- Barry Jive: Queens of the Stoneage “…Like Clockwork” Review
- Hippy: “Greatest Guitar Solo Ever (Studio)”
- Simon Theory: “The Modern Man”
- Simon Theory: “Great Album vs. Great Music”
- Hippy: “Red Eyes, Full Hearts”
- Simon Theory: “My Daily Reminder”
- Hippy: “Jason Silva on ‘Abundance’
- Simon Theory: The Best “Thicke” Since Alan
-What happened to all the Real Men? The straight-shooters who spoke up when necessary and believed in things and never spoke in cliches and were loyal and dependable. The man you could depend on to say what needed to be said and never took their issues out on others. Real men that always projected confidence, not cockiness. That were humble, not inferior.
Not to say I support this antiquated view of “Macho” still prevalent in certain circles of the world. They were simple-minded and embraced ignorance. They didn’t know how to care for a woman or see true beauty. nothing had depth, everything was just on the surface. Men had to evolve sooner or later to be more tolerant and compassionate, self-aware of their feelings, worldly and intellectual. They had to develop ambition and optimism and a belief in greater possibilities. Absolutely.
But real men once had a frankness and directness about them that more closely resembled honesty. But as we developed an emotional awareness that more resembled a woman’s, we began taking on some of their lesser attributes. We got catty and self-absorbed. We started to gossip and talk behind peoples back. We watched instead of engaged and we hid behind this “Whatever” attitude for fear of society rejecting us. So the more men started to behave like women while maintaining our egos and pride, the more we resembled liars and cowards.
I don’t know if I’m getting old or getting complacent, but the never-ending rebellion against change with regards to my beloved pop-culture is waning and I’m starting to jump on board the remix culture. Perhaps it’s Techno-Optimist Jason Silva’s influence on my perspective towards change, or my unwavering inner-conflict every time I listen to The Beatles “White Album” and keep trying to reorganize the track list to make a bunch of great songs into a legitimately playable album. Whatever it is, the loss of “Great Albums” to iPod playlists and reshuffling track listings is something still being thoroughly discussed by journalists, rock critics, record executives, and audiophiles throughout the world. And for a long time, I joined in the antiquity of vintage mindsets and misplaced nostalgia. However, over time, I’ve finally witnessed first-hand enough change to the music industry to categorically state that albums with great songs can be just as great as a “Great Album”. And the “Remix Culture” is no longer a scar on the face of popular music.
For decades, the music industry has debated the greatest albums, what constitutes a great album, necessary criteria to be in consideration for a great album, what role time should play in judging the quality of a great album, etc. However, only with the advent of the Compact Disc (CD, to the illiterate and pre-pubescent) was the criteria of “skipping tracks” added to the list. “Album Playability” has always been an important contributing factor and “filler tracks” is nothing new, but music lovers were never made so aware of how passable most music tracks were until technology advanced far enough for us to skip a track with the push of a button (another crucially important cultural touchstone from the 90s). Only then, were we consistently forced to raise our standards for what songs warranted three and a half minutes of our time and which ones didn’t. And nothing has been the same again. Vinyl collectors will tell you just how prejudicial they have become based off the criteria of “Album Playability”. Once every cell phone turned into an MP3 player, skipping a track on a vinyl record can be far more time-consuming to anyone spoiled by an iPhone.
However, while many may feel this encouraged the general audience’s fascination with “Disposable Art”, I’m a firm believer in the free market and the concept of “Supply and Demand” as it pertains to music. Near the end of the 1970s and leading into the 1980s, while the counterculture slowly began to invent punk, it was Disco, ballads, dance tracks, and the early stages of “Pop” that were dominating the once-exclusively RocknRoll America. An America that had never really lived through an era of pre-fabricated, disposable pop music on such a massive scale before (although The Monkees continue to be a complicated exception to many theories on pop culture). It was the 80s that was responsible for some of the worst, gadget-like, soulless, by-number music production of the past century. Of course, the decade had tremendous talents from pop stars like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and prince or Rock bands like The Clash, Def Leppard, and AC/DC. However one forgets the billboard charts were more frequently topped by some of the most dated and era-specific one-hit wonders in history (up until that time). And music fans were growing tired of music so formulaic, uninspired, and technologically lifeless. So skipping tracks on a CD was not (necessarily) born out of the diminishing attention span of our youth, but by the rejection of poorly-produced, half-assed pop records. In fact, even before the invention of the CD, the “single” market was exploding in conjunction with the ever-expanding audience for national radio so albums as a whole were already becoming less of a necessity to the music industry while the “single” was becoming more important than ever.
I know the goal of a great album is not one shared by most recording artists anymore, but doesn’t that free them up to be more creative, musically diverse, and free from the guidelines/restrictions of the “album” mentality?
I remember back in 1997 reading a couple articles on the, at the time, upcoming release of 311′s platinum-selling album”Transistor”. What was being covered was not so much the actual tracks of the album but the bands goal to make a loaded double-album worth of music, pack it tightly on 1 disc, keep the music insanely diverse and they had 22 uniquely solid tracks that blended horribly together, but give their fans their moneys worth. Their theory was based on the rudimentary economic principle that, if you’re going to pay 15-20$ for an album, wouldn’t you rather have 21 tracks of good music in lieu of the average track length of 10-12?
The only thing the tracks really had in common was that the album was “Made by 311″, and it had a SoCal influence. But every 311 fan loves every track it their own way. Is that any less of an achievement in the world of iTunes, playlists, remixes, and compilations?
When I asked T.W.O-Timer “Barry Jive”, he brought up a good example of the remix culture already in full effect with the advent of “Soundtracks”. Not film scores, but soundtracks that have been mixing and matching artists & producers with styles & genres for decades. While vintage audiophiles bemoaned the corruption of the “Album” for the A.D.D.-inflicted Millenial Generation’s love of playlists and an over-abundance of “filler”, they never fail neglecting to mention some of the greatest, most played, copied, and diverse albums in the past few decades have been soundtracks. From 1986′s platinum-selling “Top Gun”, to 1996′s soundtrack of original compositions for the Tom Hanks film “That Thing You Do”. From the Simon & Garfunkel classic for “The Graduate”, to its 21st Century equivalent; Zach Braff’s writer/director debut film “Garden State”, which introduced us to the 21st Century Simon & Garfunkel, “The Shins”. We’ve been cutting and pasting artists and genres for soundtracks that have defines multiple generations. Even the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack dwarfs most albums for its diversity, musicianship, and pop sensibility and going as far back as “The Sound Of Music” to the musical films of Baz Luhrmann.
Therefore, I’ve gotta believe that breaking up the “Album” mentality of nostalgic purists can’t be as bad as it sounds. Artists have become more diverse. More experimental. Albums are designed to be changed up and remixed and tracks moved around. It gives the music lover more freedom to do with music what they want and the artist creative license to make any music desire without worrying about “Album Cohesiveness”. Here’s to the 21st Century.
“Here’s a theory for you all to disregard…” Smoking weed doesnt actually make anything better…it just makes you appreciate everything more. Think about it for a second. While many different strains have many different effects on the human body, one of the most universal and medically relevant effects of marijuana is the numbing of physical and mental sensation. Marijuana relieves pains, relieves stress, improves immune functions, lowers anxiety, etc. All of which have to do with the lowering of your body’s awareness so why do stoners swear that sex is better or food is better or jokes are funnier while high? Because they’re not.
While high on marijuana, you feel less. But your day-to-day mental blocks are down. Being stoned during sex actually lowers the physical sensations, slows down the signals being sent to your brain, and lowers mental stimulation. But you appreciate the way sex feels so much more. That’s not a physical response; it’s an emotional one. To heighten your sexual enjoyment, you actually need something like Onnit’s AlphaBrain which increases focus and mental functions.
One of the universal truths in this country is that we have all that we need and we’re just too scatterbrained or emotionally vulnerable or mentally stressed to appreciate all our good fortune. That is where marijuana’s true wonder kicks in. Weed is bottled happiness. It is pure joy. It is chemically reinforced happiness. Marijuana doesn’t make anything better. The opposite, in fact. It numbs your mind to this massively over-stimulated world allowing you to rid your thoughts of worries and stress and doubt and pessimism and ambitious needs to multi-task and allows you to be truly in the moment…which is where happiness resides.
I say marijuana makes you think and feel less. And that’s a good thing. Because in this rapidly changing, hyper-paced, A.D.D. world we live in, we humans so rarely stop to smell the roses anymore.
Simon Theory’s 1-Line Review: While playing less like a Paramore album and more of a Hayley Williams solo album, the tracks are bursting with energy, depth, and versatility making it their most critically-acclaimed album to date.
With the departure of Paramore founding brothers Josh and Zac Farro on guitar and drums respectively, cynics began hypothesizing the bands future as “Questionable at best”. Losing the band’s musical director as well as one of the most energetic and impressive drummers of the Millennial Generation, many foresaw the inevitable loss of the band’s limited punk-rock influence. So Paramore did the most punk-rock thing they could and made the album critics feared they’d make only with one stipulation: that this kind of pop-crossover album would still be…you know…”Good”.
A very tall order, to say the least. But what they ended up with was a long, robust, 17-track epic collection of wonderfully good ideas. Great albums can usually only be one of two things:
1. A start-to-finish great album.
2. An album jam packed with great songs.
Paramore’s “self-entitled” fourth album is most definitely the latter. This is not the kind of album you can press play and enjoy the journey the album takes you on. Instead, you’re forced to enjoy one musical treat after another without so much thought put into organization or track listing. In fact, I strongly recommend you take the album and rearrange the tracks to your personal liking cuz they’ve thrown everything including the kitchen sink into this loaded album.
From early Paramore pop/rock anthems about youthful rebellion like the first single “Now” or the early Avril Lavigne-inspired “Anklebiters”, to wiser, coming-of-age pop/rock tracks like “Proof” or “Last Hope, this album goes places. The songs never sit still. Tracks like “Crazy Girls” starts off sounding like early Temptations until the electric guitar rocks to a back-beat which then resembles Weezer. “Aint It Fun”, the most drastic attempt to broaden their comfort zone sounds like a blend of Cyndi Lauper and Bobby Brown, complete with a gospel choir’s soulful Motown chanting of “Don’t go cryin’ to your mama/Cuz you’re on your own in the real world”. When Paramore first got public attention with pop/punk tracks like “Misery Business” or “Decode”, early fans may hear tracks like “Aint It Fun” or “Still Into You” move in a completely different direction from where most thought Paramore would naturally evolve to.
Then 80′s influenced rock tracks like “Part II” or “Be Alone” remind the listener that Paramore is, indeed, a “band” with solid musicians and the right amount of edge to write honest, mature lyrics from veteran singer/songwriters. Furthering the album’s theme of growing up is the track appropriately named “Grow Up” which initially sounds the most like previous Paramore offerings until the bridge suddenly transitions into something closer to Tears For Fears. Or the way “Last Hope” sounds like a poppy Jewel track until the second refrain when the rock comes in making the track sound more like The Cranberries. Then there’s the three-part jazzy ukulele interludes spread out throughout the album.
But most likely the largest departure from previous Paramore albums is the country ballad “Hate To See Your Heartbreak” with its elegant melodies and sweeping strings similar to Top 40 standards. If released 30-40 years ago by a beloved female singer/songwriter like Carol King or Joni Mitchell, this track would be an absolute pop classic licensed to a number of Hollywood romance films. Instead, it will most likely be marginalized as a “filler-ballad”.
However, its an easy album to ignore. The tracks are so broad and diverse, you sometimes have a problem switching gears so recklessly from track to track. This definitely wasn’t the band attempting to show their ability to make a great album as much as it was displaying the many colors and influences the band has in their arsenal. Every great band has that one “White Album” attempt at just jamming out a huge workload of material not concerned with what will “fit”. Instead, Paramore went in not concerned with what fit and made 17 tracks filled with good ideas. But don’t feel bad if, while listening to the album, you find yourself forced to skip tracks. The biggest criticism I have is there’s no clear mood or tone guiding you through the album. Its more like the schizophrenic rantings of a girl’s first steps into womanhood while listening to an “Ultimate 80′s” compilation “As-Seen-On-TV”.
Anyone notice a drastic increase in the amount of pro-rape Republicans?? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “DONT BE SCARED OF THE “WHISPERING EYE”. It’s not a bottomless pit of despair. It’s not the Sarlaac. It doesn’t have mystical powers. Its a VAGINA. Not a cherished portal to the gods.
Republican Richard Mourdock’s claim: “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Republican Henry Aldridge: claims women emit “a certain secretion” that stops pregnancy when they are raped.
GOP lawmakers seek to legally redefine rape as “forcible rape” so fewer women will qualify as victims.
Pundits and lawmakers: Forced ultrasounds are OK because women already consented to be penetrated when they got pregnant.
Republican candidates Rick Santorum and Mick Huckabee both claim that rape victims should “make the best of it” and that “sometimes cool people are conceived through rape.”
Its all pretty numbing after a while. You can’t remain that shocked and disgusted for long before just rolling your eyes at these sexless, virgin douchebags. What about the vagina scares them so? I have no idea. But I know one thing: I’m hearing a bunch of pasty, old men complain an awful lot about them for never having much experience in their youth. Cuz most of these people claim to have led devout, Christian upbringings limiting their experience with the “Magical Vagina”. So who are they to comment?
As Bill Maher has been repeating for quite some time, any organization with an absence of women usually leads to sexual deviancy. The Church, Boy Scouts, Penn State, the military, Al Quaeda, etc. Perhaps a bunch of old dudes who prefer power-based sausage fests shouldn’t be in charge of creating policies that enforce The Vagina. Which leads me back to my original point:
WHATS UP WITH ALL OF THESE PRO-RAPE REPUBLICANS THESE DAYS? Is it the 1940s all over again? Grow up, jerk off, get a tan, leave women to manage their own bodies ‘cuz you clearly have not been managing your own.