Friday, April 06, 2001

Nanette's MLPS adventure: I am really digging Nanette's diary, mostly because it's making me a little homesick. I haven't been back to the Twin Cities since shortly after I got married. I'm hoping to get a chance to go back sometime this summer, although a glance to the right at my concert schedule shows that it's going to be tough.

This also reminds me: this year is supposed to be my ten-year high school reunion and I've heard not a thing from anyone. This irks me. I mean, we had a five-year reunion, and that one isn't even really important. Almost everyone who went had the some variation of one of the following stories:

"Yeah, I've been out of school for a year. I just started doing [random entry-level job] and it's really great."

"I took some time off during college, so I'll be finishing up in [random year]."

"I got engaged/married. This is my fiance(e)/spouse [random name]".

"Since high school, I've been working at [random place], where I've been really successful. I now own a house/car/suburb/small country/flag squad/politician/[random status object]."

"I am the exact same person I was in high school."

No one who had kids even showed up! I was really looking forward to Rugrats-gone-horribly-wrong, but alas I was denied.

I really really really hope I hear something soon. It would be very disappointing to find out that the reunion is going to happen the weekend I go to Europe.

Teens Sue MTV Over Defecation Incident: I am absolutely speechless. On the one hand, this is yet another example of the overly-litigious, knee-jerk response that's run rampant through American society. On the other hand, BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA!

I won't lie; I'd be furious if something like this happened to me. However, the empathic part of my personality is much smaller than the part that laughs at people who have doo-doo on them.

Moby lines up OutKast, New Order for US mini-festival: Here's an extraordinarily compelling reason not to hate Moby. If at all possible, I'm going to this one. (The tenative lineup includes The Roots, Carl Cox, and Paul Oakenfold. Oh, I am SOOOOOOO there...)
Hyakugojyuuichu!!!!!!! A friend in Seattle sent this to me. I am both thankful and fearful.
While I'm at it: If anyone happens to know of a good recording of either the Olsson or Ravel piece, could you let me know?
Auditioning:Is there anything more nerve-wracking than auditioning for something? Even if it's for a friend, it really makes me nervous.

Case in point: there are two baritone solos in the next Concordia Society concert; the first is a long, plainsong-type chant in a piece called Canticum Sumeonis by Otto Olsson. The other is about two seconds of absolute gorgeousness from Maurice Ravel's Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis. I auditioned for both of them. It would be really cool to get the Olsson solo because it's meatier, more difficult, and longer. The Ravel is a much prettier melody, though, and I think I enjoyed singing that more.

I think I did a good job at both of them, so it's really up to the conductor and how well the other guys do with their auditions.

Thursday, April 05, 2001

The Celebrity Family Home Page: This link is stolen from Ally and very much worth visiting. The scrapbook starts out slow, but becomes HILARIOUS. This almost makes me want to go buy The Sims. Almost.

On a tangentially-related note, Ally's mom is hilarious.

Speaking of Metallica: They, too, have fallen victim to Todd McFarlane's nefarious plot to turn every profitable musician in the country into dolls. Hopefully, millions of little girls across the country will buy these and put their Barbie clothes on them, as I know that would upset the band greatly.
Oh, April... Janet Jackson went out of style at the same time as C + C Music Factory? Surely you remember how both janet and The Velvet Rope were number 1 albums? The string of #1 singles after Rhythm Nation ("If", "That's The Way Love Goes", "Anytime, Anyplace", "Again", "Runaway", "Together Again", "Doesn't Really Matter")? How she had 3 songs in the top 20 songs of 1993, 2 songs in the top 100 songs of 1995, 3 songs in the top 50 songs of 1998, 1 song in the top 100 songs of 1999, and five of the top 100 songs of the 90's? Furthermore, you'd be hard-pressed to find a woman besides Madonna who is as beloved by MTV.

Saying that Janet's career ended with Rhythm Nation 1814 is kind of like saying that Aerosmith's career ended with Pump.

Now, if you were talking about post-Black Album Metallica, I'd understand.

I Love Music: This is the discussion forum for the Freaky Trigger music webzine. There's something here for pretty much any fan of popular/inde music to talk about. Some examples:

Has The NME Got Good?
They Couldve Been Bigger Than The Beatles
Pop wisdom: Best advice in a (pop) song?
Joy Division: Classic Or Dud?
Songs sounding better when drunk?????

There's a decided pro-UK slant to the board, but then again the guy who started it lives in the UK.

It occurs to me that 95% of traffic to this site already knows about I Love Music. Oh well.

Josh defends MTV: We'll make a pop-lover out of him yet! MWUHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Ahem. At any rate, I've never heard an English version of "Du Hast", so it could have been translated in an appropriately creepy way. I do know that my translation of the German lyrics is correct. Also, there is the cultural difference to consider; perhaps in Germany it's frighteningly nightmarish and evil to break up with someone. MTV is still annoying, though, because they spend more time talking about videos than they do playing them. I wouldn't even mind if they played nothing but bubblegum pop/bad gangsta rap as long as they played SOMETHING.

Wednesday, April 04, 2001

Rammstein: Scary? Do you remember a couple of years ago when Rammstein had that fluke MTV hit "Du Hast"? You remember, the heavy song with the grey-tinged secret-agent-being-tortured video? MTV translated the title as "You Hate"? Ringing any bells?

I'd like to officially announce that the people at MTV are KNOW-NOTHING IDIOTS. "Du Hast" does NOT mean "You Hate". It means "You Have". Here are the translated lyrics (paraphrased, because a literal translation makes no sense):

You have
You have me
You have asked me
You have asked me and I have said nothing

Do you want be together until death do us part,
True to each other for all days?


Do you want be together until death do us part,
In love even on the bad days?


Isn't that scary? The aggravting thing is that if the people compiling the copy read by the VJ's had spent more than three seconds calling up their friends who studied German for a semester, they wouldn't have looked so stupid. GRR. (The reason I'm dredging up this old nonsense? Rammstein has a new album coming out soon.)

Breastfeeding Virtual Cards: There really is a card for every occasion! I'm a little puzzled, though; whom would you send one of these to?* What message is this supposed to convey? "Breastfeeding is great - especially in front of your computer/webcam! ROWR!" (Link stolen from Kathleen.)

* I'll do a dangling participle in a heartbeat, but I balk at incorrectly using "who". Someday the Grammar Gods shall smite me for my sins.

For those who can't watch streaming video: Here's a link to the picture of O-Town's fantasy woman. Hmm... anyone else notice the striking resemblance to Aisha Tyler?
Tom Hanks: Where is He Now? Sometimes simple humor is the most effective. I cannot look at this without giggling uncontollably. (I also have to say that this version of Forrest Gump could only be an improvement.)

I think the issue I have with Tom Hanks is that he strikes me as a competent actor. I can't think of a single role I've seen him perform that he has taken over and really made his own. Actually, let me take that back: I can't think of a single dramatic role he's done that stands out as a signature performance. The character he played in Big had more depth and individuality than the character he played in Saving Private Ryan. Hell, he was more convincing in You've Got Mail. I'll admit that I might be guilty of type-casting the man, but he has yet to convince me as a dramatic actor. Contrast this with Robin Williams, who should only act in subdued, dramatic roles, or Helen Hunt, who single-handedly turned As Good As It Gets into a touching film.

Tom Hanks isn't overrated; he's perpetually miscast. I shudder to think about what's going to happen to his career if more people discover this.

Tuesday, April 03, 2001

File under "Who knew?" I've been woefully under-informed about upcoming releases lately. I had absolutely no clue that Luke Vibert had a Wagon Christ release coming out this year. Yet another thing to go on the Amazon wish list...

(A quick side note about the wish list; I don't recall ever saying I wasn't a screaming nerd.)

Westlife get set to team up with Bryan Adams: Blame Canada, indeed.
Prince debuts new single via Napster: This is awesome. Just in time for my parent's anniversary, too. ("Happy Anniversary! Your gift is on Napster.")

I've often wondered why more artists don't exploit Napster as a conduit to get their singles out into the public eye. It seems to me like it would be a good, cheap way to generate buzz about a forthcoming release. I mean, just imagine if you were able to download high-quality snippets of songs from a release you were anticipating (ie, Depeche Mode's Exciter). Wouldn't it be useful to the industry if Napster could produce charts showing how often your sample tracks were downloaded and give estimates on how quickly they propagated across the Napster network? Wouldn't that be a good gauge of how well-received an album will be? Wouldn't that be cheap promotion for the artists on your label which aren't going multi-platinum? Am I talking out of my buttocks here?

Thank you, NME! (RealPlayer) Oh dear. Someone at with Photoshop skills and a little too much free time decided to present the O-Town boys with a picture of the fantasy woman they sing about in their single "Liquid Dreams". She looks a little, um, crazed. Classic comment of the video clip: "Wow, yeah. She wasn't as hot as we thought."

Monday, April 02, 2001

The most evil record review ever: The other day, I was puttering around the apartment (you know, straightening up, washing dishes, etc). I must have a soundtrack wherever I go, so I threw Radiohead's Kid A into the CD changer and proceeded to get my groove on. The glorious strains of "Morning Bell" had just begun to roll across the living room when my lovely wife entered, slightly dishevelled from a long day at work but still looking lovely and precious.

"Hello, my darling!" I said, as I crossed the room to give her a kiss.

"Hi," she responded, a puzzled look on her face. Just as I reached her, she turned her confused face towards me, looked me straight in the eye, and asked, "Is this Dave Matthews Band?"


Venus Williams is the BOMB: Is there a fiercer player in women's tennis right now, I ask you? No, there isn't. All the player-haters in the stands need to sit down and shut your mouths. (In all fairness, things might be easier for the sisters if Papa would tone down, too. Emphasis on "might".)
REQUIRED LISTING: Today's assignment is to purchase Orbital's stunning, glorious, and brilliant In Sides album and listen to "Adnan's" seven times. This song is amazing and may well be the most underrated thing they've ever done along with "Remind" from Orbital 2. The entire thing is studio perfection, from the watery drums to the duelling synth lines to the epic sweep of the melody. It's a heartbreaking masterpiece. When people talk about Orbital, it's very easy to default to the big singles ("Satan", "Chime", "Belfast", "Halcyon", "Lush", and "Are We Here?", unless I miss my mark). There are other songs that make the group one of the best out there, and "Adnan's" comes very close to the top of that list.

Sunday, April 01, 2001

Josh responds: "I'll try, Dan, but I can't promise much. I don't like vocal music, so I don't own much - off the top of my head, I think all I've got is: the Missa Solemnis, a Vespers and a Mass by Rachmaninov, Mahler's fourth and eighth symphonies, Beethoven's ninth, Anonymous 4 doing Hildegard von Bingen's chants for the Feast of 11000 Virgins, Debussy's "Pelleas et Mellisande", and some Brahms settings of love songs from some era or another."

The Missa Solmnis isn't a bad place to start as far as choral works are concerned. There's a ton of very cool a capella stuff out there, though. I strongly recommend looking into Frank Martin's "Mass for Double Choir". In fact, just let me know and I'll make a copy of it available to you.

The perfect song: Have you ever had a moment where you had a bone-deep craving for a particular song? A song that would complete some empty piece of your soul for the next four minutes? You could be fixing some food or reading or watching television, when suddenly you realize that you absolutely must hear that particular song at that particular time, otherwise nothing will be right in your life and you will be lost and forlorn for the rest of the day.

This has just happened to me with the Pet Shop Boys' "Don Juan". I needed to hear that tiny, psuedo-Latin Casio beat with the bloopy synths burbling over it, creating a sonic cradle for more echo effects than one would think possible and Neil Tennant's pointed, allegorical lyrics. It's simultaneously uplifting and meloncholy , which captures my current mood to a T.

I think the world would be an easier place to live in if everyone would surrender to the call of the perfect song.

Bad timing: It didn't occur to me when I posted my little piece on Eden's Crush that people might not take it seriously because it's April Fool's Day. Rest assured (or be very afraid) that I did actually mean every word of what I wrote. It may not be cool to so publicly align myself with the "8-14 year old female" demographic, but I appreciate hard work, dammit. If I knew of a singing group out there looking for a mid-range bartione that had the support/opportunites that Eden's Crush is getting, I'd be all over that faster than you could say, "shameless pop whore".
My new obsession: MTV held a PopStars marathon today. I had been avoiding the show because, well... I saw one epsiode of "Making The Band". The scars haven't healed yet. It was so painful seeing these idiots given the chance of a frickin' LIFETIME and watching them consistently screw up. I wanted to reach into the TV and punch each of them in the face (except the guy they brought in to replace the one who left; you know, the guy who could really sing and dance and actually wanted to work). The last thing I needed to see was "Making The Band... With GIRLS!"

It was pretty clear from the beginning that PopStars was different, though. First off, they went through the entire audition process. We got to see where each of the girls started and how hard they had to work to do everything they needed to do. And this was another thing: THE GIRLS ACTUALLY WORKED. There was no whining about, "Ooooo, we haven't slept. Oooooo, we didn't have enough time to rehearse. Oooooo, I can't sing that part, let me take it down. Oooooo, I can't learn the dance steps, so I won't try." These girls said, "Damn, this is hard, but I've gotta do it if I want this to work." Rock ON. These girls deserve everything they're getting because they are working their asses off day and night with minimal complaining and maximal determination. The O-Town clan is a group of whiny brats in comparison.

My only complaint about Eden's Crush is that, in the process of getting makeovers, some of the girls have become, well, interchangeable. I swear, when Rosanna, Ana Maria, and Maile are doing their interviews, they're very distinct, but when they're on stage I can't tell which one is which. ESPECIALLY Ana Maria and Maile (sometimes Rosanna has this "Hillary Swank meets Nancy Kerrigan" thing going on that makes her stick out). I mean, they might as well have taken the twins who auditioned, given what they did to them. Right now Ivette is my favorite, partially because shes so cute (*gush*), but mostly because she did West Side Story at La Scala. That impresses all holy hell out of me. Nicole cracks me up, too, because I think that she subconciously believes the she the reincarnation of Beyonce Knowles, despite Beyonce being alive and two years younger than her. (I must say, though, that after 6 hours of hearing "Get Over Yourself", I'm struck by how much it sounds like "No Scrubs" and I would be very pleased if I never heard it again. I still want to watch the video, though.)

Hey, I did tell you I was obsessed...