Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Completely random music post!

Before I get into the daunting task of relistening to all the albums I bought this year, here's a random little list! Why would listening to music I like be daunting? Well, it's kinda like studying for a test for something you're really into, but it's still a test. You have to have all your ducks in a row, and my ducks are usually all over the place. Also, this is a positive list to counteract all the 2016-induced negativity lately.

Top 7 Artists that LITERALLY Changed My Life:

1. Madonna
80s Madonna was my gateway into "real" music, i.e., songs not about choo-choo trains or sung by Smurfs. When I first heard "Borderline," I think I matured about 5 years in a day. I haven't been into Madonna for a long time, but I can still throw on any of her 80s albums and feel it.

2. REM
I was such a pop junkie in the 80s, and when I first heard REM's "Stand" it was the start of a HUGE musical shift. I still stayed connected with pop for a while, but the shift towards alt-rock (and later country, though unrelated) was permanent. Without REM, would I have later gotten into bands like Weezer and Green Day? They were a great gateway band, and just a great band (especially their early 80s stuff).

3. The Beatles
OMG so cliché! But clichés are clichés for a reason, and come on, every high schooler went through a Beatles phase (and also a Bob Marley phase.) What's great about those artists is they're not really a phase, they stay with you forever. The Beatles are significant for me not just for their own music, but how much they opened me up to other music of the 60s and 70s, which is a huge part of my library to this day. Another "if not for them, would any this have happened?" band that I'm eternally grateful for.

4. Garth Brooks
And ditto for Garth Brooks, except even bigger, because he opened me up to a whole new exciting genre! I grew up with country, folk and bluegrass because my parents were musicians and played those styles, but Garth made country into "not my parents' music." It was cool, it was fresh, it was exciting, and without him, would I have ever gotten into Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, Patty Loveless and all my other 90s favorites? Would I be mourning the loss of quality mainstream country so hard today, if Garth hadn't helped ingrain it into my system? That's kind of a sad thought, actually. Okay, back to happy!

5. Letters to Cleo
Girly alt-rock owned my life in the mid-90s and I still love it SO MUCH. LTC actually reunited and made a kickass EP this year, and they're probably my favorite band of all time if I had to choose. When I need a go-to pick me up, I put on LTC or Kay's solo stuff. They also led me to bands like Veruca Salt, Belly/Tanya Donelly, Throwing Muses, etc.

6. Miranda Lambert
I've written here umpteen times about how I strayed from country post-9/11 and the whole Dixie Chicks fiasco, and how Miranda brought me back into the fold with her amazing debut album. Kerosene is one of the best debut albums I've ever heard, and it led to a string of other mostly great albums. (I didn't love Platinum, though there's enough good material to keep me going.) Getting back into country at this time also led me to Kellie Pickler, the Zac Brown Band, and of course Miranda's own Pistol Annies, which got me into Ashley Monroe, and so on. Yay!

I thought about ending the list here, but then a totally new thought occurred to me. When I inevitably lost interest in country again due to the sudden, staggering drop in quality and Luke Bryanification, there was an artist who once again helped bring me back in.

7. Kacey Musgraves
When I first heard "Follow Your Arrow" and fell in love, I didn't realize how deeply I missed new country music. I'd turned off the radio in disgust when "Country Girl Shake it for the Shrubbery" was in heavy rotation, and never turned it back on. While "Arrow" was a hit, Kacey was clearly not a slave to radio trends. And her spirit of independence opened me up to other artists, like Brandy Clark and Sturgill Simpson. I'd never really ventured outside mainstream country, because I liked most of it, so why would I? But this is a different time, and you have to be more open to find new stuff you like, and Kacey helped set me on that path. Also, she has the best aesthetic of any artist pretty much ever. Her costumes and staging are an art form almost on par with her songs, and I love the concept of "visual music." Very cool. She even made a cool Christmas album, for pete's sake!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Worst Songs addendum: "What is that horrible noise?!"

A few days after I posted my worst songs list, I watched someone else's list, the first of approx. 1502 such videos I'll be watching this month. And I heard a song so rancid, so vile, so spit-in-the-face of all that's musical, it deserved its own category. A category that a couple songs on my own list belong to as well. *clears throat*

WHAT IS THAT HORRIBLE NOISE?!

Yes, 2016 decided to push all sorts of awful things on us in its 2016-ness, but an especially odd one is the sounds in some popular songs. It's like they're testing the limits of what can be called "music" and what should be called "an industrial accident." Here's the song in question:



Now wait!, you say, as you start listening to the song. This sounds like pretty standard pop fare, maybe even better than most! What's your problem, you just hate everythi-- OH DEAR GOD IS THAT A FERAL CAT PLAYING A DIDGERIDOO???

And the only answer I can give you is yes, yes that is a feral cat playing a didgeridoo. Badly. Why this song with apparently not just one but two producers features such a sound, I have no idea. Maybe they placed a bet on who could put the most ear-bleedingly repulsive noise in the song and still have people buy it. Some hipster ass producer is eatin' steak tonight! 2016, ladies and gentleman. That sentence actually sums up the year quite well, except the hipster ass producer is probably a vegan.

Sigh.

That song is now on my dishonorable mentions, obviously. (Excuse me, my "less shitty shit" list.) Too late to add it to the list, but I have to do something. As for songs I did mention, there are a couple that fit this category. The first made my less shitty shit list, and listening to it I'm not sure why I didn't put it on the worst list. Maybe because my poor, addled brain refused to accept it was actually a song.



WTF is that??!! That's an accident, not a song! What planet am I living on! AAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!! And why do these idiotic extra "i's" keep popping up in people's names? Is this some hipster thing I don't understand? Whatever it is, it drives me into a senseless rage every time I see it. God, I hate annoying, pretentious crap.

*deep breath* Okay. Just one more and I'm done cause this is actually making me angry.

I mentioned this one when I talked about "wa wa wa wa wa wa," and I probably should have included it too because seriously, the entire "song" is one long, horrible noise.



If that isn't the ugliest "chorus" (?) you've ever heard, I don't know what is. This sounds like some kind of broken-down carnival nightmare all the way through. Who would listen to this? Who would do that to their ears? I refuse to accept that in the space of ONE generation people's ears have mutated to the point where they enjoy listening to this. So what is going on?? Because this is unlistenable garbage and yeah, I'm going back and adding it. Though calling it "less shitty shit" is way too complimentary.

Here's what Rihanna used to sound like, btw.



Like it or not, at least it sounds like a pop song. I'm not saying an artist should be stuck on one sound their whole career, but I am saying they should keep making actual songs. She went from "please don't stop the music" to DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP, and that's pretty sad.

I really hope this trend doesn't bleed into 2017. Just let it die, please.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Top 10 Best HIT Songs of 2016

Let's get the other easy list out of the way, the top 10 best HIT songs of 2016! Most of today's hits suck, but at least there's a limited number of them for easy pickin'. BRIGHT SIDE ACHIEVED!

So, this list is gonna be REALLY boring, in that it's almost all Eric Church and Chris Stapleton songs. Not that they're boring, I guess predictable is a better word. And... lacking in variety. Cause yeah, this year really sucked.

The usual crap: I haven't heard a lot of this year's charting songs, because why would I do that to myself, so these are only the ones I have heard. Songs must have first hit the top 20 on the billboard pop or country chart in 2016. Otherwise, I'd just put Prince's "When Doves Cry" down ten times and go get a coffee.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Tim McGraw - Humble and Kind
Zac Brown Band - Castaway
Adele - When We Were Young
Carrie Underwood - Church Bells

Oh yeah, one more note. If Lady Gaga's GORGEOUS "Million Reasons" had hit the top 20 instead of the mediocre "Perfect Illusion," it would be at #3. Instead, it will be on my other favorite songs list, the one that doesn't rely on the general music listening public having a brain. Sigh.

10. My Church - Maren Morris
Same artist at #10 on my best and worst lists. This girl needs some focus.

9. Starboy - The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
Wow, here's an artist that's grown on me. I loved "Can't Feel My Face" last year, but his other stuff left me kinda cold. I'm not much into electronic music, but this song just hits a groove, and I think it's opened me up to more of his music. Catchy, beautifully spacey production and his voice doesn't stick out like a sore, um, voice, like it does sometimes.

8. Stressed Out - twenty one pilots
This song might have been a little higher if I ever wanted to hear it again the rest of my life. Yeah, overplay isn't really the song's fault, but by God am I sick of this. It's good though, and such an unlikely hit. Where did this even come from?? Their other two hits this year didn't do much for me. Instead, I'd recommend "Tear in My Heart," "Ode to Sleep," and the beautiful poetry of "Car Radio."

7. Mr. Misunderstood - Eric Church
I can't say much more about this album at this point. I love it, I'm thrilled it's connected with people the way it has (not just critics), and it's elevated Eric Church from sort of "eh" to one of my favorite country artists in the space of a year.

6. I Met a Girl - William Michael Morgan
As I said in another post, this would have been a good song in the 90s. One of many with this rich, warm tone and vocals that wrap around you like a hug. A hug made of chocolate. In 2016, this is a small miracle. Please, let mainstream country continue in this direction, and please let WMM's stellar current single "Missing" make my 2017 list. This is a good song; it's an even better omen.

5. 24k Magic - Bruno Mars
I feel like the only two pop artists who'll make these lists with any regularity are Bruno Mars and The Weeknd. Maybe because they're making catchy, interesting music in the time of "wa wa wa wa wa wa." This isn't quite up with Uptown Funk, but that's like saying steak isn't quite up with lobster. Eat 'em both. Don't even put on a bib! Yolo, bitches. This is just pure pop sunshine in an utterly dreary year. 2016 needed Bruno Mars, and he delivered.

4. Kill a Word - Eric Church ft Rhiannon Giddens
"And I'd hang 'hate' so that it can't be heard
If I could only kill a word"
A pretty perfect song for our current climate. I hope people listen to what he's singing. Also, thank you for bringing Rhiannon Giddens to our attention, because she's wonderful.

3. Nobody to Blame - Chris Stapleton
This sounds almost straight out of my car radio in 1995. I don't think I have a better compliment than that.

2. Parachute - Chris Stapleton
Two top 20 hits for Chris Stapleton this year. You'd almost think 2016 didn't suck. But these songs should have charted higher, and also the rest of the year sucked. Anyway, this song is fantastic, maybe my favorite off of Traveller, which is one of my favorite country albums in many years. It didn't chart as high as some of the year's forgettable fluff, but I guarantee it will be remembered much, much longer. Honestly, who will remember "Came Here to Forget" or anything by Kane Brown or Dan + Shay in a year?? Nobody but diehard fans, I'd guess, while the soulful "Parachute" will quietly become a classic.

And speaking of classics...

1. Record Year - Eric Church
A song that in celebrating the classics becomes one itself. This was actually a HUGE hit, and I have no idea how, but I'm so happy! This song sounds like it was written for me. That it struck a chord with so many people makes me wonder if I'm not so alone after all. *listens to Old Dominion and Thomas Rhett* Yeah okay, I'm pretty alone. But at least I have Eric Church for company.

Yeeeeah, that was pretty boring. I'M SORRY. This year was just so awful. But on the positive side, I'll take the success of Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, and William Michael Morgan as a sign country might be returning to some semblance of sanity. I didn't listen to much country this year, outside of these specific artists I know I like. I'm really hoping 2017 rekindles my interest in the genre, because it's so very good when it's good.

And... that's it! Favorite non-top 20 songs and albums post will be next. This will require more research and relistening, so it'll be up when I'm feeling it. I also haven't listened to one VERY important album yet, so hopefully I can squeeze that in before I make my list. Considering it's a double album, it's gonna take a lot of squeezing. Cause, I'll be honest here. The last new album I listened to was The Pretty Reckless' Who You Sellin' For, which was released in late October. After the horrific event of November 8th, I haven't listened to any new music. I retreated into my safe little bunker of 70s-90s music and transported myself to another time. Because that's what I do. This time, I think I'm pretty justified, because who the hell wants to be here right now.

BUT ANYWAY. I wanna listen to that Miranda album, but I also wanna do it in the right frame of mind, so the albums list might be delayed til next year.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR!!!

That's right, time to get wicked drunk on eggnog, throw another Luke Bryan record on the fire, and make year end lists!

Part one: Top 10 Worst HIT Songs of 2016

I'll have two "good" posts coming later this month, one for songs and one for albums, so let's just get the bad out of the way. Though "getting the bad out of the way" in 2016 is kind of like "getting the oxygen out of the air," but whatever.

Guys. This year was awful. I'm talking rock-bottom. Both, you know, world-wise, sanity-wise, and also mainstream music-wise. I feel like this was the most dull, uninspired, lackluster year yet. We'll call it the Year of Minimum Effort for Maximum Results. I don't know why people continue to buy musical equivalents of paint-by-numbers pictures, but I don't know why a lot of things anymore. The world has turned and left me here, etc. (At least I still have Weezer.)

2016 was truly the worst of both worlds, in that basic human liberties are being debated, like that's a thing that needs to happen, yet all the popular music sounds like it was made by robots. No, not even robots. One singular, particularly unimaginative robot. If you're gonna send us back to the 50s, can we at least have some good music like Elvis or Buddy Holly?

That said, I personally had a pretty great music year, discovering a few new bands I LOVE and enjoying new music from old favorites. So I didn't spend too much time shaking my fist at the charts, or listening to mainstream pop and country at all. So this list will be only the songs I've heard. There are quite a few I haven't, especially on the country side, because zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Excuse me, I seem to have nodded off. To be eligible for the list, a song must have placed in the top 20 on the billboard pop or country chart THIS year. (If it first entered the top 20 last year, it's not eligible and I likely covered it last year anyway.)

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS - no wait, everyone says that. LESS SHITTY SHIT:

(Note: Soooooo many songs this year were just BORING, so I'll be skipping those unless they're egregiously boring.)

Black Beatles, by Rae Sriracha or whatever - You know when there's an artist so devoid of talent, so lacking in charisma, so undeserving of success, that you try to will them out of relevance with your mind? That's these guys for me. I'm not sure I've ever rooted so hard for a band not to make it. But here they are, with a number one song, calling themselves "black Beatles" no less, and it just makes me SO ANGRY! Not quite Trump levels of angry, but it's in the same "crap rising to the top" category. (You know, old people voted for Trump, millenials buy Rae Srurmenerr and Chainsmokers albums, but us poor Gen Xers have nothing but flannel and tears.) ☹️ Maybe there is a "black Beatles" out there somewhere, but it sure as hell isn't these untalented, unlikeable posers. This doesn't make the list only because it's the least trashy thing I've heard from them. God help us.

7 Years, by Lukas Graham - Something about this song just makes my skin crawl. I can't put it into words, but it's like it's trying so hard to be deep and failing. So hard. Also, dude named his whole band after himself. Not "The Lukas Graham Band," just his bloody name! Not even ADAM LEVINE did that. Pretentious! There's the word I was looking for.

One Dance, by Drake ft. blah blah who cares - You know, of my worst songs list from last year, one that grew on me is "Hotline Bling." I... I actually kind of like that song now. But this? This is everything I said about Hotline Bling, for real. This is nothing. I said I wasn't gonna put boring songs on here, but this is the perfect kind of boring to personify 2016 pop music.

Rock On, by Tucker Beathard - TUCKER. BEATHARD. I had to listen to this song before I put it on the list to confirm it's actually bad, and phew!, it is in fact bad. Not an interesting enough kind of bad you'd expect from someone named "Tucker Beathard" though, so it doesn't make the list.

Ju Ju on that Beat, by who gives a crap - Another effortless, substanceless piece of dance garbage like "Watch Me," made by talentless, flash in the pan nobodies. Calling them one-hit wonders will be generous; more like "pure dumb luck hit wonders." Hopefully the demise of Vine will make this shit go away, or at least confine it to whatever little corner of the world it belongs in and away from my ears.

Treat You Better, by Shawn Mendes - Hey kid, "nice guys" don't try to get girls to break up with their boyfriends. You're just a douchebag in disguise! (Sung to the tune of "Devil in Disguise.") Can this guy please just go away so I don't have to talk about him again next year?

Panda, by gratuitous extra "I" go fuck yourself - This might have made the list, if I knew what the hell it was.

Gold, by gratuitous extra "I" go fuck yourself - This might have made the list, if I knew what the hell it was... hmm, I'm sensing a pattern here. This one sounds like someone spilled their orange juice all over the... chorus? and they were just like fuck it, we'll call it a feature! And it worked, cause idiots bought it. If you ever wanted the musical equivalent of a vhs tape with tracking problems, here you go.

Dibs, by Kelsea Ballerini - Boring, insipid, pop country, made notable only by her cloying, cutesy, overly twangy talk-singing. Blecch!

EDIT: Starving, by Hailee Steinfeld and not one, but two pretentious producer douchebags! - Hey!, one of them said. Let's make a song that sounds like a feral cat playing a didgeridoo! Um, are you sure about that, Charlie? Yup, stick it right in there Steve! The people will love it! (I like to think of silly-named producers like "Zedd" actually being called Steve or Ted or Harry.)

She's Got a Way with Words, by Blake Shelton - I love that this petty piece of crap ended Blake's number one streak. So fitting. Leaving it off the list purely cause I enjoy the Schadenfreude. Well, that and it's not as bad as anything on the list. Hoo boy.

10. 80s Mercedes, by Maren Morris - By pop standards, this is okay. Not good, just okay. By country standards... ha! like country has standards! That's a good one.

9. Home Alone Tonight, by Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild - This song would be douchey, pathetic and immature if sung by teenagers. The fact that it's sung by two forty year olds almost makes it funny. Almost. "So put your drink down, throw your camera up, Flip it around and snap a payback picture
(Send it to my ex), I'll send it to my ex, And send them both a text saying, "We ain't going home alone tonight." Come on now, guys. Just come on. I don't usually tell people to "act their age," but nobody of any age should be acting that way in the first place.

8. Anything by the Chainsmokers - Because it all sounds the same. Chick singer drones over a beat that manages to be both dull and annoying simultaneously. Talentless douchebros; the Chase Rice of EDM. Yet somehow wildly successful. I DON'T GET YOU, MUSIC BUYING PUBLIC.

7. Wa wa wa wa wa wa, by Rihanna - Um, I don't want to sound insensitive, but did Rihanna suffer a stroke? You used to be able to make out most of what she was singing, unlike this mumbled, unintelligible slurry. It's also boring, and it was also number one for about 27 weeks, because we suck as a species. She charted another thing I'll charitably call a song called "Needed Me" that's actually worse, but this one is a poster child for Minimum Effort for Maximum Results. (EDIT: the broken-down carnival nightmare that is "Needed Me" definitely belongs in dishonorable mentions, at least.)

6. Beautiful Drug, by *sigh* Zac Brown Band - Having to put one of my favorite artists on this list pains me, but seriously FUCK this song and fuck everyone who let it be a hit on the "country" charts. If this had been contained to the pop charts it wouldn't even be on this list, but I have to take a stand against this madness.

5. Fix, by Chris Lane - Bad pop is bad, but bad "country" is SO. MUCH. WORSE. They made a "love" song that name drops BREAKING BAD. I don't know about you, but when I think romance, pretty much the last thing on my mind is WALTER FREAKING WHITE. About the only less sexy thing I can think of is "The Hills Have Eyes" and... oh, wait. Well, at least The Weeknd wasn't trying to make a love song.

4. Move, by Luke Bryan - That this tired, watered down, barely-a-song version of Country Girl Shake it For the Woodchucks is this low on the list should make you very, very afraid of what's to come.

3. TIE! Me Too and No, by Meghan Trainor - Remember when I said bad country was worse than bad pop? I... might have spoke too soon. I didn't think it was possible but Meghan Trainor managed to get more ear-bleedingly strident and annoying this year! 🎉 My utter loathing of these two songs is something that can only be described in the abstract; mere words cannot cover it. It's like that "You're exactly my brand of heroin" line from Twilight, except this is exactly my brand of ipecac. And this double dose of cringe is only at number three! Dear God, what have we wrought???

I talk more about "No" here: http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2016_04_01_archive.html#125639388790967460
Pretty much the same goes for "Me Too," except it's worse.

2. Work From Home, by Fifth Harmony - Okay, maybe at a glance this doesn't look as awful as Meghan Trainor. It's not so in your face, full of itself you want to punch it in self-defense. It's just another song that drones the word "work" over and over again and we're used to those by now, right? There were two of 'em this year, and they were both big hits! For... some reason. But this one is so much worse. For one thing, Rihanna still has some personality and charisma, even after apparently being sent to the studio right after being thrown from a horse. I cannot say the same for these 5 sentient corn husks. Dear GOD, is this devoid of anything remotely resembling music. I have to defend Meghan Trainor here and say at least she isn't boring, in the same way a fiery plane crash isn't boring, but THIS? It's literally just the word "work" sung over and over in a monotone. Marvin the depressed robot would make more energetic music than this. I... I don't even know what to say. This was a hit! What does anyone see in this? And it's not even number one. Holy crap. I wanted to put this at number one, so bad, and yet...

1. TIE! T-Shit (not a typo) by Thomas Rhett, and Snapback, by old Dominion - What could possibly be worse than
"You don't gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work
But you gotta put in work, work, work, work, work, work, work
You don't gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work
Let my body do the work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work
We can work from home, oh, oh, oh oh"?

Two songs by "country" hacks that are entirely about a woman wearing a specific article of clothing. That's right, one wasn't enough! All the complex couture-related questions that weren't answered in "T-Shirt" were hopefully answered in "Snapback," and vice versa! But if not, never fear, cause I'm sure next year we'll get a slew of hits entitled "Wallet Chain," "Tighty Whities," "Golf Shoes," "Angel in Tube Socks," and "She Wears My Dockers Because She Loves Me." Or maybe not, because country seems to be regaining at least some of its senses. I hope so, cause these songs are about as low as we can sink. Please.

Note: while perusing the country charts, I noticed there's an artist called "Drake White." DRAKE. WHITE. THE COUNTRY SINGER. If that isn't the funniest damn thing you've ever heard, just try saying it again. God, I wish he'd gone all the way and just called himself White Drake. That's what all the "country" posers wanna be, anyway. (I haven't heard him, so apologies if he's actually good, but that name is pure GOLD!)

Okay! That was actually more fun than I thought anything about 2016 would be. Whew. I'll be back in a while with the good stuff. It'll take a little longer, since the good stuff requires more work work work work work work... or maybe it's wa wa wa wa wa wa. Peace!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Things I learned in 2016:

1. There are a lot of stupid people, and they vote, thus possibly making them smarter than a lot of smart people.

2. We need to teach white dudes that the existence of non-white-dudes does not take away from their white-dudeyness, and in fact leaves more Axe body spray and Keystone Lite for them. Win/win!

3. Seriously, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Smart people: get on this.

4. And this is the really troubling one - you can't reason with people who simply choose to deny facts. So how do we beat this? Well, I guess a start would be removing non-facts from the conversation entirely. Stop making it an option. If something isn't true, keep calling it out and don't back down, cause they sure as hell won't. We need a return to a fact-based society. That's why everyone's so damn crazy now, we've flat-out lost the plot.

So that's what I hope we learn in 2017.

Monday, November 14, 2016

New Music Monday ~ The Pretty Reckless

Carrying on with some music that might make you feel some things that aren't bad.*

*optimism, 2016 version









Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Congratulations, President Internet Troll. May God help us all.

After 9/11, I remember Jon Stewart asked something like, "is satire dead?" And no, of course it wasn't, but for a time it seemed that way. Things were very hushed and reverent and sad, like being at a huge, confusing funeral. Jokes seemed very far away. What happened last night is the 2nd worst thing I've seen happen in America in my lifetime, and possibly in its history. While 9/11 remains the worst US tragedy (to date), here's the thing. For those of us who weren't directly involved, it was a day. For most of the nation, we grieved and moved on with life, because that's what we do. And we did start laughing again, not out of uncaring, but because it's essential to the joy of life. Where there's life, there's hope. And healing. And jokes.

But... how do you laugh knowing the bad guys won, and there's nothing you can do about it for FOUR FUCKING YEARS at least? This isn't something you can "move past." Where's the catharsis point? It's like trying to heal an open wound. Or... laugh at it. Ha ha, that's so funny, look at all the blood! 😐

My life runs on humor, finding the absurdity or the silly little details in a situation, and I'm completely lost here. Like, imagine if you read all the Harry Potter books and Voldemort wins at the end and you throw the book at the wall in disgust and just kind of stare at it for a while like, "what just happened?" And also it's real. That's how I feel today. And I know that somehow, the nature of life will have us carry on, it will have us laughing again, because we need that to survive. But I don't see how, right now. And that feels scary, and empty.

On a personal level, while I'm not a fan of Hillary, I was looking forward to her winning so I could at least sort of join the human race again. I've spent a lot of this year, especially the past few months, avoiding everything because the sight of Trump's face makes me physically, mentally, and spiritually ill. I now have to figure out how to spend at least the next four years that way, and it's very isolating. No news, and very limited social media, because I can't stand to look at that con artist who is so UGLY, inside and out, and know that 50 million people supported him. They say there's a sucker born every minute. I guess I believe that now.

And as isolated as I feel, and will feel, it's nothing compared to the people who might have their lives ruined by this power hungry madman. If you are one of those people, I support you. Lots of people do. Maybe this is the last stand of the horrible angry people and there's something beautiful in the not too distant future. I hope so. I'm glad I'm in Canada right now. But I'm so shocked, disgusted, and heartbroken for the US.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

There is currently a song in the Billboard top 10 called "Broccoli." I mention this because you must first know your enemy before you can fight it. But also ---



Oh Dana Carvey, you visionary genius!

(WHY didn't he make a movie about this pretentious "rock God" instead of that awful disguise movie? That could have been hilarious!)
I... I think I know how to fix everything. Theo Epstein fixed the Red Sox. Then he fixed the Cubs. Theo for President!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

WOOOOOO now 2016 can be "the year the Cubs won the World Series" instead of, y'know, literally the entire rest of it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

6 days of Halloween, Day 3

My favorite rock song from the 90s. Still kicks all kinds of ass.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

6 Days of Halloween - think happy thoughts think happy thoughts

tbt ~ Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar's first several albums are an absolute treasure trove of 80s rock awesomeness. Highly recommend!

Good news for pop music?

I wouldn't normally give a rip about this, but considering the TOXIC influence Vine has had on the pop charts the past few years, I can only stand up and cheer.

http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/twitter-vine-shutting-down-1201902457/

The mistake, of course, was letting six-minute clips influence the actual music charts, not the existence of Vine itself, but at least now we can go back to regular terrible pop music instead of Vine-terrible pop music.

Also, can we retroactively un-chart all the past Vine "hits?" Maybe lock them in a vault like the Hobgoblins and never, ever speak of them again?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

6 Days of Halloween!

I'll post a song every day til Halloween that helps get me in the "spirit." GET IT?? This will be pretty much all modern rock, for a change.

Friday, October 21, 2016

OH AND

Chris Stapleton's "Parachute", probably my favorite song off of Traveller, has cracked the top 20, making it eligible for my best hit songs list. AND on the pop side, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd have all released killer new songs, so it looks like I'll actually be able to put together a good list instead of a grudging one. Huzzah!

If the world does end, I think I'll miss the year end lists most of all. *sniff*

Feel Good Friday

Rocktober album releases:

Green Day
Letters to Cleo EP
Blackberry Smoke
The Pretty Reckless

Suddenly, everything's coming up me. I better listen to 'em all now in case the rapture happens next month!

I'll just leave this here.




Thursday, October 20, 2016

WAIT WHAT LETTERS TO CLEO GOT BACK TOGETHER AND HAS A NEW EP OUT??!! WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS???

Well I was just informed of this, obviously. In an email from Spotify. But, I mean... LTC was my favorite band for years! And then I loved Kay's solo stuff! And they've been gone for so long! I just.... *sputters, fails to form coherent thoughts* I guess if I wasn't avoiding social media because of the raging junkyard fire, I mean election, I might have heard about it sooner, so FUCK YOU TRUMP. Okay. I'm okay now.

Shall I download it without listening to it first? Yes, I think I shall. Yolo, bitches. Whee!

In the past year I've gotten new albums by Weezer, Veruca Salt, Blink-182, Green Day, and now LTC. Yeah, it can go ahead and be the 90s again. I'm fine with that. Just don't go getting any ideas, Smashmouth.

PS: Kay is wearing a Pat Benatar tee on the album cover. I am complete and at one with the universe.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Feel Good Friday ~ cause we still have Rocktober, dammit

The world may be going to hell, we might have just had a bloody snowstorm in the middle of October, but dammit, it's still Rocktober! So here's some seasonal-feeling classic Canadian rock. Enjoy, and let's go Blue Jays!

On the bright side...

I got an email for something called "Astro Zombies." I guess all is not lost. :)
Why I hate 2016, the short version.

1. I don't care about Pokémon.

2. All mainstream music is now apparently made by the same person sitting at the same computer, probably eating the same sandwich.

3. I don't like Hillary Clinton.

4. I wish Donald Trump would meet up with the butcher from AHS: Roanoke on a red moon night.

5. A "human being" I find so hateful and dangerous that I wish for their gruesome death at the hands of Kathy Bates is one of two choices for motherfucking president of my birth country.

6. My equilibrium has been thrown completely off. What kind of world are we living in, anyway? Not the one I thought, that's for sure. And not in a good or interesting way, like "OMG wizards exist!!" or, "There was a portal to Narnia this whole time!!" Nope, we're talkin' bleak, dystopian YA novels here. And I hate that shit. Hell, I'd take the damn Twilight world over this. I just said that.

7. This year has made me tune things out on an unprecedented level. I can't take all the toxic ugliness, and I feel less and less connected to my own world.

And now, the longer version. This might just be a draft for something I'll get into more in-depth and thought-out later this year, or I might just let it lie and get on with my life.

Let's get music out of the way first, since that is the main focus of my blog. There has been a lot of music I've enjoyed this year, mostly rock, and I'll get to that in December. Probably. But here's the rest of 2016 in a nutshell. For some reason, we're being forced to endure a year where things like basic women's rights are being debated, yet every popular song sounds like it was made by robots. IT'S THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS PEOPLE. If we're gonna go back in time, can we at least have some decent music for the ride?

So yeah. To expand on my #6 & 7, this year has really, really thrown me off. I'm not going to talk too much about Trump, because he is just one "person" and honestly even just typing his name fills me with nauseating unease. What I do want to talk about are all the people who got us into this mess. The ratings-whoring media is certainly partially to blame, but I've talked enough about the scourge of 24/7 "news" and the loss of actual journalism. I knew that already. Let's talk about what I didn't know, or expect, until 2016.

Unfortunately, things like racism, sexism, xenophobia and other forms of bigotry will likely always exist in some form. The main reasons for this seem to be fear of the different or the unknown; a need by some to feel superior over others, to the point that equality signifies a threat of dominance; people passing racism down through generations as though it were a family legacy, or a lamp. So the fact that there are racist, sexist, xenophobic assholes out there who felt "silenced" (boo fucking hoo) is not a surprise. There's bigotry, there's silent, insidious, institutionalized bigotry in things like police forces, but what I didn't expect to ever see in modern America is open bigotry without swift repercussions. Didn't we exile that guy who played Kramer to an island or something? I mean, there's a reason KKK members wear hoods. At least, I thought there was. Is the new rallying cry "Take off your hoods boys, we're FREE!"

OH THE IRONY.

But that's how these people seem to think. Their whiteness, their maleness, their America-ness has been shackled by the inclusion of those who are different. A strong, confident man (or woman) would reach out and shake hands in the spirit of equality, because they don't feel threatened. Why would they? If you view equality of others as a threat, YOU are the problem. Not the government, not your neighbors, YOU. This is the worst kind of entitlement, the kind that leads people to think they deserve something simply based on their perceived place in the world. And for many years, it was true. But that needed to change, and that change only has to be threatening if you let it.

I said before that pulling up the floorboards and exposing this rot was a good thing in the long run, and I still believe that. I mean, it was probably inevitable. 2016 didn't create the mold. But it's made a lot of us, including myself, very sick and scared and shamed. I feel kind of sick to be a human being right now. We're pretty disgusting. Well, that's what I think at my lowest moments, of which there have been many this year. Then I surround myself with things I love and try to move on, at least for a while. But there's no going back from this now. I don't know what will happen. I'm glad I don't live in the US anymore, but the sickness of the human condition knows no borders. I just want people to be better, and kinder, and for God's sake, smarter.

"There is nothing to fear, but fear itself" should be our slogan this year, because fear is what got us here. Fear and pride. Sure, there's such a thing as healthy fear. You won't catch me skydiving any time soon. But if you let fear turn you twisted and hateful, then fear is winning. You might think you're fighting it, but it's destroying you from the inside. And that's what this year is, the (hopefully) last, sad parade of the destroyed. I'm sorry you let yourself get into that state, but don't take the rest of us with you.

And here's the last thing I want to touch on. I've seen a lot of Trump supporters say "respect my opinion, that's all I ask!" and people saying everyone has the right to their opinion, and unfollowing (or maybe real life unfriending) someone because of their political beliefs is wrong. And every other year, I would have agreed with that. I still do, to some extent. But... look, I couldn't stand Bush. But I would have never thought to cut someone out of my life or insult them or say they're "wrong" for supporting him. I would have only unfollowed someone if they were very in your face about it. I had to unfollow someone I generally enjoy because of smug, tiresome pro-Hillary talk. I have my limits. But again, I'm not gonna say they're wrong just because I don't agree with them or I'm sick of hearing about it.

I feel like I can say, with 100% certainty, that Trump supporters are actually wrong. This is no longer a matter of opinion. Their ideology is dangerous and has no place in society. That said, let's look past the hot button issues, the "isms", because that can lead to madness. The bottom line is, this narcissistic madman is not competent or capable of leading. He has no idea what he's doing or how the world works. He's an old, overgrown spoiled rich kid who runs entirely on mania and fried chicken. Look, I get you're sick of politicians. We all are. But we can do better than this. This guy lies and then lies about lying more than actual politicians do!

So yeah. On top of everything else, this has made me a less tolerant person, because I feel like I'm being faced with crazy and told that no, it's just a different kind of sane and you must respect it. THIS. IS. CRAZY, folks, and no, you don't have to respect absolutely everything. I will NOT respect willful ignorance driven by fear. Bigotry is not an opinion and stupidity should not be an option. Remember when the US used to fight against stuff like this? What happened to that?


People... these are the villains in every single movie ever. What the hell have you been watching? No, movies aren't real life, but they often present an exaggerated, even cartoonish projection of villainy and... well, here are those exaggerated cartoon villains in the flesh. HOW THE HELL DID WE GET TO A PLACE WHERE VILLAINS ARE ADMIRED BY ANYONE EXCEPT OTHER VILLAINS??? I suddenly feel like all those movies were more cautionary tales than entertainment, and yet here we are. Amazing.

This year has left me feeling sad, and lost, and confused. I had no idea things were this bad, that so many people had been stifling so much hate. Society feels unpredictable now, in a very not-fun way. Even the air feels uncomfortable. If the madness ends next month (while I don't like Hillary, I feel confident in saying her presidency won't involve "madness"), there's still a lot of shit left to shovel.

Let's start by not letting the villains win. I'm not sure what we're missing more right now, kindness or common sense, but I'll take either one for a start. Find your heart again, America. I know it's still there somewhere. Maybe try looking behind the couch?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Spooooky Good Friday... I mean Thursday ~ Happy Rocktober!

So I am mostly hiatusing from stuff... the internet... life... until all this nonsense is over. Or maybe the nonsense will never end, in which case look me up in my treehouse. Under the sea. On Mars. No, that wasn't supposed to make sense. Since when does life make sense?

What does make sense in these dark, troubled times? Great music, of course. Specifically, great rock music of the past and present that will help get you in the mood for the best month of all!



Does any band embody Rocktober more than KISS? This would be a must at my Halloween party if I had parties and y'know, liked people.



One of MCR's rockinest songs, and the perfect way to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the iconic Black Parade. Crank it.



Let's take things down a notch with this gorgeous, creepy rock ballad from one of my new favorite bands. No matter how many times I hear this, it still gives me chills. Their new album fittingly drops a few days before Halloween, and I can't wait!



A song from possibly my favorite of the Elm Street movies. Doesn't get much more Rocktober than that. I love how so many 80s movies combined rock and horror. The 80s got it, man.



Let's pour a little maple syrup (the real stuff, not that gross fake shit) on our rock with this classic by Canada's own Triumph.



"Let's get hexed, let's hang out." I don't think I can possibly push this amazing UK band CREEPER enough. All three of their EPs are great, each one progressively better. Their first LP is scheduled for release next March, and the first song "Suzanne" is amazing and up on iTunes. CHECK IT OUT.

And have a wonderful month of spookiness! I'm going back to my treehouse.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I looked at the charts. Why did I do that?

I've been listening to music I actually like, and haven't paid attention to the charts in a while. Apparently I was tired of being happy and in a good mood, so here we go!

Country:

Kelsea Bananarama is number one. Screw that, and go listen to Bananarama. At least they're girly pop with some personality.

2. Kenny Chesney ft. P!nk. ...I don't know what to do with that information?? I like both of these artists separately, but... just but.

3. I already discussed the Dierks Bentley/Elle King song and why I am unimpressed. Two artists who can do way better.

Skipping over FGL, Sam Hunt, Jason Aldean, etc. Nothing more I can possibly say about that.

5. Billy Currington - It Don't Hurt Like It Used To. Here's one that if you put more 90s-style production on it, I'd probably actually enjoy. It's not a bad song, and I love Billy's voice, but DAMN modern production to hell. It just sounds so empty and sterile to me. What happened to the warm tones I used to love? This doesn't even flatter his voice. If you want to hear production I love on a Billy Currington song, listen to "Let Me Down Easy." He sounds amazing, and the song actually makes you feel feelings.

Already talked about "Vice." Miranda in the top 10 isn't a bad thing, but this song just doesn't grab me. Meh production strikes again.

Cole Swindell is still a thing. How? Hooooow? HOOOOOOOW? Who is buying music by boring ass people like Cole Swindell, Charlie Puth and Shawn Mendes? It's like giving some random clerk at Best Buy a music career. BRING INTERESTING BACK DAMMIT.

9. Tucker Beathard. TUCKER. BEATHARD. Are you freaking kidding me?? What, was "Punch Rockgroin" too subtle?



Maybe a David Ryder-nicknamed guy is actually preferable to all the interchangeable Cole Luke Brett Chase Kanes, idk. I do know that the song is called "Rock On" and I am supposedly looking at the country charts, not a Michael Damian greatest hit album, so I'm not even gonna listen to it. Psssst... if y'all are so desperate to rock, TRY BRINGING ACTUAL ROCK BACK INTO THE MAINSTREAM. #protip

11. William Michael Morgan - I Met a Girl. Wait, what? Nice voice, nice production, actually sounds country... he must have some serious dirt on some executive to get this played on country radio!



I was talking about the "warm" tones so prevalent in 90s country, and hey, here they are. It has kinda a similar vibe to Mark Chesnutt's "I Just Wanted You to Know," and while it isn't up with that song for me (since that's one of my absolute favorites from the 90s), just being reminded of it in 2016 is a small miracle. I don't know if they were purposely trying to copy a 90s sound on this song, and I don't care. Just keep doing it. In the 90s, this would have been a good song. In 2016, it's freaking country Jesus. And one step closer to actually filling out my top 10 best hit songs list, so thank you!

12. Man, has Keith Urban gotten boring. And he wasn't exactly Mr. Excitement to begin with. The Air Supply of country music.

13. Oh Blake, your petty little song kinda tanked, didn't it? How sad.

14. Luke Bryan - I Hated it the First Time When it Was Called Country Girls Shake it For Me. Cover it with gas, set it on fire.

15. LoCash not even worth my time.

16. DAMMIT TIM.

17. Introducing "Brett Young," the newest member of the Interchangeable Country Dude Name Club. Go on, I dare you to tell him apart from Bryan Chase or Kane Moore! *sigh* I miss Tuck Slabbeef already.

22. 80s Mercedes - Maren Morris. Guys... I think we did it. I think we found the least country "country" song to ever hit the charts! Yes, I am including Sam Hunt! Wow... just wow. Way to lose every bit of goodwill built up from "My Church" with this utter pop GARBAGE. A shoo-in for my top 10 worst list.

You know what, I'm not even gonna do the pop chart after that. That's all the shitty pop music I can stand today.

Actually wait, I do wanna touch on the new Gaga song. It's not great, BUT, the chorus has a Madonna-esque vibe that drew me in a little. Like, this is the kind of song I would expect Madonna to be making now rather then... what Madonna is actually making now. I think Gaga can do better, but it's far from one of the worst things I've heard this year. Well, that's not quite fair. The sound of a car backfiring or a thousand farts would be better than most of the mainstream music I've heard this year. And... yep, that's the note I'm going out on. A thousand farts. Bye!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

TBT

I'm feeling very 80s today, like full 80s, like 80s level orange. So here's Steve Perry and Kenny Loggins. Don't say I never did anything for you, internet.



*doesn't fight it; dances around room*

Monday, August 29, 2016

On a lighter note... Man Crush Monday!

Have I seriously never done this before? Well, "late to the party" is my middle name. Really. It's quite cumbersome on my driver's license. Anyway. Here are, in my opinion, the three most beautiful men on the planet.


Jensen Ackles AKA Dean Winchester. My longest-standing crush! *applauds*


Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance looking adorably cheeky in a beanie. *insert heart eyes emoji*


And finally.. is it possible to sigh and drool at the same time?... Aaron Rodgers. He's not the only reason I'm a Packers fan, but he sure doesn't hurt.

Okay, now back to my regular stoic dignity.

Monday Musings ~ why does 2016 seem so damn sad?

With the news today that Gene Wilder, another wonderfully weird and unique talent, has passed away, 2016 weighed heavily on my mind again. Willy Wonka was as much a part of most of our childhoods as peanut butter and jelly and Saturday morning cartoons. RIP. :( So does 2016 seem especially sad because us 80s kids are losing some of our most beloved icons, and there ain't no angst like 80s kid angst? Maybe, partly, but I think it's more than that.

Let's get this out of the way: the general picture of the world right now isn't too swell. The blight on humanity that is Trump is somehow one step away from actual power, like we're living in some crazy dystopian novel. His opponent is so unlikeable and uninspiring, except to those who are more inspired by gender than actual character, that we can't even comfortably rally around her. It's like having to root for Dolores Umbridge over Voldemort.

I don't know if the world is more violent in terrible ways, like police brutality and terrorist attacks, or if it just seems that way because of the biggest blight of all, 24/7 "news." But by God, does it seem like we're constantly on the brink of disaster in the name of ratings. Congratulations assholes, you've officially warped the psyche of America. Doesn't living in a culture of fear and blame just make you giddy?

That brings me to my main point, "entertainment." On the brightside, I think the 2010s will be remembered as a golden age of tv, mostly because of Netflix, HBO, and networks like AMC and A&E. Meanwhile, the "big" networks keep spoonfeeding cheap reality crap and the same warmed-over formulas. They're becoming irrelevant, much in the way I hope big radio becomes irrelevant to more independent music. Because, oh yes, mainstream music in 2016 SUUUUUUCKS. And I know I say this every year, but this is the worst BY FAR... so far. Just one piece of disposable crap after another. Not even crap. At least crap smells like crap. This is like odorless gas; you don't even know you're inhaling it as it slowly kills your musical taste. Unless a whole slew of great songs comes out in the second half, I will not be able to fill out a top 10 best hit pop and country songs list this year. I WON'T EVEN REMEMBER ANY OF THEM COME DECEMBER!

Movies are becoming more and more tunnel vision, too. Reboots, remakes, sequels, whatever makes a buck. No one's willing to take a risk on original ideas anymore I guess, like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, etc. back in the day. Those things that became the things we look back fondly on now. They had to happen in the first place, you know? Someone had to take a chance. And hey, they all made money! Lots of lots of money. And more importantly, they made lasting impressions. Soon the world will be nothing but a small group of people with a ton of money and nothing to spend it on. And nostalgia will eat itself, because there won't be anything to look back on anymore. With the exception of tv, I've never felt the death of art so strongly as I have this year. And even one of our best tv shows was about... 80s nostalgia.

Going eerily along with this death of art is, of course, the deaths of actual artists who brought a unique voice to the world. While it's incredibly sad to lose people like Prince and Bowie and Merle, we've been losing icons since the dawn of celebrity. I'm sure it was sad to lose, say, Humphrey Bogart, or Frank Sinatra, or Patsy Cline, or John Lennon. What makes this year any different?

Well, basically... where's the good news? What's there to soothe our souls that doesn't end in "ale" or "pie?" The ratio of bad to good things happening this year is shockingly high. While we mourn the loss of one of a kind artists, we also live more and more in a cultural vacuum in which new unique artists cannot be heard. Oh, they're out there, there's absolutely no lack of talent and creativity in this huge world, and there never will be. But how do they get their voices heard in a Kardashian-based society? Perhaps more importantly, how do they get them heard without autotune? Every time we lose an icon, we lose more than just that person. We lose part of a rich culture that's swiftly disappearing and being replaced by... Vine, and "look at me! look at me!" people, instead of people who actually had something to say. The stakes have never felt higher.

There's a reason that not only people who were around in the 80s and before are mourning these icons. Younger people aren't going, "who?" They're mourning right along with us, because the work of these artists is TIMELESS. Kids of today's kids will probably know who Prince is, or Willy Wonka, because we'll keep passing them down. They leave an undeniable cultural mark.

What being made today, at least in the mainstream, will leave that kind of mark? What will still be talked about and remembered fondly, or at all, in 20, 30, 40+ years? At the rate we're going, I say not too damn much. And that's what makes this year seem so damn sad. It's not just the dizzying abyss of perspective that comes from being around all these years. It's not just an 80s kid problem. It's a cultural problem, and it's one we need to fix fast, or we'll be facing years with plenty to mourn, and little to celebrate.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Feel Good Whiskey Soaked Friday ~ The Pretty Reckless

Well, this is good. I just found these guys thanks to a youtuber I subscribed to because they like The Maine. I love when life happens that way! This is, I don't even know what to call it, just solid rock and roll. Music to drink to. So happy Friday, and rock on!





They even have a gorgeous rock ballad.



This song is from their new album coming out in November, so I'm pretty pumped for that!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

All kinds of music stuff! Part three

Rock and roll can still save your soul. I should get that tattooed someday. Actually, I should just put it on a t-shirt. That would be a lot less prickly.

So back in the day when "mainstream rock" meant Journey, not Nickelback, I wasn't really an "alternative" kind of gal. I liked my top 40, dammit. I liked Madonna and Michael Jackson. Everything was just fine, because it was the 80s.

Then, in the latter half of the decade, my impressionable pre-teen self heard R.E.M. for the first time. This was the same time I owned stuff by Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. And maybe it sounds dramatic, but I was forever changed. Not just my taste in music but me, who I was as a human. Oh I still listened to pop music for several years after, but suddenly the world felt bigger and I felt more... whole? Mature? It was exciting.

At this time MTV was not only still relevant, but aired what was probably one of the most important music shows ever, 120 Minutes. This was a two-hour block of alternative videos that aired every Sunday night. I found so many bands through that show, some I still listen to. The Smithereens were another favorite. And The Connells. Oh jangly guitar rock, how I miss you. R.E.M.'s early albums, from the amazing Chronic Town/Murmur era and really up through Monster, were extremely influential on my music taste. I still listen to their more jangly, grungy, melodic garage rock type stuff like "Don't Go Back to Rockville." But then they moved away from that sound and into more... how do I say it... VH-1-y territory, and I lost interest. But the damage - the wonderful, wonderful damage - was done. And my Debbie Gibson tapes were traded in for something awesome. Cause that's what we did back then, we traded in tapes for other tapes. Primitive!

My love for alt-rock waned a bit in the 90s when I got REALLY REALLY into country. I kinda missed a lot of the grunge era, and I never got super into those bands. I did eventually get back into alt-rock, alongside Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn. The bands that really pulled me in were Weezer, Green Day, Letters to Cleo, and Tiny Music- era STP. In 2001, when I dropped country for awhile post-9/11 for sanity purposes, I immersed myself in the alt-rock of the day, like Jimmy Eat World, White Stripes, Motion City Soundtrack, and MCR, the Killers, Paramore, etc. later on. This was pretty much my musical identity for a while, but then when I got back into country in the mid-2000s I kind of lost the thread.

This brings me to a point I want to make. You could say, maybe I "outgrew" that kind of music. Maybe that comes with getting into your 30s. Or maybe the country artists I got into were just killing it and I wanted to focus on that. Who knows? I can say, having gotten pretty hard back into some alt-rock this past year, I definitely haven't outgrown it just because I'm no longer in my teens or 20s. And that's the thing. Some music you will outgrow. Tiffany, for instance. Even Madonna, while I love her 80s material, I haven't listened to it in a long time. But that's pop. Rock, I think, is different.

When you grow up with rock music, it's part of your soul. You don't "outgrow" it. Maybe some bands here and there, maybe certain styles,* but this notion that modern rock is just for people under 25 is ridiculous. I'm from the MTV generation, I'm not gonna suddenly start listening to... polka or something just cause I'm over 30! I still want to keep up with new music, because I like some of it.

I've said this before, but I think the reason people are staying "younger" longer these days is because of rock music. Seriously, if you grow up a rock fan, how can you ever get old? You've got timeless cool built in. It's not like back in our grandparents' day. So yeah, that's my big science-y theory. Rock music keeps you young. Not kale or any of that shit. So eat a cheeseburger, and don't stop listening to rock and roll. #protip #lifehack

*I'm using the terms "rock" and "alt-rock" as a REALLY HUGE umbrella, encompassing indie, pop-rock, pop-punk, garage rock, emo, whatever. I don't even know all the genres. Too complicated. Also, what exactly is "emo?" Well I don't know either, but here's my take on it.

Not emo - MCR. Seriously, they're a rock and fucking roll band.
Good emo - Brand New
Decent emo - Dashboard Confessional
Whiny poser emo - Simple Plan
Bad stereotypical emo - Hawthorne Heights (ya know, the "cut my wrists and black my eyes" guys? *shudder*)

Anyway, it's not a genre I'm really into, but there's some crossover with pop-punk and other stuff I might mention. So yeah, I'm just calling it all "rock," even if a lot of it is a far cry from the classic rock of my previous post.

Speaking of MCR, while they are not reuniting *sniff*, there is this Black Parade tribute album coming out and... uggggh. Okay, there's one track I'm really excited about. My new-favorite-band Creeper is covering "How I Disappear," which I absolutely love, and wow are they perfect for covering MCR. I saw one person compare them to MCR and another to The Killers and yeah, that's pretty much right. They're like a cross between MCR and The Killers and also just themselves obviously, cause that would be boring to just rehash other bands.

But anyway, back to rehashing other bands. This "tribute" album, other than Creeper, features some utterly awful bands, some I haven't heard of, and some of these samey-sounding pop-punk bands. Look. First of all, MCR is NOT a pop punk band. I don't want to hear their songs done in that style. Second, I like some pop-punk. I like Green Day, Blink has some decent stuff, for the newer bands All Time Low is pretty good. But we don't need 50 of these bands that all sound the same! Seriously, I have no idea how fans even tell them apart. I guess I'm glad some kids are listening to this stuff rather than top 40, at least it's music with real instruments and songs actually written by the band. (So, music.) But I can only deal with it in small doses.

You know, pop punk is kind of the hair metal of the 2000s/2010s. Like, it's not terrible music, it is organic and made by actual musicians, but it's still kind of scoffed at. Maybe cause there's a sameyness, maybe cause it seems cheesy, maybe just cause it's "genre" stuff. Now I was never into hair metal, but I can see the appeal of a Bon Jovi or yes, even a Poison. But if you have those guys, do you really need, like, a Winger and a Skid Row too? Idk, I guess if you like the genre, less is not more. It's kind of like how some people look down on horror movies or any genre stuff, really. But it's a funny comparison to me. Green Day would be Bon Jovi, like the big guys that brought the music to the masses, Blink would be Poison, their goofy little brothers, and honestly now I just wanna hear Green Day cover "Wanted Dead or Alive" and Blink do "Nothing But a Good Time," and I've become distracted from my point.

Oh yeah, just like what you like. Don't let me tell you it's all the same. I've probably watched 147 80s slasher movies, what do I know? I can tell you I'd legit rather hear hair metal covers of MCR songs than pop punk ones though.

Okay, time to end this. So yeah, keep seeking out new music, no matter where you are in life. If you like a new band and you're in your 30s and all the other fans are 18, well maybe that just means you're cool. Nothing is "for" specific people, music is for everyone. If something speaks to you, there's a reason for that. (Unless you're a casual listener, and what speaks to you is whatever they play on the radio. *sigh*) So 2016 will forever be the year I got obsessed with Creeper and The Maine, and back into alt rock. I'm glad to be back. And this is only the beginning.



tbt, but new to me!

Before I delve into part 3 of music stuff, it's throwback time. Actually this fits right in with my other posts, because it's stuff I'm listening to right now. It's old, but it's new!

You know when they play a snippet of an old, half-remembered song on a great show, and you spend the next couple days down the rabbit hole of related music? If so, congrats, you're a music dork and probably never listen to Luke Bryan! You go, you. Such was the case when I heard the awesome classic rock tune "Raise a Little Hell" by Trooper on Stranger Things. This show is the gift that keeps on giving.

While I had heard the song before, I had no idea who performed it. Trooper, it turns out, is a Canadian band, which I guess means I have to update my Canadian bands list. While listening to more of their songs, another Canadian classic rock band came up. I had never heard of these guys or any of their music, but holy rock and roll spaceships, are they awesome! (Seriously, is there anything more wonderfully 70s than rock and roll spaceships?)



This is just everything that's good and pure and wonderful about music. It's funny, I was talking about how lacking modern production can be in my last post, and every time I listen to classic rock it strikes me how good the production is. They had that shit nailed down in the 70s, folks. But of course if it ain't broke, somebody's gotta fix it anyway. Just because they can.



Sadly, the original singer died tragically at a young age. I absolutely love his voice. RIP.

So I kept finding more previously unheard classics. It was like an archaeological dig. Or Christmas morning. or an archaeological dig on Christmas morning. (I would have enjoyed that as a kid. Kind of like an extreeeeeeme Easter egg hunt!) The next band was not Canadian, and one I was peripherally aware of as it was formed by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Ronnie James Dio of well, Dio. I think I saw them on Metal Mania too. Anyway, they have some really good stuff.



Our last stop on this 70s/80s rock journey is an artist who is well known and well-loved by me, but for some reason I never heard much of her earlier work. I was a pretty big Pat Benatar fan, to probably no one's surprise, but this was in the We Belong/Invincible time. Her earlier albums are amazing. Just one good, straightforward rock song after another, with her gorgeous, crystal clear vocals. I can't recommend stuff like Crimes of Passion or Get Nervous enough. Any of those old albums, really.





My current heavy rotation playlist is a mix of this stuff and some more modern alt rock, which I will discuss next! BTW, Pat Benatar and Paramore jibe really well together. Hayley Williams has those same kind of hit-you-in-the-sweet-spot-of-the-ears vocals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

All sorts of music stuff! Part two - the 2016 charts :(

2016 has been one of the best and worst music years for me.

I've gotten into some great stuff I think will stay with me for a long time, but mainstream pop and country have sunk to a staggering new low. This got me thinking. Maybe the severe decline in mainstream music in the past several years - hell, even between this year and last year! - is kind of a weird blessing. If I was just dooping along listening to country radio, would I have ever found Blackberry Smoke, Creeper, or The Maine? Or non-radio country artists like Brandy Clark and Margo Price? So thank you, radio, for sucking so hard you have set me free.

But since I'm still planning to do a top 10 best hit pop and country songs list, let's take a look at the charts!

*crickets*

Sooo if you want an overview of how terrible the pop and country charts have been this year, just listen to "Work" and "Work from Home" back to back, over and over. Kinda like a drill boring into your ear, isn't it? Then listen to some bland Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan shit and think about how that dirt road in all the bro-country songs just led to a big dead end. Because bro-country was bad, but by God, it was interesting bad, at least until Cole "Vanilla Wafers on Wonder Bread" Swindell came along. This current stuff is BORING. It's an absence of soul, of substance, of music. And that might be even worse. (But of course Cole "White-Out" Swindell fits right in. Damn it.)

Anyway. Remember last year, which was a pretty bad year overall, when I had like 20 honorable mentions I couldn't fit onto my top 10 best hit songs list? I agonized over not putting Jason Derulo's one good song ever on there. I couldn't even include "Burning House," and I really like that song!

This year, it would be number three.

I know, 2016 isn't over, and man typing that out made me feel depressed. I don't know how the hell a great song like Eric Church's "Record Year" became a hit in this climate, but I'm pretty sure it'll run away with my number one spot. It was a big hit, too. ...Okay? I don't know what to do with this information. I want to look down on you from my golden turntable-shaped throne, general music listening public, but you're making it hard here!



Oh right, there we go. *zots random Fifth Harmony fan with golden drumstick scepter* Eat real music, bitch!! Okay, that felt good. (Seriously, that is one of the worst "songs" I've ever heard in my life.) Why a drumstick scepter? Because synthetic drumbeats suck, and I want to beat people with a drumstick. k? k.

Okay okay, clearly the same people who buy Eric Church don't buy Fifth Harmony, but my confusion still stands. Who, among mainstream music fans, is buying Eric Church? Luke Bryan fans? If so, how do they not immediately become former Luke Bryan fans after hearing Eric Church? This feels like a song and album I would like, and like a handful of other music dorks. It's nichey, but somehow not. Maybe it's mostly name recognition. Or maybe I can dare to have a little hope in humanity?

Nope, hope in humanity has burned me before. NEXT!

So my number two song so far, and literally the only pop song I can see legit making my list, is one I'm so sick of I never want to hear it again. But it's still SO FAR above the rest of the pop charts you'd need a specialized instrument to measure it. Some kind of space instrument. Anyway, it's "Stressed Out" by twenty one pilots. This band is kind of hit or miss for me, but they write some damn good, hard-hitting emotional lyrics. Like they come at things from an angle you wouldn't have thought of, but it oddly hits. It's kind of a gift. "Car Radio" is the best song I've heard from them by far, but I like "Stressed Out" and again, I'm amazed this was a hit alongside all the robot shit. Seriously, the lyrics to every pop song this year might as well be "beep boop beep boop." And then you get this weirdly deep, poetic stuff from top. I don't know???

This top 10 list is gonna be a bitch, which is kind of amazing considering it's top 20 pop and country hits. It's looking like most of the list will be songs that would have been honorable mentions last year. Songs I like, but don't love. Like, I was happy to see ZBB's "Castaway" hit the top 20, even though it's standard beachy fare and not really BEST SONG OF THE YEAR material, at least it's something I listen to and enjoy. And I need stuff to fill out this damn list. Of course "Humble and Kind" will make it, and probably "My Church," and "When We Were Young" on the pop side. But those and "Castaway" are honorable mention level songs, to me.

So those are our standards this year, folks. Next year, will there be anything at all?

Oh, one more thing. I... kinda like that Justin Moore song, "You Look Like I Need a Drink." Too bad I don't like Justin Moore. Not just his dopey, pandering persona, I could look past that. It's his voice. It's like being hit over the head with sentient twang. "HE CAIN'T EVEN BAIT A HYOOOOOOOOK" ow ow ow stop hitting me! And I like twang, but come on. Decent song, though. If someone with a great voice like idk, the woefully underused Randy Houser sang it, it mighta been a contender.

Part three will be about my main passion this year - my glorious return to the alt rock scene. I'm splitting this into three parts because I'm trying to organize this thing I call my brain. yay!

All sorts of music stuff! Part One ~ new songs by artists I love

So I haven't done a big, sprawly music post in a while. Mostly because I've been too busy listening to music. Let's start out with NEEEEEEEW music! Ooh, ahh.

The BIG news: Blackberry Smoke, who of course earned my number one album of 2015, released a new song ahead of their upcoming album and it's amazing.



This rocks so hard I'm afraid it's gonna fly right off the page! I love the heavy, driving sound. If this is any indication of their new album, they might top my list two years in a row. (I know they've released another song, but I'm waiting to hear the album in full now.) I've literally marked October 14th on my calendar as "BBS Day." Seriously, bless the hell out of these guys. This is the band 2016 needs.

Speaking of bands we need, motherfucking GREEN DAY is back! I'm digging the new track, it's very... Green Day. Kind of a return to their harder, punkier sound. It's not quite up with the BBS song for me, but they're such different bands there's no point in comparing. I really like this and can't wait for the album. I've also marked October 7 on my calendar, though "Green Day Day" doesn't flow quite as well.



The third new song by an artist I love is Miranda Lambert's "Vice." It pains me to say, but I just can't get into it. And I've tried. Her contribution to the Southern Family album, "Sweet By and By" is just miles above this scattered, incomplete-feeling track. Don't get me wrong, Miranda's vocals are as on-point as... almost always (Bad "Somethin' Bad!" Bad! *hits song with rolled up newspaper*). Some of the lyrics do hit ("If you need me, I'll be where my reputation don't precede me, Maybe I'm addicted to goodbyes") I get she has something to say here, but was this really the best vehicle for it?

The main problem is the production. I'm sorry to be one of those people but guys, production is SO important! It won't necessarily make a song for me, but it can sure as hell break it. Production is what gives songs those so-important intangibles. Texture. Whether a song feels warm or cold or spacey or dense or whatever. I thought this song might be a slow burn for me, but the production feels shallow and leaves me cold. I'm not connecting with it. It also doesn't really have a hook that draws you in, which isn't necessarily an issue when you have killer vocals and production, but it hurts here. All in all, it feels half-baked to me. I'm still looking crazy forward to her new album... just pleeeease don't let the production be like "Vice" all the way through. And more like this, please.



And can I just reiterate how terrible I think her single choices have been lately? "Vice" is doing ok, climbing towards the top 10 on billboard, but I think that's more based on name recognition and the whole "juicy" Blake thing than the actual song. Except for "Automatic," I didn't care for any of her single choices off of Platinum. Instead, the title track, while not amazing, is certainly fun and catchy enough and could have caught on as a girly anthem like "Man I feel Like a Woman." "What doesn't kill you only makes you blonder" is a pretty good line. And COME ON, "Hard Staying Sober" was one of her best songs ever, and you don't even try releasing it? Maybe it wouldn't have hit on country radio, BUT - "Record Year" hit. "Humble and Kind" hit. There is still room for actual substance, just not much. At least put your best foot out there. It's not like "Little Red Wagon" and "Smokin and Drinkin" lit the world on fire either. ANYWAY... I hope her next single choices will be better so I'm not agonizing over her next album like I sort of did with Platinum. ("That song? Really??")

I'm gonna end this post here so it's just about new songs, and continue with some other stuff in part two.

Silly Yahoo Headline of the Day ~ is that a lighthouse in your pocket or just the strangest sexual metaphor ever?

"It's Like Having A Lighthouse In Your Pocket"

Is that what men fantasize about?? The ability to guide ships to shore with their giant, glowing *censored*???

(Okay this wasn't a headline, it was a "sponsored ad" for a flashlight. But it was funny. And possibly a niche fetish I am blissfully unaware of.)

Monday, August 08, 2016

Worthless Yahoo Headline of the Day

I'm back from vacation!... to this. Why did I come down off that mountain again?

"While some are obsessed with Derick Dillard's man bun, others speculate that Jill Dillard's pregnant"

WHO

EVER

LOVING

MOTHER

FUCKING

GIVES

A

FLYING

MONKEY

SHIT

???


*wistful sigh* I was like, so plaid, you guys. So happy and plaid. It was the plaidest vacation ever.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Feel good Friday ~ Stranger Things

Stranger Things is like a lost, classic, early Stephen King story. If you like It you'll love Stranger Things, and it doesn't have a terrible ending like It does!

They clearly put a LOT of effort into getting the tone and look of the early 80s just right. The clothes are spot on. The furniture looks just like the stuff I grew up with. And in case you were wondering if they cut any corners authenticity wise - in the episode "The Monster," there's a mobile that plays Brahms Lullaby, and it is the exact same mobile I had as a baby. I know this because I had the little yellow music note part that played the lullaby well into adulthood. It might still be in my mom's storage, for all I know. When I saw it I had this immediate jolt of recognition and an even bigger respect for the show. They researched everything.

I won't get into details of the show here, just watch it. I want to discuss why it resonates so much. One, Winona Ryder is awesome, and clearly something I've been missing in my life all these years. She was one of my idols growing up (Beetlejuice is easily my 2nd favorite movie), and I was so sad when she just kinda disappeared. I understand she needed to take a break for her mental health - I can't imagine being a genuine person like her in the Hollywood scene. Good lord. But I'm just glad she's back. With a vengeance. Cause she is AMAZING in this show.

Two, the nostalgia. Soo I have kind of a love/hate relationship with nostalgia, especially the 80s variety. I can't stand how much cynical pandering there's been to 80s nostalgia in the last several years, mostly to make a buck. This is why the idea of a Ghostbusters reboot pissed me off. But let's put the hate aside and get into the love, because Stranger Things is an example of nostalgia done RIGHT. Not just because they lovingly crafted every detail, but because it's a completely original project. It pays homage to some older stuff like Stephen King, but it's very much its own idea. This is what I've been asking for!

And it doesn't only appeal to 80s kids. People who weren't even born in the 80s are eating this up. And why not, it's a tight, suspenseful show with flawless acting. But I think there's even more to it, and this goes back to when I discussed the appeal of Walking Dead. From my post:

"You know an odd reason I think Walking Dead works so well? It's timeless. It doesn't pander to any demographic, because by its nature, it really can't. It appeals to a wide audience because it's life boiled down to its essence. There are no trends, no buzzwords, nothing that will make it seem dated as fuck in 5 years, in a world where things are dated increasingly faster all the time. By not trying to be cool, it's adopted a very timeless sense of cool.

People are kind of more interesting in a zombie apocalypse, is what I guess I'm saying. They're trying to find their humanity rather than escape from it. As scary as it is, I enjoy watching the simplicity of that world."

I'd say the same thing about going back in time. I think we're going to be seeing more and more shows set in a different time/place/world than our own, with how popular stuff like Stranger Things, Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones are. (I don't watch GoT, but everyone else does.) Fantasy and nostalgia are nothing new, there's always been a need for that escapism. But I think that need has reached a fever pitch in today's world, and many people might not even realize it. The truth is, I don't think too many people like the modern world very much. Oh, there are some great things, but everything has just run amok with no sense of checks and balances.

You know what I remember about the early 80s? How quiet it was. No smartphones, no social media, no 24/7 news blaring doom into your ears all day. Not that those things are inherently bad, except 24/7 news. That was a horrible idea. I couldn't go back there, knowing what I know now. I'd miss the internet, and my iPod*, and having more than 3 channels. But man, if I could go back with a clean slate? That would be tempting. I'm taking a social media break right now (except this blog, obviously), but it's not the same. Knowing it's out there, being tempted to look because there might be something positive, is not the same as the blissful quiet of negation.

*having a mix of 100s of songs at your fingertips might be the only thing I can say is 1000% better now!

I think a lot of people, even plugged-in millennials, are subconsciously yearning for simplicity. Maybe especially the more plugged-in you are. The human brain, and soul, have needs that are different from our immediate wants. Today's world is overstimulating and exhausting, and I think most of us need a break. We don't have time machines, so a show that takes us out of the noise for a while is the next best thing. And it helps that it's so damn good.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying technology is bad. I think it's great, but we've done some bad things with it and let it get out of control. The only thing I'm saying is all bad is 24/7 news, which is literally a piranha eating all our faces right now. There's just... so much that needs to be dialed back. Toned down.

So don't be surprised to see more and more hits that are somehow... off from today's society. American Horror Story is another example. Even the seasons set in the present have a certain... disreality to them. Consciously or subconsciously, we want to escape this madness we helped create. I don't know where we go from here, but as usual, art is the best outlet from reality. And, I'd argue, also helps create reality. Or creates a dialogue, anyway.

Speaking of art, the last thing I want to mention is the music in the show! A great mix of rock, pop, punk and new wave that perfectly captures the 80s landscape. Here's an awesome classic rock tune that takes you right back. I'm surprised this hasn't shown up on SPN yet. (This is actually from the late 70s, but a lot of 70s stuff was still big in the early 80s.)



Happy weekend! Raise a little hell! And I'm off on a much needed vacation. phew.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

tbt ~ Billy Idol

This song and video is like the 80s distilled into its purest form.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Who ya gonna call?

Boatdusters! Wait... Goathustlers? Mostblusters? No, that was the convention I didn't watch. Postrusters? Painthuffers? Colonel Mustard?? I don't know, it's too hard!

So because I am at my most vulnerable when curious, I broke down and saw the new Ghostbusters. I was gonna watch it eventually, anyway. So, what did I think? Had I gone into it without watching any reviews, I'd say it was both better and worse than I expected. Having seen some reviews, I was prepared. That said, these are my own, honest, and hopefully fair thoughts. THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD! DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES! Wait, wrong franchise.

I'll start with two main things that didn't work for me. One, the "villain." I can't tell if he was written poorly or just not written at all. "I'm smart and get bullied, so sure, bring on the apocalypse!" That's it for motivation. His first line is literally like, "I've been bullied for so long, but now I'LL be the bully!" That's lamer than Simple Plan lyrics, guys. Not even an over the top "muahahaha!" to make it campy. No poignant backstory to make you see how he turned out that way, just "here's this guy who acts kind of weird and people remark on how weird he's acting, because he's acting weird." There's no explanation for the weirdness, or ANY other character traits shown to flesh him out, so you don't really see how he's being "bullied." Or care. You don't feel anything. He's not a character, he's a plot catalyst.

Two, the pacing. I'm not sure how such a long movie can feel so rushed at times. It's one of those movies that feels engineered to propel the plot, rather than the plot propelling the movie. I'd say that's the biggest difference between this and the original. The first one had excellent pacing and the plot flowed naturally. Supernaturally. Whatever, it worked. The editing in this was weird too, like some scenes would drag on too long, while other things would just come out of nowhere. And so much just... happened. Like, it didn't really stick.

Other cons:

I've not seen any other films directed by... this guy, whose name I've heard pronounced approx. 27 different ways since I started watching reviews of this thing. Paul Feig, which is pronounced, possibly, Feeg, Faig, Fig, Feg, Fedge, Faige, Figue, Foog, Fe Fi Fo Fum I Smell the Blood of an Englishman, or Finkelstein. Seriously, I've never seen so much confusion over four little letters. What I do know is, based on this movie, I'm not a fan of his directing style. I tend to like tighter-paced and dialogued films, and he has this off-the-cuff style that can be charming occasionally, but more often feels awkward. I don't need to hear a list of Patrick Swayze movies or the phrase "the cat's out of the bag" repeated over and over in a movie that already feels full of holes.

Chris - the guy who played the secretary, idk, there are like 100 actors named Chris - I'm not sure what his character was about? It was like they were lampooning the dumb, sexy secretary trope, but Janine wasn't that way at all. She was savvy and awesome. So that didn't really work for me, despite a few funny moments. He's so cartoonishly dumb, it takes you out of the plot at times.

Speaking of dumb, there were a few too many gross jokes for my taste. They were mostly towards the beginning, like that's gonna draw people in...? Idk, but when I think "Ghostbusters," I don't really think poop and fart jokes.

The cameos were kinda meh overall. Annie Potts was probably my favorite, and I did like Ernie Hudson as Leslie Jones' uncle, but I kind of wish her uncle had actually been Winston. I know none of the original actors were playing their old parts, but that would have been cool. Mostly because I could totally see her character being his niece. They both love New York so much! It's perfect! Bill Murray was pretty wasted. It's like the whole joke was that it was Bill Murray, and they didn't actually give him anything to do. Sigourney Weaver was pretty cool. Dan Ackroyd had the cheesiest line in the whole movie. :/ The Harold Ramis tribute was classy.

Okay, the pros!

Despite everything I said, the movie was generally likeable and watchable. And that's mostly due to the four actresses, who I felt really put their all into it. While I do still feel a reboot of Ghostbusters was unnecessary - if it ain't broke, don't fix it- and in some ways this is a pale imitation of the original, they did make it their own. The movie let them down in many ways, but I have absolutely no problem with these four characters being part of the Ghostbusters universe. Especially Patty (Leslie Jones) and Holtzman (Kate McKinnon). Leslie Jones is this big-hearted, flashy but real-feeling, walking encyclopedia of New York. They showed her most over the top moments in the trailers, but she was actually a fun, likeable character. Holtzman is kind of a mad scientist, which is awesome. I could hear her say something like "I collect spores, molds, and fungus" like Egon, but she'd say it with a big grin instead of deadpan. And it would be something to do with inventing, cause that was her thing. She was cool. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy weren't written quite as solidly, but their performances made it work for the most part. I like the camaraderie of the team. And yes, I did like seeing four women kicking butt, even against a lame villain and underwhelming special effects.

Oh yeah, I didn't mention the special effects. Probably because I was so underwhelmed. Well, they started out good. Both scenes with the creepy lady ghost in the mansion were pretty scary. She was well done. But the rest of the ghosts? It felt like being in a video game or a ride or something, not like it was really happening. The four women did their best, but it would have been nice to feel like they were really fighting against something, like in the original. I did enjoy Slimer and Lady Slimer hijacking the Ecto-1, or whatever it was called here, and going for a joyride. That made me laugh. Best cameo, Slimer. So there you go.

There was a scene where lame-villain summoned a demon-ghost (that sounds way cooler than anything he actually did) at this terrible punkish rock show. You can probably imagine how that went. It was pretty funny, but also had the most phoned-in Ozzy Osbourne cameo ever. Ozzy might actually be dead and appearing in this movie from the underworld, for all it felt like he was in it. Except, that would be awesome. This was lame.

So if you're keeping score at home, that's Slimer 1, Ozzy 0.

Also, random lines like "You killed a pilgrim!" and "It smells like bologna and regret down here" made me laugh. Those kind of one-liners were more in the spirit of the original (get it, spirit? GET IT?) than the rambling non-jokes that are so prevalent today. That said, I didn't feel insulted or like the movie dishonored the original or anything. I think there's genuine potential here that hasn't been quite realized.

If anything, my heart is kind of with these characters. I want to see them in an epic fight scene that feels more... present and consequential than the CGI-fest at the end of this movie. The lame-villain transformed into a giant version of the Ghostbusters logo ghost, and it ended up just feeling like marshmallow-man-but-not. Something different there would have been soooo much better. That's why the original movie was so good, unique touches like that. Who expects a giant marshmallow man out of nowhere?? Here it was like, been there, done that. The "climax" felt rushed and obligatory, a means to an end, with none of the jubilance and "I love this toooooown!" of the original. I guess you can't capture that magic twice. Ghostbusters II didn't do it, either. But I never felt any real stakes, because it wasn't set up properly. Actually there was a little bit of that "yay!" feeling with Holtzman in the end scene, but it all happened too fast and then it was like, I guess we're done!

There was a dance sequence led by Chris Hunkydude in the end credits. Idk either. Well see, lame-villain killed himself so he could possess people as a ghost, and he possessed Chris Hunkydude. That was actually kind of funny. I liked the Clark Kent line. But anyway, I guess he was making people dance to show he could bend them to his ghost will, or something? I'm not sure why being a ghost in a hunky guy suit would give him that power? It wasn't clear, and that was obviously a scene cut from the actual movie. This villain character was seriously not realized at all.

One thing I liked about Abby (Melissa McCarthy) was how she didn't give a shit what anyone thought about them. When they were under fire, her attitude was just "who cares, we know what we're doing, let's do it." That was so refreshing, and really rang true. Why should they care if people believe them, they've got shit to do! I would have loved to see that as a young girl. It felt empowering in a natural, not shoved down your throat way.

A final positive, the last scene after the credits made me laugh. Holtzman - "That's for crushing walnuts." LOL. That kind of humor actually got me hyped for a sequel (which, yes, was baited).

I don't usually do numbered reviews, I'm more of a give-an-impression than an absolutes kind of gal. I say I'm making a top 10 list, it'll end up being 16 with tons of tangents. But I'm gonna give this a six out of ten, cause it's a very six-y type movie. Like, worth seeing if you're intrigued by the concept, but it probably won't stick with you like the original did with me, 32 years ago. If you're a fan of the franchise and were curious, like me, it has its moments. Women do not have cooties, and it will not ruin your childhood. And that's coming from about the 80s-est 80s kid you'll ever meet.

That Fall Out Boy song is still terrible. THE END!

EDIT: OMG it just hit me who the villain reminded me of... the nebbishy guy who wants to turn into a fish to conquer the world (?!) in Blood Waters of Dr. Z! So, there's your precedent for this kind of "villain." Take it all in.



"They think I'm insane, THEY'RE the ones who are insane!"