Kids these days!

“Listen to this!”

Chris had found a newspaper article about the latest teen craze:
Hannah Montana

Apparently, it’s a step above Lizzy McGuire, cum HIllary Duff…that pop sensation that has faded.

Billy Ray Cyrus’s daughter has a show about a girl who is a huge pop star that goes incognito to be a girl-next-door while she tries to finish high school.

And naturally, the kid is touring in real life. And all the teens are LEANING on their parents to get tickets. But these parental types have become very comfortable in their own homes and haven’t been to concerts in years. They don’t know that you have to get on ticketmaster THE SECOND the tickets are available and get as many as you can.

The scalpers know that you must. And they have even automated it.

So, all the tickets are gone. And the parents are MAD. They are complaining to disney about this.

I guess the scalpers got carried away. You have to leave a few crumbs, you know.

I heard that regular price is $60 bucks a ticket, but they are going for $200. And some as much as $3000!!!!

Okay. I’d never heard of little missy. I had to Youtube her.

You can too.

She seems like a cross between Saved By The Bell and Shania Twain. I’m sure it is potent stuff for the young.

And after admiring her hair and her outfits for a while, wondering if I would have worn the same things when I was…how old is she again?

But after the second video, I had to get away. I felt like i needed to be grown up again.

KT Tunstall made me feel right again. I would have, have and still would wear those boots.

A music nerd! Missy Hannah “Lip synch” Montana can go cash her check. I’m gonna listen to some music.

Saved by the Bell“? The loop seems to be tightening..That’s 90’s

Why does nobody listen? Why does nobody care?

Christmas was great this year. Chris raided the rubble of Tower’s fall and came up with some good CD stocking stuffers.

But he also asked me for an obscure import he’d heard about:

Labrador “Instamatic Lovelife”

…proving once again that I will never ever be able to reliably guess what sort of music this man likes.

Basically, Labrador sounds a lot like the pet shop boys if they were from Denmark and hadn’t mastered English. There’s something abba-esque about the lyrics. And the pronunciation.

“…that you will try to listen…that you will try to see…all the things I stand for…’cause I know you’re fond of me

Fond of me

Why does nobody listen? Why does nobody care? It’s love and disaster…”

When we sat to listen to the CD, I poked Chris and said, “You’re fond of me…”

“Oh…” he said. “When I first heard that I thought he was saying, ‘I know you from the Flea’…I thought the Flea might be some local nightclub.”

John Donne and the metaphysical poets ran through my head. “The Flea!” I giggled.

The next day I said “Don’t I know you from somewhere? From the Flea?”

The Tower liquidation had some good stuff, too. Remember Toad the Wet Sprocket? “All I Want”? That video is one that I got to see on Asian MTV when I lived in Mirnyy.

Well, the lead singer for Toad the Wet Sprocket has a solo album: glen Phillips “albulum”

It’s alright. Of course, it’s a little moody and college (following the steps of TTWS). The song “Fred Meyers” brought back fond memories of that Wal-mart-type store that I shopped at in Alaska–exactly the opposite of the intended effect of the song, which was meant to be a railing against big box stores.

But the big winner was Dar Williams’s new one “My Better Self.” Chris introduced me to Dar a long time ago, and we even got to see her in concert at the Warfield in San Francisco.

The first song ‘Teen for God’ was so chillingly dead on that it’s hard to listen to. That’s Dar for you:

“Dear Lord I plan each day
the things I will not do or say
But I’m driven by a passion—is it only there to tame?
It fills my heart and it calls my name, and
This world that you made for us,
I know I know it’s dangerous
So I ride a lot of horses I never even swear
It’s sort of like praying I’m just not there”

Bone on bone…that’s how she can hit you sometimes. Probably good PMS music, when you need something to cry about.

There is another album I didn’t get yet. I found it on a commercial, one of those geico caveman commercials. The group is Royksopp and the song is “Remind Me

I’ll be ordering it soon, but check out the link. I think the video is way cool.

Footnote: I just watched the whole Toad the Wet Sprocket video again. Holy God, they are so young. _I_ was so young..a 19 year old zygote. I shudder to think of that time. I will never be that young again. Thank God for that.
Yay and Amen

CD Review: Madonna _Madonna_

In ’82 Madonna put out– her debut album. Her hair was short and spikey and blonde, with roots as dark as her eyeliner.

Think about this for a minute. Everyone all over the world had a pounding disco hangover by 82. Madonna was brand-new to the music scene and managed to make a dance album that could still make everyone happy instead of sick.

She took some great soul elements, some really excellent keyboard and drum talents to make this album. It’s one that deserves a new look. Sure, “Holiday” and “Lucky Star” got over-played, but if you haven’t really listened to this album in a while, you’ll be really surprised at the talent Madonna had coming straight out of the gate.

_Like a Virgin_ : Old School Madonna

Two things made me go back to where it began. The big M has a new album coming out, and the slathery reviews for it all say something like ‘She’s gone back to her dance roots!’

The unimagination of the paid reviewers leads me to think that they didn’t look past the title (Confessions on a Dance Floor) for press grist.

What exactly are Madonna’s roots anyway?

The second thing in this series of events was hearing “Material Girl” on a hip(tm) oldies station. “Wow,” I thought. “That song is even cooler than I remember. I should get that album, there is more there there.”

And Santa brought me “Like a Virgin” for Christmas. And a few others, but I’ll write about that another time.

Let’s just say, if Confessions on a Dance Floor is going back to M’s roots, it’s not going all the way back. This is the stuff. This is the Madonna I will always love.

“Material Girl”, “Like a Virgin”; I am ready to go find some lace fingerless gloves and about a thousand bracelets right now. I want the big lacy bow in my hair. And who said bustiers are only for the bedroom? It’s time to bust out; show the bra straps on any occasion. And use the wide-tip applicator for my black eyeliner.

I am inspired.

Okay, even besides the fabulous fashions of Madonna, the music is so fun! Perhaps because I was so young the first time, but I didn’t realize how New Age her Marvelousness was. She was so popular, I didn’t quite get that she was more than a little cutting edge. The synths and the bouncy bass, and the not-a-machine drums are pretty darn great. Bouncy happy dancey music, but not the uber-processed dance music that we have become accustomed to by the time we hit the 21st century.

That’s not to say this is ‘unplugged’ or anything like that. In fact, what I am liking about this album is its mix of real and processed sound. I mean, the synthesizers are so retro that they almost sound acoustic to my jaded ears.

And I can hear her youth in the tracks. I can hear how much Madonna is ready to take over the world, how much she wants it. This album has a push to it, a ‘nothing is going to stop me’ sound. It’s just a shade different from later albums, where the drive is to stay on top, rather than to get there.

I can’t say I love everything the Material Girl has ever done, but I am a huge fan of her style and power. And this album rocks my world.

_A Gene Autry Christmas_

I love Gene Autry. “The Singing Cowboy”–I sometimes think how the world would be different if America had chosen to embrace Autry instead of John Wayne. If a seranading, happy, snappy-dressed Autry could have been the standard of manhood instead of the Taciturn grunting John Wayne, the world would be so much more beautiful.


Well, Autry made the hit “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, so of course he would have a Christmas album. He had his hand in two other top christmas songs: “Frosty the Snowman” and “Here comes Santa Claus”, taking three spots on the top 20 most played Christmas songs.

This is a great album from a great artist. Merry Christmas everyone!

No school like the old school–Jam On This! The Best of Newcleus

In that dark age when Disco was ready to die but not quite dead, Newcleus came on the scene. All the fun silliness of the disco era is wrapped up in this album, but none of the tired stale air of what disco became. This album is full of all the excitement of what rap and hiphop became.

It is dated, but to my mind it doesn’t detract at all. According to the liner notes, these guys still loved the Disco music. They were only trying to take it to a new level.

Newcleus, of course, is famous for saying “wikiwikiwiki”. That was their vocal imitation of record scratching, which they themselves avoided. The other MCs of the time were consantly scratching at the turntable, and Newcleus just mocked it.

I love their self-referential sarcasm. This is now one of my favorite albums. Electronic music is one of my most favorite kinds of music, and this is some proto electronica. It seems to me to be like a sort of acoustic electronica, if there could be such a thing. It’s so low-tech, it is almost no tech.

The Report from Ozzfest 2005

Not really a fan of Ozzie, or that genre. But my friend went there this weekend. He’s been a fan for a long time. Long enough that maybe he should be over it.

But he’s not. He and his buddy went. His teenage son declined a ticket in favor of staying home and playing World of Warcraft. The son of his buddy was psyched to go, though.

Both the heat and the moshing were intense. The men headed for the beer and the teenager headed for the pit.

Of course, the kid had his cell phone. And his Dad called him in between every song.

“You okay?”
“I’m fine, Dad.”
“Okay, be careful.”

They discovered that many women had abandoned their tops in favor of bodypaint. He showed me a picture of a lady wearing painted grenades like Ariel wearing seashells. She was one of several.

“You should have seen it! There was a booth called ‘Kick me in the head, a###*le’. There was this guy, shaved head, covering his nose, and you got three chances to hit him as has as you could with a soccer ball. There were people lined up around the corner! Bunch of sickos.”

“Did you throw the balls at him?”

“Well, yeah. My buddy paid for me to do it.”

“Couple more years in purgatory for you.”

“Huh, probably. I asked the guy if he like getting hit. He said, ‘It’s just a job man. It really sucks when you get him five times in a row.'”

“Sounds like a time.”

“It was great!”

Another reason MTV should close it’s doors

I am showing my age when Isay this, but remember when MTV was SO COOL? It was so unbelievably cool, it was impossible to stop watching it.

And ‘they’ came to say that the MTV generation had short attention spans. Anyone who had cable watched MTV for hours. Music Videos were so exciting!

I guess MTV believed what ‘they’ had to say, because they stopped even playing the whole video and brought on pre-school-teacher-style hosts and interviewer:

“Maroon 5 is sooooo aMAZing in this video that we just played 20 seconds of…Don’t you think so?” (everyone screams) “That’s right! And let me introduce you to this other artist-of-the-moment who is standing with me. Say hi!” “hi” “SHE’LL be with us all afternoon as we show more pieces of videos for you all. Doesn’t that sound like FUN?” (everyone screams)

Stop. Just stop. It’s like a genius got alzhiemer’s.

And it’s not like VH1 is any better, with it’s head sewn on backwards for the permanent retro-nostalgia. How many “100 greatest” anything shows do we really need? Let it go, people.

It’s about the music, or did you forget?

Let’s just say, Thank GOD for the internet. And here’s what set me off:

Live 8 concerts were made for the internet

“Television seemed shockingly old-fashioned during Saturday’s worldwide concert for poverty relief. AOL’s coverage was so superior, it may one day serve as a historical marker in drawing people to computers instead of TV screens for big events.

Part of it was simply the way things were structured. Concerts held more or less simultaneously in 10 venues are next to impossible for television to get its arms around. Live Aid 20 years ago, with concerts only in London and Philadelphia, was much easier.

And part of it was also MTV’s failure to really try. There were as many commercial breaks as performances, and MTV’s stable of correspondents spent more time talking about what a fantastic event it was instead of showing it.

With a click of the mouse AOL visitors could jump from a video feed of the London concert to one from Philadelphia, Berlin or Rome. The performances were shown in their entirety. AOL programming chief Bill Wilson claimed that 160,000 people were simultaneously viewing the video streams at any given time, and that more than 5 million people sampled the video at some point during the day.”

Kevin Lyttle- Turn Me On

Okay, this one song played on the radio was driving me crazy. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I had to listen carefully before I found out the name of the artist: Kevin Lyttle.

SO I betook myself to Virgin records, and wandered the aisles and got some non-help from the guy who worked there:

“Kevin Lyttle? That’s under Dance hall.”

Off to find the Dancehall section.

“Miss? MISS? It’s over here.”

That’s Reggae…

“It’s listed as Dancehall, but we put it in the Reggae section because we don’t have a dancehall section.”

But I looked there already.

“Yeah, we don’t have a sign for him.”

Well, at least I have it now. Couldn’t wait to hear the album.

That song still kicks ass.
The rest of the album doesn’t.

It’s not bad…Maybe it will grow on me. But I could probably have done with buying the single.

Maroon 5

Songs About Jane-this album is kicking asses all over the planet. I guess the single “Harder to Breathe” was out a awhile before “This Love” hit. It was the second song, though, that grabbed me and would not let me go. What a great song!

The melody was catchy and did unexpected things. Once I stopped to listen, I was like…”Oh yeah! That’s Steve Wonder singing through the mouth of a 20-something white kid! Alright! We needed some new Stevie sound!”

The whole album really is worth listening too. It’s a rock/funk mix…Runk?

THe other thing that makes it stand out as something to pay attention to is that all the songs are about this guy’s relationship with this girl (Hey…What was the title again…”Songs about Jane”? OH!)

Giving the album one theme makes it exponentially more interesting. Especially since it’s such a soap opera relationship. The lyrics are crafty and subtle enough

“This is not goodbye she said
It is just time for me to rest my head
She does not walk she runs instead
Down these jagged streets and into my bed”

The majority of the album is not the powerhouse of the first two songs, but really, you couldn’t sustain that kind of energy. It relaxes into a more mellow soulful sound. That’s when the lyrics and the theme keep my interest high.

It’s their debut album (if you don’t count that one back in high school under a different name). I have hopes for the next one. This one is my new band to watch.