If You’re Tossin’ and You’re Turnin’ and You Just Can’t Fall Asleep

For more than a year, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Bamboo – Light Peace Love (2005)

Going into this album, all I knew about this album is that this is Pinoy Rock, but only one song is in Tagalog. Continue reading

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What They Say is No Surprise

One year ago this week, four of my coworkers (well, now they’re former coworkers) and I started playing a little music sharing game. In honor of this being our one-year mark, instead of sharing a complete album, I decided to share something a little different: a mix tape of songs I thought the guys who’ve been playing this game would share, or songs I’m surprised they haven’t shared yet.

In addition to the five of us that started playing a year ago, we’ve had four others play this game with us: our boss, a former colleague, my brother, and (currently still playing) a guy I’ve been in a band with since about 2005.

But of course Spencer couldn’t put together a playlist based on Tim, Chris and me, plus five other people who stopped playing before he started. So he just shared an album. And then so did Chris and Tim.

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra at the Sands (1966)

When Spencer shared this album, he also related a story that was often told to the USU jazz band by the director, Dr. Gudmundson.

Dr. G. was playing saxophone in the house band on a cruise ship through the tourist season. The drummer of the band was an incredible player, great swing feel every night. Every night after the gig, this fellow would get monstrously drunk and listen to this album on his Walkman, tears streaming down his face, bottle in hand, shouting, “Can you believe they swing this hard? This is beautiful, man!”

Dr. G would tell every one of his students to buy this album and listen to it, so we could learn to swing that hard. I never did. But Spencer did, and he claims that nobody except the Count Basie Orchestra can do it. I’m not sure I agree. They sure swing, but maybe I’m not drunk enough to think nobody else can do it. It’s all in the drummer. Not that I’m claiming to have ever played as well as the Basie band, but in my limited experience a jazz band is only as good as their drummer. Continue reading

Light of the World

Some of my co-workers and I have been sharing some of our favorite music, rating them, reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. I thought I’d share my thoughts on their suggestions (and their thoughts on mine) with you here.

A few weeks ago, there were two ideas of how to pick what to share. At the time, we decided to go with something from Rolling Stone‘s 500 100 Greatest Albums of All Time up to May 2012. This week I decided to share something from the other option: an album I think is overrated. Frankly, I’m glad I put this off. I needed a couple of days to think of an album I like, but was over-hyped. At least, when it was first released. But before I tell you what album I thought of, let me tell you what I thought about my coworkers’ suggestions.

Except Tim, who has been sick for days and days decided he didn’t want to go with his own suggestion of something over-rated, and went with his own theme. And then my brother followed Tim’s theme, so now my album is out-of-place.

Apparently the holiday with the most music is coming up.

Anyway, here’s how I rate things. If I give something one star, it means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Twisted Sister – A Twisted Christmas (2006)

My brother shared this with me years and years ago. Tim admitted right up front that the album is cheesy and tacky. Here’s one of my big beefs with Christmas music in general: it’s all just novelty music. Most of it isn’t great, musically. It’s the words and emotion that are most important. I like the song, but I don’t need more than 700 different versions of Silent Night. In a study by Time magazine, that carol has had 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978. Those are the copyrighted recordings. How many people have done their own arrangements, but not recorded them? Or not copyrighted (copy written?) them? Considering it is nearly twice as dominant as Joy to the World (a distant second with 391 recordings to its name)(and not that Joy to the World, either), I’ll bet there have been more than 1,000 different versions. Everybody and their cat has done their own unoriginal (or too original) version. Continue reading

Just Play with Me

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another.

This week, we decided to share live albums, partly because one of the songs I shared last week was a live version. I think live albums should be held to a greater standard than a studio album. The studio albums are there for me to familiarize myself with a band’s music and enjoy them when I can’t see them live. But the point of a band is not to put out great studio albums. It’s to be great entertainers, and that really means putting on a great live show. If all a band is going to do is play their songs just like they were on their studio albums, I’m going to be disappointed. At least improvise your solos. Of course there are examples of bands taking it too far – Dave Matthews Band will jam on one song for 20 minutes, and while the band might be having fun, it doesn’t always translate into fun for the crowd. Unless you’re so high a Hootie and the Blowfish concert sounds good. But the point is live concerts should give you something you can’t get from a studio album, otherwise what’s the point?

These are a live albums, so there’s some language between songs, etc. If that kind of thing offends you either A) find an edited version or 2) don’t listen to it all.

Also, all of these except one are double albums, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy them. I didn’t listen to a single album straight though except for Chris’ suggestion. I listened to the first half of everyone’s, then the second half. It was a nice way to break it up.

Here’s how I rate things. If I give something one star, it means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Queen – Live at Wembley Stadium (1986)

I was sure Tim was either going to share Kiss’ Alive! or this. So I wasn’t surprised.

Most of the songs off this album I had heard before. Some of them though, were nice new introductions. Songs like In the Lap of the Gods (which is so like most of the stuff off A Night at the Opera/A Day at the Races, I’m surprised I haven’t heard it before), Tear it Up, Impromptu, and Brighton Rock were new to me. Well, the covers on the second half of the album were also new to me, but I haven’t heard the original version of those, so I have no reference on them as covers or as live versions. Well, whatever (also, that was a sweet run-on sentence). Continue reading