Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


New Music Binge Test

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve found that I need to listen to an album at least ten times to decide whether I like it or not. If I like it after ten repeats, then I really do like it. If I start skipping past a couple songs to get to the “best songs,” then I don’t really like it. There are few albums that are good listens all the way through. It seems like every album has at least one stinker on it.

Scritti Politti’s album Cupid and Psyche ’85 was the first time that I ever encountered an album that could be listened to nonstop for days at a time without wanting to kill someone. Just mentioning the title of the album and seeing its cover makes me want to go on a Scritti Politti binge. Maybe I’ll throw in Provision for good measure and just take a music bath in their androgynous splendor.

The reason I’m thinking about truly good albums is that I’m test driving one right now. I just got Tasty by Kelis. That’s the album with that Milkshake song on it that has been burning your ears off for the last month or so. There was something about the video that seemed so funny to me that it made me want to give the album a try. I’m only on the second spin, so I can’t tell you if it’s a truly great album, or just an enjoyable interlude.

I’ve listened to Heavier Things by John Mayer over twenty times and I can most assuredly tell you that it’s a definite binge album. I wasn’t expecting it to be. I can’t listen to Room for Squares all the way through. I seriously only listen to the first four songs and then start the CD over again. No Such Thing and Your Body Is A Wonderland are the two cuts from that album that I just love and I just put up with the two songs stuck between them. Heavier Things, however, is totally different. It has several mood swings and it just makes me happy all over. I especially like Bigger Than My Body and Something’s Missing. I’ve been bingeing for about two weeks.

Britney Spear’s new album In The Zone is one of those enjoyable interludes. I really like Toxic and (I Got That) Boom Boom. I love the part of Boom Boom where she says, “This is for all those Southern boys out there” and then a righteous banjo sample takes over the song for a couple of seconds. It rocks. I kind of wish the Ying Yang Twins would shut up and let the song alone. I didn’t really care for Me Against The Music. I like Britney by herself and I like Madonna by herself. I guess the song wasn’t quite right. The album is definitely not binge-worthy.

I must admit that I just really like the Now That’s What I Call Music series. I have Now 14 in my CD changer right now and I just really like the mix. I guess it’s the cheapskate in me that is so attracted to them. I am NOT shelling out fourteen bucks for Murphy Lee, but I’m happy as a clam to listen to Wat Da Hook Gon Be. I just noticed they have #15 at Amazon. That’s what I get for shopping for CDs at stores. Man, I could have saved myself the grief and got Now 15 instead of buying that Britney album. Of course, then I would have missed Boom Boom. Man, I gotta get me that one.

I’m not finished test driving Kelis yet. I’ll run right out and get Now 15 as soon as I’ve decided whether her album is binge-worthy.


Disney and Debussy

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I don’t mean to sound uncultured (anti-cultured? dis-cultured? unpasteurized?) but I hate Claude Debussy. One of his Interludes showed up on my random music mix and I listened to it like the dutiful music lover that I am. That’s what I get for ripping those damn classical CDs with the rest of my collection. Give me Grieg. Give me Beethoven. Give me Mozart. I know what to do with those guys. I’ll fight great battles. I mope and brood. I’ll dance and twirl. But Debussy…

Man, that music makes me want to sing to the birds. It makes me want to run away from the evil stepmother. It makes me long for that mysterious happy ending I was promised. It makes me wonder why I’m taking all these punches instead of living in a beautiful castle somewhere with hand-maidens to serve my every wish. Something about that music reminds me of Disney, and not in a good way.

The guy died in 1918. How could he remind me of Disney movies? Wasn’t Sleeping Beauty based on a Tchaikovsky ballet? Rumor has it that Claire de Lune was supposed to be in Fantasia, but it was cut. That still doesn’t explain why all of Debussy’s stuff makes me want to force wild animals to listen to me sing. (They like it… really…)

Maybe Debussy was in “style” when the Disney Imagineers were creating their Magic. Sometimes composers go in and out of style. Mozart was in style during the Eighties. His white wig was all we could see whether it was on Tom Hulce or Falco. Maybe Debussy and his style of orchestral pastorals were everywhere when Disney was king.

All I can say is I’d rather be trapped in the Haunted Mansion listening to Grim Grinning Ghosts for an hour than spend the same amount of time listening to Debussy. If I listen to too much of his stuff, I’ll just end up molesting innocent animals. No one wants to see that shit.


Rock Concert Movements

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Well over a year ago, Mike and I went to see the Blue Man Group when they came to town on The Complex Tour. It was before I had a weblog. It was before I even knew about weblogs, so it might have been a couple of years ago. I could find out the exact date that it happened, because I’m sure I wrote about it in my personal journal and I could just do a search of the entries to find out when I mentioned it, but you don’t really care about the exact date and neither do I.

After the concert, I was so stoked. I wanted to tell everyone about the experience. I hadn’t written down any of the truly funny things that happened. I wanted a complete list of the Rock Concert Movements that were mentioned in the concert. The announcer explained to the Blue Men the exact movements that they had to master in order to be Rock Stars. They were given to us out of order and so quickly that there would have been no way for me to write them down, even if I knew that they were coming.

A couple of years later, I found myself at Fry’s in Las Vegas. They were selling the DVD to The Complex Tour. I picked it up and bought it without another thought. I would finally have the complete Rock Concert Movement List so that I, too, could become a Rock Star. Culled from the DVD, my memory and other websites on the subject here are the Rock Concert Movements:

Rock Concert Movement #1 The Basic Head Bob Rock Concert Movement #2 The One-Armed Fist Pump Rock Concert Movement #3 The Up and Down Jumping Motion Rock Concert Movement #4 The Behind the Head Leg Stretch Rock Concert Movement #6 Two Armed Upward Thrust with Yell Rock Concert Movement #8 The Black Out Rock Concert Movement #10 Getting a Closer Look at the Audience Rock Concert Movement #15 Bringing a Guest Vocalist Onstage Rock Concert Movement #23 Getting the Audience to Sing Along Rock Concert Movement #27 Saying Hello to the People in the Cheap Seats Rock Concert Movement #28 Getting an Audience Member Onstage to Dance Rock Concert Movement #48 Introducing the Band Rock Concert Movement #63 Bringing out Venus Hum Rock Concert Movement #78 The Fake Ending Rock Concert Movement #91 Enjoying the T-Shirt You Bought at The Complex Rock Tour Rock Concert Movement #237 Taking the audience on a Jungian journey into the collective unconscious by using the shadow as a metaphor for the primal self that gets repressed by the modern persona and also by using an underground setting and labyrinth office design to represent both the depths of the psyche and the dungeon-like isolation of our increasingly mechanistic society which prevents people from finding satisfying work or meaningful connections with others.

I love the Blue Man Group. I love both of their albums. I loved watching the DVD last night. It wasn’t as good as the live concert because the show really is a audience participating cathartic experience. I should have bought this T-Shirt at the concert, but I don’t remember it being available. The only reason I wrote this entry is because I wanted a list of the Rock Concert Movements after I got out of the concert and it was nowhere to be seen online. Not even the Blue Man Group’s Official Website had anything about it. It’s not like the list spoils the beauty of the concert. It’s completely incomprehensible unless you’ve seen the concert.

If you get a chance to see the Blue Man Group (New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Berlin) check out their regular show. The Complex Tour ended in the fall of 2003, and they are not planning another rock concert tour right now. You’ll have to get your butt to one of these cool cities and see them for yourself. You can buy the CDs and DVD, but nothing can compare to the live experience.


The Postal Service

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

“This is The Postal Service. I have this album. You’d probably like it.” Mike was singing quietly along with the song on the overhead speakers at the store. I don’t remember the store. I don’t remember the song. I just remember that Mike recommended it to me. A couple days later, I put the album on my Palm so that I could listen to it at lunch in the park.

I’ve talked before about using The New Music Binge Test to decide whether an album is good or not, but there are some albums that I love from the second that I hear them. I can tell that there are no stinkers. I can tell that I could listen to this album a hundred times and just be learning the words and memorizing the bass lines.

That’s how Give Up by The Postal Service is. It’s the kind of album that leaves you playing it on repeat for days. You’ll forget all about all the other CDs in your changer and you’ll just keep starting it over and over. You can listen to clips on Amazon.com, but they are painfully short and don’t really convey all the beauty that the album has to offer.

My favorite of them all is Natural Anthem.

I’ll write you a song and it won’t be hard to sing It will be a natural anthem, familiar it will seem It will rally all the workers on strike for better pay And its chorus will resound and boost morale throughout the day

I’ll write you a song and I hope that you won’t mind Because all the names and places I have taken from real life So please don’t get upset at this portrait that I paint It may be a little biased, but at least I spelt your name right…

Posted here, the lyrics feel empty and stripped of their true meaning. I don’t know how it is that music adds so much more to the experience of poetry, but I’m left with the sense that poetry is not enough. The first time I heard Natural Anthem, I was weepy at the end. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “that’s what I want to do. I want my blog to boost morale throughout the day. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings sometimes, but at least I spelt your name right.”

When you click on the clip on Amazon.com to hear this song, they just play the music and you won’t hear any of the lyrics. You’ll just have to buy the album. It passes the New Music Binge Test, but more importantly, it passes the True Artist Test.


Weird Al – Don’t Download This Song

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 11:48 am

Straight Outta LynwoodWeird Al Yankovic is releasing his new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, and the first song is available for free on his website:

Don’t Download This Song is a funny take on the music pirating issue. Since Weird Al makes his money from selling CDs, I would think that he might be happy with what the RIAA is doing to “protect” his rights, but the sarcasm in the song tells another story.

Full Lyrics, with links to the issues after the break:

(Continue Reading…)


Weird Al – White & Nerdy

Filed under: Music — Laura Moncur @ 11:19 am

Straight Outta LynwoodWeird Al Yankovic has released another single off his new album, White and Nerdy. It’s a parody of Ridin’ by Chamillionaire. You can see the video for it here:

I love this song! It’s my new Geek theme song (the old Geek theme song was “It’s All About The Pentiums“)

Also notice the cameos in the video. There’s Seth Green, Donny Osmond and Judy Tenuta. I love all the inside jokes like the fired-up Pacman in the background and the Live Long and Prosper signs he throws with his hands.

You can see all the lyrics here:

(Continue Reading…)


Scritti Politti is Back?!

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

White Bread Black BeerI had been missing half of George’s life because I didn’t know he had another blog. When I finally found out and went through his archives, I was lucky enough to find this entry:

Thanks to George, I have found out the best news all month! Scritti Politti released an album last year. Scritti Politti, my favorite earworms of 1985 AND 1988, have returned?! It can’t be true, can it? I loved Cupid and Psyche ’85 and Provision. I have ordered White Bread Black Beer at the Salt Lake County Library. I guess I’ll find out soon enough…

Thanks, George!

Update 02-20-07: I got the CD a couple of weeks ago and I love it! Double thanks, George!


Road To Nowhere By The Talking Heads

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Little Creatures at Amazon.comYou know when you listen to an album every day for months and then don’t listen to it again for twenty years. When you pick it up, it usually just feels kind of nostalgic, but mostly you think, “Man, this album kinda sucks…”

Yeah, that’s totally how I DIDN’T feel with Little Creatures by The Talking Heads.

I had originally bought this album on tape. I have no idea where that tape is now, so I spent some Christmas Amazon.com money on this album to replace it. It was one of those “I should really have this album in my collection – I liked it so much when I was a teen” moments. When it arrived, I put it on my iPod, but I didn’t bother to actually load up the album and listen to it all the way through.

Sure, I’m sick of songs like “Stay Up Late” and “And She Was,” but I had forgotten how much I liked “Give Me Back My Name” and “Road To Nowhere.”

Here is the video to Road To Nowhere:

So far ahead of their time that only now do I recognize the Mexican wrestler masks on the business suits. I understand now. Business is just entertainment, just like Mexican wrestling. It’s not any more real or honorable. How could I have not seen that when I was fifteen years old? Probably because I didn’t know it… well, that, and I had never seen a Mexican wrestler until about a year and a half ago…


First of the Year (Equinox) by Skrillex

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 8:49 am

I cringed at the beginning of this video, but watching it through to the end was SO worth it.

Good song and an interesting video. Yeah!

Via: Discopop Directory: Christmas catch-up: Skrillex


Stan Ridgway: The Best Storyteller of the 80’s

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 11:27 am

I almost forgot about Stan Ridgeway. The first time I ever heard his voice was on Mexican Radio when he was in Wall of Voodoo. In retrospect, it sounds VERY unPC now, but I still love it.

I love this song about a taxi driver who got himself in a bad situation, Just Drive.

The most haunting song, however, is Camouflage. It still gives me chills.

I never heard It’s A Lonely Town in the 80’s, but it’s a great story.

Another crime song from Stan Ridgway Goin’ Southbound. I remember hearing this song when I was a teenager.

It’s pretty clear that Bill Paxton really wanted to be Stan Ridgway when he grew up. Reach by Martini Ranch sounds like it was written after a week-long Wall of Voodoo binge.

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