For Your Listening Pleasure
Pete Yorn â€“ Musicforthemorningafter
News to You
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably gotten overwhelmed scanning through the news section of 411. Truth be told, there’s just so much going on in the world of music, it’s easy to let the most important stories slip through the cracks. Don’t fret. I’m here for you. Each week, this section of my column will be dedicated to picking out the Most Important News Item that you may have missed over the busy weekend-
This week, 411’s own Adam Cankaya (who, along with Daniels, wrote a very good “First Listen” point/counterpoint on the new Nirvana single that I highly recommend) reported that Justin Timberlake apparently likes to get down AND go down. Confused? Click here for more. There’s really nothing else I can say to add to that. How soon before the video comes out?
Work With Me
I think I’d go insane if I wasn’t allowed to listen to music at work. MY music. On MY computer.
I’ve had jobs where this wasn’t the case- where you either weren’t allowed to listen to music at all, or there was one radio, and you had to listen to whatever radio station your co-workers had tuned in (and trust me, every other New Yorker out there can attest to this: there’s only so much WPLJ you can listen to without going completely batty). And don’t get me started about my internship at a local NY “alternative” station, where whatever was on the air got piped into each cube. Let’s just say I still have nightmares about Blues Traveler. Alternative, indeed.
But my latest job has been different, and it’s safe to say I’m pretty lucky for having (a) permission to listen to music in my cubicle, (b) actually having a computer WITH SPEAKERS hooked up and (c) having enough bandwidth where, if my current CD collection starts to bore me, I can log onto Launchcast or a variety of Internet radio stations without crashing the Net for all of my co-workers.
(Note: being a former college radio deejay, having a station that broadcasts live over the Web is vastly underrated. There’s nothing nicer than being able to wax nostalgic while tuning in some WHRW and hear kids going through the same shit you went through just a few years back â€“ and then calling in and requesting CDs you know were stolen years ago, just to f*ck with them.)
Music can sooth, can energize, or â€“ as mentioned before in this column â€“ can be the perfect distraction when you need it most. That much is obvious. But music at work is borderline essential to my productivity.
If I need to jump-start the day, I throw on something up-beat, usually instrumental, to get me going. Two good choices are anything by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones or King Crimson, circa 1994/95. The way these bands build layers upon layers of complex rhythms and unique instrumentation are a perfect way to get you going in the morning. Better than anything Starbucks has to offer.
On the other hand, if things are kind’ve lagging along, it’s time to punk things up a bit. Two recent purchases of mine fit so nicely: Sex Pistols’ Nevermind the Bullocks- and the Clash’s London Calling. Two classic albums to get you through the mid-afternoon lull. Better than even the best of amphetamines.
Unfortunately, as much leeway as my company gives me, I still have trouble sneaking a hip-hop album in the CD slot on my PC. As great a stress-reducer as Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides or the mostly incredible Bob Marley tribute Chant Down Babylon are, it’s probably best that I censor myself a tad from nine to five. But, if the office is empty, nothing beats Rawkus Records’ Soundbombing II or some classic Nas or Biggie. Yep, even better than the purest herb or the coldest lager you can get a hold of on lunch break.
My Five Most Embarrassing CDs (Sorta)
This column’s turning out a little longer than I thought, so to keep your attention span heading into the last half of this week’s edition, how about a list? Oh, this one’s good â€“ I’m sure this will lead to nothing but lots of fun had at my expense- but if I can’t entertain you, then what am I here for, right?
Everyone has them. Lists. Well, that and those pesky CDs that you just can’t admit to owning. The ones that, no matter how obsessive/compulsive you are, you can’t bear to include in your Main, Alphabetized CD Collection (oh, admit it, you do it too). The ones that hide under the bed until you for some reason get really nostalgic for “the music you listened to in junior high school” or want to give someone a “gag gift.”
Well, fine, while YOU may not admit to owning Ice, Ice Baby or Morton Downey, Jr. Sings!, like Candyman once said, “there ain’t no shame in MY game.”
5. En Vogue – Funky Divas. Hey, I’m not the only one who used to have a crush on Dawn from En Vogue. Now that I think of it, has anyone gotten shafted by more groups than Dawn Robinson? First En Vogue, then Lucy Pearl- that funky diva can’t catch a break. Dawn, if you’re reading, email me– I’ll help you free your mind.
4. 2 In a Room – Wiggle It. I’m kinda cheating here, since I merely own the cassette version of this classic, and I said I’d stick to CDs. But, admittedly, the title track’s one of the all-time Toughest Songs to Get Out of Your Head. I’d probably pick up the CD if I saw it in a used bin somewhere. Let’s hope for dignity’s sake that I don’t.
3. Wilson Phillips – Wilson Phillips. Okay, so I STILL have dreams about Chyna. Phillips, that is.
2. Fozzy – Fozzy. I’m sorry, it’s hard enough admitting to some friends how much of a Chris Jericho mark I am- my brother has to rub it in by getting me Fozzy’s eponymous album for Christmas one year. Something I’ll never- eeeeever live down.
1. New Kids On the Block – Merry Merry Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, well… No, I have nothing to say about this that will help me save face here, so let me just say that “I Still Believe in Santa Claus” was very touching when I got this CD as a young, straight, teen, and let the barrage of emails begin.
Don’t Be Left Behind!
Everyone’s reading 411 Music, and why argue with them? More daily music news than you could ever ask for, the best columnists on the Internet, new album and concert reviews every week, and ME. I’m sure you know someone that’s still unaware of the 411, so do them a favor, and share this little secret with them so they, too, can be one of the Cool Kids. Go ahead, do it now- I’ll wait for you.
No, I’m serious.
Now, as your reward- I’ve included some recent reader feedback, complete with responses from me and, that’s right, Bigg Snoop Dogg himself!
Nelvis says- I think people still want the pop, but they want the music to actually mean something. They want the music to express their emotions the things they’re going through.
Bigg Snoop Dogg responds: I always found that a great way to express your emotions is to light up a fat blizzunt and puff â€˜til the sun come up. But you know what, dawg? That shit killed cats like Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. You gotta lay off the endo, know what I mean?
Tony Jaymz says- Damn good column man, especially naming the 3 top release of 2002, though I would have gone with Our Lady Peace over Joey Ramone, but tomatoes and potataoes right?
Irespond: Thanks, man, but I think you must be smoking some of the chronic my boy Snoop gave up a few weeks ago. OUR LADY PEACE over JOEY RAMONE?! That’s more like tomatoes and a twelve-course meal. Lay off the kind bud, man.
Sean Heck says- Eleven years ago around this time, the “Musical Public” at the time of the ’91 VMA’s tried to build hair metal as the next big thing. All of the sudden when Nirvana hit the charts the “Music Public” was caught off gaurd, as if they got kicked in the ass in a room that’s pitch dark. My point is if there is going to be a signifigant changing of the gaurd in music it might be something that you or I won’t have a clue towards what the “biggest trend” might be.
BSD responds: Everything is fine when you listenin’ to the D-O-G. I got the cultivatin’ music that be captivatin’ he who listens to the words that I speak. As I take me a drink to the middle of the street.
Scott Miller, Navy man, writes- The straw that broke the camel’s back? At the 2000 Grammy’s, the Backstreet Boys with the award for best ROCK!?!?!?!?! That’s like Hulk Hogan winning the (now retired) European Championship. It was a travesty, it was wrong, and it finally told me that there isn’t a single person living that knows anything about what music should be. Sure entertaining, but also an art, and to me, art above entertainment. But then I see the VMA’s on MTV a week ago. A rather blah show if you ask me, (Yet Pink changing direction to a little more rock approach, the Vines rocking out, and Guns and by God Roses rocking the house til there was no house left), I have come to realize that rock’s return is imminent, true art’s return is imminent, and pop, finally, FINALLY can rest in pieces while I and a couple million other people piss on its grave. You, Matt, are a hero to me, and to anyone who is busting their asses trying to get a music career off the ground based on talent, determination, and staying power. My hat’s off to you. Above all else…thank you.
I respond: Scott, thanks! Getting called a hero is one thing; but getting called a hero from someone in the Armed Forces is totally off the meter. Now I just have to make sure it doesn’t get to my head â€“ next thing you know I’ll be trying some corny gimmick to make my Reader Feedback section funny. We all know how bad an idea THAT can be-
Lethrdonut says- I’m also shocked you don’t have any Flaming Lips in your collection. They’re one of the most creative and important bands of the past 20 years. Plus, you shouldn’t have Faith No More “Who Cares A Lot?” Instead, buy the albums, and, while you’re at it, look up Patton’s other projects like Mr. Bungle, Fantomas and Tomahawk.
BSD responds: Music is music dog; what’s hot is hot. You can’t put a label on that. Patton’s been smokin’ some ill shit, though. You hizzear some of his Tomahizzawk shizzit?
(Okay, that was pushing it-)
And in closing this week, Dustin asked me to check out this link. Definitely some cool stuff. and with that, I tell you, check out THIS link, too!
Thanks for reading, and as always, tell your friends what they’re missing out on every Monday and make sure to tell ME how full of shit I am (but why you still find yourself mysteriously drawn to me).
peace. love. moe.
Till My Head Falls Off can be found weekly on 411 Music. Not enough for you? Matthew Michaels also writes about various topics for 1-42.