Friday, October 30, 2015

Feel Good Friday ~ Halloweenie edition

Oh no, she's finally lost it! Look, I racked my brain for that perfect Halloween song but everything seemed too on the nose, somehow. Don't Fear the Reaper? Bark at the Moon? Hotel California? Some of my favorite songs, but like, duh. Heard it. So somehow, the most on the nose thing of all seemed just right. Happy Halloween, and if you spend it with this song firmly lodged in your brain, you're welcome! ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I've been rewatching the Elm Street series, so of course Dream Warriors.

I'll have a wrap-up of my horror movie binge, probably next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another note on the appeal of "Hard Staying Sober." Like Carrie Underwood's "Smoke Break," it could apply to anyone, male or female. They're inclusive, even populist songs. "Why you think the world drinks? Why you think the world smokes? Why you think we all sit around and tell a bunch of dirty jokes?" We. There's no "us vs them" here, and the world could use a LOT more of that.

I wonder, even, if the decline in country music has to do with the seeming decline of populism. Not only are we bombarded with "us vs them" shit all the time, usually playing into a political agenda, but look at the kind of people who are famous right now. Donald Trump, those stupid K-named people. Vain, rich idiots. There's always been celeb worship, but has there been another time when so many were idolized simply for being rich and famous? It's no wonder in this kind of environment, the populist message no longer strikes a chord. When people want to escape instead of commiserate over how hard life can be, and how that can help bring people together rather than divide them, what's left to sing about? Beer. Trucks. Revenge fantasies. Can't get too real, gotta pretend like life's a party 24/7. Or get very angry about something. There's a lot of middle ground between "party" and "anger." I know those real emotions are still out there, waiting to be tapped into properly as Miranda has done here. And that's pretty much the definition of making art vs making cynical profit.

Miranda's party sounds a lot more realistic to me. I've been to that party. I hope to hear more songs like this from her, and less of the girl power attitude stuff. It's become one-note, and she's obviously capable of more nuance than that.

Wicked Good Wednesday

Because why not. Since it is Rocktober, something I observe with... probably more reverence than it calls for, I've been on a break from country music. But this song snuck in yesterday while I was playing some Dokken (as you do), and DAMN, did it hit me just right. That breakdown where she goes, "Why you think we all DRINK? Why you think we all SMOKE?" is just one of the best, most truthful, most country moments I've heard from a mainstream artist in quite some time. It's like a punch to the gut, but in a good way. A punch to the gut from a unicorn. yeah. Okay whatever, just listen to it.

Despite her last three terrible single choices,* this is what Miranda Lambert is capable of. My favorite country song of the past year, and it's not even a single. Too bad, cause this would class up any radio station.

*Somethin' Bad was clearly not a bad single choice, as it was a big hit. It's just a bad song. Little Red Wagon is an interesting song to me, but so should not have been a single. It's one of those fun, weird little album cuts that would probably catch on in live performances. It's not a radio hit. Smokin and Drinkin isn't bad, it's listenable despite production that sounds off to me in parts, but it's nothing special either. It's not something you're gonna seek out. So a bad choice, especially after another bad choice. Especially irritating that the mellow, thoughtful song was the least successful, so look out for lots more Somethin' Bads and overblown "girl power" anthems that have lost all meaning at this point. Ugh.

Idk if Hard Staying Sober would be a hit, but at least TRY to put your best songs out there?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Walking Dead vs Supernatural

Pondering why Walking Dead character deaths work for me, and SPN ones often don't. Well, SPN is in its 11th season. They're kind of out of ideas. I hope WD doesn't run that long, to be honest. But on the topic of character deaths and main characters -

SPN is known for killing off pretty much ALL its side characters. We now have a core of 4 characters - Sam, Dean, Crowley and Castiel. Sometimes Sheriff Mills, whose days are probably, unfortunately, numbered. Claire might return (and probably die). Garth is still out there, haven't heard from him for a while. Benny the vampire, one of my favorite side characters, is stuck in purgatory to save Dean (more on that later). But by killing the best character, Bobby, a few seasons ago, and Charlie last season, a character who brought some actual spark and life back into the show - the show seems just that. Lifeless. Directionless. It seems claustrophobic.

I lost interest in Sam and Dean, especially together, quite a while ago. I can't pinpoint exactly when it was, just that the fun dynamic between the two of them devolved into something very unfun and repetitive to watch. It hit me when I realized I enjoyed watching Dean and Benny as a team much more than Dean and Sam. Again, it's become too claustrophobic. Because they have no one to play off of anymore other than each other, Castiel, who is usually off on his own, and Crowley. Crowley is by FAR the most entertaining part of the show now, but they don't even use him right a lot of the time. (Ditto Castiel.) I feel the stale dynamic between Sam and Dean could be lessened by more interaction with Cas and Crowley, but not only do they not do that, they kill off other characters who bring in a fresh perspective.

I'm tired of it being all about Sam and Dean, all the time. Everyone gets sacrificed so they can live. That in itself makes them less likeable, even without their strained dynamic. That said, it's a show about supernatural forces. People are gonna die, they have to to keep the show realistic. But they need a larger pool of characters to keep the show fresh and interesting. Not just everyone else being fodder so the brothers can survive.

So that said, I'd be perfectly fine if they killed off Sam. Yup, I said it. Have Dean team up with Cas, or Garth, or Sheriff Mills, or rescue Benny and team up with him, hell even team up with Crowley sometimes, just breathe some new life into this damn thing, even if it's just for one season. I mean, I can't imagine it going on for much longer. There'd be fan outrage if they did that, but I bet the show would be more interesting to watch. (I'm picking Dean to live over Sam because I enjoyed his previous team-ups with Benny and Crowley. And his music. :P Dean is the soul of the show, even now.)

Walking Dead also kills a lot of characters. What makes it different? Well again, it's the zombie apocalypse and zombies don't care who the main characters are. So just like SPN, you have to lose some characters to make it realistic. You have to have stakes. But two things. WD has a large enough pool of characters and a large enough narrative that it never feels claustrophobic when someone dies. It feels emotional, the way it should, but it doesn't suck life force out of the show the way Bobby or Charlie's death did in SPN. There are only two characters whose death would have that effect on Walking Dead, for me: Rick and Carol. Daryl and Michonne are up there, but the show could still work without them. So here's the other thing. We'll call Rick and Carol our Sam and Dean, in terms of main character status. While I haven't always agreed with everything they've done, Rick has infuriated me at times, it all works from a storytelling perspective. I like the character arc of Rick, even when I don't always like the character. Carol has said and done things that made my jaw drop, and that's awesome. I'm trying to remember the last time my jaw dropped on SPN, in a good way. Sam and Dean have just turned into a terrible, and repetitive character arc. Which is a shame, because it was once great.

Long story short: WD has real stakes. Anyone could die. SPN is the "everyone can die but Sam and Dean" show. That's pretty much it. A few hints of interest have been dropped so far this season, so we'll see if any of them come to fruition. Crowley hopefully becoming a real antagonist again, and that reaper who told Sam and Dean that with Death, um, dead, if one of them dies this time they're not coming back. Ever. Man, if only the show will have the guts to actually do something with that! WD is not the "everyone can die but so and so" show. Even Rick or Carol could die; they'd just have to find a way to make it work without the strength of those characters.

I still watch SPN to see what happens, hell I still watch it for a good Crowley one-liner. But with WD getting everything right right now, it's hard not to compare and bemoan SPN's lost opportunities for true suspense and emotional impact.

Friday, October 23, 2015

MORE feel good-ness!

Here's the good news: Yeah, "Dibs" is pretty awful in a lukewarm kinda way (really, the worst kind of awful). BUT for that one bad song, here are FOUR good songs by female artists that either are or were in the country top 20 recently:

Now even if these songs don't bake your biscuits (I personally really like all of them), at least you can tell they had actual effort put into them. They sound reasonably country, both musically and thematically. The vocals are mostly pretty great, with Maddie & Tae's harmonies being my favorite. I've seen some criticism of Jana Kramer's voice, and hers is probably the weakest vocal performance of the four songs. BUT, I actually really like her smoky delivery on a lot of these lines, particularly the kicker "she got the man." And it's the best of the four songs too, in my opinion. I have no complaints.

I also really like Cam's vocals. I can't believe Burning House is a top 5 country hit, it sounds nothing like anything else on the charts. And thank God for that. I can't say I've ever really heard anything like it before. The song itself, while good, doesn't pack quite the emotional punch that her vocals do, but I see tons of potential here. Maybe this is a fluke hit, maybe she'll go on to have more, but I'm sure listening.

I've already talked about Carrie Underwood being on a good roll since the disappointing "Somethin' Bad." Keep it up! If she of all people wants to help save country music, I'm all for it. No, she's probably never gonna be traditional country, but she has a great voice and shows that not all pop/modern country is bad.

Are these four hits showing a backlash to the dumb "tomato" thing? Is it just a fluke? Is it enough? Hell no, but I'm hoping it's not a fluke and we'll continue to hear music not just from these four artists but other talented, deserving artists of both genders.

(Pretty much every song by a male in the top 20 still sucks, though. The best is Kenny Chesney. So we've got a long, long way to go.)

Feel Good Friday - spooky edition

Not a song today, a tv show. My favorite episode of Supernatural, season 3, episode 13: "Ghostfacers"

We open with Sam and Dean rolling up to a haunted house playing "We're an American Band," and it only goes up from there. (Okay, it's Supernatural, so it's gonna be a little about music!) ;)

This episode has it all, everything that makes SPN great when it's on its game. Rockin music, laughs, and some genuine chills. I love the reality show parody of the Ghostfacers, and how you like them anyway in spite of themselves. And the theme song! :D On the "things that make me happy" scale, this ranks about as high as it goes.

I could be sad that the show is no longer like this, and the last episode they did with the Ghostfacers was bleak and dreadful, but I'd rather just go back and watch this. It's everything I love about the show, and why I still watch. Hey, it still has its moments, and at least it still rocks.

Oh and this weird, crazy song is also in the episode. First time I ever heard it, and something about it just grabbed me. I've never heard another classic rock song quite like this. Yodel Rock, ladies and gentlemen!!

I mean, that genuinely rocks. And also yodels. It's pretty spectacular.


Okay, this is just funny as hell to me. Just when I think pop-country can't get anymore ridick-ulous, well of course it does.

I haven't voluntarily listened to country radio in 4 or 5 years - whenever that Luke Bryan Shake Yo Ass for the Woodland Critters song went into heavy rotation, I was just like fuck it, I'm done. So I can easily avoid all the bad country music if I want to. Being a snarky blogger, of course I seek it out and listen to it anyway. It's called "fodder." At least, without listening to the radio, I only have to hear these songs once.

Being thoroughly underwhelmed by Kelsea Ballerini's first, and inexplicable number one hit, I did not exactly seek out "Dibs." I didn't expect it would be hilarious, just another light, bouncy pop-country snoozer. Which it is. Mostly.

What's so hilarious about it? Her overdone, fake-sounding twang in the talk-singing part, even though she is apparently from Tennessee? Well yes, I'm not sure how one can be from the south and still manage to pull off the fakest sounding twang ever - even if you don't have an accent you could at least fake it better, having grown up around it? Or maybe she was born in TN and actually grew up in Vermont, or something. Who the hell knows. It's bad, anyway. But it's not the baddest. Oh, no. Cause what we have here is a girly, bubblegummy pop-country song - with the ubiquitous hip hop "HEY!" in the chorus.

Suffice it to say, it caught me off guard. And I just started giggling. I was not expecting Lil Miss Fake Twang here to be going for... street cred? Oh pardon me, not street cred, the phrase I'm looking for is "easy money." Guys yelling "HEY!" or "YEAH!" in your song = INSTANT HIT. It's the Ramen noodles of music.

Oh god, if only it had been this guy yelling "YEAH!" instead of the weakest-ass "HEY!" I've heard since "Cruise Remix." At least that would be ridiculous in all the right ways.

Somebody, I beg of you, please replace the lame "hey!" part with Lil Jon going "YEAH!" I will listen to that. I will buy that. For great justice.

Seriously, that "Hey!" sounds like five guys who just got their feet stepped on and are midly upset about it, but not enough to actually get up or anything. If you're gonna rip off an already tired hip hop cliché, at least do it with some damn energy!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Today's throwback, a music rant from January 2013 that still makes me laugh. Damn interns. :D

Sadly, what I wrote about country music was increasingly inaccurate in 2013, and is pretty much false today (well for mainstream country, anyway). When I wrote "some" good country music, it's possible I was referring entirely to ZBB's "Uncaged." Cause damn, 2012 was a bad year. Oh, Kellie Pickler's "100 Proof" came out that year too. I guess I was riding high on those two albums. :P But yeah, mainstream country has not demanded real singers or instruments or songwriting for quite some time. All it demands is short term profit, and possibly your eternal soul.

It's okay, you won't miss your soul. I promise.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Headline of the Day

"Toyota Taps Back to the Future Nostalgia to Pitch Clean-Energy Car"

That is the most brilliant strategy I've ever heard. You could power the world on 80s childhood nostalgia!! Take note!
So when exactly did rap music umm... die?

I don't mean die as in, the genre is dead, like mainstream rock is dead. I mean these songs are lifeless; they have no pulse. They have ceased to be. This is the musical representation of a patient flatlining on every medical show ever. How exactly is this entertaining to listen to?


Now I've never been a big hip hop fan but there have been some songs I really enjoy, and I remember the genre as a whole having a lot more energy. Well, more energy than the recently deceased anyway.

Here ya go, Mr. Future. You seem to need this.

I'm gonna knock you OUT! Mama said knock you OUT! So awesome it's almost rock and roll. Not that I'm holding up LL Cool J as all that's right with hip hop but come on, that song kicks ass. Especially compared to today's hits, which seem to be set to "low, droning airplane hum."

I actually had to get up and dance to this song before I could write anything about it. See, you can raise your voice rappers, it's okay. You're not in a library. You can produce actual beats, too. Or maybe not. Maybe this is all some kind of noise ordinance issue? "Keep it down in there Drake, or we're gonna get fined!" "...Okay." Seriously, I can't imagine any of these guys at a party.

So yeah, Drake and whoever the hell this Future guy is seem to be the main culprits behind this mushmouthed mess. Now I have nothing personally bad to say about Drake, he's a great ambassador for Toronto sports and actually seems like a likeable guy. His music, however... okay, so according to a source much hipper than I *coughwikipediacough* Drake is associated with Lil Wayne, a rapper I've paid no attention to because he looks like the illegitimate child of Godzilla and a Gremlin and just NO. Not appealing. Anyway, Mr. Lizard appears to be the? an? original source for this... deadmouth music. Yep, that's what I'm gonna call it. Deadmouth rap. Cause whoever thought it was a good idea to record songs right after getting a novocaine shot should not be allowed in a studio ever again.

So thanks, I guess, to this dredlocked velociraptor, this dull sound is everywhere now, inflicting hip hop like bro-country has mainstream country. Why does the absolute WORST sound seem to rise to the top, especially now? Can someone explain that to me? Can the pop top 40 be more "Ex's and Ohs" and less "Hit the... Quan? The fuck is a quan???" Can country be more "Smoke Break" and less "Gonna Wanna See Ya Girl Nekkid in My Truck cause I'm Comin Over to Strip it Down... Tonight.. Girl... Truck... Beer... there I'm done."

Yes, I'm holding up Carrie Underwood as a paragon of country music. CARRIE FREAKING UNDERWOOD. (It's a good song. And almost everything else sucks.) Hey, you thought Carrie wasn't country! Now we have Kelsea Ballerini!

Long story short, I'm gonna listen to some 80s rock and watch about 27 more horror movies, so peace!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yahoo Headline of the Day

"Shopping for a funeral home"

Least fun retail therapy everrr. :/
OMG YOU GUYS, Todd in the Shadows retweeted me! What do I do what do I do... DOES MY HAIR LOOK OKAY??


I don't know what to do with my newfound celebrity. *has breakdown, checks into rehab*

Friday, October 16, 2015

Feel Good Friday ~ Do you remember where we used to dance?

A bit at a loss today, so let's keep ROCKTOBERFEST going. October, and Halloween, will always be 80s rock and 80s horror movies for me. This stuff was my childhood, and remains part of me forever. This song, for some reason, is my ultimate comfort food song. It's the mom's apple pie, the extra creamy mac and cheese of music. FEEL THE 80S. And rock on.

And this one is a very close second. I remember how excited I used to get when I saw that swimming pool pop up on MTV. :D

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Also, is there an actual rule that every song must have an "OHHHHHHOHHHHHHOHHHHH" or "WHOAAAAWHOAAAAWHOAAAA" part now? Cause that's some serious lazyballs.

Why I live for throwbacks

This is awful. AWFUL. Awful awful awful.

Could there be anything LESS rock and roll than a song praising legal drug use?

There's nothing I can do to this song it doesn't already do to itself. Horrible, self-important garbage. Also, you were not raised on Nirvana. Nirvana is my generation. You were born the year Kurt Cobain died, you little twit. You were raised on Hannah Montana. Now screw off and go back to writing pseudo-intellectual poetry at Starbucks.

And from the "I should really know better than to click on these kind of articles on Saving Country Music" dept.:

This is what happens when you allow money to define, and even dictate, art. Country radio's last desperate gasp. It can't die soon enough for me. This is it; this is the empty space where art no longer exists. I'd say the insanely hollow production here sucks out any humanity the song might have had, but...

Well, I'm just gonna enjoy Rocktober. So have a good song to end this mess.

Dio is another great band to listen to this time of year. So glad I got to see him a couple years before he left us. He sounded amazing, like he'd live forever.


I love Blue Oyster Cult; they're the perfect band to listen to in October, or should I say, ROCKTOBER. Okay, I probably shouldn't but I totally did.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Feel Good Friday ~ now more than ever

I need some glorious 80s pop/rock stat, please!

Toto? Yesss, that'll do. Hmm this song is actually from 1978, but it sounds like pure concentrated 80s to me. So for our purposes today, the 80s actually started in 1978.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

More tbt

I was reading over my blog posts from 2004 when the Sox won, and these are my favorites.

"Hmm, don't know quite what to do now. I think I'll have to root for the Cubs next year just to restore sanity to my life.

In other news, they've draped a big Red Sox banner across the giant blue bug on the pest control building. Providence = class."

The Providence blue bug is kinda famous. It was in Dumb and Dumber.

"Funny phrase of day, or last night actually: "You ordered a Mendoza!"

But nope, not even that could curse us."

Okay, I vaguely remember this. During the World Series, we ordered Chinese food or pizza from some menu where everything was numbered, and correlated the food numbers to Sox players' jerseys. :P Someone ordered a Mendoza, and he was the worst.


In the true spirit of Throwback Thursday, and because the excitement around the Jays reminds me of the '04 Sox, I'm bringing Tessie back!

Okay, that actually made me a little sad and wistful and missing my Red Sox days. Darn you throwback Thursday!! But I'm sure I'll pep up when the game starts.

Worthless Headline of the Day

"Justin Bieber: Photos Appear to Show Singer Lounging While Nude on a Balcony in Bora Bora"

GEE THANKS, facebook, for helping me discover the exact combination of words that gives me the screaming squickies: "Justin Bieber nude." *SHUDDER*

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

And a quick note...

about criticism, parody, snark, outrage, and pop culture commentary in general.

I often see this kind of response to criticism or commentary: "Oh, you're still complaining about that? That's getting really old. That's like so five years ago." (Yes, I imagine these kind of comments said in a bored, bratty valley girl voice. idk why.) BUT ANYWAY. Here's the thing. Complaining about, say, Pauly Shore movies would be kinda hack and unnecessary at this point (unless it's your job, like the Nostalgia Critic). Complaining about Milli Vanilli lip synching is pretty damn passe.

Complaining about, commenting on, or critiquing something that is VERY MUCH STILL HAPPENING is NOT OLD!! And it won't be, until said thing has been consigned to the history box along with Hammer pants and Austin Powers references. How can objecting to something be old, while the thing you're objecting to is still relevant? Does not compute. I still see those stupid K-named people everywhere. I still hear shitty bro and EDM "country" music and autotune all the time. So hell yeah, I'm gonna keep talking about how much these things suck until they're gone. Maybe complaining doesn't change anything, but it makes me feel a little better, and you know what really doesn't change anything? DOING NOTHING.

Maybe the trend cycle for this shit will be the same regardless of detractors and it'll just naturally go away on its own, but by God, at least putting out opposition to the stupid might make somebody think. And if people start thinking, maybe the stupid shit will be replaced with smarter shit instead of more stupid shit.

Worthless Headline of the Day

"Spanx: Kylie Jenner Shares Image Wearing 'Body Shaper' Stockings"

Look, I know I'm beating a dead horse here. I know. But... come on, really?? REALLY??? This has been an actual headline on facebook all day long: "Woman who's famous for being famous puts on tights."

I can't just ignore it because it's there, taunting me, every time I go to look at pictures of cats. Is this really the world we want to live in?

EDIT: When you realize one of your joke tags is actually on the nose this time. Oh, hell. Adding "parody is dead" tag.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Feel Good Friday

Something a little different today. Spotlighting three of my favorite female vocalists through the years.

1. Ronnie Spector

I love the girl group sound of the 60s, and a lot of wonderful voices came out of it. Darlene Love of the Crystals, Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las, Lesley Gore, Mary Wells, and of course, the amazing Diana Ross. But if I had to choose one voice that just hits that sweet spot for me, it's Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes.

Yeah it's early for Christmas, but I'm talking about the Ronettes and this is my favorite Christmas recording ever. Ever. I'll talk more about Phil Spector's Christmas album and Christmas music in general in December.

2. Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo)

LTC was a kickass 90s power pop/rock band out of Boston. They never got huge nationally, but the song "Here and Now" was featured on Melrose Place (LOL 90s), so their Aurora Gory Alice album got some exposure. I don't think their follow-up Wholesale Meats and Fish got much at all, which is a real shame because it rocks and Kay sounds amazing. Unfortunately I can only find poor audio live performances of the song I wanted to use, "Pizza Cutter," but check it out. Here's a cool song from one of their earlier recordings.

And one from Wholesale

Kay also released a solo album in the early 2000s, Cherry Marmalade, and it's one of my favorite, and most underrated albums. I'm so happy I got to see her live a couple times when I lived in RI. She's one of those performers that just has a great energy. Here's a cool song from her solo album.

3. Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley)

Rilo Kiley's The Execution of all Things will certainly be featured if I do another "albums that changed my life" post. This article describes it quite well:

The album, with its lush, catchy, and beautifully sung songs, catches you off balance. To me, it's the ultimate "grown up 80s kid" album, most notably in the underlying theme of divorce and split families. My parents got divorced in the 80s, and so did many of my friends', and so did Jenny Lewis', and she took that and made this beautiful, wistful ode to all our lost childhoods. It's nostalgic in an unflinching sort of way, and I find the album very uplifting despite, or maybe because of, the handling of its more melancholy themes. Jenny has a gorgeous, expressive voice that's equally suited to rock or country.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Amusing Yahoo Headline of the Day

"Mad Dash: Is Taylor Swift cursing MLB teams?"

I guess T. Swift is the anti-sports fairy? :P But don't worry Jays, I'm here to help you "shake off" that bad mojo. And if that's not enough, this should pretty much cover the rest. Fight Taylor with Taylor!

TBT ~ Tom Waits

One of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my totally not humble opinion.

If you've had a really awful day, or a really great night, end it with this song and a shot of good whiskey.