September 30, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

I was looking around on Andrew Sullivan and noticed guilty pleasures were brought up. Professor Stephen Bainbridge discusses his own guilty pleasures and laughs at the milquetoast answers provided by his peers in academia.

I thought it would be fun to ape the professor's top ten list. Naturally, this prepares me for academia:

  1. Quantum Leap. It was sort of like a more sci-fi Touched By An Angel. Really, we all wish we could go back in time but for more selfish purposes than setting right any number of wrongs.

  2. Chinese buffets. Sometimes you just have to drop down $6.99 and get four plates of chicken lo mein and what may or may not be crab rangoon.

  3. Miniture bottles of spirits. It's what airlines give you for $4.00 in-flight. I bet they're easy to sneak in to movie theatres. Turn the dull into the dynamic!

  4. Google. It pisses Jenn off to no end with how much time I spend researching the mundane. I guess you could roll Consumer Reports into this as well.

  5. 3 Musketeers.

  6. Günther.

  7. Car magazines.

  8. The Pet Shop Boys.

  9. James Bond movies.

  10. Perez

I guess what can be added to this list is Phil Collins. But that's been mentioned already.

September 27, 2007

Follow up

I think somebody out there has to be wondering why I have "Sussudio" by Phil Collins on my computer.

No, it's not a random track I downloaded for kitsch to be cutely ironic. I genuinely enjoy the musical stylings of Phil Collins. The truth is much more disgusting than the fiction, isn't it?

I received a $20 giftcard from Circuit City because of a Discover Card reward this last spring. I needed a copy of Bulworth for a paper I was writing in my Voters and Campaigns class and Circuit City had it on sale. I had extra money on the card so I used it to buy an album... that album was No Jacket Required. My dad had Face Value on vinyl so I was no stranger to Phil Collins and I knew the hits.

Without getting all wankery about it, I think that Collins knows how to craft an excellent pop song and that he doesn't get enough credit from the musical community regarding his talents. It's practically verboten to positively discuss Phil without receiving some kind of criticism from the detractors.

Rush though... I don't know man.

September 23, 2007

Bad Reactions

Jenn and I were at our friend Chris's house playing Guitar Hero II. Neither of us are very good, despite both having musical training and figuring "playing this can't be much harder than playing bass".

I jokingly mentioned that Guitar Hero or Rock Band needs to have more Rush. Jenn then mentioned "Tom Sawyer". (Aside: I wasn't raised in the most musical of households; my mom's preferences was usually praise and worship music or Kim Carnes and my dad's was the Strawbs or Moody Blues. Needless to say, there were no introductions to Rush outside of my dad telling me "they're Canadian.") I said I wasn't familar with that song title. So Jenn takes it upon herself to "educate" me to Tom Sawyer by Rush. She finds the track and plays it and automatically I know what the song is and now have a name to go with the annoying synth wankery.

Then she gets on this big prog trip and starts making me listen to more Rush and watch Mike Portnoy of Dream Theatre play "Dance of Eternity" on drums, then a type of explanation from Portnoy on the bizarro time signatures employed. I responded that if you have to keep a fucking chart of your time signature changes, your songs are too complex.

So I reacted inappropriately and started cranking "Sussudio" by Phil Collins. And she got mad. Then she started hitting me. Then she bit me.

So now I'm just going to watch Futurama.

September 7, 2007


Alright. Things are getting back to some semblance of normalcy. Comments are finally, finally, fixed. Layout is more to our liking.

Let us know what you think.

September 4, 2007

As the story goes: RILO KILEY'S newest release...

I'd like to take this time out to delve into Rilo Kiley's newest release, Under the Blacklight. I know that it's been a few weeks since it was released and it's also been a while since SS was updated regularly and I can assure you that it will be updated more regularly.

Anyway, Rilo Kiley is easily my favorite band and has been for about 5 years. Before that it was kind of up in the air, leaning towards Cursive or something such like that. I fell in love with Rilo Kiley the first time I heard The Execution of All Things. I listened to this album over and over in it's entirety a million times over in complete disbelief that a band could mix everything I loved and was curious about all at once. Some clever lyrics, great hooks, story lines, pop songs with a country twinge, hard and rough around the ages, sweet vocals, everything I'd want from a band surrounding that singer. It was love.

This love led to my grabbing anything and everything RK ever did. I nabbed some music off eBay, got some unreleased music, fought to get them to play in my city (I've still only seen them once). I've cried, laughed, loved, hated to this music. I even considered getting an RK related tattoo. You know? Those permanent things? Yeah...insatiable love.

To say I was disappointed in Under The Blacklight is an extreme understatement. I hated More Adventurous when it came out, too. So, I gave Blacklight a few chances to redeem itself. Sadly, I've tried about nine times or so and I've yet to even make it through the whole thing. It nearly sickens me, brings me to tears and makes me hurt. It's like a complete embarrassment to be a fan or to have been a fan at all. This album is for all of the sorority girls and over 35 mothers who'd like to think they're "with it". I feel as if Jenny Lewis beckoned me as if to lean in and kiss me...then just reaches across, slaps me as hard as she can, laughs and then walks away. I'm hurt, mad, anxious, sick, upset, sad, depressed and just overall disenchanted.

To explain what I think happened on this album and how I feel about it I'm going to play somewhat of a game. I'm going to give us a taste of old Rilo Kiley speaking to/compared to new Rilo Kiley using lyrics from their song "Small Figures in a Vast Expanse" from the 2001 release Take Offs and Landings. Bolded lyrics will be from "Small Figures..." and the response will be in regular type-face.

let's try a new change (x3)
then we'll go on back to the old one
like we've done so many times before

The new change could be loads of things! Could it be leaving Saddle Creek for Brute/Beaute for Warner Brothers? Could it be changing everything to be a lot more dull yet a completely glossy sound and look? Who knows. But honestly, let's go back to the old one because this "new change" isn't doing it for anyone. Are your pocketbooks any bigger from selling out your sound? No? Then please, RK, take your own advice.

and i'll buy a new brain
i'll buy a new brain
you'll administer new pain
then we'll go on back to our old school
that we left so many times before

When you leave your own label for Warner Brothers I'm sure that you really could buy a new brain. Yours or anyone elses for that matter. But, no need to buy me a new brain. I'm not sure that that one would like this new album either. The only pain I'm suffering is heartbreak due to disappointment. Does that sound familiar?

and you'll ask for more and more

I was asking for more and more after More Adventurous. Well, I got more but it's really actually less. I want more of the genuine soundscapes that the last album exhibited. This new stuff is pure crap with completely forged...everything. I'd really like to know who I can blame for that.

i've just begun a new phase
i'm trying these days
i've watched you close
i'm versed in all your ways
i'm just beginning to realize
i'll get you one of these days

Again, this new phase really doesn't seem to be panning out for you. And it's definitely not panning out for your old fans. We've watched you close, too, and that's why this album is so hard to take. It's just sad that you've just begun to realize that you finally "got" your fans.

but in the end
if it was all pretend
isn't that what friends are for?
but this is real life
it's supposed to be real life
so let's pretend that we're not bored
that we exist and that we're resolved
to real things happening to me

Can it really be pretend? Please?! We would all just love you for that! Yes, as friends and fans we can just put it past as pretend! Like it was all just a big joke. Man, you guys really pulled one on us...great! Shit, but this is real life. And we've been duped. But I really am bored with this album and I can't pretend about it. I'm not quite happy about this and I'm not sure that this will ever really be an issue that is "resolved" in my mind. But I do have to accept that this happened, however, I don't have to accept that this is the best that Rilo Kiley has to ever offer.
Other points of interest?:

Ironically, "Silver Lining" has to be the one good (and I use that word in the lightest of terms) track. This is the only one that seems to be the least counterfeit, trite, dull and anti-creative on the album.

"The Moneymaker" is completely worthless. It's a piece of shit song and it had it's own grave before it was even penned onto paper. Fuck.

"Breakin' Up" is every sorority girls wet dream/break up song. The first time I heard this song I instantly was reminded of my time at the University of Oklahoma. I imagined walking past a sorority house with this song just blasting out the window and pieces of some poor frat bro's clothing flying out. I just know that one cute little "indie rocker chick" who wears Hellogoodbye shirts and quirky glasses handed this album to her fellow sorority sister and said "Honey, I'm so sorry Chaz broke up with you, but listen to track four on this totally awesome album. It's like...the break up anthem of this or any year! Teehee!" God damn it, Jenny Lewis.

"Dreamworld" is an attempt to get spacey and stellar. In this poor attempt they end up sounding like a mixture of some new Cursive and some Starflyer 59. This song is at least tolerable, not only because of sounding like the mentioned mixture, but also because Blake sings most of the song.

"Smoke Detector" makes me wish that while listening to the album I didn't hear the smoke alarm. Fuck. I'm so pissed about this album.

"Give a Little Love" is everything wrong with music today. It's not only extremely cliche, missing way too much musically and lyrically, for some reason, reminds me of Lily Allen, Gwen Stefani and Amy Winehouse rolled up into one horrible doobie. Like a horrible last track that was just randomly tacked on to a seemingly alright album from the 80's. GOD DAMN IT.