Archive for the ‘music’ Category

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“The Music” Vs. “The Message” (w/poll)

January 9, 2009

Sometimes, the inspiration for threads here in the Chamber come from rather odd places, and this is going to be one of those times.  You see, yesterday, I was hanging out on the showroom floor at the dealership, and I couldn’t help but notice that the background music playing over the speakers was what I used to call “Jesus music” (these days, usually referred to as “Contemporary Christian“).   It was playing all day.

At first, I couldn’t understand why in the heck someone would decide such a thing was appropriate for the environment (considering the fact that any Buddhist, Hindu, Hmong, Jew or Muslim could walk through the door and want to buy a car), but then another thought struck me.  First though, I should say that, during my time in this particular profession, I’ve come to realize that this genre is more popular than I would have expected, based on how many radios are tuned to KTIS when we hop into customer’s cars and run them through the wash.  But I didn’t really take the time to stop and ponder it all until yesterday.  christian-albums

In any case, the thoughts began with something like “What the heck is with this stuff, anyway?”.

I’ve got to wonder if anyone would be rocking out to “Awesome God” if you changed the lyrics to, say, something about beer.  Or women.  Or politics.   Also, is it just me, or do all the male vocalists sound the same?  I mean, I think I could tell that I was listening to CC before I heard the first “savior” or “redeemer” uttered in the song, just based on style.  I dunno, there’s just something about it that gives it away. 

Look, I enjoy all kinds of music.  My MP3 player often skips from reggae, to pop, to classical, to metal, to hip hop when I’m playing it.  I can understand why some people enjoy opera and country, even.  But the vast majority of what I was listening to yesterday was just plain bland and mediocre.

So, I guess I have to assume that our KTIS junkies out there listen to it for the message rather than the quality of the music.  I guess there is that choice.  But I can’t help but think that, at some point, one would have to deduce that what you’re listening to is simply the best material recorded by people who happen to sing about Jesus, and that you’re ignoring the huge selection of tunes out there that are really much better from the perspective of raw musical talent.   So why continue?  Perhaps it could be viewed as a sacrifice of sorts, like some kind of perpetual Lent?   

Anyway…

I had this discussion with my girlfriend, and I was surprised to find out that the lyrics themselves actually effects her taste in music as well.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be that shocked, ’cause once I thought about it for a second, I guess I could understand that there would be people out there who can’t get into anything instrumental, no matter what sub-genre.  A sort of a “can’t like it if I can’t sing it” mentality.  And if one is going to sing it, it’d be more entertaining if the subject was something meaningful to them on a personal level, I imagine.   That’s her, and maybe that explains the KTISers as well.

As for me?  I told her that I’m quite the opposite; the song could be about a dog taking a poop on a rug, and as long as it was catchy, I’d probably like it.   It’s definitely more about the rhythm and harmony in my world.  Give me some powerful chords, groovy beats, and impressive solos, and I’m usually diggin’ it.  

So, I have to ask, who’s more weird?

(I suppose there could be a third, less common category: principle.  By that I mean the selection was about the artist him/her/themselves, and not the lyrics or music per se.  For example, you choose to listen to U2 because of the work Bono does, or don’t, based on it.  What happened with the Dixie Chicks might be another example)

-Exit question:  Is there a name for the two schools?  Or should we coin them in this thread?

-Added miscellaneous factoid:  Did you know that they sang “Shout to the Lord” on American Idol last year?  I didn’t think I’d see that, but here it is:

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All They Need Is Music

March 9, 2008

For today’s session of the “Who Would The Terrorists Vote For” game, we have U.S. Rep. Steve King:

He continued: “I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror.”

Then you have my favorite deep-end inhabitant weighing in, Atlas:

Yes, of course. It is so and the Arab Muslim world has said it. But we are not allowed to say it.We are not allowed to speak of it while engaged in a war for our very lives. It’s time the American people get an education on Islam not given by unindicted co-conspirator CAIR.

Ya know, I thought about that for a second, and decided that I need to brush up on my Islam.  

bowiejagger_dancinginthestreet.jpg
absolutely haram ?

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Top 5 Karaoke Songs If You’re A Guy Who Can’t Sing

January 15, 2008

Have you ever been out for drinks with friends or co-workers on karaoke night?  Chances are, you have.  It never fails:  The drinks start flowing, the music is playing, and eventually someone in the group gets dared to go up on stage and risk the potential embarrassment of revealing that they can’t carry a tune to save their life.  In those situations, one is faced with the tough no-win decision to either be the party pooper or endure the nerve-wracking experience. 

Having faced this situation several times myself, I felt compelled to search for “safe” songs, i.e. songs that virtually anyone can sing, while being something the audience will enjoy and possibly even sing along with.   This can be a real lifesaver, as it gives you the opportunity to not only avoid humiliation,  but rather to bring the proverbial house down. When you’re done, you’ll confidently thumb your nose at the Julio Iglesias wannabe sitting across the bar while high fiving your friends.    So without further ado, here are my top 5:

1. Warren Zevon- Werewolves of London  The lyrics are more spoken than they are sung, so all you have to do is make sure you have a decent “a-ooo!”, and you’re set.  And while you probably won’t be able to dance around with a cue stick ala Tom Cruise in The Color of Money, you might want to find a good-looking female to direct your attention to when the “his hair was perfect” line comes up, for added style points (assuming you aren’t wearing a hat, or bald). 

2. ZZ Top- Sharp Dressed Man  This song is especially fun if you just got off work and you’re still in your suit and/or tie, so if you got it, flaunt it.    You’re responsible for a grand total of about 2 notes, so even the most tone-deaf of us out there should be able to hack through this song without a problem.  Feel free to do the ZZ “point” during the guitar solo.

3. George Thorogood & the Destroyers- Bad To The Bone  No matter how b-b-b-b-b-bad your singing skills might be, you’ll probably be able to handle this one.  Instant bar cred, too.   If you’re feeling less “bad” and more, um, “drunk”, try to avoid I Drink Alone …Wouldn’t be prudent, after all.

4. Dire Straits- Sultans of Swing  Unlike Money For Nothing, this cut doesn’t have a long intro, so you can avoid standing uncomfortably in front of everyone while you wait for your part to begin.   Even better, it’s probably easier to sing anyway.  Beware of the urge to play air guitar on the outro, however. 

5.  Boz Skaggs- Lido Shuffle  If you ever saw Boz perform live (check the link), you’d see that the guy ain’t that great of a singer himself, so it is perfectly acceptable to sound like a drunken sailor during this classic.   Also, there’s a good chance that the rest of the bar will help you out during the chorus, so you probably won’t have to worry about hitting all the notes (if you aren’t confident of your ability, go ahead skip a few of them; Boz does).  Depending on where you are, and what time it is, the “one more for the road” line could really go over well too.  

I hope this helps.  Just keep these selections in mind before the buzz gets the better of you, and you decide to do something stupid and bite off more than you can chew with a selection like Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.  Trust me, I’ve made that mistake.

Also see: Shortcuts: How to sing karaoke

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Chamber Music

December 14, 2007

Hello Chamber readers!  If you have your computer speakers turned on, you might notice that I’ve added sound to this blog.  Enjoy!

Truth be told, I actually agonized over this decision somewhat.  The Sonific feature has been available to WordPress.com bloggers for a while now, but I noticed that the vast majority of the WP.com sites that I’ve visited in the past don’t use it.  In fact, most blogs in general don’t have sound, probably because it’s viewed as a distraction or… downright annoying.   This was probably the main reason for my hesitation.

Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a try.  After much internal debate, and a significant amount of searching the Sonific library, I finally chose a selection that I feel would enhance the character the Chamber.  I really wanted to stay within the parameters of the theme I’m working with here, so I chose “Sounds of the Chen and Sui Dynasties” by Min Xiao-Fen.  In addition to the fact that this piece delivers the “kung fu movie” feel that I was looking for, I think it’s kinda neat that my handle is included in the title (I had no idea there was a Chen dynasty, incidentally),  along with the added bonus that the album cover even matches the color scheme.   I might add to the playlist; we’ll see.

Anyway, for now, I’ve placed player at the very bottom of the sidebar.  If it’s drivin’ ya nuts, you can click the pause button to stop it.  

Update:  I’ve noticed that the track starts at the beginning whenever you go to a different page or post (or if you refresh the page), so I’ve decided to buffer the track with a sound effect.  That way, if you’re quickly jumping around on the blog you wouldn’t hear the first few seconds of the track each time you clicked (which would sound like a broken record, I suppose).  Instead, you’ll hear a couple of nifty explosions.  Like: Boom!  New page.

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Here, Share My Pain

December 6, 2007

This music video popped up on the plasma screen at work the other day (we had it on the VH1 Classic IIRC), and now I can’t get this out of my damn head.

Prepare to be mesmerized at first, then haunted later.   Nya nya nya nya nya…

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Please, Make It Stop

November 19, 2007

Here’s a commercial that football fans in Minnesota are undoubtedly familiar with by now.  Over that last few weeks, it seems like I’ve seen it a few dozen times.  crystal-and-chantelle.jpgIt’s an ad for the local radio station KXXR (aka 93.7 FM aka 93X) and it features two fairly attractive females clumsily lip synching the vocals of various music clips.  That in and of itself is pretty cheesy, but when you add the parts where they mouth the words of dubbed in male voices shouting things like “93X Rocks!”, the result is something that is slightly, um…deranged.  The intent here was obviously to focus on sex appeal, but the overdubbing absolutely kills it to the point of being somewhat disturbing.

The folks at 93X obviously think they’ve hit one out of the proverbial park:

Meet Crystal and Chantelle … You can check them out in 93X‘s latest commercial. If you haven’t seen it yet … it’s HOT!

Hot?  Sure, if you like girls sporting a baritone.  Interestingly, this isn’t the first ad for 93X with this theme:

2006 w/ Playboy Playmate

And there’s more.  93x isn’t the only radio station to decide that this type of thing appealed to their target market.  Also on YouTube:

KSLX

KDKB

One gets the impression that it’s possible that all these were produced by the same people.  Producers who appear to have some strange fetish for having male voices coming out of female lips.  After all, it’s hard to believe that market researchers sat in on focus groups and had some epiphany that led them in this direction. 

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RIP Luciano Pavarotti

September 6, 2007

As you might have seen in the news, one of the famous “3 Tenors”, Luciano Pavarotti, has passed away.  Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m a huge opera fan, but I’ll never forget the amazing final act performance he delivered at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Torino last year.  It actually brought a tear to my eye (no kidding).

Following the performance, host Bob Costas described Pavarotti’s finale by saying he “brought the house down”.

Indeed.

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A Good Candidate For The Next Guitar Hero

July 15, 2007

Ever since the Guitar Hero series took the world by storm, I’m sure that plenty of gamers out there have thought of songs for the game that would make a unique challenge.  So, as a fan of the series myself, I thought I’d post one that I’d like to see on there. 

I know that this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m not sure that the developers of the game would even go for this, but I’m going to nominate Cannibal Corpse’s “Frantic Disembowelment”.  Even if you think this sounds like noise, you have to admit that this has got to require a great deal of skill to play.  Here’s the instrumental version:

I think getting 5 stars on ‘expert’ would be impressive, don’t you?

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Beard Profiling At The Airport?

July 9, 2007

This will make you scratch your head a bit: Metallica: Terrorist threat?

Metallica singer James Hetfield was investigated by UK airport officials who believed he was a terrorist this week, it has been claimed. The star was barred entry to Luton airport on Thursday and questioned by staff who were concerned about his appearance. Fears that Hetfield might be involved in terrorism were apparently founded on his “Taliban-like beard”, according to The Times. He was allowed to leave the airport after a brief interrogation, when he persuaded officials that he was a rock star. Metallica play Live Earth at Wembley Stadium in London tomorrow, before headlining the venue for their own show on Sunday evening.

uk_metallica3_400.jpg

Is the beard thing in the post-9/11 counter-terrorism manual or something?   

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YouTube Hijinx: Fun With “Laid To Rest”

June 1, 2007

I first saw this vid on YouTube and just about cried laughing (ok, I’ll admit it, we were drunk when we watched it).  This is a vid edited by what appears to be college guys in their dorm room, playing “Laid To Rest” on the Guitar Hero II video game.  Hopefully this didn’t cut into their studies too much…Enjoy!

Complete with outtakes!

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Full Metal Magazine

May 13, 2007

I’ve always loved all kinds of music.  I think that music probably has a broader and deeper appeal than any other art form.   One of its most impressive qualities is it’s ability to affect the emotions of the listener.   When I’m feeling particularly frustrated, for example, there’s a certain type of music I enjoy listening to:  death metal.  There’s something about the raw power of the genre that appeals to me.  I look at it as an effective, therapeutic, and safe outlet if I’m having a bad day..  

Since I have a 6-disc CD changer in my summer car, I like to keep one of the magazines loaded with this stuff so that I’m ready when the mood strikes (no mp3 player in the car; call me old school).  I have carefully chosen 6 CD’s to remain in the magazine.  I just thought I’d share the secret formula with the rest of the world (although the mix isn’t immune from a little tweaking every so often).  WARNING:  This music is not for the faint of heart.

  1. Lamb of GodAshes of the Wake (2004) This is my most recent discovery.  The album is pretty darn solid all the way through;  tight riffs can be found on virtually every track.  It is a guitar player’s favorite, as it is listed at #49 on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitar Albums All Time .  Recommended  track:  “Laid to Rest” (also featured on the Guitar Hero II video game)
  2. ObituaryCause of Death (1990) This album features vocalist John Tardy in his absolute prime, and he unleashes some of the most blood-chillingly scary vocals ever recorded.  The tracks were intended to be played in order, as one blends into the next.  Also noteworthy are the James Murphy guitar solos.  Recommended track:  “Chopped In Half”
  3. CarcassSymphonies of Sickness (1989)  This has to be one of the most aptly-titled albums in the genre, as it features both sickening lyrical topics and surprising melodic passages mixed in with the onslaught of riffs.  It’s hard to describe, but there are parts you might actually find yourself humming.  Also unique here is the use of two very distinct vocalists.  Recommended track:  “Exhume to Consume”
  4. SlayerReign in Blood  (1986) While technically labeled as thrash metal (no “death growls“), RiB remains a timeless masterpiece.  It has served as inspiration for countless bands, and is listed at #29 on the aforementioned Guitar World top 100.  Just plain classic.  Recommended track:  “Epidemic”
  5. Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth (1991) This album was actually banned in Germany (Germany?) until last year, primarily due to the artwork on the cover.  I had a chance to see CC live back in the ’90’s, and I remember wondering how the drummer made it all the way through without collapsing.  Amazingly, and creatively,  brutal.  Recommended track:  “Covered with Sores”
  6. DeathFate: The Best of Death (1992)  This is a compilation album, and it’s probably the only disc you’d have to buy from the this band (although I’m not sure why “Lack of Comprehension” wasn’t included).  Great stuff from one of the pioneers of the genre.  Recommended track: “Left to Die”

There you have it.  I usually just set the changer to random play and let it go.  Play as loud as needed.

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More Than A Feeling

March 10, 2007

Brad Delp, the lead singer for the band Boston, was found dead Friday in his home in southern New Hampshire on Friday, March 9.

read more | digg story

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