Friday, November 20, 2009

...The Quick And Easy Way...

...leads to the Dark Side of The Force. I wanted to make a quick post so I'm just gonna go on about whatever comes up in shuffle mode on my IPOD. It's a popular blog gimmick and I love it so here it goes!

1. Aerosmith "Rag Doll" (live)

My Ipod has been Aerosmith crazy lately, almost like it could sense a tremor in The Force. How has this year gone for the Beantown boys? Guitarist Brad Whitford got hurt, then I think drummer Joey Kramer got hurt, then I think bassist Tom Hamilton had an operation, then Steven Tyler fell off a stage-and all that before the recent drama. Tyler's revolving door answers to if he's in or out of Aerosmith gives me a headache. I'm so glad I got to see them live a few years ago, even with them playing a truncated set and Hamilton being absent (I believe he was battling Cancer at the time) they were great. "Seasons Of Wither" was awesome in that show.

2. White Stripes "Conquest"

One of my favorite White Stripes songs, unique with that Spanish sound added to the heavy drums / guitar combo that is their trademark. Jack White's vocal has a playful absurd tone to it which is very funny. I often skipped to this song on the CD during my commute to work a few years back, it got me pumped up like I was bull fighting or something.

3. Arcade Fire "Intervention"

Not since the glory days of Rick Wakeman can I recall this much church organ in a song. Off the excellent Neon Bible album, I like the downtrodden mood and cynicism balanced with longing for a way out in this track.

4. Led Zeppelin "Stairway To Heaven"

And she's buy-yuy-ying a he-avennn. Well, I'm going to have some time to do some typing now won't I? For the first five years or so of my buying and listening to rock music, I did not hear this song. Heard it about it, yes, but actually heard it, no. Once I did hear it, I thought "Is that it?". Years later in college I had a tv production class where the assignment was to create a production about a poem. I asked if song lyrics counted (because I don't know poetry from jack) and was told yes, so my production was me reading the lyrics to this song while we did slow camera movements on pics taken from a Best Photos From Life Magazine issue. After reading the lyrics over and over from this assignment I came to appreciate the song more. While they didn't invent the soft to loud song pace, their influence is unmistakable on other rock bands that copy this structure. The best rip off? Whitesnake's "Sailing Ships" from the Slip Of The Tongue disc. Guitarist Steve Vai tears it up while Coverdale wails, blasphemous as it is I like "Sailing Ships" better than "Stairway".

5. Courtney Jaye "I Need Love"

This is off one of the Paste Magazine samplers, this is my first listen of it. Hmmm...pleasant Country rock with a sort of George Harrison slide guitar lick and clip cloppy percussion. A sort of updated 70's feel. Stuff like this is what I like about Paste samplers, it gives me exposure to new music that fits my style. Twangy female vocal is good. Nice song, it's growing on me.

6. Jake Shimabukuro "3rd Stream"

Another Paste Magazine track, very intricate acoustic guitar here. Sort of Hawaiian mixed with some Spanish guitar it sounds like. I like acoustic guitar solos where it's very complex with all these neato nimble finger moves you can hear. This is even better than the last song, good stuff. Makes me want to go to Starbucks and order a Mocha Latte. I think the free Itunes download I got from Starbucks for Roberto Y Gabriela is in the same vein. Impressive...most impressive. (An update, now that I've looked this up on You Tube dude is playing a ukelale. Wow)

7. The Beatles "Here Comes The Sun"

In my book, George Harrison is the best Beatle. For me, that is. Lennon's avant garde touches could get a little too "out there" for me, while McCartney's melodicism could get a bit wimpy. Harrison had a direct approach that balanced melody and guitars in a way that appealed to me...that is except for hippy trippy stuff like "Within You Without You" of course. When Harrison died, this song was featured in just about every televised tribute to the man and with good reason, its a great song. So breezy and hopeful without being slight. Awesome.

8. Boston "What's Your Name"

I have a ton of Boston on my Ipod, which would mean something except they only have like five albums. This came from the Walk On Cd aka the one where they started using synthesizers. Seemed totally wrong for Boston, who proudly advertised on their record jackets that they didn't use synthesizers, would turn around and use them. It's not like it saved them time in recording, the gap between Walk On in 1994 and the prior album Third Stage in 1986 was eight freakin' years. Oh, back to the song. I love the guitar solo part of "What's Your Name", where the multitracked guitars solo in unison while another guitar in the background makes this descending sound like a spaceship landing.

9. Tommy TuTone "867-5309 Jenny"

A classic of arena sized power pop, it instantly takes me back to 1982. All those news stories of people dialing this phone number, a number that belonged to real people, was funny or what we in '82 liked to call "gnarly". Too bad Tommy TuTone couldn't come up with another humdinger of a pop hit like "Jenny". This song still fires me up and has me dreaming of the numerous county fairs this song must be played at annually. I want me some corn dogs!

10. Mary J Blige "Real Love"

Mary Mary, why you buggin? Sorry, couldn't resist that. You know, as big a hit as this song was in the early 90's it was some tv commercial a year back that got me into this song. Was it a phone commercial? Probably. I like the occasional R&B song and Blige has come up with a winner on occasion, she had some song that sampled part of a soap opera theme (Young and the Restless?) for an aptly titled tune "No More Drama" that I liked too. Didn't care as much for her duet with U2 on "One" though, a little over the top on that one. Anyway, I like the groove here with the slow heavy bass and antsy piano figure on top while Mary soulfully wails away.

All right, that was painless - for me that is. Not as painful as being cut off at the legs with a light saber or anything. And now Lord Vader...rise!

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