Monday, July 23, 2007

My Boys

My Boys returns to television next Monday on TBS. I highly recommend the show -- as such, I'm linking to the TBS My Boys subpage, where you can watch the episodes from the first season. I know, I like strange television -- but this show is worth checking out. Enjoy.

0 mg

Have you noticed that when you write out zero miligrams in the proper format -- it spells 0mg, i.e. OMG!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Top 10 Favorite Songs of All Time

As I did with my favorite albums of all time, I'm going to have to go in no particular order. I honestly can not decide which one is better or worse, but I can narrow it down to 10 individual songs that I truly love.
Dexy's Midnight Runner – “Come On Eileen” – This is perhaps one of the campiest little ditties of all time. It's silly and I love every second of it. It's hard not to crack a smile when you hear this song, it just can get an entire room to just immediately start singing along as if out of nowhere – it's almost become a universal happy song for generation upon generation. It's great and there's really not much else to say about that.

Jerome Pradon – “Heaven on Their Minds” – The first number from a musical, written for Jesus Christ Superstar by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Pradon's version was for the revival production of JCS by Gale Edwards beginning in 1997 and filmed for television in 2001. The music is wonderful and Pradon's voice is amazing. The reason for its inclusion in this top 10 is not merely the great music and great singing voice – but the passion inherent in the song itself – and in the vocalist. You almost can feel the true strife of the apostle Judas as he realizes that he's afraid of what could happen to his good friend, Jesus, if He continues down this religious path as opposed to the save the poor path he initially viewed His teachings as. It's the incredibly impassioned tale of a man who is worried about the health and life of his good friend – a friend who happens to be the Messiah of the Christian people. The emotion this can evoke in me is amazing and frankly, deserves a spot on the top 10.

Chris Cornell featuring Eleven – “Ave Maria” – This is the type of risks which I really want more artists to take. This is a traditional Christian hymn which has been sung in Latin for centuries. Cornell took that hymn, developed more modern music with the band Eleven, and used an Old English version of the lyrics making it both poetic and more accessible to the average listener to Cornell's work. His voice has such a range and power that you don't hear in most of Cornell's work, both solo and with Soundgarden or Audioslave. It really makes me want to hear him produce an entire solo album of hymns or power ballads – just those because, frankly, it would sound amazing.

Coheed and Cambria – “Wake Up (Acoustic)” – A strange addition to the mix here is the song “Wake Up.” Originally found on the unnecessarily long titled Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Mad, this version was found on the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. It doesn't steer too far from the original in tune, but in raw emotion evoked by the lyrics it surpasses the original by leaps and bounds. It's a sad song of love expressing how everything that the narrator was, was for this one person and yet, here he am, leaving and there's nothing that can be done because she's just letting him go.

Johnny Cash – “Hurt” – You know, there are a great many amazing Johnny Cash songs out there and yet, I always come back to this haunting cover of the Nine Inch Nails song of the same name. As Trent Renzor said when he heard this version, “This is the way this song was intended to sound.” The hurt in Cash's life from the loss of his wife is heard in every single note of this song. There's such passion in the old man's voice that comes out as he gets out each and every line that has the power to bring tears to a man's eye. It's an amazing track that shows that Johnny Cash never lost any of his talent as he aged, it merely matured and aged with him.

Jay-Z – “Lucifer”– The first hip-hop track on this list. This track is a collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West, which shows in the masterfully put together beats that are simultaneously catchy and timeless. The song begins with Jay-Z asking the Lord to forgive him, who's the him? His friend Bob Law, it appears. The entire song discusses the terrible situation that his friend has been in and ends as it begins, asking the Lord to forgive his friend who appears to have recently passed. He says that it was Lucifer, the Morningstar, who truly was the cause of the bulk of this sin that his friend and even he had committed. This song has powerful lyrics that you don't expect from such a source.

The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Walk Through the Fire” – Go ahead, laugh and laugh and laugh at the Buffy fan for adding this song to the list. Done laughing at me? Okay, now listen to the song and then decide whether or not you can laugh anymore. Inside the episode, this one song proves to me that Joss Whedon knows how to write music, whether he can admit it to himself or not. This song evokes so much emotion in the scene that can all be heard in the voices of the cast. It's a beautiful collaborative piece that really helps build the climax of the episode, revealing the feelings of each one of the characters through a power ballad. It's great fun and great music all at once – I can listen to this one track over and over and over again and never get sick of it.

Beck – “We Live Again” – I rarely have a clue what Beck is talking about in...well any of his songs. The entire Mutations album is no different – except for the sole fact that it's a beautiful compilation of off-beat music ranging from the huge harpsichord tune listed here to other, folksy songs. As a review from described this album, “...his best songs are simultaneously timeless and modern.” This track is the perfect example of that.

Traditional – “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – I'm going to be honest, this is one of the first hymns I need to place on here and that I have no idea who I'd post as the artist whom I'd like to hear this from. Perhaps Chris Cornell, in a similar fashion to Ave Maria, who knows. This is just one of those hymns that make me proud to be a Christian and an American simultaneously. It's a wonderful marching tune that puts a smile on my face every time I hear it, either as “John Brown's Body” or as the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” either way I'm happy to hear it.

Coheed and Cambria – “The Suffering” – Another track originally from Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Mad, I find myself surprised that I'm placing this track on here as well. Yet, every time I hear this song I find another layer of it which I fall in love with; be it the amazing progressive chords to the masterful verses which span the genres of progressive rock, emo, and alternative rock. This multi-faceted song may very well be one of the best songs of all time, making me more and more excited to hear new music from Coheed and Cambria. Early music from the band was fun and all, but listening to their second and now third album, you can hear the band's music mature beautifully with this track and “Wake Up” being the culmination of their wonderful new sound that is both larger than life and down to earth at the same time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Top 10 Songs Soon

I just had an epiphany and the 10th song for my top 10 favorite songs of all time has come into my head. Realizing how often the song itself comes into my head and how much I love it made me realize its place there on the list. I'll need to write this one up and add it to the list which I've been working on for well over a month now. Expect hopefully before the weekend is over.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My December

Be honest, what have you currently heard of the album "My December" by Kelly Clarkson? I'm sure you've heard of the battle with Clive Davis, about the firing of her producer, about the poor sales, about the fact that Clarkson wrote all the tracks (or co-wrote them with less than famous producers), and that it's the worst album of Clarkson's career.

Yea, I've heard it all -- and I'm here to tell you that the album is great and has a sort of passion that you rarely hear from an artist. Kelly Clarkson, in this album, helps prove her mettle as an artist and I'll explain to you why.

In addition to amazingly personal tracks with beautiful lyrics like "Sober" and "Haunted," the album contains "Since U Been Gone" style pop-ish ballads like "Never Again." That matters very little. Before I continue this discussion on an album that I really enjoy, let me say that this truly is Kelly Clarkson's first album. Why? First album's from artists are a bit raw, but are filled with passion that transcends musical boundaries making for, on average, a great album that draws in new fans. It usually does not sell as well as major label hits down the line, but it defines the artist as an actual musical talent and, in the case of Clarkson, as more than merely a created pop sensation but a musician with many different musical interests and talents. As an artist works on their second or third album, you see them grow as an artist and the lyrics become more in depth, the music becomes more complex -- but it is that first album which defines them as an artist. This is a defining album for Kelly Clarkson as it shows to the world a) that she can write music/lyrics and b) that she's not willing to remain quietly as a contrived pop sensation, but actually wants to take the reins and control her own musical destiny akin to artists like Christina Aguilera as opposed to Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson. In many ways, Clarkson needed this album to prevent herself from being pigeonholed as merely a voice with nothing to back it up. This helps prove otherwise.

For anyone who enjoys Kelly Clarkson's voice and some of the more personal tracks off her second album, this album is worth listening to. For those who merely appreciate music, you owe it to yourself to give this a chance. You may hate it, but at least try it out for yourself instead of merely accepting the hype at face value. This blogger almost did and it would have denied him some beautiful music.