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Back in the Summer of ‘____

In 2015, the Summer Solstice was on June 21st.

Later this year, the Autumnal Equinox will be on September 23rd.

Therefore for the rest of this summer:

1) I will attempt to incorporate the terms Summer Solstice/Autumnal Equinox into everyday conversation

2) I’ll be looking at albums released between June 21-September 23 from any given year.

And I’ll start with a pair of records released on August 31, 1987.

Enjoy the summer, or at least what’s left of it prior to the Autumnal Equinox!

Frampton Comes (Alive) to Kingston!

Q: “Where have all the good people gone?”
– Sam Roberts

A: They’ve gone to Owen Sound & they’re sending mail!

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P1100600

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A, of course, stands for the incomparable Aaron @ keepsmealive.

The curator of the grail list generously sent me this splendid surprise package, replete with Taranna stationery & Frampton Comes Alive, on 8-track no less!

Thanks to Aaron, this is my first album review from the 1001 list using the delightfully obsolete 8-track medium!

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How is Frampton Comes Alive?

I really can’t say.

Oh it plays just fine, with deceivingly good audio quality.

It’s just that when I listened to the album this weekend, apart from giggling at the 8-track ‘program’ chugging & changing mid-song (and they say it’s antiquated technology), I don’t really hear Peter Frampton.

To borrow a Chris Murphy tune, I keep on thinkin’ ’bout how nice it was to receive this in the mail.  Which could not be less of a complaint, more so just acknowledging that any attempts at objectivity would be futile.

What about the talkbox?  Reminds me of the mailbox!

Standout Tracks? 8-tracks!

But really, as John Cusack once asked, Peter F’n Frampton?  Darn right, Aaron sent me Peter F’n Frampton and I’m loving every minute of it!

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So needless to say, I really enjoyed this listening experience.

And if you’re wondering where the good people have gone, look no further than the blogging community ’round these parts.

Or head up to Georgian Bay, where the scenery’s great and the people are even better!

Cheap Trick – At Budokan (1979)

[Album 401/1001]

Cue Wayne’s World “At Budokan” reference:

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220px-CheapTrick_Live_atBudokanOther artists have released “At Budokan” CDs but I’ll conveniently assume Wayne was referencing Cheap Trick.

Some might call it a low-budget gimmick but as an ode to Wayne’s attempt to learn Cantonese in the film, and more importantly, the At Budokan record insert in Japanese (photo below), the remainder of this post will be in Japanese.

Enjoy, or rather, お楽しみください!

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P1100593

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このアルバムの5箇条

1.観客の悲鳴は、超高音です!
2. 「私はあなたの愛を必要とする」のイントロは、レモンヘッズの曲 "ビット部」のことを思い出し、それは良いことです
3. 「我々はすべて大丈夫だ」聖歌は、両方の正の関連、ビッグスターのことを思い出したし、 「その70年代ショー " 。
4.中古レコード店でこのアルバムのように多くのコピーがありますが、私はそれを見つけることがあったか簡単に感謝しています。
観客とは異なり5 。私はすべての曲と一緒に悲鳴をしませんでした。しかし、私はまだこのアルバムを維持します。
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あなたはGoogle翻訳ありがとうございました!

The Police – Regatta de Blanc (1979)

Poker, Parabolas, and The Police


[Album 400/1001]

Police-album-reggattadeblancPoker

What’s the best hand in poker?

It’s a good thing I don’t play too much hold ’em as I somehow thought it was Four-of-a-Kind.

Turns out, the elusive Royal Flush is the top hand, Four-of-a-Kind is actually ranked third.

In between, you have the straight flush (five consecutive cards in a single suit).

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Over the years, I’ve acquired a straight flush of Police records.  And from the sticker prices that remain on the covers, I’m pretty pleased with my return on investment!

My Police Poker hand:

P1100584

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Parabolas

Though unlike a poker straight flush (where the cards are organized in ascending order), the quality of Police records over their career makes more of a smile pattern.

They started strong (Outlandos D’Amour), dipped a bit in the middle (Zenyatta Mondatta) before closing in fine form (Synchronicity).

In Grade 10 Mathematics, students learn about the vertex form of a quadratic relation.  To answer the question “when are we ever going to use this in life,” I propose the following equation for determining the quality of a Police record, given its chronological placement in their catalogue:

Let x represent the studio album number.
Let y represent the general awesomeness of the album.

y = 2.5(x-3)² + 80

police

(yes that is a pool noodle re-purposed as a parabola)

Note that the vertex is (3,80), meaning album #3 receives a score of 80.  A score of 80 would be a career peak for many bands but represents the relative low point in the Police discography.

On either side of the axis of symmetry (x=3), the pattern is a mirror image (so it’s not just a clever name), with quality increasing both before and after Zenyatta Mondatta.

In fact, if they’d gone on to release studio album #6 (or somehow released an album #0), following the step pattern above, the awesomeness would be off the charts at 102.5!  But alas, it wasn’t in the cards.

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The Police

As a poker hand, the Police would likely also be a straight flush: not the absolute best in the business, but certainly in that very respectable second tier.

Much like the shape of a pool noodle parabola above, listening to Regatta de Blanc always makes me smile.

Top 5 Self-aggrandizing “welcome back” songs

School’s (almost) out for summer – for the last few weeks, it’s been cutting into valuable blogging time!

So for my first post in a couple weeks, I thought I’d compile some of my favourite examples of artists welcoming themselves back (in song no less) from wherever they may have been.

There are likely better examples, so think of these as 5 Top-of-the-mind self-welcoming tracks!

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5. Backstreet Boys, Backstreet’s Back
At the time, I wasn’t aware they’d been away, though I certainly enjoyed their cameo performance in This is the End.

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4. LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
Technically, Ladies Love didn’t welcome himself back.  Instead, I like how he vehemently denied he’d been absent in the first place.

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3. Eminem, Without Me
Guess who’s back, back again?  I inevitably reference this song when teaching the formula for perimeter of a 2D figure:  When you calculate the perimeter you go round the outsiiiiide, round the outsiiiiide, round the outsiiiide.

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2. Ma$e, Welcome Back
I suppose if you transition from Puff Daddy pal to a preacher (seriously) and subsequently return to hip hop, a self-welcome is justified.  Though perhaps he didn’t need to also name his album Welcome Back.

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1. Kid Rock, American Badass
“I’m back with the beaver hats and Ben Davis slacks”

In my books, anyone who can sing the trouser synonym “slacks” this aggressively is welcome to welcome themselves back to the music world any day.

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I’m off to ’79 this week, The Police & Cheap Trick are up next, enjoy!

Super Furry Animals – Rings Around the World (2001)

[Album 399/1001]220px-SFA-Rings_Around_the_World

It’s better than Dark Side of the Moon.

Now, the album art may not have reached such iconic status (yet).  And to put praise in its proper perspective, I don’t live for Dark Side of the Moon.*

But as far as Earth Orbit albums are concerned, I prefer Super Furry to Floyd.

Rings Around the World is out there, yet still grounded in accessible song structures.

The sounds are experimental yet the gravitational pull of melodic hooks keeps things from floating out of control.

There’s star power (John Cale & Paul McCartney appear) but it doesn’t overshadow the main performers (Cale contributes a single piano part, Sir Paul is credited with playing “carrot and celery” on Receptacle for the Respectable).**    Incidentally, Receptacle for the Respectable is an early contender for best song name of the 2000s.

Much like knowledge of our universe, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface with this stellar album and this group.

I’m certainly keen to learn more.

*I like it but I’ve sometimes found its critical immunity as mysterious as, well, the dark side of the moon.

**When you’ve got a world-class songwriter/my favourite living bassist/a terrific vocalist at your disposal and choose to limit his contributions to chewing carrots & celery over the phone, that’s something!

Björk – Vespertine (2001)

[Album 398/1001]BjorkVespertine.jpeg

When you hear the idiomatic response, “I’m picking up what you’re putting down,” would you say the respondent:

i) understands what is being said
and/or
ii) likes what is being said?

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I imagine Björk & long distance running would qualify as strange bedfellows.

Until this week, I wouldn’t have pictured it working, but Vespertine has been a terrific soundtrack for my recent jogs (with a soft j, as in Björk).

The reason: every time I listen/run, I get completely swept up in the Vespertine atmosphere.

For a running enthusiast like myself, that’s a great during-run feeling.  I wouldn’t say I immersed in the record but it certainly distracted me from any pain/fatigue and provided timely if unintentional motivational quotes (“You’re trying too hard” around the 4K mark, “I love him” upon completion of the 5K loop).

This is my first foray into the Björk discography (she has 3 among the 1001).  I hope the others (DebutMedúlla) work equally well in the long distance running context.

Especially given that the combined running length of those 2 records would be a good target half marathon running length!

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Returning to my initial question, did I pick up what Björk put down?  No and Yes.

I didn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on lyrically.  Her enunciation was fine, my attention here to such details as words/themes/song meanings, not so fine.

Instead, I continually ended up in a delightful fog of unmistakably Björk sounds, a fog I’d happily drift through again.

You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?

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