More bad music and picks

I don't get it.

Panda Bear - "Person Pitch" is getting lots of votes as the best album of 2007 in many lists, including "Pitchfork" ... perhaps the leading indie propaganda rag.

I thought it sucked.

Seriously. Sucked. Maybe because he used "Pitch" in the title?

Then again, I thought Radiohead "In Rainbows" and "The National" by Boxer sucked, too.

At least Paste has better taste in their picks ... but Magic #1? I am was a huge Springsteen fan. I like it more than most albums ... but nowhere near my top 25. Lyrically ... it's too cliche-ridden. And song titles and choruses repeated like an infomercial ... like "none of this has happened yet" and "you'll be coming down" ... ugh. There are a couple of good songs ("I'll Work For Your Love" and "Last To Die" ... too many lyrics on Magic seem to have been spewed from the "Bruce Springsteen Song Lyric Generator."

As for the music ... too much of sounds the same as The Rising, which I liked. A lot. For the lyrics ... and the obligatory sax solo. Ugh.

So ... guess I'm out of touch with the mainstream and the indie scene. Nothing left for me to do now but start a music blog, eh?


Obama just 'wowed' me. Seriously.

Ya know I'm not a big fan of the political process. As Michael Savage says, the Republicrats and Democrins are just different puppets controlled by the same puppet master.

However, Sen. Barack Obama has finally gotten my attention with this:


For those of you who subscribe to the TLDR (too long, didn't read) lemme summarize:
  • Our planet is in peril. Our health care system is broken, our economy is out of balance, our education system fails too many of our children, and our retirement system is in tatters.

  • At this defining moment, we cannot wait any longer for universal health care.

  • We cannot wait to fix our schools.

  • We cannot wait for good jobs, and living wages, and pensions we can count on.

  • We cannot wait to halt global warming, and we cannot wait to end this war in Iraq.

  • The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result. And that’s a risk we can’t take. Not this year. Not when the stakes are this high.

  • In this election, it is time to turn the page.

  • I walked away from a job on Wall Street to bring job training to the jobless and after-school programs to kids on the streets of Chicago.

  • I turned down the big-money law firms to win justice for the powerless as a civil rights lawyer.

  • I took on the lobbyists in Illinois and brought Democrats and Republicans together to expand health care to 150,000 people and pass the first major campaign finance reform in 25 years; and I did the same thing in Washington when we passed the toughest lobbying reform since Watergate.

  • I’m the only candidate in this race who hasn’t just talked about taking power away from lobbyists, I’ve actually done it. So if you want to know what kind of choices we’ll make as president, you should take a look at the choices we made when we had the chance to bring about change that wasn’t easy or convenient.

  • For the first time in a long time, we have the chance to build a new majority of not just Democrats, but independents and Republicans who’ve lost faith in their Washington leaders but want to believe again — who desperately want something new.
  • I know that when the American people believe in something, it happens.

  • If you believe, then we can tell the lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.

  • If you believe, then we can stop making promises to America’s workers and start delivering — jobs that pay, health care that’s affordable, pensions you can count on, and a tax cut for working Americans instead of the companies who send their jobs overseas.

  • If you believe, we can offer a world-class education to every child, and pay our teachers more, and make college dreams a reality for every American.

  • If you believe, we can save this planet and end our dependence on foreign oil.

  • If you believe, we can end this war, close Guantanamo, restore our standing, renew our diplomacy and once again respect the Constitution of the United States of America.

Okay. I believe.

UFC 79 - Nemesis - Preview & Predictions

As per my usual, I'll be at BW3's in Austintown watching UFC 79 on Saturday. if you're looking for something to do, swing by. If you're not an MMA fan, come get schooled. I've been a fan for going on five years now, moreso of the now defunct PRIDE organization, but haven't missed a UFC since 40.

Mark Bocek vs Doug Evans -
Bocek, submission.
Jiu-Jitsu beats striking and wrestling, especially since Evans isn't a master of either.

Roan Carneiro vs Tony DeSouza - Carneiro, submission.
Carneiro is training with American Top Team, DeSouza's not fought since 2006 and has a suspect chin he covers with a wild beard ... and he's easily cut (two of his three losses are due to cuts).

Jordan Radev vs Dean Lister - Lister, submission.
Lister is a multiple ADCC champion, Olympic wrestler and has been working strong on striking. Radev's intro by Bruce Buffer was longer than his last fight, as it took was last seen getting KTFO'ed in 33 seconds by Drew McFedries in June.

Nate Mohr vs Manny Gamburyan - Gamburyan, decision.
Gamburyan is short and stocky and not known as a finisher. Mohr is a striker. Gamburyan was beating devastating striker Nate Diaz before separating his shoulder in The Ultimate Fighter 5 finale and can take a shot.

Luis Cane vs James Irvin - Cane, TKO, knees.
Irvin, a.k.a. The Sandman, can knock anybody out with his fist of death, but Cane will take this one. Like most Brazilians he has mad jiu-jitsu and knees that do big damage, and solid strikes with his fists, too. If it goes to the ground, Irvin's out of his element.

Soa Palelei vs Eddie Sanchez - Sanchez, strikes.
Palelei's had one fight in three years - it lasted 5 seconds. He's huge - 6'4" and 265. Sanchez hung with Cro-Cop for nearly a round before the fight was stopped. And he hurt Cro-Cop, too. I see Sanchez getting KO #6, early.

Rich Clementi vs Melvin Guillard - Guillard, strikes.
Clementi's great on the ground, but Guillard has fists that come fast and furious and with bad intentions. And these two dudes don't like each other, as Joe Rogan will tell us, over and over.

Lyoto Machida vs Sokoudjou - Sokoudjo, strikes.
I watched in stunned silence, as did most everyone else who was a fan of PRIDE, when Sokoudjou knocked out Antonio Rogerio Noqueira (Lil 'Nog) in 23 secods at Pride 33. Six weeks later battered Ricardo Arona in two minutes. The African Assassin is now training with Team Quest. Machida is a great technician, but so are both Nogueira and Arona, and neither could find their game before the punches came.

Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva - Silva, strikes.
Silva has beaten Quinton Jackson, twice. Jackson has beaten Liddell, twice. Liddell has lost his last two fights (Jackson knocked him out in 1:53; and a split decision to Keith Jardine in which he was solidly rocked). Silva has lost his last two fights, both by highlight knockouts (Dan Henderson demolished him at Pride 33; and in the Open Weight GP in 2006 he was another victim of Cro-Cop's head kick). The difference - Silva has taken 8 months off, taken his time, learned from his losses. Liddell has taken fight after fight as soon as he could. My only concern for Silva is how will he handle being in a cage for the first time since 2000's five-round decision loss to Tito Ortiz. However, I see Silva teeing off on Liddell, often, and in tight, as his his style. With knees, elbows and fists flying. I see Chuck either retiring or taking serious time off in 2008 to regroup, as Silva did in 2007.

Matt Hughes vs Georges St-Pierre - St-Pierre, knockout.
St-Pierre took this fight after Matt Serra's serious back injury, and it's for the interim welterweight title. I don't see how this late in his MMA career Hughes can go from being a dominating wrestler to anything else. St-Pierre is the most well-rounded MMA fighter, ever. He can wrestle, strike, evade and work the ground. He dominated Hughes when he took the title in November 2006, knocking him out in the second round with a knee Hughes said he had no idea hit him. Hughes doesn't have the all around ability to defend himself. St-Pierre has continued to evolve and will be the dominant welterweight moving forward, as Hughes was for five years prior to his loss to GSP.


Leapfrog is a kids game

So why do grownups play it?

In cars?

On the interstates?

Driving to Chincoteague to spend Christmas with my daughter I had the joy of this guy beside me:
  1. I'm driving along at 70 mph on the interstate.
  2. He runs up behind me at 75.
  3. He passes me at 75.
  4. He pulls in front of me and slows down to 65.
  5. I pass him at 70.
  6. I pull back into the cruising lane at 70 when I've gotten far enough ahead of him to be safe.
  7. He runs up behind me at 75.
  8. He passes me at 75.
  9. He pulls in front of me and slows down to 65.
Over and over and over again. For the whole fucking state of Maryland. WTF?

So, black Scion license SEFIER ... you're on my list.


Song of the Day

~ Carolyn Dawn Johnson

I'm so scared that the way I feel,
Is written all over my face.
When you walk into the room,
I wanna find a hiding place.
We used to laugh, we used to hug, the way that old friends do.
But now, a smile and a touch of your hand,
Just makes me come unglued.
Such a contridiction, do I lie or tell the truth.
Is it fact or fiction,
Oh the way I feel for you.

So complicated, I'm so frustrated.
I wanna hold you close, I wanna push you away,
I wanna make you go, I wanna make you stay.
Should I say it? Should I tell you how I feel?
Oh, I want you to know.
But then again, I don't. It's so complicated.

Oh..just when I think I'm under control.
I think I finally got a grip.
Another friend tells me that,
My name is always on your lips.
They say I'm more than just a friend,
they say I must be blind.
Well, I admit that I've seen you watch me
from the corner of your eye.
Oh, It's so confusing. I wish you'd just confess.
But think of what I'd be losing,
if your answer wasn't yes.

So complicated I'm so frustrated,
I wanna hold you close, I wanna push you away,
I wanna make you go, I wanna make you stay.
Should I say it, should I tell you how I feel.
Oh I want you to know, but then again I don't, It's so complicated.

Oh, I hate it. 'Cuz I've waited.
So long for someone like you
Oh, what do I do.
Oh should I say it.
Should I tell you how I feel.
I want you to know,but then again I don't.
It's so complicated..
It's so complicated..
It's so complicated.

Eric's Top 20 Albums of 2007

My Top 20 Albums for 2007:

(for a really pretty one with covers and links and detailed descriptions of the Top 10, click here because tables and HTML formatting in blogger doesn't get along with what I made up in Adobe Contribute that's prettyful [thanks for that word SarahSue!])

  1. Semi Precious Weapons - We Love You
  2. Two Cow Garage - Three
  3. David Ford - Songs For The Road
  4. Saving Jane - One Girl Revolution
  5. Scott Blasey - Travelin' On
  6. Chantal Kreviazuk - Ghost Stories
  7. The Whiles - Sleepers Wake
  8. Grammar Debate! - Cheetah vs. Helicopter
  9. A Fine Frenzy - One Cell in the Sea
  10. Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion
  11. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
  12. Feist - The Reminder
  13. Blonde Redhead - 23
  14. Megan Palmer - Take You Away
  15. Paula Cole -C ourage
  16. Dolores O'Riordan - Are You Listening
  17. Brandi Carlile - Story Book
  18. Son Volt - The Search
  19. Fratellis - Costello Music
  20. Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling
What I'm looking forward to in 2008 ... new albums from:

Aaron Tasjan - Hard Love and Free Luck (2008, unknown)
Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers (March 4, 2008)
Bob Mould - District Line (Feb 2, 2008)
Julia Fordham - China Blue
Marah - Angels of Destruction

and releases from Two Cow Garage, Quinn Fallon and Red Wanting Blue.

So ... other than Wilco, The Boxer and Radiohead, which I discussed earlier in the week as not impressing me as cohesive albums or collections of songs, tell me what I missed in 2007!


Eric's Annual Grammy Picks

50th Grammy Awards: My Picks. Cause my music sucks less than this stuff:

For The Record: I don't vote on Country, Instrumental, R&B or Rap because I don't like enough of it to be considered a qualified intelligent voter. Hmmm .... wish more people would act like that, especially around November.)

Album of the Year:

[X] Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Foo Fighters

[ ] These Days, Vince Gill

[ ] River: The Joni Letters, Herbie Hancock

[ ] Graduation, Kanye West

[ ] Back to Black, Amy Winehouse

Who Should Win:
Foo Fighters
Who Will Win:
Kanye West. Cause his mamma died.

Song of the Year:

[ ] Before He Cheats, Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins (Carrie Underwood)

[X] Hey There Delilah, Tom Higgenson (Plain White T's)
[ ] Like a Star, Corinne Bailey Rae (Corinne Bailey Rae)

[ ] Rehab, Amy Winehouse (Amy Winehouse)

[ ] Umbrella, Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius Dream Nash & Christopher Stewart (Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z)

Who Should Win:
Plain White T's, cause it's hooky and I like it
Who Will Win:
Umbrella. Cause it's stupid

New Artist:

[X] Feist

[ ] Ledisi

[ ] Paramore

[ ] Taylor Swift

[ ] Amy Winehouse

Who Should Win:
Who Will Win:
Amy Winehouse ... which is good because it's a kiss of death award (see Starland Vocal Band; Debbie Boone; Christopher Cross; Sheena Easton; Bruce Hornsby; Jodie Watley; Marc Cohn; Arrested Development; Hootie & The Blowfish; Paula Cole [I still miss her]; Shelby Lynne; Maroon 5; et. al.) ... and she's gonna die soon. Why not make it memorable?

Female Pop Vocal Performance:

[ ] Christina Aguilera - Candyman

[X] Feist - 1234

[ ] Fergie - Big Girls Don't Cry

[ ] Nelly Furtado - Say It Right

[ ] Amy Winehouse - Rehab

Who Should Win:
Feist - Cause it's hooky and I like it. (And she's Canadian)
Who Will Win: Feist

Male Pop Vocal Performance:
[ ] Michael Buble - Everything
[ ] John Mayer - Belief

[ ] Paul McCartney - Dance Tonight

[X] Seal - Amazing

[ ] Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around ... Comes Around

Who Should Win:
Seal, cause he's banging Heidi Klum
Who Will Win:
Paul McCartney cause the academy loves the old dudes

Pop Performance by a Duo/Group:

[ ] Bon Jovi - You Want To Make A Memory

[ ] Daughtry - Home

[ ] Maroon 5 - Makes Me Wonder

[X] Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah

[ ] U2 - Window in the Skies

Who Should Win:
Plain White T's - cause it's hooky and I like it.
Who Will Win:
U2, cause the academy loves the old dudes

Pop Vocal Album:
[ ] Lost Highway, Bon Jovi
[X] The Reminder, Feist

[ ] It Won't Be Soon Before Long, Maroon 5

[ ] Memory Almost Full, Paul McCartney

[ ] Back to Black, Amy Winehouse

Who Should Win:
Feist. Cause it's a good album
Who Will Win:
Paul McCartney cause the academy loves the old dudes

Solo Rock Vocal Performance:

[ ] Beck - Timebomb

[ ] Paul McCartney - Only Mama Knows

[ ] Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere

[X] Lucinda Williams - Come On

Who Should Win:
Lucinda Williams. Cause she rocks
Who Will Win:
Paul McCartney cause the acadamy loves the old dudes

Rock Performance, Duo/Group:

[ ] Daughtry - It's Not Over

[X] Green Day - Working Class Hero

[ ] Nickleback - If Anyone Cares

[ ] U2 - Instant Karma

[ ] The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Who Should Win:
Green Day, cause the Lennon Tribute is good.
Who Will Win:
U2, cause the acadamy loves the old dudes

Hard Rock Performance

[ ] Evanescence - Sweet Sacrifice

[X] Foo Fighters - The Pretender

[ ] Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop

[ ] Queens of the Stone AGe - Sick, Sick, Sick

[ ] Tool - The Pot

Who Should Win:
Foo Fighters
Who Will Win:
Foo Fighters

Metal Performance:

[ ] As I Lay Dying - Nothing Left

[ ] King Diamond - Never Ending Hill

[ ] Machine Head - Aesthetics of Hate

[ ] Shadows Fail - Redemption

[X] Slayer - Final Six

Who Should Win:
Slayer. Cause you don't vote against Slayer.
Who Will Win:
Who knows with the Grammy's, probably Michael Buble cause he's metal.

Rock Song (Songwriter):

[X] Lucinda Williams - Come On

[ ] The White Stripes - Icky Thump

[ ] Daughtry - It's Not Over

[ ] Foo Fighters - The Pretender

[ ] Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere

Who Should Win:
Lucinda Williams. Cause she writes a mean song.
Who Will Win:
Bruce Springsteen, cause the acadamy loves the old dudes

Rock Album:

[ ] Daughtry, Daughtry

[ ] Revival, John Fogerty

[ ] Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Foo Fighters

[ ] Magic, Bruce Springsteen

[X] Sky Blue Sky, Wilco

Who Should Win:
Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
Who Will Win:
Bruce Springsteen, cause the acadamy loves the old dudes

Alternative Album:

[ ] Lily Allen - Alright, Still ...

[ ] Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

[ ] Bjork - Volta

[X] The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

[ ] The White Stripes - Icky THump

Who Should Win:
The Shins. I like it.
Who Will Win:
The White Stripes. Cause I don't like it.

Contemporary Folk/Americana Album:

[X] Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling

[ ] Ry Cooder - My Name is Buddy

[ ] Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade

[ ] Patty Griffin - Children Running Through

[ ] Tom Waits - Orphan

Who Should Win:
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Who Will Win:
Probably Tom Waits. Cause the acadamy loves the old dudes.

What Soldiers Fear

(this is a joke, people. a funny joke, but still, a joke)

Chelsea Clinton recently discussed current events with a U.S. soldier.

She asked if, as an American fighting man, anything scared him.

He told her there were only three things he feared:

"First," he said, "I fear Osama."

"Understandable," said Chelsea. "He can convince men to kill in the name of Allah."

"Second," he said, "I fear Obama."

"Understandable, again," said Chelsea. "We don't know much about him. And third?"

The soldier smiled and said, "Yo mama."

Song of the Day

The Story
Brandy Carlile

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true . . . I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do
I was made for you

You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No, they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what
I've been through like you do
And I was made for you

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true . . . I was made for you


Song of the Day

"What I Didn't Say"
~ Saving Jane

Secrets told in the pictures on your skin
Hours fade into days that never end
I see myself reflected in your eyes
And I hate the way I'm wearing all these lies

So I let you go
And I watch you leave
And I hold my breath
So you don't hear me scream
When you walk away
But the words are only in my head
It's not what I said
It's what I didn't say

Is she everything you wanted her to be?
Yeah, I bet she never breaks your heart like me
So it's one more night I cover up with you
And I hate myself for what I didn't do

So I let you go
And I watch you leave
And I hold my breath
So you don't hear me scream
When you walk away
But the words are only in my head
It's not what I said
It's what I didn't say

Should've known better, now
All I have left is a permanent stain
The only part of you I get to keep forever
To prove I lived this pain

Maybe I was never as smart as I thought
Maybe we can never be as good as we want
Maybe you just didn't need me enough
Maybe we're too clever to be falling in love like this
Like this

Secrets told in the silence of my sin
And I'm the one who loses in the end
(be well, book girl. I'll miss you)

Questioning the critics ...

Like that's new, eh?

So in getting ready to list my favorite albums of 2007, I take the time to peruse what others are listening to ... and being me, I hit the cool hipster indie websites.

And every single one of them is singing the praises of "Boxer" by The National and "In Rainbows" by Radiohead.

So I gave them both a two-week listen. And now, after two weeks, I don't get it.

Let's start with Radiohead. They made history by making it available for whatever you felt like paying, initially, to download it. And I'm sure a lot of people did. I'm an old school Radiohead fan. "Pablo Honey" is one of my top 10 albums of the 1990's. And "The Bends" and "Kid A" are decent pieces of work, too.

However, "In Rainbows" just doesn't rock like I like my Radiohead to rock. It's trippy, it's mellow and heavy in points, but really, for me, and as always, your mileage may vary, too mellow. I think they must have forgot that anyone can play guitar - cause there's very little of it on this album.

Now for The Natural. Really, it's not bad. However, it's not good, either. Musically, it's very enjoying. Very mellow and melodic and even engaging. And the lyrics are decent.

But Matt Berninger's voice never changes. It kinda drones on in the same tone. For forty-four minutes.

Every. Single. Song. Is. In. The. Same. Tone.

See how hard that line was to read? That's how hard this album becomes to listen to as the songs flow from one to another. As I said, it's not bad, but it's not an album to listen to often, or on repeat. It's nothing I'll ever have in heavy rotation start-to-finish, as my albums of the year list encompasses, but will be a nice "oh yeah" when it hits in the shuffle mode.

So "Boxer" won't be on my list ... neither will "Sky Blue Sky" by Wilco, because as I said at the time of my review, it's not an album I'll listen to. I like the songs, but not the album.

And that's how I judge my "Albums of the Year" list - the whole album. As presented by the artist.


Weird and Random Thoughts

If scientists can turn fruit flies gay, and then straight ... as this report has done ... when all is said and done .... are they still 'fruit' flies? Or just annoying little asexual gnats?

Speaking of my weird thoughts ... I had another weird thought Saturday at the mall as I walked past a smug-looking man in pink oxford behind the wheel of a Range Rover parked in the fire lane.

His plates were issued in Trumbull County. I've lived far too much of my life in Trumbull County, and have covered damn near every square mile during the three years I worked as a newspaper reporter covering the outlying townships and school district at a county level. I've lived in both Warren and Niles, as well as Cortland, Gustavus, Brookfield and a couple of other places. I know for a fact our county contains no desert, no mountains nor any other terrain the Range Rover is made for. So that, alone, and his pink shirt made him, at best, pretentious; at worst, an asshole, individually for wearing a pink oxford, and individually for parking in the fire lane ... and a double-asshole for combining the shirt and fire lane parking.

However, as I walked on, laughing at him, I noticed, also parked in the fire lane, both a Lincoln Navigator and a Chevy Tahoe. Both with men behind the wheel. Waiting.

And all three of them were STILL in the fire lane, waiting, as I left the mall 20 minutes later.

So I wonder: Does being a dick in life make you susceptible to the sales pitch and lead you to buying a massive-sized over-optioned SUV that you'll never take off road ... or does buying a massive-sized SUV with full-off-road capabilities you'll never take advantage of turn you into a dick?

Why do some people take everything so seriously?

Stay tuned - massive photo updates coming soon. Studio work, SPW, RWB, Razorbliss, Lollipop Factory ... all coming soon.

Also, both my 2007 Grammy Preview and my annual "Best Albums of 2007" list.