Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle

So i open iTunes yesterday to listen to something while i'm working and guess what? It's gone. I mean...there's nothing there. I have no songs, no videos, no explanation. So i frantically click over to my iTunes folder where everything is stored and sigh with relief that all the files are there. So what happened? iTunes just decided it didn't want my library anymore and dumped it. I have no explanation. So anyway, i imported the library again, which is still in shambles because of my complete deletion a few weeks back, and end up with about 1,000 more songs than i had. At first, i said, "Great, it found some stuff i forgot to add." Until i started scrolling through and noticing double and triples of a ton of stuff. Not everything, but enough to make a difference. Anyway, my OCD kicked in and spent the next 2 hours with a focus unlike i ever have and completely retraced and reorganized everything. I deleted most of the doubles and triples completely off my computer, freeing up about a gig of space. Let's hope i didn't kill anything important.

On with the shuffle,

1. This Ain't A Scene, It's an Arms Race - Fall Out Boy, Infinity on High
I started here on purpose because i know i'm the only one here that consistently likes them. And i have no idea why. You know that i'm usually the first one to write off a band that the masses like, especially after that awful Verizon commercial with the meathead lifting and sweaty and listening to it on his phone and then getting a call from his "babe" all the while forgetting to spot his friend on the bench. I mean, that's usually the breaking point for me. But here i am, enjoying yet another guilty pleasure from the most sold-out band available today. Part of me is ashamed, and part of me doesn't really give a shit. It's poppy and fun to listen to and sing along with. Sometimes you need that...i can't sing along with Sigur Ros. (besides, you all have your guilty pleasures too. I know it so i won't feel too bad.)
Anyway, so far, i like this album. It sounds like all the other ones, and talks about the same exact shit. But like i said, it's catchy, poppy and you can sing with it. When my windows are down (not really an option now that we've hit summer) flying up the 101, this is what i'll be listening to.

2. Chi-City - Common, off of Be
Common is one of my favorites. It's been welllllll documented. I love his voice and his delivery. He sounds so relaxed on the mic, it almost sounds like a saxophone or a soulful trumpet just being played casually by an expert in complete control. He never sounds too bored or too excited. It's a unique sound out of the genre.
My favorite lines in this song:
A black figure, in the middle of chaos and gun fire/So many raps about rims, I'm surprised n***** ain't become tires/On the street you turn code and then go screech/I tell em fuck em, like I do the police/The beast in runnin' rampant/I'm in between sheets tryna have sex that's tantric/But the ghetto, trying to make a get up, stand up anthem/You spit hot garbage son of Sanford/What you rappin' for to get fame or get rich?/I slap a n***** like you/And tell him Rick James bitch.

3. Cat Power - Satisfaction
This was one of the suggestions way back in November 06 (jesus, has it been that long?), when i threw together a hastily prepared and ill-conceived top 5 list of favorite covers.
I like this song a bunch. I love it when people take covers and completely make them their own, almost so it could have been the original song and nobody would have been any the wiser...
I also like the fact that she never sings that chorus. It's a want it to be expect it to be there...and it never comes. It's like a secret she thinks about telling you and then decides not to. It drives me crazy and keeps me coming back for more. I've always had a thing for teases.

4. The Patient - Tool, off of Lateralus
This is just another good song on what has to be the best Tool album...and since there really is nothing specific to talk about...let's tell a story.
We talked on our group blog about what it was like back in the day to invite friends over to listen to music. Not to watch a movie or do something else, but to literally come over just to listen to an album. I couldn't remember the last time i did this until i heard this song. I have no idea what grade it was but Nole came over, and i'm pretty sure that some of the girls were with him, but i can't remember because Nole and i were so into listening to the bass lines and the drum bits that we weren't paying attention to anyone else. I can remember Nole sitting at the head of my parent's kitchen table, during the opening to Schism, trying to explain to the girls what kind of technique the guy must have used to create that sound because, at the time, there was no conceivable way that the bassist had enough fingers to play that opening. Anyway, he stands up, and he has his arms out like he's playing a bass and he's demonstrating in only the way Nole can when he's excited and everytime i hear that song, i'll think of it.

5. Hear You Me - Jimmy Eat World, off of Bleed American
Speaking of nostalgia...this song has such an old school quality to it that even though i didn't hear it until my junior year of college (maybe even senior), it still takes me back to moments in high school. There's just something about the reflective quality of it.
This song is about these 2 girls, in the midwest i think, who worked or hung out at a venue and apparently were really cool to all of the small travelling acts, giving them places to stay, feeding them, giving them goodie bags for the road, etc. After hearing Nole talk about touring and how some people just came out of the woodwork to be cool (and how sometimes you just had to straight up ask kids if you could crash....ha ha.) this song means a lot more to me. Anyway, i guess these two girls were very cool to Jim and the band and when they died in a car accident, the band wrote this song for them. "Hear you me" is something that one of the girls used to say a lot apparently. And i'm writing this without researching it, but i'm pretty sure when i read about it, there were a few other bands with songs about these same girls. Apparently they made an impact on a lot of people. May angels lead them in.

It's a federal holiday and i'm still doing to shufflle...and in the morning no less... Now that's dedication.

Much love. Have a great holiday.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle: The Hand Picked Edition

It's hard to write the shuffle in the morning if you don't wake up until noon. And yes, i have a job that i probably should have gotten up and gone to, don't remind me. But last night i went to a bar in Old Town Scottsdale that i've been meaning to check out for a while. Martini Ranch has this 80s cover band called Metalhead that puts on the outfits and the wigs and pleather pants (complete with the lead singer holding a vodka bottle, assumingly full of water, that he carries around with him on stage...) and rocks out to all of your favorite 80s big hair hits.
Given that admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it, i'm going to tell you that i have an unhealthy obsession with cover bands. I want to be in one, i want to play at crappy little bars for 4 people and sing my favorite songs and use someone else's talent and hard work to make myself look like a rockstar. So i have an addiction to cover bands...watching them, being in them, whatever. (Seriously though if you want to be in a cover band with me, e-mail me here: I'm dead friggin serious. I can sing but can't play guitar or piano to save my life. I can play percussion though and i would definitely give Christopher Walken more than enough cowbell. Call me, please.)
Also, my other problem in need of admitting is that the only musical pleasure i have that is guiltier than liking Fall Out Boy is 80s hair music. I love it. And i'm not ashamed. I own VH1's sounds of the 80s and i've seen Ratt, Poison, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Slaughter, Great White, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Journey (Greatest band ever? Discuss.), Def Lepard and more in concert. I mean, come on. If you're going to go out and be overserved can you think of any music you'd rather hear? I can't. So anyway, that's why the shuffle is a little late today. And i feel awful...i have no voice and i'm definitely having the sweats and shakes. Totally worth it. Might do it again next sunday even.

So today i'm going to do something different. I usually get up early and write the shuffle at home using my iTunes on my computer. Well today, since i was running late, i decided to write it at work and ended up having the first 5 songs of my day be played on my iPod in the car. I heard some good songs that i want to talk about and so instead of being completely random today, i'm going to pick good ones that i want to talk about. Probably more fun that way anyway.

Anyway, on with the shuffle.

1. Know Your Enemy - Rage Against the Machine, off of Rage Against the Machine
Zach, where the hell have you been? We needed you more than ever over the last 8 years and you just straight up abandoned us. 9-11, Katrina, Iraq, Bush...seriously. We needed your guidance. I needed your fistpumping, angst-filled lyrics to get me through some tough times and you blew it. I'm mad at you and you need to make it up to me. Lecture over.
So another great story about this song and high school Ron, Nole, Keegan (and maybe Adam Mortemore?) were supposed to play for this assembly. The theme of the whole thing was America and we were going to put this medley together of patritotic songs (Neil Diamond, Lee Greenwood, etc.) and rock out. Well the more we talked about it and messed around, the more we thought that we didn't really like the way things were being handled in our country and that it would really ruffle some feathers if we walked out and played some Rage Against the Machine instead. We picked this song, learned it, practiced, had it completely perfect and then completely chickened out. That's all i can think of whenever i hear this song....good times.

2. Don't Let Money Change Ya - Blackalicious
I've always loved this song. Banging beat with a bunch of different layers and tempos and the hook is really what makes it (I can't explain'll have to listen to it.) Gift of Gab is one of the most talented MC's i've ever heard...just listen to the track Alphabet Aerobics for an idea...and he doesn't swear or talk about bling...he just flows and flows with these super intelligent and creatively rhymed lyrics. He's relatively political too which you know i don't mind...He did a track called Release with Zach De La Rocha and Saul Williams on the Blazing Arrow album that is totally amazing and you should check out also.
This song tells the story or a rapper coming up in the game, his success going to his head and his inevitable fall. Gift of Gab says the person's name is Sisqo, but i have no idea if he's talking about the Thong Song guy or not. That would be pretty ballsy i guess.
Anyway, if you like Kweli or Mos or Kanye definitely check out Blackalicious.

3. Goodbye Sky Harbor - Jimmy Eat World, off of Clarity
I'm not a huge Clarity fan to be honest ... not as big as some i know (the obsession borders on Radiohead-like for some people i've talked to...) but this song is one of my favorite Jimmy songs of all time. All 16 minutes of it. And i didn't even really appreciate it until after i read "A Prayer for Owen Meany." It's an amazing book that i know all of you who read this would really appreciate and Goodbye Sky Harbor's lyrics are taken directly for the book. I actually put it on when i read the last few pages of the was a cool cross of mediums that i highly suggest.

4. The Widow - The Mars Volta, off of Frances the Mute
I once got a lapdance to this song...true story... and in Anchorage, Alaska no less. And it's completely irrelevant but can you think of a more random set of circumstances to connect you to a song? Because i can't.
The best part about it is that i would have never ever thought this song was sexy before but given that's kind of a sexy song to me a Nine Inch Nails - Closer kinda way...just dark and melodic and the girl had jet black hair and was kinda dark and melodic herself and now i have a Pavlovian response to it.
I told the girl after the dance that i really loved the song and that it was probably the most random song to hear in a strip club ever and she said, "Yeah, and i just love the girl's voice too." AND COMPLETELY RUINED IT FOR ME. That's the last time i give a stripper musical credit.

5. Brothers on a Hotel Bed - Death Cab for Cutie, off of Plans
This song never ceases to blow my mind. It is primarily my reason for wanting to learn piano, just so i can sit down in a bar or at a friend's house and play the first few chords of it and tear everyone's heart out with the beauty of those first few notes.

And that's all their is to say about that.

I'll leave you with a gift: A New Lauryn Hill song!

Have fun out there kids.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Take on Rap Music

So this conversation has been going on for a while and yielded some really interesting thoughts and points. The fans (Ron, Kevo and I to varying degrees) have rallied to the genre's defense and the detractors have expressed valid points that i would have dismissed a few years back but now are starting to grow on me...most specifically that the music that people listen to does have an affect on them.

I have a few concerns before i launch into of which is that i'm not sure where to post it. Do i post it on the music blog because it's about rap music or do i post it on the socio-political blog because it is a social commentary. One of these days i'm just going to have to consolidate the damn things...i digress.

My other concern in typing this is that i'm sitting in a house i own, typing on a relatively top-of -the-line computer that i also own, in one of the more affluent neighborhoods in the entire country, Scottsdale, AZ. Now i don't live in the nicest part of the nicest neighborhood in town but still...i'm not living in the projects or ghettos -- my town doesn't really have too much in the way of these types of neighborhoods even -- so how am i going to sit here and talk about rap music and the plight of black people and music's affect on the inner city when, hell, i've never really even been to an inner city for fuck's sake... So i'm a bit torn, but i'm going to press forward. Here's the deal. In the paraphrased words of Ben Folds, i'm a suburban white kid with a relative life difficulty of ZERO. Everything i am going to write has been viewed through that scope and everything you see is going to have to be read through that lens and digested accordingly. Disclaimer over.

My first hip-hop CD ever was Wyclef - The Carnival. I bought the edited version at a walmart in Jackson Hole Wyoming because i desperately needed new music and i wanted to piss my mom off by buying a rap CD, i think. I listened to this CD all summer and ended up liking almost every song on the CD, the beats appealed to me and the lyrics stuck in my head. I've always been able to memorize lyrics in about 3 listens of a song and knowing all the strange lyrics (including the song in Haitian french) just worked for some reason. It's a fun, light-hearted CD and i felt that a lot of the more "gangster" lyrics were tongue-in-cheek anyway. When they talked about shooting people (and i'm pretty damn sure that the collective body count of Wyclef, Lauryn Hill, Pras Well, Melky Sedek, and the others on this CD don't climb too high...) it seemed more along the lines of watching a mob movie or playing a violent video game than people actually discussing reality. It still does. I can watch the Godfather and not put a hit out on my enemies. I can watch Goodfellas and not start selling blow. I can steal a car and shoot a hooker in Grand Theft Auto and never even remotely consider doing these things in real life. Hereto, therefore, i can listen to rap music and not (even subliminally) start thinking that the actions spoken of are even the slightest bit OK. As Kevin put it in his comments, even a lifetime of listening to NWA has never caused Kevo to reach back like a pimp and smack a ho. The same, obviously, goes for me. One of my favorite rap songs of all time is "Ain't No Fun" by Snoop and that's about the filthiest song i've ever heard. I've always looked at it as a parody and never thought that any human being ever would listen to it and consciously think "You know what? I gotta start treating women like this. It sounds great!"

As i've said before, misogynistic and degrading lyrics are not new, and they're certainly not mutually exclusive to black people. Over the course of the history of music, dating back to African tribes thousands of years ago, there is evidence that words and sound were combined to create music in rituals and traditions that were made to lower and debase women and raise up the confidence and superiority of the men (the warriors). It has been passed down for thousands of years and as bad as our music seems today, we (as in today's humans) definitely didn't invent it. Like i say all the time, and i've pointed out in often in my Everything is A-Ok blog, we really haven't evolved that much. We're not that much different, that much more mature or that much smarter than our ancestors of thousands of years ago. Evolution is a process that takes millions of years. We've advanced an iota. We still beat our wives and televise it on Cops. We're not any better. I know we'd like to think that we are, but we're not. At all.

Now i'm not saying that it's OK, i'm just trying to provide some context. We have come a long way in our respect and treatment of women and they have proven their great worth to us ignoramus men time and time again throughout history. I'm not saying that because tribes of indigenous people treated their women poorly 8,000 years ago, that it's OK today. It's not.

Music has always been a great communicator of thoughts and ideas. Musically talented people have always been the story tellers and instant messengers of every generation. When white people ripped Africans from their continent to bring them to the U.S. as slaves, the negroe spiritual was born. They weren't allowed to gather in great numbers so they passed on messages of hope and strength through music. Music is, and always will be, a medium in which ideas and messages are carried on. So, i suppose i have no choice but to finally admit that music, and more importantly the message contained in that music, is a powerful thing and to varying degrees has an affect on all of us. It would be ignorant (and i've been accused of ignorance a time or two) to assume otherwise.

Here's where it gets sticky and entirely friggin off topic. If music is a great communicator and it's messages affect us no matter what (and i think that they do.) then it becomes a matter of right and wrong vs. censorship vs. responsibility. Earlier in the post when i talked about the different kinds of violent and inappropriate media that i've taken in throughout my life and how it hasn't affected me, i meant that it hasn't spurred me into violent and/or illegal actions. To say that it hasn't affected me at all would be completely incorrect. I have certainly had major emotional reactions to music. I've admitted time and time again in this very space that i love music that makes me feel something, that gets something out of me and that i hate music that doesn't move me in some way, no matter how brilliant the musicians that created it may have been. I have heard songs whose lyrics struck me at a particular time and motivated me to change the way i thought about certain situations or people; and in the end, some of those changes in perspective have even caused me to act differently the next time i faced the situation. So, if you want to oversimplify it, i'll go ahead and admit it: Music at some point in my life has driven me to take an action. I chalk up the fact that i've never slapped a ho to the fact that my parents taught me the difference between right and wrong. I know better. I know that would be wrong, so i don't do it. It would be easy for me, as an affluent white male from a good part of town with parents who cared about me and are still married, to write off the societal implications of rap lyrics by saying, "Well, if parents would just teach their kids right from wrong..." and wipe my hands of all the extenuating circumstances. But that wouldn't be fair. Parents are just like any other group of people, a few good ones and a whole lot of shitty ones. So we can't rely on parents to tell their kids, "Hey, it's fine if you listen to Dre. Just know that you can't cap a nigga just because Dre said so." It's never going to happen. Some parents just don't give a shit and so we'll always end up with kids who have no concept of the right way to behave. It'll never change.

So then what? Do we rely on the government to censor the music we listen to so that kids with crappy parents don't act out lyrics they hear? I think that's a slippery slope and one that is so obviously a bad idea that we don't even need to discuss it. We do still live in America, and despite all that is happening around us, we do still hang on to a few scraps of freedom ie. it's ok for the government to censor and hide war news, but it's not OK to censor our rap music. That's where we draw the line. Makes perfect sense, right?

So the third option is responsibility. When Talib Kweli has a forum with 4th and 5th graders or Russell Simmons holds a hip hop summit, that is practicing responsibility. Still, is it just me, or do you not see Mims, Yung Joc, 50 Cent and Suge Knight lining up to host these things?? It's just never going to happen on a wide scale. There's no interest in it and more importantly, there's no damn money in it. If it was human nature to be responsible, we wouldn't still have cigarettes or liquor or drugs or television or cheeseburgers (BORING!) fact, we wouldn't even be having this conversation in the first place. So i'm not going to hold my breath and wait for the rappers and hip hop artists to make sweeping changes in the name of responsibility. Call me a pessimist, but it ain't friggin happening. From the very top (white) executive at the top record label, to the kid selling his demo on the corner, there is absolutely no interest -- financially or otherwise -- in protecting the children from dirty, obscene, irresponsible lyrics.

So what is rap to do? Or rather, what are we to do about rap? Here's 2 possible answers. The first one cynical and the 2nd, somewhat optimistic.

It goes completely out of style as a genre.
And that's it. That's the only feasible way that rap lyrics will ever be OK. For them not to exist at all. And if they exist, for people not to give a shit. You don't hear anyone complaining about how Polka is ruining our children, do you? Any news lately on the kids who were jailed because of the Waltz? How about that congressional hearing on Bach and Chopin? All of those things went out of style, became obsolete and are no longer affecting our culture. If rap music goes this way, the discussion will go away.

And the second:
Mos Def has this speech at the beginning to Black on Both Sides (my favorite hip hop album ever) and he says something along the lines of, "Hip hop is the people. We are hip hop. And hip hop won't get better until the people get better. So when you ask me, 'hey Mos, what's gonna happen with hip hop?' i say, 'what's gonna happen with us?' Hip hop will get better when the people get better."
And that's the poignant line for me. Hip hop will get better, when the people get better. That's the only solution.

Can the people get better? We will see.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Kanye Graduates

Here's the first track leaked from Kanye's upcoming CD, Graduation.

And i like it, so far. We'll see what the rest of the CD has in store.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle

What a fun musical weekend. Last Thursday i decided that my computer needed a tune up and some routine maintenance. So i backed up all 20 gigs of music from my computer to my external hard drive and then deleted it. Yup, all 20 gigs, right off of my computer. That was a pretty scary "yes" button to click when the computer asked, "Are you sure you want to delete 'my music' and everything it contains?" But i went with it, confident that everything was backed up safely on the external drive. Well everything went smoothly until i tried to move all the music back onto my computer. You see, when i download music or someone sends me a CD, it is automatically saved to my external drive, then i drag it over to my computer, listen to it and then either keep it or delete it. The problem arose because as a result of this practice, i've ended up with somewhere near 30Gbs of music on the external and only room for 20Gb on my when i clicked and dragged it only copied about 2/3rds of the library back on my computer. From there i had to manually go through and delete some things (i have a lot of stand-up comedy and books on tape for road trip purposes) and then manually add in the other 1/3rd of my library until iTunes stopped shoving all those little exclamation points at me. It probably took about 10 hours collectively including the time it took to copy files over (the little ticker would say there were 4 minute remaining and then it would take 20...). So a lot of fun was had reorganizing and restructuring the folder, and also contemplating what music i have on my iTunes that i absolutely never listen to and can delete forever without even regretting. So that may have to be a blog post of its own...we'll call it, "Stuff I Deleted And Couldn't Care Less About." Could be fun, could start some fights, we'll see if i get to it.

Also, Courtney sent me a link to this web site's a site where people can write in and report on things they've overheard other people say. Courtney lives in Brooklyn (Bitties in the BK Lounge!) so her favorite part of the site is "Overheard in New York" (they also have overheard in the office, overheard at the beach, etc.). Emo jokes never get old, so today's Overheard in New York post is hilarious. Find it here: Really, What Else is There to be Sad About?

Anyway, on with the shuffle:

1. Mississippi Queen - Mountain
This song has everything...a catchy hook, ripping guitar and a really really healthy dose of Cowbell...and that's what everyone needs, more cowbell.
I used to work in a warehouse packing boxes in high school and we either listened to conservative talk radio all day or sometimes i would switch it to the Classic Rock station just to preserve my sanity. Well this song, at the time, was pretty much played hourly. You've heard it, i know you have, you just don't know it. Download it and you'll be like, "Damn, Adam was right, i've definitely heard that song 50 times."
And one final note, who names their band "Mountain"??? There are no bands called River, or Tree, or Planet, so why Mountain? That's like having the balls to change your name from Gordon to Sting...oh wait.

2. Drunkship of Lanterns - The Mars Volta, off of De-Loused in the Comatorium
Norah Jones came on and i skipped it because after Mountain, i just needed something that would keep pace. I am NOT in a Norah mood at all right now. Moving on.
If i have to tell you anything about The Mars Volta, this CD or any detail of their amazingness then well, you're not a regular reader of the shuffle. I am pretty sure that everyone who reads this is aware of The Mars Volta and how good this CD is. I've recently gotten back into it and have been reminded how good it is. It's just 72 minutes of heart-pumping, thrashing, creative and explosive genius. This is really one of the best albums of the decade in my opinion just because of the chances they took in creating an album that didn't have any semblance of a mainstream single on it. This album has absolutely zero marketability to the common music listener and wow, what a concept, but that just doesn't happen at all anymore these days.
My only objection to it, and it seems they've gotten worse at this through subsequent albums, is the pointless ambient noise that breaks up the songs...i mean, stop making noise just for the sake of making noise. I like to think that i get music, i understand why bands and artists and producers do certain things but i've never understood the 4 minute interludes of kids playing on the playground intermixed with someone breaking wineglasses filled with cooking sherry, over an atonal and out of rhythm techno beat...i just don't get it. Please stop doing this. Frances the Mute was ruined by this and Tool's 10,000 days was borderline bad because of it as well. Please stop this immediately.

3. We Both Go Down Together - The Decemberists, off of Picaresque
My verdict is still out on The Decemberists. Some of their stuff is amazing...and some of it just sounds exactly the same. I like when they step out of the mold and use different tempos and sounds but their middle of the road tunes are kind of annoying. The guys voice kinda grates on me on their unadventurous songs. When they take a chance instrumentally, then it works. I don't know if that makes sense but i guess when i'm listening to the music more than the vocals then i don't notice how his voice makes me want to stab myself in the eardrum with a rusty spike. On the songs that aren't musically compelling, well i'm heading to construction sites to find bent rebar to hit myself in the skull with. Does that make more sense?

4. Burn - Ray LaMontagne, off of Trouble
See? This is what i meant last week about the Shuffle kinda getting boring. I've written about every single one of these bands before. Maybe it's my music collection that is getting boring, i don't know.
I chose not to skip this song because i have really been listening to Ray a lot more lately. He is coming up in the mainstream pretty fast these days and i wanted to make sure i had a good understanding of him before he wins a Grammy so i can make fun of all the people that will just be hearing him for the first time. Cuz i'm shallow like that.
Anyway, i'm not really sure about his voice sometimes. It is amazing but sometimes it sounds like he's trying too heard to emote certain feelings instead of just reaching back and whaling on the song. I'm not sure. Just like Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine and others, sometimes it sounds amazing and sometimes it sounds fabricated. All in all, i really like Ray LaMontagne though...if you haven't had a chance to pick him up, i highly suggest it.

5. Real - Lupe Fiasco, off of Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor
I haven't become attached to Lupe in the same ways that i became attached to Common, Kanye, Talib and Mos, but that doesn't mean he's not good. He is. His voice is definitely different. It's high for a rapper and he sounds like a little kid. but that almost gives it an endearing quality when he's on tracks with other big rappers that have that hip-hop growl perfected. He sounds like the little kid who is just flowing circles around the big boys.
He has a lot of interesting stuff to say in his lyrics, and you gotta love that his first big single was about skateboarding. He's kind of turned into the hardline Kanye. I mean, Kanye took some chances with his lyrics and the stuff he said in public, but he's kinda stepped back from that since then because he didn't like the heat and backlash that came with it. He's too mainstream to be saying stuff like that apparently and that's really too bad. That's one of the reasons i liked him. But Lupe is saying the same stuff (often over the same exact beats since they produce together) and not backing down from it.
If Lupe keeps it up, i'll be a fan. I think his voice and his Muslim background will keep him from ever becoming too mainstream. Too bad for him, great for us.
And just to close, why don't rappers from the Chi get more respect? Everyone is all New York this, Compton that, Dirty south this...there are a ton of really, really good artists from Chicago and you never hear anyone talk about it. Common, Kanye, Lupe, these are household names and all anyone can talk about is Crunk Juice and this is why i'm hot. Seriously, come on.

Alright, that's enough for today. This has been the easiest shuffle to write in a while. Thanks goes out to my iTunes for picking out some decent shit to talk about. Maybe that little deletion over the weekend changed it's attitude for a while.

You might hear from me this week again so check back. Have a good one.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Drinking Songs!

Well it's Friday, just a few hours from Happy Hour and i just came across this post.

Apparently these guys made a top 100 list of the best drinking songs ever. Here are the top 10.

I don't know all of them but i will be doing some downloading this weekend for sure.

What are your favorite bar songs, karaoke songs, Irish sea chanteys, etc.?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle

1. 21st Century - Red Hot Chili Peppers, off of Stadium Arcadium
Lyrics that don't make any sense + catchy chorus + super-funked out bass line = Every RHCP song you've ever heard.

2. Friend of The Devil - Counting Crows, off of Films About Ghosts
Somber mournful lead singer + minor key piano + high sing-along factor = Every Counting Crows song you've ever heard. (We seem to have reached a common theme here...)

3. Guillotine - Cascara
This should be fun.

I'm probably one of 8 people in the world with a recording of this song and i was really hoping that Nole would become a famous drummer so i could be interviewed on Behind The Music and sell unreleased bootlegs and B-sides of their first few songs to all the scenester kids. Alas, it wasn't meant to be and i'm left with nostalgic recordings of songs called, "This Song Can't Be About Blowing Stuff Up Because of Terrorism." But there was a time when i would walk from my house in Tempe down to the Big Fish pub and watch Nole and company tear the place up with 17 people in the audience and me dancing around like a jackass right up front. Those were the days... (I'd love to hear what you have to say about this Nole...)

4. Please Bleed - Ben Harper, off of Burn To Shine
I've never really quite had the appreciation for Ben Harper as i should have but he really is one of the best artists of our time and definitely under-appreciated. This song is one of my particular favorites because of the up tempo beat and the almost thrash metal chorus. Ben is usually a pretty subdued guy but this song rocks it out hard and has a pretty angry edge to it. "Please bleed/ so i know that you are real/ so i know that you can feel / the damage that you've done / whoa who have i become/ to myself i am numb." Yikes.

5. Tell Me A Lie - Griffin House, off of Lost and Found
I've talked about him before but if you haven't listened to Griffin House yet, get to it. He's pretty top notch and right down my alley right now. I've been craving some simpler tunes lately and a lot of the "guy and his guitar" tracks have been in heavy rotation these days. I really like the effect that they put on the guitar in this song too. Just listen to it. Trust me.

Alright, we might have to switch up the Monday Morning Shuffle. It's getting to the point where i've said pretty much all their is to say and i hope it's not as boring to read as it's getting to write. I might have to come up with some new ideas for posts. Anyone have any thoughts?