31 August 2008

1997 or 2007? I Don't Know!

Update to my last entry. I figured I'd take a look at iTunes 2007 Essentials list in comparison to 1997. First: If you have never seen an iTunes Essentials list - get off this and download iTunes right away and be prepared to never see the light of day again. It is that absorbing. But in reality: the iTunes essential lists are broken down into three catgeories per list. For the annual lists, the categories are The Basics, Next Step, and Deep Cuts. I'm sure you can figure out that The Basics consist of the obvious Top 40 hits, Next Step is basically a continuation of that list, and Deep Cuts are smaller tunes that aren't so full of themselves.

For 2007 Deep Cuts they have The National, The Shins, Sharon Jones, Arcade Fire, Spoon, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, and Band of Horses. Extremely decent!

For 2007 Next Step they include John Mayer, Gym Class Heroes, Alicia Keys, and The White Stripes. Not bad at all.

For 2007 Basics... Avril Lavigne, Plain White T's, Fergie (twice!), The Fray, and two American Idol winners. Hmm..

But I will get behind the other basics: Robin Thicke (although I've never thought of him as mainstream), Maroon 5, and Beyonce. I don't have a problem with sexy R&B at all.

I don't know. Maybe things aren't so bad. Maybe?

I'd Like to Take You on a Trip: All the Way Back to the Year 1997

Is anyone aware of how many good songs there were in 1997? Although I've been around music since the day I was born, the first year I clearly recall becoming obsessed with specific modern songs was 1997 and it was definitely the coolest year to wake up to these crazy sounds. I have an ecclectic taste in music and I'm almost certain it must've come from being an impressionable 11 year old in 1997. Every song I remember loving as a child was a hit in this wonderful, ridiculous year... take a look.

Barely Breathing - Duncan Sheik (number one for a reason!)
You Make Me Wanna - Usher
Lovefool - The Cardigans
One Headlight - The Wallflowers
The Freshman - The Verve Pipe
How Bizarre - OMC
If You Could Only See - Tonic
Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band (I remember feeling embarassed when this song was on)
The Impression That I Get - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) - Missy Elliott
All By Myself - Celine Dion (even then I was a sappy loser)
Mo Money Mo Problems - Notorious B.I.G.
All For You - Sister Hazel
Barbie Girl - Aqua
Fly - Sugar Ray
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
Walking on the Sun - Smash Mouth
Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
Everyday is a Winding Road - Sheryl Crow
Song 2 - Blur
Un-Break My Heart - Toni Braxton
Don't Let Go - En Vogue
Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? - Paula Cole

and of course..

You Were Meant for Me - Jewel

A song I still love or possibly love more than ever. It's my theme song.

So bottom line is: How lucky am I to have been brought up in a time when these songs were on the radio? I don't even want to start naming songs that 11 year olds hear nowadays on Z100 and the like. These are classic songs that sound as good today as they did in '97. What an excellent year for music. I never realized..

27 August 2008

The Billboard Charts are Hungry

I'm concerned with the state of music. All day I get music related emails at work so I know it's not completely downhill - and I do get paid because music exists - but let's not get ahead of ourselves, I don't get paid very much. That could be a metaphor for the music itself: it's there but not in a big way. And then there's this idea - sorry if it's really out there: Compared to a third world country, I do get paid a lot, it's just in the United States that it would be deemed not much compared to the extreme price hikes. Music is the same way. There's some amazing independent music out there that to the few who know about it is phenomenal. These people will tell you the state of music, artistically at least, is thriving. It's just the mainstream (in my aforementioned metaphor: the US) that's going downhill.

Katy Perry, Chris Brown, David Archuleta, and Rihanna top the Billboard music chart this week. Really? NONE OF THOSE ARTISTS ARE OVER 23 YEARS OLD! This worries me. In order for the music industry to make money (and have credibility) they need artists that are going to have some longevity. One of my co-workers just called, "I Kissed a Girl" a 'throwaway song' and they're absolutely right. It's a semi-catchy, nonsensical song that will last through a couple changing seasons and that's it. No one is going to be 45 years old and still enjoying that song unless they're looking through old high school yearbooks and throwing on some cheesy songs to remind them of the younger years. I appreciate silly songs almost as much as anyone else, especially considering the "Monster Mash" is a song I listen to year round, but when it's not balanced out by any reputable music, it becomes unbearable. I would say out of those four top artists this week, Rihanna has the most chance of lasting. Why? Because her songs are unique in a way that keep you coming back for more. She has had so many catchy hits now that clearly she's not a flash in the pan the way one might have expected when "Don't Stop the Music", her first single, came out.

Judging from my own experience with music, I tend to have several categories:

Die hard Favorites
Constant Companions
Very Enjoyable Acquaintances (that sometimes I try to pass off as a favorite)
Nice Friends (this is where it starts to get iffy)
Mediocre Listens
The Awfuls

In 2004, I probably bought Cd's from every artist in the first three, maybe even four categories. In 2008, I only buy from the first category. On my iPod I have a bunch from all categories but most of it wasn't paid for in any conventional sense. Since getting a full time job (especially considering what that job is) I have made a stronger effort to pay for everything I listen to but even so, one song for $0.99 isn't the same as $14.99 for an entire record. I know there are some wonderful, crazy, beautiful die hard music listeners out there that will spend a ton of money for all things beat infested but the truth is, even considering myself an obsessive music lover, I would never do that! Maybe I enjoyed that Katy Perry song for two seconds, maybe even that is pushing it, but I would never buy it knowing that I'll be sick of it in a week and embarrassed to even have it on my artists list.

Even more than price, I care about the space on my iPod. Although it seems like an oxymoron, space doesn't matter as much with Cds. Yes, you need a place to store them and that task can sometimes be overwhelming but as long as you have a sturdy CD holder with 500 spots, the space is taken care of. I have an iPod mini that holds only 2000 songs on a very, very good day. Unfortunately what the Apple creeps don't broadcast is that on those gorgeous microscopic machines you can put as many music videos as you want as well and each one takes up 50 songs! That means if I take full advantage of the video aspect I will have less room for the main component of the machine to begin with: music. Now they've added those game applications and movies and rentals! I blame Facebook for the disaster that iTunes has become - and Myspace. Facebook, with their slimy international applications, has made every website from here to China a state fair. But that's for another entry.

The real situation here is the lack of acknowledgement for the artists with lasting potential and the pedestals we hand out to novice artists with decent producers that sign them so they can bang them in the bathroom. It's so sad. The only upside is that perhaps people are catching on to this. Most music magazines and websites now have at least a small section catering to Independent artists and unsigned talent. I think the people in charge are even getting tired of listening to Hannah Montana - although that girl is a performance magician. It's funny because I am not cut from the 'Indie' cloth by any means. I love Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash - artists that maybe struggled on day one but certainly not most of their careers. The only difference is that this mainstream is from back in the day. "The Day" being the '70s or earlier, not "The Day" we used to have good music. Good music is all around. Good music is even in supermarkets nowadays, it's the little boy from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids yelling to you from the ground - hear it, love it, support it! Let's get some meat on these Billboard bones. And if you like Katy Perry or any of her minions, don't tell me.

26 August 2008

Picture Party

With all the beautiful photography that goes along with music, from the publicity shots to album covers to magazine spreads, I thought it smart to create an entry I'll try to do two or three times a month specifically dedicated to photographs of a particular theme involving music. I have a few ideas but since this is an especially slow day at work I'll start with the one most fun to look at: attractive male singers. The images below capture different forms of intensity on the faces of some of the more uniquely appealing musicians. Enjoy.

James Mercer

John Legend


Jamie Lidell

John Frusciante Shooter Jennings
John Mayer
Justin Vernon
Ray LaMontagne
Matt Costa

22 August 2008

The Ballad of Mraz

It's the end of summer, I had a few nice glasses of Chardonnay last night, and I'm at work with a fan blowing and lots of thoughts running through my head. To me, this screams Jason Mraz. Unfortunately, the bagel and fake sugared up coffee I'm having right now do not. Going from Mechanicsville, VA to singer/songwriter stardom, Mr. Mraz has come to represent an entire generation of surfing, raw foodist slackers that do nothing better with their time than smoke weed and trade philosophical musings. Although, what better time is there?

I've often wished I could live inside a song. There have been so many throughout the years that I want to be a part of in a bigger way than merely through my ears. Jason Mraz has several of these. Lately, I've been enthralled with "The Dynamo of Volition" off his latest album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. although I wouldn't be able to tell you what the words meant at all. It's a mixture of rap, pop, surf, rock, and maybe smooth jazz, CD101.9 style. Mraz himself likes the "yacht rock" music of Christopher Cross and Hall & Oates so it's no wonder his style almost mirrors that but in a younger package. He's done very slinky covers of "I Melt With You" and "Summer Breeze", he has song titles like "Live High" and "Curbside Prophet", and lyrics such as "And I can keep you eating out the palm of my hand, because the dope that we smoked was grown on my land, the words I burn they don't come from a can, the movie in my mind will be the winner at Cannes"... He seems a little crazy, which personally, I love.

Typically I have a problem with musicians being too corny. I think R.E.M. does this, the Talking Heads, etc but Mraz's corniness comes across a little more simplistic and honest than the others. Although I appreciate Michael Stipe as a person, particularly his affinity for the afterlife and the end of the world, I'm not sure I understand his music. It's probably my fault - music like that doesn't translate into anything I'm familiar with and like all people who are scared of what they don't understand, I prefer music that falls into my favorite, little categories. Of course, rock music in any fashion is probably far less corny than some of these singer/songwriters on par with Jason Mraz. People like Colton Graham, James Morrison, Brett Dennen - these characters need to tone it down dramatically or more precisely: tone it up. I have seen both Morrison and Dennen open for John Mayer (the master of finding cheesy artists) and they were almost non-music. How many times can one possibly say things like, "Oh Love, beautiful love, you are my happy day, you are my sunshine"? Corniness burrows in musicians copying one another to cash in on a flash in the pan moment or better yet, ones trying to make nothing into something, i.e. one single line repeating twelve times in order to form a catchy chorus.

Something that must be appreciated about Jason Mraz is his eccletic nature and lack of the obvious. He probably wouldn't even know how to copy someone else's style, regardless of the Jack Johnson comparisons. On his sophmore release, Mr. A-Z, Mr. Mraz decided to go wild with the production values and maybe took some things overboard but still managed to create a couple sublime songs ("Clockwatching" and "Bella Luna" specifically). Mraz messing up a song is like having a beautiful living room with an ugly air conditioner out the window: it may seem out of place but you still have a lot of positives to balance it out. The positives on Mraz's side begin with his angelic voice. When a 30 year old man can sing "At Last" and have it come off just as sweet as Etta James' version, you know there's something special.

An added bonus is that I believe Jason Mraz is a nice guy. When I was sixteen or so, I met him at the Stone Pony and gave him a stuffed cat. Strange, I know, but he has several songs about cats... Anyway, he took the cat and was petting its head for a little while and kept thanking me for it. He posed for a picture with my best friend and me and chatted for a couple minutes. Things like that mean a lot to a young girl and they are never forgotten. My friend and I had waited hours in the sweltering heat with our general admission tickets that night and couldn't even buy a soft drink later on because we had spent all our money on the tickets and merchandise. This being the day after I went four hours away to see him in Providence, RI. I have an overwhelming appreciation for music I enjoy apparently.

Jason Mraz is a genre of his own. For further proof take a listen to the following songs or watch my highly suggested video of him singing the Hall & Oates classic, "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" from Dick Clark's New Year's Eve special. He's a dynamo.

21 August 2008

The National know

It Never Happened

We look younger than we feel
and older than we are
now nobody's funny
no god, they took our fashion week
that's a real bad thing
cause we have scars to cover

now I forget how to think
so crack my skull
rearrange me

lover put me in your beautiful bed
and cover me
lover put me in your beautiful bed

Nothing made a sound in Williamstown that night
and all the air was empty
then what to my wondering eyes should appear
nothing, cause nothing ever happens here

now I forget how to think
so crack my skull
rearrange me

lover put me in your beautiful bed
and cover me
lover put me in your beautiful bed

nothing ever happened here
nothing ever happened here
bad things never happen to the beautiful

Guest Room

They’re gonna send us to prison for jerks
for having vague ideas of the way to turn each other on again
they’re gonna send us to prison for jerks

They’ll find us here here here in the guest room
where we throw money at each other and cry, oh my

We miss being ruffians, going wild and bright
in the corners of front yards
getting in and out of cars
we miss being deviants

They’ll find us here here here in the guest room
where we throw money at each other and cry, oh my

We can’t stay here
we’re starting to stay the same
we can’t stay here
we can’t stay this way

Just tie your woman to your wrist
give her room to tie the other

They’ll find us here here here in the guest room
where we throw money at each other and cry, oh my

Lucky You

Every time you get a drink
and every time you go to sleep
are those dreams inside your head
is there sunlight on your bed
and every time you're driving home
way outside your safety zone
wherever you will ever be
you're never getting rid of me

you own me
there's nothing you can do
you own me

you coulda made a safer bet
but what you break is what you get
you wake up in the bed you make
I think you made a big mistake

you own me
there's nothing you can do
you own me
lucky you

you own me
there's nothing you can do

you clean yourself to meet
the man who isn't me
you're putting on a shirt
a shirt I'll never see
the letter's in your coat
but no one's in your head
cause you're too smart to remember
you're too smart
lucky you

Apartment Story

Be still for a second while I try and try to pin your flowers on
Can you carry my drink I have everything else
I can tie my tie all by myself
I’m getting tied, I’m forgetting why

Oh we’re so disarming darling, everything we did believe
is diving diving diving diving off the balcony
Tired and wired we ruin too easy
sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave

Hold ourselves together with our arms around the stereo for hours
While it sings to itself or whatever it does
when it sings to itself of its long lost loves
I’m getting tied, I’m forgetting why

Tired and wired we ruin too easy
sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave
but I’ll be with you behind the couch when they come
on a different day just like this one

We’ll stay inside til somebody finds us
do whatever the TV tells us
stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz for days
We’ll stay inside til somebody finds us
do whatever the TV tells us
stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz

so worry not
all things are well
we’ll be alright
we have our looks and perfume

stay inside til somebody finds us
do whatever the TV tells us
stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz

so worry not
all things are well
we’ll be alright
we have our looks and perfume on

Californication: The Most Rock 'n Roll Show on Television

Unless you like aliens, David Duchovny is the best kept secret on television - or in all of Hollywood for that matter. Californication not only proves how dumb America is getting (in more ways than one) but it also delivers one of the best casts I've had the fortune of seeing since Six Feet Under. In a strange way I feel like they're similar. Both focus on a man in his thirties grappling with mortality, father issues, and difficult women. Both also take the phrase 'sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll' to an extreme. Screenwriters, most of whom I would assume are in fact in their thirties, really fancy themselves the laid back rock stars capable of picking up the hottest chick in the club. That alone is interesting - or as Rachel Miner's character Dani California (whose father taught me acting) would say, "It's not anything - It's a fantasy."

All of the characters in this series are brutally injured emotionally by things normal people have to go on accepting in their daily lives. David Duchovny's character, Hank Moody, literally wrecks his entire life because he doesn't understand how he destroyed the one relationship that meant anything to him. To numb the pain, he has meaningless sex with random women, chain smokes, drinks every night, and begs his ex every chance he gets to come home. Like the first heroin fix of a drug addict, he's looking for the same high he once had with the unbelievably gorgeous Natascha McElhone (Karen). He tries to balance this with being a semi-successful writer and father to his exceptionally mature 12 year old daughter, Becca.

But here's why the show is really great: The writers have completely captured what it feels like to be doing one thing on a normal basis while wanting to do something else the entire time. They clearly depict the pitfalls of pretending to be normal while secretly knowing it's totally impossible. They show a man waking up each day, reading the newspaper, going about the errands of the afternoon as if he were like everyone else but underneath this man is so ruined from how good he once had it that there's no way for him to carry on regularly. He has to soak his sorrows in the form of addictive behavior and bad habits. He has a strong taste for records and music but what happens in one of the episodes? He has sex with a hippie and she steals them all! It's the one time we see Hank Moody care for any material possessions throughout the entire series - albeit only slightly. Everything seems to fall apart for him.

The key moment for me that enables perfect understanding of Hank's character is when he purchases a new convertible with the bonus he recieves from one of his novels. His agent tells him to go buy something nice and although he's completely uninterested, he finds himself looking at his car (which he says has 'character') and being too lazy to clean it - so hey, get a new one instead! Obviously, disaster ensues and the car is stolen from him at gunpoint. What does he do? Takes out a cigarette and forgets about the car. I know this sounds far from reality but to me, I understand completely. All he really wants to do with that money is buy an antique ring for Karen who is engaged to another man -which he does. He never cared about the car, it was just something to bide time with, something that would make him appear normal. He just wants her love.

Karen, on the other hand, tries hard to be normal. It's clear from the first episode that she still loves Hank but she had to move on. Although they look perfect together, have similar interests, and hold on to each other's hands a little too long in public, she is with someone else and insists to Hank that she doesn't care for him anymore. It's sometimes painful to watch how much he loves her without open reciprocation. It makes the audience wonder why she would hold back so much - until the flashbacks. These clips, in high contrast to signify the past, show Hank getting so wrapped up in his work he can barely talk to her. She stays cool and mentions it only when she has to. It gets to the point where he can't even look at her and finally she tells him that to her, "fucking and talking go hand in hand". Basically admitting that she's having an affair with someone who gives her attention. Hank is devastated, she walks out, and he pulls her into a passionate kiss as if that will save something. He's not even mad at her - more at himself. She pulls away and runs out. It's pretty heartbreaking.

The strangest thing about this show has nothing to do with plot: it's the audience. I definitely thought, based on reviews and friends who have watched it, that it would be all sex, all the time. I thought the nudity was intense and the scenes were graphic. It seemed like that's all anyone mentioned. How could so many people miss the point? Look at Hank's face in the middle of it - sometimes he's rolling his eyes, sometimes he's even literally sighing like, "Get off of me, already." This isn't some playboy that wants a hot piece of ass. This is a broken man who wants the love of his life back and has to fill in the "meantime".

The end of season one left me on the floor at 5am silently thinking about it for more than an hour. If you've ever felt like you'd take up every bad habit known to man to get away from your head for a minute or you've ever felt like the people around you think of love like a disease, than this is the show you have to watch.

20 August 2008

Autumn Rocks

Some special photographs that remind me of autumn, rock, or a combination of the two - a few took my breath away.

Johnny Cash
James Mercer of The Shins
Bruce Springsteen
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver
Frank Sinatra

Van Morrison

Keith Richards

Jimi Hendrix

Ray Charles

The Beatles

19 August 2008

The Wheel of Music

NOTE: The following entries are a couple months old (except the John Mayer Letter)...

I'm obsessed with iTunes and when I have a free second going on their little website and picking out new songs is the thing I like to do best. I get thrilled over finding not so much "new" songs but new old songs that I remember from when I was a kid or a specific memory from back in the old high school days. I know I listened to some garbage but I also liked some quality stuff that I let go of somewhere along the way. I recently got into a discussion about American Hi-Fi: the early 2000's (?) band that had songs like "Flavor of the Weak" and "The Art of Losing" with great lyrics like, "hey ho, we're gonna start a riot, you don't want to fight iiiittt!!" So I guess it wasn't the greatest of my musical exploits back in the day but I remember being crushed when their cd got loose in my backpack and was scratched beyond repair. I don't remember why I didn't just go out and buy another one but I did get their follow up album which I also don't have anymore.. the point being I checked them out again on iTunes. I was expecting to be pleasantly surprised and ended up really bummed out. This music belongs to someone else still in 2002- not me. I still like the catchy beats and I remember all the lyrics but there's no way I could listen to this stuff again. It's like wearing the same clothes I wore sophmore year of high school - and it's really not because the music is dated in any way. It's just that the opening chords of these songs bring back so much nostalgia it's not even worth it. I think that's insane - and proof of the power of music.

I recently got "Rock 'n Roll Woman" by Buffalo Springfield and although I've heard this song a million times before I personally have no connection to it. I just thought it was a cool song but when I have it up in my brain (aka in headphones) - it takes on a whole new meaning. It sounds sad, distant, lonely.. creepy. I can picture a beautiful girl dancing slowly in front of the band at one of their concerts all decked out in '70s gear being IT, you know? And then she's suddenly 51 years old sitting in my living room with newspapers all over watching Deal or No Deal - my mom? She loved this song and it creeps me out beyond belief to think that she once looked very different, she once went to concerts all the time, and now - she's not going to anymore. People grow up, yeah, but is that just another way of saying they slow down? Sometimes. It's all or nothing in my head - and probably in reality too. That's what "Rock 'n Roll Woman" by Buffalo Springfield means to me. Wild.

I've heard murmurings that people don't like Vampire Weekend. It's funny because a band like that is so fresh it's physically impossible to think of any attachments to a song. I'm sure a lot of people will say that it's the arrangement of a song or the musicians that determine whether or not it will be great but think of all the number one songs here in the US over the course of time. I'd have to say a lot of those weren't amazing musicianship. Some songs just grab you by the throat every time you hear them - and that makes a great song. A band like Vampire Weekend is fun if you're taking some time to enjoy that kind of thing. I'm definitely not looking for my wedding song when I put them on. I just dig funky beats sometimes and that's what they're good for.

So I guess my point was that sometimes you have to let a song go like a relationship or an old tv show you watched as a kid. I watched Zoobalee Zoo a few months ago and at age 22 it's not nearly the same as age 5. Bummer. But you know, you take the good with the bad: I guess I wouldn't have liked Annie Hall when I was 5 so it was a compromise. I'm a HUGE nostalgia person as is my entire family. My boss at work even mentioned that I seem to like "old" things. I guess so. I guess I have the belief that if it ain't broke, don't fix it but the only thing that gets in the way is time. I definitely have a mental disorder when it comes to that - and that's why some things have to be buried in the ground and for me some of that stuff is American Hi-Fi and Zoobalee Zoo. For my mother it might be Buffalo Springfield but then it gets passed on to a new generation - and that's me right now. But later on it won't be..

and that's the way this wheel keeps turning.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - June 19, 2008

So far in concert this year I've seen the Stone Temple Pilots, Everclear, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, and The Black Crowes to name a few. In my life I've seen many more than that. Almost all of these concerts were incredibly good, sometimes amazing (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss singing "Killing the Blues"? Unbelievable!) but there has been nothing more stunning than seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Prudential Center last night.

For the past week I had been prepared to see something spectacular. The Heartbreakers are my all time favorite band and I have yet to hear a song that's not up to par with the stellar classics in the Tom Petty collection. Everything from their self-titled first album to the latest Petty solo venture, "Highway Companion" has been uniquely powerful in some way. For the past two years I have been aware of Tom Petty's absolute brilliance to a maximum degree. I'm sorry to say it's been so short, my loss, but once I caught on to what I was missing out on - well I think it's safe to say I caught on in a big way.

I'm more than proud to say that I think Tom Petty is the best lyricist of his generation and the most interesting singer I've ever heard. Amazingly, those things are not even the highest points of his versatile talent. Mr. Tom Petty can command a stage like nobody's business. He is a master. I will tell you this much, my super all time favorite, John Mayer, was absolutely put to shame by what I saw last night. I was 15 rows back in an insanely large arena but even being that close to Tom Petty felt like an honor and an experience. Any time this guy would even get relatively close to one side of the stage that side of the audience would go beserk. It was wild. He would sing one line of a song and people would be giving him a standing ovation - just for opening his mouth. And I have to say, I might've been one of the loudest. I like to feel young but I felt like a 10 year old with a crush on that Sanjaya guy from American Idol, weeping in the audience. I don't want to say he's a god but I don't want to rule it out either.

Not only does his mere presence practically incite hysterics from men and women alike but the Heartbreakers set list was near perfection. Although they didn't sing either of my favorite songs ("I Need to Know" and "Honey Bee"), the rest of the list was so flawless I think I could recite every song back right now, in order, with massive excitement - starting with "You Wreck Me" off the best album ever recorded, "Wildflowers", and ending with "American Girl" - but not before Mr. Petty got in a joke about smelling like marijuana and telling a girl, "you just don't understand, I'm in a rock and roll band".

Wearing a velvet blazer, purple shirt, and black vest - with the requisite cowboy boots - he looked smashing. I don't want to focus on the fact that I think he's unbearably gorgeous, especially with the beard, but it does require a mention. Tom Petty is obviously just a regular guy but his aura surpasses that. The entire time I couldn't get over the fact that I was in the same room as "Tom Petty". Luckily the crowd was so intensely loud that I got to scream at the top of my lungs and not appear freaky. Everyone was screaming like that.

So, Steve Winwood opened up by the way. The guy from The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith. I was expecting excellence. I'm not sure what it was exactly. The person I went with thought it was boring and I thought his voice was beautiful. I think that generally sums it up. I've seen the band Chicago do the song "I'm a Man" so many times that seeing Winwood do it was odd, even though I guess it's his song.

Mike Campbell, the "co-captain" of the Heartbreakers was also phenomenal. Once again, just seeing Mike Campbell in person - like Petty - was unreal. He had some awesome guitar solos that had people freaking out and seemed so absorbed in the music - really intense. Ron Blair, the original bassist that's back again, looked adorable and even hugged Tom Petty at one point which was really fun to see. Steve Ferrone, the drummer, looked just like he does in The Last DJ video - all spiffy and happy - and Scott Thurston, multi-instrumentalist, was.. interesting. My friend liked him best mostly because he was always on the little video screens making funny faces. He did an awesome impression of Jeff Lynne's vocals for a "cover" of the Traveling Wilbury's tune "End of the Line". Of course Benmont Tench, a founding Heartbreaker and genius pianist, was superb. He was on the opposite of the stage from where I was sitting but the crowd erupted when Petty called out his name.

Overall, I'd have to say one of the best parts of the entire concert was Petty's solo acoustic rendition of "Learning to Fly". It was heartbreaking - no pun intended. The crowd that had been on their feet for the whole show all sat down and got silent to hear him sing those lines so beautifully. I'm not even sure what else to say about it. That concert was a force. It could not have been better and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.

She & Him - July 27, 2008

Last night at the She & Him concert I learned that music sounds a lot better if you're dating the person you're on stage with and if you've been playing 1960's girl group music to get the audience jazzed up - with a little "Gypsy" from Fleetwood Mac mixed in (which I took as them being ironic).

Zooey Deschanel is gorgeous and these pictures don't do her justice - but the truly gorgeous thing was the way she looked at M. Ward throughout the night. During their cover of "You Really Got a Hold on Me", it was just the two of them with separate microphones from across the stage and every time there was a pretty lyric she would turn her entire body to look directly at him and he would grin. It was adorable to put it mildly. Or to put it bluntly, it looked like they were going to rip each other's clothes off every second. It was pretty steamy - very cool! The crowd was going wild with all that love.

M. Ward's voice is awesome but he didn't do any singing until the encore so he was mostly just another part of the band (except for some surprisingly good guitar solos). The crowd was primarily full of hipster girls that would "woo" anytime he put his lips to the microphone and "aww" anytime Zooey did anything remotely cute (which was almost always). They were definitely interactive. She kept saying she was overwhelmed with how many people showed up and how happy it made her. It was nice to see how happy M. Ward and Zooey seem together when separately they come across as slightly depressed.

They sang every song off their album, "Volume One", a Joni Mitchell cover, and Ward's "Magic Trick" as an encore (switching the lyrics to "I" instead of "she" for some reason). Overall, the entire set list was enjoyable and the experience was well worth it. Although I'll never understand why such talented, inspired musicians continuously choose ridiculous opening acts. The Rosebuds, a band based out of North Carolina, played what sounded like the same song for 40 minutes. Please don't ever listen to them.

One more thing: M. Ward and Zooey are definitely pretty to look at but their backing band was so cool! There was a very pregnant girl on the bass, a much older man with white hair on guitar, and an extremely handsome drummer wearing a white button down shirt, black vest, and a tie. He looked like a thinner version of Clive Owen but with a receding hairline. It felt like one big, happy, eccentric family.

Listen to the Music

I'm so tired of listening to a song by a band and thinking I'll like more songs by them - only to find out that they merely have ONE good song. With my extra thinking time in front of the computer and since I technically should be doing something in relation to music if I'm sitting here, I've conjured up a tiny list of albums that are so good, you can listen to every song and not be disappointed. They're hook-y but with heart.

NEWER (2006 - 2008):






An Ode to Wildflowers

There are very few albums that can be described as "energetic, melancholy, earnest, organic, humorous, literate, rowdy, wry, amiable, and fun". There are also few musicians who at 44 could create one of the best albums of all time - not to mention their best work out of a 23 year career (at that point). Of course if anyone could accomplish all that it would be Tom Petty and his amazing, amazing musical piece, Wildflowers. This is one of those albums that you hear for the first time and become obsessed with only to overplay it and leave it on top of your cd player for the next three months while getting acquainted with some other, less worthy cd. When you finally come back to it, it sounds fresher than ever and you can't understand why you waited so long to hear that intro again.

I put this album in my cd player this morning, sat on my exercise bike (that I didn't exercise on), and almost wept listening to Tom Petty sing lines like, "You belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere close to me, far away from your troubles and worries, you belong somewhere you feel free". To get by in this life you need to listen to songs like this daily. Whether they make you cry, feel 'rowdy', get literate, or make an organic swiss cheese sandwich, these songs are life affirming - like a good pinch on your arm to make sure you're still breathing. These songs bring out emotions to make sure you're still feeling. It's funny how all our senses are connected: Listening to this album makes me want to put on a brown, fuzzy sweater and look at autumn colored leaves. I suddenly want freshly sharpened pencils and tweed shoes. I don't know why Wildflowers reminds me of fall (it did come out in November '94) but I can only dream of taking a long road trip by myself with aviator sunglasses on and my hand out the window, blasting "You Don't Know How It Feels" and singing along with my favorite lines. In the back of my mind I think I wish I was Tom Petty.

There's a bonus dvd with The Last DJ, another Heartbreakers fall release, that personifies the mixture of Tom Petty and autumn even more for me: The entire Heartbreakers band is in a mahogany recording studio with crisp white speakers and microphones all over. They are dressed in long sleeves and cowboy boots and seem so chipper. Tom Petty, with his pearly white veneers, and Mike Campbell with his sewn in cornrows, look at peace. It's the kind of feeling you get in the fall. Blankets and darkness envelope you and it's simply cozy. That's how Tom Petty's voice makes me feel. Cozy. That's why he could sing about a gator on the lawn (which he's done) and it would sound super awesome. But back to Wildflowers. You can't deny the genius of putting "Time to Move On" back to back with "You Wreck Me" then later transitioning from "Honey Bee" to "Don't Fade On Me". If you've never heard this record, you probably won't understand why that's brilliant but it's like human nature. To me it sounds like a person in a constant struggle with their feelings. First they're sentimental, then ready to start a brand new future, then suddenly wrecked again, then find new happiness, only to be busted up again later on.

Instead of using giant metaphors to get his point across, Petty tells us how it is.

"You spend your life dreaming, running around in a trance
You hang out forever and still miss the dance
And if you get lucky, you might find someone
To help you get over the pain that will come
Yeah, you were so cool back in high school, what happened
You were sure not to have your spirits dampened
But youre just a poor boy alone in this world
Youre just a poor boy alone in this world"

Not only are the lyrics relatable and profound but somehow Petty and Rick Rubin, the producer, completely understood how powerful the song was and allowed just Petty's voice to be heard throughout most of the song. It's almost like he's whispering a secret to the listener. Compare that to a song like the super upbeat "Honey Bee" with blazing guitar licks and it almost seems like they wouldn't even be on the same record. Which leads to another important point about this album: It doesn't matter what mood you're in, you can find a song to fit it. And the fact that the songs go back and forth so much between upbeat and downtempo is an added bonus. You could be on the verge of depression and come back up within four minutes. I know Tom Petty is typically a happy guy but in '94, just two years before divorcing his wife of two decades, some deep stuff must've been boiling while writing this album.

Someone once said to me, "How horrible would it have been if Kevin Spacey had never tried to be an actor?". They asked me this in hope that it would get me motivated to do something gigantic with my own life but as I think about it, there are some people with such sensational gifts that it would literally be selfish if they didn't share them with the world. Tom Petty is one and of course, Kevin Spacey is another. I'm not sure if we all have that but I do know for a fact that if I could write about my feelings and worries like Petty can then I would certainly share that with everyone. Thankfully, there are some amazing nuggets out there, like Wildflowers for me, that express everything I could ever hope to - and do it in a more eloquent way than I could ever dream of. Wildflowers is 62 minutes of pure bliss. I'm sure with all these immense compliments I'm spewing on a silly album I sound like James Lipton interviewing Jennifer Lopez but believe me when I say, it deserves every word.

Favorite Tracks: Honey Bee, You Wreck Me, To Find a Friend, Time to Move On.

Honorable Mentions: Wildflowers, You Don't Know How It Feels, Don't Fade on Me, Wake Up Time.

Although every song is better than almost all other songs on other albums.

Mock Celebrity Playlist

Bear with me. I was looking through iTunes celebrity playlists and got extremely jealous that I wasn't a celebrity - 100% because I want to make one of those lists and have people actually read it. I love those lists! Not only do the celebrities get to pick up to 25 songs, they also get to explain why they chose each song and the viewers get instant access to purchasing either the entire playlist or an individual song. Hearing why Rosario Dawson picked a particular version of "Fever" or why Bob Saget chose John Mayer and Tom Petty in a row (!!) is pretty awesome. Hearing why Angelica Diamond chose Sondre Lerche is not so interesting. But hey, we all need something to distract from the fact that Russia is probably going to bomb us so why not a juicy playlist :-)

So pretend I'm a celebrity and enjoy...

Angelica Diamond's Playlist

Apartment Story - The National: I hear this song is about a house party but with lines like "Tired and wired we ruin too easy, sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave.. Hold ourselves together with our arms around the stereo for hours..", it sounds more like my life. I've had this song for maybe two months and it's already on my Top 25 Most Played list on iTunes. Also check out: "Guest Room" that has my favorite line, "They're gonna send us to prison for jerks." Matt Berninger's voice could not be anymore beautiful.

Sleep Tonight - Ari Hest: It's always one or two lines in a song that grab me. This has THE BEST line I've heard in a song. I had a friend ask me one of the best questions yesterday which was, "What is the saddest song you've ever heard?" - and I mentioned this one. I heard this live at my place of business, Starland Ballroom, for the first time when Ari was there and it brought the house down. Just him and his guitar and boy, he has a set of pipes. He is the most underrated artist (other than this next guy..)

Sooner Surrender - Matt Nathanson: Another depressing song by another amazing talent. If I had a record label, I would offer him millions and have nightly private concerts in my living room. Although I picture him being more comfortable fully clothed in a bathtub by himself with a guitar singing about lost loves. At my funeral I definitely want this played - or wedding.

Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress - The Hollies: I don't know what they're saying and actually for a long time I thought he was saying "Long, cool woman in a flatbed" so I'm clueless but how sexy is this song? It sounds exactly like a place I want to visit. I want to be a long, cool woman in a black dress but I'm not that tall and I'm more nerdy than cool. I do have a "tall, walking, big, black cat" though and they mention that too.

Anything, Anything - Dramarama: This is not my kind of music but this song is sad. It sounds upbeat but he's pleading with this girl to stay, bribbing her with money, pills, candy - everything. Then! He's sick of her. He's in love! I feel like pulling my hair out when I hear this and then there's this line: "When I was young I learned a game where love and happiness were the same, now I'm older and I don't play. I found out the hardest way." Dramarama indeed.

Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley: It's only two minutes! It needs ten more minutes. It's a mini movie: The desk clerk is dressed in black, they're about to commit suicide, they have "tales to tell". Really the best part is the beginning though. It's like rich, dark chocolate.

Bossy - Lindsay Lohan: Okay, I have a few great reasons for this: 1. I'm a 22 year old girl! This is the one young girl song I listen to. 2. It was on Dina Lohan's celebrity playlist and she's like a messiah, right? 3. In the middle of this song it becomes like, ethnic or something. It get atmospheric. But then! It's a dance song! 4. If Lindsay Lohan is a lesbian now, listen, I'll kiss her.

Strong Enough - Cher: I don't know what's going on. I'm getting angry I started this stupid playlist thing because now I have Elvis, Lindsay Lohan, and Cher in a row! I'm lite radio! And I'm really not. But hey, listen to these lyrics. I can't even choose one, it's all of them. You know how people work out to get strong physically? Well I listen to this to get strong mentally. Also, my mom looks like Cher, Cher's beautiful, and her voice is delicious. One of my all time favorites is "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves".

Electric Feel - MGMT: This is a new one. When this guy starts singing, I'm ready to find a dirty, shaggy guy in a dark bar and dance dangerously with him. It's one of the hottest songs I've ever heard.

Morning After - Howie Day: This is a song I used to listen to when I was maybe, 14 or 15. He screams in it and I would scream along and I thought it was my private song. "What could be so wonderful about this?" - a line Howie sings after he's just described how a girl looks in the fresh morning light after he's spent the night with her and her summer dress is on the floor. Why express concern when you're having a good day? There's a lot more underneath... See also: "She Says". Heavy stuff.

I Decided - Solange: Oh yes! She's singing - in a glorious '60s girl group way - about a young man that seems like a nice fella but hey, then why is the music video depicting images much deeper? Maybe it's about a bit more. Maybe a metaphor. This has a sweet love song exterior - and then suddenly, he's "running me, running me down. Telling me, telling me wait." I think things work out in the end though. It's lovely.

Dreams - Fleetwood Mac: "Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom." From that line I am hooked. This song is so smooth it's like Grey Goose. I could get drunk off it. Stevie Nicks mentions a heartbeat and what happens - the drumbeat comes in. Thunder - cymbol crash! I love you, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham (the muse for this song). Trivia: The b-side was "Songbird", Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' wedding song.

Call on Me - Chicago: It's official, I'm an old lady. Anyone who knows me knows Chicago is in my blood and was the first music I ever heard in my life. This song is not my favorite ("Beginnings" is) but this is a current pick. The horns are glamorous, Jason Scheff's voice is cool as a cucumber, and of course there's the added bonus that this is a sad song mascarading as a love song. You know that if the couple in this song were still together the guy wouldn't be saying, "Call on me!!" He'd be saying, "Get the hell away from me, Man."

How Am I To Be - The Watson Twins: I wouldn't expect to like them but lately I enjoy female singers a bit more and they have gorgeous voices. This song is obviously '70s inspired and it's fantastic. This would've been a huge hit in a different decade or if it was a Fleetwood Mac song but sadly it's stuck on the shelf with other "indie" labeled acts.

Since U Been Gone - Ted Leo (!): This is a fun choice. Mr. Leo covering a Kelly Clarkson song and doing it way better than her and then adding a little Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the end. This is why I like Ted Leo and why I'm super excited for him to come to my house: Starland Ballroom! He's got such a sweet, normal voice and I love when he sings, "They don't love you like I love you. Wait!" Screw, Karen O! See Also: "Me and Mia" that I could listen to day and night.

Gangsta - Bushwalla: This hot, young gentleman/entertainer/magician/comedian is so suave. Another person that needs new representation because there's money to be made here! He is Jason Mraz's best friend and opened for him in NY a few months ago - a born performer. I bet he smokes a lot of pot. This is so fun.

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead: This is the most beautiful song on this list. I want to look into the eyes of a person I love and have the beginning of this song in the background. "I'd be crazy not to follow where you lead. Your eyes, they tempt me." Gorgeous.

And I Love Her - The Beatles: "And if you saw my love, you'd love her too." This is the quintessential love song. I also love how the song title begins with "And" as if every sentence Paul says must end with "and I love her." This is not my favorite Beatles song but if I heard it unexpectedly I would probably cry.

Tell Her No - The Zombies: This gives me a creepy feeling and reminds me of my childhood listening to oldies music on 101.1 WCBS FM. It's definitely sad but more than anything it makes me want to make a mixtape.

She Don't Have to Know - John Legend: Mr. Legend always sneaking around with sexy ladies, wearing disguises, purring his way out of a crime.. it's so tasty. This has been a favorite for several years and it always sounds fresh. See Also: Everything John Legend has ever done including his latest (sell out!) single, "Green Light" with Andre 3000.

Daddy Sang Bass - Johnny Cash: After watching The Johnny Cash Show, this song stood out the most to me. Everyone loves some Cash but this is classic. A little June Carter and even a little Cash Family Singers. See also: "The Mercy Seat" and "I Won't Back Down" - two covers that only get better in Johnny's hands.

Marvin Gaye: Everything he's ever done or touched.

If You Really Love Me - Stevie Wonder: I love this song more and more with every listen, probably the greatest sign of a classic song.

Say It All - Sondre Lerche: He's so fantastic. He's so so fantastic. I've never heard a song of his that I didn't like. I choose this one because I've overplayed everything else and it reminds of a specific time when the album, "Phantom Punch", came out and Sondre was my superhero - saving the day all over the place. See also: "Sleep on Needles", "Stupid Memory", "The Tape", and his cheery "Night and Day" cover.

It's a Shame - The Spinners: This and "I'll Be Around" are songs that I would be at least .5% different without knowing. They are so essential to my surroundings it's like my cat getting stolen to think of losing them.

Dancing Days - Led Zeppelin: This is just the lastest incarnation of my favorite Led Zeppelin song. I played "Houses of the Holy" 15 times the first day I got it on iTunes - but Led Zeppelin songs are like Pringles so I shouldn't be surprised. My crazy "D'yer Mak'er" infatuation is just dying down. Why do people do drugs while listening to them? They are drugs.

Jolene - Dolly Parton: On the way to school on the New Jersey Transit bus I fell in love with song. I randomly put it on my iPod and couldn't get it out of my head all day after the first listen. Why would someone leave Dolly for a girl named Jolene?? But on a serious note, I don't know how this feels but in my head I've pictured this scenario countless times.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Dwight Yoakam: He reminds me of Elvis in a strange way. He has one of those unique, deep, rich voices. He's also super fun and I want to marry him so my name is Angelica Yoakam and I have someone that doesn't laugh at my cowboy boots.

The Taker - Kris Kristofferson: Once again, I've never heard a Kris Kristofferson song I didn't like and he's the one musician I think of when I hear these cats say, "I like everything except country." "Well," I would say, "Have you heard this? Tell me you don't like it." See also: "Jody and the Kid", "Sunday Morning Coming Down", "Loving Her Was Easier", and the songwriting credit on "Me and Bobby McGee" by his ex Janis Joplin.

Tom Petty: Everything. Maybe a top five would go like this: "I Need to Know" (my most listened to track), "Square One", "Don't Do Me Like That", "It'll All Work Out", and "Breakdown"? Maybe "Honey Bee", "The Apartment Song", "Listen to Her Heart", "Free Fallin'", and "Have Love, Will Travel"? Maybe just everything.

Come Rain or Come Shine - Billie Holiday: I don't know what to say. Let it speak for itself.

Strangers - The Kinks: A song that has the power of no other song. It puts you in a movie.

In Your Atmosphere - John Mayer: Read the lyrics.

Dear Mr. Mayer

Dear John Mayer,

I have been a fan of yours for longer than I'd like to remember. Your music has been a contributing factor in many crucial events in my life for practically a decade. I read your blog religiously, quote you without meaning to, and take a lot of slack from my friends about being a member of your Local 83 Union for which I have official tags, VIP passes, and programs. I am downright in love with your music but I'm sorry to say, you do not live up to your words, Mr. Mayer.

I thought you were in on the joke. I thought it was okay for people to mock you because you were kind of mocking yourself. I mean, "Daughters".. "Your Body Is a Wonderland"? Are we supposed to take those seriously? No, I would say. I'm one of those loyal fans that explains patiently to anyone who dares insult you that your singles do not measure up to the entire body of work. I'm one of those fans that silently cheers when they see you mentioned as "musician John Mayer" in an article as opposed to "singer" or "heartthrob". People like me know you're a guitarist first and foremost. You love Stevie Ray Vaughn and B.B. King. The masters, like Eric Clapton and Sting, want you to play with them! But then something awful happened and I think you know what I'm talking about...

You turned into your own joke!

Like any doting fan, I will always stand loyally behind you and buy all of your albums until I am senile (and even then I'll try) but Mr. Mayer I am truly disappointed. Someone in your league should not be tipping off papparazzi or "standing up" for famous ex-girlfriends within earshot of the entire nation. You are the greatest, don't you know that? How are we, your fans, supposed to cover up for your mistakes this time? This is what I'm going to hear..

"You're obsessed with that John Mayer guy, right? He's such an asshole. All he wants is publicity."

or one I already got from a co-worker:

"You want John Mayer to play here? Let's just invite a B-List actress and he'll be right here."

Embarassment, John! I can write until I'm blue in the face about how great your lyrics are in "In Your Atmosphere" or how superb the guitar playing is in "Come Back to Bed" or even play "Covered In Rain" a thousand times over for everyone I know and try to explain how there will never be a better song and still it won't mask your confused mug all over every tabloid this side of Mars. Why can't you be like all the other singer/songwriters out there? Granted, Ryan Adams had a public fling with Mandy Moore and then used OK! Magazine as his journal for a couple weeks probably making her feel horrible, but what about everyone else? Jason Mraz is never prancing around with twenty girls on his arm and making lewd comments about them, Damien Rice even stayed in check when he was dating Winona Ryder. Why can't you get it together?

You are such a smart man, full of wisdom far beyond your years and yet I am only assuming those hooligans you hang around with must've egged you on to this nonsensical behavior. I know you try to be honest and friendly with your fans to the point where some have called you "bizaare" in the press but really: we don't need to know everything. Let the people in our real lives be the ones we hate for being jerks and messing up. I can really be spared Chelsea Handler publicly saying you're "in the same league as Spencer Pratt" and calling you "disgusting" and "bald". Who cares what you look like, Mr. Mayer? I care about your MUSIC. Your music is the best I have ever heard. I bet it would cure diseases, wake people up from comas, stop tropical storms, and make Russia throw out all their nuclear weapons. As a matter of fact, if I were president my first call of duty would be to bring in my entire cabinet and make them listen to "Heavier Things". I have a feeling they'd forget about passing bills and bombing Iraq and simply want to have some chai and play air guitar.

Also, it must be said: pick on someone your own size! Jennifer Aniston may be a tiny lady but she is larger than life with the 20-45 year old female set. US Magazine would rather put your head in a juicer than make her out to be a villan. If you're going to talk publicly about famous people, forget Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jessica Simpson, talk about Tom Petty or something. Tell us why you chose to do a cover of "Free Fallin". Please don't talk about how it's even "more interesting" to you to talk about your love life than your music. You sound like a dirtbag when you say things like that. Yes, joke around during your concerts about The Goonies inspiring your songs but don't tell us that Ms. Aniston was not kinky enough for you. That's trashy, right? (PS. You're better looking and more talented than Brad Pitt, so why would you be obsessed with him as they say?)

To play devil's advocate here, I understand where you're coming from. You want people to know that your relationships are no different from everyone else's. You want us to know that you're not a 'douchebag' like everyone in the world says you are. Possibly you even feel comfortable enough with your fanbase to say things to them as if they were friends. Unfortunately, friends are hard to come by and even if you're someone's guilty pleasure on the radio they'll still trash talk you when they're bored with their friends. On a positive note, I will say that one of the main reasons I love you is because you're different from everyone else, Mr. Mayer. You're just a down to earth guy that wears Batman hoodies with actual felt bat ears on the hood - and that's cool. You're extremely nerdy, just like me. You partake in extremely nerdy activities, just like me, and although you like Paramore and Fall Out Boy, you also like Cream and Miles Davis. So I guess you still have some hope.

John Mayer, I never want to see you play at Starland Ballroom. You are too big for this place and I hope you always are. I never want it to be easy to meet you or see you for $10. That would destroy your place among the adult contemporary stars that you belong with: Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, etc. When I drink, Mr. Mayer, all I seem to talk about is you (well...). I ramble forever about wanting to travel the country to see all of your shows and reminisce about that time you had stomach pains and made the audience wait an hour in Maryland. I have played "Only Heart" on the jukebox of the Ale & Wich so many times they probably cringe when I walk through the door. If I'm tipsy enough I even play double the John Mayer songs. Please don't embarass me! I do it well enough on my own.

So in summation here it is: Lay off the dating for awhile. You have a summer tour going on, concentrate on that. Make Atlantic City's show this Sunday the best ever for one, Miss Angelica Diamond, and watch some Price Is Right with Mint Milano cookies because we all know that's your favorite. And if you have to date, didn't you say you had a crush on Maura Tierney? That's a good one - go for that.

Lots of love and cookies,
Angelica, your quasi-number one fan.

Meant for humorous purposes only - or at least mostly.