Thursday, December 21, 2006

Favorite Albums of 2006

It's almost Christmas. Someone shoot me. End of the year means end-of-the-year-lists. Yay. First up - music.

Here are 10 albums that were released this year and that I keep listening to over and over. I wouldn't dare say these are the best; then I'd be voting in the Grammys. (yeah, like those guys really know what's good - Justin Timberlake nominated for album of the year?!) These are merely what I like.

10. Grizzly Bear
Yellow House

standout tracks: "Knife", "Reprise"

why it's on the list: So I can get some indie cred.

9. Hot Chip
The Warning

standout tracks: "Colours", "Over and Over"

why it's on the list: They remind me of The Postal Service. The group, not the people in short blue shorts carrying around mail.

8. The Decemberists
The Crane Wife

standout tracks: "Shankhill Butchers", "The Crane Wife 1 and 2"

why it's on the list: Anybody that makes me look up the dictionary 8 times with their song is OK in my book.

7. Beirut
Gulag Orkestar

standout tracks: "Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)", "Postcards from Italy"

why it's on the list: Balkan folk music played by an American teenager? Brilliant.

6. Arctic Monkeys
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

standout tracks: "Mardy Bum", "Fake Tales of San Francisco", "When the Sun Goes Down"

why it's on the list: "Oh there ain't no love, no Montagues or Capulets / Just banging tunes and DJ sets and / Dirty dancefloors and dreams of naughtiness"

5. Boy Kill Boy

standout tracks: "Suzie", "Civil Sin", "On and On"

why it's on the list: The Killers? These guys are so much better. Yeah, I said it.

4. Muse
Black Holes & Revelations

standout tracks: "Knights of Cydonia", "City of Delusion", "Exo-Politics"

why it's on the list: They deserve to be on here just for "Knights of Cydonia" alone. And the video? Don't even get me started on the genius of that.

3. Under the Influence of Giants
Under the Influence of Giants

standout tracks: "Mama's Room", "In the Clouds", "Meaningless Love"

why it's on the list: These guys seem like they were born 30 years too late. It's okay guys, disco will come back someday. Until then, this CD will do just fine. Oh, and their bassist looks like Kevin Smith, which makes everything funnier. Just watch their video for "Mama's Room" (warning: scantily-clad women ahead).

2. Dirty Pretty Things
Waterloo to Anywhere

standout tracks: "Bang Bang You're Dead", "Deadwood", "The Gentry Cove"

why it's on the list: The Libertines - Pete Doherty = this band. Are they still good? Absolutely. Are they better? Arguably.

1. We Are Scientists
With Love and Squalor

standout tracks: "Inaction", "Can't Lose", "Worth the Wait"

why it's on the list: I'm a sucker for catchy songs. This album has 12 of them. I can listen to it anytime, anywhere, 42 times in a row.
Now go forth and listen to these excellent albums. They'll make you a better person. They'll change your life.

No wait, that was The Shins.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance

We are two mariners
Our ships' sole survivors
In this belly of a whale
Its ribs are ceiling beams
Its guts are carpeting
I guess we have some time to kill

You may not remember me
I was a child of three
And you, a lad of eighteen
But I remember you
And I will relate to you
How our histories interweave

At the time you were a rake and a roustabout
Spending all your money on the whores and hounds
(Oh, oh)

You had a charming air
All cheap and debonair
My widowed mother found so sweet
And so she took you in
Her sheets still warm with him
Now filled with filth and foul disease

As time wore on you proved a debt-ridden drunken mess
Leaving my mother a poor consumptive wretch
(Oh, oh)

And then you disappeared
Your gambling arrears
The only thing you left behind
And then the magistrate
Reclaimed our small estate
And my poor mother lost her mind

Then one day in spring my dear sweet mother died
But before she did I took her hand as she, dying, cried:
(Oh, oh)

"Find him, bind him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling of his grave"

It took me fifteen years
To swallow all my tears
Among the urchins in the street
Until a priory
Took pity and hired me
To keep their vestry nice and neat

But never once in the employ of these holy men
Did I ever once turn my mind from the thought of revenge
(Oh, oh)

One night I overheard
The prior exchanging words
With a penitent whaler from the sea
The captain of his ship
Who matched you toe to tip
Was known for wanton cruelty

The following day I shipped to sea with a privateer
And in the whistle of the wind I could almost hear:
(Oh, oh)

"Find him, bind him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling of his grave

There is one thing I must say to you
As you sail across the sea
Always your mother will watch over you
As you avenge this wicked deed"

And then, that fateful night
We had you in our sight
After twenty months at sea
Your starboard flank abeam
I was getting my muskets cleaned
When came this rumbling from beneath

The ocean shook, the sky went black and the captain quailed
And before us grew the angry jaws of a giant whale


Don't know how I survived
The crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth
But, oh, what providence
What divine intelligence
That you should survive as well as me

It gives my heart great joy to see your eyes fill with fear
So lean in close and I will whisper the last words you'll hear
(Oh, oh)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The D Word

Today's post is going to be a bit disjointed. (Is it ever not? /rimshot)

night·mare /?na?t?m??r/
1. a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.
2. a condition, thought, or experience suggestive of a nightmare: the nightmare of his years in prison.
3. (formerly) a monster or evil spirit believed to oppress persons during sleep.

So, nightmare basically means "bad dream" right? Then what's the word for "good dream"? Is there one? WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!

The whole nation's in an uproar over Michael Richards (aka "Kramer"). He appeared on Letterman to apologize, which actually made him look even worse in my opinion. SNL mentioned him only about, oh, eight times on last night's show.* Look, I'm not trying to defend the guy, and I agree that word is despicable. But let's look at another word that black people African Americans use on Caucasians white people - "cracker". Granted, it's basically a word made up to go against "nigger". It's still insulting and demeaning, is it not? So why is it deemed acceptable to say that word? Even if it's not considered to be 100% "acceptable", people aren't labeled racists for using it, are they? WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?! I hate double standards.

I dunno what's making that damn squeaky noise from the roof, but it's driving me batshit insane. James, WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!

*"Kramer vs. Kramer" and "replacing the 'n' word with Kramer" were pretty funny, though.

you always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows

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