March 2007 Archives

Friday Random Top 10

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Here it is! In the tradition of American Idle, every Friday I will turn the I-Pod to shuffle and see what it spits out. This Friday's Top Ten:

1. Send a Picture of Mother – Johnny Cash
2. The Best of Jill Hives – Guided By Voices
3. Decora – Yo La Tengo
4. 99% - Soul Asylum
5. Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
6. Peep-Hole – Guided By Voices
7. Jenny Take a Ride – Hypstrz
8. Oceans – Pearl Jam
9. Tension – Minutemen
10. The Long Honeymoon – Elvis Costello

What's your top 10?

Progress in Iraq?

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George W. Bush, March 20, 2006: "I'm going to tell you the story of a northern Iraqi city called Tal Afar, which was once a key base of operations for al Qaeda and is today a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq ... If you're a resident of Tal Afar today, this is what you're going to see: You see that the terrorist who once exercised brutal control over every aspect of your city has been killed or captured, or driven out, or put on the run. You see your children going to school and playing safely in the streets. You see the electricity and water service restored throughout the city. You see a police force that better reflects the ethnic and religious diversity of the communities they patrol. You see markets opening, and you hear the sound of construction equipment as buildings go up and homes are remade. In short, you see a city that is coming back to life."

News report, March 29, 2007: "Shiite militants and police enraged by deadly truck bombings went on a shooting rampage against Sunnis in a northwestern Iraqi city Wednesday, killing up to 70 men execution-style and prompting fears that sectarian violence was spreading outside the capital. The killings occurred in the mixed Shiite-Sunni city of Tal Afar ... The gunmen roamed Sunni neighborhoods in Tal Afar through the night, shooting at residents and homes, according to police and a local Sunni politician. Witnesses said relatives of the Shiite victims in the truck bombings broke into Sunni homes and killed the men inside or dragged them out and shot them in the streets. Gen. Khourshid al-Douski, the Iraqi army commander in charge of the area, said 70 were shot in the back of the head and 40 people were kidnapped."

30 Best Loved Albums - Nevermind

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2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. Here's number 3 on the list:

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3. Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)

It can never be understated what impact Nirvana’s Nevermind had on music and popular culture. When Nevermind displaced Michael Jackson’s Dangerous as number one on the album charts in early 1992 there was a shudder in the time-space continuum of popular culture. The impact continues today. Just last weekend I was at Home Depot and I heard the Decemberists’ O' Valencia over the in-store PA system. That plain and simple would never have happened without Nevermind.

Even though I was in my late 20’s when Nevermind came out, I still thought it absolutely rocked and I ate up every song. The first time I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit on the radio I knew that music had changed for the better and the buzz about this song and album was huge. You were asking and being asked “have you heard that Nirvana album? It’s amazing, you gotta hear it.? Never was a song like Teen Spirit heard on the radio and it opened the floodgates to a popular acceptance of what became known as alternative music and drove a stake through the heart of hair bands such as Whitesnake, Poison, and Skid Row. Out the door was music that was hedonistic and in came introspective, angst-ridden songs. Ennui became a word on every rock critic’s spell check.

One reason that Nevermind had such a big impact is that practically every song on the album was great. In most cases a band will release an album that has a huge break-out song on it but the rest of the album is flaccid at best. Not the case with Nevermind. From the opening song that everyone knows, followed by In Bloom and Come As You Are, you were hooked. Teen Spirit isn’t even the hardest rockin’ song on the album as Breed, Territorial Pissings, Drain You, Lounge Act, and Stay Away are fast, guitar-heavy songs that forcibly propel the listener to the end of the album. Breed and Territorial Pissings are classic punks songs that will still be exhilarating some 50 years from now.

Kurt Cobain’s guitar work is usually overshadowed by his songwriting but there are serious riffs on display here. Dave Grohl’s drumming really anchors every song along with Novoselic’s bass work. Like listening to Husker Du, I was surprised that such cacophony could come out of only three instruments. To the indiscriminate listener, it sounds like a bunch of noise. But if you take the time to listen, the melody is there and it times it’s quite complex.

Of course everyone knows the story of what happened to Kurt Cobain and it was only a matter of time before alternative music got co-opted by Madison Avenue (That’s the opening riff to Breed selling a baseball video game). But when Nevermind came out, not only was it thrilling to listen to but it was also satisfying as finally decent music was considered popular and being exposed to a larger population.

Place on Definitive 200: 10th on the list.

Friday Random Top 10

Here it is! In the tradition of American Idle, every Friday I will turn the I-Pod to shuffle and see what it spits out. This Friday's Top Ten:

1. Gentle on My Mind – Johnny Cash
2. Wire – U2
3. Love Thing – Stillwater
4. Ticket to Ride – The Beatles
5. Cocaine Lil – Mekons
6. All the Right Reasons – The Jayhawks
7. Water in the Fuel – Fred Eaglesmith
8. If Reagan Played Disco – The Minutemen
9. Reception – Trip Shakespeare
10. Wonderful Remark – Van Morrison

What's your Top 10?

Good Weekend for Goldy!

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This weekend, the inevitable happened as the Minnesota Gophers wrestled its way to the NCAA Wrestling Championship. After a rough second day, the Gophers came back strong on Saturday punctuated by Heavyweight Cole Conrad's pin in the last match to secure his second straight individual title. Coach J. Robinson said "I think the true character of a team is when you get yourself in a hole and you have to dig yourself out, they responded when they had to and that's what champions do. This was a team win. All nine guys contributed to this and that's the beauty of this victory." Even in an individual sport like wrestling, it was a lot of fun to see the Gophers work as a team and have their team goal fulfilled.

In Hockey, the Gophers won WCHA final 5 in a fantastic game against North Dakota. The Gophers outplayed the Fighting Sioux whenever it was 5-on-5 and won on an incredible goal by Blake Wheeler (See Below). Now it's off to the NCAA's where the Gophers are by far in the toughest Regional and very well may have to beat North Dakota again to get to the frozen four. My prediction is that they tough it out and will be well positioned to win it's 6th National Championship. Go Gophers!

Contrast Goldy's weekend to that of Bucky who couldn't get past the 2nd round in roundball and who's men's hockey team couldn't even make the NCAA's to defend their fluke championship of last year.

30 Best Loved Albums - Let It Be

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2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. Here's number 2 on the list:

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2. The Replacements - Let It Be (1984)
Going to the University of Minnesota in the early- to mid-1980’s meant that I had a front row seat to the “Golden Age? of the local music scene. Any day of the week you could easily see the Suburbs, Soul Asylum, Husker Du, The Phones, Prince, The Wallets, and a host of other great bands that have slipped into the mists of time. However my personal favorite was by far The Replacements, a band that I easily saw more than 50 times. And so it goes without saying that Let It Be would be on my list of 30 best loved albums.

From the iconoclastic Beatles-esque title, to the cover of Paul, Bob, Tommy, and Chris sitting on the roof of a porch of a typical SW Minneapolis home, to the snarky song about MTV, the album perfectly captures the feel and sense of 1984. What is great about this album, however, is its timelessness. Even though I couldn’t imagine this album being recorded at any time other than 1984, the album doesn’t feel dated some 20 years later.

The album kicks off with I Will Dare which was easily the Replacements biggest hit and most accessible song. Through this song, a lot more people were brought into the Replacement’s fold and, like Pretenders, helped with the ladies as you could play this Replacements song and not clear the dance floor (important when you are in college!).

The following three songs, Favorite Thing, We’re Coming Out, and Tommy Got His Tonsils Out were classic Replacements rockers full of Bob’s furious guitar work and Paul’s smart assy lyrics. Androgynous is a switch as a piano-led, slower tempo song. It was right before Let It Be came out that Paul was hanging out with Peter Buck of REM (That’s Buck's mandolin on I Will Dare) and we saw them once hanging out at First Avenue with eye liner. Needless to say that my friend Pete and I used eyeliner a lot that summer when we went out.

Black Diamond was the first cover recorded by the Replacements and it was perfect as they played the song straight but in an “ironic? way so that anyone in the know would get the joke. Seen Your Video, with it’s three lines (Seen your video/it’s only rock and roll/we don’t want to know) also was spot-on as by this time MTV had been taken over by slick, expensively-produced videos usually from fey English bands that didn’t have room for guitars. Finally I think Gary’s Got a Boner would be considered a classic rock and roll song if it wasn’t for it’s goofy subject matter.

The songs Unsatisfied and 16 Blue were probably the most lauded songs and really shone a spotlight on Paul’s song writing skills. Even though I was 21 at the time, I wasn’t that too far removed from 16 and understood 16 Blue's significance completely. The Replacements were playing these songs live for a few months prior to the release of the album and at that time we knew that their next album was going to be something special.

Let It Be really demonstrated what the Replacements were and could be. It was an exciting time as it appeared that they were on their way to superstardom. Unfortunately they were about 10 years too early. If this album had been released in 1994, they would have been bigger than Nirvana. This album some kicked off what some consider the Holy Trinity of Replacements’ albums: Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me. Many consider Tim the definitive album, and I respect that opinion but for meaning and musical enjoyment, Let It Be will always be one of my fave’ things.

Place on the Definitive 200: Not on the List

Friday Random Top 10

Here it is! In the tradition of American Idle, every Friday I will turn the I-Pod to shuffle and see what it spits out. This Friday's Top Ten:

1. Dead Flowers - The Rolling Stones
2. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
3. Comfortably Numb - Luther Wright and the Wrongs
4. Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles
5. Big Day Coming - Yo La Tengo
6. The Woman with Tatooed Hands - Atmoshphere
7. Virginia Wolfe - Indigo Girls
8. Canceled Check - Beck
9. La La Love You - Pixies
10. Hero - Ministry

Boy I was getting my KQ on there for a bit! That Comfortably Numb Song is from Luther Wright and the Wrongs and they did the whole The Wall album "countried." It's a hoot!

March Madness

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O.k. the NCAA basketball tourney starts on Thursday. That time of year when your wife asks are you watching basketball again? That's all you did yesterday! Anyway I won't bore you with my entire bracket but here are my final eight:

Florida
North Carolina
Wisc
Georgetown
So. Illinois
Ohio State
UCLA
Texas A&M

I have Florida beating Georgetown in the final. What are your picks? Got any inside information?


UPDATE: I chickened out and put Kansas in the final 8 instead of So. Illinois.

Top 30 Albums

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has recently released its list of the “Definitive 200 albums? of all time. Now of course with any list, there are going to be snubs and surprises. All I’ll say is that any list of albums that includes Journey’s Escape (#126) but doesn’t include Blonde on Blonde is a little suspect. Check out the list and find the flaws.

More importantly, later in 2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my best loved 30 albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. So here goes.

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1. Pretenders - Pretenders (1979)
Although this album was released in 1979, I really didn’t hear it until 1981, however it came at a key point in my life. In 1981, popular music generally sucked and I was tired of the Journeys, Styx, and Bad Companys, etc., that ruled the airways. I had basically given up listening to what was popular at the time and was more interested in stuff from the 60’s. Then I heard Pretenders. For the first time I heard music that was really good but wasn’t being played on the radio or talked about a whole lot in popular culture. Hearing this album opened my ears (and my eyes) to a whole (what was then) new subculture of cool, cool music.

The album kicks off with Precious and right from the beginning you know you are in for a thrill ride. Crissie Hynde's tough-chick-in-a-red-leather-jacket spin on the whole Madonna-Whore thing is evident throughout the album but this song just oozes sexuality. Remember this is 1981 (for me) and girls didn’t sing in rock bands generally, and they sure as heck didn’t say "Not me baby, I'm too precious...ah Fuck Off!" like Crissie Hynde does at the end of this song. Tattoed Love Boys and especially The Wait were also in-your-face, sexually-charged rockers. In fact The Wait still gives me goosebumps some 25 years later (although the single version is even rawer than the version found on the album).

The album wasn’t just a rock fest as songs like Kid, Stop Your Sobbin’ and Brass in Pocket were all pretty good songs at a slower tempo. Stop Your Sobbin’ and Brass and Pocket were especially nice because the co-eds liked them too -- which is important when you’re in college trying to impress the ladies with your record collection.

Musically this album is pretty advanced for a debut. James Honeyman-Scott’s guitar work really anchors the album and his style is still being copied today but the star of the show was Crissie Hynde. She was tough and vulnerable: the kind of girl who could show you a thing or two in the bedroom, but also someone you could bring home to your mother on a Sunday afternoon.

This album saved me musically and without it I’d probably be into the Dave Mathews Band or be excited about the fact that Genesis is getting back together for a tour. For that reason it gets to be mentioned first in my list of my 30 best loved albums. Place on the Definitive 200: Not on the list.

Friday Random Top 10

Here it is! In the tradition of American Idle, every Friday I will turn the I-Pod to shuffle and see what it spits out. This Friday's Top Ten:

1. Quiet – Smashing Pumpkins
2. Portable Men’s Society – Guided by Voices
3. Doll Parts – Hole
4. Reason to Believe – Tim Hardin
5. Down the Highway – Bob Dylan
6. Tracks of My Tears – Soul Asylum
7. Our Singer – Pavement
8. A Girl Like You – Alex Chilton
9. Fifth House – John Coltrane
10. Gun – Soundgarden

What's your top 10?

John Belushi - 25 Years

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O.k. so I’m a day late but March 5th was the 25th anniversary of John Belushi’s death. For a freshman in college it had the same impact on me as did the celebrity deaths of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain or Kirby Puckett. At the time of his death, Belushi hadn’t been on Saturday Night Live for a couple of years but he was still a huge movie star and an idol to shiftless proto-adult boys everywhere. Even though you knew he took lots of drugs -- and there were plenty of rock stars who died via drugs way too early -- there was still the feeling that guys like John Belushi weren’t suppose to die. It really cut my 19-year old soul to the core.

The day he died happened to be a Friday and I remember that my friend Tim and I ended up drinking a lot of alcohol (and more) after we learned of his death. We then went “looking for John Belushi? in Cedar Rapids, IA. We’d ask everyone we came across if they had seen him. At the time we were just drunken college kids but looking back it is clear that our “search? was also a way to act out our denial of what happened to one of our idols. It was one of those touchstones you must come across to remind you that yes, you too are mortal.

Alas we didn’t find John Belushi that night but I think that’s the night Tim and Pat got in a big fight on the quad. (Tim, fill in the blanks in the comments section). Boys being boys, forcibly being pushed along toward adulthood and the men we now are. It seems strange that it’s been 25 years -- John Belushi has been dead for longer than I was alive when he died. On the surface one would think that his life and death has no direct bearing on my own life, but somehow I think his death did. It was one of those beacons you have to pass in order to grow up and to live your own life, not like some movie or TV star but on your own terms.

Friday Random Top 10

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Here it is! In the tradition of American Idle, every Friday I will turn the I-Pod to shuffle and see what it spits out. This Friday's Top Ten:

1. Bad Moon Rising – Creedance Clearwater Revival
2. Can’t Seem to Make Your Mine – Alex Chilton
3. Mean Mr. Mustard – The Beatles
4. Autumn Shade – The Vines
5. Man Come Around – Johnny Cash
6. Since You’ve Been Gone – Aretha Franklin
7. One Chord Wonders – The Adverts
8. Beeswax – Nirvana
9. Drowned – The Who
10. In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

What's your top 10?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2007 is the previous archive.

April 2007 is the next archive.

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