Wednesday, February 10, 2016

We Are On A Break, Madeline Albright

I had a real crush on Madeline Albright. I wanted her to be President. She was bad ass. See for yourself.

But like a year later when I was angry nerd blogging about the fucking Iraq invasion motherfucking bullshit for which no one has been tried for war crimes, peace crimes, etc., I posted this:
Then: "It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars."--Kenneth Pollack, former director for Persian Gulf affairs National Security Council; September 2002

Now: Still alive, and still employed. One wonders if his imagination has expanded since 2002. He is a Senior Director at Albright Stonebridge Group which means he somehow works for Madeline Albright. I am now very sad.
I was very sad then and then, 5 years passed, and now I'm worse than sad. But not really sad. It's not the blues, it's not the mean reds, it's the disappointed purples. 

You should know better than this Madeline Albright!

Also, Gloria Steinem, what the vaginal fuck? When asked why Hillary Clinton isn't doing better with younger female voters she said "when you're young, you're thinking, 'Where are the boys?' The boys are with Bernie." Which validates the idea that women can't be trusted to vote because they're always voting with their hormones (or should I say whoremoans [you're welcome]). 

Great job Gloria Steinem.

And Madeline, here's what you could have said instead...

Song of the Day: "Peanuts"

Imagine that I have embedded the scene where Arthur's grandmother or aunt exclaims the word "peanuts" really loudly in the movie A Tale of Two Cities Arthur.

Then write yourself something about The Suffers being from Houston, etc.

And enjoy.

Song: "Peanuts"
Artist: The Suffers

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Me and Kanye

Song of the Day: "Cars"

Car, cars, whatev
Hey. How's it going? How's your weather? It's February 9 and the high today will be 61 (Fahrenheit, else otherwise, wah!). Still kudos to the rodent for being seemingly correct. That's just science you can trust. I mean, what are the odds that he or she could just randomly be right (if he or she is right--two warm days do not an early spring make, unless they do)? (Answer: 1 in 2, or 50%)

Regardless of that introduction, it feels like spring here. And this song sounds like spring. There's your introduction, explained.

This is Porsches who is a dude more than a band (I think) but not an automobile manufacturer (I think).

You're welcome.

Song: "Cars"
Artist: Porsches

Great Moments in Whatever This Is

Today's Rorschach test

Every Coen Brothers Movie Alphabetized

Lots of people are ranking every one of the Coen Brothers' movies. Good for them.

I've taken an easier approach and am alphabetizing them. The order may surprise you (because our education system sucks). You may dispute the inclusion or exclusion of a movie or 2 (or 5) -- I'm eager to see you list, send me the link.

  1. Barton Fink
  2. The Big Lebowski
  3. Blood Simple
  4. Burn After Reading
  5. Fargo
  6. Hail, Caesar!
  7. The Hudsucker Proxy
  8. Inside Llewyn Davis
  9. Intolerable Cruelty
  10. The Ladykillers
  11. The Man Who Wasn't There
  12. Miller's Crossing
  13. No Country for Old Men
  14. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  15. Raising Arizona
  16. A Serious Man
  17. True Grit

Sunday, February 7, 2016

2015 Singles: #10 through #1

#10 "Renegades" by X-Ambassadors
Go forth and have no fear
Come close the end is near
I don't know much more about the band than this: I heard this in a car commercial and then I kept hearing it. Chalk one up for ubiquity.

#9 "Here" by Alessia Cara
Excuse me if I seem a little unimpressed with this
An anti-social pessimist but usually I don't mess with this

The sound and the lyrics are so awesome that I knew this song would rate a position within my top 20 the first time I heard it.

#8 "You Never Asked Me" by Patty Griffin
I should have seen it from one hundred miles away
I should have beaten the odds of it any day

This song sucker punched me the first time I heard it. I feel like 20 years from now it will still bring a tear to my eye. JK, I'll be long dead in 20 years.

#7 "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd
And I know she'll be the death of me, at least we'll both be numb
And she'll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come

Bwahahaha, I am not paying attention. The Weeknd is the fourth of 3 artists to have 2 songs in my top 50. I need to stop.

#6 "I Can't Lose" Mark Ronson/Keyone Starr
I bet you never felt this way before
I bet you never seen so much action on the floor

Mark Ronson wanted to find a new singer for this track and he traveled to Mississippi looking for the right voice (because great voices like this can't be found in Colorado or Ohio). But he did find her, so I guess his way works too.

#5 "My Loving" by Mary J. Blige
Tonight, you don't need an alibi, it's all in your mind
You just need to close your eyes, I'll let you drive
The London Sessions ranked among my favorite albums of 2014 and became a pretty big part of early 2015's soundtrack. I was shocked that nothing from the album earned a Grammy nomination for Blige (she's been nominated 31 times with 9 wins and this album feature collaborations with last year's big Grammy winner, Sam Smith). What's my point? That's it's a god damn great album and if you haven't heard it yet, find it. The library probably has it.

#4 "Wherever Is Your Heart" by Brandi Carlisle
We always find the darkest place to go
God forgive our minds, we were born to roam

The Firewatcher's Daughter made a bunch of best of 2015 lists and picked up Brandi's first Grammy nomination. So when I listened to it, with this amazing rollicking track as the opener, I was a bit sad that nothing on the rest of the album could hold a candle to it. Maybe if this track had been in the middle of the songs I'd feel differently, but I don't see this is a damning of the album, just high praise of the song.

#3 "Parachute" by Chris Stapleton
You only need a roof when it's raining
You only need a fire when it's cold

As you may recall, there are 2 major themes in this year's top 50 list: big dopey pop, excellence in country music, and my inability to count. Stapleton's album is nominated for Album of the Year, a pleasant surprise to many who write the award off as clueless.

I couldn't relate to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, the best reviewed new album of the past 10+ years according to Metacritic, although apparently I wasn't the only one (possibly because I am white or possibly the emperor's clothes are a bit suspect). I mention Lamar primarily because Kanye was robbed of Album of the Year for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (not even nominated) and Butterfly is, according to the aggregated numbers, better, that for the Grammys to go with Stapleton or Swift would be bad for morale. In a year with only one "visible" Oscar nominee of color (in the Original Song category, for the Weeknd), it kinda needs to be Lamar. But if not Lamar, Stapleton is at least a celebration of someone who worked his way up (see also: Esperanza Spalding).

Is it weird that I am writing about Kendrick Lamar in Stapleton's single entry?  Probably. Here's an ass kicking piece of southern fried rock that takes me back to the afternoon bus ride home listening to 96 Rock.

#2 "Hotline Bling" by Drake
Ever since I left the city,
You got a reputation for yourself now

This fucking guy. I'm not sure why I couldn't bring myself to rank "Marvins Room" as the top single from 2011. I opted for Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Brendan's Death Song"--a genuinely good song with a tremendous origin--and then slotted a rather great Decemberists song in at number 2. Take that, talented Canadian who I will surely never meet.

And so he's back... (note to self: change that fucking lock), with another top 5 single on my list in an odd numbered year ("Hold On We're Going Home" was high on my list in 2013). But what's quasi-ironic, or maybe just coincidental, is that the Drake du jour is basically "Marvins Room" with a dancehall beat. And fuck if I don't love them both. Take that, talented Canadian who I will surely never meet, you're making music that I fucking love.

#1 "FourFiveSeconds" by Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney
'Cause all of my kindness
Is taken for weakness

For all the blathering on about big dopey pop and excellence in country, my top song isn't easily categorized (but it's certainly not either of those). It's not a surprise to see Rihanna collaborate with someone, certainly not Kanye, but a song this stripped down as the outcome is a surprise. And while I think I thought well of her voice, I'm pretty sure I didn't appreciate it as much as this song warrants (the girl sings the shit out of this, listen at 1:24--anyone who celebrates Janis shouldn't discount RiRi).

And Kanye doesn't make an ass out of himself. Not even close.

Also check out her eyes at 0:18.

If you can explain why I dig this song so much, let me know. Or if you can tell me what the song's actually about, let me know that too.

2015 Singles: #20 through #11

#20 "Ghost Town" by Sam Outlaw
Wish that you could see my family
Just how it used to be
I caught a bit of Sam Outlaw on a morning news program and was really taken with him. The sound, the song writing, it's solid. Part of the 2015 excellence in country music motif.

#19 "It's Not Over" by On An On
I'd die to get you on the dance floor
To tell you that I love you
I have no recollection of how I came to hear this song, but it's likely to become one of those annual strays that become part of my enduring favorites.

#18 "The Wolf" from Mumford & Sons
Sheltered, you better keep the wolf back from the door
He wanders ever closer every night
Mumford & Sons went later-Kings of Leon rock and the result is great.

#17 "Mr. Misunderstood" by Eric Church
But you love your daddy's vinyl, old-time rock and roll
Elvis Costello, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and think Jeff Tweedy
Is one bad mother

I don't know if Church was officially Bro Country and this is a step to evolve away from that, but I do know it helps my excellence in country music motif for 2015.

#16 "Elevator Operator" by Courtney Barnett
Rips off his tie, hands it to a homeless man
Sleeping in the corner of a metro bus stand and he screams

Courtney Barnett is one of the big breakout artists of the year. It took a bit for me to warm up to her, but I'm there now.

#15 "Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King
One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave

I was delighted to find that there's more to Elle King than just this awesome fucking song.

#14 "King" by Years & Years
Don't wanna wait for you
Don't wanna have to lose
I do remember how this song crossed my path: the Fabulous Clinton, who is fabulous. Case in point, this.

#13 "If Love Was Fair" by Ashley Monroe
I wouldn't be replaying what it was and what it wasn't
Or thinking I could change if I only saw it coming

This is a quintessential country song. Monroe is the other artist with two singles in my top 50. She, like Carly Rae Jepsen, does pretty well on my album list.

#12 "Nobody's Empire" by Belle & Sebastian
I clung to the bed, and I clung to the past
And I clung to the welcome darkness
I incorrectly wrote that there were only 2 artists with 2 songs on my top 50 list. Belle & Sebastian is the third. I think I've fixed all the incorrect references but if I didn't, there are 3.

#11 "Adventure of a Lifetime" by Coldplay
Said I can't go on, not in this way
I'm a dream that died by light of day

I don't know where this fits in the catalog of Coldplay: one off or part of an evolution? But I do know this, it doesn't sound like the song that sound like "Yellow" not the songs that don't sound like "Yellow" ("Clocks"). So that's good.

2015 Singles: #30 through #21

#30 "Farmer's Road" by Telekenisis
Is it right to leave the light on
When there's no one home
I found myself rather taken with Telekenisis after seeing them open for The something (Them?--Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) a couple of years ago. Their recent release Ad Infinitum

#29 "The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment" by Father John Misty
And now every insufferable convo
Features her patiently explaining the cosmos
Of which she's in the middle
When I first heard this song I confused Josh Tillman (Father John Misty's government name) with Pat Tillman which, I think you'll agree, is a pretty big disconnect. Although I'm not sure understanding the real reference helps me understand the title any better.

#28 "24 Frames" by Jason Isbell
This is how you make yourself call your mother
And this is how you make yourself closer to your brother
This song earned Jason Isbell one of his two Grammy nominations: Best Americana Song. They reduced the number of categories significantly a few years ago, so now they're adding some new ones in. At least the new categories tend to favor under recognized genres of music, song writers, producers and engineers where the retired categories were all about the singers.

#27 "Go" by Chemical Brothers/Q-Tip
Grip the moment like you grippin' the earth
Feel the weight and you feelin' the girth
Born in the Echoes, their 8th album, marked the 20th anniversary of their debut So while "Block Rockin' Beats" seems like it was just a couple of years ago, it wasn't. And you're now old. Like me.

#26 "Loud Places" by Jamie xx/Romy
You go to new places with I don't know who
And I don't know how to follow you
Jamie xx--of the band the xx--released his first solo album, In Colour, to pretty high critical acclaim. Why he chose Romy ("Oh, Ramon! Your penis is so powerful! I'm coming!") from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion to collaborate on this song is beyond me.

#25 "Save Your Sin" by Little Big Town
I ain't your mama
I ain't your priest
Little Big Town earned some acclaim with "Girl Crush" but it's this song, that reminds me of Maria McKee at her best, that stuck with me most this past year.

#24 "Run Away With Me" by Carly Rae Jepsen
Up in the clouds, high as a kite, over the city, city
We never sleep, we never try, when you are with me, with me
Continuing the big dopey pop music: Carly Rae Jepsen is one of only three artists with two songs among my top 50 for 2015. E-Mo-Tion is also among my favorites on 2015. Nothing as singularly amazing as "Call Me Maybe" but damn girl, this could be a lasting relationship.

#23 "Restless" by New Order
I want respect
As much, as much as I can get
It feels current and timeless, which kinda describes the 35 years of New Order's music.

#22 "Ship to Wreck" by Florence + the Machines
I can't help but pull the earth around me, to make my bed
And oh my love remind me, what was it that I did?
The Millenial answer to Annie Lennox: more than an epic voice, it's musicality, song writing and a restrained theatricality that will give her a shelf life far longer than Lady Gaga.

#21 "Sandra's Smile" by Blood Orange
It's hard for me to to stay in place
Unless I force myself awake
This song is for Saint Sandra (Sandra Bland).