With a free evening, a jones to be creative, and about 8 different blog ideas floating in my head, I sat down tonight to write. Looking for music to scrawl by, I idly flipped through my iPod. I was suddenly shocked by how many artists are represented by just one song on the Pod, and in several cases, the only song I like – or even own – by the given artist. I’m not necessarily talking one hit wonders here, though I suppose there are a few of those. (Take a bow, “Under the Milky Way”, “Whoever You Are”, and “Flagpole Sitta”!) Download culture perhaps makes this more and more of a phenomenon for us all; why take a chance on a whole album when you can just go get the one song you dig? In my case, though, I tend to jump in feet first – see a band live, buy their CD practically unheard, etc. They may be represented by just one song, but I’ve surely heard many other songs of theirs. So, I’d like to take a brief moment to pay tribute to five of my favorites from the bands and singers who rocked my world…that one time…with that one song. All of the following songs still live on my iPod. Continue reading
Music fans like to pretend like we’re way fuckin’ cool. Each of us believes our tastes are unassailable, our collections immaculate. To quote LCD Soundsystem, “I’ve never been wrong – I used to work in a record store”. And really, I’ve never been WRONG. Even when I was way into Dave Matthews Band in the 90s. Even when I tried to make Antony and the Johnsons happen with my Shreveport friends and was promptly shut down. Even when someone gave me a free Milli Vanilli CD a few years ago, and I accepted it. Though I do worry about its adjacency to Rhett Miller, Minibar and the Minus 5 on my shelf. As if somehow, the scandal will ooze onto the more talented musicians’ records. I’d like to think that the Ministry CD will kick Rob and Fab’s asses if they get out of line. (I have a vivid imagination.)
I’ve never been wrong because, as I’ve stated many a time here in the pages of The Essential Noise, Music Is Subjective. I might hate AC/DC, but maybe AC/DC saved your life. You may rather poke your eardrums out with a grapefruit spoon than hear one note of R.E.M., which means we may not have much to talk about, but that’s your prerogative. And because I believe that Music Is Subjective, I have a rather hard time wrapping my brain around the concept of the musical “guilty pleasure”. Isn’t listening to any music that you enjoy a pleasure? Whether it made you laugh, cry, or pogo in your living room, you still most likely felt something good. It’s possible that the only true guilty pleasures in life come from cheating on your lover or your diet. Continue reading
Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, which depending on your current romantic station, is cause for either celebration or a stiff drink. Or perhaps both. I tend to abide by the hippie-esque plaudit that every day should be about love. That said, I still find myself sucked into the holiday mentality of showing my love via conspicuous consumption: weekend getaways, fancy dinners, fabulous gifts. (In 2010, I was given an engagement ring on Valentine’s Day, proving this holiday isn’t ALL bad.) We all find ourselves scrambling towards a romantic ideal. This day shall be perfect. Like a love song.
Although, when you stop to think about it, most love songs are fucked up.
Because love is such an immensely complicated emotion, ritual, protocol, that no two loves are the same. And no two love songs are the same. While one likely jumps to Etta James or Stevie Wonder when one first thinks “love song”, there’s a lot more to it out there. Continue reading
Yesterday saw the release of arguably the most argued-about album in eons: Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die. I can’t remember the last time music fans worked themselves into such a froth over an unproven artist. The official reviews are decidedly “meh”. Entertainment Weekly gives Born To Die a C+, while Spin gives the album an almost apologetic 6 out of 10. “This record is not godawful. Nor is it great. But it’s better than we deserve. We broke her; we bought her,” Spin critic Rob Harvilla declares. I wish somebody would bother to explain to me why there is so much vitriol directed towards Lana Del Rey. So, I’m going to try to figure it out myself. Continue reading
Christmas is in less than a week. Holy balls. This year, the season has felt like a blur of shopping, strategizing, shopping, running around and uh, more shopping so far. Hooray for adulthood, I suppose, but a large chunk of my spirit yearns for flannel pajamas and a big cup of cocoa, and ignorance of all the plans. For the most part, I managed to avoid the Targets of the world, but I did find myself in many a store, all with piped-in holiday standards over the soundsystem.
Are they trying to kill me? Continue reading
I’d like to preface this post with a warning: I’m cranky. I had a super-busy workday, and one of those days where everyone I encountered seemed to be in a shit mood. It appears to have rubbed off on me. Rather than inflict my bad company on you all, I sit at my keyboard and seethe.
Here at home, I can swaddle myself with music I love – though I realize that with both Depeche Mode AND The Smiths in the CD player, I’m surrounded with a loathing layer of sad bastard music. In my cranky condition, though, I’d much rather have Dave Gahan exhort me to suffer well, or hear Morrissey complain about a club where you go and you stand on your own and you leave on your own, than have to deal with a note of Nickelback. OK, Nickelback’s an easy target. What intrigues me more are the bands that I dislike in the face of not only the world, but of good chunks of my inner circle. A friend once advanced her theory to me that no band really sucks; it just may be that you don’t like them, but they could very well be someone else’s favorite band. In that spirit, I present five artists who’ve never enticed me to care about them, even though I can think of many people whose opinions I respect who love these performers. This is The Inessential Noise. Continue reading
A few days ago, I celebrated my birthday; a day full of gifts, good times and fun memories, including getting serenaded with my namesake song. I am named after the Rolling Stones classic “Angie”, even though the song was around a good three years before I was, and even though my proper name is Angela. So yeah, I’ve spent a lot of my life getting sung at, more by well-intentioned musician friends these days, but it used to be by unoriginal dudes attempting to employ their knowledge of 70s rock as an awkward pick-up attempt.
As a person who was branded since birth with the touchstone/albatross of the hit song, I thought it would be a good idea to check in on the Billboard charts and see what songs hit #1 during my birthday week in various years. Perhaps by examining the pop landscape, I could pick up ways the music shaped my life and my world. Perhaps. Continue reading