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Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 In Review: Music

If a rich benefactor were paying me thousands of dollars a month to maintain Giant Electric Penguin, I would happily quit my job and focus my entirely on watching movies. listening to music, reading books, flying to New York City to watch Broadway plays, and eating weird fast food items, and reviewing them all for you.  Unfortunately, there is currently no Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks in my life, therefore, I am forced to work a day job that doesn't involve any of the things described above.  Add onto that my responsibilities as a husband, father, and church deacon, and there is not enough time/space in my life to get to every little thing.  I don't even post my top ten movie list until Oscar night to give myself a chance to see as many movies from the previous year as possible (I literally saw 10 movies in the theater this year, of which only three are being considered for top ten status.  I'll catch up as much as I can.  Stay tuned.).

Needless to say, I didn't listen to a lot of this year's new releases, nor did I get out to many live shows, but I still stand by my music choices here.  One should keep in mind while reading that these are my own personal choices for best music thingies of the year and I'm super cool, so, my choices are super cool.  Got it?  Good.

Favorite Song: "Die Young" (Ke$ha)

Look, I enjoy the music of Ke$ha, all right?  I've been keeping that little tid-bit to myself for awhile, but now I'm ready to be open and honest about it.  I like pop music.  I especially like pop music about youthful exuberance; songs that are a call to arms, of sorts; and tunes that express a desire to live it up because we're all gonna die someday anyway, and what then?  Exactly.  It's that teenage excitement, that notion of youthful invincibility cranked up to an absurd level that really gets my brain all warm.  It's ironic that I hate teenagers as much as I do.

"Die Young" makes me want to punch a cop in the face; it makes me want to run through a fancy car dealership with a metal baseball bat, smashing windshields and side mirrors willy-nilly; it makes me want to engage in a condom-less sex orgy/dance marathon/Satanic Burning Man in a weird cowboy ghost town.  In short, it makes me want to live like I'm going to die young.

Actually, it just makes me want to turn up the volume on my radio and pound on my steering wheel, but that's more than I can say about a lot of other things in my life.

Favorite Song To Listen To With My Daughter: "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen)

Newcomers to the blog may not know this, but I have an 18-month-old daughter, named Quinn, who I've been singing to since she popped out of her mother's womb.  Mostly They Might be Giants songs ("Turn Around" "We Want A Rock") and Frente's take on New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle."  I also made a mix CD for her when she started sleeping in her own room with Simon and Garfunkel, The Kings of Convenience, The Beatles and even more TMBG.  She loves music, she loves to sing, and she loves to dance.  And her favorite song to dance to is "Call Me Maybe."  All she needs to hear are those opening strings, and she's grooving.  It's great!

It doesn't hurt that "Call Me Maybe" is catchy and likable.  I absolutely do not trust anyone who says they hate this song.  You can think it's "OK" or be "kinda sick of it," but if you outright hate it, I question whether or not you have a soul.

2012 Release That I Listened To Obsessively: Mumps, Etc. (Why?)

In 2012, my iPod died.  Without my music catalogue at my fingertips and still unsure of how to download podcasts onto my iPhone (I know how to now!  I'm a big boy!), I was lost, rudderless, forced to interact with my co-workers without ear buds in my head and listen to Funny 570 AM on the drives to and from work (Ugh.).  I mentioned my iPod's untimely passing to a co-worker, who burned copies of two Why? albums for me, Alopecia and Mumps, Etc., two great albums from one of a thousand musical entities on my Check Out This Band list.  I listened to Alopecia a lot first, thinking it was the new one.  Then, after misplacing Alopecia (Dammit!), I put in Mumps, Etc., the actual new one, and a brand-new obsession was birthed.  If you were to climb into my car right now and start it up, I'm pretty sure "Paper Hearts" would be blaring.  Please don't do that - hop in my car and start it up - because I'm liable to think you are stealing it and I may come after you like commando on LSD.  But if you do choose to steal my car, and any of Mumps, Etc.'s tracks are playing at an especially high volume, don't turn it down.  Bump that shit, son!

[Note: The above song, "Jonathan's Hope," is my favorite track, but I also very much enjoy "As A Card," "Paper Hearts," "Bitter Thoughts," and "Thirteen on High."]

Favorite Hate Listen: "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself) (Ne-Yo)

It doesn't matter whether or not you've heard this song, you can probably tell why I hate it from reading the title.  It's like something Dr. Phil would force a nitwit on his show to say to another, more maladjusted nitwit on his show.  Or like the scene in Good Will Hunting where Good Will Hunting makes a breakthrough in therapy played on a loop.  Or like Hello Kitten vomiting rainbows into a corral full of puppies made of marshmallow fluff.  Ooooh, I hate it so much!!!

Well, why listen?  Damn those poppy, club beats.  This song hooks me every time I hear it on the radio.  "Maybe it won't suck this time," I tell myself.  "Of course it's going to suck this time," my brain screams at me.  "It sucks every time.  It will keep sucking every time.  Turn Mumps, Etc. back on.    I want to hear "Jonathan's Hope" for the fifth time during this drive."

Hate Listen Runner-Up: That techno remix of Maroon 5's "One More Night."  

Dammit, I hate that song sooooo much!!!

Live Music Experience: Fang Island @ Local 506

About five minutes into Fang Island's set I remember thinking, "This might be the greatest thing I've ever seen."  For the duration of their time on stage - certainly no longer than one half hour - I forgot that I had the worst toothache in recorded history.  Thank you, Fang Island.

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