Friday, February 27, 2015

We Meet Again

Since the good city of Boston was (still is) a frozen tundra with all sorts of public transport issues, I decided to come home to good ol' East Providence, RI last weekend.  I enjoy coming home every once in a while to make sure my family and friends don't miss me too much, and also to see my old room and dog and…well that's about it I suppose.  I was mortified to see that my Mom decided to clean my room out of the blue and my organized chaos was reduced to just organized.  Although I hate when people rearrange or go through my personal belongings, I did make two discoveries from this motherly cleaning: 1. that the carpet in my room is beige.  Who knew.  2. My green iPod nano was still around, and much to my surprise, still working after I charged it.  

When I rediscovered the green iPod I was pretty surprised that it lit up when I plugged it into my charger.  That thing was my pride and joy back in the high school days, along with freshman year of college.  Walking through the hollowed halls of EP High was always much more enjoyable with Taking Back Sunday blaring in my ears when dealing with idiots who couldn't walk in front of me and freshmen who didn't know where they were going.  As annoying as it was, it brought me some joy to recall the fact that I had to strategically place the input of the headphone into the hole because I dropped it one time and it dented the hole and made it impossible to plug it in properly.  After figuring out that the headphone jack had to be precisely 3/4's of the way in (insert 'that's what she said' joke here) I got that thing cranked up, played some brick and put it on shuffle.  The results were startling.  

What I found was like a treasure trove of music that I already knew existed, yet forgot about.  Songs that I haven't heard in years started playing and it got me thinking "Jesus, what else is on this thing".  Live versions of songs, random collaborations, forgotten bands or forgotten songs by bands kept on popping up as I scrolled through the songs and artists on the click wheel thing.  This green iPod nano had turned into a sort of time capsule for one of the best times of anyone's lives: the late teens.  Now that I've had a good chance to go through it all, I have narrowed down a top 40, in no particular order, of the best gems on my old iPod.  I hope you get to recall some of these songs as well, or maybe discover some songs I once listened to back in the day, when I was about 30 pounds lighter and my hair was even more epic than it is now.  

  • Cascada "Everytime We Touch"  You can go to any college party, no matter the theme or vibe, play this song and have it be an instant crowd pleaser.  Imagine how huge this song would be now if it came out in this EDM-crazed world?

  • Hawthorne Heights "Ohio is For Lovers"  Really tugs at the heartstrings.  My friends and I would always make fun of Hawthorne Heights for being the most emo of the emo, yet we all knew this song was kind of a classic.  I recall the music video being creepy.  Yep, just watched it again.  Pretty creepy.

  • J-Kwon "Tipsy"  One of the songs to make the word "errbody!" popular.

  • Ignite "Sunday Bloody Sunday" A screamo cover of U2 can't be that bad, right?

  • Flobots "Handlebars"  This song was intriguing at the time, and it still is now after all these years, yet I still don't know why.  

  • Angels + Airwaves "The Adventure"  Tom, you're still a douche for ruining Blink 182, but at the time this song was a semi-big hit and was used for commercials for a bunch of shitty MTV shows.

  • Avenged Sevenfold "Bat Country"  I was just as surprised as you are that this song was on here.  It's not even good.

  • Transplants "Diamonds and Guns"   I know what you're thinking: "OH MY GOD IT'S THAT SONG FROM THE GARNIER FRUCTIS COMMERCIAL!"

  • Black Kids "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You"  Very catchy.  Lyrics are confusing at points with the whole "You are the girl/that I've been dreaming of/Ever since, I was a little girl" when it is a dude singing, but hey man whatever.

  • Daddy Yankee "Rompe"  All I think about is the Dominican Republic.

  • Taking Back Sunday "Just Like Heaven" When you're at the forefront of the emo scene, giving a shoutout to the godfathers of emo is a smart move.  I'm sure The Cure approved of this cover.

  • The Academy Is... "We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands" Personal favorite of mine from the high school days.  I enjoyed the whooooaaaaaaaAAAAAAAaaaaaa's that are plentiful in this tune.

  • Jesse McCartney "Leavin'"  I admit it.  It was catchy.  I think I once tried covering this song up by telling my friends that my sister put this on my itunes library as a joke.

  • That Handsome Devil "Elephant Bones"  One of the lesser known Guitar Hero jams.  This singer gets bonus points for sounding like what you would imagine Satan himself might sound like.

  • Von Bondies "C'mon"  This is a legit great song that I would still listen to every once in a while.  The Von Bondies really haven't done much since this song and when their singer got his ass kicked by Jack White backstage at a show once.  No one disrespects Meg White and gets away with it.

  • Peter Bjorn and John "Young Folks"  The whistle is a tricky instrument to execute in good music.  This song nailed it.

  • Phantom Planet "California"  Things I hate that come to mind when I hear this song: The OC, Hollister, the color Orange.

  • Young Jeezy "Go Getta"  I remember asking myself why I liked this song at the time, and here I am like 8 years later asking the same question.  

  • Lostprophets "Last Train Home"  I know the lead singer did unspeakable things recently and puts a damper on their legacy, but this song was damn good and one of the best to come out when I was a high schooler.  

  • Shwayze "Buzzin" Very beginning of college memories come back to me each time I hear this song once in a blue moon.  I think the best word to describe this would be 'vibes'.

  • No Doubt and Incubus "Message In A Bottle" live cover of The Police.  I couldn't believe this existed/was on my ipod.  Where the hell did this occur?  How did it happen?  Great cover.

  • Aquabats "Pool Party"  God those guys were so much fun.  Can't believe Travis Barker got his start with these dudes.  

  • Dub Pistols "Cyclone"  This song is straight from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 soundtrack, and it is still fun as hell now as it was back then.

  • +44 "When Your Heart Stops Beating"  Oh, you wanna form your own band and ruin Blink, Tom?  I'll match you there.  +44 was better and less weird than AVA and this song alone proves that.  

  • Red Jumpsuit Apparatus "Face Down"  A real in your face type of song.  The angst level was high on this number!

  • Matisyahu "King Without A Crown" live at Stubb's.  Interesting that when this song came out, radio stations would play the live version instead of the studio, yet it made sense!  The live version was somehow better than the studio, which is extremely rare these days.

  • The Jay-Z and Linkin Park album:  all of it.  Before Girltalk changed the game, this happened, and the songs weren't that bad.  Only problem looking back on it now is that while Jay-Z is still HOV, Linkin Park has turned into a band that you don't want to admit you once liked. 

  • Newton "Streamline"  Remember this song?  The whistles and stuff.  It was kinda viral before things even went viral.

  • Bo Burnham "3.14 Apple Pie"  Am I proud that Bo Burnham was on my iPod?  No.  Does it make for a great "oh my god really?" moment of this blogpost?  I'd like to think so.

  • Hot Hot Heat "Bandages"  These guys actually seemed like they had a huge chance to blow up and be the next big thing.  Instead they didn't follow up their early success and went a similar route to the Von Bondies instead of being the Killers. 

  • Dragon Force "Through the Fire and the Flame"  This was the ultimate challenge from Guitar Hero.  It gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about how hard that song was to play even on medium.  

  • Real McCoy "Another Night"  Ultimate Dance Party 1997 is the album that this gem was on.  Need I say more?

  • Del The Funky Homosapien "If You Must"  Another gem from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 soundtrack.  It was kind of a joke yet spread a good message about doing things if you must, like washing your teeth and brushing your know that kinda stuff.

  • Wyclef Jean featuring Akon, Lil Wayne and Nia "Sweetest Girl (Dolla Dolla Bill Ya'll)" One of the sweeter songs about a stripper ever written.

  • Senses Fail "Buried A Lie"  Angry. 

  • The Used and My Chemical Romance "Under Pressure"  Wow.  Just proves how bit the emo scene was back then when these two legends decided to team up and cover Bowie and Queen. Not a bad cover all in all.  

  • P. Diddy, Black Rob and Mark Curry "Bad Boy 4 Life"  It took a while to figure out if this was Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy, Diddy or Sean Combs, but I eventually found the youtube of it. Nothing screams white suburbia like this song.

  • No Doubt featuring Lady Saw "Underneath It All"  To this day, this song makes me want to be on a beach throwing coconuts into the ocean or at seagulls. 

  • RX Bandits "In Her Drawer"  I love the drums at the beginning and it's just an all-time jam.  Highly recommend checking this song out.

  • MIMS "This is Why I'm Hot"  In a world of stupid songs with stupid, simple lyrics, this one may have taken the cake.  "I'm hot cuz I'm fly/You ain't cuz you not/This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot."  Geez.  This is why other countries hate us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Smiths Reunion Show

This is a pipe dream.  The odds of this are slim-to-less-than-zero.  It may even be a waste of a blogpost, but hey if I'm bringing this blog back from the dead, I may as well drag one of the greatest and most influential bands from the afterlife as well.  In the style of an ESPN 30 for 30, what if I told you…that the Smiths were to get together and play one last show.  What would be the reaction?  Where and when would this occur?  Why after all this time?  The Smiths have not played together since December the 12, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Six in the year of our Lord at the Brixton Academy in London for 'Artists Against Apartheid' which is a good thing for artists to be against.  Basically, turmoil hit a boiling point and the godfather of emo music, Morrissey blew everything up and has refused millions of requests to rejoin Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke.  In a short span, they gave the world a bunch of wonderful albums, and influenced bands from Brand New to Kanye West (jury is still out on that).  They came into the music world hot, faded rather quickly, and left many wanting more.  Now that it's almost been 30 years, and Morrissey announced that he has some form of cancer (along with the very Morrissey-like quote of "Well, if I die, I die."  Sounds like a Smiths B-side if you ask me) it may be now or never for one of the most sought after reunions of all time.  

As to how, when and where, who the hell knows.  There have been rumors for years about Coachella offering millions and millions for them to bury their hatchets and play a show, but Morrissey just won't budge.  If this miracle did happen, I'm guessing one of the gargantuan stadiums in London for just one night, with guaranteed vast sums of money and all sorts of demands.  All this bullshit aside, let's move on to the setlist.  

After fantasy football ended, an empty space has been in my heart for some time, so why not play a game of fantasy setlist?  Before I give you my dream setlist, I'd like to thank some people for their input.  These people enjoy the Smiths, were pretty pumped when I asked them and gave me awesome feedback right away, therefore, special thanks to Julie "Total Diva" Strano, Dave "Hey Isn't That Guy In the Attending?" Marcotte, and, of course, my Dad.  Hi Dad.  With their input, my ideas and, well, final say, here is the one time only Smiths reunion setlist:

1. Panic

2. Still Ill

3. Shoplifters of the World Unite

4. Ask

*First Morrissey Rant about the media.

5. London

6. A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours

7. This Charming Man

8. Frankly, Mr. Shankly

9. Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

*Second Morrissey Rant about how great animals are and how he will kill you if you eat meat.

10. Girlfriend In A Coma

11. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

12. Head Master Ritual

*Morrissey slam poetry against no one.

13. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

14. Hand In Glove

15. Boy With The Thorn In His Side

16. Meat Is Murder

* Third Morrissey rant, probably about animals again, or if anyone has pissed him off over the previous week, or how everyone wanted this god damn reunion to happen and he finally caved for the sake of it being over with.

17. I Know It's Over

18. Bigmouth Strikes Again

Encore 1.

1. Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want (Morrissey and Marr acoustic only)

*Slight possibility of band introductions, but don't bank on it.

2. The Queen Is Dead (Full Band)

Encore 2.

1. How Soon Is Now?