Archive | August, 2007

Your song

30 Aug

For some reason I’ve been lightly dancing around the idea of songs that represent people.

What song says “you”?

I used to always want Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” to be “my” song. I took dance lessons for forever (though I’m not exactly “tiny,” but I’m not so bad:)). And the line “you’ll marry a music man” had better come true one day.
But “my” song just happened up on me a few weeks ago. I was driving through Tupelo with my iPod on shuffle, and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys came on.

The Beach Boys were my first favorite band. When I was like four my mom bought me their greatest hits, a double album full of some of the best songs out there, like “Good Vibrations,” “Heroes and Villains,” “Help Me Rhonda” and more.

Even as a kid, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” really meant a lot to be. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older/then we wouldn’t have to wait so long.” Even as a kid, I was quite the romantic, so dreamy, wishy lyrics like that spoke right to my little heart.

When it came on my iPod last week, I had a strange feeling. It was almost like I was hearing it again for the first time. And it was like it has always been – my dreamy song from my childhood.

I think this song is me. I’m pretty dreamy and hopeful, and that song is, too. I know this song better than I know myself, and I find an immense amount of comfort in it. When I hear “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” I feel like I’m four again, lying on my stomach beside my record player, dreaming of a Prince Charming and watching the record spin.

Click here to hear some behind the scenes talk about “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”

What song is you? Talk to me.

R.I.P., Hilly Kristal

29 Aug

CBGB founder Hilly Kristal has died.

The man who intended for his club to play “country-bluegrass-blues” had a hand in launching the careers of some of the most important punk bands, like the Ramones and Blondie.

Click here to read Hilly’s history of the club.

A clip of the Ramones performing “Blitzkrieg Bop” at CBGB in 1977.

Here’s a clip from the last show at CBGB.

Let’s talk about our children

28 Aug

By children I mean our iPods, Zunes, iriver, PSP, Zens.

If you’re anything like me, your portable digital music player is like your child. Think about it. You fill it with good music so it’ll be fat and happy. You protect it with nice clothing in the form of cover (and how much you spend on covers can be, for better or worse, a status symbol). If you feed it too much junk, you’ll have to clear out the yucky waste. And, every so often, it misbehaves.

I’ve been accused of being a little passionate about my darling black iPod.

I saw the movie “Disturbia” with someone who happened to hate music (yes, such a horrendous creature exists), and he actually made fun of the movie when Kale said this about his iPod: “That’s 60 gigs of my life.”

Of course I defended the movie (ONLY on that one point…the rest of it just killed off my unassuming brain cells). I don’t know about y’all, but my iPod – and before it, my Dell DJ – is really an important part of my life.

I’ve lost a great many things over the years – my keys, my camera, sometimes my phone – but NEVER my iPod. It goes with me everywhere. It’s not unheard of for me to spend at least a good hour or two (or three…or four) every night working on it, adding new songs and getting rid of stuff that somehow ended up on there.

Right now I’m in need of sprucing up my only playlist, “I’m a kid again!” I created the playlist not long after I turned 24 earlier this year. I had to work on my birthday, so I was a bit grumpy. To cheer myself up, I listened to everything my cousin and I danced and sang to when we were kids. So, 80s and early 90s stuff is what fills that playlist.

I’ve thought of a couple other playlists, like Rainy Days (with lots of Damien Rice), Grr (with lots of Kittie and System of a Down), Swoony Love Songs (with stuff from the “Moulin Rouge!” and “Romeo + Juliet” soundtracks), etc.

Last week, out of the blue, my dad bought me a REALLY nice case for my iPod. I’d bought a cheap one that didn’t cover the screen, and I told him that I was worried about it. So, kablooey, last Friday he brings me a very nice one. My darling iPod – which I’ve named Queen of the Jungle, by the way – is now totally covered and very protected. I’m all impressed.

And here’s some news for our discussion: Rumors abound that Apple will announce a new iPod soon – like next week. Hm!

So, there were a few random musings about my iPod…. Tell me about you mp3 player. Let’s talk.

American Idol goodness

27 Aug

“American Idol” isn’t on TV now, but there’s still lots of Idol swirling in the air.

  • Jordin Sparks’ new single, “Tattoo,” premiered this weekend at PopEater and will hit radio today. Sparks’ debut record, which is still untitled, will be released Nov. 20.
  • Elliott Yamin is performing across the southeast with dates in Memphis, Birmingham and Nashville.
  • This year’s runner-up Blake Lewis is prepping his album, tentatively titled “Audio Daydream (ADD).”
  • Judge Paula Abdul has a celebrity playlist up on iTunes. It’s so sugary sweet it may rot your teeth: there’s John Mayer, Vertical Horizon, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Nelly Furtado, Fantasia and Teena Marie. But don’t expect much from her song comments: “Get up and dance,” “Funky and upbeat,” “A beautiful song,” “Fun summertime song,” “Groundbreaking career song.”

Keep up with “American Idol” news here.

Why I Love…MCR

22 Aug


“Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance
Every once in a while I’d like to write some big sloppy word-kisses to my favorite things in pop culture. I sort-of did it with John Lennon and Elvis lately, but this is my first big official one. I hope maybe y’all can get something out of it — maybe you’ll decide to take a look at what I like and see if you like it too. Or maybe you love it already and want to talk about it. Or maybe you hate it and want to talk about it. I’m cool with either one. 🙂

I can’t say My Chemical Romance is my favorite band, but I really like them. A lot. A whole lot. No, really – a whole lot.

It started when I saw the video for “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” on TV. I thought the video was kind of juvenile (it features the band members as misfits in high school), but really magnetic. Then I saw “Helena,” which is one of the most perfect videos ever (dancing? at a funeral? dead people dancing? I’m SO there).

I bought “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” and then the band’s indie debut, “I Bought You My Bullets, You Bought Me Your Love.” And, then, of course, MCR’s latest release, “The Black Parade.”
I’ve seen the band twice — once in Birmingham on the “Sweet Revenge” tour and then earlier this year in Pensacola for the “Black Parade” tour.

So let me tell you why I love this band.

First of all, it’s because each of the band members are fans. They’re fans of other bands, comic books, movies, etc., and they’re not afraid to tell you so. Therefore, they’ll tell you exactly how they got an idea, and you, then, as an MCR fan, you can discover what they’ve discovered, and it adds more to the music.
But more importantly, as fans, they realize how their fans should be treated. At both of the shows I’ve seen, they’ve started right on time and they’ve offered reasonably-priced merch. For “The Black Parade” tour, the band went all out to create a truly rock ‘n’ roll show. There was pyro, a spinning drumset, huge guitar solos. These guys know what they’re doing.
The band hasn’t said so much at recent shows, but they used to make a point of making some kind of statement at a show. Sometimes it was a simple as, hey, just because you’re bigger/smarter than me doesn’t mean I’m nothing, or don’t ever let anyone take you alive. They’ve also made statements against homophobia (hence the band’s tendencies to share a kiss on stage either with each other or other musicians) or against sexism.
Because MCR themselves are fans, it’s more fun to get behind them. You have the feeling the guys are having a blast. They’re the ones who made it, who got out of their crummy neighborhoods and are now on the international stage.

Secondly – OK, have you ever listened to MCR’s music? It’s magnetic, catchy. The band has grown exponentially since “Bullets,” but that album is perfect in all of its imperfections. It’s totally raw and sounds like a punk record. Everything has that DIY attitude about it. “Three Cheers” is a little more planned-out, but not by much. On the total other side of the spectrum is “The Black Parade,” on which every single sound is planned.
The band manages to call up images of Queen, T.Rex, David Bowie and Pink Floyd while managing to still sound original.
Also, each of the albums have had some sort of concept. It was very loose for “Bullets” and more defined for “Three Cheers,” and then the band went pretty high-concept for “Black Parade.” Few bands go through the extra effort to create concept records, but that’s all apart of MCR’s artistic vision.

Finally, my respect for the band comes from the fact that they’re not just entertainers, musicians, a band. They’re artists. Everything that MCR does is related, connected. They don’t just pick some random photo for album artwork; lead singer Gerard Way (who used to work for Cartoon Network) actually draws it or designs it in some way. MCR doesn’t create cookie-cutter videos — they’re all a perfect complement for each song and therefore the album. When Way dyed his hair blond, most folks thought it was a fashion choice, but actually he did it to resemble the Patient, the main character in the story of “The Black Parade.”

So, in a nutshell. This is a band that rose from a local punk scene to the international scene and has kept its integrity while increasing its artistic horizon. MCR is just starting out, and it’s exciting to think where they’ll go in the future.

And, funny how these things happen, but you can catch a live concert featuring MCR, Taking Back Sunday, HIM, Linkin Park and more today on MySpace starting at 3:30 p.m. (central).

Songs by MCR I suggest you hear: “Kill All Your Friends” (a personal favorite), “Helena,” “Teenagers,” “Mama,” “Our Lady of Sorrows,” “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” “I Never Told You What I Do for a Living,” “I Don’t Love You,” “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” “Welcome to the Black Parade,” “Headfirst for Halos,” “Cancer,” “Hang ’em High,” “Famous Last Words,” “Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough for the Two of Us,” “Give ’em Hell, Kid,” “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison,” “Dead!”  (that’s a lot, I know – I’m a huge fan:))

So, do you like MCR? Tell me about it.
Do you hate MCR? Tell me about it.
Let’s talk!

New music, Dylan, Young, etc.

21 Aug

The music gods smiled on me a few weeks ago when I won 30 free downloads from emusic.com. I had stopped at Backyard Burgers and they have me a little scratch off thing to win, well, I don’t remember what else I could’ve won, I was just hoping for the music. And that’s what I got. So I spent like three hours last night very carefully picking out my 30 songs.

I got a little White Stripes I’d somehow lost over the years, as well as some Peter Bjorn and John, Spoon, Sleater-Kinney, Elizabeth Cook, Vampire Weekend…stuff like that.
Then on iTunes I picked up Folk Uke’s debut, which I am in LOVE with. I loved their take on “Wildwood Flower,” which was on the Folk Songbook I reviewed a few weeks ago.
Folk Uke and their record are both excellent. Be sure to hear “In Case We Die,” “Knock Me Up,” “Tonight You Belong to Me” and, of course, the fabulous last song that I know I’d get fired for putting on here, even if it was bleeped out. 🙂

On top of that, I got “Guilt by Association” in the mail today, which we’ll review in next week’s Scene. Basically, a lot of artists cover their favorite guilty pleasure songs, like “Say My Name,” “Chop Suey” and “Viva Forever.”
AND, I’ve got to find a copy of “Kala” by M.I.A. somewhere in Tupelo today. I’m drowning in music…drowning. 🙂

Alright, y’all want a little news, right? OK, OK – I’m getting there.

  • Bob Dylan AND Elvis Costello in one tour? Yep, but not really anywhere near here (just break my heart, why don’t you, boys?). Still, check out the dates.
  • New Neil Young music!
  • Click here to see the trailer for “Control,” the biopic of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis.
  • Well, is she or isn’t she? Maybe J.K. Rowling isn’t writing that new book after all.

Arrests, new records, etc.

20 Aug

Run-ins with the police, new music, new books….the entertainment world is abuzz this morning.

  • Let’s get the cops out of the way: Uncle Kracker was arrested this weekend, as was Pete Doherty (but the last one really isn’t a surprise).
  • It almost feels like seeing your ex out with somebody new (but kind of in a good way): J.K. Rowling is working on a new book.
  • Hasn’t Garth Brooks released several greatest hits albums already? Either way, he’s got a new one coming.
  • Just as I was beginning to think that Jordin Sparks had already fallen off the face of the planet, here’s some news on her. She’s signed with Jive and will release her debut album in November. Her first single, “Tattoo,” hits radio at the end of August.
  • Of course, Bruce Springsteen has a new album coming out too. Rolling Stone has the dish on it.
  • Update on the next Dashboard Confessional record: “The Shade of Poison Trees” drops Oct. 2 and will be a lot more acoustic.

And in case you haven’t heard, Shawn Klush won the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition in Memphis this past weekend.