Archive for the ‘Music Appreciation’ Category

Macarena or MMMBop?

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Head on over to the Huffington Post to pick The Most Annoying Songs Of All Time. They’ve got quite a few doozies in there.

This kind of thing is ALWAYS going in my head.

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

You know what’s been bugging me the last day or so? The opening lines to “The Way You Love Me” by Keith Follese & Michael Dulaney:

If I could grant
You one wish
I’d wish you could see the way you kiss

See it? See what I mean? If I’m going to grant you a wish, what does it matter what I’d wish?

Sorry. Little things like that in songs really grate on me.

Dispute over credits for Coldplay song

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

From David Wild writing at Huffington Post: Honk If You Wrote Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” Too.

I would like to take the opportunity to claim that I wrote Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” In fact, I wrote “Viva La Vida” just about an hour ago after hearing the news that my pal Yusuf — the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens — feels that the undeniable Coldplay smash is too close for comfort to one section of his “Foreigner Suite” from his 1973 album “The Foreigner.”

Interesting. I couldn’t quite place “The Foreigner” so I went to Lala.com to give it a listen (the most relevant section starts around 3:36). Sure, I can hear the similarity, but I’m not sure it would have jumped out at me or anything. (I’m not even going to listen to “Viva la Vida” again for reference, as much as I love that song, because then it will be stuck on endless loop in my head.)

What do you think? Same song or merely similar in the way that many songs are similar?

Before Ghetto Smile, Frippertronics

Sunday, February 8th, 2009
Cover of "Sacred Songs"
Cover of Sacred Songs

Never seen h monthly before, but they came up on a Google News alert for Daryl Hall (yes, I do care that much, shut up) and had a well-written quick review of Hall’s Sacred Songs album:

So, in perhaps one of the most befuddling pairings of all time, Hall teamed up with King Crimson’s prog-rock progenitor, Robert Fripp, for his debut solo album, Sacred Songs.

[...]

The results of this unlikely pairing are strangely brilliant. Hall’s soaring vocal delivery is complimented by Fripp’s maniacal guitar work and layered production, and Fripp’s experimental touches offer some intriguing soundscapes that leave you to ponder what Hall and Oates would have sounded like if Fripp was in the group.

[...]

Oh, and we can’t forget the glam-punk songs [...] that could have endeared Hall to the 70’s punk scene if the album had been released in 1977 (when it was recorded), instead of 1980 (RCA apparently didn’t know what to do with it and shelved it for three years).

It’s such a cool alternate reality to imagine.

Yes, I’ve now seen Hall and Oates on the Daily Show. Thanks!

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Everyone who knows I’m a Hall and Oates super-fan keeps asking if I saw them on the Daily Show the other night. Never fear, I just did.

I loved it! (OK, I loved it in spite of it seeming like they could have maybe used another rehearsal of the song.) They’ve made guest appearances on other shows in the past, but they usually don’t get to interact much before they launch into whatever song they’re there to perform. It was fun to see them have a little comic setup before they played.

And “the only non-douchebag on that show”? Gold.

Music and food: do they go together for you?

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

A Chicago-style deep-dish pizza as served by w...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m making a pizza (not the one pictured, although DON’T I WISH!), and I don’t have any music playing. This is most unusual. As I wander over to the laptop to remedy this situation, I thought I’d ask those of you who are music lovers and foodies: do you always have music playing while you cook, sometimes, never, or what? How does your music enjoyment interact with and overlap with your food enjoyment?

The 100 Biggest Top 100 Hits

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

From Mi2N, the Music Industry News Network comes this release. Wondering how it was determined?

The list was compiled by Cashbox chart archivist Randy Price using a progressive inverse point system applied to the positions each record held on the weekly Top 100 charts. In addition, a compensation factor was calculated for each year to allow for more-meaningful comparisons among the chart performances of records from the earlier decades and those from more-recent years, when the average stay on the chart was much longer. Records that had two or more separate chart runs are ranked based on their combined point totals.

The first song from the ’90s that shows up is this:

4. END OF THE ROAD - Boyz II Men (Motown) - 1992

Really? Yikes.

The first one from the ’80s?

12. ENDLESS LOVE - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie (Motown) - 1981

Why do hit songs always seem so embarrassing in retrospect?

Should I write a song about it?

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Stumbled across a good post by Frasier Smith about what makes a song hit-ready. I think this is the songwriting equivalent of “get rich quick” schemes to the average Joe, or of “Good to Great”-style books for business. And yes, I’ve thought a lot about the topic myself.

Smith talks about various elements in hit songs that make their lyrics and melodies memorable, universal, and instantly appealing. Certainly those are elements worth striving for, if pop hits are your goal — and they are ours.

But one of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is the importance of writing for me. I’ve always done this, to a degree, but at times I’ve strayed a bit into unfamiliar territory in the hopes of writing something that more people would connect with. Imagine me writing, for example, a song with NASCAR allusions. I’ve tried it. It sucked. I won’t do it again (I promise).

And I just don’t believe it’s necessary to deal with the unfamiliar. Some of my favorite hits are the ones that seem broadly appealing and universal, but which have lyrics that appear specific about the writer’s own life. I’ll cite “She’s My Kind of Rain” as an example, even though its merits are often contested in songwriting circles. I’d cite other examples but I’m about to board a plane. Let me just assert that they are plentiful.

Moreover, I’m finding that the more I strive to write about the most universal topics in the most universal way, the less motivated I am to write them. Maybe that’s a “duh” kind of realization, but it hadn’t sunken in yet after all these years of writing. I think I’ve got it now.

So for me, the question of what to write about is “whatever I’m thinking about.” And then I guess I’d hope that I’ll sometimes stumble across universal themes. That makes it pretty simple, huh?

What constitutes a kickass song?

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

I’ve got a playlist on my iPod called Kickass Songs. I’m listening to it right now. Right now what’s playing is “Guarded by Monkeys” by Cracker. And I just listened to “Cowboy” by Kid Rock, but I’m wondering what for you constitutes a kickass song? There are so many other ones that are on here — lets see, “Dirty Laundry,” “Hard to Handle,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Sweet Emotion.” listen

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Thanks, Josh Ritter, for getting me ready for Monday

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

Monday is the anniversary of my dad’s death, again. It was a reflective time for me last year and it’s looking like it will be the same this year.

I can tell because last night we went to see Josh Ritter (whom Jae has been talking about for years but I’m just catching up). There was a song he played with lyrics that said “tell me I got here at the right time” and it was bittersweet and melancholy and painted a picture of loving someone through illness, and it got me thinking about the process of caring for my dad while he was sick and the acceptance I had to come to about the possibility that in one of my trips back to Nashville, I would not be there when he died. And that’s basically how it worked out in the end — Karsten and I had just made it back to Chicago that evening and decided not to go by my parents’ house until the next morning since it was already pretty late. And my dad died that night.

Sometimes the loss hurts more because I know I could have seen him alive one more time, but more often I know I was there at the right times all the previous times.

Anyway, it’s funny how once you’re reminded of something difficult, you can see connections in the loosest ways. So all through the rest of Josh Ritter’s set, I was primed to reflect on all kinds of loss, but especially my dad. And then he played “Kathleen,” which is one of the few songs of his I knew before last night, and I like it but it’s a tough one for me, because it so heavily references the Irish standard “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and that’s one of the songs my dad used to sing when he was a nightclub performer and is the source of my name. Of course, Ritter’s song goes off in a different direction, but I think if you carry the connection over and think about his song in the context of its heritage, it makes his song even more intriguing. The Irish song is a plea to that song’s Kathleen to hold out hope in the narrator, to recognize that he sees she is unhappy and that he can once again bring her the happiness that she has lost. The Ritter song is a plea to its Kathleen to place some hope in the narrator, to recognize that he appreciates her and can see her clearly and can make her happy even if it’s just for one night. Each song is a kind of begging, but from nearly opposite ends of the lifecycle of a relationship — and, you could even say, nearly opposite ends of life itself.

Anyway, I thought about that while he was playing the song, but I was also just washed away in grief every time I heard the line “I’ll be the one to drive you home, Kathleen.”

And yet I walked away from the show feeling hopeful, and creatively inspired. I think there’s another post about that I need to write, because there are other factors at work there, but I definitely took away ideas from listening to Ritter’s brutal and beautiful honesty, and I intend to use them.

Musical mathematics (drive-time playlist edition)

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

No Doubt - ska + skater punk = Be Your Own Pet

Creative reuse

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Good to see that Hall & Oates have a healthy attitude about allowing their music to be repurposed, even if that repurposing is done with more than a hint of irony.

Speaking from his home outside of Aspen, Oates credits Yacht Rock for rekindling interest in his band — and lowering the overall age of Hall & Oates’ fan demographic.
[...]
And musically, it means that the time is ripe for a Hall & Oates mashup album — the first of which is in the works from Gym Class Heroes.
[...]
Oates calls the final product “the most unique steps I’ve heard coming out of hip hop in quite a while,” and says he’ll give permission to anyone to use his music, so long as the intentions are good. “Once you make a record, it’s out to the world. Who cares?” Oates says.

I’m a bigger fan of Daryl Hall creatively than I am of John Oates, but from what I know of the two, Oates deserves most of the credit for this laissez-faire attitude toward reuse. Color me impressed, oh mustached one.

Worst lyrics?

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Courtesy of Digg, I present to you the top 10 worst lyrics ever, as rated by BBC 6 Music.

U2, Toto, Duran Duran, and Oasis all made the list.

But are there worse examples? I can’t think of any offhand that are truly awful, but one springs to mind because of how much it missed the mark. In Dwight Yoakam’s “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” he sings:

Once there was this spider in my bed
Got caught up in her web
Of love and lies
Spun her chains around my heart and soul…

Aah! It bugs me every damn time I hear it. Spun her chains? Since when do spiders spin chains? I mean, he could have gone for the extra internal rhyme with “bed/web” and done “Spun her threads around…” or even gone suggestive and used “Wrapped her legs around…” or probably dozens of other possibilities, but “chains”? Bad. So bad.

What lyrics bug you?

Jusht to shee you shmile

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

[HFBD, huashan">!]

Here’s a new way to measure the length of my commute — today’s was:
So Alive - Ryan Adams
Where Is The Love - Black Eyed Peas
I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
Just To See You Smile - Tim McGraw
You’ll Think Of Me - Keith Urban

The Tim McGraw song reminds me to ask: is there a name for the linguistic phenomenon where a lot of men with Southern accents pronounce /s/ as almost /sh/? (You know, voiceless alveolar fricative, postalveolar fricative, whatever.) I checked all over the web and couldn’t find any reference to it. The Wikipedia entry on the Southern American English dialect touches on a lot of pretty subtle dynamics of US Southern speech but doesn’t mention that. I just asked two of my coworkers on the way back from lunch and the name one of them improvised was “tobacco jaw.” The theory is that these men don’t move their mouths very much when they speak. Could that really be all it is?

And talking about that reminds me to say: living in Nashville has certainly exposed me to lots of accent variations I’d been unaware of previously. I knew that Southerners could tell the difference between someone with a Nashville (sounds something like “NASH-full”) accent and someone with, say, a south Georgia (sounds something like “JOE-ja”) accent, but before I lived here, they sounded to my ear like more or less the same accent. Now I hear completely different accents everywhere I turn. The guy doing the carpentry on our front steps sounds exactly like Chris Cooper to me — voice, accent, everything — but Chris Cooper is from Kansas City, Missouri and the carpenter dude is from Memphis. That’s 500 miles apart. I bet folks in those areas would easily be able to hear a difference between their respective accents. (Either way, their voices still sound incredibly alike.)

The Dumbest Country Song Ever

Friday, April 6th, 2007

I happened across this video clip from some guy’s radio talk show in which he was skewering the song “Ticks” by Brad Paisley. Now Brad Paisley isn’t my favorite artist or anything, but he’s talented and pretty clever, and his fans understand him. So what the host was suggesting in his bit seemed really off to me. I decided to let him know. Here’s what I wrote:

Hey, just a random commenter taking a moment to provide feedback on your “Dumbest country song ever” video pertaining to Brad Paisley’s song “Ticks.” I assume, based on your set of videos and your user name, that you are the host of the show, so I’ll direct my comments to you.

I know you were probably just mining for material, but your skewering of Brad Paisley’s song “Ticks” couldn’t be more off. I think you really missed the mark on this one. I mean, I get that it sounds incredibly stupid when you take it out of context and all that, and I also get that you need to do that kind of thing for comedy every once in a while. But how much of a sense of irony does it take to realize that the “wink wink” intimacy suggested by saying “I’d like to check you for ticks” is completely tongue-in-cheek?

It may be that you need the context of knowing that Brad Paisley is known for this type of offbeat humor in his songs. But still, I don’t think it’s missed by the average country listener that what Paisley is actually proposing has little to do with ticks and much more to do with closely exploring the naked body of the person being addressed by the lyrics.

So… what does it say about you that your sense of humor is not as sophisticated as that of the average country listener?

Ooh, sorry, that one may have been a little below the belt. Might want to have someone check you for bruises.

- Kate O’Neill
Songwriter & Queen Bee
Honey Bowtie Music, Nashville, TN

Prince is so shocking!

Monday, February 5th, 2007

I did not watch this super-bowl-thing you all keep talking about. (Is that soccer or something?)

But I have been made aware (that is to say, the CEO just popped his head in the doorway and mentioned to me) that the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince played halftime. In the rain. With an electric guitar.

I am not a physicist, nor am I a meteorologist, nor am I an electrician. But isn’t there some electrical shock hazard here? Or is that not a very rock’n'roll thing to be worried about and I am therefore being a big ol’ sissy?

Help settle my mind, people.

PS: Brittney, does this, in your esteemed estimation, count as blogging about the Super Bowl?

One small year and some tiny kittens

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Well, here it is: the day I’ve been dreading. It’s been one year since my dad died. I thought I would have a lot to say about that, but I find myself oddly quiet on the subject. The only thing I’ll say is what I wrote in an email to my sister this morning:

I still miss Dad very much, of course, but I’m also amazed at how much healing happens in the course of one year. Then again, I’m equally amazed at how much still hurts after a whole year has passed. It’s almost like time and healing can be measured in two different dimensions, on two different scales, with one exceeding my expectations and one falling so very short. Or whatever. I guess that’s why it’s easier just to say “life is funny.” ;)

Shawn Colvin already summed it up for me, anyway, with this song:


One Small Year
by Shawn Colvin

One small year
It’s been an eternity
It’s taken all of me to get here
Through this one small year

The hands of time
They pushed my down the street
They swept me of my feet to this place
And I don’t know my face

Now all through the night I can pretend
The morning will make me whole again
Then every day I can begin
To wait for the night again

One more tune
That will never be done
It’s just another one for the moon
For the days in the ruin

Just today I woke up feeling fine
Like the world was mine
I was clean
And it was a dream

Where out of the blue came you and me
The Wizard of Oz had set us free
You let me float you to your feet
Just like you believed in me
It’s like you believed in

One small year
I wonder where I’ve gone
It shouldn’t seem so long or so weird
And I was always here

It’s just one small year

Race for the Cure, Nashville, November 2006Yesterday, the Race for the Cure came through our neighborhood, and I stood outside with a cup of coffee and watched them, thinking of my dad, and how he lost his race. But it was encouraging to see how many people turned out to help raise money for the cause, so maybe someday cancer will be a thing of the past.

Speaking of raising money for good causes, last night, we went to two fundraisers. The first was for the Nashville Humane Association: Anipalooza. Heh. We went to the one last year, too, and I’m sorry to say that this year’s wasn’t as good as last year’s. Last year they had doggie speed dating, which was just about the cutest thing ever, but that was gone this year for whatever reason. The music in the main tent was also too loud, meaning you could barely hear someone shouting next to you, and you sure weren’t going to casually mix and mingle and get to know new people.

Karsten and kittens at Nashville Humane AssociationOn the plus side, there were kittens inside the shelter, which just about makes up for any shortcoming in event planning. Just like last year, Karsten was in one of the cat rooms playing with kittens most of the time we were there, and drew a crowd watching him get the kittens all excited. You should have seen these kittens crawling all over Karsten. I took pictures but they only hint at the stinging cuteness of it all.

After that, we went to back to our neighborhood for the “Heart and Soul” benefit at Werthan Lofts, for the American Heart Association. The contrast was stunning: someone there must be a professional event planner or something. They gave out wine glasses to each attendee, along with maps of the building showing the lofts that were open for the event. And then they had signs up on the hallway walls and balloons marking the entrance of each open unit to help people find their way through the somewhat confusing layout of the building. Plenty of volunteers, plenty of wine, plenty of cool people, and plenty of music ensured that it was a great party. A lot of folks were there from the Germantown neighborhood, too, which was fun.

My two favorite men in the worldA Vietnamese coworker of Karsten’s used to say: so much good, so much bad. I think of that a lot, and I consider it a victory when the bad doesn’t overshadow the good. Right now, as much as it still hurts to miss my dad, I know the good in my life — like loving and being loved so deeply by someone as wonderful as Karsten, and having a job I enjoy, and being part of a community of great people, and living in a home we have the ability to enjoy and improve, and having good friends, not to mention that I was lucky enough to have had a dad as wonderful as he was — all that good is as bright as sunlight and nothing can overshadow it. And I guess that should be enough to get me through another small year.

Purity vs. technique in songwriting

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Mark at This Guy Falls Down has some musings on songwriting and his “songwriting hacks” series (which can be found by riffling through the Creative Process category on his blog archives).

I just don’t think participating in the creative process is an area where you can find a clever workaround. The creative process is not one to be manipulated. I guess it works, if all you want to do is be a “hack”.

Now, I have a lot of respect for Mark, but hey, I’m willing to go toe-to-toe with a Grammy winner. Because I do think there are ways to manipulate the creative process, and I don’t think it necessarily makes the creator a “hack.”

Besides, most of what Mark wrote about in the “hacks” series weren’t manipulations to the songwriting process, but guidelines to make the process easier. Saying that you should read good material to be able to write well is hardly a controversial idea, as writing advice goes. Saying that you should work on one song at a time is a matter of preference and experience (I don’t write as well unless I can flit back and forth between multiple songs in progress). Of course, Mark did say at the beginning of the series that he was taking liberties with the word “hack” anyway:

I’m hoping to share some advice I’ve picked up along the way as a musician, particularly as it pertains to songwriting. I call this advice “hacks”, even though that’s probably not the proper use of the term, simply because we’re on the Internet here and it seems appropriate.

But I guess I’m arguing that you could talk about songwriting “hacks” in a way that’s closer to the “clever or elegant solution to a difficult problem” meaning of the word. I’ve even talked about some of those kinds of things here over the years. There are scads of books written about songwriting technique, and some of them get awfully clever with the difficult problems they tackle.

Creativity is a fickle mistress. Taking a purist approach to songwriting and letting raw emotion drip from your pen is usually the best way to get to the heart of a feeling or an experience. That’s the art of it. But once you have the raw material, there are definitely tricks and techniques that comprise the craft of songwriting, and knowing a little of Mark’s music, I know that he’s very capable with those tools and techniques. And I’m pretty firm about advocating that craft in creativity is nothing to be ashamed of.

I also think it’s very natural to go through phases where we vacillate from a more purist approach to a more crafted approach to creating. As long as we keep creating, the balance seems to restore itself eventually.

Best songwriters, via Paste and NPR

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Paste magazine published its list of 100 best living songwriters, and Robin Hilton on NPR’s Mixed Signals followed with a rewritten version of the 10 best living songwriters. It seems to me that the Paste list skews a bit older and hippier, whereas the NPR list skews a bit younger and edgier.

Compare Paste’s top 10:

1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young (Buffalo Sprinfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
5. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
6. Leonard Cohen
7. Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)
8. Elvis Costello
9. Joni Mitchell
10. Prince

with NPR’s:
1. Bob Dylan
2. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
3. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
4. Bruce Springsteen
5. Vic Chestnutt
6. Stephin Merritt
7. Sufjan Stevens
8. Aimee Mann
9. PJ Harvey
10. David Dondero

Personally, there are points on both lists I agree and disagree with: “Joni Mitchell feels like a token pick“? Huh? But the inclusion of Aimee Mann in the top 10 feels right to me, so maybe we’re even on that one.

And it’s unclear what some of the criteria for inclusion on either list are. In the NPR list, the notes on PJ Harvey include “Anyway, I really think if she were a man she’d get a lot more credit than she does. She plays guitar and rocks better than most. And her sound is so distinctive. Listen to the crunch of the opening guitar in ‘One Time Too Many’.” Are we still talking about songwriting? There’s surely a blurry line between songwriting and instrumental performance for singer-songwriters who use their primary instrument to convey melody and message, but a good chunk of that spills over into musicianship, arrangement, and production rather than songwriting, per se.

Anyway, I’m very happy to see some of my absolute favorite songwriters represented in the Paste list, like Bob Dylan (#1), Elvis Costello (#8), Joni Mitchell (#9), Paul Simon (#13), Holland-Dozier-Holland (#17), Lou Reed (#21), Elton John & Bernie Taupin (#23), Tom Petty (#29), Kris Kristofferson (#38), Ryan Adams (#43), David Byrne (#46), James Taylor (#53), Aimee Mann (#54), Morrissey (#57), Conor Oberst (#67), and Lyle Lovett (#87).

Though honestly, I’ve been influenced at some level by almost every single name on that list.

And to that list, I would add at least the following, if not a few more (though I’d have a tough time deciding who would get cut to make room):

Daryl Hall (& John Oates sometimes & Sara Allen sometimes) on the incredible merit of songs like “Dreamtime” and “She’s Gone” alone, if not the entire balance of the H&O catalog.

Tori Amos for the sweet melancholy and plaintive lyrics of “Sleeps With Butterflies,” “Tear In Your Hand,” “1000 Oceans,” and so many others. She’s every bit the songwriter anyone else on this list is.

Don Schlitz for sincere, down-to-earth songs like “The Gambler” and “When You Say Nothing At All.”

What about you? Who would you add? Who are you especially glad to see represented?

I love songwriter demos of hit songs

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

I realized this morning that I have a copy of the Marcus Hummon demo version of “Bless the Broken Road.” It’s lovely. If I could legally share it with you all, I would do so quite happily. But for now, if you don’t already know the song, you can just listen to the Rascal Flatts clip on Amazon.com, even though it cuts off right before the end of the chorus, leaving the hook and the chord progression unresolved. But it’s beautiful anyway.

Prosody and God’s Will

Sunday, January 2nd, 2005

Something about that Martina McBride song “God’s Will” (written by Tom Douglas and Barry Dean) gives me chills, but it’s not the lyrics, interestingly enough. I find the lyrical story a bit of a turnoff, actually, since I’m not a believer. But that chorus melody and the cadence and internal rhyme resulting from the repetition of words like: “I’ve been searchin’, wonderin’, thinkin’, lost and lookin’ all my life” and “I’ve been wounded, jaded, loved and hated, I’ve wrestled wrong and right” — it just gets to me. I love well-placed prosody, and I love me some good-sounding words, even if what they mean as a whole doesn’t grab me.

Edit: the very end of the audio clip on Amazon.com has the very beginning of the section I’m talking about.

Lighten up!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

How very amusing. I was trying to find information on when The Mattoid will be playing anywhere in town next, and I stumbled across this review of the “Hello” CD, which starts with the heading “Definitely Not Lionel Richie” and concludes with a question: is it a joke or isn’t it?

Um… hello?

What must be said about my experiences with The Mattoid is that, like perhaps a fair few Nashvillians, I first heard The Mattoid perform when he was using the name Urban Peasant and he played the open mic at the Bluebird Cafe.

Did you catch that? He was playing the Open Mic. At the Bluebird Cafe. Get it?

The Bluebird! Billed as “the legendary Bluebird Cafe.” Where all kinds of famous country singers have played. Where the biggest songwriters in town play every night.

Karsten and I were practically on our feet for his performance, it was so hilariously absurd and out-of-context. Meanwhile, the folks at the tables near ours were unrepentantly holding their mouths agape. Literally — jaws hanging wide open.

It was great. Performance art at its finest.

We’ve gone to see The Mattoid a few times since then, and he puts on a great show. If you don’t take it too seriously, you might just laugh out loud during the performance. And — hello! — that just might be the point.

Come Pick Me Up

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

Every time I see that meme with all the “would you… go out with me? let me kiss you? etc” questions and how it ends with “would you come pick me up at 3 AM…”, I get an earworm of the Ryan Adams’ song “Come Pick Me Up.” I love that song, but with that simple melody repeating so many times through the chorus, it’s a damn sticky earworm.

Come pick me up
Take me out
Fuck me up
Steal my records
Screw all my friends
They’re all full of shit
With a smile on your face
And then do it again
I wish you would

Wish I’d written that…

Friday, October 1st, 2004

I was flipping radio stations while driving home this evening and came across “Live Like You Were Dying” so I stopped and listened for a while. Man! Not only does that song pack a particularly powerful punch in my life at the moment, what with my dad’s situation, but it’s just airtight, musically and lyrically. Great production, great performance by Tim McGraw. I felt overcome with envy. So that got me thinking about other songs I wish I’d written, and I decided to start listing them. After all, I can always refer to this list when I need inspiration.

I also decided to limit the list to songs which were probably written in Nashville, and probably intended for the country market, since that’s where we’re aiming and I sometimes find it so stifling that it’ll be a good reminder to see a list of great songs that stayed within the “safe” limits of country radio acceptability.

So this is the beginning of it…

Live Like You Were Dying
(James Nichols / Craig Wiseman)

I Hope You Dance
(Mark Sanders / Tia Sillers)

A Little Past Little Rock
(James Brown / Brett Jones / Tony Lane)

You’ll Think Of Me
(Darrell Brown / Ty Lacy / Dennis Matkosky)

Bring On The Rain
(Helen Darling / Billy Montana)

[Edit: additions since original post]
Every Light In The House
(Kent Robbins)

Great song

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

I have to say, “Where Is The Love” is still absolutely one of the best songs I’ve heard in years.

Also, that woman in Black Eyed Peas is incredibly hot.