Do you ever just sit in your room by yourself and cry while you listen to Cher sing Believe and wonder how anyone could sing such genuine and heartbreaking lyrics and compose such a melodious beat? Do you ever get in your car, head to the beach, put on the latest Good Charlotte CD and think to yourself, “You know, these guys really do a great job articulating the middle class dissatisfaction with the celebutante culture of America”? Have you ever, in your life, enjoyed a song, music video, or even a single lyric by Nickelback?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above–or if you can sing How Far We’ve Come without mocking Rob Thomas’ voice–then you have horrible taste in music and you represent and contribute to everything that is wrong with America today. I’m not kidding. If you were standing in front of me right now I would slap you with an open hand.
“B-b-but Chris! Nickelback is sogood!” You need to stop talking right now because I am almost positive that when someone compliments Nickelback, God goes out of his way to make sure someone gets a candiru. You might be okay with that blood on your hands, but not me. Not on my blog.
So where do you go to find music that isn’t horrible? Well, there are plenty of good options. Of course, if you’re wearing or plan to wear a button-down flannel shirt today and/or glasses with thick black rims and/or anything else that you think is ironic (if every single upper-middle class recent college grad tries to look poor and downtrodden then it is no longer ironic) then you probably already know about Pitchfork. It’s a nice place to start. But what if you just really don’t want to be associated with something that hipster?
Well, I am pleased to introduce you to the wonderful music blog, 3hive. 3hive is a music blog where the three authors post a few times each week with new music they’ve found and include a couple of free mp3’s along with a short writeup of the band. The music is mostly underground stuff that probably won’t ever be played on a radio station, but most of it is really really good. The best part about the website is that they have a nifty little audio player (click the arrow at the bottom left of the website) that will just play through all the songs on a particular page of the blog so you can listen and discover some new music. I highly recommend their Top 25 of 2008 list.
So go to 3hive and for Pete’s sake, stop listening to Cher.
I’m a white, upper-middle class male living in a mansion in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I finally have the internet back. I get cable TV. You know what all of that means? It means that I get to decide what’s normal, and I can laugh at people who are different without feeling bad. It means that if I wanted to, I could pretend like nothing ever existed before the last year or so when people finally started dressing normally and acting cool. If I so choose, I don’t ever have to have my countenance darkened by someone who doesn’t look like me (6’3″, 220 lbs, gigantic pecs), act like me (wicked awesome), or think like me (WASP to the max).
But why would I ever separate myself from the darker sides of society (mainly: stupid people, ugly people, and people from before 1990 [well, technically ‘people from before 1990’ is just a subset of both of the previous categories]) when I can watch videos of them and laugh hysterically, feeling ever more confident that we’ve finally gotten it right? I wouldn’t. I don’t. And I won’t. These people must be laughed at (okay grammar geniuses, let’s see you figure out how to end that sentence in anything other than a preposition without sounding like Yoda).
I’ve discovered a website that is perfectly created to put the best of the worst right in front of your very eyes. The website’s name is Everything Is Terrible, and it is filled to the brim with clips taken from the most bizarre places imaginable. Most of these videos are so amazingly weird that you don’t know whether to laugh at the people or feel depressed that a real human actually did something like this. I’ve put three of my favorite clips from the site below, but trust me when I say that this site is a gold mine. So go to Everything Is Terrible and waste some of your time.
Walter Jones’ Dance Ranger – The black power ranger teaches us how to show thugs what’s what
Producciones Jean Kumaro – One of the best video company intros I’ve ever seen
The Internet for Dummies by Dummies – “Now there you go with that techno-speak again Frank.”
I like finding new music. And I love listening to music that is created in ways outside of the typical sit-in-a-studio-and-write-til-we-have-an-album method. Knowing that there’s a good, interesting story or circumstance behind it can make up for a mediocre song (at least to a certain point), and I always enjoy having a tiny window into the creative process of good musicians.
In the last two weeks, I found a couple of really interesting musical projects that take artists out of their normal element and force them to write music in circumstances that they normally wouldn’t.
The first of these two is called Project Song and it’s from NPR’s All Songs Considered. The jist is this: NPR brings in a musician (so far they’ve only done three episodes) and the host puts out a series of pictures and a series of words in front of the artist. The person has to pick a picture and a word which will guide the direction of their song, and then they have 48 hours to write and record a song. The results aren’t anything spectacular, but it’s really interesting to see the directions the musicians take. On the website you can watch videos of the creative process and listen to the finished products.
The second project is called Record of the Week Club (RotWC). RotWC is a Winnipeg-based project in which three local musicians are invited to a studio to write and record a song overnight. The musicians don’t know who they’ll be working with and they usually are all from different musical backgrounds (e.g. a DJ working with a Jazz pianist and a folk musician). The style is mostly electro-folk type music, but there are a few exceptions. Like Project Song, the results are hit-and-miss, but out of the 16 total songs there are a handful of gems. If you like the songs you can buy a CD with all 16 songs on it, but if you want to just listen online you can listen to the full-length songs on the website.
I love music. I like to listen to it alone. I like to dance to it in groups. It keeps me awake when I’m driving, and it’s nice to fall asleep to when it’s nap time. I try to keep up with new music throughout the year, but even the most addicted web-head can miss a few days or even weeks of new-music reviews. That’s why the end of the year (or in this case, the beginning of it) is so exciting: everyone on the interwebs is posting their ideas of the best albums of the year. It’s wonderful. Now, if only there was a way to put together all of those lists and come up with an “All Internet Top 50” list . . .
Enter The Hype Machine. This website scans a bunch of MP3 blogs and automatically posts little blurbs about the most popular songs on the web. You can listen to the songs on their front page or explore further by going to the blog entries themselves. Now, the website is amazing simply in its day-to-day operation, but what they’ve done with their end-of-the-year list is even better. They’ve analyzed a bunch of bloggers’ year-end lists and come up with the top 50 albums of 2008 according to the top music blogs. The best part is: you can listen to full albums on the site to see if you’d like to purchase them. It’s wonderful. So go check it out. You won’t regret the time.