Saturday, February 11, 2006

so I've got mono....

yeah, so I've got mono and I have nothing better to do at 10:09 on a saturday morning than to blog. (not that its a bad thing, don't get me wrong, I should just be sleeping or something) anyway I decided to listen to Steamin', a great album by Miles Davis. This album was recorded in the mid 50's for prestige records after miles signed with columbia. Columbia realized what a money maker he could be so they signed him before his contract with prestige was even finished.

this album displays excellence in every medium of the music; we hear virtuostic, chord based solos by john coltrane and also the melodic, horizontal solos by miles in the ballads "something I dreamed last night" and "when I fall in love"


miles davis- trumpet
john coltrane- sax
red garland- piano
paul chambers-bass
philly joe jones-drums

the album begins with a tune called "sugar with the fringe on top" This 9 minute tune is typical miles in every sense: medium tempo, strong groove, very melodic melody, everything is just perfect. The comping between the drums and piano is amazing in this album, these players have been playing together for a while, you can really tell. The individuals all know when to change groove, when to build the soloist, which voicings and chords to use to compliment coltrane's note choices, when to react to the soloist .....all of this, true professionalism.

salt peanuts, a dizzy gillespie tune, should've been left alone to be played by dizzy. Although miles CAN play this type of music, ( he did watch dizzy and bird every night in the mid 40s to the point where he knew all of dizzys licks) I don't think that this is his style, or voice. it feels like he's faking, like the music isn't coming from his heart- the miles we all know and love. theres a great drum solo on here, the recording technology is way before its time.

something I dreamed last night- a great ballad highlighting miles' abilty for melodic excellence and harmon sound. coltrane doesn't solo on this track....thank god. I don't really like coltranes style of playing. don't get me wrong, hes great, a genious. I think he sometimes plays too mechanically, I would much rather listen to miles, maybe my mind's just not capable of catching all of what coltranes throwing at me, but I would say that it would take a very advanced listener to really get something out of listening to him. at this point in his life, he just doesn't have the capability to play a ballad and play it well with any sort of melodic interest.

diane- another typical miles tune, medium tempo, miles sounds great. 'nuff said.

well you needn't- a monk tune. coltrane sounds great on this tune. He and monk are a lot alike in the way they think about they music, monks choices of notes really complimented coltranes sound and vis versa. miles, on the other hand, is known for telling monk to not play during his solos, he didn't like the way his comping choices made him think. they were just never on the same page. here in this album, garland's sparse comping gives miles plenty of room to roam. this tune is more coltrane oriented, and as much as it pains me to say it, I think coltrane out-solos him on this one. I hate to use that term, out-solo, because I think they are two completely different people thinking in different ways, and really, what is music? is music a competition? no. they are both offering up their souls, so I don't think there is any one that out-solos another. so, oops, I take that back, I guess I just mean that of any of the tunes on this track, this one is suited more for coltranes voice than miles'.

my favorite- when I fall in love- this is one of my favorite ballads, my favorite on this album as well. Miles has been known to perform this in a lot of different ways, but I like this one a lot. its more straight forward and simple than many of his free versions. again, coltrane doesn't play on this, rather red garland does. I like his soloing; he solos more in chords than in horizontal lines. almost like he's not soloing at all, hes very subtle.

great album, again, I reccomend this to somewhat advanced listeners because the average joe wouldn't be able to enjoy all of the little pieces of conversation and soloist/comping reactions.

alright, time to go back to bed.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Modest Mouse; Good News for People Who Love Bad News

Well so I suck and I forgot to write my first blog. So here's this weeks blog, on Monday, so I won't forget. This album is very unique. It has some echos of Radiohead but the voices remind me alot of The Stokes. I really love the chrous numbers. Well I don't know if it's all the band members or just one singers layered. But it sounds like a bunch of people are singing. Overall the melodic material isn't very complicated, but combined with raw guitars and ambiant sounds, it makes for an interesting listen. My favorite track is probably Ocean Breathes Salty. Bukowski is also very lovely. A cello solo throughout adds an interesting and ironic texture to the lyrics "God who'd wanna be such an ass hole." The next track titled "This Devil's Workday" combines a howling brass section, bari sax and banjo together to create an exciting and daunting track. Overall, this album is great. Everytime I've listened to it this week (about 4 times) I've discovered something new. Whether it's a new melodic motive, or a lyric with strong political sentiments, there's always something hiding waiting to be discovered. I recomended it to anyone who's looking for a musical adventure.

Michael Bublé - my torch song lover

Michale Bublé - my torch song lover
So, I've taken it upon myself to take a moment out of this crazy weekend of Rush and listen to an HOUR of Michael Bublé, choosing his second album, "It's Time". I will simply just list each song as it is on the play list and give my comments thusforth...did that make sense? Track 1 - Feeling Good: I'm sorry Nina Simone..but Mr. Bublé has you beat big time. My friends and I think it's an amazing song to strip to...I know this has nothing to do with i missing the point of the assignment? Okay..well the REASON it's a good song to strip to is because of the heavily swung triplets and eigth notes played by a loud percussion and brass section and Bublé isn't scared to let his voice get scratchy in this one. It's a constant build up of texture until all the instruments ..string..drums..and horns are playing homophonically the same loud rhythm that defines that peice. Track 2 - A Foggy Day (In London Town): The song is rather parallel and reminds me of the style of early rondeaus and ballads in that it's strophic (in fact it repeats the same words for both verses). Yet, the second time of course is has more improvisation and variation on the melody. It's far from boring though keeping with his use of the "big band" and is in a jazzy, snappy duple meter.Track 3 - You Don't Know Me: I still have to give it to Ray Charles on this one. Bublé keeps it too pretty almost, but I do appreciate how he hardly changes it from the original version. The electric guitar solo is nice and mellow with a mild syncopation as it "riffs" that the right word? I do enjoy the drums on this song and the aural texture they add with the use of....the thing they use to make the soft resembles a brush...?Track 4 - Quando, Quando, Quando: All I have to say is No, No, NO! It's basically elevator music. And I dont even know how to describe elevator just know it when you hear it. I think it's the dotted eigth, sixteenth, quarter rhythm motif (depending on how quick/slow you count the duple meter) that's constantly repeated that makes it that way..and then marracas (spelling?) no music should use marracas except mariachi bands. Track 5 - Home: I actually have had this song for over a year and always skipped over this song until I heard Straight No Chaser perform it at DePauw. It could easily become a god awful twangy country song, but it's Bublé's deep smooth Canadian voice and accent that saves it! Another duple meter that's a slow to moderate tempo that somewhat strays from the big band genre and opts for soft strings that play behind a dueting acoustic and electric guitar. As most songs of our contemporary genre it's all strophic and follows the verse chorus verse chorus pattern....and he adlibs acappella at the end.Track 6 - Can't Buy Me Love - This song makes me uneasy because it begins almost hecticlly with too many instruments..the entire band comes in..horns.drums..piano..just take off and this vivace swung two! It slows down during the chorus.."can't buy me loooove",,but then takes off again....and towards the end..slows again..and the density thins out and the piano is heard improvising and doing tremolos.Track 7 - The More I See You - I absolutely love this song. It has the perfect blend of the band and it can easily be counted in 4 and doesnt have the complicated rhythms most of the songs have. And in this song Bublé gets to scat and improv instead of the instruments doing it. He also shows the full extent of his low range!Track 8 - Save the Last Dance for Me - Bublé really should've left this one to the Drifters. If you've been privy to the Drifters' version then you know what I mean. I don't know how David Foster got it in his head that this song should sound like a rumba or salsa or mambo...I dont know which rhythm makes the difference but it's one of the three. again..its the marracas..Track 9 - Try a Little Tenderness - He made the right decision with this love ballad and the focus is really on Bublés voice..being accompanied by strings and piano and allowing Bublé to be the one to change the texture of the song with his voice and improv.Track 10 - How Sweet It Is - Okay David Foster, this is a smooth Motown song..not an 80's rock song..which is how it starts of with the electric guitars playing triplets then quarters that are off the beat slightly. And it doesnt its really an annoying track to listen to...thank goodness it's short so there's really not much i can say
I couldn't decide what I wanted to listen to for my first post, so I decided to let my ipod randomly choose for me. The first song it picked for me was "I Can't Do It Alone" sung by Catherine Zeta-Jones on the Chicago sound track. I love listening to this song because it's musically descriptive of what's going on. In the song she does a lot of dancing that can't actually be seen, but I can still always tell what she's doing because the music changes for every dance step that she does.

Next my ipod chose "Intomo all'idol mio" sung by Sumi Jo. This song was very beautiful and sad. The piano provided a flowing, arpeggiated background for the melody. The singer used a very clear tone and a lot of ornamentation, especially in the last section of the song that returned to the opening motive.

After this, my decided to lighten things up a little with the song "Twisted" sung by Joni Mitchell. This song is very amusing because it's nothing like the style of music that Joni Mitchell usually sings. It's very jazzy. It has a lot of trumbet and base in it, and the lyrics are completely silly. This song is one of those happy ones that always makes me smile and sticks in my head for a very long time after I've listened to it.

My ipod then decided to take me on a journey down memory lane by having me listen to the song "Marian the Librarian" from the Music Man. I played Marian in my high school production of the Music Man, and I love listening to this song. This is song has some cool things going on in it. I love the theme of the song that has the quiet snares driving this ridiculously extended note sung on the first part of the word Marian. I also laugh every time I hear that word end in that quick little turn. The music definitely has that extra something that catches my ear and makes me listen.

Next my ipod chose "Three Letters" from the musical She Loves Me. This song is neat because in it the character is writing letters about the changing seasons as they are changing, and I can hear the seasons in the music. I can hear the wind blowing the leaves in the autumn throught this big, blustery, continuous instrumental part, and I can hear the snow fall in the winter in a light run in the higher instruments.

My ipod then decided to bring things back down with a little more Joni Mitchell. This time it decided to go with one of her more well known songs, "River." I love the piano part of this song. It's really cool how it begins with part of "Jingle Bells," so it sounds like it's going to be a happy Christmas song, but then it goes into this sad mellow music, and the song ends up being about how lonely she is at Christmas and how she wishes she "had a river to skate away on." It ends by returning to "Jingle Bells" in a minor key, which makes the song so poignant.

In a complete change of style, my ipod next selected the song "Maintain Conciousness" by Relient K. This song a very upbeat rock song. It's about getting bored with the mundane routine, and I love how in the middle of the song, it stops and completely changes styles as it talks about how even the song is getting boring and monotonous. It then goes back to the chorus, but this time it has an almost accoustic sound to try to change things up.

After this I listened to "King of the World" from Songs For a New World. This song begins with a roiling bass piano part that draws the listener in. It is sung by a man who is jail and lamenting his lost freedom. It is a very exciting song. The character singing is a dreamer, and he draws the audience into his dreams. The music steadily gets faster, higher, and more exciting as he remembers the life he had, then just at the climax of the song, everything stops and drops away as he remembers that he is in prison and these things are all lost to him now. I love the way the song makes me feel his sense of loss too by taking away the driving force of the music away just as I am getting the most into it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Throwback of the 80's

Hmm, so I was sitting here finishing up my theory homework when I looked up at the clock and noticed that I only had like 10 minutes to do my post for the week...I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to talk about, so Dr. S, if I do it wrong, I'm sure I'll hear about it in any goes:

Sometimes it's good to go back into the past to listen to some good music. Last night, I went down into the basement of my house, hooked my computer up to our system, and turned on some really old 80's pop music. Stuff like "Come on Irene", "Footloose", and some other rock classics. It's not that often that I get to hear some of that stuff, but at times, it makes me feel nostalgic and it takes me back to those olden days of innocence, when they were played all the time. (not that I remember those times anyway). I found it quite relaxing to just close my eyes and flail around to the music. I probably looked like a huge ass (can i say that?) because i was jumping around, spinning, singing/yelling...and genuinely enjoying myself. Me and Elise Balzer were having a good ol' time, and we were even joined by some of the guys in my house. I felt so free and alive listening and...can i say "dancing" to that sort of music, but it's a rare occasion...because travelling back in time like that would get really old if I did it all the time!

blog 1/5/06

I listened to Scheherezade by Rimsky-Korsekov. I've heard the piece many times and performed it about six but I wanted to listen to it again. Its a pretty cool piece; probably my favorite symphony ever. The solo violin is simply amazing and the overall effect of the piece gave me chills the first time I performed it. Hopefully we can perform this piece in orchestra by my senior year.
-Sam Barnes


"Wicked" the most popular musical on Broadway right now, has amazing music. The music is written by Stephen Schwartz, who has written many other musicals such as: Godspell, Children of Eden, Pippin, and many others.

The first act is about an hour with each song better than the next. The first song, "No One Mourns the Wicked" involves Glinda (the good witch) and the rest of the citizens of Oz. It begins huge with a full orchestra and then varies through out the song, until the main theme comes back at the end. This first song narrates or sets up the entire musical, as Glinda (sung by Christy Candler) tells the story of how the "wicked witch" and her became friends/classmates. The second song "Dear Old Shiz" is some what of an extension of the first song. It is the first song of the story that is being told. All of the munchkins and Glinda begin the story in a classroom at their school, "Shiz".
The third song is one of my favorites of the entire musical, "The Wizard and I". Carole Shelley sings the role of Elphaba (the wicked witch) on the CD that I have. This song changes moods many times through out the piece, with many times of spoken dialogue through out the song. It builds constantly throughout the entire piece, with the textures changing and the tempo increasing. Carole Shelley's belting is amazing on this song as the notes get higher and the music gets more dramatic all of the way untill the end of the song.
The fourth song, another one of my favorites, is "What is this Feeling". This fast tempo song begins with a duet between Elphaba and Glinda singing in great harmonies but with the same phrases together. The second half of the piece has the duet going on but also has the students or munchkins singing another theme in the backround. It is great music with counter melodies going on constantly.
The next song "Something Bad" involves Dr. Dilamond (a goat, but yet a professor at Shiz) explaing to Elphaba that someone or thing is taking the animal's voices away from them. As he tells her this...he begins to loose his english as well and ends the song with a goat noice "baaaahhhh".
The next song, "Dancing Through Life" is basically the rebel Fiyero's entrance song. He is a tenor and has an excellent musical theatre voice - Kristoffer Cusick. Like many other of the songs in this musical it begins with a soloist and then as the song progresses, there are many chorus parts that complete the song. One of the great themes in this piece comes back many times--each timing building more and more musically and emotionally. The theme begins with one soloist singing a single melody line with only a few instruments, but by the end of the song you hear the theme/melody with many harmonies and MANY People singing it with full orchestra.
The next song, "Popular" is actually a common favorite of this musical. Glinda tries to tell Elphaba what to do to become "popular" like her. In the song there is a kind of Recit. at the begining and then when the main theme comes in Glinda tells the story and the orchestra plays block chords through out. The main refrain is simply Glinda shouting, "la la la la were gonna make you pop- u - lar." Giggly Glinda is VERY energetic through-out the entire piece to an almost annoying point.
The Final song of the first act "Defying Gravity" is by far the best song in the entire musical. I personally have seen this production in Chicago and this song is the most amazing experience of Wicked. This is the beginning of Elphaba actually being "Wicked" and is very intense. The beginning of this piece has Elphaba and Glinda argueing about what decision Elphaba should make. Elphaba then describes her plan for what she will do. It has a driving rhythm and amazing Belting melodies. The most amazing 10-20 seconds of this whole musical is the end of this song. Elphaba decides to go on her own, and be her own team. She goes behind the curtain and when the music builds to its climax the curtain moves apart and there....before your eyes Elphaba is FLYING in the dark with all of the ray of colors shinning only on her. This ends with Elphaba telling Glinda and the world that no one will ever bring her down, with very HIGH HIGH belting.

I am a Tool.... fan.

Artist: Tool
Album: Lateralus

Ok, I'm a drummer so I'm going to assume that a lot of my plog posts will be about bands with some crazy drummers. Tool, by all means, has one of the best rock/alternative drummers to this day. Danny Carry makes the complex time signatures of many Tool songs stick out, making this band one that can not be compared to any other rock group, (maybe Rush... but Neil Peart is another monster). Unlike most rock groups, Tool ventures out of the typical 4/4 time signature, exploring some odd meters like 7/4 and 6/4.
The first song on the album, The Grudge, is an all out drum fest which makes the listener wonder how many feet Carry really has. One motif involves the progression of eighth notes, then triplet eighth notes, 16th notes, followed by sexteplets, ALL PLAYED ON PEDAL BASS DRUM!!! The very first time I heard this song I was nearly in awe.
The popular song, Shcism, was the main headlining song of the albums release. The bass leads the melody with a complex system of fast pickups and a catchy melodic line.
My favorite song, Ticks and Leeches, highlights Carry with a very catchy drum groove in the beginning of the song. The time signature is 7/4, which gives Carry the opportunity to really experiment with an awesome drum groove. The simplicity of the melodic line in the guitar really highlights the groove of this song.
On the lighter side, the song "Disposition" has a much lighter tone. The bass player experiments with some false harmonics which is the solo line. The timbre of the bass really is a good contrast to the mellow tone of the song.
Not only does Tool incorporate complex time signatures, but they also involve world music. The song Reflection incorporates some African drumming as well as some kind of native horn that adds a really foreign sound. As well, my favorite song, the live version of Push It, incorporates tabla, the drums native to Northern India. Throughout the song the tone changes. It'll be hard rock for a while then it will switch to something rather native sounding, incorporating the unique sound of the tabla. The song is absoultely amazing and the lead singer, Maynard Keenen, has one of the best voices in alternative music.
First post... don't really know how to end it, but that's it. Late.

Captain Planet is quite the companion for a road trip

I took a road trip up to Michigan this weekend! The drive was about 4.5 hours and I was in the car with my dear friend, Corinne, and two other freshman girls: Keely and Amy. Four and a half hours of music gives me lots to talk about, but I want to focus on the theme song that brought back the best memories.

I noticed at certain times during the drive that a song would come on that someone would exclaim, “Oh! I remember this song! This brings me back to like 2nd grade!” This happened most frequently when we were listening to a CD I have that has “hero” songs on it (James Bond, regular AND techno version, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain Planet, Power Rangers, and Indiana Jones Theme Song) and then proceeds with more “normal” artists like Something Corporate, Ben Folds, Acceptance, and Stevie Nicks. All in all, it’s pretty much my favorite CD and I bring it on all road trips. As we were driving up 231, Captain Planet came on and we all started singing along at the top of our lungs.

The theme song of Captain Planet starts with the chanting (or grunting if you will) the different elements: Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart (?). Then Captain Planet comes in and introduces himself as the man “of the powers combined.” The chorus of “Captain Planet, he’s our hero. Gonna take pollution down to zero. He’s our powers magnified and he’s fighting on the planet’s side” is repeated twice followed by a threat of some evil pollution guys. The Planeteers come on next with their chant of, “We’re the Planeteers, you can be one too, ‘cause saving our planet is the thing to do! Looting and polluting is not the way, hear what Captain Planet has to say!” Captain Planet closes the song with an empowering: “The power is yours!!!” as the song fades into the Indiana Jones theme song.

The Captain Planet theme song itself is structured much like a cheer or chant, which fits very well for this “cheerleader of the environment.” The melody, of sorts, for this chant, is not very complicated. There’s some bass instrumentation in the background, as well as lots of percussion, and some sort of synthesizer. It all is quite effective for the “cheerleader” chant bit. It also keeps the focus on the chanting, rather than being distracted by some "wicked ass trumpet line," among other things.

The mood that ensued after hearing this song was quite uplifting. It reminded me of hanging out with my cousins, watching cartoons at their house and eating macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. Mmmmm.

As I mentioned previously, after the theme song portion of the CD ends, other artists are introduced. There are three songs by Something Corporate, which is definitely the most prevalent artist for the second portion of the CD. The three songs are “As You Sleep,” “Konstantine,” and “I Woke Up in a Car.” My least favorite of the three is “I Woke Up in a Car” but the other two are tied for my favorite songs on the CD (other than Captain Planet, of course). Ironically, the two pieces that I like better have more piano in them, and less other instruments. In the car song, there is piano, but it only plays back up chords, while in “Konstantine,” piano is the main instrument, carrying the melody as a solo.

In conclusion, this CD (which was burned, illegally for me my senior year of high school to assist in a “how to” speech- that’s another memory all together) is the best one for road trips, and will continue to hold the place of honor, in the first slot of my CD case. The theme songs really do serve as some sort of reminder of all the good innocent times watching Captain Planet kick pollution’s ass. And eating mac and cheese, of course.

Blog 1/6/06

First of all, I would like to thank the AT&T company for their wonderful billboard on south 465 advertising blogging...this event would not have been possible without your generous support. While driving back from Michigan, I explored Jessi’s wonderful plethora of CDs. The one I decided to listen to for this blog was, as she described, pop music with “a guy named Joshua Kadison who sings about a different girl in each song.” Intrigued, I listened to it and sure enough, she was correct. As much pop music does, the lyrics typically told of relationships with women and surrounding events. The harmonies were very typical of popular music. At times, harmonic regression was utilized which is often the case in popular music although rarely in classical music. There are nine tracks in all, so the form of each piece is slightly different. I am going to focus on the song entitled Jessie simply because Jessi really enjoyed hearing her name in the song and therefore we listened to it numerous times. The piece starts off with a piano introduction and is followed by the first verse. After that, the refrain is sung followed by a verse-refrain pattern two more times. It ends in a terminative section in a similar style to that of the introduction; that is, the piano slowly fades out. The instrumentation for most of the pieces included piano, bass, percussion (usually set) and solo voice. We had a good time listening to roughly nine hours of music in the car over the weekend, not the least of which was the wonderful music of Joshua Kadison.

Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia" from American Idiot

Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia" is a song in five parts, (Jesus of Suburbia, City of the Damned, I Don't Care, Dearly Beloved, and Tales From Another Broken Home). From the controversial and extremely popular American Idiot, the song is only part of many. The entire album is based on a constant theme. It is meant to break barriers and to question society's pop culture. Many themed rock albums have challenged society's standards, (such as Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Pink Floyd's The Wall, and The Who's Tommy,) but this the most noted one to do it in a punk context. And furthermore, it's the first one to challenge politics post-9/11/01.

The lyrics and music flow off one another. When the lyrics get more aggressive, the music thrashes with distorted power-chords. When there's a sudden delicacy in the texture with acoustic guitar, bells, piano, and falsetto backing vocals, the lyrics develop a new lightness. Each movement could easily stand alone as one track, but they are linked together through lyrical theme and consistent musical motive. What makes "Jesus of Suburbia" so powerful, is the fact that these extremely passionate lyrics are surrounded with well layered pop-hooks. The lyrics are linked by idea, and the music is linked by it's 50's rock-sounding catchiness.

Many critics often challenge Green Day's musical talent, but the entire album is very neatly and thoroughly arranged. There is a reason American Idiot won the Grammy for Best Rock Album. Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre' Cool are amazing arrangers. They have the power to layer the texture with simple melodies and counter-melodies in a very unique fashion. The songs are so thick with hooks that make them easy to appeal to mass audiences. "Jesus of Suburbia" could stand as an album on it's own. There are few songs in the world that can claim that kind of power, no matter what the genre.

Jesus of Suburbia
lyrics by Billy Joe Armstrong
music by Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, & Tre' Cool

[Part 1: Jesus of Suburbia]
I'm the son of rage and love
The Jesus of suburbia
From the bible of none of the above
On a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin
No one ever died for my sins in hell
As far as I can tell

At least the ones I got away with
But there's nothing wrong with me
This is how I'm supposed to be
In a land of make believe
That doesn't believe that don't believe in me

Get my television fix sitting on my crucifix
The living in my private womb
While the moms and brads are away
To fall in love and fall in debt
To alcohol and cigarettes and Mary Jane
To keep me insane and doing someone else's cocaine

[Part 2: City Of The Damned]
A lot
Of the 7-11 were I was taught
The motto was just a lie
It says home is were your heart is
But what a shame
Cause everyone's heart
Doesn't beat the same
We're beating out of time

City of the dead
At the end of another lost highway
Sign misleading to nowhere
City of the damned
Lost children with their dirty faces today
No one really seems to care

I read the graffiti
In the bathroom stall
Like the holy scriptures of a shopping mall
And so it seemed to confess
It didn't say much
But it only confirmed that
The center of the earth
Is the end of the world
And I could really care less

[Part 3: I don't care]
I don't care if you don't
I don't care if you don't
I don't care if you don't care [x5]

Everyone is so full of shit
Born and raised by hypocrites
Hearts recycled but never saved
From the cradle to the grave
We are the kids of war and peace
From Anaheim to the middle east
We are the stories and disciples
Of the Jesus of suburbia
Land of make believe
And it don't believe in me
Land of make believe
And I don't believe
And I don't care

[Part 4: Dearly beloved]
Dearly beloved are you listening?
I cant remember a word that you were saying
Are we demented or are we disturbed?
The space that's in between insane and insecure
Oh therapy, can you please fill the void?
Am I retarded or am I just overjoyed?
Nobody's perfect and I stand accused
For lack of a better word, and that's my beat excuse

[Part 5: Tales of another broken home]
To live and not to breathe
Is to die
In tragedy
To run, to run away
To find what you believe
And what I left behind
This hurricane of fucking lies

I lost my faith to this
This town that don't exist
So I run, I run away
To the light of masochist
And I leave behind
This hurricane of fucking lies
And I walked this line
A million and one fucking times
But not this time

I don't feel any shame
I wont apologize
When there ain't nowhere you can go
Running away from pain
When you've been victimized
Tales from another broken home
You're leaving home

Attack of the Clones

For this first blog I decided to listen to the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode II- Attack of the Clones. I really like John Williams’ music for its intense emotional connections to the action in the movie itself. This soundtrack has, of course, the star wars theme that everyone can recognize with its glorious brass fanfare. Also in the first track there is foreshadowing of Anakin’s eventual transformation into the evil Darth Vader. The second track, the love theme, has beautifully melodic solos by the oboe, harp, and English horn over a triplet string accompaniment. Delicate and soaring, these solos really portray Anakin’s and Padme’s love. The melody is eventually picked up by the entire orchestra, in a heart-wrenching climax. Tension in the relationship is also revealed with an unstable section. This track, I think, would be fun to drive to.

The next track accompanies the attempted assassination of Padme and the chase of the assassination. Highly percussive, this work has many short, harsh passages and is very tense, keeping the listener on the edge of his seat. The following track changes character, giving a musical backdrop to Yoda and his young trainees. The melodic line is simple, beginning in the winds. Strings join in to fill out the texture. A return of the love theme occurs in this track, providing a bridge between parts of the movie. The first vocal lines are present in this track, a notable change of color. The next track has themes of Coruscant and small billows orchestral dynamics. Themes from the first released Star Wars movie, A New Hope, are stated in this track.

The next track is set behind Padme and Anakin as well. With a low flute solo at the exposition and a return of the love theme in vibraphone, this music seems to reflect a true relationship between people, not just a passionate fling. Another abrupt shift brings me to “Jangos’ Escape”. Jango Fett, the bounty hunter, escapes from Jedi Obi-Wan in a flury of woodwinds and brass. Returning to Padme and Anakin, another track accompanies an afternoon picnic in a field. It retains the now familiar musical themes between the two lovers.

Going back to tracking Jango, a chase scene in outer space is colored musically by similar phenomena as the last track: intense brass answers to frantic scalar wind and string passages. The music is loud and jarring at some points, while quiet and mischievous at others. The following track, “Return to Tatooine”, is one describing Anakin’s curiosity of the state of his mother. Coloring a different kind of space ride, this piece is smooth and fluid.

The penultimate track, “The Tusken Camp and the Homestead”, is the soundtrack for the scene where Anakin slaughters a group of Tusken Raiders, avenging the death of his tortured mother. The track begins with claves and muted brass moving to strings and then somewhat spastic string and wind entrances. Clearly this track reflects the madness and loss of control experienced by Anakin. The final track is called “The Love Pledge and the Arena”. As one might expect, the love theme returns, in a delicate string setting with the oboe over is again. Cellos take the second phrase after the oboe, moving into violins. Flute begins the second period of the theme, with strings joining in to enhance the texture and dynamics.

The music becomes more intense, leading to the arena where young Skywalker, Amidala, and Obi-Wan will fight for their lives against three different monstrous creatures. Finality is given to the music by a steady snare drum and low brass.

Well, I think that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. On to other homework!

All Shook Up

“All Shook Up” is the musical which includes 24 Elvis hits. At first, I didn’t think it was possible to construct a storyline using songs that don’t even go together. But, Joe DiPietro, who wrote the book and lyrics for “I Love you, You’re Perfect Now Change”, was able to do it without even changing many lyrics to the songs. However, there is a very odd and unexpected ending to the musical. If you just listened to the cd and haven’t read the plot or seen the musical, you would think there is no plot.

“Love Me Tender”- Starting with a ballad is kind of odd for a musical, but Jenn Gambatese has a beautiful and powerful voice and pulls it off well. The piece begins with a short verse, just a couple measures, so could just be an intro. Then repeats the chorus twice. A very short piece but introduces the character.

“Heartbreak Hotel”- The piece starts with a single voice then a couple voices are added and finally the whole ensemble is in unison. There is just one chorus in the piece that is repeated multiple times, but varied each time. In the last chorus, no longer is the ensemble in unison but it is sung in full chords, which gives the piece a dramatic effect.

“Roustabout”-Most songs on the album have a gospel feel, but this is more like a rock song with a guitar and drum accompaniment. The accompaniment sounds like “Born to Hand Jive” from Grease.

“One Night with you”- There are moments of silence in this piece between verses and the chorus which add a neat effect. A very short and simple AABA layout.

“C’mon Everybody”- My favorite song on the album, mainly for the energy and the added harmonies. The same harmonies are added in many of the pieces, but they’re neat harmonies nonetheless. The chords are very full. Clapping and snapping also adds a different texture to the piece. The piece is often call and response. Cheyenne Jackson sings and the ensemble then responds.

“Teddy Bear/Hound Dog”- Cheyenne Jackson begins with singing that he wishes Jenn would be his teddy bear. She then replys that he is nothing but a hound dog and sings through that melody. Then they put the two together which worked quite well. The melodies were altered to fit harmonically together, but it works overall. And, of course the ensemble is also added in the end.

“That’s All Right”- Just about every song is sung by the two leads and ensemble, but this is sung by voices with different timbres than heard previously. In the last chorus the ensemble chimes in just like every song on this album.

“Devil in Disguise”- This piece has a gospel feel. There is a lead singing and a gospel choir which repeats what ever the lead sings. This song also has very few lyrics. “He’s the devil in disguise” is repeated throughout many times.

“It’s Now or Never” – We go from gospel to a latin feel. There is a prominent latin beat with a trumpet throughout. There is a basic chorus, first sung by the guy then girl and then together with harmony and ensemble. The last three chords are descending fifths sung by Cheyenne and Jenn which sound really neat.

“Blue Suede Shoes”- Just for fun, I played this song and Elvis’ version at the same time using a different player to see the similarities. They matched up great, almost exactly the same including the bridge for a guitar solo. Until the end, when the ensemble joined in and the song was completely rearranged.

“Don’t Be Cruel”- To begin this piece, Cheyenne begins by clapping the rhythm of the whole piece a couple times and sings with his clapping. The next time he repeats the melody, the instruments take over the rhythm.

“Can’t Help Falling in Love”- When listening to this, I prominently noticed the huge direct modulation, tempo change, and added ensemble to end the piece with a bang.

“All Shook Up”- AABA bridge BAA .Very simple melody repeated multiple times with a couple of sequential modulations at the end.

“A Little Less Conversation”- One of my favorite Elvis songs, however some of his songs worked in a Broadway arrangement and some didn’t, this not being one that didn’t. The words are enunciated too much, it is just too crisp and clear. The complete opposite of Elvis.

“The Power of My Love”- The bass for the whole song is based on the alternation of Do-Fa-Mi-Do and Do-So-Fa-Do. It starts out as a ballad but soon changes to a more upbeat tempo when more voices are added.

“Jailhouse Rock”- The verses and chorus can be distinguished easily from the fact that the verse is just made up of V-I chords and very few instruments and one voice and then many instruments and voices join in for the chorus.

“Fools Fall in Love”- another song that starts out as a solo ballad and transforms into a full chorus power ballad through a modulation.

“Burning Love” – ABABACBBB is the form where the A is the verse and B is the chorus. The chorus is repeated so many times and I’m sure during the bows as well. It will probably be stuck in my head all day.

Overall, I noticed that the c.d. lacked in ballads, most songs were upbeat and energetic. Also, most songs were for the full ensemble, there weren’t many solo and duet songs. The songs began to sound alike near the end; it just needed a bit more variety.
The Fauré Requiem
I am in love with Fauré. If had been born about 150 years ago and been fluent in French, I’m sure we would have been married. Since the requiem is about 52 minutes, I also listened to the Pavane.
I started with this piece. The recording of this piece was the all-instrumental version (without the choral part that was added later) Fauré is most well known for his talent with melodic line. Fauré’s Pavane is memorable for its beautiful melodic line, and manipulation and slight variation thereof throughout the piece. In the most dramatic and moving section of the piece, the middle section, Fauré combines a string of four bar sequences over a pedal bass that descends by whole tones (much like in the opening of the Requiem)
The Faure Requiem is a 52 min. mass for the dead. The most memorable impression I have of this work as a whole (other than powerful and amazing) are Faure's themes and motives that reccure throughout the 7 movements, often linked to text. My favorite movement is Libera Me performed by a baritone soloist and full choir. The movement cries out to the Lord for salvation and deliverance. The transition to the final movement In Paradisium is haunting with the single soprano line singing of peace. This is by far my favorite classical piece (and probably the only one I will write about this semester)

PS- I saved this as a draft accidentally instead of publishing it before midnight and now it won't save. I'm computer stupid... please don't fail me. Faure is dead haven't I suffered enough?
PPS- I'll drink less coffee before I write the next one of these so it is (slightly) less weird.

Sarah Vaughn

I Linstened to Sarah Vaughn's, "The Essential Sarah Vaughn." Having only truly listened to other jazz vocalists such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, I was in for quite a surprise when I started to listen to Sarah Vaughn. The first noticable aspect of her music is her incredible vocal proclivity. The tone in her voice is absolutely amazing along with her wide range.

The Album begins with her beautiful rendition of Misty, which induces a euphoria in the listener. The mood of the CD continues at a slow pace until the fourth cut, All of Me. As soon as the song started I was captured. Being one who is a bigger fan of upbeat songs (and songs with which I am familiar), this immediately became one of my favorites. I became even more enthralled when she takes a chorus and improvises while scatting. Her range is shown off along with her knowledge of the changes. I was quite impressed.

Another favorite of mine was No Count Blues. This song was overflowing with raw emotion. It makes you tap your foot and bob your head. Moreover, Sarah again displays her incredible ability to scat and improvise with the other instrumentalists. As a big fan of blues, this song was probably my favorite cut on the entire album.

Another favorite of mine sounded somewhat more pop-like to me. Broken Hearted Melody seemed more like a song that Sam Cooke might sing. This was probably a cut from one of the CD's she made when she was recording for the pop chart. I was a fan, even though it wasn't as jazzy as some of the other tracks on the record.

Your Not the Kind is also a great cut. In addition to being more upbeat, it has a great trumpet and flute solo. I only wish that Sarah could have taken a solo and possibly convers with the other instruments.

Overall I was a big fan of the alubum as a whole. I would definitely recommend this CD to a peer. My only criticism is very small and only a personal preference. I am not a big fan of the amount of vibrato she puts on some of her notes. To me it seems a bit excessive at times. I prefer it when singers hold a note without adjusting it excessively. It sounds somewhat operatic when she puts the vibrato on the note, and personally I am not a big fan of this type of singing. Fortunately, she does this only sparsely on the the more upbeat songs, of which I am a bigger fan.

Austin Johson

So I thought I'd start with a little Ravel.....

Since Corinne and I went last fall to the Chicago Symphony to see them do a Ravel concert.

Pavane pour une infante défunte or Pavane For a Dead Princess
I have this in both a piano and orchestral recording. I remember reading, probably in the concert's program notes, that Ravel would often get asked which princess it was supposed to be dedicated to, and that he would tell them no one; he just liked the way the name sounded.
I listened to both the piano and orchestral versions and even though I like the orchestral arrangement better because of the different colors of sound, the piano gives the piece a more appropriate meloncholy. I really like this piece because the name and the music match. When I listen to it I can see a whole court of people dressed in mourning dancing slowing around in a big, well lit hall, saying goodbye to their beloved young princess. It's kinda cool.

I think it's safe to say that everyone in the world has heard this piece before. It really, as a piece of music is not all that spectacular. It's just the same motive repeated over and over and over again over a simple snare drum part. I guess what makes the piece fit with its time period is artisticness (is that a word?) of it. I'll explain. To me the Bolero is like a painting I guess, or maybe the actual process of painting a painting. You get the opening with the rhythm serves as setting up the canvas and then the process gets started. The motive is like a paint brush and of course the instrumentation the colors. You start at the top of the orchestra with the flute and progress down through the colors, building the dynamic all the while. Again I think I remember reading in the program notes that Ravel ended up hating this piece because it was what he became most well known for. He didn't like having what was becoming considered his greatest work being something so musically simple.

Rhapsodie espagnol
This is another work that has an almost otherworldly quality to it. There's something about the orchestration and way that motives are used that makes you think that if disney movies were real, they'd be set to some of this music. I think a lot of that is caused by all the glissandos happening all over the place. The middle movements get very dreamlike. I think it's interesting to see a Frenchman writing a spanish piece, and doing a decent job of getting the feel of it. There are parts in the middle that don't seem very spanish at all, but the faster parts do, especially with some help from the castinets.

I hope you enjoyed our foray into the world of Ravel. That's all I'm going to write about because it's almost time for bidnight. bye.

chet baker...."But Not for Me"

One of my top 5 albums of all time. Definitely worth listening to over and over again. This album is a very mellow album, the drums are only played on a small portion of this album, he plays with a lot of color and melodic liberty. Because the drums aren't present, the players are much more in tune with eachother mentally, a sort of telepathy. He starts out with a great tune called "Lament." Again, this is one of my favorite works of chet. he begins with just piano and flugel on the beautiful melody. soon a flute takes over and improvises a very emotional, heart wrenching solo, beautifully played. I think the greatest thing on this album is the communication between the players. While this flute solo is being played, the piano is adding to and finishing many of the floutists thoughts and feelings, adding much more meat to the music. As the flugel solo comes in, chet finishes the floutists line (sometimes called by jazz artists "shitting on your neighbor") but does it in a very artistic fashion rather than showing off his ability. Chet was a genius, he didn't know much about the theory when he started, he played mostly by ear; he was a natural.

the next tune, Four, starts with him singing only accompanied by the bass. the first solo, a baritone solo. this doesn't occur much in jazz so it throws the listener for quite the twist. The group in this song is great about constantly changing the texture so the listener stays alert. He plays his solo with just a bass playing underneath him with the occasional line from the baritone player.

Tune for Lyons- this tune brings up the tempo and energy of the album a bit and is similar in texture and soloist rarity as the tune before it.

Ellen David- this is a great ballad. the greatest thing about this is that you can't tell chet is actually soloing. His playing is so lyrical and well thought out that it sounds precomposed. Only by knowing the tune can one understand that he's actually improvising.

But not for me- the title track. This tune begins with a piano solo, again not something largely popular, but I love it. The bass line is especially great here, perfectly complements where the piano solo is headed. Soon thereafter, chet comes in and sings the melody as the piano perfectly compliments his lyricism. The communication is awesome! he then plays a great scat solo. I love it when he scats because he only uses the word "dit, dat, dut" or something like that. its so simple, his melody is impeccable. The bass then breaks out a rhythmically virtuostic solo.

The last tune, a latin(ish) ballad, is another great tune with so much to learn from. He begins with a duet with the piano. again, all aspects of musical expertise are present on this track, he never gets boring.

I love this album, there's never a dull moment. his innovation, color, and melody are great. many don't respect him because his lines are not burning fast and full of notes, but not many could play with the passion and though that he could. I strongly reccommend this album to anyone who

-yours truly.

25 Most Played on my iPod!

So, these songs are the ones I listen to the most on my iPod and I tend to listen to this list daily! When I'm walking to or from class, when I'm playing on my computer, working out, cleaning, etc. The list goes on. All of these songs express a different mood or emotion to me which is probably why they are the most played. Of course, I have a variety of songs on here. To give you an idea, there's Ben Folds, Green Day, Disney, RENT, Godspell and Justin Avery!

If you don't know who Justin Avery is, you are in for a treat! My favorite song of his which is included on this list, is called Sir Lancelot. His music is more like Fusion Rock and very interesting to listen to. It's like rock fused with jazz! This song is great example of that. On top of that, his voice is AMAZING! He can sing extremely high, almost higher than me! Ask me sometime and I'll let you hear it! He's amazing! What's even cooler is that he attended my high school! YAY!

The Ben Folds songs included in this list are "Zach and Sara", "There's Always Someone Cooler than You", "Philosophy", and "The Luckiest". Each one of these songs are great in that they express a different feeling. He has a genius way of expressing these emotions and in a way, he does it almost bluntly. "There's Someone Cooler Than You" is probably my favorite upbeat one of his though. I can relate to it so much and it's just one of those songs that get into your head! I mean the phrase, "Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall, but there's always someone cooler than you! Yeah you're the sh*t but you won't be it for long, there's always someone cooler than you!" I totally relate to that line. Ben Folds use of piano is awesome in all of his songs. He definitly takes rock to the next level, in my opinion. He just has feel good music. HIs song "The Luckiest" is possibly the best love song I think I've ever heard! Just for voice and piano, this slow ballad is very touching and a way of expressing love from someone who really doesn't know how. Love this song!

The Song from Green Day is called, "Wake Me Up When September Ends." This song is very appealing to me for some reason. I think I just like the way it sounds. It's very repeative and again it has a theme and meaning behind it. I think it has something to do with the war but I'm not sure. If you listen to the lyrics closely, you might think that. This is also one of those songs that start out slow and become faster or make you think it's going to be a ballad but ends up not becoming one. I like it.

Of course, the other songs on this list are from musicals/movies. I love listening to this type of music. In fact you might say that is all I listen to. Apparently the ones I've listen to the most would be the soundtracks to RENT and Godspell. Of course these are two totally different types of musicals but I really enjoy the music from them. RENT has a great soundtrack, especially with it's rock feel to it. Alot of the songs toward the end are very touching and can almost put you in tears. I think that's why I like listening to musicals so much, you just get in the zone of the character and the music that you feel like you are there. Godspell is a show I have actually done and will do again this summer which is probably why I listen to it so much. You can really tell that this musical is from the 70's however, especially with the use of piano, guitar and dancing the electric slide! It's still a very fun show and has a variety of great music including raggae, disco, and rock.

Anyway, that's pretty much what is on my 25 Most Played List. I bet you can't wait to see how long my next post will be next week, huh? Tehe :)