road trip playlist

sorry about the absence. i guess i'm really not made to write a blog where i try to force myself into writing something in particular, every day. it was starting to feel really contrived, and i was getting unhappy with it. so, i left it for a while.

i feel ready to come back. i'll still post here when i feel i have something to say about some music...but i won't really promise a schedule ever again. i feel better about it when i restrict it to when i actually have something to say.


anyway...i was on a road trip this weekend. somewhere along the highway between kansas city and topeka, i made a playlist on my iPod. i was in the car with two major indie-rock fans...so all the indie-rock on the satellite radio was starting to drive me up a wall. i was hoping i'd get to play it in the car at some point along the way...but never did. however, i listened to it on the way back to st. louis from chicago [the base of the scavenger hunt for which i did this road trip], and realised it's the best mix i've ever made.

it doesn't have much of a theme...it's just songs i really felt like hearing in the car that night. but...it turned out to be a fun, eclectic mix of songs, and a playlist i'm going to go back to a lot. it's got rock, punk, metal, pop [of both american and korean varieties...], and a smattering of wesley willis, because no playlist of mine is complete without some wesley willis. it makes me happy to listen to, and i'm proud of it.

roadtrip playlist

"somewhere on fullerton" by allister
"beast and the harlot" by avenged sevenfold
"minus celsius" by backyard babies
"turkey march" by banya
"hook" by blues traveler
"another white dash" by butterfly boucher
"my favourite game" by the cardigans
"duncan hills coffee jingle" by dethklok
"blackhat life" by dj boo
"through the fire and flames" by dragonforce
"i want it that way" as covered by dynamite boy [originally by backstreet boys]
"stay in shadow" by finger eleven
"remember the name" by fort minor
"mr. walker" by gemie
"kenesaw mountain landis" by jonathan coulton
"mr. fancy pants" by jonathan coulton
"when you cry" by krim
"greenhorn" by lexy
"gas hed goes west" by live
"cigarette lighter lovesong" by the marvelous 3
"monster" by meg & dia
"don't think twice" as covered by mike ness [originally by bob dylan]
"letter from an occupant" by new pornographers
"the way it ends" by prototype
"it's so easy" by shooting blanks!
"sorry illinois" as covered by shot baker [originally by francesco ostello]
"analogue" by spirit creek
"anthem of our dying day" by story of the year
"stars don't shine" by three words to live by
"american psycho" by treble charger
"i'll give you all my love" by wax
"james doo" by wesley willis
"richard speck" by wesley willis
"ricky gott" by wesley willis

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, March 31

Brian Vander Ark is playing on campus tonight. i have a ticket. i don't know if i'm going to be able to go because of some school commitments i have...which kills me, absolutely kills me. hopefully i'll be out soon enough to go see him, because his solo stuff is really good--and i've never seen him play solo before. this is my favourite solo song of his, "I Didn't Want To Be A Bother." i love songs that are bitingly sarcastic toward people who try to shove their religion on others, and this is a great song in that tradition.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, March 30

missed yesterday...so you get two today. i'm overworked and stressing out, so i've got two songs about that.

"Work Song" by Caroline's Spine: [excuse the weird anime sounds at the beginning. it's the only complete recording of the song on youtube...so if you stick it out through the first five seconds, the song will start.]

"Take This Job and Shove It", as covered by the Dead Kennedys:

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, March 28

"Cat Me If You Can" by Agile Like This is weird. if you like lolcats, you'll love it, because it's basically a lolcat set to music. if you don't like lolcats, you probably won't like this song much.

laughing at cute cats during weird things has helped keep me from going crazy on many occasions. as such, this song holds a special place in my heart.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, March 27

Inept's old music, circa 2002-2005, is amazing. i've seen them more times than i've seen any other band--sixteen times, at all kinds of small to medium venues around chicago. this is one of my favourite Inept songs, "Beyond The Tears."

i'm looking forward to seeing them again when i live back in town. i can't say i'm a fan of their more recent songs, but i'd love to see if they play anything from their first three EPs anymore.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, March 26

i tried, i really tried, to get away from the whiny stuff. but, it's not that kind of week.

"Face Down" by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has a driving beat to it, but the lyrics are sad. it's about a friend who is really, really pissed off at someone who is treating his friend badly in a relationship. it's so weird that such an upbeat song has lyrics that are such a downer...but i like that juxtaposition.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, March 25

no more emo today, i promise.

instead, i bring you nerdity, in the form of "Mandelbrot Set" by Jonathan Coulton. it's a catchy little ditty about the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, and his famous set:

for one thing, you'll never forget the formula for the Mandelbrot Set again, thanks to the chorus of this song. i don't know about you, but having that piece of knowledge indelibly marked in my brain makes me feel a little smarter, and helps me sleep a little better at night.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, March 24

during my senior year of high school, i listened to "Loser" by Three Doors Down every morning when i was getting ready for the day. it's a perfect encapsulation of how i felt about life that year...high school was a vast, friendless wasteland, and everyone was watching, holding the rope while i took the fall. i hadn't realised yet that college would be the closest thing to a magic panacea that i'd ever had. i hadn't realised yet that i'd eventually have a fulfilling social life. this song conveyed hopelessness, and every morning i luxuriated in it, knowing that at least Three Doors Down knew where i was coming from, even if no one else did.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, March 23

i'm on vacation, so my computer access has been a bit spotty. so, i missed yesterday...and you get two songs today! lucky you! well, lucky you if you feel like slitting your wrists. i'm in a Really Whiny Emo mood right now, so you're all going to be subjected to two of the whiniest, angstiest songs i know.

"You're So Last Summer" by Taking Back Sunday: featuring the most overblown teenage-emo lyric i've ever heard: "you could slit my throat/and with my one last gasping breath/i'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt." i hate myself for liking this song, but there you go.

"Red is the New Black" by Funeral for a Friend: this is yet another song i discovered on my friend wazee. this has another really, really depressing lyric that i love: "there isn't anything wrong with giving up/and for what it's worth/i still hate you." this song is nothing but blunt about being really frustrated with someone else. he yells, he whines, he's mad, and it's a great song.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, March 21

Ditchwater was awesome. i saw them around Chicago all the time back in 2003, 2004...around the days of their most excellent Sees Me Through EP. "It's Over" has always been one of my favourite songs of theirs. excuse the video editing that is cheesy at best and dizzying at worst...there's a reason why Ditchwater is a band and not a video production conglomerate. but, the song is a good, straightforward rocker.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, March 20

i heard "Deeper" by Keith Varon for the first time yesterday, as the outro song on episode 10 of the sadly-now-defunct Bucket podcast. i love his voice. this song is definitely along the vein of sappy, acoustic, senstive-guy music...something i generally can't stand. but, his voice is like a big hug, and i can't help but melt right into it.

[forgive the mediocre sound quality. you can stream a better version of the song here, on the podsafe music network.]

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, March 19

i love Emmet Swimming. they're a nineties alt-rock band out of the Washington, DC area, and it always confused me that they never made it bigger than they did. their album Big Night Without You was one of my favourites in high school, and i still listen to it frequently ten years hence. "Fist Like A Glove" by Emmet Swimming is one of my favourite tracks on the album. it's a gorgeous song...although really sad; the lyrics are a thoughtful treatment of domestic violence. that's something Emmet Swimming is really good at, taking modern issues and turning them into heart-wrenching musical pictures.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, March 18

it's guilty pleasure time! i can't really explain why i like "Youth of the Nation" by P.O.D. so much...but i do. it's catchy. that's about all it has to redeem such a trite little piece of late-nineties nostalgia, but sometimes catchy is enough.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, March 17

"Sick of Man" by Cold has one of my favourite lines in a song, ever: "i'll never love you, but i've got words to say." i feel that way about far too many things...people, school, things that frustrate me, things that plague me despite my distaste and disdain.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, March 16

"A Gentleman Caller" by Cursive is whiny, screamy, and sloppy. it's music for a specific mood...a very frustrated mood. although, unlike most music that evokes such a specific mood to me, i'm almost always glad to listen to this song--even when i'm not frustrated or angry with anyone or anything.

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Bargain Bin Dig: Supervillain Zero

i occasionally like to spelunk in the bargain bins of used CD stores. sometimes i find random gems...great albums that are half-forgotten, or that flooded the market years ago only to be sold back by all the teenyboppers once they've progressed to their next musical phase. other times, i find albums in the bin that are just so weird that i have to buy them and see what weirdness lurks within.

it is for this second reason that i picked up Must Be Stopped... by Supervillain Zero. i had no idea who the band was or what kind of music they played. all i knew is that their name was awesome, and the album cover art was weird. the band name on the front was in a really cutesie font with lots of stars, and had a big old star in the centre with four or five levels of outlining around it. on the back was a cartoonish drawing of four guys, ostensibly the band: one in a button-down shirt, one in a Slayer shirt, and one in an AC/DC shirt, all doing weird things to a fourth guy in a SVZ shirt. below it was the copyright date of the album: 2002.

i popped in the album...i kind of like it. they're nothing earth-shattering, but they're enjoyable. they fall squarely into the category of snotty pop-punk. they sound like any other band out there that does that kind of music, although the songs are a little better-written, a little more coherent than most. the strongest song on the album is the first track, "Sinking Simon". despite the uber-cheesy title, the song is good, and even almost pretty in places. i'm not surprised they didn't make it big, but they would have been a fun band to go out and see live around town.

i say would have been, because they are quite clearly broken up. i learned this from a little bit of webbernets-fu. i googled them first, but that was almost worthless. there were very few hits, and nothing even resembling a band page. finally, one site at least provided a broken link to a band page--and i used the wayback machine to fill in the details. the biographical information on their website is sketchy, but they appear to have formed sometime in mid-2001. they released two EPs: a self-titled one in July of 2001, and then Must Be Stopped... in mid-2002. they played most of their shows around St. Louis, at places like Hi-Pointe, Creepy Crawl, Mississippi Nights, Cicero's...good, small places that bigger local bands play. they also occasionally toured the midwest in their trailer, but kept most of their shows close to home.

sometime in mid-October of 2003, the band changed their name from Supervillain Zero to Rushmore Academy. they are still together...ostensibly. they haven't played a show in a while, and don't have any more scheduled...but they still have a bunch of music on their myspace, and no melodramatic myspace post about how it's been such a long, strange ride, but the band has gone their separate ways. i hope they're still together, and i hope they play a show soon, because their music is actually really good. it's clear they've grown and become better musicians and songwriters since the Supervillain Zero days. they sound like almost a dancier version of All-American Rejects. it sounds weird, but it really works...go to their myspace, and check out the song "Take This How You Want To". i highly recommend that one.

so...this Bargain Bin Dig was a rousing success. i discovered a decent old band in Supervillain Zero, and its positively rocking descendant in Rushmore Academy.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, March 15

"Life is Beautiful" by Vega 4 is far mellower than most of what i like to listen to, but for some reason this song grabbed me. they played it all the time back in 2004, 2005 on radio wazee, that wonderful radio station i keep mentioning because it has exposed me to so many great bands and great songs. this song is spacious...atmospheric...and sweet without being sappy.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, March 14

"In The Dark" by Tiësto is absolutely adorable. my friend and i would blast this song all the time when we were driving around last semester. it's like a horror movie love song...the lyrics are really sweet, and the music is kind of dark.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, March 13

"Guestbook" by Ratbag Hero is a good little metasong. Ratbag Hero was a fantastic, silly Chicago punk band who sang a lot about beer drinking, partying, and girls. this song is about someone posting in their internet guestbook telling them that they can't write another love song, or another song about beer. of course, actually following such advice would be bad, because that's really all Ratbag Hero wrote about...so they wrote a song about how confused they were that those two topics were verboten. it's clever, it's hilarious, and it's Ratbag Hero.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, March 12

"Thousand Mile Wish" by Finger Eleven is the mellow song of theirs that i wish got famous. everyone knows "One Thing", although i'm not crazy about that song. still, sometimes they do mellow really, really well...and this song is gorgeous.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, March 11

i love "Letter From An Occupant" by The New Pornographers. Neko Case's voice sounds really cool in the song, and it reminds me of late-night drunken walks home from Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap, back in college. good times...this song always makes me feel like my days are far more carefree than they actually are.

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you've got questions? Supergig's got answers.

i found a list of questions about music on another blog...it was a long time ago, so i don't remember which one it was. however, i liked a lot of the questions. they prompted me to start musing about various songs and artists. so, i answered them.

1. Which bands/artist do you own the most albums by?
i own 17 Wesley Willis albums. that is my biggest music-collecting goal...to own all of Wesley's albums. i've been working on this for about seven years now, ever since the spring of my first year of college. it's not a likely goal to achieve, since many of his albums were self-released and there doesn't even exist a comprehensive list of all of the albums he recorded. but, i want to try. Wesley is one of my favourite musicians ever, and every album of his that i find contains more amusing, entertaining gems.

2. What was the last song you listened to?
"Dissent" by Linoleum. i just heard it for the first time, and it's a really good song. it's somewhere between alt-rock and indie-rock on that ever-so-nebulous continuum, but we know how worthless those kinds of descriptions are. the lead singer's voice is shiny.

3. What's in your CD player right now?
i don't own a CD player anymore. my last one broke back in 2005, and i have depended on my computer and my iPod for my music-listening needs ever since.

4. What was the last show you attended?
Theory of God, Once Afflicted, and Slugtrail at the Creepy Crawl on February 2nd. it was a show i went to because i wasn't doing anything else that night, and needed to get out of the apartment. i didn't know any of the bands who were playing, but decided a local metal show was just what i needed. i try to write about all the shows i go to here, but there really wasn't enough to say about that show to fill up a blog post. Theory of God was good...solid, instrumental heavy metal. i wish they had a website that was in any way useful, so i could figure out when they were playing in town next...or even how to contact a band member so they could tell me when they were playing in town next. however, Once Afflicted and Slugtrail were both awful. Once Afflicted sounded like a bad Godsmack knockoff come ten years late. Slugtrail? i don't know quite what i was listening to, but i wasn't sure it was music. i've done a lot to put it out of my head in the last two weeks, and i'm not about to google them in order to put it back in my head to give you a better description. i love you, my dear readers, but not enough to listen to them again. you can google them if you want, but be warned. your ears may rebel against you.

5. What was the greatest show you've ever been to?
Cold, Finger Eleven, and Reach 454 at the Metro, on May 25, 2003. okay, so Reach 454 was terrible, but Cold and Finger Eleven were then, and still are, my favourite bands on earth. they both put on such passionate shows...as good as they are recorded, the energy is just so much more when they play live. they also both sounded great...it makes me so happy when bands i love sound good live, because it means they don't need all that slick record production to sound like the band i feel like i know and love. the Metro is also my favourite venue in Chicago. it's big enough to get some good crowd action going, but still not so large that i feel detached from the band on stage.

6. What's the worst show you've ever been to?
see #4. i've never been to a show where every band was awful. but, at that show, it was only Theory of God, who was on stage for a whole twenty minutes, who was good. the two bands that got more stage time, Once Afflicted and Slugtrail, were unlistenably bad. it was the only show i've ever left early because the music was so bad. and, to add insult to injury, my friend and i got mugged on the way back to the car after the show. sigh.

7. What show are you looking forward to?
i've got a few coming up...but the one i'm most looking forward to is Brian Vander Ark. [does that really surprise you, on a blog named after a Verve Pipe song?! didn't think so...] he's coming to Wash U and playing a show on campus on March 31. his solo music is mellower than the stuff he did with The Verve Pipe, but is still very good. the venue is small and intimate, which will be nice. i just really hope he plays my two favourite songs of his: "Didn't Want To Be A Bother" [a sarcastic song about people who try to push religion on others] and "1229 Sheffield" [a Verve Pipe song he reworked as a solo piece...a really melancholy song about a young marriage gone terribly wrong].

8. What is your favorite band shirt?
my Slitheryn shirt. Slitheryn was a local band in Chicago for a few years in the early aughts. they were weird...a heavy metal band in which all the instrumentalists were thirteen years old, and the lead singer was eleven. they were together for a while...until the instrumentalists were maybe fifteen or sixteen, and the singer thirteen or fourteen. they weren't a great band, but they were extremely good for their ages, and have promising things ahead of them if they want to stick with the music thing. anyway, the shirt i bought when i saw them in 2001 is fantastic. it is a black shirt. it says "Slitheryn" on the front. on the back, it has a picture of the band, and the text "DITCHES SCHOOL." i love the fact that the most bad-ass thing they could think of to brag about was that they ditch school.

9. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
James Black from Finger Eleven. not only does his band make really good music, but he makes really weird art and poetry as well. he'd be an extremely interesting person to hang out with for a day. i think we'd have some very strange conversations, and i'd enjoy that.

10. Who is one musician or group you wish would make a comeback?
i always hate to answer this question. whenever bands get together and make "comebacks," it never seems to be quite as good as the original music. i always allow myself to get optimistic, and then i'm always disappointed with the results. however, if i were to allow myself to hope a band would get back together and be as good as they were, it would definitely be Cold. they waffled between together and broken-up for a while, and finally broke up for good in November of 2006. they released four albums during the time they were together, all of which were fantastic. they're still one of my favourite bands of all time, and it makes me sad that i will never get to hear them live again, or listen to a new album of theirs.

11. Who is one band/artist you've never seen live but always wanted to?
Wesley Willis. i know i never will, because he died in 2003...but i always wanted to, and never did. his live shows were probably completely weird: him, playing his keyboard, improvising even weirder lyrics to his already-weird songs. he also usually played the Fireside Bowl, which was a fantastic venue. the Fireside used to be a bowling alley, but when it got too old and decrepit to be functional for bowling, they started hosting underground music shows there. i've been to a couple shows there, although never Wesley. it would have been perfect to see the goofiest musician in Chicago play at the goofiest venue in Chicago.

12. Name four or more flawless albums:
flawless albums? that's hard. almost all of the albums i've ever listened to, owned, or even loved have had a flaw on it. even the best albums have that one song that isn't quite up to par. however, there are a few albums i know that don't have even That One Inevitable Clunker on it...and can thus be described as flawless:

  • Secret Samadhi by Live.
    • this album stands up to repeated listenings more than any other album i've ever experienced. it always confuses me why people always seem to prefer Throwing Copper to this one. Throwing Copper is good, yes, but the songs aren't as interesting, fun to listen to, or generally hard-rocking as the songs on Secret Samadhi. this album is Live at its best...and, possibly, nineties alternative rock at its best.
  • Rush Hour by Wesley Willis.
    • this album has some of Wesley's most deliciously weird music. Greatest Hits Volume 3 may be weirder, but it also has "Love God" on it--which is by far Wesley's worst song. Rush Hour is hilarious from beginning to end, with no songs worthy of being skipped. it has such gems as "The Termites Ate My House Up", which suggests the worst way ever of exterminating bugs [specifically, shooting up a house with a BB gun] and "King of Fire", which i am convinced is Wesley's weirdest song ever.
  • Eve 6 by Eve 6.
    • this album is just plain solid from beginning to end. the songs are all fun to listen to, and they're rife with the clever puns and wordplay that make Eve 6's lyrics so interesting. it's one part pop, two parts rock, thoroughly nineties...and made the summer after my sophomore year of high school extra-happy.
  • Darkest Days by Stabbing Westward.
    • this album is a concept album, designed to trace the arc of a relationship from being single to meeting someone to becoming infatuated with them, through the deterioration of the relationship and then finally getting over it. it's sixteen good songs put in the perfect order to tell a story. what makes it even better is that they maintain their dark character as Stabbing Westward...there's nothing sunny and sappy in the album. if there had been, it would feel out of place, even during the phase when the relationship described in the album is going well. the love song, "You Complete Me", straddles somewhere between "what did i do to get so lucky?" and "we're both screwed up, let's be screwed up together."
13. How many music related videos/DVDs do you own?
only one. i'm not a big DVD watcher, so even if it's a band i like i never buy the concert DVDs. i'd prefer to just buy a ticket when the band comes through town and see them live. the only music-related DVD i have is The Daddy of Rock and Roll, a documentary made about Wesley Willis a few years ago. it has a little bit of concert footage, although most of it is a portrait of his life. there's actually another documentary out about Wesley, one that came out just this year: Wesley Willis Joyrides. it's still making the festival circuit. i hope it plays here, although it's not likely because the Saint Louis Film Festival is held in November. it's not out on DVD yet, but i'm sure i'll buy it when it does come out. Wesley is fascinating, and i've heard very good things about Joyrides.

14. How many concerts/shows have you been to, total?
i have lost count. i used to know how many i had been to, back when i was in high school. i wasn't able to go to very many back then. but, once i moved out of the house and up to Chicago, i started going to a lot more shows and lost count. in Raleigh, concertgoing was a rare occurrence. in Chicago, it became my life. it became the norm. instead of buying tickets for every show weeks [and sometimes months] in advance, i had the luxury of being able to go see a random local band on almost any given night if i didn't have anything else to do.

15. Who have you seen the most live?
i have seen Inept sixteen times. they're a local band from the Chicago area, and played in the city and the near suburbs a lot. i'm not as crazy about their recent stuff, but their first few releases back in 2003 and 2004 were fantastic. the shows were a lot of fun; they had a lot of devoted fans who jump, mosh, and sing every word. then again, i'm sure they still do...i don't know all the words to their newer songs, but i still know the old stuff like the back of my hand, and miss the days when those songs were the bread and butter of their shows.

16. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
that's an easy one: Daredevil. i don't know who was in charge of putting together the soundtrack for that movie, but they had to have been reading my mind. otherwise, how would they have known to put so many bands i love on there? Fuel, Seether, Finger Eleven, Drowning Pool. it was paradise! furthermore, i discovered several bands who i grew to love after hearing them on this soundtrack: Revis, Evanescence, and Boysetsfire. i would never have picked it up if it didn't have so many bands i already knew and loved, although the strongest tracks on the album are the ones by these new bands who i had not heard of before then. i've never seen the movie; i'm not a big movie watcher and i kept hearing that it was terrible. but, the album is solid evidence that Wind-Up Records should be doing a lot more movie soundtracks.

17. What was your last musical "phase" before you wisened up?
my musical tastes have been building upon each other since i was 14, and first got into modern rock. before that, though...wow, it's embarrassing. the cool station to listen to when i was in middle school was Mix 101.5: the adult contemporary station. so, that's the kind of stuff i listened to in a futile attempt to have something in common with my classmates. it didn't help me; i still had no friends then. but, i had a voracious taste for anything Celine Dion would put out. that should count for something, no?

28. What's your "guilty pleasure" that you hate to admit to liking?
where do i begin with this one? i'm usually really open with my ridiculous guilty pleasure songs. out of all the songs i feel bad for liking, the one i feel the worst for liking--and even worse for admitting i like--is "Rollin'" by Limp Bizkit. i know, i expounded here earlier upon the fact that there's no excuse for Limp Bizkit. i still don't think there is; this one fun guilty pleasure song of theirs is not worth all the musical havoc they wrought in the late nineties. but, still...if this comes on the radio or a jukebox, i start singing and dancing. i hate myself for it, but i can't help it.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, March 10

have you ever listened to a recording of someone causing mischief with a pay phone and thought to yourself, "this is great, but i really wish i could dance to it?" wonder that no more. today's song, "Payphone Under a Streetlamp" by DJ Boo, is exactly that, awesomely danceable pay phone mischief.

i know it may sound weird to most of you, and nerdy to all of you, but that's why the song is so much fun.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, March 9

someone decided to make a really, really funny video of "Birdman Kicked My Ass" by Wesley Willis. a dude dressed up in a half-assed bird costume and everything. it's fantastic.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, March 8

i know. i missed yesterday. i fail at life. hopefully i didn't fail the ethics portion of the bar, which i took this morning.

so, in return, i give you a double feature today. i give you two songs about really bad people, in honour of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam:

"Liar" by Henry Rollins

"User Friendly" by Marilyn Manson

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Quite Suppresed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, March 7

i know most of what i put here is rock music, and everything i've talked about here so far has been popular music of some vein. but...i love choral music, too. i sing in a choir now, and have been in various ones over the years. i picked this one, "Lux Aurumque" by Eric Whitacre, because i was singing it in practice today, and it's a lot of fun to do. there are a lot of recordings of it on YouTube...some of them are gorgeous, and some of them aren't too good. this is my favourite that i found. the voices blend together beautifully.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, March 5

rock over london. rock on chicago. Wesley Willis is awesome...and "Cut The Mullet" is one of his funniest songs. it's also practical advice for your everyday life. mullets are no good, and should be cut at the earliest convenience.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, March 4

weird covers makes me happy. an acoustic nerd balladeer covering Sir Mix-A-Lot? it's genius...and the first time i heard this song, my friend who was driving almost drove the car off the road.

presenting..."Baby Got Back", covered by Jonathan Coulton.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, March 3

here, have another sweet, delicious taste of the nineties: "Not An Addict" by K's Choice. it's a bummer they didn't make it any bigger in the states; i never got to see them in concert before they broke up. this was the only song that got much play here. however, if they were going to have one song get popular, this was the song...they have a lot of solid tunes, but this has always been my favourite.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, March 2

Cold is one of my favourite bands of all time, and "Go Away" is one of my favourite songs of theirs. it's raw, it's angry, and it's Cold at its best.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, March 1

Weird Al Yankovic is brilliant...and "Trapped In The Drive-Thru" is a spot-on parody of "Trapped In The Closet". it's a long song (over ten minutes), but well worth it for the hilarious treatment of the absolutely mundane.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, February 29

i always loved "Tired" by Matchbox20. it was the B-Side to the "Push" single, and wondered why it never made it on to an album. the vocal lines during the verses are awesome...it's almost like he's rambling, but it's a little too rhythmic for that.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, February 28

no more rap. no more disco.

instead, it's a song that fifteen-year-old girls love: "Sugar, We're Going Down" by Fall Out Boy. this is one of the times the fifteen year olds got it right. i'm not a fan of most of Fall Out Boy's stuff, but this song is fantastic. the tune is catchy, and it's fun to sing along to. plus, the line "i'm just a notch in your bedpost/but you're just a line in a song" resonates with me. it's a theme of mutual use.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, February 27

i know. this place has been cracked out this week. but, what can i say? i'm cracked out. i have a huge paper due at school, and it's making me crazy. [a life outside of this blog--how scary that!]

it's making me crazy enough to post disco.

i'll be sane again by saturday. i promise.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, February 26

this song is one of my ultimate guilty pleasure songs. when i was in high school and this song was on MTV all the time, i would harass my brothers relentlessly for liking it so much. then i got to college and realised that the song was hilarious. i caught myself liking it too; listening to it puts a stupid little smirk on my face. it might be the beat, it might be the smugness of the lyrics. i don't know.

anyway, enjoy..."Forgot About Dre" by Dr. Dre and Eminem.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, February 25

today's song is a brilliant and clever rock and roll theme and variation: "Time To Waste" by Alkaline Trio.

i love the incorporation of motifs throughout this song. the piano starts with a melody and builds...then the guitar picks up a close variation of it that pulls it squarely into the world of rock. all of a sudden, the verse starts, and the music is completely different from that piano bit at the beginning. it sneaks up on you, though, because each part seems to flow so naturally from the last. conversely, you never notice how similar the chorus is until right before the bridge. the second repeat of the chorus ends, and the piano comes back during the bridge. it's a reworking of the beginning of the song, leading back to the final repeat of the chorus.

whenever i listen to this song, i think of a french braid...it's a gorgeous and coherent whole that picks up new pieces here and there all along the way and integrates them flawlessly.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, February 24

i'm having one of those days where i'm sick, i'm tired, and all i want to do is complain. instead of complaining here, i'll just post the most complain-y song i can think of: "King for a Day" by Caroline's Spine. musically, it's actually a really fun song...but the lyrics are full of complaining.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, February 23

i didn't list these guys on my list of the best Chicago music you've never heard, because this song did come out on a major label release. however, Beyond The Calm of the Corridor never got the airplay it deserved, and the band broke up soon after. "Thicker" is one of my favourite songs on the album. it's angry, the kind of song that is very therapeutic to wail along to when you're having a terrible day.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, February 22

i've been told several times that this is heresy, but i don't care. "How Soon Is Now" by Snake River Conspiracy is better than the original. it's far more sarcastic, and i appreciate that.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, February 21

i had forgotten all about "B.Y.O.B." by System of a Down until this morning, when a clip of it was played on a podcast i was listening to. System of a Down is very hit or miss with me. some of their songs are more melodic than others, and i really only like the melodic ones.

i like this song a lot; the slow parts have such a danceable groove to them. even though it was just clips, i was making a moron of myself dancing down the sidewalk as i walked. it's a good early-morning song.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, February 20

it still makes me very sad that Memento only released one album, Beginnings. i stumbled upon the band because one of my friends kept talking about it in the spring and summer of 2003. he wasn't sure i'd like them, but i was sold when i heard their song "Shell." i bought the album...and realised that i had hardly scratched the surface. the last song on that album, "Figure 8", is twelve minutes and forty-eight seconds of pure bliss. the song ebbs and flows. it has specific, discernible movements that all fit together to make a coherent, beautiful whole.

some extremely long rock songs just seem gratuitous, but not this one. "Figure 8" by Memento needs to be as long as it is to completely fill the world it creates.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, February 19

"We Don't Care Anymore" by Story of the Year: nothing like some whiny, apathetic, St. Louis emo for a whiny, apathetic, St. Louis day.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, February 18

after the bitchfest that was yesterday's 74 Minutes or Less, it's time to go back to some music i really, really love. i found out yesterday that Eve 6 got back together in October. that makes me so happy...they were one of my favourite bands of the late nineties and early aughts, and i only had the chance to see them live once before they broke up. two of them formed The Sugi Tap, but they were never quite as fun as Eve 6. Eve 6 were the kings of fun, clever wordplay in their lyrics...and their music put me in such a good mood whenever i listened to it.

so, in honour of this momentous news...here's "Bring The Night On" by Eve 6.

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74 Minutes or Less: When Good Bands Go Bad

welcome to the sixth installment of 74 Minutes or Less.

74 Minutes or Less is the weekly supergig playlist. the concept is simple: i pick a theme, i choose at most 74 minutes of music that fits the theme, and i discuss it here. if you, or i, or anyone else thinks the playlist is so awesome that it deserves to be compiled and burned to CD for posterity, it won't be a problem--because it's no longer than 74 minutes.

this week is a special week. usually, i choose music i really like; i'm turning that on its head for now. this week's theme is When Good Bands Go Bad. it happens with almost every act...as much as you love any particular act, there's always going to be a song, or a handful of songs, that don't quite grab you the same way as the rest of the music. it doesn't mean you like the artist any less...it's just that the song is either not the artist's best work, or it's just not something you relate to in the same way as the rest of their music.

i love all of these acts in the list this week, and i have a tendency to be extremely harsh when i have high standards for people. so, take whatever i say this week with a grain of salt. my goal is to provide some honest criticism of the songs. if i'm too harsh on a song you like, remember it's just one fan's opinion...but, if you really feel like leaving an angry comment, go ahead. i take constructive [and not-so-constructive] criticism decently, and don't normally go postal. :-)

on that note...i present 74 Minutes or Less: When Good Bands Go Bad.

  • "Gravity" by Angie Aparo (4:01)
    • Angie's not a hard rocker...he's a singer-songwriter type. he's a very good one, but this song sounds like something you would hear on early- to mid-nineties easy listening radio. [trust me. that was the cool thing to listen to in middle school. i know early- to mid-nineties easy listening radio far better than i should.] also, the theme of car wreck as thing that makes a person appreciate life is so overdone.
  • "Corporation" by The Blank Theory (3:15)
    • there's nothing in particular that The Blank Theory did wrong with this song. i'm just offended because it's so boring. it sounds like any other song that could have been on the radio circa 2002 or 2003. it would be a solid tune from a band i was unfamiliar with...i wouldn't pull up their website, but i wouldn't change the station either. the only reason that i can't just ignore it is because it's The Blank Theory, and i know they can do so much better than this.
  • "Say It To You" by Caroline's Spine (3:23)
    • Caroline's Spine is one of my favourite bands of all time. they have several songs that are so moving that they make me cry. this is not one of them. instead of creating an emotional mood, something that they were so good at...the music is repetitive, and the lyrics make trite, strained rhymes.
  • "Kill The Music Industry" by Cold (2:55)
    • Cold is one of my very favourite bands ever. but, this song has two strikes against it. first of all, it's just not pleasurable to listen to. it's repetitive, and it has random cheerleader-types screaming into the microphone for no apparent reason. even worse than that, it's insincere. you could be the greatest band ever, and if you're singing a song about killing the music industry on a major label record, i can't take it seriously. it would be okay to release a song critiquing a label for doing something specific, or to release a song about how there's so much schlock on the radio or in the record store, but a blanket admonition to kill the music industry when it's a major player in the music industry that is paying you to record that song just doesn't sit well.
  • "Love God" by Wesley Willis (2:50)
    • this is one of the songs he did with the Fiasco...i don't like the Fiasco stuff nearly as much as the Wesley-and-a-keyboard stuff. still, there are some fantastic Fiasco songs..."He's Doing Time In Jail" comes to mind. however, Wesley Willis should never, never, ever sing songs with lyrics that explicitly discuss the subjects of penises and ejaculation. that's just foul. unlike anything else he ever sang, this song turns my stomach.
  • "Satisfied" by 8stops7 (3:05)
    • thanks to this song, i almost missed discovering 8stops7. i heard the song on the radio, and i thought it was terrible. i still don't like it. the singer just yells a lot with no real direction, and it never quite feels like any of the ideas in the song are explored to fruition. that's a pet peeve of mine, when a song leaves me feeling that way. at that point, since that song was all i had heard of theirs, i wrote them off. luckily, we all know what happened a few months later: "Question Everything" hit the airwaves. it was gorgeous, i had to know who sang it--and i was shocked to find out that it was the same band as had annoyed me so badly with "Satisfied." i gave the album a chance...and luckily, "Satisfied" was the exception and not the rule.
  • "Sunblock" by Emmet Swimming (4:07)
    • my junior year of high school, i listened to this show called "Shock Therapy" late at night every sunday. it was the only time that one of the local stations, G105, ditched their top 40 format for a couple of hours and played lesser-known rock music. every week for a couple months, without fail, they would play this song. it's an annoying, substanceless little ditty about going to the beach. it would stick in my head to no end. one week, though, the deejay said she was going to play Emmet Swimming, and i started yelling at the radio because i just knew it would be that stupid Sunblock song again. shockingly enough, it wasn't...it was a new song, "Motorway," which was sad and beautiful. after they started playing that and "Turnstile" instead, and i learned that Emmet Swimming was capable of writing interesting, moving songs.
  • "Never Hear" by Escape From Earth (3:10)
    • there's too much rhyming in the verses. i can't tell what he's trying to say, because there are so many random rhyming pairs of words that he sacrificed theme for rhyme. then there's the prechorus, which admonishes people to get up and move. then, there's the chorus, in which he gets pissed off at people for not listening to him. the song isn't bad musically...when i see them live, i start jumping around and moshing. it's that kind of song. but, the lyrics are some of the worst i've ever encountered. they just don't make any sense.
  • "Nightmare" by Eve 6 (3:08)
    • i can never pinpoint why i don't like this song. i'm listening to it now and trying to figure out exactly why. and...i'm still failing to come up with anything more substantive than that it doesn't grab me the way the rest of Eve 6's music does. i don't particularly want to listen to it, even now, and i don't remember the last time i listened to Horrorscope and didn't push skip when this song came up.
  • "Damaged Goods" by Fastball (3:02)
    • the refrain of this song drives me nuts. "i know...i should just...leave you alone...i should just leave you...alone..." it just sticks in my head. it obscures the rest of the song. granted, the rest of the song is easily obscured anyway...the entire arrangement just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. maybe that was the point, since he's singing about being hooked on someone he can't have. that's something that leaves a bad taste in anyone's mouth. but, there's a difference between feeling like the song was made to be difficult to listen to and just not enjoying it, and the song is so characteristically poppy that i can't honestly believe the discomfort is intentional.
  • "Conversations" by Finger Eleven (3:34)
    • so, this technically doesn't fit into the theme...because the entire album Them vs. You vs. Me was full of clunkers. but, this song sticks out on Finger Eleven, which is otherwise such a brilliant album. even on Them vs. You vs. Me, the problem is that the songs were boring...but, they did have melodies. there was some idea realised in each song. this song, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a melodic idea at all. it's weird, Finger Eleven is always so good at making a point and conveying some kind of point through the music. there's always a cohesive whole. but, this song doesn't seem to have that. it comes in out of nowhere, it exits out of nowhere, and doesn't seem to convey any coherent idea in the meantime.
  • "See You" by Foo Fighters (2:29)
    • this song is the one lag in the momentum of The Colour and the Shape, an otherwise engaging album. it's not a terrible song...it just feels out of place. the rest of the album is so decidedly Late Nineties Modern Rock, and then this one feels like it came out of a 1960s sock hop. it's cute, but it should have been released on an album or compilation where it wouldn't have been such an anomaly.
  • "I'm Losing You" by the Marvelous 3 (3:19)
    • i don't know why they felt the need to put this song on the album twice. it wasn't any good the first time. the rest of the album has such a fun, arena rock feel...and then this song just feels like disco gone horribly wrong.
  • "Last Card Down" by 19 Wheels (3:23)
    • i love Krista Johnston's voice. i'm always a little suspicious when a band decides to feature a member's wife to sing on something, but her voice is fantastic...at once gritty and ethereal. i just wish her talents were featured in a better song. the song feels tacked on at the end of the album. it has no beat to it. it's such a tired-sounding song...the sonic equivalent of floating down the lazy river at the water park. if you're going to evoke that mood, fine, but do something interesting with it.
  • "Look Right Through Me" by Revis (6:15)
    • this is the classic Lazy Last Song. it feels like it was thrown together. i can't tell if they were trying to be experimental or just mellow, but either way it was an extremely unsatisfying ending to an otherwise enjoyable album.
  • "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against (3:20)
    • Rise Against can't pull off slow, soft ballads. they're good at loud, fast, punkish music. they're good at music that flirts with hard rock or heavy metal. but, they have no business making ballads. the singer's voice doesn't sound good singing in that style...he sounds like exactly what he is, a hard rock singer trying to show his softer side. it's okay if that softer side exists somewhere in his voice. but, it doesn't exist in his, and he needs to stick to rocking out.
  • "Broken" by Seether (4:20)
    • in the tradition of several songs on the list, this is a final track on the album that just wasn't up to snuff with the rest of it. often bands that can't do slow songs well will put a slow song as the last track. Seether doesn't have that excuse. they can clearly do slow songs well--"Sympathetic" is one of my favourite songs of theirs, and "Got It Made" is even better. "Broken" is just dull...lyrically, musically, it doesn't have anything special. for some reason, though, people ate it right up, and it was remade with Amy Lee and everything. i never understood it.
  • "High" by Stabbing Westward (3:21)
    • unlike many Stabbing Westward fans, i liked their last album a lot. it was a lot less raw and biting than the rest of their albums, but it showed a less angry side of the band. some of the songs were happy, some of the songs were unhappy...but in a way that was resigned rather than angry. most of the songs worked. i say "most," because "High" didn't. musically, the song isn't awful...there isn't much of a hook to grab me in, but there's nothing in it to grate on my ears. the lyrics, however, are terrible. "i've never been so high as i am with you/you're the perfect high"? really? that's about as trite as trite can be. from a band that wrote songs like "Waking Up Beside You" and "Red On White," i expect so much better than that.
  • "4 Degrees" by Tool (6:03)
    • i know what they're trying to do with this song. they're trying to make a building, driving, pounding, escalating soundscape to evoke the topic of the song: anal sex. it works for what they're trying to portray. the idea comes out effectively. but, the song drags on too long for my liking...i'd be okay with the song if it were three minutes long. it doesn't need to be six.
  • "L.S.D. [Lucifer's Stained Dress]" by Videodrone (3:11)
    • i mentioned this song briefly in an earlier post about Videodrone. whereas the rest of Videodrone's music has interesting melodies woven amidst the anger, this one doesn't. it always feels like someone is just screaming obscenities, and they felt some impetus to record it and pass it off as a song. i don't care how good the band is; they can't get away with that.
total time: 72:11.

that was 74 Minutes or Less #6: When Good Bands Go Bad. if you've got a thematic idea for a future playlist, comment or email me at superherogirl@gmail.com.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, February 16

i love The Rasmus. i go back and forth with which song of theirs is my favourite...there are about five of them that contend for the title. this is the one i've been loving lately..."Lucifer's Angel." it's really fun to listen to--so fun, in fact, that sometimes i'm known to start dancing down the street when it comes on my iPod.

[note: the video isn't an official video by the band...a video never was made for this song. but, unlike most fan videos on YouTube, it's actually decently edited]

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, February 16

"Shout 2000" by Disturbed: file this one under covers that are far more awesome than the original. i'm not a big fan of Tears for Fears' original, but i love what Disturbed does with it here. it doesn't sound like a knockoff of the original...they made it their own, and it sounds like a Disturbed song.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, February 15

"Paperthin Hymn" by Anberlin has one of my favourite lines ever.."i just want one more chance to put my arms in fragile hands." i've never heard a more eloquent way of describing a feeling that you need someone to depend on even though you know that the connection is tenuous as best.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, February 14

whether you're single or in a relationship, valentine's day sucks. it's a hallmark holiday full of obligation. couples are pressured to be schmaltzy, and singles are pressured to be bitter about their state. really, it's enough to make a person bitter about all the unnecessary pressure associated with the day.

"Anti-Love Song" by Cold is a bitter little gem. Scooter screams, yells, curses...it's pretty clearly the angriest song on 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage. he's mad at his ex, he's mad at his friends, he's mad at the world, and he's sick of it. in short...it's a perfect theme song for such a ridiculous holiday.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, February 13

sometimes the right song comes around at the right time. i've been feeling very unmoored lately...as if time is passing me by so fast that i'm getting disproportionately far removed from everything that meant anything in the past. i'm just floating around, not doing anything with the time i have. i need to get my bearings back, find meaning in what i can, but it's harder than i expected.

these feelings have made it very difficult for me to pick music to fit my mood. none of my current addictions felt quite right. but, i heard "Somewhere on Fullerton" by Allister for the first time today. it's a few years old...i'm shocked that i missed it, because Allister is from Chicago. but, it was like a big hug from a pair of loving, pop-punk arms.

the lyrics are a huge part of why i picked this song...if you're curious, i put them below:

"Somewhere on Fullerton"
by Allister

somewhere down on fullerton
there's a place that meant
so much to everybody like me
somewhere down on fullerton
there's a place that meant
the world to everybody like me

but i'm still trying
just to figure out why
this feels so wrong
when it felt so right
felt so right four years ago

so please don't go away
won't this feeling stay with me forever
forever i said
please don't go away
i just want you to stay with me forever

somewhere down on fullerton
there's a place that meant
so much to everybody like me
somewhere down on fullerton
there's a place that meant
the world to everybody like me

but i'm still trying
just to figure out why
this feels so wrong
when it felt so right
felt so right four years ago

so please don't go away
won't this feeling stay with me forever
forever i said
please don't go away
i just want you to stay with me forever

but i'm still trying
just to figure out why
this feels so wrong
when it felt so right
felt so right four years ago

so please don't go away
won't this feeling stay with me forever
forever i said
please don't go away
i just want you to stay with me forever

forever i said
please don't go away
won't this feeling stay with me forever
forever i said
please don't go away
cause all i want is
you to stay with me

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, February 12

"Almost Easy" by Avenged Sevenfold is an anthem for anyone who has done awful things that are finally catching up with them. it's about wanting redemption, but being unsure whether redemption is deserved.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, February 11

this morning's song is "Blue Lights" by Pretty Girls Make Graves. it's a song about obsessively overthinking your attraction to somebody. she repeats the same three quatrains over and over again, getting more and more agitated each time. the imagery in the lyrics is really good; that's one of Pretty Girls Make Graves' strengths.

and...it's a great song to have in your emotional arsenal if you're admiring someone from afar, and trying to work up the nerve to do something about it.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, February 10

i know it's not Monday. it's Sunday. but, "Every Monday" by The Marvelous 3 is a great song no matter what day it is. i especially love the lines, "talk to the city that knows me by name/and all the bad things that i do." that's how i feel when i'm home...i doubt they're singing about Chicago, because they're from Atlanta, but that line always reminds me of Chicago.

i would have posted a video, as i do most days, but somehow there's not a video of the Marvelous 3's version of the song on YouTube. instead, there's a five year old strumming away at a ukulele and attempting to sing it. it's a disgrace, really.

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74 Minutes or Less: Canadian bands

welcome to the fifth installment of 74 Minutes or Less.

74 Minutes or Less is the weekly1 supergig playlist. the concept is simple: i pick a theme, i choose at most 74 minutes of music that fits the theme, and i discuss it here. if you, or i, or anyone else thinks the playlist is so awesome that it deserves to be compiled and burned to CD for posterity, it won't be a problem--because it's no longer than 74 minutes.

this week's theme is songs by Canadian bands and artists. there are a ton of good Canadian bands out there...in fact, if given the choice between listening to an American rock station and a Canadian one, i'll take the Canadian station any day of the week. they seem to do a better job at sifting away the schlock, and i'm more likely to hear bands that i don't here on the same old same old American rock radio.

some of these songs are along the lines of the rock that i usually talk about here. some, however, are different. a few aren't rock at all. some weren't from the nineties or the aughts like almost everything i listen to. a few are are random guilty pleasure songs of mine. still...for one reason or another, i like every one of these songs--and they're all from Canadian acts.

  • "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams (3:32)
    • Bryan Adams took a carefree, youthful summer afternoon and spun it into a song. this song is pure ear candy. i didn't really know it when it came out; i really discovered it my senior year of high school when an a capella group came to my school and sang an arrangement of it. i find the genre of college a capella insufferably obnoxious, but at least i owe it for pointing me in the direction of this song.
  • "Insensitive" by Jann Arden (4:16)
    • i loved this song when i was in middle school. it would come on Casey Kasem's Top 40 on Sunday mornings when my family was driving to and from the bowling alley. the verses are longing, but the chorus is surprisingly sarcastic for a pop song of its type. in addition to the lyrics...i really like Jann Arden's voice. it's sultry.
  • "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion (7:37)
    • this was my favourite songs when i was 13. it was before i got into rock music...in middle school, adult contemporary was the thing to listen to, and i listened to more Celine Dion than i should admit to. this song is still a great one, though. it's epic, it's overblown, and it's what Diva Music ought to be. i even like to channel my inner diva once in a while and sing it at karaoke...i don't do it justice like Celine does, but it sure is fun to belt out.
  • "Cold (But I'm Still Here)" by Evans Blue (3:57)
    • i love songs that seem inoffensive on the outside, but the lyrics reveal something far more sinister. this song came on the radio all the time throughout 2006, and although it sounded a little dark [even Earshot-esque...i swore it was them until a deejay set me straight], it took me a while to process what the lyrics were doing. i keep reading the lyrics over and over, and the song could only be a story, told from the perpetrator's point of view, about kidnapping one's ex. it's scary stuff, and i love how it lurks under such an accessible, radio-friendly outer shell.
  • "Costume for a Gutterball" by Finger Eleven (4:39)
    • this was one of my teen angst anthems in high school. however, unlike most teen angst anthems that i can dismiss as such and consider as either guilty pleasures or a part of my past, this songs stays with me. it does such a good job of conveying the tension between the dangers of putting on an artificial face to the world and the temptation of making that artificial face when you're not quite sure who or what you are.
  • "Stay In Shadow" by Finger Eleven (3:15)
    • so, i try to avoid putting a band on a playlist more than once. but, Finger Eleven is a special case. they're one of my two favourite bands of all time, and this song shows a different side of them. where "Costume for a Gutterball" was slow, introspective, and a bit subdued, this one falls squarely into the realm of Push People And Throw Things Music.
  • "American Woman" by The Guess Who (5:10)
    • i'm not quite as much of a fan of this song nowadays, but i loved it when i was a little kid. it was fun to sing along to. i also appreciate the fact that "American Woman" was performed by a Canadian band; i didn't know The Guess Who was Canadian for a very long time. also...i'm still pissed off at Lenny Kravitz for covering it so badly. he took a fun song and made it into a caricature of its former self. if i were to do a Worst Covers Ever list, that would be on my top ten.
  • "Goodnight Goodnight" by Hot Hot Heat (2:10)
    • mmm. short, bouncy, and poppy. not the kind of song i normally like to listen to, but no matter. my roommate the year after college was a big fan of these guys, and i got really annoyed when he kept playing "Bandages" all the time. i never liked that song much. but, then he got on a kick of playing this one, and it grew on me.
  • "Brackish" by Kittie (3:08)
    • the chorus of this song is so cool. there's the one voice that's singing sweetly, and then the other one that's growling over it. i mainly listen to Kittie for the vocals, and this song does an even better job than any of their others in showing why. some of the singing is ethereal, some of it is gravelly, and some of it ranges in between. this song showcases their vocal range.
  • "Sweet Surrender" by Sarah McLachlan (4:03)
    • i have a soft spot for this song. when i was in high school, this was my go-to song if i ever had to sing in a talent show. i like quite a few of her songs...i didn't like her voice at first (when "Possession" came out), but eventually it grew on me and i have a handful of her songs in my music collection now. i had a hard time picking...this one, "Angel," and "Adia" are all gorgeous. but, this one is even more fun to sing than it is to listen to, so it won out.
  • "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats (2:41)
    • i can't believe i'm putting this on here, but there you go. this song is silly. this song is eighties. i can't listen to this song without a straight face, and that's part of the fun of it. it also provided the foundation for an inside joke with my friend in undergrad...although the story behind it involves absurd amounts of mock trial geekery, which is a little beyond the scope of this blog, and probably not interesting to most of you. the moral of the story is...yes, this song is a guilty pleasure and a little atypical for my [rather anti-eighties] musical tastes, but i love it anyway.
  • "Leader of Men" by Nickelback (3:30)
    • i know. i said the N-Word. you all thought i was better than that. the schlock they put out now isn't worth the plastic it's etched onto, or even the bits and bytes it takes up if you download it. it's boring.2 but, i still enjoy their album The State. it came out in 1999 in Canada, and in 2000 in the States after "Leader of Men" and "Breathe" got some radio play. "Leader of Men" is my favourite song on the album. the stripped-down music fits the lyrics perfecty; it captures perfectly the mood of inadvertently falling into a long-term relationship and being too apathetic to end it even though it has flatlined.
  • "One Man Army" by Our Lady Peace (3:22)
    • this is my ultimate driving song. i don't drive anymore, but this song was always on the radio during the short few-month period my senior year of high school when i did drive. i remember flying down the Beltline with this song blasting from the speakers, driving home after dropping my mom off where she lived. sometimes my little brother would be in the car...he didn't know the song or particularly seem to like it given his hip-hop tendencies, but didn't get to turn it off because i was driving. even though the lyrics are really bitter...the song just makes me feel so free.
  • "Fist Wrapped In Blood" by Silverstein (2:59)
    • i don't really know why i like this song as much as i do. like most of Silverstein's stuff, it's pretty cliché, but this one doesn't bore me. it's fun, fluffy, catchy screamo-pop. i know it's fodder for those annoying teenage "mall-punks", but every so often they're on to something.
  • "We're All To Blame" by Sum 41 (3:39)
    • here's another band i'm almost embarrassed to have on here. most of their songs are early- to mid-aughts pop-punk gone wrong. even the verses of this song are reminiscent of the tuneless shouting characteristic of most of their music. but, the chorus redeems it. the chorus keeps me coming back to it. i know "pretty" is an odd word to use to describe the chorus of a rock song, especially a rock song about political annoyance, but it fits.
  • "Home" by Three Days Grace (4:22)
    • Three Days Grace is rather formulaic. i'm the first person to admit it. however, it's okay in my book if you do the formula so well that you remind me why some pattern became The Formula in the first place. nothing in isolation would denote that there's anything special about this band: the lyrics tend toward the trite, and the vocals and instruments don't actually add anything new to the Screaming Alt-Rock genre. however, it's so rare anymore that anything in the genre comes in such a well-executed package of unvarnished angst.
  • "Christ Is On The Lawn" by Treble Charger (4:23)
    • most of Treble Charger's music occupies the grey area between pop-punk and late-nineties/early-aughts alt-rock. most of it is upbeat...and good. this song is a lot slower, almost a ballad, but it's my favourite one of theirs, and the one i keep going back to again and again. i'm still not quite sure what the cryptic lyrics to it mean, but the music conveys such emptiness and yearning.
total time: 66:43

that was 74 Minutes or Less #5: Canadian bands and artists. if you've got a thematic idea for a future playlist, comment or email me at superherogirl@gmail.com.

1 i know...i missed last week. i fail at blogging and i fail at life. angry comments are welcome, and i won't even yell you out for making them.
2 except for "Animals." i can't call "Animals" boring, because it's the worst song i've ever heard. i've heard a lot of songs, but that one makes me ill. no song with lyrics about Chad Kroeger giving some jailbait girl cunnilingus should ever have been written.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, February 9

whoever said songs about suicide aren't supposed to be fun hasn't heard "Dr. Online" by Zeromancer yet. if nothing else, check out the bridge of the song. it's a suicide hotline gone horribly, horribly wrong. it's hilarious in its tongue-in-cheek-ness.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, February 8

KRIM is a great band from Sweden who i discovered on radio wazee five or six years ago. their songs are catchy...and their lyrics are blunt and biting. they don't beat around the bush trying to paint obscured emotional landscapes. they just tell you what they're feeling, and i appreciate that.

"Can't Talk To You" by KRIM is a perfect example of that. it's a song for any mood...the beat gets your adrenaline going if you're in a good mood, and the lyrics are bluntly angry, perfect to concentrate on and scream along to if you're in a bad mood.

it makes me sad that KRIM seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. their band website has not been updated in almost two years, and they haven't released any new songs in at least that long. i've never had the chance to see them live; they're from Sweden, and never have played the States. i hope they're all well, and i hope they're still making music.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Thursday, February 7

i love Benjamin Burnley's voice. it's gorgeous. he can sing. he can scream. i can listen to him all day...he is what makes Breaking Benjamin so good.

and "Breath" is one of my favourite songs of theirs. unless you were living under a rock last year, you have probably heard it...but listen to it again. it's stuck in my head today.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Wednesday, February 6

occasionally there's a song i like that isn't from the nineties or aughts. it doesn't happen often...but it happens. i'm sure you know this song. it's long. it has crooning, screaming, and everything in between. i'm sure you've sung along to this song at least once when you've been goofing off with your friends--it's just that kind of song. push play, reminisce...it's "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Tuesday, February 5

"Monster" by Meg & Dia: i love this song. it's alt-rock meets pop-punk meets really, really snotty teen pop. the combination is adorable--and addictive.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Monday, February 4

few songs are written about baseball commissioners. even fewer songs take the character of a totalitarian, reactionary baseball commissioner, change a few details, and turn him into a slightly anachronistic folk hero.

in fact, the only song i know in that latter category is "Kenesaw Mountain Landis" by Jonathan Coulton. Jonathan Coulton is the master of acoustic internet generation nerd-rock, and this is my favourite song of his. he turns Kenesaw Mountain Landis into a hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson into a villain, and the Black Sox story into a folktale.

here's hoping that in a hundred years or so, everyone is telling the Black Sox Scandal story like this. i think dear Mister Coulton is onto something.

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can you see the sunset from the southside?

i just discovered can you see the sunset from the southside? last night. it's a chicago-centric music blog written by a local musician with a good sense of the history of music in the city, specifically punk and old-school emo. i'm learning a lot of random tidbits about chicago music, and discovering a bunch of new and old bands that i somehow missed along the way.

i know this isn't a music review...but sunset just may be my new crack, and i feel i owe it to each and every one of you to point you in the right direction here.

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Sunday, February 2

today's song is "It's Against The Law" by Wesley Willis. it's not too hard to figure out the meaning of this song--don't commit crimes, it's against the law. the line in the second verse, "don't stick up people for money," is especially relevant as part of the song of the day. there's someone i want to find, shake by the shoulders, and impart this message to--specifically, the rectal haberdasher who mugged me and my friend last night. that wasn't very nice of him.

here's to songs with simple messages. don't steal, don't kill, and don't threaten. "It's Against The Law".

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Saturday, February 2

usually it's a disappointment when a band re-releases an album with a couple of new tracks on it--because usually, all the new songs suck. even if they aren't that bad, they're usually not as good as the other songs on the album, because they didn't make the cut the first time.

Disclaimer II by Seether was a pleasant exception to this pattern. two of the added songs are just as good as, if not better than, the best songs on the original release of Disclaimer. [that's right, you get a bonus this morning: two songs for the price of one!] the songs portray very different moods..."Sold Me" is angry and driving while "Got It Made" is sad and introspective. both, however, are my addictions.

"Sold Me" by Seether:

"Got It Made" by Seether:

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Quite Suppressed Yet Quite Revealing: Friday, Februrary 1

"Real" by The Verve Pipe is a short song, clocking in at less than two minutes. the lyrics don't make a lot of sense...the song is over ten years old, and i still don't quite know what they're supposed to mean. but, the song sounds so good. it's very atypical of The Verve Pipe; it's loud, fast, and almost punkish unlike any other song except for "Bullies On Vacation."

it's friday. we all need a song to get our pulse racing and get our energy up for the Mardi Gras weekend. "Real" is that song.


74 Minutes or Less will probably not be up until this weekend. between the long nü metal entry and ridiculous real-life stuff, i don't have it finished yet, and doubt i'll be able to finish it and do a good job with it by the end of today. but, rest assured...i have a theme and i have all the songs picked out. i have to finish writing about them.

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in defense of nü metal

i have never seen anyone say anything positive about the genre of nü metal, as such. this has irked me for ten years. i've never heard people use the term "nü metal" as anything but pejorative, but there is some very good music that is popularly described as such.

people deride the music that falls under that umbrella as boring. meaningless. repetitive. dull. sure enough, there is a lot of subpar music that qualifies as nü metal. most people view Korn and Limp Bizkit as the standard bearers of the genre. Korn isn't my favourite band in the world. i always found them to be extremely boring, and many of their songs sounded the same. "Freak on a Leash" was a good tune, though...it was an apt anthem for a misunderstood teen, and i was a sixteen-year-old high school loner when the song came out. furthermore, they were one of the first bands to hit the mainstream with a detuned amalgam of rock, metal, rap, and funk. they weren't the best of the bunch, but i respect their role in beginning to clear out a place in the music scene for the genre...and even though they were usually boring, they never made me want to weep for humanity.

[as for Limp Bizkit...well, there's really no defense for Limp Bizkit. they were one of the worst bands of the nineties, if not the very worst. that's one point, probably the only point, on which the nü metal haters and i see eye to eye. their music sounds like party pop-rap with guitars.]

the term nü metal is a fairly vague one, to be sure...it started as almost a synonym for rap-rock, and then started to refer to bands who were in that same grey space between grunge and metal, but didn't necessarily have as many rap influences. by the early aughts, very few popular nü metal bands [save Linkin Park...] had or retained much rap styling at all. the term is less than specific...but none but the broadest terms for music have very fuzzy great areas, and i'm going to stick with the nomenclature because its spectrum is familiar to anyone who knows a bit about nineties music.

anyway...there was a lot of schlock promulgated under the umbrella of nü metal, and people bring that up to disparage every band with that handful of influences. but, the fact remains that there's a lot of schlock under any given musical label. just like wheat and chaff coexist under any musical label, there is good nü metal and bad nü metal. from here on out, we focus on the good; there are a lot of gems that people roll their eyes and dismiss because it happens to be nü metal. there are a lot of songs in that style that honestly portray emotion, that have compelling melodies, and prove that the flak that people give the genre as a whole is very often unwarranted.


their first album was full of rap influences which have faded away as time has gone by. although their first album, Down With The Sickness, remains their best to date, they still put out solid music and they're one of the few late nineties or very early aughts bands who remains recognizable, about as good as they were. my favourite song of theirs is "Remember"--it sets the mood of being fixated on something that happened in the past, and the melody haunts.

Drowning Pool

Drowning Pool is not the same band they were back in the early oughts. Dave Williams, their lead singer, died in the summer of 2002...that's the only time i've ever cried when a famous person has died. the new singer isn't nearly as good. his voice went from screaming to growling to singing so seamlessly, and Sinner rocked from start to finish. i'm sure you all know "Bodies" already...this is the video for "Tear Away," which is a little more like the rest of Sinner and a better song to boot.

Finger Eleven

Finger Eleven is one of my two favourite bands [the other being Cold]. even in their earliest music they never had much of a rap influence, but the grunge, metal, and funk influences pervade their music.1 [in fact, before they were Finger Eleven, they called themselves the Rainbow Butt Monkeys, and were more of a funk band than a rock band.] their first three albums were fantastic...really, the only dud on any of them was "One Thing." everything else, fast or slow, was good, solid rock--like this, their song "Quicksand" from their first album.

Linkin Park

i got into Linkin Park my first year of college. that was right when Hybrid Theory was coming out and "One Step Closer" was on the radio all the time. i caught more and more flak for liking them as they got more and more popular, but i don't care. their songs are catchy, they have great beats, and back in 2000 they didn't sound like anything else that was on the radio. maybe it's the sulking emo kid in me...but my favourite song of theirs has always been "Numb." it's a little less peppy than most of their stuff, but it's a great song all the same:


Orgy was the first rock band i ever liked who features techno beats prominently. i'm not sure if their music actually falls under the outer fringes of nü metal or not, but between the time they got popular [1998], their close ties with Korn [they were on Elementree Records, Korn's imprint], and the music styles they fuse...i include them here. they had a little more techno-goth and a lot less grunge than most bands in the category, but they definitely smoothed the path to the radio airwaves for clearly nü metal bands like Linkin Park. this is my favourite Orgy song, "Dizzy"--the last song on their album Candyass, and one i recently mentioned in 74 Minutes or Less:


okay, so their later music consists of attempts to reproduce the success of "It's Been Awhile." they morphed from the realm of nü metal to the realm of...well, almost adult alternative. that doesn't make Tormented, Dysfunction, or about half of Break the Cycle any less awesome. back then the songs were raw, and Aaron Lewis had the sexiest, breathiest heavy rock voice i knew. this was the song that got me hooked on them: "Just Go."

finally, four more bands who have done something compelling with the genre have been recent subjects of posts on this blog: 3rd Strike, Lifer, Flaw, and Videodrone.

so, the next time you hear some music snob dismiss nü metal offhand, take him to task for it. for every Limp Bizkit, Crazy Town, or Hed(PE) who makes your ears bleed, there is a Finger Eleven, Drowning Pool, or Videodrone to bring the rock.

1 if the only songs of theirs you've heard are "One Thing" or anything on Them Vs. You Vs. Me, you're going to be wondering what i'm talking about when i say there's a funk influence. that stuff is dross. i'm as bitter about Them Vs. You Vs. Me as i am about Underneath by The Verve Pipe. the whole rant is too long for a footnote, though; don't be surprised to see a full entry about it at some point.

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