Category Archives: Intro

I, Me, Mine

Like my libido, my musical appetite has waned over the years. I’m not interested in every song or album that crosses my desk anymore. I’ll only invest time in artists that have proven themselves and, in the one or two chances I give them, immediately appeal to my sensibilities. Simply put, I don’t have the time or inclination; I’ve got kids for chrissakes.That bit about my libido was a joke. Those of you who know me know that I don’t have a penis… or a very little one at best.

While I have discerning tastes, I will listen to anything a friend recommends. However, you should know that out of ten recommendations I might receive, nine are abruptly stopped in the first 30 seconds of the song. I know what I like.

I have three criteria for music: mood, melody, and arrangement. That’s it. As long as those criteria are met, that’s good enough for me. Sure, I like to get into every now and then. Like most people, I have my favorites and ideas about what’s good and what isn’t. I also understand the tendency to view artists and sports teams in the same light; that is, those that work hard, are true to themselves and their fans, and write ‘proper’ music  ought to be rewarded.

Well, that’s nice and all but it really doesn’t mean anything. At the end of the day, if a song makes you hum, tap your foot, or nod your head, then it’s good.

I know. You probably feel unclean. You remember when you instinctively sang the refrain to Aqua’s I’m A Barbie Girl when it came up on your friend’s playlist. Don’t be embarrassed, 34 million other people did too. To the reviewer at Pitchfork who gave Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head a 5.1 out of 10, let’s try a little experiment. Close your eyes and imagine your boyfriend, girlfriend, and/or mother singing the refrain of “The Scientist” to you.

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start.

Oh, what’s that? You need a tissue now? Every tear drop is a waterfall, bitch. Admit it, you don’t like that album cause you don’t like the band. Not enough post-punk cred, I suppose? Unfortunately, this is an issue I’m all too familiar with. A little part of me is an indie hipster. I have black frame glasses, I smoke American Spirits, and I spend an unnecessary amount of time dressing myself in the morning. Accordingly, I disavowed Coldplay after X&Y because they betrayed my initial impression of them. They were my best kept secret but the world took them away from me. They sold out.

Coldplay didn’t sell out. Coldplay cashed in [to be read deliberately, slowly, and with exaggerated movement of the lips].

To the uppity music critics, professional and amateur, take note: music doesn’t have to mean or say anything. Sure, it’s nice when it does but the only thing music has to do is elicit a response. Over analyzing music is a pointless exercise. Don’t get me wrong, cultivating connoisseurship is important. Like my partners in crime, my taste in music was developed through years of blind consumption then reconstructed as my values and identity took shape. I know what I like now. I have kids, for chrissakes; I don’t have time to be farting around on the Billboard Top 100. Just don’t overdo it, I say, or else you’ll become the characters John Cusack played in the Eighties. Cool, yes but thoroughly miserable and lonely.

This last section is my music disclosure/value statement. I always like knowing where people are coming from and how their views are informed. Because I believe nothing we do is objective, I think it’s better just to come out and say what you like and don’t like. So here goes…

  • I like guitars. I’m partial to guitar-based music. I like rap, electronica, dance and other forms of music but I always go back to the guitar.
  • I like a clean drum sound. Unless it’s a hip-hop, dance, or dub-step record, the  drums should have minimal enhancement. Entire songs/records have been ruined by over-processed drums (see 80s music).
  • I like soulful singing. Gillian Welch, Otis Redding, Cat Power, Van Morrison. These are great, soulful singers (terrific songwriters too). Too often, vocal acrobatics are interpreted as soulful singing. Inflection and range are not enough. When Otis Redding sings the opening verse to I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, I wish he was singing to me. And I have kids for chrissakes!

How is this different than the criteria you list above? The criteria above is what I use to evaluate music to determine if a song or album is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I won’t dismiss an album that does not feature any guitars or relies solely on processed beats if it excels in creating mood,  memorable melodies, and/or interesting arrangements. If it has guitars, a clean drum sound, and/or soulful singing, it’s just an added bonus.

Enough. I’m tired of writing and you’re probably tired of reading. Thanks for visiting our site. Now go download I’m a Barbie Girl.

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Cellos and Ted Nugent. What will come of this?

Music — plain and simple — motivates us, makes us wake up in the morning, and puts us to sleep when the time comes.  It’s what makes this rocking world go round.  Aside from all that, music makes us think.  Personally, music makes me happy.  It really makes me run the gambit of emotions at any given time.  Whenever I hear pieces from different composers, I remember back to my elementary school days, playing in orchestra with fifteen Vietnamese girls all happy to be playing, while I was happy just to be among a great group of people for an hour, three days a week.

And then I remember the first time I heard some of those amazing artists from the late 70’s and 80’s.  Growing up with three much older siblings, I considered myself the youngest teenager on the block.  And rightly so when I could name any given song on the radio and tell you who played it.  From Journey to AC/DC, The Nuge, and so on and so forth.

We all have our opinions on what sexual orientation we think Robbie Williams is, and why Liam Gallagher should get a kick in the teeth, but it’s given balance to what we’ve thought of for years and appreciated.  Music gives us that avenue to stay true, true to ourselves and fight for our rights and opinions as music lovers.

Music is what makes us stay the course, music is what keeps us talking, and music is what makes us think.  We all have our favorite bands, we all have those guilty pleasures that we keep in our closets of happiness, but it’s all about the music.  So we all like the sound of it, some more than others, and I hope that this avenue of music adventure will take me along with hopefully more readers than just the three of us that put this thing together.

You may love what we say, you may curse our names, and I’m sure the three of us will get into virtual fist fights along the way.   But be ready to see with your ears, and listen with your eyes.  I like the sound of it already.


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Hello, Hello (Said It’s Good To Be Back)

Hello. Nihao. Lei-ho.

I’m Neil, the resident supporter of the pop music you’re too embarrassed to admit you like; the bands from decades past that are beyond their prime; the artists trying desperately to remain relevant in an ever-fickle industry; and everything else in between.  Music is my time machine, whisking me to old memories, into the arms of former sweethearts, and to places I may or may not want to revisit.  Highs and lows.  Joy and pain.  I don’t like drama in my life, but I like a heavy dose of it in my music.

I am a voracious consumer.  Pop, dance, metal, indie, R&B, alternative (whatever that is), rap, classical, industrial.  I dislike genre-snobbery, pretentious douchebaggery, and pigeon-holing.  I won’t apologize for liking stuff that you’d normally try to hide from friends and family; in fact, I’ll try my best to convince them that you shouldn’t be completely shunned for having a Creed or Linkin Park song in your iPod.  Unless it’s Nickelback, in which case, may God have mercy on you.  [Full disclosure: I have seen all of those bands in concert, may God have mercy on my soul as well.]

I try to keep an open mind.  I want music to touch me, inspire me, violate me, humble me.  To electrify my emotions.  To inspire hip-thrusting and lip-biting.  To make me sing out loud and off-key while driving down the highway with the windows down.  To cause whiplash and nausea from violent head-banging.  To whip me into a dance-around-the-house-in-my-underwear frenzy.  To make me want to shell out 50 bucks to see your band in concert.

But let me get real for *just* a second.  Lest you think I’m a let’s-all-get-along-and-listen-to-Jack-Johnson-around-a-beachside-bonfire hippie, my passion for music is serious.  I devote most of my day to music: listening, watching, reading, writing.  I consume more music than food.  In vain, I expect others to be as religious in their endeavors.  I do not accept mediocrity.  Heaven help you if you’re one of those jokers who “just listen to whatever is on the radio” and enjoy “pretty much anything” (“except rap and country, eww!”).   Pick something.  Get into it.  I also do not condone laziness.  Try, TRY to get into your music on a deeper level.  I honestly don’t care if you’re a Nickelback fan (I’ll still pray for you), but you had better be the best Nickelback fan that you can be, or else just back the fuck up out my face.

So I hope I can open your mind to something new or remind you of why you liked so-and-so-all-those-years-ago.  Music is my life and I’m happy to share it with you.

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