Archive for September, 2010
22 Sep

Cry, Cry, Cry

Yes, I cry. I cry at movies, I cry watching TV shows, and I cry at stupid commercials like those sentimental holiday Hallmark ads. I can’t help it. Stuff just gets to me sometimes. But the weirdest thing I cry at is music. Just plain old pop music. I’ve been trying to figure out why. I’d like to say that it all had to do with beautiful lyrics brilliantly performed, but that is not always the case. Yes, I can shed a tear at something moving like “Skeletons” by Rickie Lee Jones, but what explains my boo-hoos when I hear “Had a Dream (Sleeping with the Enemy)” by Roger Hodgson, a piano tinkling post-Supertramp rant with slightly incoherent lyrics? It’s somewhat of a mystery. And the time that I’m most vulnerable is when I’m in the car – probably because that has always been the place where I listen to music the most. The one reason I can think of for these cry-fests is that something about the music just really hits me and I thoroughly appreciate the work (and the secretly wish I had written it). I also think a lot of it has to do with the performance. Not necessarily if it is sung or played well, but I have always thought that what the musicians invest into the work comes through when you hear it. The song that prompted my latest 3-minute sob was “Straight As the Crow Flies” by Kim Richey (a criminally underrated artist). This is just a great song and it hits me most any time I play it. So yes, I cry. It ain’t pretty, but the music that prompts this usually is.

Categories: Commentary, Music Tags:
15 Sep

A Blip of a Music Review: “Hurley” by Weezer

Alternate Title:  “Hey! We’re Accessible Again! (Check Out Our Pop Culture References)”

Pros: Nice hooks, great cover image, sounds just like “Buddy Holly” (sing that last one), good mix of fun and more serious, and their most commercial album in a while.

Cons: Parts are like Green Day vs. They Might Be Giants (one They in this world is plenty), not all songs are winners, although more mature in music the lyrics can be too clever or just plain out-of-place at this point in their career, it’s great to have fun but in a grown-up way – not like the ol’ days, and I’m already tired of folks trying to force a connection to “Lost”.

Verdict: I’ve never been a fan of the Weezer. While I like some of their songs (“Buddy Holly” is totally fab and a classic), I have never been hooked into one of their albums…until now. This is the first Weezer album I’ve connected with. I think it is due to the consistent songwriting and the short pop songs where the music is catchy and mature. Although some of the lyrics lean toward juvenile and trying to be ironic/clever/whatever, I can see where they were going with this. For me it is their most focused effort overall. Plenty will complain it ain’t the blue album or “Pinkerton,” but it’s not meant to be. It sounds fresh, fun and the Weezer album that finally sits on my CD shelf.

Hear This:  “Memories,” “Trainwrecks,” “Brave New World”

Skip This: “Where’s My Sax?”

Rating: 3 out of 5 Blips  •••

Categories: Music, Review Tags:
11 Sep

A Blip of a DVD Review: “Baby Doll”

Alternate Title: “Aww..Grow Up Already!”

Short Plot: Immature girl (Carroll Baker) marries a cotton ginnier (Karl Malden) but refuses to give it up to him until her 20th birthday. A rival (Eli Wallach) comes on the scene and provides the fuel for the fire of arson, passion, and revenge. Oh, for the most part this is a comedy – a twisted Tennessee Williams one.

Pros: Carroll Baker is beautiful and brilliant, deemed indecent in its day (1956), oddly funny, creepy-hot seduction scenes, great use of local town folk, and a fascinating screenplay.

Cons: Karl Malden is a little over the top (more than required), choppy sound and editing (at least on the DVD print), not everyone is going to buy the premise, and confusing on whether this is really meant to be a drama or a dark comedy.

Verdict: I found this to be very interesting. I liked the oddball plot and the ambiguity of Eli Wallach’s intentions and what actually might have happened both during the story and even after it is all over. I can see why it was considered a dirty film back in the day as the seduction scenes are really quite well done and intimate. I had a hard time completely buying the story at times, but Carroll Baker always kept my attention. For anyone who really likes odd old movies that truly have a place in film history, this is a must-see. Casual movie goes may consider this too odd and “aged.”

Rating:  3 out of 5 Blips  •••

Categories: Movies, Review Tags:
08 Sep

I think Fang would approve…

I was looking through my old music briefcase and stumbled upon this photo given to me by Phyllis Diller. She was the first celeb (besides Andy, of course) that I got to work with at the theatre. She was truly wonderful and great to be around. Her assistant was so nice as well and I think everyone at the theatre appreciated the pair of them and how open and welcoming they were. She was part of a double-bill summer show that came in for just a couple of weeks during the summer to give Andy a little break. Phyllis was the opener and she was hilarious. I still relay jokes today she told during those shows.

The celeb who had top billing shall remain nameless (but he was a very famous comedic impressionist) and he was the complete opposite of Phyllis. He was always holed up in his dressing room, never talked with anyone, had major attitude, and was completely unapproachable. I dreaded having any contact with him. I would venture to say he was the least liked celeb we ever had at the theatre during my time there.

But Phyllis more than made up for him. I even baked her a pie. And she was totally fascinated with Wal-Mart for some reason. The lady just plain rocked.

Categories: Commentary, The Real Life Tags:
07 Sep

The Top 11: Surprising Workout Songs

I like to do a Top 11 list because I always feel bad for the one thing that just missed the Top 10.

Sometimes I’ll just toss songs on my Shuffle for the heck of it and see if they fit in my workout zone at the gym. There are songs that just don’t work and I end up dumping them, but every now and then I hit on one that I’m surprised really works well. Typically any dance or rock song with a moving beat can be fine so it is kind of cool to hear something out of the ordinary that gets me in workout mode.  Here are 11 that hit a mark with me and I’m always happy when the Shuffle brings ’em up:

1.  “O…Saya” – A.R. Rahman & M.I.A.

From the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack. If I’m on the treadmill when this comes on, the treadmill has to keep up with me!

2.  “Layin’ It on the Line” – Jefferson Starship

Makes me feel like my big mullet, large arms, and beer belly can bench a lot of weight.

3.  “He’s a Dream” – Shandi

From the “Flashdance” soundtrack. I don’t know what happened to this chick, but she hits overdrive in the chorus – and I restrain myself from sitting on a weight bench and dousing myself with a bucket of water.

4.  “Sleepy Maggie” – Ashley MacIsaac

Here’s one I didn’t think belonged on the workout shuffle, but it really does keep me going.

5.  “Living in China” – Men Without Hats

A song I dusted off recently sounds pretty darn good and it makes me thing of fast 80’s aerobics.

6.  “Corduroy” – Pearl Jam

I practically pulled the arm off the elliptical machine by the time this song got to the mid-section.

7.  “How Far We’ve Come” – Matchbox Twenty

Just a great quick-step ditty. This is like the theme for a speed workout.

8.  “On the Loose” – Saga

Hasn’t this song reach classic rock status?  Seems to be lost somewhere…

9.  “King of the Mountain” – Kate Bush

Okay, this is a slow, quiet groove, but as the song builds I keep going faster or doing more. Just gets in my brain.

10.  “Peek-a-Boo” – Siouxie and the Banshees

One of the quirkiest things on the shuffle I believe (along with a couple of early Devo tracks). But it works.

11.  “Take a Picture” – Filter

Again, another slow builder with a rolling beat that just doesn’t stop.

Categories: Music, The Top 11 Tags: