Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My up-and-down history with Barenakedness

When I first started hearing Barenaked Ladies, almost exclusively "If I Had $1,000,000", it rubbed me the wrong way for reasons I can't fully explain, though at least part of it had as much to do with who was listening to them at the time (and some people especially who wouldn't stop singing their songs or their praises, which was a good way to turn me against them).

That was towards the end of high school, and though I warmed up a bit to the songs on "Gordon", I largely dismissed them. In university, I was listening to their second album quite a bit, and still find some of those songs have held up tremendously over the years.

With "Stunt", I was totally fine with the hit songs being big hit songs, and was pleased to see such an oddball band find their groove and have that big of a score. Still, the album on the whole didn't stick with me.

Where I finally bought into them whole-heartedly was when I picked up the previously unheard of Snacktime at my local library for the kids.  This is easily my favourite album of their, featuring my favourite song of theirs (Pollywog in a Bog), and I simply don't get tired of listening to it.

The blitzing of the record was no exception.  I even made sure to be blitzing this one alone so I could appreciate it all by myself, all those years after taking a flyer on it for the kids' sake.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Damn, Babs....

So, I've now had my first Streisand experience.

On the one hand, it's amazing that, for someone who has such a track record, her music has never crossed my path before. On the other hand, I see why.

Celine Dion is at least qualifiable as a guilty pleasure. In listening to Streisand's "Greatest Hits & More" and "Higher Ground", there was no pleasure.  It was all guilt.

I came into possession of the CDs from my mom, who was getting rid of several discs, so I took them because ... I never say no to taking music.  Now, however, I have to reconcile myself to the fact that she owned them.

I'll have to watch What's Up, Doc to cleanse my palate.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Through the 50s and into the 60s

Here are some short and sweet thoughts on these early years of pop/rock: I love the short and sweet. I have always appreciated, no matter the decade, a song that clocks in at under two and a half minutes (and often, in those decades, less than that). Chorus, verse, chorus, out ... awesome.  Plus, in a blitz, it's great to just flip through songs that quickly.

One song in particular stood out for me as it relates to something I've thought about before: that Axl Rose's really sounds like that of a rocking woman. Listen to Mockingbird by Inez and Charlie Foxx and just picture Rose on vocals.  It's right there.

I was also struck by the seeming sudden emergence of truly standout sounds and songs. Motown music, for one, when heard in the context of being surrounded by pop boppers and jumping out through the speaker, makes me wonder what it was like to hear it happening on the radio at the time and if it made an immediate impact or slowly burned its path.

One other thing: Rolling Stones versus Beatles?  I don't get the argument. I can see how the Stones are a classic contrarian option, but for me there's no comparison between their catalogues.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Post Christmas Re-start

After barely driving around by myself over the holidays, it was time to get back into the work commute which means ... more blitzing!

Picking up again, I jumped right into Arcade Fire. This is a band about which I really knew very little, but had heard much about.  Beyond the general awareness of the band and their reputation and appreciation, I had two points of reference. Firstly, I remember thinking it was like a stamp of approval for them to be on Peter Gabriel's "Scratch My Back" album of cover songs, and that it warranted looking into them further. Secondly, a scriptwriting student submitted a screenplay based on a group of super-fans following Arcade Fire around on tour, and she informed me that this was a pretty common thing. Those that liked the band liked it a lot. So, again, I'm thinking I should check this out.

And, although it was an impressive trip through their catalogue, I know I'm going to want to revisit them when this is all over. It was one of those listenings where I could tell there was further enjoyment and appreciation waiting.

Plus: Rococo.

Next up: I've come back to AC/DC! What an odd trip.  I really don't understand how it's being put together.  I mean, it's close to being in order, but off by just a little. Anyway, all I want to say about AC/DC is that choosing "For Those About To Rock" as the closing song for their concert CD is ludicrous.  That's the worst idea for a closing song.  That's an opening song.  It's inherently an opening song.  Even if it had led to an encore that might have made a little sense.

And then: 1 Girl Nation!  Again, this is an all-girl Christian group.  Imagine if the Spice Girls loved God as much as they loved Pepsi. Actually, more.

Next up, again in this weird order, are the 1950s.  Time to get out of the kitchen and something-something pots and pans.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

(Almost) The Number of the Beast

So: Track 664 in my blitz thus far was Belly of the Beast by Anthrax.  Boy, I wish I'd had two more tracks thrown in there somewhere.

Also, making sure to follow up from last post: of all the things that I was hoping for or expecting from the new Alice in Chains, "dull" wasn't even on my radar. Unfortunately, "Black Gives Way to Blue" and "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" were awfully monotonous and provided very few highlights.  A Shame.  Actually, not a shame: a problem.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Thoughts from the first month...

Well, after the 1990s flowed seamlessly into the 2000s, I've started rolling through individual albums at what seems like a breakneck speed.  After all, what's 12 songs on a record compared to hundreds in a compilation?

So, I'd better start getting some reactions down before I really lose track of things:

Award for the most vapid song I've heard yet: "Wake Up" by Hillary Duff.  I don't recall if I heard this song when it was popular or not, but if I did, I can understand why I forgot it.  I have often thought that Taylor Swift was essentially writing songs using Facebook posts, but I must now acknowledge that she puts more work into it than that.  Duff, on the other hand, is just singing status updates. Interestingly, I just double-checked the dates and Wake Up was released before Facebook, so maybe we're talking about the chicken and the egg here.

First circular sampling in the blitz (that I've noticed): Madonna uses "Gimme Gimme Gimme" by ABBA in "Hung Up", not too many tracks before I get into ABBA.  

Here's a funny thing about "Angel" by Aerosmith: whenever I hear that song, I have this memory kick in during the first minute at about the 48 second mark - and I want the song to end.  I like the song, so much so that I remember taping the video off of Muchmusic. However, things are meant to be recorded over, so at some point I put something else on the tape, and whatever the new thing was, it started at the 48 second mark of the video.  I don't remember what it was, just that I was left with nearly the first minute of Angel, and obviously I watched that snippet enough that it became ingrained.  A similar thing happened to me when I discovered The Beatles, because I was listening to a tape my brother had made off of The Blue Album, and the tape ran out about halfway through The Long & Winding Road.  Whenever I hear the full song, I can still pinpoint the moment the original tape ran out.

The original Alice in Chains is still awesome, and I'm about to go into the barely-listened to new stuff.  We'll see.


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Blitz Effect

Starting with the greatest hits from the 1990s made for an interesting beginning, given that the driving force behind the blitz in the first place was to make sure I was paying attention to the unfamiliar songs in my collection.

There aren't many unfamiliar songs for me in a 1990s retrospective.

However, The Blitz Effect appeared when Smells Like Teen Spirit came on. At first, I more or less tuned out.  Not purposefully, nor in a contrarian manner, but just instinctively because this is a song that I've listened to hundreds of times, so naturally my brain went into coasting mode.

Then, after the first chorus, I realized that while I have listened to this song a lot, and this was while I could listen to any song I wished when not blitzing, right now, this would be one of only two times that I would hear it over the course of the next year (or two, or more -- not sure how long this one will take).

Consequently, I listened to the rest of the song more carefully than I had for a long time, appreciating it as much as ever.

Blitzing, therefore, works as well for old favourites as it does for undiscovered treasures.