Dust in the Wind

I was watching MTV2's greatest 22 bands list this morning, and I got me thinking about an important aspect of being a great band/artist. In order to be considered a great band/artist you have to have created enough good albums, and have been around for long enough so that history will forget, or forgive, the crap that you have created.

I think the prime example of this is Bob Dylan. Everyone loves him and considers him a genius. Critics wonder who the next Dylan will be as if every generation must have a Dylan. We have books and documentaries attempting to figure out his genius. It seems like the man can do no wrong, everything is brilliant and worthy of serious study. Well everything except for say "Saved" or "Slow Train Coming." Generally, that whole Christian period for Dylan has been largely forgotten. Also, when was the last time you saw, or heard of, "Renaldo and Clara"?

U2 seems is also being treated well by history. Their story seems to be told as starting out with a heavy Clash influence, making a masterpiece in the Joshua Tree, and continuing with Achtung Baby and Rattle and Hum. Then they prove that they are still relevant with "All That You Can't Leave Behind" and "Elevation." I will concede that some people will acknowledge the "Zooropa" album, but "Pop" is gone. The band has even distanced themselves from this disaster, citing that the record had to be finished quickly. They even remixed the few songs that made it onto U2's greatest hits.

I think that almost every great artist has had these little flubs removed by the progress of history. Take Bruce Springsteen, not even Randy Jackson himself could save "Human Touch." Hendrix was lucky enough to be dead when a lot of his sub par work was aired, so there is no way those charges will stick. Most of Eric Clapton's career has been a disaster lost to the ages. I am amazed that the Rolling Stones have managed have everyone forget the last half of their career.

I wonder if the current state of the music industry prevents artists from lasting long enough for their sins to be forgiven. The majors are giving little to no artist development, and the indie kids are rushing over the next new thing as quickly as possible, hoping to be the first ones there.

This is for Catherine, or Fun With Trackers 3

One of the effects of having a blog on blogger is that people will come to your site from other blogger pages via the toolbar on the top, which I have removed. These visitors show up as links in my tracker. When looking at my tracker, I saw that I had a visitor come over from this blog. From what I have figured out the blog is just a series of scans of pages from trashy celebrity magazines like US or People. While certainly performing a valuable public service, one has to wonder about the legal ramifications of this behavior.

Also, I just learned that not only does Blogger's spell check not think that blog is a word, it also doesn't think that blogger is a word. These people are in serious need of some self-confidence.

Half As Much

Pretend that you are an aspiring rapper and you also happen to be 50 Cent's first cousin. I ask you, would you choose "Two Five" to be your name? Aren't you just begging to be called half as good.

You Do It To Yourself

My Ipod is broken. It was working fine on my walk to work this morning, but when I was playing it at the office if froze. Now it freezes periodically and refuses to play music. When I select an a song, it will just cycle through all of the songs without playing anything, then return to the home screen. In addition, the clock was reset and will not keep time, and there is a curious rattling sound.

The clock and the rattling sound tell me that the battery probably got disconnected, or is loose. I hope that I can pop open the case and fix the problem, mainly because I can't afford to buy another wiped. Also, I had grown attached to this Ipod. Sure it didn't have that fancy color screen that people seem to love so much, and it would be damned before it would play video, but I had practically filled its 40 gigs up, and gotten all of the ID3 tags standardized. I really don't want to have to do that again. I also feel like the "Most Played" playlist was really starting to understand me in a "High Fidelity" sort of way.

The worst part, and I wish that I was making this up, is that Radiohead's "Just" was the song playing when the Ipod froze. The chorus has been tormenting me all morning, feeding upon the guilt that comes with 15 years of regular church attendance. I have been retracing my whole morning trying to determine what I did to break my Ipod. I was tired this morning, maybe I could have treated it a little nicer, been a little more gentile. My Ipod was always there, and I just didn't pay attention.

I think I might need some professional help.


Because It Is A Slow Work Week

I imagine that people are not putting their all into work this week. If that is the case, let me point you to Ricci Adams' Music Theory site. I in my experience, this is the best website to learn music theory without having to download anything, or get creepy things on your computer. I was reminded of it by Lifehacker last week. So go over there and learn something.

More Thoughts on Soloing

I have been thinking a lot about soloing recently. One thing that I have realized is that I don't particularly care for guitar solos, with a few exceptions, but I do like horn solos. I believe that there is an important difference between these two types of instruments that accounts for my preference for trumpets and saxophones over guitars and basses.

The difference is that you have to blow into a saxophone or trumpet in order to play it. Due to the limitations of the human lung, a horn player is forced to take breaks in their solo. These breaks create phrases, and link a solo more closely to singing and talking. A good solo should have inhales as well as exhales.



Catherine took this picture of Kriston and I at our party last friday, and I think that it is awesome. For the record, we were singing "I Got You Babe"and it was about 3:00 am, or so.

UPDATE: Blogger is acting funny and won't let me put the image up, so I had to link to it on Catherine's flickr page.


How Could The Man Who Brought Us Neil Schon Be So Evil?

I periodically throw shots out against guitar solos, mainly because it is rare that they add anything to a song and people seem to think that a pentatonic scale is all they need to pull one off. That being said, there are some fantastic guitar solos out there, the two on "Stormy Monday" of the Allman Brothers' "Live at the Fillmore East" are prime examples.

I think that my distaste for guitar solos began when I was playing bass in a band in high school. I felt at the time that I was a better guitarist than anyone in the band, but I was replacing a bassist and the guitarists were there before me, so I didn't mind that much. Well, at the high school talent show my senior year, a band got up and recreated "Freebird," including the guitar solo. People in the audience went nuts, mainly because people are idiots. All of a sudden the guitarist who executed the solo was now in my band, which resulted in an Eaglesesque total of three guitarists. The funny thing about this new guitarist was that he could only solo. He didn't know any chords, or how to read music, or really anything. He would just stand on stage soloing constantly. I hated him.

Over time my hatred for this guitarist decreased, mostly because I didn't have to play with him anymore. The problem is that my hatred for guitarists who only solo has remained constant, most of it was just transferred to another, more popular individual.

Carlos Santana is the most overrated, useless figure in the history of rock music. The only thing that Carlos does is solo. Name a single Santana hit, Carlos didn't write it, sing it, or do anything other than solo on it. That is it.

What makes his career even more absurd is that his solos are not even that great. A good guitar solo should have clear parts and phrases. It should almost feel like a story. If you get a chance, listen to the solos on "Stormy Monday." They are fantastic, and illustrate what a solo should be. Duane, or Dickey, will introduce a phrase, and then invert it or respond to it. They use space effectively implying periods in a sentence, and build in a logical way. Both solos sound like a conversation. A solo should make sense as a unit, rather than just be an excuse to show how quickly ones fingers can move.

Carlos doesn't use any of these devises. His solos are brief licks that lead to a long bent note, or he just forgets the buildup and hits the note. They lack any structure or coherence. They are just crap. He is probably known more for the tone of his guitar than any particular melodic achievement. Which is fine, but at least give Paul Reed Smith the Grammy.

How did this man become one of the icons of rock music? I can't even understand how he got his name on the cover of the record. I look at "Santana with Michelle Branch" and actually feel that Michelle Branch is getting the short end of the stick. Does any one else realize how crazy that is? Seriously, this has to stop. Supernatural sold 15 million copies for God's sake. What is wrong with you people?


What About Free Speech?

Why can't a guy exercise his first amendment right to celebrate a great day in American history? It really makes you wonder what is happening to our country.


It is easy to get caught up in the inside the beltway mentality of Washington, DC. So in an effort to broaden my horizons, I decided to see what some redstate newspapers had to say this morning.

I found this article to be fairly illuminating. This one had a lot of good things to say. And I must admit that these two really spoke to me. I feel like a more well rounded individual already.


I Give Up

So, given my roommate, I feel that I have done a good job avoiding the Panda fever that has been sweeping the city. Well not anymore. Between seeing Butterstick on Monday, and having absolutely nothing to do at work, I have found myself watching more than a healthy amount of the PandaCam. I just can't fight it anymore.

UPDATE: It is actually getting so bad that when I saw something cute on the PandaCam, I called Catherine and told her that she had to go watch it. For the record, I blame her for this obsession.

The Aristocrats

While I left "Jesus is Magic" with mixed feelings, Sarah Silverman's version of the Aristocrats joke was my favorite in the movie. I won't go into any detail, but if you haven't heard it you can download it here. For those at work, or in the company of other people, this is an headphone kinda joke.

In other news, I am so bored that I am actually reading Carolyn Hax's chat.


Who is smarter now?

Look what my roommate did. Now if I could only get him to take out the recycling.*

* it goes out on Wednesday by the way.

Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani

The internet has been all a buzz recently with discussion of how bad "My Humps" is. You can find my contribution here.

It is time to rally the troops, the next front is Trace Adkins's "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." And while it might not seem possible, let me assure you that the song is actually worse than the title implies.

Let us start with the lyrics. Here is the chorus:

Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
Keepin' perfect rhythm
Make ya wanna swing along
Got it goin' on
Like Donkey Kong
And whoo-wee
Shut my mouth, slap your grandma
There outta be a law
Get the Sheriff on the phone
Lord have mercy, how's she even get them britches on
That honky tonk badonkadonk
While it may seem excessive to quote the whole chorus, everyone really has to read these lyrics, I can't just leave it up to the chance that you might follow the link. I just don't know what to say. I have been reading these lyrics over and over again trying to come up with a joke, but they are really just so awful that they make me want to cry.

As for the music, I have only heard the song a few times so I don't know it that well. There is little to no melody, Trace decides to almost rap this song more than anything else. The background tracks are a mix of hip hop and country, sort of like Big and Rich, but this song makes them look like geniuses, no easy task.

I am going to say it right now, this song is worse than "My Humps." It offends even the most basic levels of taste. While you might be curious, let me implore you not to go download, or stream, or listen to this song in any way. This song makes me wonder if the rapture happened and I got left behind.

p.s. The level of blasphemy that I accomplish with the title to this post shocks even myself.



I just want to say that I didn't send this into PostSecret, but I wish that I had.


I am sure that there are some people out there who really want to insult me, but feel that the readership here is too small to justify the effort. Well let me direct you here. Things have not gotten that bad yet, but it is still Sunday.


And While I'm At It

The New Pantheon Music Award will be given out two days before the Grammys in a move that "trumps the status quo." You can read about the nominations here, but basically your album has to have sold less than 500,000 copies to qualify for the award. Apparently the award is about "excellence, not sales."

I think it is a little sad that Pitchfork and the indie rock crowd feel like they have to take on the Grammys. I also think that it is sad that Adam Brody is a nominator. I understand that when he reads line written for his character on the OC, they express a fondness for indie rock, those are kinda like qualifications to judge a music award. Let us not even discuss Margaret Cho

The Grammys

So the Grammy nominations were announced today. And while no one cares about the Grammys, thank god, it is still fun to look through the categories and nominations. I have some quick impressions based on looking at the nominations.

  1. I can’t find a category that Kanye is nominated in that he shouldn’t win.
  2. It is a little weird that Rob Thomas is the only performer nominated for Best Solo Rock Performance whose career began after the Ramones.
  3. Rammstein should win Best Metal Performance because they set themselves on fire.
  4. It is nice to see The Arcade Fire get a nod in Best Alternative Music Album and for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
  5. The Best Contemporary R&B Album is the award that I would most like to cover with poison and declare everyone a winner.
  6. I have five dollars that says that they don't televise the Best Native American Music Album, and I am willing to include the Best Hawaiian Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album and go for the Trifecta.
  7. If Rick Moranis wins a Grammy before I do then I am giving up music forever and going to law school.
  8. You can't expect to have your award show taken seriously if you are going to give out an award for Best Album Notes.
  9. I am really hoping that R. Kelly beats out Martin Scorcese for Best Long Form Music Video, because then they will have to give up this whole "award" thing for good.

So these are my quick thoughts, I hope you all enjoy the broadcast.

My Humps

You all should go read this article at Slate on "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas, from Tommy and Matt. It makes a very important point, that some things in music are just bad and no amount of relativism can save them.

"there are the songs that are just really bad—transcendentally bad, objectively bad." Emphasis original

I would add hypnotically bad to the list. The song comes on frequently when I am watching music videos in the morning and I end up listening to about half of it because I just can't believe that it is being played. I can't believe that anyone would write it, produce it, pay money to make a video for it, or subject anyone in the public to it.

Here is what I think. Music has been developing for a long time and over that time a certain language and discourse has been created around it. There is no reason why music and its discourse developed like it did, but here we are. If you are going to discuss music you tacitly agree to play by these rules and definitions. The weight of music history and theory thrusts "My Humps" into the horrible category. I appreciate that people have different tastes in music, but if we allow this song to be classified as anything other than horrible bordering on criminal then there is no point in discussing music anymore, the whole language surrounding it will be rendered meaningless.

I am not saying that you are not allowed to like "My Humps." Everyone is free to like whatever they want as far as I am concerned. What you are not allowed to do is call "My Humps" good music.



I have started to see these placards on my way to work that advertise DCsingles.org. I currently have very little to do at work, so I thought I would check it out.

When you load the page, there is a registration form that you must fill out before you can presumably look at the personals. The weird thing is that they require you to give a daytime and a nighttime telephone number in order to register, and then ask for the best time to contact you. And while I am all for looking at personals and judging people to kill time at work, this is a little creepy.

Also some of the boxes you can use to describe yourself are a bit curious as well. Like, "I am dating someone who has different goals than me."


Didn't Tori Amos Already Do This?

I am not quite sure how I feel about this. The Arcade Fire have purchased a church near Montreal, and are in the process of turning it into a recording studio for their next album. In the same article, guitarist Tom Kingsbury says:

"We have a few (songs) that we've sort of started working on. We have a lot of work to do."
I am glad that they are able to record in a place that inspires them, but I feel that songs should come before cool places to record. I just hope that this purchase doesn't reflect a lack of inspiration in the music department.

Also, what happened to rock stars buying mansions and fast cars? They are never going to make it onto Cribs this way.



I have decided that it is better to write about music without actually listening to it. There are just somethings that are better as an idea.

For example, while I still stand by what I said about Coheed and Cambria, I will say that listening to the album didn't exactly increase my appreciation for the band.

In what I anticipate will be a similar declaration, let me proclaim my undying devotion to the band Beatallica. The claim to answer the hypothesis: "What would a Beatles's song sound like if it was performed by Metallica?" Seriously, the concept is so great that it almost left me speechless.

My appreciation for the band only increased when I read some of their song titles. Take "Everybody's Got a Ticket To Ride Except for Me and My Lightning" for example. They are able to combine two Beatles songs and one Metallica song in the title alone! "Leper Madonna" is almost as fantastic. Also "...And Justice for All My Loving" is like an unholy Jeopardy "Before and After" answer.

I don't have speakers hooked up to my computer at work, and thus have no idea what they actually sound like, but I don't see how this band couldn't be one of the greatest bands playing today.


Bach to Basics

For those interested, it is projects like this that had me worried about the future of Lego. I once saw a band take apart a piano to move it after their set, but this must be ridiculous.

Also, this is the worse title that I could come up with. Feel free to make suggestions if you think you can do better.

Lucky Strike

Thanks to Hemal and Tommy, I was able to get into the opening of Lucky Strike at Gallery Place last night. For those who don'’t know, Lucky Strike is an upscale bowling alley. Tommy wrote a good review here for DCist.

Numerous celebrities have bowled at various Lucky Strike locations, at least according to the tabloids that they have in the bathroom. This is actually an important point to understand. When you go into restaurants they frequently put up favorable reviews along with the front cover of the publication that gave the review. For Lucky Strike, the equivalent is the cover of the issue of The Enquirer that featured a picture of Geena Davis bowling at a Lucky Strike. The fact that The Enquirer adorns the wall above the urinal perfectly describes the whole bowling alley.

The alley itself is very trendy, particularly for DC, featuring flatscreen TVs playing movie clips and showing artwork, an extensive bar, and nice sofas. Maybe it is because I managed to finagle an invite at the last moment, or maybe it was the surroundings, but I was actually a little scared to bowl. I had this feeling that once I was seen actually bowling my cover would have been blown and I would have to leave.

I should clarify that I grew up bowling in a Bowl America. Certainly a more democratic, i.e. dirtier and without a dress code, experience.

All that said, I had a great time. Now that could be due to all of the free booze and food they pumped into me, or my love of bowling, but do I anticipate returning. One of my life's goals is to break 200 in a game, and I don't have very many options near me so those Lucky Strike pins better prepare themselves for my wrath.

Also, they have Bud Light in bottles that are shaped like a bowling pin, and that is awesome.

The photo, and others from the night, is from Tommy. You can see more here.