Rock/Soul/Prog, Spring 2008

This is the Life

March 26th, 2008 by savoytruffle · Comments Off on This is the Life

This is the life.

Laying out, soaking up the sun,

Chatting with some friends,

Reading a good book,

Relaxing to some tunes.

This is the life.

And I could never ask for more.

Sunset in DC

Original post by redsoxlax89

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Most recent class presentations

March 26th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Most recent class presentations

Last class, we had two presentations: One on the song “All the young dudes” by Mott the Hoople and “Bang a gong (Get it on)” by T. Rex. Both of these songs I am familiar with in past casual listening, mainly just as songs in the background… however these presentations helped to bring some background and meaning to these songs. In doing these presentations I began to think about how well categorized certain songs may be and how difficult certain other songs may be. What I mean by this is: some songs are definitely more easily placed into a single category than others. When I was doing my first presentation on Marvin Gaye, I was quite convinced that the song was in fact soul, and one would have to struggle to argue otherwise. Granted, Nora did a fine job of arguing that the song was progressive, but I couldn’t help but wonder if she had a difficult time doing so.

My question to the class, more specifically those that presented on Tuesday, is whether you also perhaps felt that you were arguing the wrong side, that maybe the song was really not best fit into the category that you were arguing. Maybe your partner had a lot more to work with and you were grasping for straws. This is only a question however, this is not to say Dr. C didn’t purposefully chose songs that could easily be argued both ways, I am merely wondering the class opinion. Have you ever felt that perhaps the genre you are arguing that the song belongs to is not actually the genre that the song best fits into?

Original post by bnissen15

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March 25th, 2008 by Reverend · Comments Off on ONCE.

last weekend my friends and i watched this indie movie called Once and it was surprisingly really good. the movie was about a couple in dublin who randomly met and began musically collaborating together. the two main characters, played by glen hansard and marketa irglova, are real musicians and before the movie was filmed they composed and performed all the songs used in the film. the way that the writers incorporated the music into the film was just so amazing and i really liked hansard’s and irglova’s music. right now i am in a phase where i really like folksy music, stuff with more substance and grit than all the over produced music that is coming out right now, and hansard’s lyrics are just so real! i have been listening to it non-stop! the song “falling slowly” received an academy award and a grammy nomination so i recommend listening to it b/c it is fabulous )

Original post by elevatorluvlettr

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shaky hands…

March 25th, 2008 by · Comments Off on shaky hands…

A few days ago Will, a friend of mine, decided that it would be a good idea to listen to “The Who Sell Out” album by The Who while we did whatever we did in our room.  Our little Rock/Soul/Progressive class listened to the song “Tattoo”, which is on the album and I had wanted to listen to some other songs from it.  One song that really stood out to me while we listened, mainly because Will pointed out the song by saying “This song’s about hand jobs”, is the song “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand”.  The most memorable line in the song is ” Mary is so pretty.  The prettiest in the land.  Guys come from every city.  Just to shake her shaky hands.”  He he.  The song’s just so hilariously suggestive, but the best part of the song is the very last time the words “Those shaky hands” is repeated, since the vocals undulate up and down quickly, as if… well just give the song a listen, since it’s a good listen as well.

Original post by ykim

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Soiled It. Soiled It. Soiled It

March 24th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Soiled It. Soiled It. Soiled It

This is by no means a post that will contain profound musical thought or discussion, but at any rate it does have to do with music and if feel it could present a good commenting opportunity. So, Guitar Hero III. My roommate brings it into our room and it has officially taken over my life. I beat the game on medium this weekend and was quite proud of myself until I came to the realization that what this success really translated into was a large waist of my free time over the past few days. At any rate, I have discovered a few things about the entrancing game. 1) It is the only video game I will ever be good at 2) Having heard the songs you play on the game previously really helps you play better 3) It is absolutely nothing like playing a real guitar in any way shape or form (I do play real guitar so I can make the comparison) and finally 4) It can completely RUIN songs that you love.
Because all of my roommate’s friends and my friends come over and play the game (often into the late hours of the night) I have heard the same songs over and over and over! For instance the song “Barracuda” by Heart. I used to really like that song. I even have it on my i-pod. Now when I hear that song I get rather irritated and turn it off, skip it, ect…There are other songs that have made my list of “no-longer-listenables” like “Black Magic Woman” by Santana or “Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions, “Paint It Black” bye The Rolling Stones, and finally “Schools Out For Summer” by Alice Cooper. Now, I didn’t have a huge attachment to every song on this list prior to my Guitar Hero experience, but now there is simply no hope for any of these songs. I guess waking up at 2 am to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” for the 3rd time in one night would make anyone hate that song, I’m just finding out first hand how easy it is to ruin something I once enjoyed.

Original post by cyost

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Mott the Hoople

March 24th, 2008 by Reverend · Comments Off on Mott the Hoople

Here’s our song for tomorrow:

Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes”

Original post by karl

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where have all the women gone?

March 23rd, 2008 by savoytruffle · Comments Off on where have all the women gone?

I am far from a feminist – on the contrary, I often find myself thoroughly disappointed in my gender for its persistent tendency to underperform. So, as I was listening to Joni Mitchell in my car the other day, it struck me how few really, truly good female musicians there are. I can think of two – the aforementioned Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez. Who else is there? Can anyone else name a female artist who actually lives up to the standard of the best male artists? Kelly Clarkson doesn’t qualify. Britney doesn’t, either. I challenge someone out there to name me even five remarkable female artists from the era when music was at its artistic best – the ’60s and ’70s – because I sure can’t do it. I don’t buy the excuse that music keeps women down in order to perpetuate a patriarchy – that may be true for politics, academics, and business. But music, especially the free-wheeling liberal music of the ’60s and ’70s, seems to be above that sort of hierarchy. My question to the reader – is this lack of females in music driven by male oppression, or is it female apathy/inability/whatever? I am withholding judgement temporarily – my own opinion coming soon. 

Original post by nomalley12

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Music is Power

March 23rd, 2008 by · 1 Comment

Recently, Karl wrote a post about music and being in band, which now inspires me to write this. I commented on her post but as I was commenting, I realized I had way too much to say about the topic and felt that a post of my own would be so much better. So here it is:

From the second my oldest brother picked up the trombone when he was in 5th grade, I knew that I wanted to be in band and make music, too. Too bad I was only a preschooler and mom said I had to wait till I was in 5th grade. From then on, 5th grade couldn’t come soon enough!

Finally, 5th grade came and it was time to take band! I couldn’t wait! I was going to play trombone, just like my big brother. However, I had short arms and couldn’t quite reach the notes I needed to reach. Plus, bass clef and I didn’t quite get along. So, I tried the trumpet. And fell in love. As I learned more and more on this little brass instrument, I realized just how amazing music is. I fell in love with music and have loved it ever since.

Along came middle school, and the excitement of being able to go to band everyday, instead of just being able to go to it once a week. 7th and 8th grade came and went, with me making the top band in the school and even making it into District Band. Eventually, 4 years of band had passed and still I craved more. I knew that this was an addiction. An addiction to music. I wanted more, wanted to play more and hear more, every minute of every day.

As I entered high school, I made the second best band but decided that the trumpet wasn’t as much fun as it once was. I wanted to learn something new. So, when my band director asked if anyone was up for playing the French horn, since our band didn’t have any, I was first in line. The French horn definitely was not as easy to learn as the trumpet was but I was still up for the challenge. As I got better at this new instrument, my addiction returned and I continued to crave more. For once, this craving was satisfied as we began playing harder music and the music was even more challenging since I was on a new instrument. Come 10th grade, I was in the top band and with that, came marching band and another new instrument, the mellophone (the marching version of the French horn). As high school progressed, I continued with band and marching band, giving up two varsity level sports (field hockey and lacrosse) to stay with my first love. High school was a blur as I basically lost all free time to music, with playing in school, rehearsals, concerts, marching band practice and competitions, festivals, helping the lower bands and even participating in jazz band for one year. 8 years of music, and one dictator of a band director later, I still loved music and enjoyed playing it.

Sadly, I decided not to continue with band in college. I do miss it though. I never really realized just how much I can miss something until I cut myself off from it. I miss making music and working through the hard parts of the song until I get it just right. Music just has this power to it that really can’t be rivaled. This power that just infects me when I finally nail that one note I’ve been trying to reach all day, when I finally play the hardest phrase in the piece perfectly. Music’s power is so far reaching whether you’re the one playing it or just listening to it. It has this freedom to it. It just lets you pour your heart out and express your emotions. It doesn’t judge you, yet, ironically, we judge it.

Music has taught me more than just how to play an instrument and read notes, it has influenced how I live. Learning a song requires more than simply being able to play; it requires perfection, patience, and interpretation. The perfection part has a large impact on who I am, especially when it comes to grades. In music, you can’t get by with a 94% to achieve the highest grade like you can in other classes. Only a 100% is good enough. This perfection makes me feel the same about everything I do; even if I do it well, I always want to do better. Band and music have this mentality of “That was good, but not good enough. Do it again and make it better.” Music has taught me patience, that even if I don’t do it perfectly the first time, that with practice, I eventually will. It has taught me that you have to work at something in order to be proficient at it, that lazing about is not going to make you the best. Interpretation in music is also key. It’s not just notes on a page, it’s music. Playing and interpreting music influences my life because it has taught me to look at things from another perspective. To look at the meanings behind things and to not just take them at their face value.

Music has such a huge impact on my life, on who I am and who I’ve become. There is no way that I could live without it. It makes me so angry when school systems think that cutting the fine arts is a good idea to save money. Fine arts, especially music, are so important in molding young minds. Music is the best type of education one can receive; it teaches so much more than notes. To put it simply, music is power. A power that I have had the pleasure of feeling and aiding these past 9 years.

Original post by redsoxlax89

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Cosmic Dancer

March 20th, 2008 by savoytruffle · Comments Off on Cosmic Dancer

I much prefer this song to Bang a Gong, in fact this is now one of my favorite songs. It is extremely revealing about the artist, very personal and beautiful it it’s strange and slightly creepy way

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Original post here.

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Get it On (Bang a Gong)

March 20th, 2008 by savoytruffle · Comments Off on Get it On (Bang a Gong)

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Original post here.

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DJ Obama, Part 2

March 20th, 2008 by · Comments Off on DJ Obama, Part 2

Awhile back, I wrote a post about the use of music in political advertising, especially in the current campaign. I discussed’s song “Yes We Can” that he recorded with other celebrities, like Scarlett Johannson, Kate Walsh, and John Legend.  Last night, I found another song in support of Obama and figured I’d post this one, too. This one, like “Yes We Can” is a collaboration by various celebrities but also features the everyday citizen.  This one is also a folksy song (lyric wise) but is now set to a hip-hop beat.  One thing that was interesting about this video was that parts of it were spoken in Spanish, bringing together more people this time. Anyways, the new one is called: “”We Are The Ones” and features such names as Jessica Alba, George Lopez, Kerry Washington, and Jamie Foxx.  I’ll post more if I come across more.

I also found a video that someone made in response to “Yes We Can.,” entitled “No You Can’t.”  They took apart one of John McCain’s speeches to attack McCain and encourage support for Obama. It’s an interesting response to the original and is another folksy type song.

So here are both songs:

“We Are the Ones” by

 ”No You Can’t”

Original post by redsoxlax89

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“Pieces of You”

March 19th, 2008 by savoytruffle · Comments Off on “Pieces of You”

Today I was in the mood for some Jewel, so I listened to her CD Pieces of You. She isn’t taken as seriously as she should be. Some of her songs are really beautifully composed and have really meaningful, personable lyrics. I tend to swoon over “Near You Always” and other songs of hopeless love like “You Were Meant for Me.” One song that sticks out to me as very different is “Painters” which tells the story of elderly lovers and of the death of one of them. It’s a sad song, but I like the way she uses her music to tell a narrative. “Morning Song” is a bouncier love song. But, by far, the most important song on the album is “Pieces of You”, it’s namesake. The lyrics hit you really hard, she uses really hard, crude words to deliberately shock and get attention from the listener. She begins with two verses which criticizes society’s emphasis upon appearance. It says:

She’s an ugly girl, does it make you want to kill her?
She’s an ugly girl, do you want to kick her in her face?
She’s an ugly girl, she doesn’t pose a threat.
She’s an ugly, does that make you feel safe?
Ugly girl, ugly girl, do you hate her?
‘Cause she’s pieces of you.
She’s a pretty girl, does she make you think nasty thoughts?
She’s a pretty girl, do you want to tie her down?
She’s a pretty girl, do you call her a bitch?
She’s a pretty girl, did she sleep with your whole town?
Pretty girl, pretty girl, do you hate her?
‘Cause she’s pieces of you.

The first verse focuses on society’s sometimes unintentional prejudice against people who aren’t as glamorous as the models who grace the pages of our glossy magazines and don’t fit the mold that society has impressed upon us. She digs deep into the things that everyone is ashamed to admit, like when people decide that they dislike someone because of their appearance. When she mentions that an ugly girl wouldn’t pose a threat, I think she is referring to the catty instinct of females to dislike those who may be prettier or more attractive than them. The verse about “pretty girls” is almost shameful to hear. In mentioning nasty thoughts and tying someone down, she hints at the pornography industry and its perverse products of entertainment which may or may not be harmful to our society. Also, she highlights how anyone who is attractive is automatically a “bitch” or a slut to those with jealous instincts. Highlighting that we all have a bit of ugliness and beauty inside of us brings the message home: regardless of how judgmental we’d like to be, we’re all only human and should treat each other as such.  Jewel goes on to highlight senseless homophobia and antisemitism, continuing to be very blunt in her word choices and treatment of the subjects. Overall, I think this song is very impactive, regardless of how obscure it is.

Original post by savoytruffle

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Rock=nerd love

March 19th, 2008 by savoytruffle · 1 Comment

Rock music is a way for nerds to get chicks.  Oh, and make good music.  But mostly to make good music about nerdy things and make nerdy things way cool so that no matter how homely you are, you’ll get tons of chicks.  The best EVER example of this is the Cars front man Rik Ocasek and his marriage to supermodel Paulina Porizkova…just google the Cars or Rik Ocasek and you’ll see what I mean.

A few other nerdy Gods include Led Zeppelin: complete Tolkien nerds.  Evidence in ‘Ramble On’,  ‘the Battle of Evermore,’ ‘Immigrant Song’ etc.  T. Rex/ Marc Bolan is another Tolkien fan.  Rush is a super nerd group that also has the homely prize.  The Ramones, wow, very awesome but very very homely.   Then again who made glasses cool?  That’s right Buddy Holly, the original nerd rocker.  We have that great example of Pete Townshend of the Who creating a rock group so that his trowel-like nose would be plastered everywhere in retaliation to the childhood teasing he had received.

I’ve probably skipped a ton of nerdy rockers, but these are the best examples I can come up with off the top of my head.  I just love nerdy rock and nerdy rockers!

Original post by rachellh7

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Soul is Sex and Revolution

March 18th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Soul is Sex and Revolution

Over Spring Break I started reading the novel, The Commitments, which is mindlessly amusing because of all the Irish slang and how they generally talk in the book. But as I was reading it on thing that really struck me was when Jimmy was telling all the other band members what soul music is and that it was “sex and revolution.” When i read this i had to disagree b/c i think that rock and roll is more about sex and revolution than soul music. Rock and roll was a revolution in the music industry. It brought about an entirely new genre of music which gave a new younger generation of people music that they can relate and listen too. As Miller and Cohn wrote, the first rock songs were all about sex and cars. Rock and roll is even slang for sex itself. B/c soul is branched off gospel music from church i just can’t accept what Jimmy says soul is but that is just me.

Original post by elevatorluvlettr

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Irish music vs. St. Patrick’s Day

March 18th, 2008 by · 2 Comments

My mom is a traditional Irish musician, so I grew up hearing legit, authentic Irish music from legends in that community – Frankie Gavin, Tommy Peoples, and Martin Hayes, to name a few. These musicians are all completely unknown to the drunken masses of St. Patrick’s Day revelers flooding ShamrockFest in DC and dying rivers green in Chicago. While a few of the more popular contemporary Irish bands make a genuine effort to honor the tradition and culture of Irish folk music (Scythian is one moderately popular band who I believe does this fairly well), the vast majority of so-called “Irish” bands today are rock bands using Irish music simply as a way to distinguish themselves as “different.” Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys are the two most egregious offenders of this. I find both these bands moderately enjoyable in their own right, as rock bands. However – Irish, they are not. These groups selected the most stereotypical, overplayed traditional Irish bar songs they could have found – this approach is effective, I suppose, when your main audience is drunk college students with an Irish great-grandparent. However, every real Irish musician I have ever met approaches these Irish rock bands, as well as the whole hysterical Irish-American revelry of St. Patrick’s day in America, with scorn and contempt. 

Original post by nomalley12

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Class Presentations/Marvin Gaye

March 18th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Class Presentations/Marvin Gaye

It has been a while since I last posted a blog, so I am trying to get back on track… for good. In class recently, we have been doing presentations on songs, and arguing about which genre they would fit into best. I have to admit, before these presentations, I really had no idea who the Monkee’s were and I had never heard the Porpoise song before. I never thought of the Stones as soul musicians, and yet I now find it difficult to argue that ‘Tumbling Dice’ is not strongly filled with soul characteristics.

I personally strongly enjoyed listening to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s going on?” over and over again. I knew the song before, but I definitely didn’t know it like I do now, considering I spent hours analyzing and researching the song, in an attempt to solidify that the song was in fact best classified as soul. During this time though I didn’t just listen to “What’s going on?” I also spent some time listening to some of his other songs, such as “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “I Heard it through the Grapevine” to get a better idea of his style as a whole. Before this project I had extremely little experience with Marvin Gaye, and I have found a strong attraction to his style. The music is calming and yet provoking, the sound comes out smooth, not always common in soul, and yet the lyrics are full of emotion and power– there is true feeling there.

Marvin’s background in a gospel environment helps strongly in helping to shape the certain musical techniques in general found in his music. Furthermore, the atmosphere of the time, particularly the war and the other social revolutions were plenty of cause for blues oriented music, mainly through the content of the lyrics in this particular song. The beats that accompany these songs move the music along in a steady rhythm, while still maintaining the smooth sound of the song.

Original post by bnissen15

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Traffic – Empty Pages

March 18th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Traffic – Empty Pages

I know this is late notice, but here is a link for the song Terrell and I will be debating tomorrow:

And I also realize that I haven’t written a new blog in a while, but I’ll get on that this week.

Original post by ykim

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Django Reinhardt

March 17th, 2008 by · Comments Off on Django Reinhardt

So basically no one has ever heard of Django Reinhardt, which saddens me. He was a spectacular jazz guitarist who was pretty popular in the late 20’s until the 50’s when he died. The song “Jessica” by the Allman Brothers was inspired by him, so he isn’t without influence, which is why I can’t understand why he isn’t better-known. I find his story to be fascinating. When he was 18, he was in a house fire and his right leg was paralyzed and his pinky and ring fingers on his fretting hand were burned badly. Doctors were going to amputate but he refused to allow them and within a year was able to walk again with a cane. Django then retaught himself to play the guitar using only two fingers for solo work and sometimes using the other two for chords. When listening to the music he makes, it is mind-boggling to think that he’s using only two fingers on a lot of the guitar work. I realize a lot of people don’t generally listen to jazz, but his style is so smooth and calming that it is, to me, absolutely necessary to listen to his music at least once.

And I tried embedding a video, but it didn’t work, so just search for Django Reinhardt on youtube, there are some pretty good videos.

Original post by savoytruffle

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Are you Henry the VIII?

March 12th, 2008 by Reverend · Comments Off on Are you Henry the VIII?

“I’m Henry the VIII I am, Henry the VIII I am….” is an unbelievably catchy phrase….well, once you hear it sung by Herman’s Hermits. After first listening to it, I sort of felt like a child who cannot stop humming a newly learned Mother Goose rhyme. Check it out:

Original post by ccox

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March 12th, 2008 by gardnercampbell · Comments Off on

“I’m Henry the VIII I am, Henry the VIII I am….” is an unbelievably catchy phrase….well, once you hear it sung by Herman’s Hermits. After first listening to it, I sort of felt like a child who cannot stop humming a newly learned Mother Goose rhyme. Check it out:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]Original post by ccox

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