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April 23, 2007

that's a blast from the past

I just read the Stranger's four star review of Amy Winehouse's black to black, where it mentions a youtube video of her singing a duet of Beat It.

Anyway, of course I immediately listen to it. My mom is sleeping in the other room but I turn it low.

It's crazy... she sings it in this really wacky experimental way... perhaps just to piss off her incredibly well-groomed co-duet singer. As the stranger reviewer points out, even though she seems a little wacky about it, I think it's on purpose, and she's pitch perfect.

I listen to it quietly, but I hear her stir as the song ends. "Sorry mom," I say.

"That's a blast from the past," she says, mostly asleep.

A pause, then, "I was dreaming about Robin."

"Old Robin or new Robin?"

"Old Robin." (Then something about why it's silly I'd think she'd be dreaming of new Robin).

I thought about it for a second, "What did she say?"

"She didn't say anything," my mom said, with a DUH tone in her voice, "she was listening to Beat It."

April 19, 2007

this is so amazing to me

I'm tremendously appreciative to whoever did TheBudgetGraph.com. They publish a visual poster illustrating in a very simple way how the vast monster that is the US. federal discretionary budget is chopped up this year.

Sound exciting? Oh I thought it would. But it really is amazing. I seriously would love to see this put up in every classroom wall in the United States. Let's face it, that's not going to happen.

But, while you have a chance: take a look at what you're paying for. This is what you voted for (I speak to ye as something close anyway to a majority).

From the site:

"The poster provides a uniquely revealing look at our national priorities, that fluctuate yearly, according to the wishes of the President, the power of Congress, and the will of the people. If you pay taxes, then you have paid for a small part of everything in the poster."

The online version of the poster itself also lets you zoom in on it like a fractal, or google maps of a distant land.

April 18, 2007

mother, do you think they'll like this post?

I once had this friend who really liked Pink Floyd, which is cool. He admired how they used layered, but very simple riffs to create moody affecting songs with potent emotional imagery.

But, he had kind of a blind spot.

"Pink Floyd's music isn't depressing," he'd say, "I don't get why people say that."

Well... hmmm... you know, they wrote an album called The Dark Side of the Moon, a concept album about things in life that suck, that's still one of the best selling albums of all times. They wrote an album called The Wall that is about a rock singer's repression by his mother, British society, and the warring world, resulting in his complete and utter madness. Oh yes, they wrote an album called Wish You Were Here about how LSD, madness and the music business destroyed a fellow band mate and bummed the rest of them out. The early albums are perhaps a bit cheerier, but they're not as famous either.

Okay, I'm oversimplifying the themes to all these albums but I, to this day, wonder what he thought Pink Floyd's music was about.

The kicker, though, was when he told me that a friend of his gave his mom a recording of the Pink Floyd song, Mother, for mother's day, and thought it was a really sweet thing to do. I mean, if you barely listen to the song I guess it could sound like a lonely person merely asking his mother for shelter and answers from the world. But to look at the lyrics as a whole it makes it clear that the song is not about a healthy reliance on one's mother:

Momma's gonna make all of your nightmares come true Momma's gonna put all of her fears into you Momma's gonna keep you right here under her wing She won't let you fly, but she might let you sing Momma's gonna keep baby cozy and warm

Weird. He was a weird kid, and he never washed his feet.

Whatever... I was just thinking about it because my mom is coming to town tonight and because I went to go see The Wall laser show a couple of weeks ago. It's a really slow album and I like it a lot better with the movie.

April 17, 2007

a few albums i love that hardly anyone has heard of

Deltron 3030 does Deltron 3030: Del is a weird rapper and has kind of a whiny voice that's hard to get used to. But Deltron 3030 is his cinematic masterpiece, and this album makes his rapping and voice work. It took me a long time to hear the individual songs on this album, because it flows from song to song so well. 3030 is a joke about the future, about the music business, about politics, and probably some other stuff. There's some really phenomenal, mellow and varied hip hop going on. Plus, Del's raps are relaxed and effortless here.

When I just read the Wikipedia page for Deltron 3030, I just discovered a few things I never knew. That this belongs to a genre called "acid rap", and that there's actually a second Deltron 3030 album coming out. I can't believe it, I always assumed it was a one time thing.

Mr. Bungle does California: Most people who have even heard of Mike Patton know him as the lead singer of Faith No More who did that song with the piano where the fish flops around at the end. He's a lovely guy, and I've met more than three guys who say they would go bisexual for Mike Patton only.

But, he's so concerned with his totally insane-o image, that it's hard for him to make the lovely music he's capable of. The first Mr. Bungle album, the self-titled Mr. Bungle, was a side project and he filled it with fart noises, swearing, and noise filled, explosive clownlike heavy metal. It's not the LEAST accessible Mike Patton album but it alienated lots of Faith No More fans who wanted to see what else he was up to.

That's why no one every listened to California. For a normal Mr. Bungle fan it's bizarrely soothing, and to anyone else who heard the first Mr. Bungle album they would assume it was like it. It's not. It couldn't be more different and still have the same person singing.

Mike actually just came out with a new Band/Album (he usually just comes out with new bands instead of new albums) called Peeping Tom. This was his attempt at making quality pop music, instead of crazy heavy metal, or just random insane noise like his other solo/side projects. He said, "If I were going to hear pop music on the radio, this is what I would want it to sound like."

But California is what I'd like it to sound like. Not that there aren't weird noise moments, in general it is a smooth as butter set of groove lounge hymns. This is beautiful music that just gets better with time.

Beck does One Foot in the Grave: Beck... right around the same time he was making crazy money for the first time with Loser, got a side record deal to record two silly albums that he knew had no commercial potential. One was the strange, eclectic, Stereopathic Soulmanure. The other was One Foot in the Grave.

It's a mostly acoustic mix of wierd songs that sound like white trash negro spirituals. I think some of them really are spirituals... like He's a Mighty Good Leader. But some, like I Get Lonesome are spirituals only for suburbanites. He talks about how he stomps on the floor just to make a sound. These are weak-willed, strong-hearted songs to blast in the forest. This is a real, sincere album! It's rough, it's ragged, and it has great songwriting throughout and almost no polish. This is one of those albums I wouldn't blame anyone for hating, but I love it. It's the soundtrack to white loneliness.

April 11, 2007

omen day

What does it mean when, on the same day you see a rainbow terminating smack dab in the middle of St. Mark's Cathedral:

Rainbow Over St. Mark's on Omen Day

and then two dead crows on the sidewalk, side by side:

Two Dead Crows on Omen Day

Forget dream interpretation, how about life interpretation?