Life

The Curious Case Of Chris Brown

As anyone who follows the music industry knows, the Grammy Awards were handed out earlier this month. The big winner, as expected, was Adele, who took home half a dozen pieces of old-timey-record-player-shaped hardware and received a standing ovation for her performance of “Rolling In The Deep.” The Foo Fighters were pretty big winners too, getting two performance spots and basically sweeping the entire rock category – they even took home the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance award for “White Limo” over the likes of Megadeth, Mastodon, and Dream Theater. Other highlights of the show included performances from Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and the reunited surviving Beach Boys, along with tributes to Glen Campbell and Whitney Houston.

You know who else was a big winner this year? Chris Brown. He may have only received one Grammy – Best R&B Album for F.A.M.E. – but he also got to perform twice and received a standing ovation at an award show that unofficially blacklisted him a mere three years ago in the wake of that incident. The fact that he was even allowed to appear there at all counts as a pretty huge victory for “Breezy,” since that incident briefly rendered him a pop pariah and possibly this generation’s answer to Ike Turner for all the wrong reasons. You think it’s any coincidence that Rihanna showed up to the Grammys looking like Tina Turner? Maybe it is, but she couldn’t have looked any more like Tina if she was auditioning for a remake of What’s Love Got To Do With It.

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Top 5 Favorite Love Songs

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s Valentine’s Day, the day when couples across the globe come together in a Hallmark-approved celebration of their love and bitter singles like me feel strangely compelled to remind everyone of the fakeness of the holiday and how if you really love somebody you don’t need a special holiday to make you show it. The central dilemma of Valentine’s Day is the conflict between true love and obligation – if you put on some big romantic display on this day of all days, are you really doing it because you love your partner or because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do every February 14th?

I don’t know, maybe I just look at Valentine’s Day this way because I’ve been single for it every year, so I feel like I’ve always been on the outside looking in and don’t know what it’s like to share it with someone. The highlight of my Valentine’s Day every year is getting my Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in the mail, the exception being last year because that’s the day Radiohead announced that The King Of Limbs would be coming out later that week.

Dear Kate Upton: If you’re reading this, I want you to know that you can teach me how to dougie any time. Love always, Wannabe Valentine #239,570,816.

But we’re not here to talk about any of that stuff, are we? Of course not! We’re here to count down my top 5 favorite love songs in honor of Obligatory Love Day. The fun begins as soon as you click “Read the rest of this page”!

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#100: The Album That Started It All

It’s fitting that I write my 100th post on this blog on New Year’s Eve 2011, the third anniversary of its creation. But there’s another reason why the date seems appropriate. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of an album that I credit with kick-starting my lifelong love affair with music. And that love for music was what led to me getting a radio show on WMUC2, starting this blog to promote that show, taking up multiple instruments, and even writing and recording my own music as a personal hobby.

That album was released at a time when soft rock was all over the charts (Kenny G has a song on the ’87 year-end Hot 100 – seriously). Hair metal had transitioned from its hard-rocking virtuoso beginnings (think Van Halen) to cheesy party rock stuffed with aimless shredding and mandatory power ballads (think Poison). Bruce Willis scored a hit single back when he was probably better known as a singer than an actor (he hadn’t even made Look Who’s Talking yet, let alone Die Hard). A teenage singer from Hawaii won a local talent contest and got a nationwide hit single basically via word of mouth (Glenn Medeiros, “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You”). An Australian new wave band became a one-hit wonder by covering a one-hit wonder (Pseudo Echo, “Funkytown”). And yes, I got all of that from Wikipedia and Todd In The Shadows. Still, it was an odd time for music and the alternative rock boom of the early ‘90s was a few years away.

But none of that stuff really mattered to me. I was about six months old when the album in question was released. And by the time I was around five years old, I was listening to this record so much I practically had it memorized. So what was that album? The Joshua Tree by U2.

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The 2011 “Listen Up!” Awards: Handing Out The Harleys

So here we are, entering the home stretch of the year 2011. And if you actually believe that whole stupid Mayan apocalypse theory, we’re entering the home stretch of the human race. On that happy note, we’re going to be seeing some year-end lists popping up some time in the next couple of weeks. I figure I might as well submit my own, but just as I did last time I’ll be looking at unconventional categories (read: totally arbitrary distinctions that I made up myself). It’s time for the 2011 Harleys!

Who's a good little award statuette? YOU ARE! Come here and let me scratch you!

The fun begins, as always, after the jump. Bring on the first award!

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The 15 Most Disturbing Illustrations From “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark”

Oh man. I am going to hate myself so much for doing this. But not right away. I’m going to hate myself while I’m lying in bed tonight trying and failing to fall asleep.

You see, Halloween is just around the corner so I figured I would do some kind of Halloween special, or at least the Internet blog equivalent of one. The question was what I was actually going to do. I’ve already done a post about the scariest songs in my collection, and since I’m doing my Top 5 lists in the same order in which they appeared on my show, the Top 5 Songs To Scare Trick-Or-Treaters Away From Your House is still a long way off.

And then it hit me: Do a post about the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series.

helquist

 

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BLAST FROM THE PAST #4: Linkin Park

A recent episode of South Park posited that there comes a time in your life when everything you once loved as a kid starts looking like crap once you’re older. While I will certainly admit to growing more critical and cynical as I’ve grown, I’d like to think people don’t change that much. Some things in life never get old – I’ll probably always have a soft spot for U2 and Green Day, for the Three Stooges and Looney Tunes cartoons (and South Park, for that matter), for Super Mario Bros. 3 and Final Fantasy VII. Then there are things that give you little to no sense of pride or nostalgia, things that make you look back and wonder, “Why the hell did I ever like that?” And for me, sometimes I look back to my teenage years and try to figure out why it took me so long to grow out of nu-metal, though I do give that particular phase credit for helping me get into heavier music.

I was never a hardcore fan of that whole late-‘90s, early-double-0s scene, but I did get my feet wet. I liked Korn’s singles back then, but never bought any of their albums. I could never really get into the Deftones (and still haven’t, even though I’ve heard lots of good things about them) or P.O.D. I flat-out didn’t like Disturbed at all (and still don’t). System Of A Down? They were okay, but I never really got into their stuff either. I didn’t hear anything by Slipknot for the first time until long after the nu-metal craze had hit its peak, though I’d seen plenty of their merchandise around school. There was a brief period where I actually considered getting that Crazy Town album with “Butterfly” on it – yes, I once thought the guys who horrifically mutilated “New Noise” by Refused were at least competent musicians. I was totally ready to buy Kid Rock as an “American Bad Ass” until I found out that he took that riff from an old Metallica song (for the record, I’m usually OK with sampling as long as you make interesting alterations or additions to the sample; leaving the sample as it is comes off as lazy, like all you did was make up new lyrics to someone else’s song). And who the hell were Primer 55 and Ill Niño? I certainly didn’t know.

Really, there were (and are) only a handful of albums in my collection that probably qualify as nu-metal at all: the first three Limp Bizkit albums, Infest by Papa Roach, The Lonely Position of Neutral by Trust Company, and of course the required soundtracks for any angsty teenager’s life from 2000 to 2004, Hybrid Theory and Meteora by Linkin Park.

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Picks Of The Week #8: The Ps Have It

Hey everyone. It’s been a while since my last post. And I have my reasons. Last week I was away from my computer because I was vacationing with my family at our house in Ocean City, Maryland. I spent the week working on my tan, chilling in a nice warm swimming pool, and actually going into the ocean for once. There are lots of broken seashell bits in the sand as you enter the water and it just really annoys me and kind of hurts my feet a little (I have nice and delicate feet, dammit).

The week before that I went to volunteer at the Philadelphia Union match against Everton and ended up hospitalized with heat exhaustion, which is a pretty crappy experience that I don’t recommend for anyone. I had to stay inside for a few days during the recovery process, but I wasn’t really in the mood for blogging. It made me miss out on the Union’s match against Real Madrid, which sucks because I really wanted to go to that one. But enough about my, um, awesome life. This is a Picks of the Week post, and this week’s picks are all brought to you by the letter P.

And it’s not even like I specifically chose this letter for a POTW post. When I was putting together this little list, I noticed that the songs on it were all by bands whose names began with the letter P. So I figured I might as well make that the theme. But first, check out a couple new tunes from Radiohead and Mastodon.

 

The Picks of the Week are coming your way after the jump, as always.

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A Quick Update Because I Was Away

Hey everyone. Just got back from a weekend in Ocean City, Maryland. In between looking to see whether or not My Morning Jacket has announced any tour dates in the Philly area (answer: no) (EDIT: The answer is now YES — they’re playing the Mann Center on August 23) and any updates on whether or not a new Radiohead tour has been announced at all (answer: also no), I noticed that I haven’t updated this blog in a while. So much for that whole “new post every week” schedule I’d been trying to stick to. So here’s a nice quick Colin’s Collection update to get me back in the swing of things. As always, the list can be found after the jump. Or if you prefer, you could always just listen to this song that inspired the title of today’s post (and also much of Green Day’s post-Warning career).

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BLAST FROM THE PAST #3: Weathered

SETH GREEN: Hey, you guys hear that? It sounds like Creed!

DAX SHEPARD: I never thought I’d be so happy to hear anything that sounds like Creed!

Without A Paddle

Ah, Creed. How I remember the halcyon days of 2000 when their songs were played on the radio every ten minutes and on TRL every day after school between Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. And how the “Pearl Jam rip-off” criticism was so prevalent that Y-100 actually held a contest where they played a song by either Creed or Pearl Jam and you could win a prize if you called the station and correctly identified the performer. I also remember how Scott Stapp wrote songs about God, kind of looked like Jesus, and struck so many poses WITH AHHRMS WAAAHDE OHH-PUN that the only way the Christ allusions could be any more obvious would have been to shoot a video at Golgotha (although they did shoot the “Don’t Stop Dancing” video in a church)… while simultaneously proclaiming that no, they were not a Christian rock band, and where in the world could you ever get that idea?

(Two videos, people. I got these images from TWO VIDEOS.)

I also remember having two of their albums. Human Clay was a burned copy and I remember listening to it once, being bored with it unless the singles were playing (now where have I made that biting criticism before?), and never really bothering with it again. I vaguely recall the non-singles often being kind of slow-paced and sometimes overlong, though never as egregiously overlong as the last album I reviewed for this feature. For all I know I could be completely wrong about this. But even now that I’m going back and revisiting all these old albums, I still feel no urge to dig up Human Clay and listen to it again.

Weathered, on the other hand… well, that was a completely different story.

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Hey Look, Another Collection Update

Hey everyone, I’m back on the blogosphere with another eagerly-anticipated (by very few people, if any) Colin’s Collection update. I’ve been pretty busy with job hunting lately, going to career fairs, browsing Craigslist, checking temp agency websites, and other wonderful stuff. Okay, I’m lying about that last bit — job hunting is pretty much the most frustrating and depressing thing in the world.

The good news is that so far this has been a pretty good year for music. I just keep on adding stuff to my collection, and with new releases from the likes of My Morning Jacket (Circuital comes out on 5/31) and the Arctic Monkeys (the oddly titled Suck It And See arrives in June) on the horizon, I know I’m still not done.

My latest musical acquisitions are coming up after the jump.

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