky late at night.

Waxwork - a classic 80s horror I'd somehow missed. This one's a lot of fun, paying bloody homage to old timey monsters like the Wolfman, the Mummy, and Dracula (played by Miles O'Keeffe!) This is one of the most stylish 80s horror films I've seen, I just love the look and tone of it, and it concludes with an EPIC evil-wax-people vs non-wax-people fight. Highly recommend! I wish 14 year old me had seen this late one Friday night, but hey, 14 year old me is still very much present. :P There's a sequel, and I miiiight watch it, but...

The Gate 2 - Well except for Conjuring 2, which I knew was going to be good, I'm not doing too hot with sequels. This was another Pumpkinhead 2 for me. So Nerdy Metalhead Kid is back, except now he's Nerdy Wizard Kid Who Kinda Looks Like Harry Potter. He's having troubles at home (mom died, dad lost his job and drinks too much) which should be really sympathetic, considering how much I loved this kid in the first movie, but it never really resonates.

I mean, when I say it's like Pumpkinhead 2, it kind of IS. NWKWKLLHP (as we'll call our main character) decides to go back to the ol' gates-of-hell house for nostalgia, cause man those were good times, right? Okay, actually he goes back to try to summon the demon to get his dad a job (???) Maybe you can already see the problem here. This was the smart kid in the first movie. Then of course, the BULLIES show up, because while it's not an 80s movie it is 1990, close enough. And the 80s were just full of bullies roaming the streets in search of stray nerds, apparently. So in true Pumpkinhead 2 fashion, the bully kids are totes down with summoning demon minions cause you know, they're bored, whatever. Better than doing homework, I guess.

I hate this premise for a movie. Can you tell? So pointless. I mean, if you summon demons you kinda deserve what you get, you know? Not like those poor tormented people in The Conjuring who didn't ask for that shit. This is just setting something up so there can be a movie, without understanding the movie needs purpose to be effective.

So there's a love interest for NWKWKLLHP, we'll call her Not-Kelly-Kapowski. She doesn't look that much like her, but there's a lot of feathered bangs and denim going on, you know the deal. This was the only part of the movie that kinda worked for me. She's the girlfriend of the main bully, but she's into the occult so she and NWKWKLLHP come together by common interest. Cute! Except for the demon summoning part, because in the first movie he used his knowledge to FIGHT demons. That was the point. Now he's using them to drive a Corvette. He doesn't seem like the same character. He doesn't even have any good lines in this one. Also, he has a Motley Crue poster in his room. That seems like a rather mainstream choice for someone who was repping KILLER DWARFS when they were 12, and am I overthinking things again??

Then he dies, but it's okay, because he pops out of his coffin (???) and he and his dad and Not-Kelly walk out of the graveyard, laughing arm in arm like the end of a sitcom. I wish I was kidding. Then the no-longer-dead bullies also pop out like a clown coffin. The end!

Yeah... this one was a disappointment, in fact it kinda takes away from the first one, so I don't recommend it.

Finally we have Shock em Dead and AHHHHH, Zombie Nightmare Voodoo lady flashbacks! Yeah, this one wasn't very good either. It had a few really funny moments involving the band and their songs ("I'm in love with a SLUT!") And the band's name was Spastic Colon. That's really all I can recommend this movie for, watch the musical numbers, skip the plot. It's not Hack O'lantern bad, it's just... the lead character is totally unsympathetic. When it starts out and he's a nerd, you should feel something for him but NOPE, he's creepin on his coworker while she changes. Ewwww. So you're not invested in him at any point of the movie, he's just a throwaway creep character. I liked the premise of nerdy guy makes a deal with the devil to be a rockstar, but it needed a more sympathetic lead to work.

I'll be back with more movies, but I think I'm taking a break to watch Stranger Things. :)

Friday, November 03, 2017

Frightful Friday Part IV: The Final Chapter (yeah, right!)

No time today, but here's a cool song from The Conjuring.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Don't give up on me, cause I'm just in a rut

Guys... this new Weezer album... 👎😢. I loved their last two albums, but I'm kinda back to not wanting to say they're my favourite band. Maybe it's Paramore instead. Or Creeper!... yeah. I wanted to buck the crowd and like this thing, like I did Cage the Elephant's last album, but there's a reason this is being met with a resounding "meh."

Oh, there are a few decent Weezery choruses. "Mexican Fender," "Beach Boys," "Weekend Woman," even "Feels Like Summer" is catchy, but... none of it sticks. None of it crunches. The production is awe-inspiringly bad, but I'm not sure the songwriting could be saved anyway. It would help if it didn't sound like it was put out by Generic Pop Factory #5, though. :/

This is supposed to be an homage to the Beach Boys, and a couple of the hooks almost get there if you squint a little. Squint your ears. yeah. ANYWAY, the Beach Boys were about harmonies, kind of this beautiful wall of sound, and this is pretty much the opposite of that to me. It feels empty. In one ear and out the other. Sweet Mary and QB Blitz are okay. But that's it, even the "standout" songs are just... okay. With better production, I might have enjoyed those a lot more. There's something there. However, Happy Hour and La Mancha Screwjob are two of the worst Weezer songs I've heard in a while. Happy Hour is basic pop crap, and La Mancha is ruined by those damn "whoa ohs" that have wormed their way into every pop song like the alien parasites in Night of the Creeps. Weezer should not EVER try to be "trendy" or "cool." It's like your dad dabbing or something. And that's not an age thing, Weezer has never been cool. That's why I like them.

If Everything Will Be Alright was a feast, and White Album a tasty dessert, this is the next day's warmed up leftovers. At best.

The Killers' new album is better. I wouldn't call it amazing as an album, but at least I like several songs (Run for Cover, Tyson vs Douglas, and Rut are my favourites). That's more than I can say for Weezer. I wasn't crazy about Beck's album either, though I've only heard it once. The best album I've listened to in the second half of 2017 is Kesha's Rainbow. Yeah, really. It's a good album, but speaking of Rut, I'm in one. I've been saving Margo Price's album for a rainy day, cause she hasn't let me down yet. Other than that, guess I'll just stick with my classic rock and movies for a while. I managed to work a Night of the Creeps reference into a music post, so I'm pretty awesome.

tbt

Let's take a break from movies with a classic song! Thank you, Rushmore soundtrack, for bringing us this one-hit wonder gem we'd probably never hear otherwise.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday

I've always said that October 31st is the happiest day of the year, and November 1st the saddest. I mean, November sucks. Baseball's over (well, almost over this year), the weather's shitty, there's nothing November-y to do, you're pretty much just counting the days till Christmas. More like Nofunber, amirite?

I've made that dumb joke before. My life is a lie. Anyway, NOT THIS YEAR. I have so much leftover stuff to watch, including all of Stranger Things season 2, and I'm determined to enjoy this month even if I can't go outside. But before that, let's properly conclude October, the king of all months.

This might have been my best horror marathon yet. This year I really went full force watching stuff I hadn't seen, both old and new, popular and obscure. I also rewatched a lot of stuff I hadn't seen in a long time. That means it was a different kind of year, maybe the first time I haven't watched any of the major franchises (unless you count Halloween III). No Jason, no Freddy, no Living Dead at any time of day or night. For the most part, this wasn't a year for the tried and true favourites, though I snuck in a few. As a result, I found a number of new favourites, relived some forgotten memories, and will probably be revisiting most of this year's picks.

Halloween day:

I started the day off right with Trick r Treat. This one's a favourite, but I was dying to see it again. Kind of an updated Creepshow where all the stories interconnect, this thing is just brilliant. Definitely watch this more than once, there's a lot to pick up on you might miss in the first viewing.

Next was The Conjuring. Along with The Last Exorcism, which I'll probably rewatch next year, this is one of my favourite newer horror films. I probably would have waited another year to rewatch this, but of course I had to get ready for the sequel. This movie does a wonderful job setting location, atmosphere, and tone, which makes the scares effective. Also, Vera Farmiga. I love haunted house movies, and this is based on real people AND takes place in Rhode Island, where I used to live. I wish I'd known about this then, I would have visited the town. Lots of spooky goodness, and did I mention Vera Farmiga (who autocorrect insists is called Vera Farming)? Watching the sequel today!

Next up, another favourite, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I've probably ranted about this enough, but please, watch the damn movie before whining about how Michael Myers isn't in it. If this movie was just called Season of the Witch, or something else not-Halloween, wouldn't it just be known as fun, cheesy 80s horror instead of the black sheep of a franchise? (At the time, I mean. The Halloween franchise got really bad.) This thing is actually really creative. Killer masks, robots, ancient magic, Stonehenge?? There's nothing else like this. And that song. That magical, horrible little song that will be stuck in your head till Christmas.

I was going to finish the day with The Exorcist, but I chickened out decided to check out this 80s rock n roll horror instead. Come on, it's the last day of Rocktober! I also wanted to watch one new-to-me movie. So, Black Roses it is! How was it? Kind of amazing, actually. It was pretty funny, but unlike Hack O'lantern, it was genuinely entertaining and not just hilariously bad. So there's Italian Stereotype Dad who makes a faggot joke, because 80s, but then he gets sucked into a speaker by a demon! Hooray! And THEN THE SPEAKER BURPS, and I am the happiest person on earth. While that was obviously meant to be funny, the movie plays it straight for the most part. I think that's why it was so funny, as well as another scene involving a tennis racket and a demon's head. The lead singer of the all-demon rock band is named Damian (OOH, SUBTLE)! This all makes it sound like a parody, but while it is silly and the demons look ridiculous, I don't think it is.

This movie is just a lot of fun, so grab some popcorn and your tennis racket (just in case). If you've ever wished for a full-length version of those old cheesy metal videos, well, Happy Halloween to you! In the grand tradition of Rocktober Blood, Trick or Treat, Rock n Roll Nightmare (which I've seen several times thanks to Rifftrax), and not-Hack O'Lantern, we have another rock horror classic. I have one more of these to go, 1990's Shock 'em Dead. I might watch that today.