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Archive for the ‘Salt-N-Pepa’ Category

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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2013-03SOUNDTRACK: GARBAGE-Version 2.0 (1998).

2.0Garbage toured and promoted their debut for a long time.  And then they went back in the studio for the follow up.  After the success of the first one, the producers evidently tinkered and retinkered and reretinkered with Version 2.0 for ages.  I seem to recall Shirley Manson complaining that she had done her parts ages ago and was just waiting for the boys to stop playing with it.

And when they did, it was beautiful.  Look at the shiny packaging   The album cover was very graphic. All of the singles were very graphic and literally icon-ic. It was an amazing visual assault of a campaign.  And the album was like the debut only bigger slicker brasher more.  And I loved it.

In retrospect it is still good.  Quite good in fact.  But when pinpointing why the Garbage of today sounds so different, you can see it in 2.0.  The band definitely sounds more poppy, more dancey.   And Manson’s voice sounds more confident.  Less hidden behind gothy trappings.  She’s way out in front and indeed became the central focus of the band (despite the big names of the producers).  I was so enamored of Garbage and 2.0 that I never realized quite how poppy 2.0 was compared to the first.  The gothy dark side was replaced by a poppier sheen.  True, the lyrics were dark, but not quite as angsty (and they were a lot more about sex this time around).

Even though the music sounds similar there is a world of difference in the vocal styles of “Queer” and “I Think I’m Paranoid” which has her doing all kinds of vocal tricks   And “When I Grow Up” is practically all pop (with bright bah bah bah bahs).  “Medication” has an incredibly sweet section–Shirley’s gentle falsetto singing the “co-dependent” section is the great example of the dichotomy of Garbage.

“Special” is a slinky sexy song that quotes the Pretenders (something that was very cool at the time but which I feel has become something of a crutch for Manson/Garbage–quoting too literally from their sources rather than mashing them up).   “Hammering in My Head” has a cool keyboard riff and more of Shirley’s whisper/singing.  “Push It” references the Salt-n-Pepa song which is a little weird, but there’s great noisy guitars and slinky bass that makes the song it own.”The Trick is To Keep Breathing “is a the surprise song where the whispered quieter verses turn into a really pretty and prettily sung chorus.

 “Sleep Together” plays on that aggressiveness sexuality that Manson is so go at.  “Wicked Ways” ends with some really cool sequences (I don’t like the beginning that much for some reason).  And the disc ends with “You Look so Fine” a sweet track with a nicely multi-tracked vocal.  Although the album and song just kind of drift away at the end.

2.0 is an apt title, more of the same but bigger and sleeker.  But it seems to also point them in the direction of more technology that would come next.

[READ: February 5, 2013] “How Long and What a Marvel”

This is a very short story (about a page) and it is a very simple one.  But there’s a surprising amount of depth included.

The simple plot is that the narrator’s grandfather died and caused a seven hour delay of game.  What’s fascinating is that the game is never specified and I’m not exactly sure what game it might actually be.

The men from Three Mile came to their valley to play the first game of the season.  After a big meal, it was customary to start the game by having one of the old men come out, take his bat and challenge the slinger.  Many of the old men hadn’t survived the winter, but the narrator’s grandfather had and he went up to bat.  He was slow and dragging as he got up there.  (This sounds like baseball right?  Except the thrower is called a slinger and the innings are called frames.  Is it cricket?). (more…)

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