Till My Head Falls Off 10.21.02: Back To The Old School

For Your Listening Pleasure

Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters (enjoying the “forgotten” eponymous album, as I await the purchase of One by One)

News to You

Lots of interesting news this week, so I’ll just point you to 411’s news section to catch up with all things Naughty by Nature, some TLC, and everything you wanted to know and more about upcoming Fall tour dates and Tupac’s latest posthumous release. Yeah, like he’s really dead. Suuuure.

The one thing that stood out this week, though, were the recent Billboard charts, reported here by Ashish, and which I plan to expand on… next!

Back to the Old School

Okay, so let’s take a look at the Billboard Top Ten (as of the October 26, 2002 issue):

1. Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits, Elvis Presley

2. Bounce, Bon Jovi

3. Forty Licks, The Rolling Stones

4. Let Go, Avril Lavigne

5. Nellyville, Nelly

6. Home, Dixie Chicks

7. The Eminem Show, Eminem

8. Man vs. Machine, Xzibit

9. The Last DJ, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

10. American Idol: Greatest Moments, Soundtrack

First, some random observations:

• Isn’t it kind’ve funny that the best band in the top ten also features the ugliest stars?

• This is the first time that I can remember — in years anyway — where I own three of the Top Ten albums (for the record: Elvis, Rolling Stones and Eminem)…

• Not TOO many surprises here: you have your Billboard mainstays: the newest country and hip-hop albums, and ample representation of the “flavors of the month” (Avril, American Idol), with the rest of the top ten filled with big names we’re used to seeing every time they release something new…

The thing that really strikes me, though, is how prominent the “old school” rockers are on this week’s list. Elvis, the Stones, Tom Petty, even Bon Jovi — outselling Pink, Beck and Coldplay? Do the kids have better taste than we’ve been giving them credit for, or am I speaking too soon, with the Crap being saved for the Holiday rush?

I have some theories on this, but at the risk of being proven completely moronic, I’m choosing to wait until later in the year before I discuss this further. But, send me your thoughts, and maybe you’ll get into my next reader feedback section!

Sountrack Feedback

Speaking of feedback, thank you to everyone that sent me emails in response to last week’s Till My Head Falls Off on soundtracks. Here’s a few of the highlights (unfortunately, Big Snoop Dogg was unable to help me out with my responses. Muppet trouble, I hear):

Newman writes — I would like to personally add a 4th type of soundtrack if I may for your personal file: The “I’m a thug mogul who makes a purposely shitty, low-budget movie about a young ghetto thug who transforms himself into a thug mogul for the sole purpose of having an excuse to put out a soundtrack of new songs” soundtrack… State Property, Gridlock’d, Belly, Streets is Watching… Jesus, that was 4 off the top of my head in 5 seconds and I’m not even black anymore… I think these demand consideration. Do you realize that Masta P has been involved in 7 movies since ’97?!?!?! 7!!!! Does he wake up and put “Make movie” on his to-do list for the day??

Wow, Newman. I didn’t realize you used to be black! Great point, though, and there are many movies I can think of that I’d much rather skip, and just go straight to the soundtrack. I wonder if Eminem’s 8 Mile turns out to be one of ’em. Oh, if we’re going to add categories, we can’t forget the 5th: the “make an album, and call it a soundtrack, even though it has nothing to do with any movie that has ever been made” soundtrack. Prince Among Thieves, anyone?

Andrew Avril writes — Dude, again, kudos on the column. Soundtracks — The “Stuck in the Middle with You” scene is a classic. “Pretty in Pink” elevated OMD almost to the popularity they deserved. “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” was discovered and immortalized by an entirely new generation. I can name a dozen cheese balls from high school and college who used that song and “In Your Eyes” — along with their staging — to woo or woo back a mate. And the “I Am Sam” soundtrack should be a mandatory purchase for every Western individual who considers him or herself even the remotest fan of music and pop culture. Just plain fantastic CD… They Might Be Giants — Everyone has heard OF them but very few have actually HEARD them. Friends of ours used “New York City” as their wedding song and Jenny and I played “New York City” and “Shoehorn with Teeth” at ours.

Wow, thanks Andrew! Kudos are hard to come by these days. And, you hit the nail right on the head when it comes to those moments and scenes where a song plays a big part in defining the movie. As far as They Might Be Giants go, I’m glad you’re a fan, and you can tell that I am as well, naming my column after a TMBG song and all… I don’t happen to watch Malcolm in the Middle, but the TMBG song “Boss of Me” is getting tons of airplay lately on NY mainstream radio, and I can’t remember the last time that’s happened. While I’m at it, send me your favorite TV themes that have gone mainstream… first that comes to mind is the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You” but I’m sure there are others.

Derrick Kearney writes — There is only one movie soundtrack that should be mentioned. Prince and The Revolution released “Purple Rain” back in the early 80’s. The first chords of the song with the intro set the tone for the movie, the music, and the revolution musically that started. From the classic guitar solos, to the wonderful lyrics, and beats that make you want to shake your ass.

Another great point. I mentioned Purple Rain as one of the top albums I don’t own, too. What’s wrong with me?!

Mikey writes in, with some of his favorites — Good column – but in your passion for your favorites, you’re forgetting the standard bearers:

For your first category – the winner is – “Saturday Night Fever”, which predates “Eddie and the Cruisers”. (We won’t count “Grease” since it was on Broadway first.) One could (and probably should) mention “Hard Days Night”, but in my opinion the soundtrack WAS the movie.

The earliest I can recall – and the model for many that followed, which fits in your 2nd category (I guess) is “American Graffiti” (soon to be followed by “Animal House”).

“High Fidelity” is a good example wherein a song (or songs) is played as part of the movie itself as opposed to background noise. I hate when Oscars are given to a song that only is heard during the final credits. The first one I can recall is “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. Others I liked, besides your fave “High Fidelity” were “My Sharona” from “Reality Bites” (I’ll bet you didn’t notice Winona slipping the candy bars into her pocket), “Shout” from “Animal House”, and, naturally, “Bohemian Rhapsody” from “Wayne’s World”.

Well, if you don’t count musicals (“West Side Story”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Tommy”, etc.), I guess my favorite was “Saturday Night Fever”. Keep up the good work.

I thought of a bunch of these, actually, but was actually focusing on the more “recent” surge in quality soundtracks, even though I did mention several from the past. Seems to me that since Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction, major soundtracks that have followed have been of a lot higher quality. But, yes, you can’t sleep on the old favorites that Mikey mentions.

And finally, Dustin writes — Best soundtrack is easily Singles. Classics from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins. Great songs off other albums from that time such as Would and I Nearly Lost You. A great yet underrated Jimi track. And best of all, Chris Cornell’s classic Seasons. Best soundtrack ever.

Hard to argue with that….

MORE Fun With Spellchecker!

Running celebrity names through spellchecker is quickly becoming one of my favorite hobbies. Now, that either makes me clever or pathetic, but who are YOU to talk — you are reading this after all… First, I ran “Aguilera” through the spellchecker, and Microsoft finally proved useful by recommending “uglier” as a replacement, and finally giving me something funny to write about weekly. Then was the “Cusack”-for-“cossack” swap (scroll down to the handy “pull-down menu” and look at last week’s Till My Head Falls Off for more on that one), and how could I top that?

Well, first of all, I have to apologize. Apparently, in my “spellcheck” gimmick, I’ve actually been MISspelling “spellcheck”! That’s right, if you hit F7, you’ll notice that “spellcheck” is, ironically, not a word… with “spellchecker” being the appropriate representation. I’m truly sorry about that.

Let’s see what comes up this week….

• “Tupac” for SOME reason is NOT a word?! My spellchecker suggests I replace it with “tapioca”, and I have nothing funny to add to that….

• Next up is “Lavigne” to which spellchecker says I must mean “laving” (“ignited; glowing with heat; burning; live” according to Dictionary.com). I gotta admit, that’s a pretty good fit, considering how f*ckin’ HOT she is.…

• On the other hand, spellcheck must not like Eminem, because it keeps trying to get me to use “amonium” instead. Amonium? Having the chemical relations of a basic element like the alkali metals? Last time I checked, Eminem was anything BUT metal, no matter how hard his latest CD rocks. I guess “NH4” would be a cool nickname for him, though, if he happens to run out….

Okay, enough of that!

See you next time, and thanks for reading!

peace. love. moe.

– Matt

Till My Head Falls Off can be found weekly on 411 Music (old columns are archived in the pull-down menu below). Already read them all? Already read everything on the entire 411 site? In that case, Matthew Michaels also writes about various topics for 1-42.