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The Divine Comedy – A Short Album About Love (1997)

[Album 593/1001]

With investments, there tends to be a trade-off between risk & reward.

A Guaranteed Investment Certificate? Not risky, but low interest rates as a result.

A Junk Bond? All kinds of risk, but the potential for high rewards if things somehow work out.

My favourite kind of investment? The elusive low-risk, high-reward.

Which is exactly how I’d describe The Divine Comedy’s A Short Album About Love.

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Beginning with the artist, The Divine Comedy.

Orchestral pop? From the artist that did Casanova? The same Neil Hannon that appeared on Ute Lemper’s Punishing Kiss?

Not much in the way of risk so far.

Moving on to the album title, A Short Album About Love.220px-TDC_ashortalbum

It’s Short (less than 32 minutes)? Sounds like a limited investment of time required.

About Love? What’s not to like about that?

And finally on to the songs themselves.

7 wonderful arrangements?

Replete with terrific instrumentation?

With memorable & theatrical performances by the vocalist?

If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I have to call my financial advisor…

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Verbalize the Positive

I remember when I reviewed Casanova, Ian from the80sdidntsuck had the nice/concise comment, “Neil Hannon is a genius. Full Stop.”

I reckon he’s right!

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Artist of the Week II – Quiz #4

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Amazing Artist of the Week Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the Week (so far): Genesis, 50 Cent, Slayer

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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 Slayer last week.

The results after 3 weeks (as of Wednesday):

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after 3

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Ready for Quiz #4?

Without a trace of irony, I’m a fan of this artist!

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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 #4
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..Originally from the musical, Chess, in 1987 this artist recorded a version of the ballad, I Know Him So Well, with her mother, Cissy

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400 points……………….Artist referenced/paraphrased by Jack Black in the film, School of Rock, “Gabe. I believe… That the children are the future. Now listen, you can teach them well, but buddy, you have got to let them lead the way.”

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300 points…………………This American solo artist also starred in a handful of films in the 90s, including Waiting To Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife, and…

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200 points…………………(dramatic pause, key change) And iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii – E – iiiiiiiiiiiiiii…

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100 points………………..The artist is W_________ H__________

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Answer: ويتني هيوستن

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

When Team Canada won the 1987 Canada Cup, The Greatest Love of All was played frequently in the dressing room to help motivate the players.

It worked!

White Town – Women in Technology (1997)

One Hit 8

One-Hit Wonder Group Event hosted by Danica @ Living a Beautiful Life

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I’m somewhat reluctant to label artists as a “one-hit wonder.”

The main reason for my reluctance?

A trio of artists (A-ha, Soft Cell, Dexys Midnight Runners), groups that I once considered to be deserving of that label, all have quality albums on the 1001 list.

Heck, Dexys are right where they belong on the 1001 list, not once, not twice, but thrice!

So what about White Town?

The artist name may be unfamiliar at first glance but I imagine the terrific tune below might be a little more recognizable:

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Rather than being a group, it turns out that White Town is more of a one-person wonder, an ongoing solo project by Jyoti Prakash Mishra.

And while it is true that none of the other tracks on Women in Technology reached the commercial heights of Your Woman, it’s far from disposable.Women_in_technology

At different times, especially on the tracks that feature guest vocalist Ann Pearson, I get anywhere from a late 80s Everything But The Girl vibe (Thursday at the Blue Note) to a late 90s Dido feel (Wanted).

Elsewhere on the album, White Town also released arguably the second best track from 1997 about music for a specific visual purpose (albeit a relatively niche category, Theme for an Early Evening American Sitcom would be the silver medal to Radiohead’s Exit Music (for a Film)‘s gold).

Overall, perhaps Women in Technology is better described as a one-hit/several-good-tracks/nothing-overtly-filler wonder?

In any event, White Town/Jyoti Prakash Mishra said it best.

When asked, how do you feel about being a one-hit wonder?

“Better than being a no-hit wonder!”

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to Danica for hosting this group event!

Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Green Onions (1962)

[Album 592/1001]

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to LeBrain @ mikeladano.com for creating the #0wordchallenge!

Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)

[Album 591/1001]

“And You’d Have to Be Here to Believe It!”
– The Hall of Famer Mike Lange, whenever somebody on the Pittsburgh Penguins does something particularly impressive

I’m guessing with much of my beloved 90s music, if you weren’t ‘there’ at the time, decades later, the magic may get lost in translation.

Which is probably part of what’s happening with Surrealistic Pillow for me.220px-Jeffair

I don’t mind it; but I think if I’d been ‘there’ at the time, I would have been more invested than I was as a new listener, 50+ years later.

However, even if their music was agreeable if not fascinating, I found myself fascinated with whatever legal disagreements led to the band name evolution from Jefferson Airplane – Jefferson Starship – Starship.

Who had to be ‘there’ for the band to be Jefferson Airplane?

Who had to leave ‘there’ for the band to keep the Jefferson, yet necessitate an upgrade in the mode of transport to Starship?

And finally, who stayed ‘there’ that meant Starship would remain, sans Jefferson?

In my study, I took the wikipedia personnel from this Jefferson Airplane album and from the debut albums by both Jefferson Starship and Starship.

Can you guess which member goes in which group(s)?

Hint: only one member appears in all three!

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Untitled presentation (8)

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Untitled presentation (9)

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Untitled presentation (10)

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Untitled presentation (12)

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Verbalize the Positive

A tip of the hat to a pair of Mikes for inspiring this post – to the aforementioned Mike Lange for his inimitable delivery & to Mike Myers for his brilliant “Dick York, Dick Sargent, Sargeant York” quote from Wayne’s World!

 

Artist of the Week II – Quiz #3

Artistoftheweekyear2

Amazing Artist of the Week Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the Week (so far): Genesis, 50 Cent

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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 50 Cent last week.

The results after 2 weeks (as of Wednesday):

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after 2

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Ready for Quiz #3?

Third time’s the charm!

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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 #3
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..Lead vocalist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King have been with this American group since its formation in 1981

 

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400 points………………This mononymous metal band shares its name with the last word in the title of a 1992 Kristy Swanson/Luke Perry film…

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300 points………………….and also the last word in the 1997-2003 Sarah Michelle Gellar TV series (of the same name)

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200 points……………They are part of the “big 4” of thrash metal, along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax

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100 points………………..The artist is S__________

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Answer: القاتل

(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

In a somewhat surprise example of ‘you never know who you’re going to influence,” Rivers Cuomo has (favourably) name-checked these guys in a couple of weezer tunes!

The Rolling Stones – Aftermath (1966)

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Superb 2017 Artist of the Week Series logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 590/1001]

“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

Why were the Beatles so successful?

In Gladwell’s book, an argument is made that it was the thousands of hours spent playing marathon gigs in Hamburg that helped The Beatles develop their world-class talent.

But this post is about the other group in the ___ OR ____ debate, The Rolling Stones.220px-RSAftermathUK

What made The Stones successful?

I suppose one could make valid arguments about songwriting, talent, showmanship, longevity…but those would all be too logical.

As an alternative theory, I believe Gladwell’s time-frame of 10,000 hours helps explain some of the varying quality of their musical output.

However, with The Stones, instead of requiring 10,000 hours of Practice, they were at their best when they demonstrated at least 10,000 hours of Patience.

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It’s not a new observation to suggest The Stones would often follow the example set by The Beatles (Rob Sheffield’s ‘Dreaming The Beatles’ has a particularly brilliant/eloquent chapter on the subject); do as the Beatles did, but with more swagger, and depending on whom you ask, more skill.

Even the most ardent Stones fan will likely concede this release pattern, while  vehemently (and likely, correctly) denying any direct musical copycat tendencies.

So if there was an inevitable time delay between a certain type of Beatles release & the response from The Stones, what was the optimal delay?

We’ll look at 3 Stones response scenarios:

  1. Waiting less than 10,000 hours
  2. Waiting approximately 10,000 hours
  3. Waiting well beyond the requisite 10,000 hours

 

And *spoiler alert* the longer the wait, the better the record!

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to the world wide web for having free Date & Hour calculators!