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Monday, August 21, 2006

Sting - Dream of the Blue Turtles - CD

It's been years since I've listened to Sting's first post Police album, and a lot about it surprised me.

First, the music is still great. The combination of Rock and Jazz makes for a very interesting sound. And the players that Sting chose for this album are all top notch.

I was surprised at how the lyrics brought back feelings of the mid-Eighties to me. This is the time of the Cold War (or nearing the end of that war), but there was also the long  shadow of World War II that I wasn't aware of when I was 19. Somehow Sting captures the effects of both those wars in his lyrics, particularly in "Children's Crusade," "The Russians," "Fortress Around Your Heart"  and "We Work the Black Seam."

On the flip side, the humorous songs are there, too, and they balance out the album. "Shadows in the Rain," "Dream of the Blue Turtles," and, to some degree, "If You Love Someone (Set Them Free)" all have either humorous subtext or musical ideas.

Last, I've always enjoyed Sting's singing -- but I wonder why he always seems to be straining. When I saw him at White River Ampitheater a few years ago with Annie Lennox, Annie pretty much blew him off the stage. So I guess I'm starting to wonder how good Sting is, technically, as a singer. 

posted by AndyO @ 5:34 PM   0 comments

Playlist for vacation - 8/20/06

Going on vacation has always presented musical challenges for me. But now that I have an iRiver Clix and a subscription to the Urge music service, it's even more challenging. I can download whatever song I want from Urge to my Clix. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

The other challenge is that I wanted to put together a playlist for everyone in my family, which includes a 1-1/2 year old and a 6-year old.

I always want to bring along some music I've never heard before. In this case, I picked Blue Man Group: The Complex (I have their first album), Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine, The Presidents of the United States of America: II, Smashmoth: All Star Smash Hits.

Finally, I thought it would be fun to pick some of my favorite songs from the past.

Here is the entire list of music I brought with me:

Full albums:

Sting: Nothing Like the Sun, Dream of the Blue Turtles, Brand New Day, Ten Summoner's Tales

Blue Man Group: The Complex

Dixie Chicks: Fly, Home, Taking the Long Way, Wide Open Spaces

Dora the Explorer (soundtrack)

Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine

Jack Johnson: Sing-along's and Lullabies from Curious George

Johnny Cash: Classic Cash Hall of Fame

Mickey Hart: Planet Drum

The Presidents of the United States of America: II

Raffi: Raffi's Box of Sunshine

Rush: Different Stages, Exit... Stage Left, Feedback

Smashmouth: All Star Smash Hits

U2: All That You Can't Leave Behind, The Best of 1980 - 1990


Single or pairs of songs:

Jefferson Starship: Jane, Find Your Way Back

Cheap Trick: I Want You to Want Me (Live), Ain't That A Shame

Blind Melon: No Rain

Billy Squier: The Stroke

Journey: Don't Stop Believin', Stone In Love

Phil Collins: In the Air Tonight

J. Geils Band: Come Back, Freeze Frame

The Police: Spirits in the Material World, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

The Cars: Shake It Up

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!)

Rick Springfield: Jessie's Girl

posted by AndyO @ 5:33 PM   0 comments

Friday, August 18, 2006

Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple

I've been listening to this album over the past week, and I'm always surprised how much it stays with me. Apple writes songs in dissonant chord progressions and sings like Ella Fitzgerald. Every song seems to come out of left field, with odd instrumentation choices or strange vocal lines. But somehow it all works. I can see why Apple's getting so much critical acclaim.

posted by AndyO @ 1:05 AM   0 comments

Monday, August 14, 2006

Deadwood: Season 1 - Discs 1 and 2

Review: * * * *
posted by AndyO @ 1:35 AM   0 comments

The World's Fastest Indian

Review: * * * *

posted by AndyO @ 1:34 AM   0 comments

Music for 8/13/06

INXS - The Best of INXS

It's been a while since I listened to this band, even with their recent resurgence. After all these years, I'm still impressed with the production on their albums. Great stuff.

Spin Doctors - Pocket Full of Kryptonite

Listening to this album brings back so many memories. But the thing that always gets me is the incredible groove that drummer Aaron Comess lays down. That groove in "Two Princes" is one of the best ever.

Rush: The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987

posted by AndyO @ 1:31 AM   0 comments

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - DVD

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Widescreen Edition) - * * *

Mini-review: Film noir, Shane Black style, with Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer. If you don't know the name Shane Black, you've probably heard of the movies he wrote in the 80s and 90s: Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout. Black has the unique ability to write scenes that are familiar and unique at the same time. This is Black's first film as Director, and his eye and attention to detail reminds me Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, Silverado, The Big Chill, Grand Canyon) and the wit of John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Joe vs. the Volcano).
posted by AndyO @ 11:35 PM   0 comments

Why We Fight (2005) - DVD

Why We Fight (2005) by Eugene Jarecki, Franklin Spinney, Wilton Sekzer, and Richard Perle (DVD) - * * * *

Mini-review: This documentary brings into focus the war machine that runs the United States. The scope of this film is large, spanning from World War II to today. Highly recommended.
posted by AndyO @ 11:32 PM   0 comments

Music 8/1/06

posted by AndyO @ 10:48 PM   0 comments