Katy Perry has a catchy catalog of hits which she supports with a variety of excellent music videos. She's an artist of talent and vision, and I've always respected her for the visual "world" she creates, even though I've not always been a fan of her music.
Her latest video for Chained to the Rhythm has just been released, and my estimation of her has ticked up a notch.
Yes, it's unnecessarily complex in spots for a pop song, but I do like it... and the video is amazing. On the surface it's all clever eye candy... but there's some depth there.
And a message...
Good luck getting that hook out of your head. It's been stuck in mine all day.
UPDATE: KAty performed the song at The Brits and it was pretty spectacular...
A lot of work went into that performance!
As if Wrabel wasn't a big enough gift, Jester has turned me onto another musical obsession... MUNA. A three-girl band out of Los Angeles.
The song Winterbreak is effortlessly haunting and beautiful, and is everything I love about the band wrapped up in a single song...
If you've heard a song by MUNA, it's probably I Know a Place which is poppy perfection...
And their latest bit of lyrical wonderment is called Around U...
Needless to say, this is an easy bet for one of my favorite albums of 2017
I was discussing those "songs that other people like, but you hate" lists and found out that no matter what a person's taste in music... there's inevitably some overlap on the "hate list." I find it to be strangely comforting.
When it comes to my personal list, it would be easy to populate it with popular artists I don't care for... like Nicki Minaj, Bob Dylan, or Lou Reed... but the least I can do is put some thought into it.
So here we go. Twenty Songs Other People Seem to Like But I Hate. It's an incomplete list, because I can only grab those songs that pop into my head... and songs I hate get buried and forgotten... but it should give you a pretty good idea of what I don't like in a song.
Mr. Roboto by Styx.
There are no words to describe my raging hatred of this idiotic song. Whether it's Dennis DeYoung's awful, awful voice and delivery... the inane, insipid, and painfully bad lyrics... or the fact that this is the cornerstone of one of the worst albums of all time, the "rock opera opus" Kilroy Was Here, it all adds up. Hate, hate, hate everything about this "music" and the fact that it was so popular back in the day.
Whip My Hair by Willow Smith.
I scream every time I hear this musical travesty. Repetitive garbage. Nobody gives a shit.
Your Love by The Outfield.
The whiny, horrific, screeching delivery of every word in the lyrics is enough to make me want to kill myself.
Take Me to Church by Hozier.
I do not get it. I cannot for the life of me understand how people like this song. I furthermore do not understand why everybody and their dog wants to cover this song.
Zombie by The Cranberries.
I was never a huge fan of The Cranberries, but I didn't hate them either. Songs like Linger were actually nice. But this... THIS piece of repetitive, unbearable screaming is not music. It's noise.
Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil.
THE LEAD SINGER CAN'T FUCKING SING! GAAAAHHHHH! And while I appreciate the Aboriginal people advocacy that this song strives for... the lyrics are just shit.
Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex.
No. Just no.
You're Beautiful by James Blunt.
This song is the very definition of "painfully awful," and yet it was a massive hit. Bad for me, because massive hits get a lot of airplay. The lyrics are grotesquely insipid and are delivered in a kind of wavering falsetto that drives people to kill.
Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye.
Boring as fuck with no redeeming qualities to make it worth listening to, this torturous pile of shit was posted to everybody's Facebook wall for weeks.
My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas.
Why, Lord? WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!?
Tall Cool One by Robert Plant.
If you love hearing "Lighten up baby, I'm in love with you" repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over until you want to die... this might be the song for you!
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars.
A song so fucking popular that it was impossible to escape... which is all kinds of horrible when it's as bad as this is.
Hey, Soul Sister by Train.
It's not just me. Everybody thought this song was just plain awful.
The Leader of the Band by Dan Fogelberg.
Having to listen to whiny crap like this is what I envision hell to be like.
Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
How the hell anything by Macklemore gets airplay is something I will never understand. Thrift Shop is the most inexplicable of all. Its lame lyrics punctuated by swear words that are wildly out of place and seem to be added solely for effect. Making a lame song even worse.
Hey Jude by The Beatles.
Proving that even one of the greatest bands in the history of the world makes mistakes, Hey Jude and it's endless refrain of "na na na na" is as bad as it gets.
What's Up? by 4 Non-Blondes.
Linda Perry and her stupid-ass hat belting out this screech-fest of a song is enough to drive anybody suicidal. Which is a shame, because Linda Perry herself (AKA Mrs. Sarah Gilbert) seems like she's that effortless kind of cool that most people strive for but never reach.
Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
I would hope that I don't have to explain this one.
The Final Countdown by Europe
The song itself isn't quite so bad... it's just the way that Europe sings it like it's this massive epic that's crushing every other song ever made that has me hating on it.
Baby by Justin Bieber
To be honest, I loathe every single Bieber song I've ever heard. Which hasn't been many, because I avoid his "music" like the plague. The worst offender to me is Baby which is just lame-ass boy-band lyrics on repeat.
And there you have it! Hope I haven't destroyed your will to live.
I'll visit San Francisco at the drop of a hat for any reason at all. It's just an hour-and-a-half flight out of Seattle, which means I can get there from Redneckistan in around four hours. Wrabel has a show at the Rickshaw Stop? Sign me up!
One of the many nice things about San Francisco is that I never have to worry about playing tourist when I'm in town. I've been here so many times that I'm over it. Another nice thing is that there's a lot of vegetarian fare to be had in the city.
I've been wanting to try this Singapore-based burger chain called "Vegan Burg" but never wanted to venture out to The Haight to actually do it. Today was finally the day for a Cracked Pepper Mayo Vegan Burg. It's a beautiful presentation and a decent alternative to other veggie burgers, but I'd have rather have gotten my regular Johnny Rockets Streamliner (no grilled onions). The Vegan Burg is kind of boring. The only thing notable about it is the crispy texture... which I'm not sure I liked. Bun is decent. Seaweed fries were okay. The mango lemonade, however was weak. Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Then it was time to meet up with Jester and friends for the show...
Which absolutely did not disappoint.
If Wrabel shows up in your neighborhood, go. Just go.
In addition to being a brilliant songwriter/musician, Wrabel is massively entertaining. He tells stories. He interacts with the audience. It's just non-stop wonderful from beginning to end...
He says he's working on an album. Hopefully to be released later this year.
Home is a great place to be, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Spring Has Finally Sprung! When I got back yesterday, I noticed that the beautiful dogwood tree that the previous owner planted in the front yard was starting to bloom! I think my irises are also ready to pop, but they're a lot of work to keep pretty. The tree is beautiful from start to finish with no intervention from me...
I was worried that the heavy snow destroyed it because everybody else's trees went into bloom weeks ago. Good boy!
• Sense8 Season Two! When Netflix released the first season of Sense8 back in 2015, a collaboration between The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, I was not interested. With the exception of the original Matrix film and possibly
While I ended up liking the second season more than the first, there are serious problems that kept me from loving it. First of all... despite the large cast, they introduced even more characters. Some to disastrous effect. Take for example the trans character Nomi and her partner Amanita, a pair of hackers living in San Francisco. Easily two of the most unique and interesting characters on the show (if not television itself), but this season they are essentially shoved aside in favor of a new character called "Bug" that's not only annoying as fuck, he's also redundantly taking on hacking chores that should have stayed with Nomi and Neets. Like when Nomi had to dress in heels, but fell down and knocked herself unconscious, leaving "Bug" to save the day. Like HA HA HA HA! THE TRANS CHARACTER CAN'T WALK, so let's have a man step in and fix everything. What the actual fuck? But even worse is the mindless way they keep setting up fights and absurd situations so the characters can "mind bond." Sometimes it's what makes the show fantastic (let's face it, I could watch Doona Bae kick ass all day long) but other times it's just so badly manipulative and manufactured as to be laughable (Shades of Babylon 5, Batman!). The mind-bond scenes should be organic and come about naturally... like when Sun finally goes after her brother at the end in one of the best action sequences I've seen this year. But the absolute worst thing about Season 2 is the ending... which has a half-dozen cliffhangers. Everybody must be really confident that Netflix is going to shell out $100 million for season three. Because if they don't, a lot of people are going to be pissed at how pathetic an ending we got.
• Soda Pop! This right here is the idiotic crap that has people fed up with our elected officials: Diet drinks added to Seattle mayor’s soda-tax proposal, upping revenue estimates. And you have to ask yourself... is the dipshit Seattle mayor's plan all about saving us from obesity and (now) fighting white privilege? Or is it designed to distract people from the news that he fucked teen boys? Let's allow the media to decide! And when it comes out that the mayor is also addicted to cocaine? THEN A TAX ON YOUR COOKIES TOO, YOU LOWLIFE PLEEB! All I know is that when you have to start adding a tax to a bottle of Coke in order to raise revenue, you are probably SPENDING TOO MUCH FUCKING MONEY!
• Do It Yourself! Never did I think in my lifetime that my small-town local grocery store would get self-checkout, but here we are. I guess even Redneckistan is tired of dealing with people's shit...
Oh well. I guess it's only a matter of time before we're all replaced by a machine.
• Travel Day! Yeah... you won't convince me that John McCain is some kind of hero for being the lone GOP voice asking for investigation into the president's ties with Russia. Of course I respect his service to this country, but he's a MIA/POW betrayer and a pile of fucking garbage as a senator. He and bipartisan Democratic betrayer John Kerry are BOTH a pile of fucking garbage. So get all wet over McCain if you want to... I'll just be over here reminding myself of his dishonorable treatment of those brave soldiers who couldn't come home like he did because of his actions in preventing it...
Jesus, what an asshole.
• Please Call Me Back! Is it possible for a song to have some of the worst lyrics you've ever heard... and yet you can't get enough of it? This track by the band Rey Pila is unapologetically 80's in tone and construction, which is why I like it. And yet... holy crap are these some awful lyrics. Granted they are out of Mexico, so English probably isn't their first language, but still...
I am hopelessly in a love/hate relationship with their stuff that's been posted to YouTube. Though some of their songs are pure love...
All 80's all the time over at Rey Pila!
And game over. So long, Bullet Sunday...
We're going to need some more coffee, because a very special Twin Peaks edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Twin Peaks! "She's dead, wrapped in plastic."You had to be there. Because no words I can write could ever encapsulate just how jaw-dropping amazing it was to be alive when Twin Peaks was first unloading onto an unsuspecting world...
Nothing like it had ever aired before... and, though many attempts have been made to imitate it, nothing has since. The mystery of who killed Laura Palmer is still lighting a fire in the imaginations of people around the globe even today. Though the second season faltered without the guidance of David Lynch, I still love every episodes and have viewed them numerous times.
• Made in Washington! "That gum you like is going to come back in style." While the fictitious city of "Twin Peaks" is located in Eastern Washington near the Canadian border, many of the real exterior locations were filmed in my home state as well. After I fell in love with the show, I made an effort to visit many of them...
A list of places I've sought out...
Filming for the new series took place in Washington again... it will be interesting to see if they came up with any new locations for me to visit.
• The Secret History of Twin Peaks! "The owls are not what they seem." In anticipation of the new episodes dropping today, Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost released a book tie-in last summer detailing the "secret history" of the town of Twin Peaks...
If you are a hardcore Twin Peaks fan, I don't need to tell you that this book is essential reading. Not only does it provide an expectedly bizarre history of the region (seriously, Frost tosses in Lewis & Clark, Sasquatch, aliens, and everything else you can imagine... along with some things you can't), but the book also fills in a few details of what happened after the original series ended. Much of the information is superfluous to the story... and it's a tough read if you are not familiar with the show... but I enjoyed it as a tasty side-dish to the main course, and am looking forward to the second volume, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, releasing October 31st.
• Twin Peaks: The Return! "I'll see you in 25 years." When it comes to doing weird shit on film, art house cinema has been doing it since the dawn of cinema. Some of it goes mainstream from time to time but, for the most part, it's a niche product that doesn't go anywhere. What made Twin Peaks so different and revolutionary is that the series managed to blend the weird shit of an art house film with an actual story that everyday people could find entertaining. Sure it digressed from time to time... but, overall, things were always moving. Interesting stuff was always happening on-screen to drive the story forward.
Now, a quarter-century later, Twin Peaks returns...
Something I've been waiting half my life to see.
But here's the problem... David Lynch and Mark Frost have gone full-on arthouse and, if the first four episodes are anything to judge the series by, it's a steaming pile of shit. An absolute disaster that's weird just to be weird. And, unlike the original series, there's precious little else. Absolutely everything is weird shit. And it drags on and on and on. Take the third episode for example. The entire first half of the show is Agent Cooper trying to escape from The Black Lodge where he's been stuck since the end of the final episode. It's all complete nonsense, boring as shit, and does nothing to support what's come before. As for the second half of the episode? Dale Cooper meandering around South Dakota acting weird and doing weird shit. Only in the final five minutes does the story lurch forward again.
If there's a bright spot to be had, it's appearances by the original cast and a continuation of the original story... as scattered and slow as it may be. And I'm beyond thankful that Miguel Ferrer (FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield) and Catherine Coulson (Margaret, The Log Lady) managed to film scenes before their deaths. Unfortunately, it's all for naught, because Twin Peaks and everything that made it so amazing is barely here. And, unless things get radically better in the remaining episodes, I'm sorry they brought it back.
• The Sound of Twin Peaks! Twin Peaks would not be Twin Peaks without the music of Angelo Badalamenti. He created one of the most recognizable theme songs ever to grace television, and his Lauara's Theme added atmosphere to many moments in the show...
Another artist, Julee Cruise, became a household name from her performances on the show. David Lynch is continuing this tradition by ending the episodes with musical performances. My favorite from the new series is The Chromatics, singing a beautiful song called Shadow...
How very Twin Peaks!
And that's a wrap! "When you see me again, it won't be me..."
"It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."
—Peter Gibbons, Office Space
There comes a point where you see just how bad the world has become and you have to decide if you're going to be one of those people who frets over every new horror... or if you're just going to say "fuck it" and not give a shit anymore.
I'm firmly in the latter camp.
It's not that I'm happy about no longer caring... I wish I did care... but it's just no longer practical. Every day it's something new and worse, so I'm going to spend my remaining years on this planet in a blissful state of detachment...
And you know what? I feel better already.
Happiest of Father's Days to all the dads out there, including mine! Your special day is about to get a whole lot specialer, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Buck/Mac! It's tough to say whether I'm a bigger fan of "Classroom Instruments" on Fallon or "Carpool Karaoke" on Corden because I love them both. But when Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie are the ones performing on "Classroom Instruments," it's kinda a no-brainer. My Fleetwood Mac love is strong with them...
Also on Jimmy this week... a terrific installment of "Google Translate Songs" with Miley Cyrus!
I sure wish they'd make a new Hannah Montana movie!
• Batman! And now from the "Senseless Crap I want Because I Just Can't Help Myself" department... BOB ROSS FUNKO POP!
I mean, come on. Bob Ross is an inspiration to all of us! How cool is this?
• Magic Wand! ZOMG! TOTAL MAGIC FOR CLEANING TOILETS!
When my toilet brush died, I went shopping and found this thing on sale. I didn't like the idea of it being wasteful with the disposable scrubber pads, but it's not like I scrub my toilet every single day, so I pulled the trigger. If nothing else, it's a lot more sanitary. Holy crap! So easy! And powerful! I use one pad on both toilets and it works better than any amount of scrubbing with my old brush. If you haven't tried this, and like bathroom cleaning chores to be dead-simple, it's worth a look!
• A.I.! In news that should surprise absolutely nobody, an Artificial Intelligence developed its own non-human language after being programmed by Facebook to negotiate like people. Because of course bots observing Facebook would have to develop their own language! I mean, come on, mere human words can't describe the horrors you'll find on Facebook. I wonder how they say "ALL HUMANS MUST DIE!" in their language? Because I know that this would be my first conclusion after having looked at Facebook for my entire existence.
• Bargain! Whoa! The new 15-Gauge Milwaukee cordless nail gun I just got for 40% off at Home Depot (Reg. $400, Sale $240) came with $155 worth of stuff! Which means I got an awesome nail gun for $85! How is this even possible? Sweet!
So glad I didn't pass up this deal, even though I couldn't afford it and am now sitting in some credit card debt. If you would also like to go into debt, the sale is going on through the 21st of this month (that's Wednesday).
• Bye, Aisha! Ending on a sad note, Aisha Tyler is leaving The Talk after this season. Needless to say, I'm gutted. Usually with talk shows I look at who the guest is and only watch if it's somebody I like. Not so with The Talk. I watch every episode. It's the first thing to spool off my DVR when I get home. I love the show and, while all the ladies are wonderful, it was Aisha Tyler that got me to start watching...
I am excited for the many opportunities she has, but sad to see that she will no longer be waiting for me when I get off work. I have nothing but the very best wishes for all her future endeavors. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And there's bullets for you.
The heat may be blasting like a furnace outside, but there's hope for all humanity because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Moana Three Dee! I used an Amazon gift card I got back on my birthday to buy the Moana Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-Ray set. The animation is so gorgeous that I was interested to see how it looked when rendered out in 3-D...
Turns out that it's pretty great. For the most part. The 3-D kind of falls apart when the action gets really fast, but is otherwise an amazing visual treat. The astounding quality of computer animation now-a-days is just mind-blowing. Marry that to some of the best songs to ever come out of a Disney film and you've got magic. My favorite Disney song ever would be Jermaine Clement playing a giant crab...
And who knew that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had it in him?
Forget Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's best work is with Opetaia Foa'i in Moana...
I prefer the 2-D version to 3-D, but the movie is so amazing that there really isn't any wrong way to watch it. If you haven't seen Moana, you need to get on that.
• Artifacts! I fucking hate Hobby Lobby. Which is to say I wasn't the least bit shocked when it was revealed that they had been caught with illegal ancient artifacts from Iraq. Undoubtedly purchased from terrorist organizations like ISIS, who are well-known to fund their terrorism by doing exactly this kind of thing. But yeah, tell me again how "Plan B" is morally reprehensible to you. Because a cluster of cells in the womb is more vital than fully-formed humans trying to survive relentless terrorist attacks? OH... THAT'S RIGHT... THE FULLY-FORMED HUMANS ARE BROWN PEOPLE HALF-A-WORLD-AWAY WHO PROBABLY HAVE ICKY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS! MAKES PERFECT SENSE! Hobby Lobby and their morally superior bullshit is utter garbage.
• Fight or Flight! More United Airlines fuckery. It doesn't matter that they "scanned the second ticket wrong"... the standby passenger is the one who should have left once the mistake had been discovered. And United's shitty solution is absurd. A voucher? That's what they offered me after I got screwed over, and I told them to shove it up their ass because I was never flying their shithole of an airline again. I don't understand why anybody does.
• Jupiter! Nine months waiting for Jupiter's Legacy Volume 2, Issue 5. Nine months. And it was about the most anti-climactic comic book ending they could have possibly given us...
Absolutely no surprises. After all the imagination that went into the nine issues prior, we get a straight-forward story that could have been created by absolutely anybody. And we had to wait NINE MONTHS for it? Nothing even remotely special. I don't know why I get my hopes up for shit anymore.
• Comma! One of my favorite West Wing episodes is titled after a Mark Twain quote: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics." Except... Aaron Sorkin abandoned the Oxford comma and butchered it to be Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics, which changes the meaning (hey, Lies and Statistics could be the name of a book like Dungeons and Dragons or something). It drives me insane. As does most sentences where an Oxford comma would be helpful to clarify intent but instead goes unused. Every time I spot a missing Oxford comma, I can't help but assume that the writer doesn't know how the English language works. And yet... there is still debate over this crap like there should actually be a question over whether Oxford commas should be used. IT TOTALLY SHOULD! There is no penalty for using one when it's really not necessary. There can be huge penalties for not using one when you should have. Case in point? Click through to this hot mess.
• Holy Shit! I have become numb to the daily dose of horror and idiocy that comes from having President Trump in office, but his latest round of tweets has me convinced that the man running the country is one of the stupidest people on earth...
Can you imagine... can you even fathom in your wildest imagination... what the reaction would have been by Republicans if President Obama had said this? They would have completely lost their minds. Apparently it finally dawned on Clownface VonFuckstick how insane this is, because he later tweeted that he believes it "can't happen," over something he says never happened in the first place? Or did happen? Or didn't? Depending on the day. Or whatever. Ivanka is catching serious heat for being an unelected, unqualified seat-filler at the G-20 conference, but at least she can form a coherent sentence. Why not put her in charge? Because nothing could be worse than what we have now.
And that aughta do it! See you next Sunday!
The smoke pouring into the valley since I got back has made breathing increasingly challenging. Even worse, the Flonase that gets shot up my nose so I actually can breath is now causing nosebleeds. As if that weren't enough, all the above is making it impossible to sleep.
Now I'm home from work just laying here... waiting to die...
Come, come, come, nuclear bomb...
The seventh season of Game of Thrones is over... but all is not lost, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Thrones! Welp... that was a riveting finale. At the very end, I mean. Despite having some great moments (I LOVE YOU ARYA!), it was actually kind of slow until that point.
I was disappointed we didn't get more Beric in this episode. He is my favorite character on Game of Thrones by a wide margin, and it was this scene that made it thus...
The fact that he can ignite a sword in flames with his blood is just icing on the cake...
Here's hoping he somehow manages to survive the show. Because...
• Grrrace! I never watched "Will & Grace" when it was on TV because Deborah Messing plays characters that are neurotic messes, and this looked to be more of the same. Then I saw the Election Special, liked it, and decided to buy the first three seasons when they went on sale at iTunes to prepare me for the return this Fall. Karen Walker is one of the best comedic characters to ever appear on television. Without Karen and Jack, this show would have been a total bomb.
I despise Will and Grace, finding them selfish and uncaring... yet seemingly unaware of how horrible they behave. They think themselves to be better people than they are. Karen and Jack are selfish and uncaring too, but have no illusion about it. Hard not to respect that. Especially when Karen is so damn funny.
• Never Gonna Give You Up! Probably the best thing I've seen all week...
As if I didn't have enough reason to already love The Foo Fighters.
• Assholery! If I don't know somebody's gender or how they identify, I use "they" and "their" and "them." It's not hard, it's not a big deal, and I'd rather be unspecific than be wrong. If your way of referring to people in this situation is to use "he-she" then you're an asshole. What do you get out of being an asshole to people you don't even know? Seriously, I'm dying to know. People are just trying to get through life as best they can with the cards they were dealt. They don't need your bullshit assholery heaped on them too.
• Rich and Powerful! HEADLINE: A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons. This should surprise absolutely nobody. This is the way our corrupt system works. Wealthy, powerful people continue to exploit their privilege and position at the expense of everybody else. Just as they've bought our government, they're buying our freedoms, our liberty, and our justice. Because if we actually HAD justice, this judge would be FUCKING EXECUTED and her husband IMPRISONED FOR LIFE. But, by all means... continue to buy into the system that gives ZERO SHITS for you and allows people like this to prosper. This hasn't been a country "of the people, by the people, for the people" for a long time now. It perished from the earth the minute money became more important to us than ideals.
• Still More Assholery. Even if you are willing to put aside his many, many atrocities against people... Joe Arpaio is still a fucking inhuman piece of shit that deserves a hell of a lot worse than jail.
For Nat'l Dog Day let's remember the time Joe Arpaio's Deputies set a puppy on fire, laughing at its sobbing owner as it died a ghastly death pic.twitter.com/4bGuwUIR9u— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 26, 2017
And here's Trump pardoning him from a mere six months of jail time. HE WON'T EVEN DO SIX FUCKING MONTHS.
• Violence! I really do try not to advocate violence... but sometimes you need to take out the fucking trash, know what I'm sayin'? "A racist lady made some disparaging comments about black people and Colleen, who has a biracial child, decided to beat the brakes off her..."
Garbage is as garbage does.
And enough of that mess. See you next week!
After I got back from Spokane last week, I had people asking me about the mass shooting at a high school there. Problem is... the school isn't in Spokane. It's a half hour away in the city of Rockford. Some news sources are saying that it's in Spokane... assumably because it's the closest major city... but they are essentially misreporting the facts. President Trump is right for once... FAKE NEWS is everywhere!
And I don't say that lightly.
Except, whereas President Trump means "Any news that is critical of me and doesn't agree with me is fake news"... I'm talking about news that is actually fake.
Everybody makes mistakes. We're human, and news agencies are staffed by humans. But what makes news "real" is that they print retractions or corrections or updates when they make a mistake. That's what news is supposed to be. FAKE NEWS is not when newspapers make an error. FAKE NEWS is when they cover up that error or even refuse to correct it.
Take, for example this story, as reported by The AP via Yahoo!...
The headline of "1 dead, 3 injured Washington State high school shooting" may be shitty grammatically, but is accurate. Problem is... that's not what the headline originally read. When I posted it to my Facebook account, it said "Spokane high school." I believe they even listed the location as SPOKANE, WA instead of ROCKFORD, WA (I wish I had screen-capped it). At some point, they changed it. They realized they made a mistake and they posted a correction. Good, that's the way it's supposed to work. Except when I click through to the story, the only correction noted is that they spelled a sheriff's name wrong. NOTHING about the headline being changed.
THIS is fake fucking news.
And it's not just The AP/Yahoo! Here are screen-caps I did take of other news stories that said the shooting took place in Spokane as well...
Yes, you read that right... that last one is from the fucking bastion of "honest news reporting"... CNN!
But when you search now? Most of them have changed from "Spokane" to "Spokane Area" or "Washington State" or "Eastern Washington." And the couple I checked made NO MENTION that they had revised the headline because the original headline was incorrect. They're still listing Spokane as the story origin though...
This may seem a little thing. "Rockford is close enough to Spokane, so what's the big deal? It doesn't matter!" Well, it does matter. Not only because an incorrect location for a school shooting could cause undo panic and stress for anybody with school-age relatives who read such a headline... but because it is indicative of things far worse. In the rush to report the news, agencies are misreporting the news. And this has consequences.
I will now be quoting from the song New Dress by Depeche Mode...
You can't change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world
The lyrics are what... 30 years old? And yet... more relevant than ever. It's as if they predicted our last presidential election. Listen to the whole song, it's quite a revelation...
You can't trust anything you see or hear in the media. Everybody has an agenda. Everybody is lying, exaggerating, distorting, or concealing the truth... or even presenting opinion as fact. Some of the offenders (like FOX "News") are obvious. Most are not.
But pay no mind to that!
59 people dead in Las Vegas. So far. We won't know the final toll until the 515 injured are in the clear.
It's not like anybody can find words to make this situation better. There just aren't any. Though the fact that everybody seems to increasingly accept mass-shootings as "the cost of freedom" in this country is a horrific ideal to subscribe to. No matter which side of the "gun debate" you're on, it's insane that one person should be able to lay waste to 574 human souls like this.
But that's America for you.
Back when I could handle firearms... back when I was a member of the NRA... back when Ronald Regan was President... attitudes towards gun ownership were very different than they are today. The NRA advocated reasonable restrictions. President Regan advocated reasonable restriction? But now? The NRA is a psychotic organization that advocates unlimited access to whatever weapons their munition company backers want to sell. And the president... well... the president is just plain psychotic.
As are the people who think that starting a discussion on curbing this madness is "exploiting a tragedy." It's when tragedy strikes that you devote time and resources towards finding a way to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's when you do it.
Except when government lobbyists are dictating the actions of the government, of course.
In other tragic news... Tom Petty died today.
The first song I ever recall hearing by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was You Got Lucky, which was on non-stop rotation on MTV. Back when MTV played music videos...
I hated that song. Stupid Tom Petty and his stupid hat. And this reaction insured that I wouldn't give any Tom Petty music a listen for years.
Until the Traveling Wilburys super-group happened.
My love of Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison canceled out my loathing of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan enough that I became a fan of the group...
It was then that I decided I was too quick to judge Tom Petty. I liked his contribution to the Wilbury's, and decided to see if I was missing anything.
Of course I was.
Including my all-time favorite Tom Petty track... Learning to Fly...
When it came to music videos of the day, few could compare to Petty's creativity in the medium...
Then, of course, there's one of Petty's most well-known tracks... American Girl, made infamous(?) by the movie Silence of the Lambs...
So Tom Petty.
A musical artist that was quintessentially American, he will be missed.
I have a select few friends who just get me, musically. They are always sending me tips about great new music they know I'll freak out over, and I could not be more blessed. This year one of those friends left us, and it's been very hard for me to enjoy the many, many bands and songs we enjoyed together because it's impossible to separate him from the music. And yet... in so many ways he is still with me because the music we loved is still here. Love and miss you Howard.
Below are my favorite albums of 2017.
THE TWELVE BEST...
#1 About U by MUNA
I can't remember how I discovered MUNA, but I do remember rushing to iTunes to purchase their album before I had even finished the first track I ever heard (the achingly beautiful Winterbreak which is my favorite song of 2017) (UPDATE: It was Aaron, of course). About U turned out to be one of those rare albums where I love every single song and was aching for more once I got to the end. If you heard of them, it was probably with the catchy I Know a Place which got some traction in early 2017. I'd list my other favorite tracks, but it's all of them, so I'll just post some YouTube videos and shut up now.
#2 What if Nothing by Walk the Moon
There was criticism laid at the feet of Walk the Moon for becoming pop sellouts with their latest album. Well, as somebody who lives for pop music, that just made me love them even more. What's so puzzling is that there are songs like Headphones that are hardly bubblegum pop anthems, so I'm not quite getting the hate. Regardless, there's a lot here to love for fans new and old... including their first single and my favorite track, One Foot which is catchy in a way that never quite leaves your head. And then there's the haunting Surrender which proves the band can craft a haunting love song for the ages.
#3 Wonderful Wonderful by The Killers
If you like The Killers, this album is more of the same. For many bands, that would be a criticism, but it's all I want from a new album from this band. Lead by the sublimely beautiful Some Kind of Love, it's just track after track of The Killers doing what they do.
#4 Silent Science by B•R•A•U•N
The dreamy vocals of Mackintosh Braun have made them one of my favorite bands. So when one-half of the duo drops a solo album, I take notice. Turns out that Ben Braun can churn out a beautiful album all on his own, feeling very much like an extension of his band. Beautiful dreamy pop from beginning to end.
#5 The Punishment of Luxury by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Say what you like about OMD, but they are one of the most consistent pop bands in my arsenal of 80's favorites. Unlike too many others (I'm looking at you Depeche Mode) who tried to change what made them great, then stagnated in a place that nobody wanted, McCluskey and Humphreys (with few exceptions) stick to what their fans want to hear. And that'e exactly what you'll find in The Punishment of Luxury. Yes, there's a few (ahem) "artistic diversions," but the rest is synth pop magic.
#6 Beautiful Trauma by P!nk
P!nk lives and dies by her live performances, and all I really want from a new album are tracks that will work perfectly when she tours. And here's an entire album filled with songs that she's sure to absolutely kill live. The title track is all you could want from new P!nk, but she didn't stop there. Entirely too much material for great videos like these...
#7 Evolve by Imagine Dragons
While I'm not exactly sue I would call this album an "evolution" for the band, it is a darn good album. Perhaps less dark than previous efforts, there's enough here to ensure great sing-along material for their amazing live shows. If you're a fan of Imagine Dragons, Evolve won't disappoint.
#8 A Moment Apart by ODESZA
It's tough to put a pin in what it is I like about ODESZA. They churn out some really good elctro-pop beats, but a lot of bands do that. I think what puts them on another level is that they know just what to do with those beats, pairing them with artists who accompany them so beautifully. Back in 2014 they wowed me with the beautifully-constructed All We Need... and their third album elevates that kind of intricate future sound sensibility to even loftier heights. It's an album that was played on repeat for a good chunk of my Fall music rotation, and doesn't diminish as time goes on.
#9 Zombies on Broadway by Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness
After the hiatus/breakup(?) of Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon went on to form Jack's Mannequin. After the hiatus/breakup(?) of that band, he had some solo stuff... then started releasing music as "Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness" and this is his second album with that "band." I have a tough time getting into it as easily as the first, but it's still a beautiful effort. The video for So Close is probably my favorite video of 2017, and I didn't see it until I was visiting the Hard Rock Cafe in Ushuaia, Argentina!
#10 More Life by Drake
While I loved Drake when he debuted, his subsequent albums felt like an investment of diminishing returns. And now we get More Life which is, in my mind, the best album of his entire career. None of it panders to the pop charts explicitly, but he has a pop sensibility imbued in some of the tracks that's impossible to deny once married to the flawless vocals that make Drake be Drake. While Kendrick Lamar was getting all the accolades in 2017 for DAMN. (and rightfully so, the track DNA is everything you could want in a rap track), this was where my focus was. I've listened to the song Passionfruit entirely too many times this year.
#11 Concrete and Gold by The Foo Fighters
Gotta hand it to Dave Grohl, with each new Foo Fighters album, he seems intent on reviving classic rock anthems from yesteryear. As he abandons the pop-rock beginnings of the band in favor of metal-tinged hard rock, I can never decide if I like his band more or less. Regardless, I listened to Concrete and Gold quite a lot over the Summer of 2017.
#12 Pop 2/Number One Angel by Charli XCX
And now, at the closing of the year, we get Charli XCX going full-on 80's synth pop in an album that would make Missing Persons proud... Pop 2. An effort I enjoyed so much that it made me take another look at her full release from earlier in the year, Number One Angel. While not exactly groundbreaking, it's a darn good pop album with catchy tracks that I found myself listening to on repeat.
We Could Be Beautiful (EP) by Wrabel
This year, thanks to Aaron, I got to see Wrabel in concert which was, as expected, amazing. He has become one of my absolute favorite musical artists, and I'm dying for a complete album of music that I can immerse myself in. But all he seems to do is tease us with EPs and singles. My favorite song of 2016, 11 Blocks can be found on We Could Be Beautiful with four other fantastic tracks. We also got a beautiful and important single The Village in 2017, but still no album. Here's hoping 2018 is the year.
American Dream by LCD Soundsystem
I had thought that James Murphy had called it quits years ago, but apparently the demise of LCD Soundsystem was temporary. While I didn't fall in love with every track on this album, the pure nostalgia of half the songs here were enough to keep me listening. First among them was oh baby, which is so painfully 80's throwback as to feel like a lost track from an abandoned burned down disco...
Wall of Goth (EP) by Rey Pila
Mexican pop rock band Rey Pila may not have the most imaginative lyrics, but their beats are pure 80's joy. This four-song EP is more of the same, and a welcome addition to their discography.
Younger Now by Miley Cyrus
It's no secret that I've loved Miley since her Hanna Montana days and never stopped... even when she went nuts. I just love her voice. So when I got my hands on Younger Now, I found myself listening to it... a lot. Poppy with some country elements (and a duet with Dolly Parton!), so what's not to like? I dunno. It just didn't last for me. Despite liking it well enough over the Summer, I rarely find myself listening to it now.
SONG OF NOTE...
I dearly wish that Jai Wolf would set aside some time for a proper album but, alas, he seems content to keep dropping beautiful tracks on us with no album in sight. This year we got Starlight which only serves to make me want a full album even more. My favorite version of the song is the "Goldroom Remix" which is slower, more purposeful, and ever so dreamy and beautiful.
SONG OF NOTE...
I may not have cared for the album much, but I sure liked the single from Bleachers titled Don't Take the Money...
SONG OF NOTE...
I may not have cared for the album much, but I sure liked the single (and the amazing video) from Katy Perry titled Chained to the Rhythm...
REGRETFULLY LOST ME...
The Valley by Betty Who
Betty Who's EP and debut album was on continuous repeat for months after I found it. To say I was anticipating her return with The Valley is a huge understatement. It all began in Summer 2016 with the amazing I Love You Always Forever cover that had me chomping at the bit. Then I was underwhelmed with the next single, Human Touch, but remained hopeful. The album finally arrived this year (on my birthday, of all days) and I just could not get into it. The best tracks have these weird interludes that completely disrupt the flow of the song and I can't wrap my head around why Betty and her producers felt a need to inject them where they weren't needed. Some Kind of Wonderful? Wonderful. Until there's this misguided plunging rap interlude. Mama Say? Fantastic. Until some heavy breathing is dropped into the song from nowhere for no reason. It goes on and on. It's as if she felt she had to "be different" by crafting these weird hodgepodge tracks, when I Love You Always Forever illustrates so flawlessly why that's just not the case. Oh well.