Archive for August, 2009

My Desert Island, All-Time, Top 50 Songs

August 31, 2009

Much to my pleasure, I Guess I’m Floating recently posted their “Best Songs of the Decade” list. Considering their blog caters to the type of music crowd that judges the order of every pick, I liked how IGIF’s blogger explained that his selections were nothing more than “the fifty songs that meant the most” to him. In my opinion, all lists should be constructed in a similar autobiographical fashion:

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Reading IGIF’s list brought back some fond Old East memories. For a glorious two week period during our sophomore year, the third floor rediscovered its appreciation for 90s pop music. I’m fairly positive this love resulted from my discovery of the accessibility of Billboard’s annual Top 100. Revisiting Jon Secada, Mark Morrison, and Real McCoy reinvigorates the soul. Guilty pleasures blasted from dorm rooms and the majority of our dinners at Lenoir turned into heated debates over personal favorites from 1995. For every Boyz II Men supporter, there was an adament challenger proclaiming All 4 One’s superiority.

The pop music discussions led to many of us devising and distributing our own actual Top 20 Song lists. Out of curiosity, I went back and found my original list from that semester. Although damaging to my credibility, I thought the list would exemplify how much four years can change one’s preferences. Each pick had a winded explanation at the time, but I still don’t know what I was thinking on a lot of them.

For comparison’s sake, I decided to revisit the idea again. Even after years of priding myself on listening to music that you’ve never heard of, the updated list still confirms my underlying love for pop. As musically diverse as I’d like to think I am, strong melodies and emotive messages continue to trump the more obscure MP3s found on my iPod. Apparently, I’m a glass case and will never be able to escape the emo label I received for wearing band shirts as a Darkside rookie.

I guess I’m still a romantic at heart? Do I listen to pop music because I’m miserable? Or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?

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I’m Going Crazy for September 12th

August 23, 2009

Hello, hello! Why am I going crazy for September 12th? I’m only asking, but I think you know. I’m finally finding what I’ve been looking for — experiencing the world’s biggest band live for the first time where the bright lights and the big city meet in Chi-town:

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Boy, I’m still disappointed about the mysterious way in which Bruce postponed the 10th to make me wait on a bed of nails until mid-November, but U2, with the accompaniment of my sweetest thing whom I want to be with night and day, should provide enough magnificent memories and prideful fist pumps in the name of love for that week’s worth of singing new songs.

If this 360 stage turns out to be half as awesome in person as it appears to be online, it’s going to be a beautiful day. I know I’m probably asking too much, certainly more than a lot, but thinking about it keeps me wide awake. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. I’ve got no self control. I’m stuck in a moment and I can’t get out of it. Watching the live video isn’t better than the real thing, but for the next three weeks, it’s all I can do…

YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!

Follow Friday

August 21, 2009

Rob Huebel is arguably as funny as his “Human Giant” buddy Aziz Ansari, and I value his latest work for a variety of reasons (other than the obvious fact that it is a hilarious video):

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First and foremost, Rob’s prank immediately reminded me of one of my favorite high school memories involving my close friend Matt sketchily tailing two bike-riding middle schoolers on their way to the neighborhood pool in his old Le Sabre.  The youngsters’ nervous pace gradually picked up the longer we creeped alongside them and only intensified after Matt’s dramatic hitting of the brakes to stare as they crossed the street. Upon ending the pursuit, I can’t ever remember laughing longer or harder. There’s nothing like an unexpected prompt to aid in reminiscing the glory days.

I also appreciate a solid mocking of Twitter trendiness. I’d be curious to see how many subscribers Rob picks up as a result of this stunt. I understand how the service can be a useful tool, but reading Facebook updates can already be too much for one day. I just have no desire to tell the world about the intimacies of my day, which I realize might be ironic reading from a latest blog post.

Last but not least, the video introduced me to MakingOf.com. Co-founded by the delightful Natalie Portman, the website provides a closer inside look into the process of creating entertainment:

We started MakingOf because we realized that so much of what goes into entertainment creation is unavailable to the people who love and consume it the most. We wanted to give fans a way to experience that creation and learn from the insiders. It is your all-access pass to learn from and interact with actors, directors, producers, writers, and more.  Film school for everyone!

Considering my interest in the filmmaking process, MakingOf sounds like a good site to know.  I haven’t had a chance to dig in yet, but I certainly owe Mr. Huebel some thanks for brightening up my otherwise boring Friday afternoon.

Things That Keep Me Calm

August 18, 2009

Glen Hansard can do no wrong in my eyes. A long-time Frames fan, ONCE and its subsequential U.S. tours only strengthened my love for the man. As one of the more avid music fans in my circle of friends, I often get probed in High Fidelity fashion, and I’m strongly convinced that my Swell Season concert experience at Meymandi Concert Hall with Mr. Neptune will forever remain in my “Top 5 All-Time Shows” list. I don’t know how Glen operates with such apparent ease, but every one of his performances feels intensely beautiful and awe-inspiring.

Glen and ONCE partner Marketa Irglova have a follow-up titled Strict Joy out on October 27th and the pair stopped by NPR’s D.C. headquarters to play for the “Tiny Desk Concert” series:

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For contextual purposes, the “Tiny Desk Concert” series invites musicians to play behind All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s small office desk. In preparation, NPR was to have a keyboard set up for Marketa to play next to Hansard’s antiquated acoustic guitar, but they quickly discovered the severity of their spacing issues. Thus, the duo’s performance essentially became Hansard and his guitar, with Irglova providing backup harmonies and the occasional improvised instrument. As seen above, this eleventh hour change only increased the concert’s overall sweetness level.

Furthermore, although the standard Tiny Desk set lasts three or four songs, Glen and Marketa played six new delights before performing the first-ever series encore with ONCE‘s “When Your Mind’s Made Up.” As expected, the new material sounded tasty, and I’m anxious to hear what each track will sound like with full instrumentation. Fortunately, the lovely studio version of “In These Arms” is already available:

You can also download the whole seven song live podcast on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts page. October 27th and another U.S. tour can’t come soon enough…

A Lifetime as a Human Resource

August 17, 2009

If nothing else, long distance relationships requiring air travel beneficially allow one the ability to catch up on magazine subscription reading.  This past weekend, my Tampa-bound flight to meet up with my mom and Christina for my cousin’s wedding celebration provided the opportunity to dive into Esquire‘s new September issue.

While discussing the recent spike in U.S. unemployment, Stephen Marche’s A Thousand Words About Our Culture piece titled “Why Are You Working So Hard?” especially struck a chord by elucidating the root of my current life-defining contemplations of sorts:

In American pop culture, as in American life, work has become the ultimate cipher, simultaneously giving meaning to our daily lives and stripping away, filling our time and emptying it, making us who we are and crushing our souls in the same sweeping and terrible gesture.

Once the work started to disappear, we were left with free time and uncomfortable questions.  What is the point of all this work if the end result is more work for the purpose of yet more work?  Could it be the economic catastrophe has been a relief?  We needed a pause and we got one, and we’ve started to ask ourselves what the hell we’re working for.

Granted, my situation is by no means unique to my age bracket, but I’d love to figure out a resolution as soon as possible.  As I beat my head against the wall (of life!), I envy those that already have an answer to what they’re working for.  All that being said, while I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, my love for cinema surely provides an exciting escape.

For those that know me well, I’ve been of fan of making amateur hour videos that barely pass as movies for years.  While I was catching up on my July edition en route to my special lady, my usual partner-in-crime took the leap into filmmaking competition by collaborating with some close Nashville friends to create an award-winning 48HR Film Project masterpiece.

For your viewing pleasure, I bring you Bret, Tyler, and David’s gem, “Shadow of a Woman” — the dramatic winner of five 48HR Film awards, including first runner-up overall:

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As Robert Altman once said, “filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes.”  While I’m trying to figure out my own, what better way than to spend time doing what you love with the ones you love.

On the next production, I’m definitely clearing my overwhelmingly bustling schedule to heroically lead our team’s march out of the shadows into the promised land of blue ribbons and worldwide acclaim.