Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tina Fey has always been funny, but this year her intelligent lacerating wit served with a smile seemed to strike a chord with people. Her career has been on fire this year and while I can't claim to be a die hard fan or anything like that, I've often enjoyed her humor. I played her SNL clips often as they were easily the funniest thing I saw this year. And this year some humor was definitely needed.
Entertainer of the Year - Tina Fey won the AP prize by having success on both the small and big screen during '08 and capped it with the most buzzworthy comic performance of the year as a certain Alaskan Governor.Rorshach Test - A judge ruled in favor of Fox Studios that the Watchmen movie should not have been made without first being offered to them. The decision leaves the film up in the air about how or when or if it could be released. Bummer.
Radio Friendly Unit Shifter - A smashed guitar once owned by Kurt Cobain sold for $100,000.
Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson's new single "My Life Would Suck Without You" is said to be coming out in January. Will she be able to comeback from the commercial disaster she pinned her Artiste' name on My December? It all depends on if Clarkson is willing to play the Pop star game this time out.
For Those About To Write - AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson is going to write a memoir. You mean AC/DC lyrics aren't autobiographical? Johnson doesn't spend all day drinking and ludely coming on to women? The illusion is shattered, my friends.
Purrr Batman - Eartha Kitt, a performer I mainly knew as Catwoman from the 60's Batman tv show, passed away on Christmas Day at age 81. I had no idea she sang "Santa Baby" until the news reported her passing.
Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers! - Bruce Springsteen looks to get in on the Wal-Mart cash cow by releasing a Greatest Hits exclusively to the department store chain. Isn't Wal-Mart the same place that had a problem with "Reno" from the Devils and Dust album?
Blue Morning, Blue Day - Bud Prager, the manager of Foreigner who played an important role in the forming of that band, passed away at age 79.
This Could Be The Right One - Canadian rockers April Wine are lined up for a 2009 Canadian Hall of Fame award just like contemporaries Loverboy. Yes!
Uprising! - Jennifer Aniston's hot streak continues, besting Brad Pitt at the box office with her movie Marley & Me.
Holy Bat Hype! - For a few weeks there's been a lot of buzz on whether or not The Dark Knight will dominate the upcoming Oscars in nominations. Can an Action film take home Oscar gold in a year with little competition? I hope it does, if only to drive a bunch of press about the "unwashed masses" over running the Academy. Should be fun.
Delaney Bramlett - A musician and songwriter who was a fixture in the classic rock scene passed away at age 69. Bramlett co-wrote Eric Clapton's "Let it Rain" and the classic ballad "Superstar".
Second Time Around - All my favorite shows are going into reruns until February. Time to catch up on DVD watching.
No Tube - Warner Bros. pulls their music vids from You Tube over contract negotiations.
Is that The Spirit? - Commercials for the new movie The Spirit features that Frank Miller graphic novel on film look (a lot of black, white and grey tones and what's that called...chiarosquiro (sp?)...lighting enhanced by CGI) that Sin City popularized a few years back. While I thought Sin City was great, I have to admit I'm finding this stylized look annoying in other movies. Probably just me though.
Last Christmas - Every year a certain Christmas tune seems to get played, or maybe I just notice it, more than the others. Last year Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" was omnipresent on the radio and shopping malls. This year was filled with various versions of Wham's "Last Christmas". None of the remakes can top the original though, so here's Wham!
Friday, December 26, 2008
2008 was the year that everything least likely to happen, happened. As I read what I wrote in this post, I see the words "unlikely" or "least likely" pop up everywhere. I have even named a former life long nemesis to this list. It was the year of "Go Figure", it was 2008:
6. Whitesnake - Good to Be Bad
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
It's almost the end of the year so it's time to join the pack and bust out the "Best of the Year" lists. It could have been Guitar Hero, could have been Rock Band or just plain nostalgia but 2008 was a watershed year for Classic Rock. A slew of artists who I spent my high school years jamming to decided to reunite or reconfigure in some way to create new music. I normally pick just Ten favorite songs but this year I have enough for Twenty (I even had more than Twenty)! Most years I struggle just to find four songs to list so this just goes to show what a banner year it was for aging rock stars. Even Chinese Democracy came out (not that I care about the actual disc). So on with the countdown!
20. Lenny Kravitz - It Is Time For A Love Revolution
A brief marching blast of hippie Peace and Love with the reach to call for a cultural shift in values and sell department store clothing at the same time.
19. Chicago - Let's Take A Lifetime
The famed balladeers dial down the bombast and let the gooey syrup flow like Mrs. Butterworth colliding into Aunt Jemima in slow motion.
18. Def Leppard - Hallucinate
Sometimes self reverence pays as the Lep go full on "Photograph" mode with the hooky excess of multitracked vocals and revved up guitars that made them great.
17. The Bridges - Pieces
Matthew Sweet's protege's revive wholesome family oriented 70's AM Gold under a pillow of harmony vocals.
16. Flight of the Conchords - The Most Beautiful Girl In The Room
Pure love poetry: "You're so beautiful...you could be a part time model. Or a high class prostitute."
15. Alicia Keys - Like You'll Never See Me Again
Like a great lost Prince song, Alicia Keys pumps up the melodrama amid circling keyboards and a slow stepping groove.
14. Metallica - The Day That Never Comes
Time to stop guessing which other Metallica song this sounds like and just enjoy the ride. This I Swear!
13. The Lonely Island - Jizz In My Pants
Saturday Night Live wraps up their funniest year since I-can't-remember-when with the novelty tune of '08.
12. Rick Springfield - What's Victoria's Secret
Catchy ad campaign baiting pop rock awesomeness from The Genius.
11. Sheryl Crow - Gasoline
The theme song for a year that at its peak saw fuel prices skyrocket to the point people couldn't afford to drive to the next town while oil companies recorded record profits.
10. Death Cab For Cutie - Your New Twin Sized Bed
For anyone who at some point in their life wondered if there was another person out there for them, this song captures that feeling perfectly (fortunately I no longer have moments like these :)
9. Van Morrison - Soul
There's no way for me to describe Van the Man's butter smooth soulfulness in a way that hasn't been done before. But I'll try anyway. Van Morrison's voice is as smooth as C3P0's bronze ass. How's that? Oh, and this is a great song about how soul comes from within you, not what's outside of you.
8. The Ting Tings - Shut Up And Let Me Go
The New Wave revival has died off a bit though that hasn't stopped this duo from pushing this bit of IPOD worthy froth. The beat sticks in my head for days on end after I hear it.
7. Asia - Never Again
The Fab Four of my generation (not really, I just like saying that) regrouped and recaptured some Pomp Rock glory. Steve Howe shines with his most aggressive playing in ages. Never Again did I think I would hear these four guys play together, but here they are kicking ass like it's 1985.
6. Snoop Dogg - Sensual Seduction
I'm not big on rap music and not really a fan of Snoop Dogg so it was a shock to me that I like a song of his now. This jam is reminiscent of those old Zapp songs with the mechanized voices. Is it too late for me to learn the Running Man? Yes, yes it is. But not too late for me to like this song.
5. AC / DC - Big Jack
Barrelling down the freeway at 100 mph, AC/DC cranks up their trademark rumble and screech into a frenzy of Hard Rock ecstasy. I don't know who Big Jack is, but like most AC/DC songs it makes me want to drink till I fall down and yell loudly in the face of the nearest person available. Yeah!
4. Bruce Springsteen - Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Technically a 2007 song though it was released as a single this year so I'm including it. A touch of Brian Wilson enhances the reverie of this melodic masterpiece. The feeling of being too young to settle down yet too old to run with the kids paints a sharp picture of middle age. And it has Springsteen doing one of his best Orbison style dark crooning.
3. Journey - Never Walk Away
The 80's Arena Rockers put their new frontman Arnel Pineda straight in the line of fire by opening up with this soaring anthem. Energized by the new blood, Journey takes flight again with the power and grace that made them Platinum selling rock stars.
2. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
A song so good that everyone and their mother are convinced they wrote it, Coldplay brings in a sweeping orchestral sound I haven't heard since the hey day of the Moody Blues. Cold hearted orb that rules the night, steals the Sun from our sight...oops, wrong song. It may have just as well been the lyrics to "Viva la Vida" because I don't know what Chris Martin is going on about, something regarding bells ringing and St Peter or ruling the world. None of the words really matter, it's all about the symphonic groove struck here.
1. Dragonforce - Heroes Of Our Time
Well, let's get the disclaimers out of the way first. Yes, their recordings are said to be faked and sped up. Yes, every song they write sounds exactly the same as the song before it. Yes, their claim to fame is being a difficult level on a video game. So why can't I get enough of this cheese fest? Because I love me some cheese, especially with a little ham. And Dragonforce has got all that, Viking vocals, shred on top of shred guitar and ridiculous drum beats. I played this song more than any other song this year, so it deserves being named my favorite song of 2008. On the few occasions where I exercise, I love working out to this.
That's my Top 20 songs of the year, feel free to share your favorite songs of this year if you like because I enjoy reading about other people's faves. Oh yeah, I later realized Flight of the Conchords came from 2007 but I'm too lazy to redo this. I probably would have ranked Matthew Sweet's "Feel Fear" if I knew that. Next up, my Top 10 Favorite Albums of '08.
It's been a long time since I've actually cranked out a post this late at night, so here it goes! On my Birthday I received a Wii as a gift and it's become a fun way for my wife and I to play sports in the safety of our own home. Tennis, Golf and Bowling have become great past times for us as we play against the endlessly resourceful computer. Of all the game systems I have owned, the Wii is definitely the most active and I can see why that makes it stand out against the technically superior competition. Oh yeah, I also got Super Mario Galaxy which is also a blast. Mario rarely has let me down in the past and he doesn't here, running all crazy over little planets. Wheeeee!
On the Horizon? - U2 is preparing to release their disc No Line On the Horizon in March of '09. Get ready for another year of domination by Bono and the gang, I liked their previous disc and they delayed this album to write more songs so I'm optimistic this could be a really good one.
No More Garnishing Milk Money Allowances - The RIAA is giving up on suing teenagers (and other people) who steal their music into financial oblivion and will focus on working with ISP's to restrict or stop the internet services of their targets.
I Thought The Day Would Never Come - The long rumored Guitar Hero: Metallica game looks like it's going to be real. Wonder if people make tabs of Guitar Hero songs? That would be cool. "No, the chord before the solo is a red-yellow, not a blue-green". I look forward to flailing wildly to "Seek and Destroy" or "Battery"!
Metal Health Will Drive You Mad - An Australian doctor claims Headbanging causes medical problems in the head and neck. I thought this was old news? And somewhere Jason Newsted says "See? I told ya so."
The Curious Case of Jennifer Aniston - The ex-Friend steals some of her ex-husband's thunder by gettin' provocative on the cover of GQ magazine. Easily the best career move in a long time by Aniston as she has gotten a ton of press for this. We'll have to wait and see if this translates into box office Gold for the upcoming Marley & Me. Or will she remain an actress better known for her looks than her talent?
Let's Go Crazy - Prince is starting to show flashes of new material online and on the radio as he works on a new album.
Mamma Mia! - I learned from Melodicrock.com that a musical based on the music of 80's Power Rock called Rock of Ages is both Broadway and film bound. You've gotta like a musical that manages to include Europe's "The Final Countdown".
No New Doubt - The No Doubt reunion will have a tour but no new album is the latest word.
DVD Mini Reviews:
- I Am Legend - Will Smith joins the latest film wave of hunting Zombies as he places more or less the last man on Earth surrounded by the hungry malevolent creatures. Decent but not amazing, though Smith remains as charismatic as ever.
- Definitely, Maybe - Ryan Reynolds and crew come up with an inventive rom com that is sort of like that TV show How I Met Your Mother. A good cast including Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, Rachel Weitz and Abigail Breslin help keep things moving. Not bad if you see it cheap, it's sort of like a TV movie with a film look.
Snikt! - The new trailer for the upcoming Wolverine movie is out. I'm not sure what to make of it, there's a lot that happens in the trailer but nothing really cohesive. I see action and grimacing faces and hey look it's Gambit kinda! But where's the bo staff and trenchcoat, mon chere? (what does "mon chere" mean anyway? He always said that in the comic.)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Roddenberry played a variety of memorable characters, she was the cool and professional original Number One, the Nurse with bad taste in guys as Christine Chapel and the flighty yet crafty Betazed mother of ship's counselor Deanna Troi, Lwaxana Troi. Her TNG apperances were the most memorable because she got to play a comedic character and excelled at it. Though I had always wished they had kept Number One for the Original Series, that was a good character.
Her regular appearances in the various Star Trek series ensures she will be remembered though her best character was one that was offscreen. As the voice of the Enterprise computer, Roddenberry gave some personality to what was originally the only. thing. more. halting. than. William Shatner's. speech on the Original Series (It often started speeches with a bunch of tape sounds and the phrase "Wor-king"). As the Star Treks continued, the computer became more refined in its sound and recognizable as Roddenberry. Roddenberry's legacy will live on for one more Trek as the computer voice in the upcoming Star Trek XI.
Someone on You Tube posted a sort of "Enterprise computer's greatest hits" so I'll end with this clip. Majel Roddenberry has been referred to as "The First Lady of Star Trek" and the title suits her well. A sad day for Star Trek fans everywhere.
Majel Roddenberry / The Computer from Star Trek
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Answer? It just may be The Answer, a band I hadn't heard about until recently when they got the opening act slot on the AC/DC tour. Now this Irish band is gaining a lot of buzz as the latest in a line of retro rockers. If recent history holds true, The Answer may be good for about one corker of classic rock riffola like The Darkness' I Believe In A Thing Called Love or Wolfmother's Woman before fading back to obscurity. Which made me wonder, how much value is there in Retro Rock?
It's a fine line between finding inspiration in a classist sense versus aping the past just because it can be done. Watching an artist dip heavily into the Zeppelin, Deep Purple or Queen vein can just be a reminder of how great those acts were more than present anything new. Or it can serve as a tool for self expression. The Retro Rock genre is epitomized by a man who often does both - Lenny Kravitz.
Lenny Kravitz filching of 70's jams can be impressive when he combines the right guitar riff with a strong hook and fine sentiment a'la Are You Gonna Go My Way or Fly Away. But in my opinion Kravitz is inconsistent, if any of the three elements listed are substandard the whole enterprise falls apart. And that's what lies at the heart of the Retro Rock issue for me, these retro artists can come up with the goods but too often its easy for them to fall into pastiche. Though to his credit Kravitz has managed to come up with memorable songs from the present and dating as far back as 1989.
It is possible to morph past being merely a copy of the Old School as The Black Crowes can attest to. Starting off as a band mocked for being slavishly contrived, The Crowes steadily evolved into a Southern jam band with its own style and authenticity. Yet they are the exception to the rule. Most of the Retro Bands I've heard don't have enough creativity to fill a whole album or career with prime material.
So where does that leave The Answer? I think they will be like The Darkness or Wolfmother once they come up with their piece d' resistance (is that spelled right? I don't speak or write French). For now, their renewed exposure is gaining attention for them and I've checked out the videos from their sole 2006 release and was sufficiently impressed. So I plan to enjoy their probably short but wild ride until after they hit their peak. Because when that magic formula of 70's guitar and melodies hit the right way it's pure nirvana (not the band). To check out The Answer for yourself, here's two fun clips - one reminds me of 70's glam rock mixed with a bit of Spirit in the Sky and the other strikes me as pure Purple. Great fun!
The Answer "Under The Sky" & "Come Follow Me"
Sunday, December 14, 2008
My wife and I were having some fun talking about 70's style yesterday so I decided to make that the theme. It's funny how the passage of time can make things seem corny...and I never got how calling a woman "mama" that wasn't your mother was supposed to be cool. But never mind with that, it's time to get down with the hip cats of this week that make up the Midnight Madness. Right On!
Who's the Winner, Bub? - Wolverine's Hugh Jackman will be hosting the upcoming Academy Awards. And if any of the winners speeches go past their alloted time they will get an adamantium claw in their face! Whoa, geeked out a little too much there.
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - the Smoking Gun website uploaded evidence that Van Halen really did specify no Brown M&M's were allowed back stage on tour. Illegal drugs, abundant alcohol and groupies were OK, but no Brown M&M's!
Notorious - 50's model and cult star Bettie Page passed away this week.
Man Vs. Wild - host Bear Grylls was injured in Antarctica recently. I don't watch the show but it is unfortunate that the guy was hurt. Though I do have one question: This means Wild wins, right?
More J*zz in my Pants - Comedian Andy Samberg and his troupe The Lonely Island have a record deal now. Hopefully they will include classics like "Lazy Sunday" on their disc.
Blur Reunites - Woo Hoo! Actually, I've never really followed this band but that's the knee jerk response I have thanks to their hit Song 2.
Appetite for Self Destruction - Axl Rose finally does press, sort of, taking on all comers at a GNR online message board. The reclusive Rose proves he hasn't changed his my-way-or-the-highway approach to everything. Meanwhile, sales for Chinese Democracy continues to drop.
Taradise - America's best known party girl Tara Reid checks into rehab.
Copyplay - Chris Martin responds to plagiarism claims and says he did not copy Joe Satriani for their hit "Viva La Vida".
Wild in the Streets - Jon Bon Jovi promises the next album will have a big rock sound for Bon Jovi. And the band was named 2008's most successful touring act.
Satisfaction - Dartford, Kent is playing up the fact that they are the hometown to the Rolling Stones by naming streets after their songs. My selections? I'm rooting for Sister Morphine Drive, Star Star Ave, Moonlight Mile Kilometer, Beast of Burden Court and Emotional Rescue Street.
Blue Ridge Rangers part 2 - this time it's personal. Not really, John Fogerty has announced plans to record a sequel to his solo album of covers called Blue Ridge Rangers.
Send an Angel - No nod to 70's girls can be complete without Charlie's Angels. I used to stay up past my bedtime to watch this program. Anywhoo, here's the opening credits including Farrah Fawcett when she was still a Majors and her famous hair.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
When I read the news on Melodicrock that Loverboy is going to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next year, I felt the need to show my appreciation of the 80's Arena Rockers. Mike Reno, Paul Dean, Matt Frenette, Doug Johnson and Scott Smith made up a healthy part of my listening diet in high school. Because in that decade it was fashionable to throw on a big headband and wear matching black leather outfits with your friends. Actually, the group's image or insult inducing name wasn't what I listened to them for, Loverboy was a straight up Pop Rock unit with touches of New Wave and a bit of gusto. And now, the career of one of Canada's finest - Loverboy!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Number 22: The Clash - London Calling (1979)
When I bought the Rolling Stone magazine with the best albums of the 80's at the end of that great decade, I was amazed by how many records that were listed that I never bothered to listen to. At the top of that list was The Clash's London Calling double lp. I bought the CD and was instantly impressed by the naturalistic songwriting, punky energy and ability to adapt to different sounds. Going in, the only song I knew was the hit Train in Vain which I liked. After playing the disc a few times, I was impressed with the hard slamming rock of Clampdown, the whimsical Lost in a Supermarket, the swing style Wrong 'Em Boyo and the reggae driven The Guns of Brixton. All of the songs on this record had a feeling of almost gleeful creative excitement. The title song has gone on to be regarded a bona fide classic rock, er, classic. Sometimes the critics get it right.
Number 21: Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run (1975)
The album where The Boss stripped back the rambling lyrical delivery and rambunctous Jersey Boardwalk arrangements to deliver bracing common folk anthems about cuttin' loose, breakin' away and gettin' out in those hard driving cars of the night. A masterpiece of Heartland rock, the title song alone is worth the price of admission with its hyperactive pace, clenched teeth thrust and wild sax solo. Outsiders had a theme song for their independence in Backstreets while we all fought our way through the majestic Jungleland. And if that's not enough, the poetic grandeur of Thunder Road remains a highpoint of songwriting by anyone anywhere. It was here that The Boss was truly born, amid those burnt out shells of Chevrolets.
Number 20: Prince - Sign 'O The Times (1987)
You might think that like many people "1999", "Purple Rain" or "When Doves Cry" made me a Prince fan. But no, it was actually "U Got The Look" that got me into listening to one of the best artists of my generation. Prince's catchy dance floor duet with Sheena Easton could not be denied it's greatness and became a Top 10 hit. I bought the cassette and it became a gateway to the rest of the Purple One's work. Sign 'O The Times is the album that to me had everything Prince did well while at the top of his powers. The music is tight, timely (in the context of 1987), hooky and personal. You want sleazy Prince? There's "Hot Thing". Slow jam Prince? "Slow Love" Religious Prince? "The Cross". Jam band Prince? "It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night". James Brown Prince? "Housequake". Psychosexual Prince? "If I Was Your Girlfriend".
Even politics shows up in the form of the reggae lead single title track. Sign 'O The Times serves as a portrait of an Artist at a time when their ability to express their ideas is almost cosmic. A fantastic record and staggering achievement.
Monday, December 08, 2008
The Lonely Island "J*zz in my Pants"
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I've been away for a little bit enjoying my Birthday! It's been a great couple of days, hopefully things will continue to go on a positive roll. One of the gifts I got was a Nintendo Wii, so now I'll have even more stuff to blog about. And now, time to go crazy.
Thank You! - Thank you to everyone for the Birthday wishes! You helped make this a great Birthday. And thank you to the Bunny!
Shotgun Blues - Axl Rose continues to follow The Tubes old "Completion Backwards Principle" by doing very little press for the release of Chinese Democracy but instead take the time to lash out at Dr Pepper for a botched promotional tie in. We missed you Axl! You remain the rocker whose next hit is usually a literal punch at someone.
Viva La Vida Redux - Coldplay's smash hit continues to be a magnet for plagiarism claims, this time by established guitar god Joe Satriani. Who knew Coldplay's most original sounding song could seem so derivative? What I heard did have some similarities, but I can't help but wonder if the timing of the lawsuit is because of the Grammy noms.
The Day Finally Came - Metallica is free of their record label and is considering the internet for future direct distribution of their music.
Darling Britney - Shades of the movement that started the PMRC, parents are getting upset about Britney Spear's song "If You Seek Amy" which is pronounced "If - U - See - Kay - Me". Where's Tipper Gore when you need her? The song is normal pop junk, but I have a soft spot for mildly offensive entertainment. Besides, April Wine beat Spears to this gimmick over 25 years ago.
It's Stevie Nicks, B*tch - Just seemed natural to follow a Britney Spears comment with this phrase. Fleetwood Mac is planning some touring in 2009.
Cable TV Roundup - What's new on Cable Networks? Let's take a look :
- Hulk Hogan Celebrity Championship Wrestling - backed by real wrestling folk (Eric Bishoff, Jimmy Hart) this show comes with a bit of pedigree to its D level celebrity reality tv. The program is actually more fun that it has a right to be, watching the likes of Dennis Rodman, Todd Bridges, Danny Bonaduce and Dustin Diamond chop and DDT each other is pretty cool. It's on CMT.
- That Metal Show - Wayne's World was not meant to be taken seriously...or was it? Eddie Trunk and crew gab over what's truly important, such as if Led Zep or Black Sabbath had a greater influence on Hard Rock. A rock geek's paradise on VH1 Classic.
- Chase - The game show that's meant to be like a video game, it's very reminiscent of the old Schwartzenegger flick The Running Man. Contestants are given a backpack and a maze like environment to run through timed missions while evading Matrix looking people. A big game of Tag with special rules, I actually found this program to be fairly entertaining. It's on Sci Fi Channel (Thank you to Some Kinda Wonderful and her son for the correction, I had listed G4 which became Spike a long time ago and was the wrong channel anyway).
Grammy Awards - The latest Grammy Awards are out and so I thought I would take a look at the Song of the Year nominees:
- American Boy by Estelle featuring Kanye West - I haven't heard this song until today, it's surprisingly breezy and slightly jazzy (the presence of Kanye West part had me expecting something harsher). A pleasant song that will undoubtedly get co-opted into a clothing commercial some day.
- Chasing Pavements by Adele - An inventive video does a nice job of enhancing the song. The latest British girl to ride the old school Soul wave, this song does have a nice sweeping hook and strong plaintive vocal.
- I'm Yours by Jason Mraz - Three songs into these nominated tunes and I think I'm finding a pattern. The Grammy's are all about relaxation this year. This song is Ok, maybe a grower, makes me want to take a tropical vacation. Or eat chicken wings at a sports bar. One of those two things.
- Love Song by Sara Bareilles - A good piano based jam that got massively overplayed, still like the clever writing angle. And as this has been commercialized already, I think of that computer printer ad everytime I hear this. Still, a good song.
- Viva La Vida by Coldplay - Or Lawsuit and All Of His Friends, this is my favorite of the songs nominated here. I wish they had expanded on the Apple video instead of this album cover come to life thing they did here. Oh well. One of my favorite songs of this past year.
And one for the road, I just felt like posting this classic Abbott and Costello clip. A & C movies were favorites of mine on weekend tv growing up, here's my favorite comedy bit of theirs, Who's on First. I once tried to memorize it, got nowhere close.
Abbott and Costello "Who's On First?"
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
While shopping through the cheap used CD bin earlier this year, I came across a CD called Shadow King. I didn't think anything of it based on the title on the spine of the CD, in the $3.00 used bin there are a lot of acts I've never heard of in abundance. But a big sticker on it drew my attention. It said "Lou Gramm, Vivian Campbell, Bruce Turgon and Kevin Valentine." It was dated 1991.
For years I've been a fan of Foreigner and thought I knew just about every piece of pertinent information about the Arena Rockers. So how did I miss an entire album, an entire band even, led by one of the greatest Stadium rock vocalists of all time? I have no idea. I'll have to claim temporary insanity.
I bought the CD (of course) and have been playing it the past few weeks. It's a strong hard rock disc with muscular rhythms and masterful singing, naturally. Gramm is the best in his genre at pacing his words during a song to make the vocal stand out more. Shadow King seems so strange to me, when Gramm split with Foreigner I thought one of the complaints he had was they did too many ballads. Then Gramm turned around and had a hit solo ballad shortly after, Just Between You and Me while Foreigner emphasized their rock side with new singer Johnny "The future of Foreigner" Edwards (I didn't mind Edwards, I liked Unusual Heat). If I had known about Shadow King, Gramm's complaint would have held more weight with me.
Shadow King only lasted for this one album, Gramm rejoined Foreigner with Turgon in tow shortly after while Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard. And yes, I'm now throwing out details to compensate for the fact that this band got past me. Well, better late than never I guess, I found a video on You Tube for the song "I Want You" that is pretty racy in that old style USA Network Up All Night kinda way. Wait, a video exists too? That's strike two for me. If they toured, I'll have to turn in my 80's rock geek card to the local authorities.
Lou Gramm, I'll have to give it up to you. You got one past me. You Hot Blooded Head Gaming Juke Box Hero. You trumped me in a game of trivia about your life that you didn't even know you were playing. Wow, that sounds twisted. I mean, uh,...forget it. I'm not a stalker, I'm not! You sir, are the ultimate winner. Or as Gramm says at the end of Dirty White Boy, "Yyeeaaahhhh!!!"
Shadow King "I Want You"