Thursday, September 07, 2017

tbt ~ 15 favorite Beatles songs!

Even though it's September, it's officially the start of my Rocktoberfest. Which means lots and lots of, you guessed it, rock! Mostly classic, as well as some newer stuff like Creeper.

Is it cliche for a music blog to talk about the Beatles? Who cares! Is it cliche to worry about what's cliche? You bet! Should we just do what we want cause the world's crazy and we need to suck all the joy out of it we can? Um, yes. Yes we should. So, favorite Beatles songs! The top 5 is in order, the rest is random.

15. It's All Too Much
14. Let it Be
13. I'll Follow the Sun
12. Penny Lane
11. Got to Get You Into My Life
10. The Long and Winding Road
9. Revolution
8. I Will (Amazing song. The Alison Krauss cover surpasses the original.)
7. Here Comes the Sun
6. Hide Your Love Away

5. Across the Universe
4. Don't Let Me Down
3. I've Just Seen a Face
2. Blackbird
1. Strawberry Fields Forever (note: The "Take 1" version from Anthology is my favorite, but of course the standard version is great too.)

Hon. mentions - Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End, Hey Jude, You Won't See Me, I Am the Walrus.

Obviously I prefer their later work, which isn't to say a lot of their early stuff isn't great, and better than most all mainstream music of the past 20 years. The later stuff is just more musically interesting to me, and invites more repeated listens.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

tbt ~ classic album spotlight

Today I'll be spotlighting an album I love, whitechocolatespaceegg by Liz Phair. Autocorrect just changed that to Liz Hair. sigh. Moving on.

Liz Phair was EPIC to me in the 90s. Her first three albums are all classics in my library. There isn't a single song I skip on Exile in Guyville, Whip-Smart, or whitechocolatespaceegg. She was truly an album artist, maybe one of the first that got me interested in listening to albums as a whole. While Exile and Whip-Smart are probably more known/popular, my favourite is 1998's whitechocolatespaceegg.

Her first two major releases (look into her old Girlysound stuff too, some cool rough cuts there) were pretty similar in style. I'm not sure how to describe them to do them justice. It's kind of anti-pop music in its production, lyrics, and presentation, yet almost every song is sing-along catchy. Pop music for people who don't like pop music? It definitely has the vibe of something recorded in a garage or basement, in the best way. The production is excellent, not in that it's slick, but how it complements her voice and style perfectly. It's different, but it clicks. I guess the best way to describe it is it sounds 100% her, like she just got to do and say whatever the fuck she wanted without any hacks interfering. Or anyone at all. A genuinely distinctive artist.

I should briefly mention her sudden lurch into full-blown POP after whitechocolatespaceegg. I'm not going to discuss whether those albums were good or bad, they're just very much not for me. The overly slick, clean production and pop princess style just rubs me the wrong way. It's not interesting, and for an artist like Liz Phair, that's just like, death. :(

Here's where we get to whitechocolateetc, the album I want to spotlight today. It definitely marked a change in sound, and you can almost see it as a bridge to where she was going. The production is cleaner, the writing more down to earth and mature. With themes of motherhood and growing up, you could almost call it a concept album. It's a more accessible album in some ways, but here's what I love about it. There's a trippy, spacey vibe here that really complements her style and writing, even more than her earlier work IMO. There are even, I think, two Beatles/McCartney allusions. The one on "Fantasize" is obvious ("you've got to hide your love away), but I'm pretty sure "Uncle Alvarez" is a nod to "Uncle Albert," or it makes me think of it anyway. I mean, I thought of this album because I was listening to The Beatles.


I just thought of this, she's kind of the Beatles in reverse, isn't she? She started out with the cool, weird, interesting stuff and ended up doing more basic pop.

So while the production here is more polished, it doesn't come across as OMG SHE WENT POP, but as a feature, a concept. Like the album was actually recorded from inside an egg. ... I'm not high, I swear. This album is just that awesome. Some of my other favourite tracks are "Perfect World," "Polyester Bride," "Big Tall Man," Baby Got Going," and the trippy title track. This album showed so much promise, and I wish she'd explored this direction further rather than what she did. But it makes for a unique album that moves nicely between time and space. Like, this doesn't scream 90s at you or anything, it's a self-contained project that still sounds fresh* today.

*don't make a pun about eggs don't make a pun about eggs don't...

I think it also shows that we always, ALWAYS, no matter how far removed we are from the 60s, need artists that were inspired by the Beatles. It just makes for the best music.

Peace and melodic guitar rock forever, man.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Feel Good Friday ~ Top 8 favourite songs of 2017 so far

One song per artist, playlist link at the end.

1. Black Rain - Creeper

Eternity, In Your Arms is already a lock for my favourite album of 2017. Um, spoiler alert lol. And this glorious, scream-out-the-chorus arena-ready goth rocker is the crown jewel. "They don't make music like this anymore," I might have said last year before I heard Creeper. But they do. THEY DO. And Creeper is coming to Edmonton in November and I'm probably going! eeeeeeeeeeee!

2. From Outer Space - Jaime Wyatt

"Honey, it's a long way home from outer space." Country music that's actually about something is the best. And that's exactly what Jaime Wyatt is making. I've never been to prison, but this song resonates with me. I guess outer space is a big place.

3. Idle Worship - Paramore

First of all, this is an album that needs to be listened to as a whole. Picking just one song was tough, but I guess this one spoke to me the most. It's also really catchy and pretty indicative of the album. Basically the message is, your heroes are human and just as messed up as you are. Don't put anyone on a pedestal, they didn't ask for it and you'll just be disappointed. Hayley Williams has been through some shit, she's pulling no punches, and it's amazing.

4. Redbone - Childish Gambino

Get Out is my favourite movie of 2017, even beating out Guardians of the Galaxy 2. And hey, they both have cool music. This is a soul song, in every sense of the word. A good soul jam immediately takes you back to the 70s, the glory days of the genre, but this manages to sound both retro and fresh. Even without the amazing movie attached to it it's a fantastic journey of a song, but I love that the two are connected forever. A couple of bright spots in a year that's been... well, better than 2016 at least?

5. I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight - Sunny Sweeney

I doubt I'll hear a more beautiful song than this all year. Chills. Apparently this is a cover (I haven't heard the original), but Sunny sure sings it like she wrote it. And lives it. I mean, I guess we all live this from time to time. That's the point. Again, nothing resonates like country music that's about something. The radio's lost that, but happily artists like Sunny Sweeney have not. Great song, great album.

6. Tin Man - Miranda Lambert

I hate damning this song by calling it the second most beautiful song of 2017, but that's still pretty high praise, right? I love songs that make pain beautiful. More than anything. Miranda's been kind of hit or miss for me these past few years, but this is right in the centre of the bullseye. "Take it from me darling, you don't want a heart." Well, shit.

7. I Feel it Coming - The Weeknd and Daft Punk

It's been a surprisingly good year for mainstream r&b. A bright, catchy, 80s-ish jam with some of the tightest production you'll ever hear. The Weeknd is becoming one of my go-to artists for quality mainstream music. Don't let me down.

8. Kiwi - Harry Styles

Guys... I don't know how else to say this, but Harry Styles kinda rocks? Seriously, if you like 70s rock, or Cage the Elephant for that matter, check out his stuff. Close your eyes and pretend he's ugly and was never in One Direction. Cause this is a killer track from a pretty damn good album. Maybe he'll be the one to save rock n roll, cause Fall Out Boy sure as hell didn't lol.

Honorable mentions: Crickets - Creeper, 26 - Paramore, Stone Hotel - Jaime Wyatt, Broken Halos - Chris Stapleton, Black Butterflies and Deja Vu - The Maine. My fun summer jam, Parking Lot - Blink-182 ("Fuck this place, let's put up a parking lot!" You said it, Blink-182.) And my country summer jam, One Beer Can - Brad Paisley. I haven't been super impressed with Brad Paisley lately, but this one does it for me. Prominent guitar and fiddle, catchy and fun with good energy. It's basically 2017's "Chattahoochee."

EDITED TO ADD: Margo Price just dropped an EP! It's really good! After a couple listens my favourites are "Paper Cowboy" and "Weakness." I'll just call them honourable mentions for now, since I literally just heard them.

Albums in my to-listen queue:
Childish Gambino
Chris Stapleton, again (listened once but was distracted)
Angaleena Presley
Aaron Watson
Killers Battle Born (not from this year, but still)

We're getting new albums from Weezer, Beck, The Killers, and maaaaaybe System of a Down? this year, so hopefully lots more to come!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Underrated albums Spotify playlist

In my effort to keep spreading good music, here's a playlist!

At least four favourite songs from each album, except Crawdaddy which isn't on Spotify. My favourite song from Forever Halloween, Ice Cave, also isn't on Spotify, but I still found 6 must-have songs from that album. Yeah. Plus a couple extra songs from a few artists and that great Killers song "Runaways." I haven't listened to Battle Born yet so I don't know how I feel about the album, but that song is underrated as hell. Oh and "Little Rosa" isn't on there twice, the first one is actually "Pizza Cutter." Silly Spotify. Enjoy!

Seriously, this song kicks ass.

9 underrated alt rock albums you should be listening to right now!

Clickbaity title, as if this thing is out there to be clicked upon lol. Why 9? Unlike the Nostalgia Critic, I like to go one step below. Anyway, in no particular order, except #1.

9. The Strokes - Angles

Is this underrated? Idk, but in 2002 the Strokes were everywhere and I don't remember hearing about this album when it came out in 2011. That might be because rock wasn't much of a thing then, or I just wasn't paying attention, but holy crap am I glad I found this. This is actually my favourite Strokes album with my favourite Strokes song, "Taken for a Fool." That song alone is enough to warrant a spot here, but this list is about albums and this one's a really good listen. I hope these guys get back on track after their disappointing last release. More like this, please.

8. The Toadies - Rubberneck

Guys. This album is AMAZING. Everyone knows "Possum Kingdom," but how did this album not produce several hits?? I feel like "Away" and "I Come From the Water" would have been perfect followups to Possum Kingdom. No idea why these guys didn't catch on beyond that one song. There's a real distinctive sound to this album, like just describing them as "alt rock" doesn't quite get the job done. It's just good hard, driving music and this is a fun listen all the way through. They disappeared after this and I never heard anything else from them, which is such a shame.

7. Letters to Cleo - Wholesale Meats and Fish

Or really, anything by Letters to Cleo, except maybe Aurora Gory Alice which got some recognition. This album, the followup, got like no attention which might indicate the dreaded sophomore slump, but NO! This thing is bursting with fruit flavour, and it's actually my favourite LTC album. "Pizza Cutter," "St. Peter," "Little Rosa," it's full of should-be 90s classics.

6. Local H - As Good as Dead

Is this list gonna be all forgotten 90s bands? Maybe! Here's another band that's well known for one song, "Bound for the Floor." You know, the "copacetic" song? Oh yeah, those guys! Here's what you might not know: this band, which is still together, has an awesome discography I'm still working my way through. I'm putting this album on the list because it's the one with the classic Bound for the Floor, and it's also really good. But this is a band to dig deeper into, from their 1995 debut Ham Fisted to their 2004 release, Whatever Happened to PJ Soles? If you dig that title like I do, you're in for a good time with Local H. Also, they took their band name from two old R.E.M. songs, and I'm not sure it gets cooler than that.

5. My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Can anything by MCR really be underrated? I say yes, because - yes, really - I think I like this album as much as the beloved Black Parade. See, I feel like if a band makes an album like Black Parade - so perfect, so iconic, so game changing - no matter what they do next isn't gonna measure up. You're kind of screwed by being so good. And no, I don't hear Danger Days get even half the love that Black Parade does, yet... it could? Should? Because it's really damn good. It's a concept album with an epic glam-rock feel and great songs like "Bulletproof Heart" and "Planetary (Go!)". It's a more upbeat-sounding album than, well, obviously the one about cancer, or anything in their discography. It would be a good radio rock album if the radio still played rock. The deluxe version is also worth a listen.

4. Kay Hanley - Cherry Marmalade

The bad news is, Letters to Cleo was broken up for many years. The good news is, we got this gorgeous solo album from frontwoman Kay Hanley. Man, this album got me through some rough times. I feel like no one has heard this album other than diehard LTC fans, and that's a real shame because every song on here is catchy and punchy and great. Even if you've only heard LTC's big song "Here and Now," if you like it, check this album out. I think you'll be hooked from the first song, "Fall."

3. The Darling Buds - Crawdaddy

Forgotten 90s bands, ahoy! This album had a couple minor hits you might remember if you were there and paying attention, "Tiny Machine" and "Crystal Clear." If you like those, well, the whole album is like that. Catchy and pop-rocky and short and sweet. "It Makes No Difference" and "Honeysuckle" are other faves of mine.

2. The Maine - Forever Halloween

And a more recent album, which has become an all time favourite. I did an entire album retrospective of The Maine when I got into them last year, and my favourites by far are the harder, classic-rocky Pioneer, and this more darkly-themed, also rockier album. While Pioneer seems to get a lot of love from fans, I don't feel like Forever Halloween gets the love it deserves. This seems to be the theme of this post - my favourite album from a band is not most people's favourite.

The Maine is an interesting band with pretty strongly varying sounds. I liked their big breakthrough American Candy a lot, and I like this year's followup, Lovely Little Lonely, which is kinda American Candy Part II sound-wise. (Something which I predicted in my post.) And I think that bright, airy pop-rock is what most people associate with them, but man do I love this darker vibe. It's almost like they became a different band for this one album, like musical cosplay? The deluxe version is a MUST here, as it features my favourite The Maine song, "Ice Cave." Just listen to the opening riff and you'll be in. It rocks.

1. Weezer - Maladroit

Well what else would it be?? My favourite album from my favourite band. Every time I listen to this I ask myself, how is this not everyone's favourite Weezer album? And then I'm like, well, people have different tastes, you KNOW this, your list of favourites is pretty weird. And then I stop talking to myself, cause that's also weird. But - it's not like I wanna impose my taste on people, this album is just so damn good! It's catchy Weezer songs with a harder rock edge. It's the best of both worlds. Oh dammit, Hannah Montana ruined that phrase forever.

Here's the thing about Weezer - while I dislike entire albums they've put out, they're my favourite band because I list six of their albums among my favourites - SIX!* And Maladroit is the cream of the crop, from my favourite track, the riff-happy "Burndt Jamb," to the ridiculously catchy "Keep Fishin'," "Slave," "American Gigolo," and of course the single "Dope Nose," it's pure melodic guitar rock heaven. I keep waiting for this album to get Pinkerton'd, for people to look back on it and be like, holy shit, this is amazing, why do I not listen to this all the time? Pinkerton is great and it was overlooked for a long time. This is even better, and it doesn't get nearly the love it deserves, even among Weezer fans. Maladroit, in my totally not humble opinion, should be required rock listening. It has classic written all over it. Don't miss out.

*6. Pinkerton
5. Green Album
4. White Album
3. Blue Album
2. Everything Will Be Alright
1. Maladroit

HONORABLE MENTION: Cage the Elephant - Tell Me I'm Pretty

This is an honourable mention because it's more unfairly maligned than overlooked, and also it won a Grammy, not that that means anything really except yeah, it's not overlooked. But among CTE fans, holy crap does this album get a ton of shit! And I have no idea why! Okay, it's not Melophobia, but what is, a freaking Beatles album? Melophobia is a masterpiece, they're probably not gonna reach that height again. But that doesn't mean this album is bad, and it's actually good!

Look, I love CTE, they're one of my favourite modern bands, but that doesn't mean I'd love any old thing they put out. I've listened to this album many times and I've never been able to hear what people are criticizing. It's "formula?" Yeah, it sounds like a CTE album, what else do you want? Bands get criticized when they change their sound or when they don't. I don't care, as long as it sounds good to my ears. CTE making a typical-sounding album sounds good. Paramore changing their sound and making a new wave album also sounds good. Some bands change their sound and it's awful, or, in the case of ZBB's latest album, they try to recapture their old sound and it does sound kind of formulaic. Maybe what I hear in that album is what others hear in Tell Me I'm Pretty. But all I hear is an enjoyable 70s-esque rock album with great vocals and riffs. Put it on on a Saturday night with some good beers and you'll dig it. No, it's not the immediate awesome punch of Melophobia, and I don't like Dan Auerbach's production as much as Jay Joyce's, but again that's no reason to dismiss it. It's a grower, really. And "Trouble" still gives me chills every time I hear it.

Whew, I've been wanting to make that list for a while now. The things I'll do to avoid going through 400 vacation photos. In all seriousness, it's been a tough few months. Hug your rockstars, they deserve it. <3


Here's a great, forgotten song from the early 90s... if anyone wants it. I used to listen to this over and over and over.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Feel Good Friday ~ The Killers

You ever hear a song and think welp, this was pretty much made just for me? I guess Brandon Flowers was reading my blog because this is precisely the kind of music I wish for people to be making. It somehow sounds like every 80s power-rock hit and none of them at the same time. The opening kind of reminds me of that "believe it or not, I'm walking on air" song, there's a riff that reminds me of "Heat of the Moment," a little "Don't Stop Believing," a little "Livin' on a Prayer," and probably a dozen other songs I can't put my finger on. It's the perfect homage, is what I'm saying. And I love it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


The nostalgia when your local supermarket, of all places, plays a song you haven't heard since the early 90s and had completely forgotten about. Happy to hear it again, sad because nothing sounds like this anymore. Damn I loved this sound.

General update-y thing, I guess?

Well, it's been a minute. I've been wanting to update for a while, but I was 1, on vacation for two weeks, which really means three weeks counting the prep and recovery time, 2, dealing with emotional crap, and 3, possibly the hardest to deal with, coming to terms with the fact that I really like Harry Styles' album. I mean, I'm a grown ass woman, not a *shudder* "directioner." But I'll be damned if he didn't make a grown ass adult album. And not in a Miley Cyrus LOOK AT ME I HAVE SEX AND DO DRUGS CUZ I'M AN ADULT NOW, GET IT??? kind of way, like an actual mature classic rock type album. It reminds me of Cage the Elephant at times, and that's not a comparison I make lightly. Yeah, I don't know either. But it's good, I listen to it, and being ashamed of what you like is stupid. So there you go.

Um. I guess first things first, I have to talk about Linkin Park. LP is one of those bands that I never threw myself into like say, MCR or Weezer, but were always just kind of... around? Like, until their last album (oh God that actually will be their last album, how incredibly fucking sad), I never disliked anything I heard from them, and I actually think Meteora is a great album. I wouldn't generally seek them out, but if they were playing, yeah cool, I wouldn't object. Now after a disappointing and critically panned album, singer Chester Bennington has committed suicide.

I guess what I wanna say is, as someone who makes fun of music as a hobby, I really hope that all the shit he took for the album didn't contribute to him wanting to end his life. I think it's important to be able to freely criticize music, even if, or maybe especially if, you're a fan of the band. But it's also important to remember that these are people we're talking about (except for the Chainsmokers, who I'm pretty sure are bro robots. Brobots?)* and to keep the criticism about the music and not personal.

*sorry, cheap shot, but I had to lighten things up a little.

Obviously if you reach the point of taking your own life, there are probably a lot of issues built up including depression, addiction, and God knows what else. It's just really hard to see all those scathing reviews in light of this, you know? Even if the album deserved it. It's kind of a tough line to walk. I can say whatever I want here because nobody reads this, but if you're a widely read music critic, do you have the responsiblity to be constructive with your criticism and not just be like "THIS SUCKS?" Either way, RIP man. Suicide's always the saddest and most frustrating thing to see. It feels less like a failure of the person and more like a failure of the world around them.

EDIT: Oh shit, today would have been Chris Cornell's birthday. That can't be a coincidence. Sadder and fucking sadder. :(

I have a couple other posts I want to make, so I guess that's all for the update. Be nice to each other and keep on keepin' on. <3

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Worst song ever?

Well, I hate to burst the positive bubble I've been in, but yesterday I was at the mall and... I heard it. The WORST SONG EVER WRITTEN (ending the tragically short reign of that new Fall Out Boy abomination). This song makes bro country sound like Johnny Cash. This song makes The Chainsmokers sound like Beck. THIS SONG MAKES THAT FUCKING FALL OUT BOY SONG SOUND GOOD. This song... makes me say ridiculous things.

You have been warned.

Yes, a "love" "song" with lyrics about "swiping right" and "tapping twice," and I don't want to live on this planet anymore. :( :( :( I'll be in my haunted treehouse on the moon.

At least the mall trip was successful. I got a sweet Oilers shirt, and in a youth size so it was cheap! #hobbitperks

Monday, May 08, 2017

Music Monday ~ Awesome Mix Vol. 2!!!

Guardians of the Galaxy speaks in music. It gets me. I think I was equally excited for the new soundtrack as I was the movie, and neither let me down. As for the movie itself, I have no words except it's funny and amazing and GO SEE IT. Also, I am Groot.

Back in 2015 I made my own Awesome Mix 2; songs I'd like to see on the next soundtrack. None of them were on it, but they did use an ELO song, so I'm half counting it. :) I love the choices they did make - I mean honestly, how did I not pick "Surrender???" And they even managed to dig up two songs I'd never heard before, a couple of one hit wonders that never made it out of the 70s. And they're good ("Lake Shore Drive" and "Wham Bam"). I think I love old music that's new to me even more than new music. Just great stuff, from Glen Campbell to Sam Cooke to Fleetwood Mac. I couldn't be happier, and eagerly await Volume 3!

It just hit me: I'm like the mom in the movie. I'm the girl who knew every word to every song on the radio (back in the day, obvs, not now).

Of my original list, four songs I'd really like to see on Vol.3:

1. September
Come on, Earth, Wind and Fire are like the ultimate GotG vibe band!

2. I Love a Rainy Night
Again, something about this song just vibes. I think it's from the early 80s, but it has that kind of upbeat 70s-ness to it.

3. Shambala
A 70s song that has that upbeat 70s-ness to it.

4. Crimson and Clover
Because it's one of my all-time favorite songs and also fits.

Also, "Bad Time" could be good for a romance subplot. I'm not sure there's really a good time to be in love when you're always out saving the galaxy. :D

The original list:

1. It's Your Thing - The Isley Brothers

2. Takin' It To the Streets - The Doobie Brothers

3. Strange Magic - ELO (A lot of ELO songs fit, IMO. "Telephone Line" or "Do Ya" would be good too. Strange Magic is just my favorite)

4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John

5. Time Has Come Today - The Chambers Brothers

6. Crimson and Clover - Tommy James and the Shondells (oh please please please...)

7. September - Earth Wind and Fire (another band I really hope is included)

8. Shambala - Three Dog Night

9. I Love a Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt (how perfect is this song??)

10. A Lover's Concerto - The Toys (TOTALLY UNDERRATED 60S HIT)

11. Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher) - Jackie Wilson

12. Bad Time - Grand Funk Railroad

A few other possibilities:

Crazy Circles - Bad Company
Working My Way Back to You - The Spinners
Little Bit of Soul - Music Explosion

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Quarterly State of Music ~ Spring 2017

It's been a while since I've done one of these, and it might be a while again, so let's get into it!

Mainstream "country":

YAAAAAAWN. One great song, "Tin Man." One awful song, "Body Like a Back Road," which will be my number one worst hit song of the year just on general principle. Though I can't imagine anything worse coming out, anyway. *tempts fate* Aaaand a bunch of boring songs by interchangeable dudes with interchangeable names. Luke Combs? Yeah sure, why not, throw a pair of jeans on him and put him out there. I feel like most of these songs ended up on the charts by default, rather than anything special they did. If you're hungry you'll eat whatever they put out at the buffet, even if it's generic Ritz crackers and unidentifiable Jell-O mold. "Oh well," you say, as you take a bite of cold hot dog. "It's here, so I guess I'm supposed to eat it."

Two of my least favorite "artists" of all time, The Chainsmokers and FGL, recorded a song together, because of course they have. That's how the world works. I have made it my life's mission to never, ever hear this song. Keep me in your prayers.

For the record, I hate the Chainsmokers a million times more than FGL. For everything bad you can say about FGL, I don't find them especially cynical. Their dumb music at least comes off as genuine, and the douchier-looking guy does actually sing. The Chainsmokers make no effort and have no talent whatsoever, and they know it, and that's infuriating. The Chainsmokers are counting their money and laughing at us. FGL actually think they're making good music. I still hate them, but it's a distinction I appreciate.

Pop charts:

"Lil Yachty." "Lil Uzi Vert." I'm just gonna accept the fact that the world has passed me by here, and get to the good stuff.

Bruno Mars and The Weeknd. I had no idea how much I missed 80s r&b, but for how much I've been listening to "That's What I Like" and "I Feel it Coming," apparently it was a LOT. This music feels nostalgic in the best way, and both songs are shoo-ins for my best hit songs list. As well as Lady Gaga's wonderful "Million Reasons," which only briefly hit the top 20 thanks to the Super Bowl, but I'll take it. Of course her best album yet is her least commercially successful. *sigh* Though they made an awful first single choice IMO, they shoulda come straight out of the gates with "Million Reasons."

Linkin Park now sounds like the Chainsmokers. I'm gonna say that again. LINKIN PARK. now sounds. like THE CHAINSMOKERS. Complete with soulless, droning pop chick. I was never a big Linkin Park fan or anything, but damn, this is why the phrase "sell out" exists. And in the end, it doesn't even matter.

I wish Future was in the future so I never had to listen to him HAHAHAhahahahahA

Umm... this Harry Styles song actually isn't bad. I'm hearing an almost Beatles-esque melody in there. It's nothing earth-shaking, but in 2017 I'll take it. Curse you for making me have to learn another of the One Direction guys' names, though. :(

"Bad and Boujee" - Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope. Why do people care about this "raindrop drop top" thing? It doesn't even flow, too many "p's" and "d's," it's clunky. And stop listening to songs just cause they have stupid words like "boujee" and "juju" in them! We are regressing as a culture you numbnuts!

I've already talked about the Chainsmokers WAY more than they deserve to be talked about, but now they're getting their stink all over Coldplay, for some reason. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

And finally, "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran, which has been number one for 10,000 weeks or some ungodly number. Ed Sheeran is not a bad artist, he's done a couple songs I've liked. But I DON'T GET the appeal of this. The lyrics are awful. He describes what sounds like the most boring date ever, which ends in sex for some reason? (I know boring conversation always makes me horny, yeah baby!) And then you get gross lines like "my bedsheets smell like you" and ewwwww, unhygienic is not sexy! Launder that shit! God that line squicks me out every time I hear it, which is a lot, since they play this thing everywhere. It basically sounds like safe, innocuous background music until it hits that line, and then I have to go home and clean stuff that's not even dirty! *cries*

And, "your love was handmade for somebody like me?" Wow, that's a clunky line. I mean, it's Shakespeare compared to nasty bedsheets, but... "handmade?" Like, I'm picturing Betsy Ross sitting and sewing a love flag. And "somebody like me?" That's a little vague, isn't it? "Well, maybe not me, exactly, but somebody like me. Someone who shops at the same stores, at least." Maybe I'm nitpicking, but this guy's known as a songwriter. Come on.

And then there's the sound: safe and boring, like everything else. Not even the lowest common denominator, more like the... middlest common denominator. I've seen it compared to "One Dance" and yup, it's just that dull. Apparently this is called "Tropical House," and excuse me, but since when does tropical = boring?? I mean, I hear "tropical," I think this:

God, I miss the 80s. But now we're in 2017, when the Rhythm is Gonna Bore You. It's gonna wear you down into a dull nub... look out, it's coming for you... oh never mind, it's taking a nap. Being a rhythm is hard work, I guess. It needs its rest. *pats*


Okay, well speaking of the 80s, there's a new Paramore song and it is 80s pop perfection! And the video... they really nailed the whole aesthetic. I am loving this, and I can't wait for the album!

So, albums. I've been slacking this year, big time. I have two albums I'm gonna try to get to before Paramore drops, one of them being The Maine. I love the Maine, but they released their album too close to the new MST3K, which has completely taken over my life. So sorry, The Maine, but I will get to you. I also want to hear Aaron Watson's album, which I've been putting off because I liked his last album so much. *blinks* That was a weird thing to say, I know. I just hate when an artist releases a career-defining album and you know nothing else will ever be that good.

I have listened to Creeper, Sunny Sweeney, Jaime Wyatt and a lot of Miranda's monster album (albumzilla?) which I will save for my albums of the year list, because they're all really good! It's only April and I'm enjoying a lot of new music this year, so we'll call it a net positive even with the constant specter of the Chainsmokers looming over us. I'm sure their fans have really short attention spans, so we've got that at least. I hope they disappear after spending all their money stupidly and go as bankrupt as their talent and their souls. But knowing how infuriating they are, they probably invested in some nice safe stocks and put a big chunk in a savings account and will live in comfort off the interest the rest of their lives, the snotty assholes. God how I loathe them. BYEEEEE!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

tbt ~ Fastball

This band is underrated. And FYI, if you catch me humming this melody it's THIS version, not that current abortion of it.

I miss those 90s power pop/rock bands... Fastball, the Gin Blossoms, Semisonic, Del Amitri, Sister Hazel. I just miss melody-based music, a lot. But if there's one thing the 90s taught me, it's that something can be gone in an mmmbop. :(

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wicked Good Wednesday ~ Miranda Lambert

Aww yeah, that's my girl!

Gorgeous song and vocals, and just the direction I hoped she'd go in. One of my favorites of her career, and that's saying something. This... this erases the memory of "Somethin' Bad," and I think that's all that needs to be said.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday LOL... and rant

This is gonna sound like an Onion article, but it's not. This is real life. People like this are out there, and while it's scary to realize, it's better than living in a total bubble, I guess. (I strive to live in a partial bubble.) Knowing is half the battle! And the other half is wine. Anyway...

I used to be involved in the graphics-making community on livejournal, back when such a thing was a thing. I'm still friends on FB with a couple people from that community, and one of them is friends with someone I knew slightly back then. Which is how I discovered said person has gone full crazypants. (Which is a shame, cause she was always very nice.)

1. She believes the earth is flat, so anything else can be taken with a grain of salt. I have no idea why people believe this way or what they get out of it. I try to be respectful of people's opinions as long as they aren't discriminatory, but denial of fact cannot be called an opinion. She also believes 9/11 was perpetrated by the gov't. Hoo boy. Again, what do you gain from such beliefs? What is the pull? Boredom? Just flat out dumbness?

2. Nothing pains me more than someone who seems like a genuinely devout Christian supporting this madman in the White House. You KNOW about the devil being the deceiver, you know it like you know your own name, yet you can't see the deception when it's right in front of you? What have you been studying for your whole life?? That's like going to medical school for eight years and then applying to be a zookeeper. That's like studying for a driving test and showing up in a helicopter. HOW DO YOU MISS THE POINT SO BADLY???

And does it even need to be said that if he were "someone else" doing incredibly immoral things, talking about women that way (i.e., someone on the other political "side"), you'd be denouncing his immoral ass so fast his unholy head would spin? But nope, since he's saying some shit you wanna hear, it doesn't matter if he's the most ungodly person to ever live. I don't even wanna know what kind of mental gymnastics it takes to get there, but I'll give it the gold medal in uneven parallel stupid.

This is why religion and politics should not mix.

Last point here... I don't usually condone cherry-picking Bible quotes to make a point, but this one is so obvious and all-encompassing, I don't think it could be seen that way. It's not like trying to find a specific quote stating your personal belief that gay people shouldn't eat blueberry pancakes on Sunday, or something.

Romans 16:18

For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

Matthew 7:15

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

2 Corinthians 11:14

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

In other words, the deceiver will not appear to you as an enemy, he will not be a "damn dirty liberal," he will be trying to appeal to YOU, facebook conspiracy theory lady, to lead you astray. THAT'S WHAT DECEPTION IS. Now I'm not saying the orange shit demon is the literal devil, though he is kinda the right hue. But an instrument of evil? Absolutely. So just be watchful, folks. That's all I can say. Now on to the funny!


3. So yeah, while points one and two make me range in emotion from head-scratchy to impotent rage, this last bit is hilariously Onion-worthy. Keep in mind, this is a real person, under age 30, who is being serious, or at least serious in her beliefs if this is an attempt at "humor."

"...women were using the pink yarn to create hats so that the women who are going to march tomorrow will be able to wear a pink hat to show that they are united and are standing up that they don't support Donald Trump as their new president. I bring this up not to anger anyone but to point out the silver lining. Donald Trump is already making America great again and this is why:
1. Women are accepting their natural roles in society by knitting pink hats for other men & women.
2. They are purchasing pink yarn from their local shops which thus turn into profit for that local shop. Some shops have gained nearly $6,000 in sales just off of selling pink yarn!
3. Women are working harder than they ever have to get these pink hats finished by tomorrow (their words not mine) which in turn shows that they can work hard if they really want to accomplish a goal.
So scoff at Donald Trump, hold your "not my president" signs, go out and protest his inauguration tomorrow but you can not deny that Donald Trump isn't already creating new jobs and bringing in profit for businesses whom usually wouldn't have made that much profit before hand. I can't wait to see what else Donald Trump can do for this country if he's already creating jobs before he officially becomes the President of the United States."

Got that? A majority-hated person is actually doing good by being so hated. Protesters create business so we can all thank him for that... somehow! Thank you for being so repulsive people are spending their hard-earned money on hating you! Think of all the posterboard being sold for protest signs! All the markers! The PUFFY PAINT and GLITTER!! Boy howdy, if you've ever wanted to invest in an arts and crafts store, now's your chance! MAKE JOANN FABRICS GREAT AGAIN!

guys... THAT'S LIKE THANKING SATAN FOR BIBLE SALES CAUSE HE'S MENTIONED IN IT! How do you even twist your brain into such a crazy-stuffed pretzel? I'd award a mental gymnastics medal for that feat, but such a maneuver can't possibly exist in our reality. That's some Matrix level shit right there.

And with that, I've used up my entire quota of capslock and exclamation marks for 2017. So enough politics and religion, and back to important things like music! (Well ok, I do think religion is important, but not to talk about on the damn internet.) It's funny though, cause I was thinking this morning about why, specifically, the events of the last year have made my brain shut down, aside from the obvious that it's awful. Lots of things are awful, why does this affect me so strongly? The injustice, the cruelty, the everything-about-it is enough to trigger the strongest person, but I think what really got me is the stupidity. The in-your-face, unwavering, double-down stupidity of it all. That's just something I can't deal with. But then I read that little piece of brilliance, and I actually laughed. I was able to laugh at stupid again, instead of burying my head in the sand. ...Progress?

Oh, and this woman has two kids and will probably have more. Sleep tight folks!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

tbt ~ me and Frankie Avalon

This song still cracks me up. And Mezmerize is one of the best albums of the 2000s. Endless replay value, even now. Maybe especially now.

Monday, March 06, 2017

New music Monday ~ Jaime Wyatt and Creeper

Some great country and rock to start off the week!

Jaime Wyatt's Felony Blues blew me away. I knew I needed some new music while waiting for Creeper's album to drop in a couple weeks, but I had no idea what, and this turned out to be exactly "it." I was really wanting to feel the country vibe again and there was a lot of buzz around this album oh and hey, it's only 7 songs! Which would probably explain why I fully delved into Felony Blues over the weekend and still haven't listened to all of Miranda's album yet. Sigh. (I've liked some of what I've heard though - more on that later.)

As Felony Blues is only 7 tracks I found myself getting into each one, from her gorgeous cover of one of my favorite Hag songs "Misery and Gin," to the rollicking "Stone Hotel," to the thoughtful "From Outer Space," which I related to quite a bit. For as short as it is, it feels very satisfying. It's the Snickers bar of albums! I have a special love for California based country, for obvious reasons. This will definitely make my favorite albums of the year list; we'll see where it ends up! (I've hardly listened to any new music so far this year. Umm. I've been listening to a lot of Tom Waits, System of a Down, 90s stuff like Liz Phair and Letters to Cleo, sort of all over the place. I expect that will change come spring, when I come out of hibernation and turn into a butterfly and all that good stuff.)

This album might be just the thing to pull me back into country after a very rock-oriented year. As I said once, I tend to listen to rock more when I'm sad/pissed off and country more when I'm happy, so with how the past year has gone it hasn't looked good for country. Felony Blues is a pretty rock and roll country album though, which isn't to say it sounds like rock, it just has the right sound and attitude for where I'm at. And I do think it will appeal to more than just country fans.

Of course rock and roll continues to save my soul, and this 3rd release from Creeper's upcoming Eternity in Your Arms LP might be their best yet. Powerful, theatrical but somehow down to earth?* with a chorus built to shout at sold out arenas. These guys are gonna be big, or at least as big as rock can be anymore, which is to say "considerably less big than mumble rap and pop songs that sound like they were written by two year olds**," but I digress. Mainstream music can go off the rails all it wants, why would I listen when there's stuff like this?

*pretty much how I'd describe Creeper as a whole

**seriously, "I Hate U I Love U," fuck off with that. Who actually listens to that?? How does that speak to anyone? Yet more people will hear that piece of crap than anything by the two artists I mentioned here. Also fuck the Chainsmokers, for no particular reason except fuck them. *shrug* What're you gonna do. Just keep on supporting what speaks to you and it'll be okay, I think.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Feel the Love Friday ~ Daryle Singletary

I tried to not overload my "love songs" list with too much 90s country, but this was an unforgivable oversight.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Here, have some love songs.

Okay, love songs aren't really my thing. I tend to prefer songs about different things, and most love songs I like are either about heartbreak or have lines like "I wanna die holding hands." Hey, that's romantic, dammit. But here are some actual love songs I do like!

How 90s country can you get? This is just so darn pretty and sincere sounding, I can't resist. "Me and You" and "Fall in Love" are good too, but this hits my heart just right.

So this guy's seen some weird shit, bro. He's seen "old men crying at their own grave sides, And I've seen pigs all sitting watching, picture slides." Damn, 1972! But he's never seen anything like you, woman. That's not a bad pick up line, at least in the context of the 70s. I'm sure I would have been flattered. Also, catchy as all hell.

Alison Krauss covers the Beatles, and it's pure otherworldly beauty. I've heard this a million times and it still gives me chills.

This might actually be my favorite Green Day song, off of Uno of all things. This is just pure 60s-esque pop rock perfection, a love letter from Billie Joe Armstrong to his wife. I can't even imagine all the shit they've been through over the years, but she'll always be his sweet 16. Awwww, you guys.

Classic. Classic classic classic classic classic.

I love the Ronettes, and this is one of the most evocative songs I've ever heard. It sounds like walking in a cool, refreshing rain with the one you love and laughing and the rest of the world not mattering and all that good stuff. D'awwww. Okay, that's about as mushy as I get. Back to songs about death!

You know I had to include the "I wanna die holding hands" song, right?

"The world says they'll never make it, love says they will." This song always struck me with how real it sounds, like these are actual people you would know. What I don't like about so many love songs is how fake and plastic lovey-dovey they sound. This is more the reality, and it's still pretty darn romantic. This is the kind of song that actually makes you believe in love in the face of, y'know... life.

This song is what love sounds like. Love in its purest form, like if love was a bird soaring above a mountaintop. I don't think the Toys ever had another hit, which is a real shame.

And finally...

It's been a rough start to 2017, and I've been listening to a lot of Tom Waits. He's probably not the first name you think when you hear "love song," but here it is, my favorite romantic song of all time. Of course it sounds melancholy as all hell, but oh man is it beautiful.

"Ain't no good thing ever dies
I'm gonna take it with me when I go."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Music Monday

Thing that makes me happy 100% of the time: finding new music I love.

Seriously, what else makes a person happy 100% of the time?? Even beer has its downsides. But music... I went through a period not too long ago when I didn't get into much new stuff. It can be daunting; there's so much out there. Sometimes too much choice actually works against you, cause it's so overwhelming. It can be disappointing; often things just don't "click" with you. Things that other music people are raving about and you wonder, what am I missing? But that's the beauty of music, if it hit everyone the same way it would be boring. So my advice for this Monday is to just keep looking, keep trying everything. When something hits, it's well worth it. There's not another feeling in the world like it.

And new music doesn't have to be "new." Some my favorite stuff I found the past year is from the 70s. It's kind of like the thrift shopping of music. I'M GONNA POP SOME TAGS. So yeah, I've found that a mix of new-new, old-but-new, and old-favorite music is the way to maximum happiness.

I know it's a pretty sad time right now, but this is the time we're on this planet and it's all we've got, so don't let the world take your joy. There's no shame in being joyful and celebrating the good. No one thinks on their deathbed, "I wish I'd spent more time being pissed off!" Life is a gift, in a much greater perspective than some stupid political or cultural shit of the time.

This isn't a new song but it's one that fills me with pure joy. I liked it right away, but it's just grown on me more and more. I think this was only an honorable mention on my 2015 songs list and NOPE, this is top 10 all the way baby. Damn is this thing underrated, even by me. :( It was a hit, but I feel like it's one of those underappreciated hits that will go on to become a classic. You've just got to listen to it a few times to let all the different parts gel together. Then it stops sounding messy and starts getting into your bloodstream, all your major organs, even your spleen. Every part of this is amazing, from Macklemore rapping about mopeds, to the old-school dudes sounding fly as hell, to the sample of SAFETY DANCE, to the GLORIOUS voice on the chorus that turns this thing into MOTHERFUCKING GLAM HIP HOP, and if that doesn't sound like the coolest thing ever then you can just cut the bullshit and get off my mullet. Cause I'ma keep it hella nineteen eighty seven.

This is the Bohemian Rhapsody of hip hop. I think this is my favorite song of 2015, honestly, or at least tied with Exes and Ohs cause that song's dope as shit. See, this thing is contagious. And I'm not even much of a hip hop fan, but this is what hip hop should be. Nary a mumbler to be found here, just pure energy. This is #1 on my "Happy Songs for a New Year" playlist. You know what's so great about it, besides everything? It's a feel good song, but not in the standard way. This ain't "Fight Song" or its ilk. It comes at you sideways, like -- mopeds?? What? And then the vibe hits you. And then you want a moped, too. And you wanna carry that singer around in your pocket so he's there whenever you need him.

Can we have Macklemore & Ryan Lewis back, please? They're exactly what popular music needs right now to wake the fuck up from its coma.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Feel Good Friday

The triumphant return of feel good Friday, when we need it the most! On this sad, confusing day, let's celebrate finding common ground.

for reference

MST3Ks I've rewatched so far this year:

Women of the Prehistoric Planet
Stranded in Space
Attack of the Eye Creatures
Brain that Wouldn't Die
Teenage Strangler
Alien from LA
The Dead Talk Back
The Creeping Terror
Incredible Melting Man
Terror from the Year 5000
Future War
Blood Waters of Doctor Z
Track of the Moon Beast

Will update as I go along. This year I'm gonna finally try to get through the season K episodes. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

One thing that occurs to me in this new year is how bloody sick I am of everything on the internet except this blog, youtube, and Rifftrax. I'm sick of twitter, sick of facebook, sick of all the same games I've been playing for the last 10 years. I need some new shit. I'm not sure what, but there's no time like the new year for a new start. I'll probably still use twitter, just not as much. I don't need to read 47 takes on the latest Trump outrage that will amount to nothing. It just fills me with hate and fear, and I don't want to be filled with hate and fear, I want to be filled with delicious caramel.

There's no point in following current events because nothing's about facts or fairness anymore, just "sides." We've sequestered ourselves into oblivion. Maybe there's still a coming-back point from this, I don't know. Right now it just seems to get scarier and scarier. Internet comments-section vitriol has become reality, maybe not in everyday life but in the very last place it should be, government. This is what years of people saying "but it's just the internet" in response to very real claims of harassment has wrought. It's bled into real life because, gasp! it turns out the internet was real life and real people all along.

So yeah, I need a complete mental cleanse. And lots of Rifftrax. And caramel.
You know, of all the pop "artists" I wouldn't expect to dedicate a post to, it's this Daya chick. The most notable thing about her, other than how she seems to be a sentient form of autotune, is that her album title rips off my favorite pop-country album, The Wreckers' Stand Still Look Pretty. Yes, I have a favorite pop country album. No, pop country ain't all bad. BUT I DIGRESS. And really, why wouldn't I. You can just stop reading here and go listen to the Wreckers; you'll probably get more out of it.

But here's Daya, and her song "Sit Still Look Pretty," the latest attempt at faux feminism from the Meghan Trainor School of well, Faux Feminism. Fauxminism, if you will. This woman is the less talented Meghan Trainor. Let that sink in. There's a line in here about how Snow White got the seven dwarves to do her chores, "cause that's not what a lady's for" - but that is what a dwarf is for?? What the hell? I'm not even gonna unpack all the downright uncomfortable stupidity in that lyric. Like Meghan Trainor's "Nah I'm just foolin'" bs, it's probably meant to be a joke. These people have no idea how humor works. Or Snow White. Or men. Or Women. Or music. Also, everyone has to do chores. It's like brushing your teeth; some shit you just gotta do. Can we maybe, idk, not say terrible cringey things in songs that are supposed to empower women? Cause you're not really helping the cause.

"I'm just a pretty girl in a pretty world." Okay, it's pretty lame to call yourself pretty, especially in a song about how you don't want that image, but whatever. "Pretty world" though... where are you living, the Disneyland Hotel?? That would explain the Snow White thing, but damn. Pretty world my ass.

And then we get to the chorus, slamming some guy for dreaming of "picket fences and trophy wives" and umm... you DO know it's not the 50s, right? While I'm completely cool with traditional gender roles, if it's what both people want, it's not exactly what's expected in 2017. I mean, maybe if you're dating a 60-year old. But "trophy wife" isn't really something that's out there being presented to young women, like by a world leader or someth---

OH WAIT. Oh God. Oh shit. In eight days the US is gonna have First Lady Sit Still Look Pretty. In eight days the planet might also go kafoom and we won't have to worry about any of this, but whatever.

You know what, you just carry on, Daya. Give 'em hell, or at least heck. Get some singing lessons though. Autotune is meant to be a band aid, not a life raft. And let's not encourage dwarf enslavement either.

I do apologize for all the political references lately, but, y'know...

That sign is my spirit animal.

And here's a good song to go out on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Okay 2017, we need to have a little chat.

Yes, already. Why? Because this. THIS.

That is the number one song this week. NO! don't click on it, you will most certainly get at least a mild STD. Apparently this song hit number one because of a meme and guys, really. Is this really how we want to start off the year, with more of this bullshit? I'd ask why the hell the charts can't keep meme/vine "hits" off and only count real songs, but maybe it's the same reason the US can't keep narcissistic lunatics out of the white house. Clearly, there are no adults in charge, and nobody cares. "Oh well!" They say with a collective shrug. So we get Trump and WHATEVER IN THE LIVING FUCK a "lil Uzi Vert" is. Is it anything like a "Lil Yachty?" I don't know, but I'm gonna make my own rapper and call him, say, Lil Banana Plug. I'm going to build him out of clay. And a banana. He will be HUGE.

Because people are stupid, no matter how many calendar pages you turn. *sigh*

Also, WTF is this crap? Didn't we send this kind of "country" packing about two years ago? I'd rather listen to The Weeknd sing about Brantley Gilbert. Damn.

No, don't click on that either. You'll get an STD and a meth habit.

We're not off to a great start here, 2017. It's kind of a cross between 2016 and 2014, and NOBODY WANTS THAT. Man, 2015 was a good year. I should have appreciated it more.

But it's still early! You have plenty of time to turn it around, 2017. That's why I'm talking to you now, before it's too late and you go full 2016 on us. No more meme shit. No more bro country, of all things. No more songs built on funny-sounding words like "juju" or "boujee." What are you, 6? No more lowest common denominator. Let's aim higher. At least, let's not pick the rappers with the stupidest names, cause I'm pretty sure they're just trolling us now.

Y'know, sometimes I look at the charts of yesteryear, and there's dated stuff, of course, and the occasional weird novelty hit that couldn't possibly be understood 40 years later, like "Disco Duck." But most of it, you can either say, "hey, this is still good!" or "well, it's of its time." This meme/vine crap has a shelf life of like, nothing. Not only will it be forgotten and met with a genuine "huh??" in 40 years, it'll be forgotten by the end of the year. (By all except those who make worst lists, anyway.) And sure, pop music by nature can be disposable. But it doesn't have to be. And this goes beyond even disposable; at least most things you dispose of were once things. They didn't start out as garbage. These meme songs are the only product I can think of to be actually manufactured as garbage. I can't imagine what people looking at these charts in the future will think. There's just no context to it; there's no context now. Just, "whee! garbage!" *throws banana peels around*

I hope this ends soon, or music charts are going to lose any meaning they might have once had. "Good," you might say, but honestly, looking back at the charts of the past can be kind of fun. I'm glad they exist. The same can't be said of today. So, Save the Charts, or something. It's basically a permanent record of music, and is this really what you want on your permanent record? Lil Bicycle Seat? Lil French Toast? Lil Paddle Boat? Okay, I could do this all day. Instead I'll go do something productive like pet my cats.

EDIT: "To be fair," I think if the internet was around 30-50 years ago and the charts counted meme shit, there would have been just as much garbage then as there is now. I'm not saying "the good old days" were better, I'm saying the charts shouldn't count internet shit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Favorite albums I heard in 2016, part 2 ~ blame rock and roll

Before I get into the honorable mentions, a couple notes.

1. My list is weird, and not like the critics' lists. I don't listen to hip hop, or much pop beyond singles, so that stuff isn't on my list, no matter how good it might be. I don't have time to take in all the rock and country I want to, let alone genres that don't really speak to me.

2. "Um Melissa, you have Blink-182 on your list and not David Bowie, you are the shittiest music person in all the land!" When I say I'm a David Bowie fan, I mean it. But I'm specifically a fan of his 70s work - Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs. I love those albums. When an artist has a long career, not everything they do is gonna resonate with you. In the case of Bowie, he moved away from the glam rock I enjoyed and into a more jazzy sound, which is not my thing at all. I tried to listen to Blackstar, as it was the last album from a great artist and very critically acclaimed, but I just couldn't get into it. I like melodic rock and country; jazz and other dissonant music is not for me. So I'll enjoy his legacy in my way, and I'm glad that so many people with a wider musical palate than mine enjoyed his final work.

Okay! Honorable mentions, in no particular order.

Green Day - Revolution Radio
Probably nothing will ever live up to the glory days of Green Day for me - that's Dookie, Insomniac, and Nimrod. But this album is still damn good. I'd put it on par with 21st Century Breakdown, which I think is super underrated. Like Weezer, I've been into this band since the early 90s. I guess their "trio" was kind of the equivalent to Weezer's bad period, though the uneven Uno actually has some of my favorite Green Day songs on it. But yeah, basically the trio would have made one really good album, not three. So this is Green Day back in form - not revolutionary, but an overall solid album from a veteran band I hope never goes away. Favorites - Forever Now (an all time fave), Ordinary World, Bouncing Off the Wall, Somewhere Now, Outlaws, Revolution Radio

Blackberry Smoke - Like An Arrow
Following up Holding All the Roses was a tough task. It was my favorite album of last year, and destined to be a classic. That said, this is a really good album. BBS has a way of capturing that classic 70s country-rock sound and making it sound fresh, not derivative. They feel very comfortable, in the best way. My only "complaint" about this album is it doesn't have tracks that reach out and grab me in quite the same way as Woman in the Moon, Living in the Song, No Way Back to Eden, and the title track from Holding All the Roses. But I'm not sure that's really a fair complaint. So just taking this album on its own, it's a catchy, ear-pleasing, rockin' collection of songs, and probably the first thing I'd put on at a barbecue or tailgate. I'll be playing this a lot next summer. Favorites - Let it Burn (can't stop listening to this!), Like An Arrow, The Good Life, Ain't Gonna Wait, Waiting for the Thunder, Sunrise in Texas

Blink-182 - California
This was my surprise of the year. I like these guys ok, but I was never a huge fan. I only have one other of their albums, the self-titled one with "I Miss You." But this - this is pretty much like a new band. Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba replaced Tom Delonge, which of course was controversial for longtime fans, but for me it's an improvement. This album is just one hook after another, and I gotta say I love the production. I've heard some criticism of it being too "slick," but to me it sounds clean and well-suited to the music. *shrug* So yeah, I like Alkaline-182. Blink Trio. Whatever. Best set of songs I've heard from these guys. More mature, but not boring at all. Actually, more interesting. Favorites - Los Angeles, Left Alone, Bored to Death, Teenage Satellites, Cynical, California

The Struts - Everybody Wants
Another UK band I got into this year, this one has the distinction of a frontman who sounds like he is enjoying every single second of his life, to the point he must roll his r's from the pure joy of it all! There's one word to describe this album: fun. Fun and glam. If you want a dose of just unabashed rock for the sake of rock, put this on. Crank it. Favorites - Rrrrrroll Up, Kiss This, Could Have Been Me, Put Your Money On Me, Young Stars

Bleached - Welcome the Worms
Another dark horse late entry! Well this one was released in April, but I discovered them late in the year because of Honeyblood. Bleached is an LA trio of kickass women who clearly grew up listening to Joan Jett. Good old fashioned hooky 80s-esque rock. I needed this in my life. Favorites - Wednesday Night Melody, Sour Candy, Hollywood We Did It All Wrong, Sleepwalking, Keep on Keepin' On, Wasted on You

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter
I loved this when it came out, and while it didn't stay with me all year, I think we can blame rock and roll for that more than any shortcoming of the album. Rock pretty much took over my year, especially in October with its four big releases. This might have fallen by the wayside in the latter half of 2016, but it's definitely one I'll return to in the future, with Margo's beautiful pure vocals and Loretta Lynn-esque sharpness and sass. A fantastic debut, to say the least. Revisiting this album to make my list was a pleasure, and I feel inspired to listen to more country this year. Let 2017 be the year of balance! Favorites - Hurtin' On the Bottle, Tennessee Song, About to Find Out, This Town Gets Around, Hands of Time, Since You Put Me Down

A few more notes before I put 2016 behind me for good. Well, not these albums obviously, but the rest of it!

While that isn't everything I heard and enjoyed in 2016, it is what I think I'll return to the most. For instance, while I liked Sturgill Simpson's album, it isn't one I've gone back to a lot. Maybe that will change in time, who knows. (I have to shout out "Sea Stories" though, for having crazy Tom Waits-like lyrics set to a country sound. Amazing.) I also enjoyed Lydia Loveless' surprising, upbeat pop-rock album, but I listened to it late and it hasn't sunk in enough for me to know where it stands.

I also wanna quickly shout out three albums from 2015 that I didn't listen to until last year - Elle King's Love Stuff, Best Coast's California Nights, and The Maine's American Candy. These would have all made my 2015 list if I'd heard them.

Finally, some 2016 albums I missed and still want to listen to - Miranda Lambert, William Michael Morgan, Whiskey Myers, Dolly Shine, Mark Chesnutt - yeah, I really fell behind on country last year. I'm probably forgetting some too. And lots coming out this year, both country and rock, starting with Creeper next month!

Anyway, here's to a 2017 filled with good music and good vibes. The world is a mess, but there's still plenty to be thankful for. You can't control the outside, but you can control how you think, what you say, how you treat people, and what you choose to let in. Let's do good, and think positive. Remember - any change that comes with a new year is only psychological, but that doesn't mean it can't be real. ✌️❤️🤘

Monday, January 09, 2017

Favorite albums I heard in 2016

Just titling these lists is hard. Best? Favorite? Like, with hit songs there's a finite number, so it's pretty easy to say which I think are "best" and "worst." Outside of hits there's like a million different things, and even "favorite" sounds weird, as if I listened to a huge body of work like a real critic and went, "yeeees, these are my favorites." When in reality I listened to but a teardrop in the ocean. Though I did listen to more last year than I have in many a year, so heck it, let's just get on with it. Here's what I heard and liked, top 6.

My number one is a tie between two EPs. Yes, we're off to a rollicking start. But I figure, two EPs kinda equals an album, and these are my two favorite releases I heard all year, so pshaw to convention!

1. Letters to Cleo - Back to Nebraska, and Creeper - The Stranger

I love every single song on these two EPs, for a total of ten songs I love! For some reason melodic alt-rock is what I craved most this year, maybe because I was missing it so much and didn't even know it. Like, I've spent the last 10 years missing 90s country, and I guess this year I finally got around to rock. Back to Nebraska is classic LTC - they literally sound like they didn't miss a beat since "Here and Now." Every song is tight and catchy as hell. Four of them are pure fun, and the title track, my favorite of the year, will break your heart.

The Stranger was my introduction to up and coming UK band Creeper, and of course I immediately checked out their other two EPs. Everything they've put out has been good, but The Stranger is their most solid yet, which has me salivating for their upcoming LP. All five songs are brilliant, with "Astral Projection" being my top favorite. I'd say their style is kinda early-mid 2000s rock - fans of MCR and AFI will probably like them. But I don't really like comparing them to other bands, because their sound and aesthetic is so unique right now. I feel like I found a gem here, and if they blow up after their album drops, I'll have an opportunity to be quite smug. Hooray!

2. Brandy Clark - Big Day in a Small Town
A country concept album, performed by one of my favorite singer/songwriters. This pretty much couldn't fail, but it actually exceeded my expectations, right down to the album artwork. The cover art immediately pulls you into the world of this small town and its inhabitants, with each song being a stop along the way. I genuinely feel like I got to know some forgotten people after listening to this album. I had a similar experience with Don Henley's wonderful album last year, but this one takes the concept a step further. It's like driving through a small town and getting a glimpse behind the curtains, but in a non-creepy way. And I love her voice so much, it's just so natural sounding, everything she sings sounds 100% real. I can't overstate how refreshing this is in our world of artifice and faux "reality."

Favorite tracks - Since You've Gone to Heaven, Love Can Go to Hell, Three Kids No Husband, Soap Opera, Homecoming Queen, Girl Next Door (Brandy Clark does Carrie Underwood-esque rock country. If that sounds bad, I assure you it is not. It kicks ass).

3. Weezer - White Album

I'm gonna talk a little bit about Weezer, a band I got into at the very beginning, 1994!

Since LTC reunited, I can no longer say Weezer is my favorite band. But they're close, especially considering I once wrote them off about 10 years ago. Yeah, I can't stand Weezer's biggest hit, "Beverly Hills," or pretty much Make Believe as a whole. Which was disappointing as their previous release, the catchy, hard rock-edged Maladroit, was and still is my favorite of their albums. It was a startling contrast, and in the following years, I drifted away from this band I once loved. (I also got back into country big time, and kinda drifted from rock in general.) Which is a good thing, because I only like a couple songs in total from their following three albums. ("Ruling Me" and "Trainwrecks," both from Hurley, are amazing. The rest of their material from 2005-2010 is skippable, imo.)

Which brings us to 2014 and Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which has turned out to be my second favorite Weezer album. What a stunning return to form! I think there are only one or two tracks I skip, and everything else is a major standout. So when I heard they were releasing a new album in 2016, I was STOKED. I didn't care for the first single, but then I heard "Do You Wanna Get High" and "King of the World," and YESSSSS! And those aren't even the best songs on the album.

The White Album - and yes, I love that they had the balls to call it that since it actually delivers quality, unlike "Black Beatles" - shows that Everything Will Be Alright was no fluke. Weezer is back, making the catchy, quirky, melodic guitar rock they were born to make. And this one has a California beachy vibe, which makes it extra appealing to me. There are maybe two tracks on here that are "eh" for me, and the rest I love. I can't wait to see what they do next! I'd love another harder-edged project like Maladroit, which is possibly the most underrated album by a popular band ever, seriously.

Favorite tracks - California Kids, Endless Bummer, LA Girlz, King of the World, Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori, Do You Wanna Get High

4. Eric Church - Mr. Misunderstood

THIS ALBUM WAS "ACTUALLY" RELEASED IN NOVEMBER 2015. There, got that out of the way. I'm including it because 1. November, seriously. 2. All the singles impacted in 2016. 3. I listened to it in 2016.

So, Eric Church. An artist I had forever pegged as having "potential," until I heard this album and went, "Oh. Potential realized!" It took so long I was actually kinda surprised. This album is a love letter to music in many ways, with songs like "Record Year" the title track, and "Mistress Called Music," and it had absolutely no business being as big as it was in the awfulness that was 2016, but somehow it struck a chord. I credit Eric Church every bit as much as Chris Stapleton for the return of quality in mainstream country. Oh we have a long way to go, there's still a lot of boring dreck and inane pop, but I see the scales gradually balancing. And I'm really curious to see where Eric Church goes from here, now that I know he can do this.

Production-wise, this is the second appearance on this list for Jay Joyce, who also produced Brandy Clark's album. Looking at his previous work, he also did Cage the Elephant's first three albums, i.e., three of my favorite albums. So well done, Jay Joyce! In my reading I also learned that Eric Church was once kicked off a Rascal Flatts tour for playing too long, and that is rock and roll as hell so respect, man.

Favorite tracks - Record Year, Knives of New Orleans, Mistress Called Music, Three Year Old, Kill a Word, Mixed Drinks About Feelings, oh hell all of them. (The title track is great too, but it's reached overplay status for me.)

5. Honeyblood - Babes Never Die

Ooh, a last-minute dark horse! Okay, this album was released in November. Of 2016. So by my previous logic it should actually be on next year's list but oh fuck it, when have I ever let logic stop me? I listened to this in 2016, so that's that. Not only did I listen to it, I binge-listened, I listened to the hell out of this album, if I may borrow a Rifftraxism. So, I started following some alt rock youtubers in 2016. Most of them are about 15 years younger than me but hey, they have good taste. I mean, they're like me 15 years ago, which isn't really all that different from me now.

So thanks to that, I found Creeper. And UK alt-rockers Honeyblood, a duo of Scottish women with the kind of harmonies that literally make you feel like honey is running through your blood. Seriously, good name choice guys. Also, in case you didn't know they were from the UK, one of them has the last name Tweeddale and you cannot convince me that isn't a character from some whimsical British children's book, likely featuring umbrellas. The Grand Adventures of Sir Edmund Tweeddale. He has a pipe. He's also a bear. Okay, I'm done.

Was I talking about music, at some point? Right, so I was watching a video of someone talking about records, feeling a bit jealous because I kinda wish I could be one of those people who collects vinyl, but I also enjoy not being broke. Anyway, one of the records was Honeyblood's single "Ready for the Magic" with the B side, "Babes Never Die." I heard a few notes of "Ready" and it was like I was back in the 90s. The nostalgia was overpowering, so off to iTunes I went. A quick listen through determined I wanted the album, and it kind of snuck up on me how much I've played this thing the last month or so. It had to go on the list. Your enjoyment of this may depend on how fondly you remember girly grunge rock from the 90s, but I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy this even without the nostalgia factor. It's all very catchy, buzzy, lush melodies and harmonies, and standout lyrics like "Walking at Midnight."

"No one dares to ask where you've been
Feared of what you might tell them
No one dares to ask where you've been
They can only dream

Walking at midnight, midnight
Sink into the evening tide
Walking at midnight, midnight
Let the nighttime be a disguise"

Favorite tracks - Walking at Midnight, Babes Never Die, Sea Hearts, Hey Stellar, Justine Misery Queen, Ready for the Magic

6. The Pretty Reckless - Who You Selling For
A more diverse outing for The Pretty Reckless, whose first two albums I also really enjoyed, despite occasionally falling into rock cliché. This album has touches of classic rock, Beatlesesque acousticness ("Bedroom Window"), and southernish rock on "Back to the River." This album, I'd say, goes less for shock than their previous efforts, and more for a personal, confessional tone. The rock bombast is still there on songs like "Prisoner," "Oh My God," and the gorgeously intricate, classic-rock feel of "Hangman/The Walls are Closing In." I love Taylor Momsen's voice, it has the ability to sound both rough and fragile, like Chrissie Hynde. And yes, the frontwoman for this kickass rock band once played Cindy Lou Who in The Grinch. Life is amazing and wonderful, really.

Favorite tracks - Back to the River, Hangman/The Walls Are Closing In, Who You Selling For, Prisoner, The Devil's Back, Take Me Down

And that's the favorites! Honorable mentions coming soon.