Monday, July 27, 2009

Retail Therapy

I have been doing a lot of music purchasing lately.

The first purchases were a bunch of CDs that I bought at a consignment shop. Turns out, you can find some real bargains in unexpected places. In general, consignment shops, thrift stores and garage sales are great for unearthing treasures as long as you are willing to dig. (At the very least you'll get a chuckle out of some of the other CDs in the pile. I found a Ru Paul CD at the consignment shop and almost bought it just for shits.) The CDs I found were 50 cents a piece, except for the Clash CDs which were five dollars for two CDs. They are as follows:

"The Story of The Clash, Volume 1," The Clash
"Violator," Depeche Mode
"Made in England," Elton John
"The Big Picture," Elton John
"Pablo Honey," Radiohead

The second purchases I just made tonight. Remember that music fund that I started a few months ago? I finally had the change counted. It came out to $14.97, almost exactly enough for a 15 dollar iTunes card. I had an accomplishment to celebrate tonight, so I eagerly scratched off the silver stuff on the back of the card (anybody know what that stuff is actually made out of?), typed in my code, and went shopping. I bought:

"Eye of the Tiger," Survivor - It's my motivational theme song and I didn't have a copy of it. For shame.
"Don't Stop Believin'," Journey - I love to belt this song at the top of my lungs.
"Chicago," Sufjan Stevens - LOVE this song
"You and Me and the Mountain," Maps & Atlases - recommended by a friend
"The Ongoing Horrible," Maps & Atlases - while I was buying "You and Me and the Mountain" I came across this song, liked it, and checked "impulse buy" off my list.
"Sunshine (Go Away Today)," Jonathan Edwards - classic
"Piazza, New York Catcher," Belle and Sebastian - just...nice
"Me and Mia," Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - really cool song, even if it is about Anorexia
"Walking to Do," - This song almost always cheers me up.
"I'd Rather Dance With You," Kings of Convenience - I love it when songs actually (effectively) include string ensembles. Maybe it's the former violinist in me.
"Get Over It," OKGo - classic OKGo style
"Don't Ask Me," OKGo - This song is so funny. And true. Sometimes it's better to just NOT be friends.
"Here It Goes Again," OKGo - yes, the treadmill song

The only thing that kind of sucked was that iTunes has raised its rates on "popular" songs. The Journey, Sufjan Stevens and OKGo cost me $1.29 each. It seems to me that with many people choosing free downloading sites, music ripping, and paid downloading subscriptions and with the economy in shambles, it would not be such a smart move to raise your rates. But I guess iTunes is confident in their sales. (And maybe with good reason)

Anyway, I may or may not do some reviews of the new stuff. Let me know if there's anything you are particularly interested in hearing about.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Also known as the most boring cello part known to man...

I've been sort of a Youtube junkie lately. Wading through the mix of videos of dressed up pets, people ranting about stuff and adolescents covering rock songs, I found this rather interesting music video. I'm not a huge fan of Pachelbel's Canon (also known as Canon in D), but this video is pretty cool. I like the collision of traditional and modern, as well as the Eastern and Western musical influences. Let me know what you think:

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Muse Returns

Hi everybody,

Sorry that I have been absent as of late. A lot of things have been going on, one of the most major being that I graduated. Now that all of the proverbial smoke has cleared, I am renewing my efforts of posting on a regular basis, and hope that you will continue to support the blog. As always, thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson: August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009

The news channels, newspapers, websites and radio stations have all been reeling recently from the death of Michael Jackson. Flipping through the channels on TV, one cannot avoid the video montages that play on loop on every station or the heartbreaking photos of Jackson as a sad-eyed, adorable child in the days before plastic surgery and skin bleaching.

I feel that as a music blogger, I cannot neglect to write about the passing of such an influential pop icon and yet, as I sit at my computer in my small Midwestern hometown, I can't help but wonder how do I possibly address the death of such a monumental musical (and cultural) figure?

I guess for starters, I'm glad to see that Jackson's talent is taking the forefront in the media. Nobody will deny that Jackson's life wasn't without controversy or that he was downright strange sometimes; he led a hard life and was clearly dealing with a lot of inner turmoil. However, the man had talent. The influence that he had on music, dance and pop culture has left an indelible mark on the American (and international) psyche.

Although this is probably the case for many celebrities, one of the things that is so intriguing about Jackson is how little people could actually know of him from his public representation of himself. He was a true performer, and though he was constantly in the spotlight, even shoved down our throats sometimes, his public face revealed very little about who he was. His personal life was as shadowy and locked away as the grounds beyond the gates of Neverland Ranch. Between court cases and odd pictures sent to "The Enquirer," it was always hard to tell fact from fiction with Jackson.

However, it is in his art that we are able to see his true humanity and genius.

When Jackson sang, he sang with his whole body. Music didn't sound like something that he chose to do; rather, something that he had to do. He hit the emotional mark exactly in every one of his songs, and boiled each emotion down to it's most concentrated and intense form. The anger in "Beat It," the pain in "Billy Jean" and the lightheartedness in "Black or White" are - in a word - pure.

His dancing is otherworldly. As a former dancer, it is hard to even begin to describe or comprehend Jackson's skill. He has said that he was inspired by many artists, including Fred Astaire, but Jackson's style was all his own. He was at once natural and precise; fluid and explosive. Every movement he made was completely controlled, but he made it look as effortless as walking.

Michael Jackson's death is a huge loss for the artistic world, but he has left behind a legacy that shines through the videos and music he created and the numerous artists he inspired.

Music:

"Billy Jean" (1983)

Billie Jean - Michael Jackson

"Man in the Mirror" (1988)

Man In The Mirror - Michael Jackson

"Black or White" (1991)

Black Or White - Michael Jackson

Videos - The youtube videos stated that embedding had been disabled by request, so out of respect, I am posting links instead:

"Thriller" (1982)


"Smooth Criminal" (1987)

"Beat It" (1982)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Before "Single Ladies" there was...

Haha, I don't know what it is about really mismatched covers that is so hilarious. This one brightened my day:


Crazy In Love - Snow Patrol

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Classics

There is something about a classic that is just delicious and comforting; something that makes you sit back, slow down and smile with a contented "mmmm." It is silky and smooth like Belgian chocolate, timeless like a fine wine (...and now I'm hungry).

I've been revisiting some pretty awesome artists as of late, and I thought that I'd share the wealth. Some of them may already be old friends, others new discoveries, but either way, I hope that you find a few to incorporate into your mix of current music.

Janis Joplin
There is something so refreshing about Joplin's mix of vulnerability and toughness. She didn't deny that she had pain in her songs, but conveyed it in such a tough chick kind of way. She also had some pretty cool philosophies on life that she expounded on in the live versions.

"Piece of My Heart" (clip)

Piece Of My Heart - Janis Joplin

"Me and Bobby McGee"

The Beatles
Here are a few that popped into my head, but I know I'm forgetting tons.

"Come Together"
"Let it Be"
"Eleanor Rigby"
"In My Life"

The Rolling Stones
A couple favorites are

"Paint It Black" (full song)

Paint_it_Black - Rolling Stones

"Mother's Little Helper"

Jim Croce
I enjoy Croce's ballads more than his satirical songs. "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" is one of my favorites of all time. Also great are "Photographs and Memories" (though be warned, it is SAD) and "Time in a Bottle" (again).

"Photographs and Memories" (clip)

Photographs And Memories - Jim Croce

Billy Joel, "Piano Man"
I think what makes "Piano Man" so gorgeous aside from the breathtaking lyrics and sadly jovial (yes, it's possible) melody is that it is so real. It conveys the atmosphere of the bar, the regulars and the melancholy so articulately that it never seems contrived.

"Piano Man" (clip)

Piano Man - Billy Joel

Tom Petty, "Free Falling"
Though as a generally good girl I can muster only a little sympathy for the protagonist of the song, there is something really intriguing about the simultaneous freedom and loneliness, independence and self-destruction.

"Free Falling" (full song)

free falling - tom petty.

Led Zeppelin
"Stairway to Heaven" - A guitarist I know once said that he hates this song, which I guess is fair. It's probably the same kind of hatred that my inner violinist feels for Pachelbel's Canon, but I am not a guitarist and I quite like it.

"Kashmir" - Hoo boy, this just came on my Pandora and it kicks ass.