Sat around with Kitty One.
Went to see West Grand Boulevard in concert.
Ate Cambodian food.
The secret to Aaron's sexy-smooth vocal stylings? Cherry Coke Slurpee!
Well this day didn't get off to a good start either!
Sometimes events happen in life that are too traumatic for words. They can only be expressed in song.
So now, in the tradition of Bitch Got Three Spaces, Blogography proudly presents yet another Grammy-worthy edition of Song Lyrics from Redneckistan...
Eggo Didn't Leggo My Waffle
Lyrics and Music by Blogography Gangsta.
Sung by Blogography Gangsta (featuring Killa Kyleon, Ice Burgandy, and Gucci Mane).
Got my butter!
Got my syrup!
Got my fork and knife!
Now all I need is a delicious Eggo waffle
To complete my life!
Open the freezer!
Open the box!
Open that plastic wrap!
What the hell? they gave me half a waffle
Now I think that I might snap!
Eggo ruined my breakfast,
The most important meal of the day!
This ain't no way to be livin',
Ain't nothin' goin' my way!
Yeah, yeah, yeah... yeah!
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
Pray for peace!
Pray for freedom!
Pray for world harmony!
Lord, they done gave me half a waffle
Why have you forsaken me?
Rage on Eggo!
Rage on Kelloggs!
Rage on breakfast too!
Don't need no haters messin' with my waffle
Or else I'm comin' for you!
Eggo ruined my breakfast,
The most important meal of the day!
This ain't no way to be livin',
Ain't nothin' goin' my way!
Yeah, yeah, yeah... yeah!
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
— All lyrics copyright ©2013 by Blogography.
Just one day in Chicago.
A really pretty day in Chicago.
I don't like theater.
I hate musicals.
I have a general distaste for ridiculing somebody's faith.
Which makes the idea of seeing the smash musical The Book of Mormon a strange prospect...
I enjoyed it.
Not really my thing, but South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone kept it funny enough that I didn't mind all the singing and dancing that usually causes my eyes to roll back into my head. The icing on the cake was the set design, which was really well done.
As for ridiculing the Mormons...
This was a tough one for me. I have Mormon friends who are some of the nicest, most generous people I've ever met. And even though I disagree strongly with the church's monetary political maneuverings against things like marriage equality (which should result in them losing their tax-exempt status)... I don't find their religion to be any more strange or as unusual as any other religion.
And that's where I had a problem.
I'm sure the Christians in the audience were laughing their heads off at some of the more outlandish things that come from The Book of Mormon. "Ha ha ha ha! Those Mormons believe some crazy shit... that's so funny!" Which only leads me to believe that they've never actually read their Bible, because it's filled with all kinds of stuff that's equally hard to believe. Unless you have faith in it. Like the Mormons do in their sacred texts.
Whenever a satire like this is made spoofing Christianity or Islam or Judaism or whatever... people go ape-shit. But the Mormons? They have a sense of humor about it all. They take out ads in the Playbill...
This made me feel a little less guilty for laughing along with the crowd, but I couldn't get it out of my head how a chunk of the audience would have a very different reaction if it was their faith that was being poked fun of.
Anyway, back to the show...
The Book of Mormon is a play in two acts. It tells the story of two young Mormons who get sent on a mission to a poor and war-torn area of Uganda. One of them is Elder Price, who is the perfect example of the Mormon faithful, and confident he will succeed in his task to convert Africans to Mormonism. The other is Elder Cunningham, who is basically playing Jonah Hill acting more annoying and stupid than usual, and is the polar opposite of Elder Price.
As the story proceeds, Price starts losing his faith as the task at hand ends up being much more difficult than he ever imagined... and Cunningham becomes an accidental hero thanks to his talent for telling lies. Hilarity (and I mean genuinely funny hilarity) ensues.
Overall, the play is as good as everybody you've ever known who has seen it has said it is. I think it gets a bit sloppy and disjointed in the second act, but it's not a deal-breaker. Parker and Stone (along with Robert Lopez) reveal true genius here, and there's some unexpected sweetness woven into the story that makes it pretty irresistible.
But not for everyone.
The two people sitting next to me arrived very late, taking their seats just as the Hasa Diga Eebowai number was in full swing. It's basically a song where the natives are saying "fuck you, God" as a way of dealing with the abject misery that fills their every waking hour.
They left at intermission and never came back. They let their displeasure be known, however... their Playbills were ripped to pieces and laying on the floor.
I guess everybody is entitled to their opinion, but how in the fuck can you show up to The Book of Mormon at this stage of the game and not know what you're in for? I guess they are just really uninformed. Or totally stupid. Or both.
Oh well. It certainly made me more comfortable to have the extra room.
So... for anybody in Chicago who has a tolerance for naughty words and a bit of blasphemy... I recommend seeing The Book of Mormon if you get a chance. The cast was incredibly talented, the story inspired and, even if you hate musical theater like me, there's enough to make it worth your time and hard-earned money.
Put down that St. Patrick's Day bottle of Guinness... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Metroland! One of my all-time favorite bands, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), will be releasing yet another glorious album come APRIL 9th! Titled English Electric, they just released a video for the first single, Metroland...
Beautiful, as I knew it would be. I cannot wait to see them in concert come April. The last time I saw them live was fantastic, so it's sure to be a good show.
• Kicked! Earlier in the week I mentioned the Veronica Mars movie project over at Kickstarter. I had pledged a chunk of money which came with a reward to attend the Los Angeles premiere. I received a "congratulations" notice from the Kickstarter website. Then I received a receipt from Amazon Payments confirming my donation. But a couple days later when I went to view my account, I saw that my pledge was missing. So I contacted Customer Service to ask why... only to learn that it was rejected because that reward level had "sold out." This is a load of crap. Apparently I was just supposed to ignore the two confirmations I got, since I received NOTHING telling me there was a problem. And, obviously, I had no idea there WAS a problem. Otherwise I would have pledged to attend one of the other premieres. Which, of course, have sold out. So now I am left with nothing because Kickstarter has a stupid-ass website that is incapable of reserving a reward properly. Oh well, guess this is the universe telling me I couldn't afford it anyway. Stupid universe.
• Enraged! I saw a video from an airport in China a while back which showed a man going apeshit because he wandered off for breakfast and missed his boarding time. Apparently he wanted them to call back the plane or something and, when they wouldn't, he started tearing the place apart...
As somebody who has spent their share of time in airports, I can say that I've never seen it get this bad in person... but I have seen travelers rip into airline employees for something that was actually their fault. My favorite being a girl who was late for her flight to Hawaii because she was sick, and was somehow convinced that this was not her fault. This resulted in a phone call to daddy telling him to make this mean person let her on the plane. Never mind that it had left 20 minutes ago... logic need not apply. Just like when a person arrives at the airport 10 minutes before a flight and gets pissed off because the security line is moving so slow. THEN they expect you to let them cut ahead in line so they don't miss their flight. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on for hours. I wonder what it is about going to airports which makes people leave their brains (and courtesy) at home? This has me really excited to be flying out tomorrow.
• This is CNN? Two students RAPE a girl, and what does CNN do? Heap pity on THE RAPISTS for the difficult life ahead of THEM?!? Oh how terrible that THEIR "promising future" has been destroyed just because they RAPED somebody...
Are you fucking kidding me? But of course FOX "News" has to prove that nobody is a bigger piece of shit than them when it comes to ruining people's lives... they decided that the 16-YEAR-OLD RAPE VICTIM isn't deserving of any kind of privacy, AND AIRED HER FULL NAME. Fuck integrity! We just want to make the news exciting for our viewers so we can keep that advertising money coming in! This is such a sick, fucked-up, sad society we live in. I don't even know what to say any more.
I really don't.
Last night Marty (of Banal Leakage fame) and I went to see OMD play at The Depot in Salt Lake City.
As expected, it was mind-blowing amazing show. They played a nice mix of both new material and beloved classics. And, just like the four previous times I've seen them live, played them extremely well. Along with Depeche Mode and Matt & Kim, OMD is easily one of my favorite live bands, and any opportunity to see them in concert is a no-brainer...
The tour is in support of their new album (released just two days ago here in the US!) called English Electric. Overall, I like the album very much, and there's some pop music treasures on there that I'll be listening to for a very long time. However... OMD being OMD, they decided to add a bunch of "experimental" stuff that I didn't care for at all. Luckily, it wasn't enough to torpedo the whole album (see: Dazzle Ships), but oh how I wish the band would stick to cranking out the beautiful pop music that I love them for and just stop with the self-indulgent artsy crap (or whatever)...
Still, well-worth a listen if you've liked their stuff in the past.
I've put a setlist review in an extended entry, if you're so inclined...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Am I doing the smart thing and packing my suitcase right now? No. Instead I'm here blogging... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Awarded! I pretty much think that all award shows are crap, but the MTV Movie Awards at least show stuff you want to see. Not just with the nominees, but also in the commercials, which featured looks at upcoming hot movies... including two I'm dying to see: Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness. I think I've rewound and rewatched both spots on my DVR at least a half-dozen times now. Here's hoping they live up to the hype.
• Beebus! I know Justin Bieber is young and all... but holy shit...
I've been to the Anne Frank House. It is a very somber and emotional ordeal to experience how her family was forced to live and what they went through to survive. Once you've seen Anne's hopes and dreams on display throughout the museum, you're reminded that she ultimately didn't survive, and it's like a punch in the gut. You feel it.
But all Bieber seemed to take away from the experience was how cool it would be if she were alive today so she could be his fan. I honestly don't know if I should chime in on what a fucking moron he is... or just feel sorry for the little wanker being so blissfully clueless about anything except his own ego.
• Graze! In the UK they have a service which delivers healthy snacks directly to your mailbox once a week called "Graze." They're kind of famous for their olives, but they've got a pretty big assortment of nifty treats. Not so long ago, they launched here in the US, and I've been a member for the past twelve weeks. To make a long story short, it's probably not the greatest value for your money, as the four portions you get for $5 (delivered) are pretty small. That being said, I do like the variety and convenience...
Recently Graze sent out paper doll bunnies to their members(?!?). I have no idea why, as it seemed like a huge fucking waste of money. I would have been happier to get a dollar off my next box or something useful like that, but oh well.
About the only thing I don't like so far are their "flapjacks," which are a slimy granola bar of some kind. Other than that, everything is pretty decent. For some reason we Americans are denied the olives, but hopefully they'll be added at a later time. I think the service is still in beta, so signing up is limited to invite codes... but they should be launching for reals any time now. Might be worth checking out when they do.
• Coachella! Tonight OMD played Coachella and YouTube was streaming it live. While not quite the same experience as being there, I was really happy to see the show from the comfort of my living room...
Oh how I love this band. If you wanna take a look, YouTube may still have it up.
• Opener! Speaking of OMD, their opening act was a guy calling himself Diamond Rings. Surprisingly, his band exceeded my expectations in just about every way. Most of his music is inspired directly from 80's acts, and Marty and I spent his entire set tossing out which bands were the template for the song he was playing. I ended up buying his latest album off iTunes, as it has some good tracks...
If you're into 80's pop and looking for something new, Diamond Rings is worth a listen.
And... now I suppose I should pack that suitcase.
Another morning where thunderstorms were forecast for the entire day.
Which, of course, never came to pass. I swear, whomever is in charge of predicting the weather in Pittsburgh needs to be smacked around a little bit, because this is getting ridiculous.
But the weather miscast was definitely something to be grateful for, because Becky managed to score tickets to today's Pirates game...
They close down the Roberto Clemente Bridge when there's a game, which makes for a nice walk.
This time our seats were on the "Club Level" which has restaurants, billiards, lounges, and ice cream!
But, most important of all, I found Cracker Jack this time!
The game was off to a very bad start, as the Reds scored four runs in the first inning. But the Pirates managed to battle their way back into the game... including a monster home-run hit by Garrett Jones in the bottom of the 8th that cleared the park and ended up in the Allegheny River!
The above video is worth checking out... it's a pretty impressive hit!
Mr. Jones! The little kit lens on my NEX-6 continues to blow my mind. This is from the 200 level... WITH A KIT LENS!
The Pirates eventually won, 4-5 after extra innings...
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the win... we had to leave early so we could make a concert...
Hold on to your crotch... it's
Now, I should preface this with two pieces of information...
This meant that I really didn't know what to expect. My plan was just to hang out with Becky and drink beer, which would have been a great time even if there wasn't a concert.
But there was a concert, and I totally admit that it ended up being ten times more than awesome.
As her set went on, things got a little weird...
Which was taken to an entirely new level when
Sparks went flying out of her vagina, which was apparently impossible to capture on iPhone. Sorry.
Then it was time to bring on the simulated inter-species beastiality where sports mascots started bumping, grinding, and swapping heads...
After all this freaky shit went down, even
Eventually we got a tiny car, blow-up legs, and a blow-up hippo as
During her set, Ke$ha was all about dishing out life advice ("Be Yourself! Always! Unapologetically!"), sharing her private thoughts and feelings ("I don't want a guy to talk to me, I want a guy to fuck me!"), and giving her fans ideas for after the show ("I want everybody to go home and fuck tonight!")... which just made her even more special to me. I was sad to see her go.
But the party didn't stop there... after a half-hour of DJ music by somebody called "Ump Smoker" it was time for Pitbull. I had no idea who he was, but once the music started I did realize that I knew of his music. Who knew? In any event, his show was pretty impressive.
Apparently, Pitbull was responsible for the Men in Black 3 theme song.
Even if you hated his music (which I didn't), the stage show is still entertaining.
Looks like Ke$ha isn't the only one who can unleash a glitter bomb.
All-in-all? A very good concert, and I had a great time. If you have the opportunity to see the tour, I highly recommend checking it out. Just be prepared to walk through a shit-ton of glitter in the parking lot after it's over...
And that was a wrap.
After an action-packed day of excitement like this, my "real life" is going to seem really, really boring.
Thanks a lot, Becky!!!
Time to find your happy place... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Blackhawks!!! And so it's the Blackhawks vs. the Bruins for the Stanley Cup...
GO HAWKS!!! GO HAWKS!!! GO HAWKS!!! GO HAWKS!!! GO HAWKS!!!
• Hart. Hart to Hart was a staple of my television viewing habits when I was a kid. Not only was it entertaining, but Stefanie Powers and her massive pile of feathered hair was almost too good to be true. Now Adam Scott and Amy Poehler have done a shot-for-shot remake of the opening credits.
And it's absolute genius...
If they were to ever do a retro made-for-television movie I would watch the shit out of it. The idea of a remake is just too brilliant to pass up.
• Crapper First Cracker Jack had die-cast metal toy prizes. Eventually those were replaced with plastic toy prizes. Then they ditched the toys altogether and switched to stupid stickers. And now? They don't even bother with the damn sticker. You get an "online prize" of some kind that you redeem with your phone. Well, unless you have an iPhone...
This blows. Why do they even bother?
• Photoshop! Every once in a while something goes viral on the internet that I actually like. "Photoshop Live"is one of those rare events...
I hope they do more of these... it's such a great idea.
• Miley! Since I hadn't heard anything music-related from Miley Cyrus in quite a while, I naturally assumed she now runs a gas station and mini-mart in Pittsburgh after I saw this...
But then lo and behold, this track is waiting for me when I get home...
I'm diggin' it! I can't stop! And I just don't care!
Early to bed... Early to have the alarm wake your ass up at the crack of dawn so you can drive three hours to work.
And so a Seattle-based band I like, The Local Strangers, played a Very Special sold-out show at The Triple Door tonight. It was Very Special because they were accompanied on some of their songs by the Passenger String Quartet.
Which is like taking Amazing, sprinkling it with Awesome, then deep-fat-frying it in Magic.
Such an amazing show, and I find myself filled with pity for those unfortunate souls who didn't get to experience it...
If you ever have a chance to catch them live, this is a band worth checking out. You can keep track of them on their Facebook page or sign up for The Local Strangers newsletter and get free music on their website.
It's not the chase that I love.It's me following you.
In my annual music wrap-up for last year, a musical duo called "Father Tiger" came out of nowhere to nab the number two spot for best album of 2012. My only disappointment was that some of my favorite singles from the band weren't on it.
This has been partially rectified with their EP release titled Vernal Equinox which had First Love as one of the tracks. It's a terrific song, and today they release a video for it...
And timely, given that we're nearing the SCOTUS decision on marriage equality in America...
Not so long ago, I was lamenting that I would miss the 2013 "Delta Machine" tour for my favorite band, Depeche Mode. For some unfathomable reason, they decided to skip Seattle this time. Fortunately, Certifiable Princess saw my agony and mentioned that they would be playing in Tampa on September 14th! One very, very cheap airline ticket later plus a few thousand hotel points, and here I am!
As expected, the concert was amazing... C.P. and her husband thought so too. DM played a terrific mix of new tracks and old favorites, and backed it up with an Anton Corbijn stage show that was pretty cool (if less elaborate than what we've seen in the past).
Delta Machine is a fairly dark album that has a heavy industrial-style sound to it. I enjoyed it well enough, but it's just not the same Depeche Mode that made me such a huge fan. And though I wish they had played more classic stuff, it was still a great show that was easily worth the effort it took to get here...
Despite my pining away for more of their older material, this was an epic concert. Depeche Mode sound every bit as good now as they did 30 years ago, and remain one of the best live bands I've ever seen (with Matt & Kim being a close second). So long as they keep performing this well, the band is in no danger of losing me as a fan, regardless of where they go with their music.
That being said, can we please go in a slightly different direction on the next album? All these songs about heaven, angels, redemption, addiction, and salvation have really been played out now, and it's time to move on. I really, really don't want to have to suffer through another version of The Child Inside.
When I found out that one of my all-time favorite bands, The Pet Shop Boys, would once again be swinging through Seattle on their Electric tour, I was ecstatic. This would be three-for-three in seeing all their Seattle performances. Except... the date was one day before I leave for vacation. And there was no way I could make that work.
But there was also no way I was going to miss the show, so I found they were playing Philadelphia on a weekend, and my solution was clear.... I would be cashing in a pile of airline miles and hotel points and heading back to the East Coast (after Depeche Mode in Tampa last weekend).
It was totally worth the effort.
Mostly because the concert was mind-bogglingly excellent, as usual. But also because my ticket came in a "meet and greet" package where I actually got to shake hands and chat with the band! And get my lanyard and program signed...
Not really knowing what to say, I thanked them profusely for coming to Seattle at long last and then returning again with their previous Pandemonium tour. It was then that Neil said "Wait... we're going to be in Seattle again this tour... what are you doing here in Philadelphia?" At which time I explained my situation, and Chris was kind enough to say that they really enjoy playing Seattle and that it's part of their schedule now (replacing Texas, apparently). Both "Boys" were incredibly warm and friendly, and seemed genuinely appreciative of their fans. It was a complete thrill to have met them, and I'm still a bit starstruck from the experience.
As I had said, the show was beyond amazing. Very imaginative and technically impressive. Beautifully staged. Incredibly entertaining. And then there was the music... which is one of my favorite things on earth. They played a brilliant assortment of songs new and old, and the crowd was on their feet the whole time.
AND I GOT TO SEE IT ALL FROM THE SECOND ROW!!!
When I bought my ticket, I had thought that I was in the 28th, because my row was "BB." In an Excel spreadsheet, columns go from A to Z, then go AA, BB, CC, etc. But it turns out that the "Mann Center for the Performing Arts" has BB as the second row of the orchestra pit. I was so close to the stage that it was almost like getting to meet them all over again!
ME! RIGHT THERE AT THE STAGE!
Their first costumes were scary spikey shirts. They did not look at all comfortable.
Then it was time for... BULL HEADS!!!
The sheer volume of lasers present would have vaporized lesser men!
Chris is wearing a disco ball on his head. And why wouldn't he?
The Pet Shop Boys were strapped to beds, then had other bodies projected on to them!
Chris's keyboard station was beautiful and... ELECTRIC!
And... it was time for a final couple of songs and the end to a great show!
Incredible. Just incredible.
No joke... if you are even a tiny bit of a fan of The Pet Shop Boys, GO SEE THIS SHOW! Tour dates are here.
This is one incredibly small world. I went from having no idea how I was getting home from the concert to getting a ride from the guy sitting next to me from Philadelphia who is a colleague of a friend I know who lives in London when I am from Seattle. I noticed it completely by accident when he put on a sweatshirt with a company logo I recognized. And this follows my running into my friend from London when I was in Boston back in June.
Everything's connected... you just have to stop and look for it!
And speaking of connections... seeing The Pet Shop Boys was not the only great thing to happen today... I got to go to lunch with blogging buddies BubbleWench, LibraGirl, and ChrissyRub! They were incredibly kind enough to take time out of their busy Sundays to come hang out with me and I couldn't have been happier. Having met such amazing people over the years from this blog continues to be a payoff that never ends.
After a fun couple hours, the ladies were nice enough to kill time with me before the concert by offering to take me to see Ft. Mifflin. Once they told me it was haunted, I was totally onboard! It's actually quite a pretty area...
Though the insides are kinda dead. I totally understand why ghosts would want to hang around here...
The most interesting thing about Ft. Mifflin today, however, is its proximity to the airport. Every 5 minutes, a plane screams overhead. And the planes get really close...
No, seriously, the planes get really, really close...
I swear at some point I could see people inside...
Pretty cool! Thanks again ladies!
And... then it was off to the concert, which LibraGirl was kind enough to drive me to.
And... it was incredible. Just incredible.
But I think I mentioned that already.
Prepare yourself for the Truth About Love... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Homeward! My journey home began with a five-hour flight from Siem Reap to Incheon/Seoul at 11:30pm last night. After arriving in Seoul at 6:00am this morning, I was going to spend my TWELVE HOUR LAYOVER wandering around some of my favorite parts of the city. Instead I took my aching head and exhausted body to Incheon's handy Transit Hotel for some sleeping pills and a ten-hour nap. Then it was time for my nine-and-a-half-hour flight home on Korean Air's "SkyTeam" livery plane...
That's one long-ass day of travel. But it wasn't really horrible... lucky for me.
• P!NK! After getting to Seattle, then waiting a half-hour for a ride to my car, then driving a half-hour up into the city, then waiting two hours for a room, then taking a two-hour nap... it was time for P!nk at Seattle's Key Arena...
As you can see, her fans were ready!
• P!NK! As expected, P!nk's jaw-dropping show was a beautiful spectacle from the minute the curtain went up...
• P!NK! The truth about the Truth About Love is that P!nk is so mind-bogglingly talented that she doesn't really need a crazy stage show... it's just the icing on the cake...
Doesn't hurt that she's beautiful to look at as well.
• P!NK! What I don't get is how P!nk isn't dead yet from the insane circus-style tricks she packs into her concerts. Here she is, flying high above Key Arena WHILE SINGING...
If I were to speed around at such dizzying heights, I would be puking all over the audience.
• P!NK! And, all too soon, one of the best stage shows I've ever seen was over. But not before P!nk was wrapped in fabric, drenched in water, and sent spinning above the stage...
Yeah... not a show you want to pass up if P!nk heads to your neck of the woods.
Annnnnd... scene. Tomorrow I drive home and back to Real Life.
Disco became self-aware 40 years ago.
36 years ago, Disco was approaching the height of it's dominance thanks to the movie Saturday Night Fever and the soundtrack by Disco icons The BeeGees.
34 years ago, Disco died a horrible death. Most people were not sad to see it go.
For years after, Disco attempted numerous revivals, yet never managed to come back from the dead.
Earlier this past summer, Daft Punk unleashed the hit track Get Lucky and I feared that Disco might be coming back in zombie form, but this too was short-lived.
For now, it would seem the world is safe from the Disco threat.
But we must remain vigilant.
We must never let down our guard.
Because the spirit of Disco is still out there... somewhere... plotting to return and enslave the world with its evil.
And now tha... tha... OH MY GAWD...
KILL IT NOW! — KILL IT WITH FIRE!
KILL IT WITH FIRE BEFORE IT DESTROYS EVERY ONE OF US!
Today was kind of weird in that I found out The Beatles: Bootleg Recordings 1963 was released. It popped up in my news feed and was reported to have two previously unreleased demo tracks along with a wealth of alternate studio takes for classic songs, plus a bunch of live recordings from the BBC. For a Beatles fan like me, it was a joyous event.
Until I found out it's THIRTY-NINE DOLLARS AND NINETY-FIVE CENTS, that is.
I mean, yes, it's 59 tracks... and it's The frickin' Beatles... but $39.95 when I have a lot of the material in already-released or alternate versions? Crazy talk.
So I bought the two demo tracks, listened to samples of the 57 remainders, bought a few more I liked, then put my wallet back in my pocket and walked away relatively unscathed.
Out of everything, the demo for Bad to Me is the stand-out. It's peppy and fun with wonderful lyrics that bounce and sparkle throughout the minute-and-a-half track like only an early Beatles tune can. I knew of the song (written by Lennon), and knew it was recorded by Billy J. Kramer for release, but I had no idea this recording existed. So... yay.
A part of me continues to wonder if there are other tracks hidden away that are being saved for The Beatles 100th anniversary or something. Given the massive amount of material Lennon-McCartney created, it certainly seems possible. In the meanwhile, I suppose I'll have to be content that releases like this continue to find their way to Beatles fans.
Even if it costs THIRTY-NINE DOLLARS AND NINETY-FIVE CENTS!
And it's time once again for my annual wrap-up of music I liked this year. Which is not easy for a guy who's perpetually stuck in the 1980's when it comes to what he listens to.
THE TWELVE BEST...
These are my favorite albums this year...
#1 English Electric by OMD
I pretty much love my top-three albums equally, so I had a tough time deciding which one would end up on top. After a lot of back-and-forth, I settled on English Electric because it had the highest play count on my iTunes (probably thanks to Night Café, which is a song I can't seem to get enough of). And while I don't think it's as great an album as their previous release, History of Modern, there's a lot to love here... even if I would just as soon skip over the experimental crap they sandwich between actual songs.
#2 Electric by Pet Shop Boys
Last year, Pet Shop Boy's Elysium took the top spot on my list despite the love/hate relationship I had with the album. This year was pretty much a repeat of last year, with half the album hooking me worse than a heroin habit, and the other half leaving me cold. Which got me thinking... if I took the half of Elysium I liked and added it to the half of Electric I liked, it would end up being one of the best Pet Shop Boys albums ever. As it is, both are merely "good" for the band... which means Electric is still better than 99% of the stuff that got released in 2013. Getting to ACTUALLY MEET NEIL AND CHRIS WHEN I WENT TO THEIR PHILADELPHIA SHOW was just the icing on the cake.
#3 Dynamics by Holy Ghost!
After falling in love with their self-titled debut, I fully expected to hate Holy Ghost!'s follow-up, because isn't that the way it always goes? Apparently not. Yet another heavy contender for my #1 spot, Dynamics is more 80's-inspired pop genius from a band who knows how to keep cranking out something new that feels as though it's been around for decades. Don't Look Down may very well be my favorite song of 2013. And I'm still mad at myself for not seeing them in concert yet.
#4 The Movement by Betty Who
And speaking of 80's-inspired pop genius... Betty Who came out of nowhere with an EP that I haven't stopped listening to since the minute I learned it existed. Her instant fame was mostly due to the use of Somebody Loves You in one of the best marriage proposals ever... but the three remaining songs are every bit as good (and an argument could be made that High Society is even better). Needles to say, I am anxiously awaiting Betty's first full-length album and an opportunity to see her live.
#5 In a Tidal Wave of Mystery by Capital Cities
This release could have made my list based on their smash single Safe and Sound all by itself. Fortunately, the album had more to offer, as it arrived jam-packed with enough addictive synth-pop dance tracks to choke a horse.
#6 Native by OneRepublic
I don't know what it is about OneRepublic, but there hasn't been an album out yet that I haven't played to death... and Native is no exception. Yes, it's more of the same, but I'll take it. Especially when it has such a hauntingly beautiful tune as Can't Stop.
#7 When The Night by St. Lucia
Jean-Philip Grobler, better known as the "band" St. Lucia is someone I discovered from a Victoria's Secret commercial, instantly falling in love with his breezy music and fresh sound...
His self-titled EP ended up being #4 on last year's list, and I ended up playing those six tracks many, many times. So you can imagine my excitement when his full album finally dropped in October, as I had been waiting an entire year for it to arrive. The result is more of the same of what I love about St. Lucia... even if a few tracks abandon his relaxed vibe and go a bit more frantic (the track Too Close comes dangerously close to being a mess). If I have one complaint, it's that I ended up paying for three songs I had already bought on the EP. But a quick listen to beautiful tracks like Elevate has me not caring quite as much as I probably should...
#8 Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
I was tempted to leave Random Access Memories off my list because it's on everybody else's list... but that's not exactly fair, is it? And while "the sound of Summer 2013"... Get Lucky... has been played to the point of nausea, there's plenty left on the album to keep you listening. And I do. Even though it's much more disco than 80's pop.
#9 Free Your Mind by Cut Copy
With each new album, I become a bigger fan of Cut Copy. Their last effort, Zonoscope, was a flawless album that I didn't even know existed until nearly a year after it had been released. I swore I wouldn't make the same mistake next time, and I didn't... I kept up with the band and bought Free Your Mind on day one. And love it. It's big pop fun that's interesting enough to keep me coming back.
#10 New by Paul McCartney
As a massive Beatles fan who fell in love with the band long after they had their run, I suppose it's no big surprise that I had a hard time getting into Wings, who was also done and gone by the time I was into McCartney. His solo projects didn't fare much better... until New, which is a fantastic album with all the hallmark signatures that makes Paul McCartney one of my favorite artists in music history.
#11 Palms by Carousel
Dreamy synth-pop magic that stays in almost constant rotation in my iTunes playlists. This was a discovery made off iTunes Radio, which is always a pleasant surprise.
#12 Delta Machine by Depeche Mode
Given that Depeche Mode is my favorite band of all time I'm pretty much obligated to put their latest effort on my list... even if I'm not sure it really belongs here. Probably because I didn't fall in love with any songs off of the album and am still trying to understand how things could have gone so terribly wrong (seriously, ENOUGH with the songs about angels, heaven, and redemption! Pick a new topic... ANY new topic). I did a write up on the Delta Machine tracks played on their latest tour (which I saw in Tampa), so if you want the gory details of my confusion, here you go.
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR...
Volume 3 by She and Him
If I had the guts to deep-six Depeche Mode off my list, this is the album that would take their place. Just when you think you can't love Zooey Deschanel any more than you already do, THIS comes along...
This is Icona Pop by Icona Pop
Some addictive tracks here... but too many of them sound to much the same, which made it a tough pick for my list.
Prism by Katy Perry
Now, heaven only knows I love Katy Perry... her Teenage Dream was an explosion of bubble gum pop perfection... and her first single, Roar, off Prism sure grabbed ahold of me... yet the album just wasn't enough. Maybe it's because she's dating John Mayer now and I can't get the horror out of my head, I dunno.
Swings Both Ways by Robbie Williams.
And... color me shocked. I had -zero- confidence that Robbie could pull off a swing album, but he totally nails it. How he got the inspiration to even attempt this is a mystery, but I'm glad he did.
VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS 2013...
Metroland by OMD
I'm gonna love just about any animated music video... even if the song is shit. But this terrific video is what happens when the song is awesome. Equally amazing is OMD's animated video for Night Cafe (above).
Roar by Katy Perry
The video was so great that it made me love the song. Or maybe it was Katy Perry's outfit. At this point it's hard to tell.
Somebody Loves You by Betty Who, Spencer, and Home Depot
Okay, it's not her official video for the track... but it's hands-down my favorite music video of the year!
And now I'm going to sit back and hope that Pet Shop Boys will go three for three and give us another album and tour in 2014!