30 September 2009


Music Maven's spooky Halloween logo.

Autumn Mix 2009

2012 is fast approaching, tsunamis and other horrible acts of nature are upon us already, and yet the music just keeps getting better and better. I guess there's a higher power after all.

Here's my list, though possibly not officially complete, of top songs to fill a gorgeous autumn afternoon. It's a little eclectic but I think it works.

I chose songs I've been listening to often that evoke a quiet, rainy day sort of feeling that goes as well with crisp leaves as a pumpkin spice latte.

Sample most of the songs below and enjoy.

Monsters of Folk - The Sandman, The Brakeman, and Me
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
Electric Light Orchestra - Evil Woman
Cat Stevens - If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out
M. Ward - Vincent O'Brien
Mayer Hawthorne - Just Ain't Gonna Work Out
Kanye West - Paranoid
James Morrison - Nothing Ever Hurt Like You
Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose - Too Late to Turn Back Now
Snow Patrol - Hands Open
Pearl Jam - The Fixer
John Mayer - Who Says
Kid Cudi - Make Her Say
Robin Thicke - Lost Without U
Dean Martin - Sway
The National - Fashion Coat
Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better
The Zombies - Time of the Season
Billy Bragg - A New England
Johnny Cash - Guess Things Happen that Way
Little Joy - The Next Time Around
Edwin Starr - 25 Miles


Oh my God. This song is so good. Maybe I'm crazy but I love this so so much.

Monsters of Folk - "Whole Lotta Losin'"

29 September 2009


Today has been strange.

In two of my classes there were guest lecturers that gave such invigorating speeches - in such different ways - that I was left with too much information in the end.

The first was a young author who explained her book of short stories to my small writing class. At first, if I'm being "honest" here, I wasn't sure what to make of her or her writing. I wasn't sure if I could relate much to anything she was about, and I'm still not sure, but her honesty was jarring. I ended up getting that fuzzy feeling in my eyes when you're staring at something for too long by the end of class because I couldn't stop looking at her when she spoke. She seemed like she was coming from such a truthful place in her storytelling that I was kind of amazed. I liked watching someone talk about themselves for so long in a way that didn't make me feel excluded from their observations. Her stories on paper were good but not nearly as interesting in depth as her human form telling us all these things about her life so candidly. I wish more people would just get in front of a class and tell a portion of their life story. I'd be more inclined to go to school..

The second lecturer was in my theatre class. Bill Bowers, a really excellent mime and stage actor, came to perform a couple pantomime pieces he wrote in the style of Charlie Chaplin, his idol. The same thing happened with this man as the author - at first I wasn't sure I could get past my initial reaction to his image. He came across as so over the top and obnoxious that I felt like I didn't need to see it. It seemed stereotypical of a traditional theatre actor to be crazy and overly expressive with his face but by the end I was leaving voice messages on my boyfriend's phone that we need to break up because I'm in love with a mime (I fall in love with passion ALL THE TIME). He was so interesting and heartbreaking and funny and dynamic that I couldn't get enough. I wanted to stay in my seat when class was over just to watch him interact with the professor. Once he spoke for awhile his vivid expressions became endearing and he too spoke of honesty within art.

There was so much emphasis on honesty today that it made me nervous. Why is it so difficult to be honest? And this goes for acting, writing, real life...

What is it about the truth that makes it so difficult to accept?

Of course there's billions of truths in the world and in our own lives that it's impossible to put them all into one container and label it the same but there has to be something about the term in general that makes people nervous and unsure about how to get it across.

I hide the truth all the time but I almost never lie. I'm not only horrible at lying but even worse at disguising my true emotions. My favorite thing in the world is being expressive and truthful so I guess it confuses me when other people, particularly artists, are stressing "being honest" so much in their lectures. Why would that be such a focal point of explaining art? And why are we TRYING to be honest? Why can't we just be... honest?

I know it has nothing to do with music but actually it does if you want to push it that far. Musicians have to be honest just like any other art form. I think probably most with music - there's really no hiding when you're pouring your heart out in lyrics and vocals. Even drumming. Even any instrument.

I just watched a youtube video on the difference between dancing the merengue and salsa. I don't know how to dance but god, those videos really made me wish I could. They are so incredibly passionate and there's something really honest in moving your body so close to someone else's expecting that they'll know the right way to move with you. The eroticism in that is incredible. Being truthful is kind of erotic in general - for me at least. Maybe my mother had a good collection of old records but hell, she did not know how to dance the merengue. I'm sort of wishing it was the other way around now. I'm also sort of wishing I could dance with a tall, feathered hair, older gentleman but wishing don't often come true, huh?

So, the truth. I might be honest but I still don't get it.

My only complaint: They're smiling too much - smiling isn't that sexy, is it?

28 September 2009

Monsters of Folk: A Review

I know every new band or song I mention is my "favorite" but right now I'm so impressed with Monsters of Folk, a supergroup collaboration between M. Ward, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes.

I had heard about this grouping for awhile now and indeed it has taken Monsters of Folk over three years (maybe even more) to put out a cohesive album together due to scheduling conflicts between all the members and the lack of a sturdy meeting place until Mogis laid down some roots in Omaha in the shape of a recording studio used to produce most of the tracks on their debut album that came out last week.

Not only do all of these songs have a little something special to them that the individual solo artist's collaborating on them don't always have on their own, there's the fact that these artists were so enthralled with their work that they refused to have any hired hands to play additional instruments on the recordings. Absolutely everything you hear on this record came from these four gentlemen - and that's an accomplishment in itself.

On the band's website, there's a biography-type section that discusses the aspect of "cameos" within the songs. They paid extra attention to making sure the songs didn't sound like a specific member being backed up by the others. While I was perusing this album on iTunes, I actually found myself being drawn first to the tracks that had M. Ward's voice in the 30 second samples because not only is he one of my favorite artists but I felt like those songs had more of the old fashioned "She & Him" style that I so appreciate from his work. Once I downloaded the songs and listened to them in their entiretly I found that the other members of the band - even Conor Oberst, who sounds at his best here and whom I typically detest - contributed so much to even this songs I had pinned as M. Ward penned. They really do a great job at a completely cohesive sound.

There is also this great Traveling Wilburys style to the entire record that makes it not only folksy but a little country and a tad vintage rock and roll. In my mind, I could picture these four performing a concert at a bar in Nashville much more than their upcoming stop at the Beacon Theatre. This is the kind of music that doesn't really need to be accessorized by much. It is sparse, hands in the mud kind of stuff that doesn't get old - it just gets better with time.

So far my favorite track is "Whole Lotta Losin'", one of the first I downloaded out of the 16 tracks that flesh out the complete package. This song is so catchy and down home. I don't know how else to express it. There's certain parts where you could swear Tom Petty was singing in the background. This is no doubt intentional - there's certainly a lot of inspiration coming from people like The Band and Neil Young on all of these songs but unlike some other artists, Monsters of Folk does this old/new thing perfectly, contributing something completely fresh and unique to the genre.

"Baby Boomer" and "The Sandman, The Brakeman, and Me" are also really growing on me. They just give a feeling of catchy, fun jams being sung among friends in a little room.

This album makes me want to give Bright Eyes and My Morning Jacket another try. Hmm. Maybe just the latter.

For more information and samples make sure to check out MonstersOfFolk.Com.

26 September 2009

Guest Blogger: Blink-182 - August 26, 2009

The following review was written by one of my favorite writers, the brilliant Keith Heumiller after attending the Blink-182 show at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. He emailed it to me quite awhile ago and due to so many situations, I was unable to bring it to you until now. I greatly appreciate Keith's generosity with this review exclusively for Music Mavens. I'm lucky to know someone who is not only passionate about music but so incredibly talented. Hopefully he'll let me steal more of his work in the future.

I actually listened to Blink-182 after this...for a little while.

Here's what he had to say:

In terms of the concert itself, I was rather disappointed. This was, I think, the third time I've seen them, and I actually walked out on the last one (2002's Pop Disaster Tour w/ Green Day) because, quite simply, they couldn't play. They sounded like a 3-piece middle school band trying to cover Blink 182 songs, and the disjunct between their studio work and live performance was almost physically painful to listen to. I don't normally walk out on concerts, especially ones that cost as much as that one did, but I don't normally find myself confronted with such a painfully obvious truth as I was that night - namely that Blink had become a "studio band," one of the worst possible indictments for any group with underground punk roots or predilections.

At this concert, however, I was surprised to see that the guys had actually learned to play their own songs. Most of them, anyway. Some, like "I Miss You" and "Violence", from the super-produced, mega budget Blink 182 album (2003), were still so obviously scaled down in the live version that they were almost unrecognizable. But where the band picked up in their performance of crap-pop hits like "All the Small Things", they fell way behind on the creativity end. The set played out like a greatest hits CD. Only 2 of the 14 or 15 songs they played were "bomb tracks," or non-singles, and there was never even a mention of a new album, or new material. The same old fart jokes were there, the same pedantic banter back and forth between Tom and Mark, but there was no broaching the subject - no evidence whatsoever - of a "new" Blink 182 emerging from the ashes of their breakup. Those of us hoping for a push in a new, more mature artistic direction - a direction perceived by both critics and fans in the wake of their last, self-titled album, which Rolling Stone gave four out of five stars and dubbed a "coming of age masterpiece" - may be in for a bit of a disappointment.

In short, this concert - this tour - strikes me as nothing further than a Geffen-sponsored test run, a temperature-gauging of the pop culture pool to see if Blink 182 is still relevant enough to spend 2 million dollars on a new record. If the band was serious about moving in a new direction, about crafting and developing a more artistically respectful and socially poignant variant of the pop/punk/rock wave they rode to stardom, they would not have put on a show that, in nearly all respects, could have been seen on the same stage over five years ago. They are not catering to an older, more discerning network of fans (who were there, in fact. I spoke to a 60 year old man in the beer line who said he had heard Tom's side-project Angels and Airwaves from his son, and liked it enough to come see if it would somehow have an effect on a "new" Blink 182. I went to talk to him at his seat about halfway through the show, but he was already gone).

The band did add one "new" touch to their live show, however. Near the end of the concert, Travis, alone on stage, strapped himself into a custom built throne and flew around the arena in a sort of 'magic carpet' style flying drum solo (see pics). This would have been cool, if I hadn't seen it before. I guess the band didn't understand that some of their fans may be old enough to remember Tommy Lee doing the same thing, almost a quarter-century ago.

All photographs courtesy of Keith as well.

25 September 2009

Why John Mayer... why

I have listened to John Mayer's new single "Who Says" over ten times since it was released on johnmayer.com earlier this weekend.

This does not necessarily mean it's a good thing.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not sure what to make of this song. From the acoustic version he's playing around L.A. for months now to the little snippets we heard while he was hosting on the radio to now the final product released through his website and the one that will be going national very soon (tentatively on Monday).

I'm surprised by this. I loved the acoustic version, the sample was growing on me, but now I'm underwhelmed. I love this little song so much - it reminds me of a contemporary Johnny Cash/James Taylor sound but it's not John Mayer level material. I'm used to his singles being the worst songs on the albums but still ten times better than the rest of the garbage on the radio. Now though there's actually a lot some stations are offering in terms of excellent singles that truly are the best on many artists' albums. When Mayer first debuted, his sound was fresh and witty. While his voice still distinguishes him from other singer/songwriters -and his musicianship in general- this song is not what I expected. Of course it's wonderful to be pleasantly surprised by your favorite musician but I'm still on the fence about whether this is a "pleasant" surprise or not.

I have no real credentials to give a thorough rundown of what is good or bad within a song but I know John Mayer's catalog better than the back of my own hand. I know every lyric, every guitar part (through humming that is), and every song he's performed that hasn't even been released. I'm going to love this new album and embrace it with every fiber of my music-loving heart no matter what the first single is but I just wish it had been... different.

I still listen to his last album, Continuum, nearly every day and it's over three years old so I'm sure I'll love Battle Studies just as much (check out "Half of My Heart" - that's my song so far) but it's just that "but" that's getting in the way. I'm too old for the pop thing and I don't want Mayer's sound to evolve into something I can't relate to anymore.

So I'll go download it and enjoy it like it's the greatest thing to hit the airwaves since Tom Petty debuted in the '70's but I'd still prefer something a little more blusey and funky from a supposed guitar master.

22 September 2009

Song to Love: Empire State of Mind

I don't like to "editorialize" these songs to loves... well it's more like I don't like the word "editorialize" - I love doing it though. And watch me go:

I LOVE this song. There is something about this song that catches my attention like no other. There is a power to it. It's like Jay-Z's urban take on Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and he even mentions Sinatra in it. I'm realizing more and more that one of my favorite music genres is Rap and although that might sound surprising based on my other favorite musicians, songs, etc. I have good reason.

I can't think of much mainstream, top 100 Billboard music that has more soul and feeling than some of these hit rap songs of the past five years. Artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Common, Kid Cudi, T.I. and David Banner have so much heart in their music it's ridiculous. Maybe it's covered with a smattering of pomp and some form of shock and awe but underneath there's a world where feelings are the most important thing and magic comes in the form of addicting beats and desperately delicious rhymes.

This song by Jay-Z off his new album, The Blueprint 3, is one I first heard on the disastrous VMA's earlier this month and while I enjoyed it then, it wasn't until I downloaded it last week that it grabbed me. There are such interesting elements working together on this track - Alicia Keys with a hook that's beautiful and haunting (I have never heard her sound better - she has a bridge that's utterly breathtaking), Jay-Z with verses that explain the topic (Manhattan) in a fresh, new way, and music that sounds exactly like the words do, if you know what I'm saying. The song sounds like New York. It's like music onomatopoeia, and that's really rare. Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" also has this sound. (side note: Jay-Z was recently seen attending a Grizzly Bear show in New York so it all comes full circle)

So far this song has reached #1 on the iTunes charts and #5 on the official Billboards list, also managing to chart in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Switzerland. It doesn't officially get released to radio until October 19th.

You MUST check this song out. Whether you like rap or not, this is a special case. I would listen to this every hour if I could.

Empire State of Mind
Yeah, Imma up at Brooklyn,
now Im down in Tribeca,
right next to DeNiro,
But i’ll be hood forever,
I’m the new Sinatra,
and since i made it here,
i can make it anywhere,
yeah they love me everywhere,
i used to cop in Harlem,
all of my dominicanos
right there up on broadway,
brought me back to that McDonalds,
took it to my stash spot,
Five Sixty Stage street,
catch me in the kitchen like a simmons whipping pastry,
cruising down 8th street,
off white lexus,
driving so slow but BK is from Texas,
me I’m up at Bedsty,
home of that boy Biggie,
now i live on billboard,
and i brought my boys with me,
say wat up to Ty Ty, still sipping Malta
sitting courtside Knicks and Nets give me high fives,
N-gga i be spiked out, i can trip a referee,
tell by my attitude that I most definitely from…

[Alicia Keys]
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
Theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
big lights will inspire you,
lets here it for New York, New York, New York

I made you hot n-gga,
Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game,
sh-t i made the yankee hat more famous than a yankee can,
you should know I bleed Blue, but I aint a crip tho,
but i got a gang of n-ggas walking with my click though,
welcome to the melting pot,
corners where we selling rocks,
afrika bambaataa sh-t,
home of the hip hop,
yellow cap, gypsy cap, dollar cab, holla back,
for foreigners it aint fitted they forgot how to act,
8 million stories out there and their naked,
cities is a pity half of y’all won’t make it,
me i gotta plug Special Ed "i got it made,"
If Jesus payin LeBron, I’m paying Dwayne Wade,
3 dice cee-lo
3 card marley,
labor day parade, rest in peace Bob Marley,
Statue of Liberty, long live the World trade,
long live the king yo,
I’m from the empire state thats…

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
Theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
big lights will inspire you,
lets here it for New York, New York, New York
Welcome to the bright light..

Lights is blinding,
girls need blinders
so they can step out of bounds quick,
the side lines is blind with casualties,
who sipping life casually, then gradually become worse,
don’t bite the apple Eve,
caught up in the in crowd,
now your in-style,
and in the winter gets cold en vogue with your skin out,
the city of sin is a pity on a whim,
good girls gone bad, the cities filled with them,
Mommy took a bus trip and now she got her bust out,
everybody ride her, just like a bus route,
Hail Mary to the city your a Virgin,
and Jesus can’t save you life starts when the church ends,
came here for school, graduated to the high life,
ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight,
MDMA got you feeling like a champion,
the city never sleeps better slip you a Ambien

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
Theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
big lights will inspire you,
lets here it for New York, New York, New York

[Alicia Keys]
One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty,
no place in the World that can compare,
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeaaahh
come on, come,

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
Theres nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
big lights will inspire you,
lets here it for New York, New York, New York

20 September 2009


I'm at work, just a touch bored, and couldn't resist looking up the music video for Sade's "The Sweetest Taboo" in honor of my short story (the longest of my life) of the same title that will be critiqued (aah) on Tuesday.

I love the fantasy aspect of this video since that's the part it also plays in my story and the music is so sexy. I'm not generally a fan of the '80s but this is really good, really sensual.

19 September 2009

Some People to Love: Mayer Hawthorne and Taylor Hicks

Mayer Hawthorne is one of the greatest new acts this year, no doubt about it. I had heard the hype from everyone from Perez to John Mayer but I wasn't sure whether to believe it. There have been others with equal hype that I still don't understand (hello Brett Dennen) but this is really one for the books. I'm enjoying this guy's sound so much that I've probably been playing the one song I have of his over and over enough times to get it on my top 25 most played list - and it's only been a few days.

My one complaint would be the generic sound of his old-school style. While it's my absolute favorite type of sound, it's still lacking in originality a tiny bit. It's sort of a rip-off of all the people Hawthorne is inspired by - Smokey Robinson, Barry White, etc. and they could definitely do it better than he could. With that said, this guy is definitely ten times better than so many young artists on the scene right now. I condone mimicking the past much more than the present pop/punk robotic imitations happening in a big way all over MTV and those Top 40 stations. Mayer Hawthorne is the kind that will probably never see any success on the radio but could still have a serious career (even John Legend doesn't have big radio success but a huge following). Smooth, soulful types never get their just due.

I wasn't anticipating mentioning this but Taylor Hicks, the winner of American Idol a few seasons back, made an excellent soul record "The Distance", that never ever got enough credit as well. There are some absolutely fantastic adult contemporary singles on that record that could have easily gotten recognition with the over 30 female set (and more). I feel this must be mentioned if Hawthorne is getting attention for the same kind of music that's not even as original as Hicks' sound. I wouldn't be embarassing myself by saying this if it weren't true - and if there's any young people reading this, play Taylor Hicks or Hawthorne for your mom, they're sure to understand.

Go buy Taylor Hicks album! I don't want him being dropped from his record label (if that hasn't happened already). Really cute music video too, he's a nice looking guy.

Who Says John Mayer's a Jerk?

While he may be rather arrogant (witness this on "Fantasy Factory" this week on MTV), John Mayer delivers time and time again. His new single "Who Says" is already growing on me and it hasn't even been officially released yet. Of course for those who can't wait (like me), here is the album cover art stolen off one of the best websites I can think of, www.tryjm.com.

I think I really like this but I was hoping for something a little more Columbia Records/jazzy-throwback-style as per usual with his covers. This might be a little self indulgent but he does look good...

It still makes me uncomfortable to think of John Mayer as "attractive".

18 September 2009

Get 'em While They're Hot

So I'm really excited right now - and a little frustrated.

First, and most important, I just got a new iPod! I decided on the "Evergreen" color because it was one of the nicest and one of the only ones still available at Best Buy when I got there. It looks amazing. I have yet to connect it because I've been sitting in Barnes and Noble for the past two hours waiting for my slow-as-heck computer to download the 9.0 version of iTunes but otherwise I am so thrilled. The screen looks twice the size of my old one (from two years ago) and I can't wait to use the radio tagging option - and the voice recorder - oh my. Like I wasn't already a stalker. I'll write a full review once I get it going and hear the sound quality, etc.

Now, I was wasting some time on my old version of iTunes just now as the program is downloading the new one and listened to most of that new Grizzly Bear album. I'm happy to report that it's one of the best albums from start to finish that I have heard in probably six months or more. If I had the money and space on my computer I would download the entire thing. This is seriously impressive. I feel strange saying that because, really, who the hell am I to say a group of professionals made "impressive" music but as a devoted music lover and obsessor, I know good music when I hear it. I LOVE this new album. I want to hear it in its entirety. It is too good for just 30 second snippets. I can't believe I like Grizzly Bear. I actually know people who would be really angry about that - how sick is that?

So go out and buy yourself one of these amazing iPods.

16 September 2009

Song to Love: Two Weeks

It seems like more and more I'm finding myself in love/hate relationships with bands that either I used to hate and now love or used to love and now hate. Luckily for Grizzly Bear, I now love them (like they really care). But it did take a lot to get me to this point.

I had seen Grizzly Bear open for the one and only THE NATIONAL at Hammerstein Ballroom way back in the year 2008 and not only disliked their set, wished they never existed as humans and wanted to kill myself with their microphone stand. I hated them in a way I have hated few bands before. It made my toes curl - in a bad way - to see them getting so much critical praise in reputable press like New York Magazine (the ones hosting the show) and The New York Times which ranked their album, Yellow House, as one of the best of 2006. I thought the lead singer looked like a demented version of Humphrey Bogart and totally dismissed all of their songs as sounding the same and blending into one another without notice.

Now, I'm not taking all of those comments back just yet because I like one song. I still never gave that particular album a full run through so it really could be as awful as I imagine and perhaps the band has just now started making better music.

This song, "Two Weeks" off their new album, Veckatimest, is excellent from start to finish. I am obsessed, in love, and can't get enough. It sounds like autumn in New York and love and candy and concerts. It sounds like going to see a concert in the fall in Manhattan while sucking on a sweet lollipop. Haha - I don't know.

The sound is so fresh and original that I will fully give it my seal of approval. This is one of those songs I think they made especially for my ears. While the lyrics are surprisingly powerful and even slightly sensual, it's the actual MUSIC of the song that is so above par. I am extremely impressed, more than I have been in a long time by a single song. Even the artwork on the album cover is decent so I could actually buy this freaking thing. I really might! And this is a band I don't even like.

That is the power of music.

Enjoy the music video. It's really weird.

Song originally found on 101.9 RXP: the greatest station in the world. Go to their website.

Two Weeks

Save up all the days
A routine malaise
Just like yesterday
I told you I would stay

Would you always
Maybe sometimes
Make it easy
Take your time

Think of all the ways
Momentary phase
Just like yesterday
I told you I would stay

Every time you try
Quarter half the mile
Just like yesterday
I told you I would stay

Would you always
Maybe sometimes
Make it easy
Take your time

Time After Time

Just like there's some music I can't help liking, there's some things I can't resist in real life. In my twenties I'm realizing that there are certain things that cannot be compromised. Sophistication is the highest thing on that list. I'm in love with those that have an innate sense of style, not just fashion obviously, a personal style that speaks in the way they walk, carry themselves, move their hands, etc.

I don't know if I'm old enough to have the kind of sophistication I'm talking about - even if I can recognize it in others. I might just be seeing small glimpses of the future - a future hopefully filled with elegance and quality like these people I so admire but who knows..

I spent five hours on a quiz yesterday. I think that's sophistication to a certain degree. I never would've done that in high school or anytime up until now. I put effort into something I cared about and we'll see how it pans out. I love being young and firmly believe that no one should want to rush ANY time away that they are so graciously given but I look forward to a time when the people around me are mature and dignified. Well, I should clarify. I look forward to a time when I'm mature and dignified. I don't just want to look up to people that have succeeded in life - I want to be one of them. These inspirational people have such extreme determination and passion that I can't even fathom it. I want to get into their brain and see how it's done. I've never been so close to such success before. Maybe that explains some of my awestruck behavior?

I get scared in the presence of greatness. I shut off lights. I'm nothing in the face of all that. I lack all the confidence these incredible people have. I may have some excellent qualities but there's no way to express them when other's excellence is so looming. It's radiant.

There is something about shiny shoes and pensive thoughts.

Can't think of much music to put those images to.. It's almost more overwhelming than music.

Maybe "Everywhere" - Fleetwood Mac. Not so much the lyrics but the sound of the song itself.

15 September 2009

Musical Notes

Just a quick rundown of some songs I've been wanting to download off iTunes but have yet to get a chance because of school, lack of internet access unless at school library, and the anticipation of the new 5th generation iPod that should be in my hands by the beginning of next week. Currently my old one is sitting in my bag, completely uncharged, missing headphones, and rather ragged looking. I feel sorry for it. I remember when I first got it almost two years ago and treated it like the most important piece of gold in the world. Now it's become a homeless person taking shelter in a random pocket next to a couple TD Bank pens. That's not very nice of me to treat an old friend like that but that new, shiny iPod is making dream clouds appear in my mind. I don't know what color I want yet (possibly dark blue? Forest green?.. I've always wanted a red one..) but I can't wait for the FM radio option and the pre-made Genius mixes. Those are the kind of nerdy things I live for. I hope to fall in love.

So here's a little, incomplete list meant primarily for me because who knows if anyone else will understand it.

**Cat Stevens - If You Want to Sing Out (from that T-Mobile commercial I love with my best friend, Whoopi Goldberg)
**Wale ft. Lady Gaga - Chillin (I'm obsessed with the video and Gaga's absolutely addicting chorus)
**Kanye West - Paranoid (I know I mentioned it before but I have yet to purchase it and hey, I still love him - and Taylor Swift is okay too)
**Mayer Hawthorne (no song in particular but I've heard so much about him and think I'd like his style... maybe)
**New Vampire Weekend?
**Monsters of Folk
**Electric Light Orchestra - Evil Woman
**Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks (at least I think that's what it's called - found on 101.9)
**Pete Yorn - Last Summer (I can't place this song but 101.9's recently played list mentions it a lot so I must hear it)
**Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
**The Violent Femmes
**James Morrison - Hurt Like You
**Snow Patrol - Hands Open

... I feel like there was more throughout this past week but that's all I can think of. I don't mind that "Paparazzi" song of Lady Gaga's either but I wouldn't download it. I'm also LOVING everything about Kid Cudi whose debut album comes out today I think? I still need "Make Her Say" - consider that part of the list and any other new songs I love of his off the album.

A couple other notes:

--Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are releasing a new live collection called "The Live Anthology" that does not have a set date yet but will include something like 48 songs, bonus footage, and all kinds of other stuff at a reasonable price. There's also some kind of digital "Superhighway" tour mentioned on their website but I don't fully understand it yet. Their new website is AWESOME though - the best I've ever seen.

--If you haven't checked out 101.9 RXP and live in the tri-state area, you are completely out of your mind. This is not only the greatest radio station to ever grace the airwaves, they are transforming my life into a better one. I don't hear them as much I'd like but my freaking new iPod better get great reception and tagging options on this station because I plan on listening to them a lot more as soon as I can. They play such rarities - both old and new - that I can't get over it. I keep finding these precious gems on their playlists, even if I listen for just a few minutes in the car. I want to give all the disc jockeys hugs and gift baskets. They are the greatest.

Top 20 Rock Songs: My Picks

During Labor Day weekend I wrote a post about 101.9 RXP's 1,019 greatest rock songs of all time countdown but failed to ever post my own top 20 list that I managed to send in right before the deadline. I forget exactly how many of my songs wound up on the list but I do know it was a good amount - maybe 10? Maybe even more. I'm proud of that and also proud of all the other songs on my list. Not even all of Matt Pinfield's songs made the list (I don't think).

Believe it or not Pete Yorn, Ray LaMontagne, AND MY NATIONAL SONG(!) got on the list and really that's all I could ever ask for. I was thrilled.

So without further adieu, here is my Top 20 List of my favorite great rock songs.


Cream - Sunshine of Your Love
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - I Need to Know*
The Band - Up On Cripple Creek
Led Zeppelin - D'yer Mak'er*
The Hollies - Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress
Todd Rundgren - I Saw The Light
The Who - The Seeker
Jefferson Airplane - High Flying Bird
The National - Mistaken For Strangers*
Bruce Springsteen - It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City*
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge*
David Bowie - Queen Bitch
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower*
Dramarama - Anything, Anything*
Chicago - Beginnings
Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
Foo Fighters - Everlong*
The Smiths - This Charming Man*
Stone Temple Pilots - Interstate Love Song*

(*)=songs I know were chosen for the countdown, there may have been more.

And my "legacy picks" (these were categories with a predetermined artist that required you to choose their best song. For The Beatles it was pre-Rubber Soul and for the Stones it was pre-Sticky Fingers):

Buddy Holly - It Doesn't Matter Anymore
Bob Dylan - I Threw it All Away
Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel
The Beatles - You Can't Do That
The Rolling Stones - Paint it, Black (although it would've been "Miss You" if it was out of their entire catalog)

12 September 2009

Song to Love: Paranoid

Kanye West has been one of my favorite rappers since The College Dropout but it seems like he just gets better and better - and more mature - with every single. "Paranoid", West's fourth single off his latest album 808's and Heartbreak, has already been around the radio and music video circuit for awhile but it just grabbed hold of me last night when I was sitting alone in my living room watching the VH1 Soul channel (my favorite) and this short film came on mascarading as a music video (not the other way around) and blew my mind.

I'm actually amazed that this song isn't more of a hit. Maybe I missed its heyday a few months back but the beat is irresistable. I have yet to get it out of my head. Apparently, Rihanna - the star of the video - was supposed to be featured as a guest on the radio version but that idea was scrapped and the one sent out to stations featured Mr Hudson instead, also the version on the music video. While the single's been out since March it was only in June that it became available for download and debuted on the Billboard Pop 100 chart at only 96, reaching its peak at 61.

I loved "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown" off 808's but this beats them by a mile. This song is so unique and modern. It does something really arresting with its sound that I can't put my finger on. I might get a little obsessed with this.