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Japan – Quiet Life (1979)

[Album 728/1001]

The English department at my school has a fun new tradition this semester.

Each week, there is a new ‘song of the week’ category, and department members contribute their choices to a hand-written list (which eventually gets assembled in a spotify playlist).

Even though I’m not in the department, I’m grateful that I still get to participate!

The first theme week of this semester? Guilty Pleasure songs.

Our choices are below (the names have been redacted to protect anyone that is feeling somewhat remorseful / genuinely guilty about their choices).

Though I left my name as-is, seeing as I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever about my choice!

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guilty pleasure

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Even when I try to compliment, it comes out wrong
– The Big Short (Christian Bale’s character)

Sometimes, when I try to compliment, it comes out wrong.220px-Japan-Quiet_Life

And based on my song choice above, though I believe that this is a favourable reference point, I’m not sure if Japan (the band) would agree.

So my apologies, Japan, if this comes out wrong: but I’m trying to be complimentary when I say that Duran Duran reminds me of Quiet Life.

I suppose that overall, Japan’s third album has a few more minor chords and has more of a mysterious atmosphere.

But a lot of this (especially Fall in Love With Me & Halloween) wouldn’t sound out of place on Rio.

And that sounds like a compliment to me – so hopefully Japan feels that way too!

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Verbalize the Positive

I will never grow tired of Ordinary World’s descending guitar pattern!

Artist of the Week IV – Quiz #8

ArtistoftheweekIV

Exceptional Artist of the Week IV Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

2020 Artists of the Week (so far):

The CurePublic Enemy, Steely Dan, Taylor Swift, Venom, Chuck Berry, Dixie Chicks

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Dixie Chicks last week.

The results after 7 weeks (as of Tuesday afternoon – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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after week 7

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Ready for Quiz #8?

It’s a, nice day for a, music quiz!

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Quiz Rules/Format
(Same as last year, feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #8
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points…………………English artist, born in 1955. Prior to his (still active) solo career, he was the lead singer of the punk band, Generation X.

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400 points……………….He made a memorable appearance, as himself, with his customary bleached & spiked hair, as a fellow first-class airplane passenger who ‘gets it’ in the 1998 film, The Wedding Singer:

Untitled presentation (7)

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300 points……………………Speaking of weddings, can a reception dance be considered complete, if they don’t play Mony Mony?

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200 points………………..And speaking of Adam Sandler movies…

Untitled presentation (8)

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100 points………………..The artist is B_______ I______

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Answer: بيلي أيدول

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to John @ 2loud2oldmusic for teaching me the 500 clue – I hadn’t realized this week’s artist had a pre-solo career prior to reading about it at John’s site!

Magazine – Real Life (1978)

[Album 727/1001]

Is this the real life?

Is this just fantasy?

I’m guessing when assembling their fantasy lineup for a music supergroup, most people don’t choose Martin Jackson as their drummer.

Admittedly, prior to this album, I was unfamiliar with his work.220px-Magazine_-_Real_Life

Although he may not unseat Stewart Copeland behind the drum kit in my lineup just yet, Martin’s subtle details really enhanced the 9 tunes here.

Mr. Jackson reminds me a lot of Phil Rhodes (Gin Blossoms), especially with a couple of his delightful details on the opener, Definitive Gaze:

1. Delayed cymbal hits (on the 2nd beat, rather than on the downbeat)

2. Opening the hi-hat towards the end of a song section, to increase the urgency

For me, it’s those sorts of details that take a song or an album from Good to Great.

I suppose having a producer like John Leckie (The Stone Roses, The Bends) probably didn’t hurt either.

And seeing that I was also frequently reminded of Supergrass when listening to Magazine’s debut, if this is indeed the Real Life, life is good!

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to the years 1977-1983. I used to think that window was a relatively weak era for music.

How wrong I was & how nice it’s been to be proven wrong, repeatedly!

Germs – GI (1979)

[Album 726/1001]

Elaine: She’s this crazy woman who is convinced that my Germs make her sick.
Puddy: Oh, germ-o-phobe. I know what that’s about.
Elaine: Huh?
Puddy (shows his necklace): I’m a recovering germ-o-phobe. Ten years.
Elaine: What is this symbol?
Puddy: It’s a germ.

The Seinfeld quote above (and video clip below) is tremendous for many reasons.

David Puddy, sitting still in absolute silence, for a good 2 seconds before the phone rings, might be my favourite moment in the entire Seinfeld series.

And I find it’s a bit of a relatable scene as I’m somewhat of a recovering germ-o-phobe myself.

Having kids has taught me that some exposure to germs in childhood can be beneficial in developing immune systems.

So I don’t have a necklace with a Germ symbol, but like Puddy, I’m probably somewhere around the 10-year mark of my long road up to recovery as well!

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With the one and only album by the band Germs, I had nothing to fear.

Although, it appears, I had plenty to learn.

Prior to listening to GI, I hadn’t realized it was Pat Smear (who went on to play with Nirvana & Foo Fighters) on guitar.

I also didn’t know it was Joan Jett (who went on to…well, continue being the singer / songwriter / producer / composer / actress / Godmother of Punk / Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett) as the producer here either.

Earlier this year, when I listened to Minor Threat’s Out of Step, I observed that with punk music, I tended to gravitate to longer tracks on shorter albums.220px-Germs_-_(GI)_cover

And I was pleased to learn that this tendency continued with GI.

16 tracks in just over 38 minutes (or 15 tracks in under 29 if you take out the closing track) would qualify as an efficient recording in my books.

As shown in the graph below, once again, it was the relatively longer tracks that got my attention.

Manimal, though I don’t always approve of compound names, certainly had an intro that earned my instant approval.

We Must Bleed‘s descending pattern was relentless & even non-punk enthusiasts could probably find something to like on The Other Newest One.

The individual musical highlight of the album may have been Lorna Doom’s bassline on Shut Down (Annihilation Man), evoking Pink Floyd‘s Money to round out the set.

I might not have reached the stage of fandom where I’ll start wearing the Germs logo on a necklace just yet…but I’m happy to see that my short-album, long-song theory holds up for now!

germs

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Verbalize the Positive

We have had the Rebel Girls books out again recently.

Nice to see Joan Jett make an appearance among the Rebel Girls!

 

Ministry – Psalm 69 (1992)

[Album 725/1001]

“You will never understand it ’cause it happens too fast…What is it? It’s it”
– Faith No More, Epic

Six years after reviewing Faith No More’s The Real Thing, I’m still not sure how to classify it.

But to borrow another line from Epic, If I can’t, then it doesn’t matter anyway.

And I was reminded of the above quote when listening to Ministry’s Psalm 69 this week.

In this case, the genre classification isn’t the challenge (I think most would file a Ministry recording somewhere under the terms industrial &/or metal).

Instead, the challenge lies in describing why I’m drawn to the recording.

220px-Ministry-Psalm69

What is the attraction?

What is it?

I’m not sure. But it’s it.

There isn’t a lot of time for reflection when listening either. The tempos are flying, the percussion is relentless, the lead guitar shreds. And good luck keeping up with/deciphering the lyrics on the Gibby Haynes guest vocal track, Jesus Built My Hotrod!

Therefore, I don’t think I will ever understand it because it happens too fast.

And if I can’t describe the dark allure of this album in a succinct manner, maybe that doesn’t matter anyway.

So until I can, there’s an “it” to this recording.

And if/when I figure out just what “it” is, I’ll let you know.

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Verbalize the Positive

A tip of the hat to my friend Jeff for lending me his Ministry CD – it’s been a good selection to have playing in the car on the weekly drive to/from ball hockey!

 

Artist of the Week IV – Quiz #7

ArtistoftheweekIV

Exceptional Artist of the Week IV Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

2020 Artists of the Week (so far):

The CurePublic Enemy, Steely Dan, Taylor Swift, Venom, Chuck Berry

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Chuck Berry last week.

The results after 7 weeks (as of Monday morning – results submitted after that time will be added to next week’s spreadsheet):

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after week 6

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Ready for Quiz #7?

“Ain’t No Thang But a Chicken Wang!”

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Quiz Rules/Format
(Same as last year, feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #7
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points…………………American band, formed in Texas in 1989. Though they do not have an album on the original version of the 1001 list, they were the subject of the 2006 documentary, Shut Up and Sing

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400 points……………….Question: Which 2 song characters were The Best of Friends?
Answer: Mary Anne and Wanda, all through their high school days.

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300 points……………………The trio features a pair of sisters, Martie Erwin Maguire & Emily Erwin Robison, and lead vocalist, Natalie Maines.

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200 points………………..Two-word band name. The first word is the same as a type of disposable cup & the second is the name for multiple baby chickens.

Untitled presentation (6)

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100 points………………..The artist is D_______ C________

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Answer: ديكسي الفراخ

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

This group puts on a great show – my wonderful wife & I had the privilege of seeing them in Ottawa a couple of years ago, very entertaining!

Can – Tago Mago (1971) & Future Days (1973)

[Albums 723 & 724 / 1001]

“Cans. There was no baby, it was full of Cans.”
– Keanu Reeves (after the bus hit a baby carriage full of cans in the film, Speed)

A couple of Fridays ago, my dad hosted a Coffee House in Burlington.

As luck would have it, our calendar was refreshingly empty on that night. Therefore, my oldest daughter and I hopped in the car after school and drove to see the show (spoiler alert: it was great!).

Since it was just the two of us, there was no need for the baby seat in the vehicle.220px-Can_-_Tago_Mago

And the soundtrack for the drive? A pair of albums by the 1001-listed group, Can.

Or a pair of Cans if you will.

Which as you can imagine, gave me no shortage of delight, living out Keanu’s classic line in a wildly different context.

What/who was in the car on the drive to Burlington that night?

Cans. There was no baby, it was full of Cans!

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During last year’s Artist of the Week III series, Can was the group featured in Quiz #12.

I was thoroughly impressed that 1/3 of the quiz participants earned full marks – they got it right away!

About 1/2 of the quiz participants were able to figure it out on the 2nd or 3rd clue.

And 1/5 of the participants needed a 4th or 5th clue to identify the artist.

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Can

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Are these percentages also representative of how long it typically takes listeners to ‘get’ Can?

Do 1/3 of listeners hear Tago Mago & Future Days and ‘get’ it right away?

Does it take a few tries for about 1/2 of the population to see the appeal?

And does it take even more time & effort for the remaining 1/5 to see what all the fuss is about?

For my blogging purposes, that would be quite convenient!220px-Can_-_Future_Days

But I imagine it varies by album. Or, at least it did for me.

For certain Tago Mago tracks (Halleluhwah, Paperhouse), I bought the sales pitch right away.

The album closer, Bring Me Coffee or Tea, was especially convincing. Very early on, it reminded me of both Radiohead’s Everything in its Right Place and the intro/outro to Pearl Jam’s Corduroy. Needless to say, sign me up, post haste!

However, for other Tago Mago selections, more effort was required, but I was still persuaded after a couple of spins.

With Future Days, the sounds appear to matter much more than the songs, so at the moment, I’m probably in the final 1/5 category; it will likely take until the 4th or 5th listen for the appeal to fully register.

But I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if it’s a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs/Brian Eno hierarchy of enjoyment situation here.

After only a couple of Future Days listens, I’ve already progressed beyond the acknowledgement of creativity stage.

At the moment, I find myself admiring the group’s innovation from album-to-album…meaning full-fledged Can enjoyment can’t be far off!

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to groups that keep evolving & innovating from album-to-album!