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Archive for the ‘Jack Black’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 8, 2018] Tenacious D

I loved the first Tenacious D record and enjoyed the goofy film The Pick of Destiny.  It amuses me to no end that kid-favorite Jack Black is in one of the most vulgar comedy-metal bands ever.  I could barely find 30 seconds of curse-free material to show my kids.

I also didn’t realize that the band toured at all.  This is mostly just an oversight on my part, because it’s obvious that they do and have toured several times as a duo and a full band.

Well, S. and I were super excited to see them, even if I haven’t listened to their more recent stuff and she apparently only knew “Tribute.”  But hey it’s Jables and Rage Kage!

The crowd was very male (S. noted) and very tall.  We arrived later than we wanted to and were a little further back than was practical for people of our heights.  We probably should have moved to the side, especially when a group of really loud people moved in around us.  But we stuck it out and waited for the show to begin.

Opening act Wynchester told us we’ve never seen a show like this.  And they were right. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS 3 (1997).

Sarah had this album on cassette, so I recently upgraded it to CD for her.  There are some good songs on here, but the end kind of degenerates into unpleasantness.  Looking at the track listing of the rest of the Very Special Christmas releases I can;t imagine ever getting (or even listening to) another one.

STING-“I Saw Three Ships”
Sting is back.  Compared to the previous song, this is a delightfully spare version of this song.  And it’s quite nice (and short).

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS-“Christmastime”
I’ve recently realized how much I dislike Corgan’s voice, but I do like his arranging.  This song is quite pretty and his voice is kind of submerged a bit so that’s good, too.

NATALIE MERCHANT-“Children Go Where I Send Thee”
O good Lord.  Sarah and I both like Natalie, but jeez this song is so repetitive and so freaking long.  One verse would have been fine.  But five? Hold crap.  I do like the “one for the little bitty baby” line, though.

REV RUN & THE CHRISTMAS ALL STARS FEATURING MASE, PUFF DADDY, SNOOP DOGGY DOGG, SALT-N-PEPA, ONYX & KEITH MURRAY-“Santa Baby” [NSFC]
Oh boy is this terrible.  A horrible update to a horrible song.  The original is kind of funny, but this is just excessive greed.  At least it mentions a ’98 benz so it is so dated that no one plays it anymore.

NO DOUBT-“Oi to the World”
Gotta say that I love this song.  It’s funny and fun and I would totally put this on a Christmas playlist.  This is back when I used to like Gwen Steafani.

SHERYL CROW-“Blue Christmas”
I don’t like this song and I’m mixed on Sheryl Crow, but this version works pretty well somehow.

BLUES TRAVELER-“Christmas”
I only know Blues Traveler from that one song with the long harmonica solo (I hate that harmonica sound).  But I love this song.  It actually reminds me a ton of Tenacious D (can t you just hear Jack Black singing this?)  It’s fun and really catchy.  I wonder if I need to listen to other Blues Traveler songs.

ENYA-“Oíche Chiún (Silent Night)”
This song is very pretty and I have the single for it.

HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH-“The Christmas Song”
Darius Rucker does have a good voice, but what the hell is going on in this cheesy phoned-in version?

CHRIS CORNELL WITH ELEVEN-“Ave Maria”
This is a nice (if not over the top–but is any version not over the top?).  But for heaven’s sake why is it 6 minutes long?

MARY J. BLIGE FEATURING ANGIE MARTINEZ-“Christmas in the City”
This is pretty much everything I hate in one Christmas song.  Cheesy beats, rambling verses, whiny choruses.

JONNY LANG-“Santa Claus Is Back in Town”
This is pretty close to everything else I hate in one Christmas song.  A blues song that feels like it goes on for 6 minutes.  Good grief.

DAVE MATTHEWS & TIM REYNOLDS-“Christmas Song”
This live version sounds better than the studio version I have elsewhere, but it’s still way too slow and mumbly and way way too long.

STEVE WINWOOD-“Christmas Is Now Drawing Near at Hand”
No one knows this “traditional” song, I’m sure.  It’s a slow English ballad, with no real melody.  I thought it was Peter Gabriel.  I kind of like it.

TRACY CHAPMAN-“O Holy Night”
This is an enjoyable version, understated and kind of weary-sounding.

PATTI SMITH-“We Three Kings”
My daughter rightly said that this version was very weird.  Patti is at her most Patti.  There’s  aton of mumbled spoken word competing with the song.  Even the chorus, which is so wonderfully catchy, is played like a dirge.  And like everything else bad on this record, it goes on for nearly 6 minutes.  CDs were bad for allowing people to sing for too long.

[READ: December 24, 2017] “Tripping Sunny Chaudhry”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This year, there are brief interviews with each author posted on the date of their story.

Hello. Welcome. It’s finally here: Short Story Advent Calendar time.

If you’re reading along at home, now’s the time to start cracking those seals, one by one, and discover some truly brilliant writing inside. Then check back here each morning for an exclusive interview with the author of that day’s story.

(Want to join in? It’s not too late. Order your copy here.)

This year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection.

This story actually takes place on Christmas Eve!

The narrator and her husband head back to New Jersey for the holidays.  Back when she was younger, all the kids would head out to the woods for beers and a bonfire.

(more…)

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aazero SOUNDTRACK: FUTURE ISLANDS-Tiny Desk Concert #128 (May 16, 2011).

futureI don’t really know that much about Future Islands.  I know they were huge in 2014, but this Tiny Desk comes from three years earlier, when perhaps they were less known?

I didn’t really like the single that was very popular in 2014, but I can’t recall how it compares to this show. The band consists of a bassist and a keyboardist/electronic drummer and Sam Herring the lyricist/vocalist/melodramatic front man.

It’s odd seeing him sitting casually on the edge of the desk before he starts singing.  He seems so mellow and then he sings with a crazily arch voice and unexpected dramatic flourishes.

Given his general appearance and some of the faces he was making I kept thinking that Jack Black would do an aces impersonation of him.

The songs are simple musically–simple keyboard lines and, it must be said, some solid bass holding things down.  All the drama comes from the lyrics, like in “On the Water”: “Body of mine, body of Christ, can I be the one who saves your life.”

It’s funny to hear him talk between songs so deadpan and unaffected, before resuming that unusual singing style.

“The Ink Well” has some weird echoing keyboards sounds before the solid bass comes in again.  I have a hard time taking his vocals seriously, it seems so over the top.  Although the blurb says that “What Future Islands is really going for, with the mordant wit in the lyrics, the melodramatic chord progressions and Herring’s yowling, scratchy voice [I wouldn’t describe it like that, actually], is catharsis. And catharsis can happen in your head and in your heart.”    And I do like the line “the ghost of you still haunts me at night and that’s enough to keep me happy, sometimes.”

He says that the second song is hard to song quiet.  Perhaps his singing style would work better if the music was bigger, fuller (matching the size of the amp they brought with them).

“Walking Through That Door” works best of the three songs.  It is a little faster, with a more propulsive bass and it feels louder, so that Herring’s voice seems to work better. And when he wails his lines at the end it seems appropriate.

Still not sure if I’m a fan, but I appreciate them a little more than I did.

[READ: February 1, 2016] Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity

Both of the libraries that I go to had copies of the second book in this series, and I waited and waited for the first book to be returned, but it just appears that neither one ever arrived.  So I finally put in a request for book one (I couldn’t read the second first even if this is from First Second).  #10yearsof01

I really didn’t know what this story was about, but I was surprised to discover that it was a series of small incidents (each with an End). Was this a series of single web comics, or is it just a fun way to tell a bigger story?  I’ll never know.  The whole story is set at the astronaut academy.

As the book opens we see a promotional guide to Astronaut Academy from the principal (who carries a big sword and has big spiky hair).  We learn what the school has to offer and we see some of the teachers like Mr Namaguci who has even bigger hair than the principal and “may or may not have magical powers but is still handsome.”  There also Señor Panda (still not extinct) who has a secret.

We also see that the application is for Hakata Soy. (more…)

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13SOUNDTRACK: JACK BLACK-The Goodbye Song (2009).

jbI love that Jack Black is a terribly terribly profane man, and yet he has also made a huge career out of doing kids shows and movies.  True Tenacious D are practically child men anyhow, but to think that the guy who sang some of those really dirty songs is also Kung Fu Panda?  Or the sweet guy saying goodbye to everyone in Yo Gabba Gabba land?

This song is, like most Yo Gabba Gabba songs, incredibly simple and repetitive (it’s mostly chorus singing goodbye) but each verse has one of the characters from the show singing a simple verse and JB saying something in return.

There’s nothing especially great about this song (you want it more for the visuals), it’s just always fun to hear Jack be funny and silly–and to rock out at the end.

[READ: May 9, 2014] File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

I knew that his book was coming out and I was pretty sure it was Book 3 in the All the Wrong Questions series because, well, because it came out during the series and it was illustrated by Seth.  But it is not part of the series at all.  Well, that’s not true.  It is sort of part of the series.

It is set in Stain’d by the Sea.  Lemony Snicket is there with his mentor S. Theodora and all of the characters we have met so far in the series are here as well.  But this is a series of unfortunate incidents in which Lemony Snicket helps to solve some crimes or, if not crimes, at least possible crimes.  Thing of it as a short story interlude from All the Wrong Questions.  And yet, even though that seems dismissive, it is a great and fun read.

So despite being a little disappointed that this wasn’t the next book in the series (I’m quite hooked) I really enjoyed these short “cases.”  It also turns out that the “bonus” story that came in the Barnes & Noble edition of Book 2 is one of these incidents.  I didn’t enjoy it that much as a “bonus” story, but I found it far more enjoyable this time in the context of Snicket trying to figure things out here. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LONELY ISLAND-Incredibad (2008).

Since I enjoyed the second Lonely Island album, I figured I’d check out the first one as well.  I mean it had “Lazy Sunday” on it after all.  But in this case my initial instincts we pretty correct. There are a  few songs on here that are funny and worth the time–and you’ve heard them all already.  The rest are filler–mildly funny songs that are too long by half (even when they are under two minutes).

The opening song, “Who Said We’re Wack” is only a minute and change and it overstays its welcome after about fifteen seconds.  Although, as I’m finding with a lot of the tracks, there are little bits that are funny, like the “raise your hands in the air” bit of this song.  “Santana DVX” is an amusing little skit about Carlos Santana making his own champagne.  Again, kind of funny, but not that funny.  And worse yet is that they keep reusing the joke throughout the disc.  “I’m on a Boat” is like the demo version of “I Just had Sex.”  It’s the same premise, with the same repeated joke, but you can get a lot more mileage out of having sex than about riding a boat.  At this point I have to wonder how many of these songs were skits (I don’t watch SNL as a rule) and I wonder if they are funnier with visuals added.

“Jizz in My Pants” is the first really funny thing on the disc.  The best part is that it starts out so seriously and then the absurdity gets faster and faster.  It’s very clever.  Although musically it sounds like The Flight of the Conchords might do it better.  “Sax Man” features the mighty Jack Black, and it’s funny, but I have to say that having the sax man play more bad notes (and not synthesized ones) as opposed to all that silence, and maybe having Black get even angrier would have been much funnier.

“Lazy Sunday” is still a highlight, a funny track with, and I think this is the key, new lyrics in every verse, not simple repetitiveness as humor (the old SNL standby).  And of course, “Dick in a Box” is still hilarious (oh, Timberlake, I can’t hate you).

However, that repetitiveness is a problem on “Like a Boss” (although parts of it are very funny) or “Boombox” (is boiled goose supposed to be funny?) although at least the chorus is catchy.  “We Like Sportz” is amusing but I feel like they aren’t dorky enough.  

Then, why does “Dreamgirl” turn into an ad for Chex Mix?   I know it is “sponsored by Chex Mix” but why?  It seems lazy.   And I simply don’t understand “Punch You in the Jeans” or “The Old Saloon” they just seem like stupid filler or in the case of “Jeans,” an attempt at at catchphrase generator or something.   

As on their follow-up, the skits are lame: “Normal Guy” is awful and “Shrooms” is boring.  But at least there’s only two skits.

Finally “Space Olympics” seems like a funny concept but what happens to the song?  It has potential to be a really amusing concept about actual space olympics, but it drifts off into a completely different direction.  Where’d the focus go? 

“Natalie’s Rap” on the other hand is focused, brutal and unexpected.  It is really, really funny.

All in all, this is an excellent place to hear a few good tracks and a whole lot of filler. I’m really happy that the sequel was so much better as it speaks to the possibility of even better stuff in the future.

[READ: October 30, 2011] Chew: Volume Two

As Sarah wrote in her post, I was pretty happy to have Volume Two of Chew in the house after finishing up Volume One (I’m only bummed that I don’t have Volume Three!!).

Volume Two continues the adventures of our favorite cibopath (see the previous entry for the explanations of all of these awesome ideas).  As the book opens we see that Tony Chu’s former partner, John Colby is back.  We knew he was still alive, but we didn’t know how alive he might be–after all, he had a cleaver in his face last time we saw him.  But he has been repaired, with the latest in technology, by the FDA.  And now Chu and Colby are back together, bickering as ever with new superpowers (the scene where Colby shows off what he can do is awesome). 

Chapter Two (Issue Seven if you’re keeping track), introduces Lin Sae Woo.  When I mentioned last time that Guillory draws grotesque characters, I had her in mind.  Lin Sae Woo is an aggressive, angry woman and she is drawn to reflect that. But she also has an absurd body shape.  Her breasts are preposterous–not even superhero large, stupidly large and the rest of her can barely keep up.  I can’t even decide if she’s supposed to be sexy, she is so ridiculous.  But she makes a formidable foe (even if she’s on the same side as Chu). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MEATLOAF with JACK BLACK-“Like A Rose” (2010).

My friend Matt is the biggest Meat Loaf fan I know.  He may be the only person in the United States who owns all of Meat Loaf’s CDs (yes, he has ones other than those two Bat Out of Hell discs).  So it came as no surprise to me when he sent me a link to a new Meat Loaf song.  What surprised me was that Jack Black is singing a duet with him!

The Meat Loaf/Jack Black connection is not new; Meat Loaf appeared in The Pick of Destiny.  And Meat Loaf and Jack Black are both waaaaay over the top.   So, really, the pairing makes a lot of sense.  And, when you put the two together, it’s amazing how well their voices work.

I’ve always loved Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, but I don’t have a lot of patience for the rest of his music.  He played a show at my college, and I left mid way through (mostly because the acoustics were godawful and he sounded terrible, although also because he didn’t play anything I knew–that is until after I left when he played like all of Bat Out of Hell).  But since then I have seen him in a Storytellers setting (also in Scranton) and he put on a hell of a show.

The song itself is pretty good.  It starts with a rocking acoustic guitar (not unlike Tenacious D) and then turns into a metal rocker (like Tenacious D).  Meat Loaf’s voice sounds a bit like a preacher (and to my ears, Jack is not loud enough in the mix).  Lyrically, it’s not that great (I can do without the “bitch” bit) but it’s a good rocker.

It’s available here.

[READ: May 5, 2010] “Will the Real Avatar Please Stand Up”

I think I’m missing something with this title.  Because I’m sure that you, like me, were expecting this to have something to do with the James Cameron film that is sweeping the nation.  And yet, this is actually about Warren Beatty and his claim that he has slept with some 12,000 women.  [Heh, heh, I just looked up the definition…very funny.  Sorry for my ignorance].

After an introduction (which may be in the persona of Allen himself–quite the rarity), the story follows a young woman as she looks to be next in line–number 12,989!

The story was quite amusing.  The character herself is not terribly well drawn (she’s hot and defiant and definitely not going to sleep with him).  But the story itself comes to life when we get into the Beatty mansion and learn that he has helpers to take care of so many of those pesky things that will keep his numbers down: foreplay, cuddling etc. (more…)

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