This one’s an oldie, but now — more than ever — the message of this song is relevant.
This one’s an oldie, but now — more than ever — the message of this song is relevant.
My two favourite bands couldn’t be more of a study in contrasts. Led Zeppelin was a hard-rocking, drug-taking, groupie-banging maelstrom of bombastic sound. U2’s music, on the other hand, is infused with spirituality, soaring melodies, and the quest for a connection with a higher power.
And yet I love them both. Which is why I think it’s important to celebrate many different styles of music, from the highly spiritual to the down-and-dirty. And how better to do so than by comparing and contrasting one band of self-professed Christian rockers with another band that was plagued throughout their career by lurid tales of dark arts and devil worship.
Now, I’m not trying to turn this into an epic battle between the forces of Good and Evil…but just for the hell of it, I wonder who would win? Clearly the only way to judge is by employing the objective powers of Science to sort it out.
Therefore, I will be examining each band based on a variety of categories, and
totally choosing my favourites utilizing a highly scientifical method that is not at all biased in order to establish the winner in each category. Points from all of the categories will be tabulated at the conclusion of our study to determine the ultimate victor. So without further ado, I present to you our first category:
I hope you are sitting down, because I am about to blow your mind.
Somehow — and I truly, for the life of me cannot fathom how this happened — I managed to make it through the past 22 years without ever having seen this music video:
I know what you’re thinking — how did an oversight of such magnitude occur? The situation is nothing short of tragic. I mean, the song was released in 1990, so for 22 years I could have been reveling in the supreme awesomeness that is this video. And it’s not like I haven’t seen the cinematic gem Cool As Ice (which I will delve into further at a later date, as it obviously deserves it’s own post). Or the live performance of this song on Saturday Night Live, during which Vanilla Ice sported a truly magnificent jacket with ‘WORD TO YOUR MOTHA’ spelled out in diamond studs on the back — possibly the best piece of clothing worn by anyone, anywhere, in the history of time. Sadly, this is the only picture I could find of it:
Seriously, I don’t understand why there aren’t multiple web sites devoted to this jacket. If ever there was a garment of clothing deserving of it’s own tumblr, surely it is this one.
Anyway…clearly I am familiar with the man’s oeuvre, is what I’m trying to say. So how the viewing of this video managed to elude me until now is truly a mystery for the ages. Now that I have seen it, it feels like a piece of me that had always been missing has fallen into place.
Also, I have come to an important conclusion. You know how people always daydream about what they would ask for if they could have one wish magically granted? I have decided what mine would be — I would wish for the dance skills necessary to perform the routine in this video from start to finish. Think of how often that ability would come in handy! Like, for example, if you found yourself in the middle of an impromptu dance-off. It is important to be prepared for such things. As a bonus, if you were ever feeling blue you could bust out these moves and instantly cheer yourself up.
As for my love of this video…will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know. But I certainly hope not, because it is making me pretty happy.
You know what’s funny? When two very different songs share the same name. Especially when it leads to confusing/embarrasing conversations like this one:
Spencer’s (much cooler) friend: “‘Good Vibrations’ is such a great tune…”
Spencer: “Oh ya, I love Marky Mark!”
Spencer’s friend: “Um…I was talking about the Beach Boys song…”
Awkward silence as both parties realize the extent of Spencer’s lameness.
Don’t get me wrong, the Beach Boys’ version is also awesome, but how can you not love the Funky Bunch’s ridiculous ’90s dance moves? And Marky Mark’s shirtless posing. Not to mention that gold glitter hat…
Here are the two songs, side by side:
Oh man! I’m just gonna say it: they are both great. That’s the beauty of two songs with one name — unlike your typical classic vs. cover scenario, you don’t really have to measure how they stack up to one another, or choose between them. You can instead just enjoy each song for what it is. And although these two couldn’t be more different in some ways, when it comes down to it they are both songs about the thrill of hitting that sweet spot, where everything is just waves and waves and waves of good times.
You guys! It’s our birthday!!!! One year ago today we posted our very first article, and we couldn’t be happier to have reached such an important milestone! In honour of this very excellent date, we are declaring February 4th to be a national holiday, effective immediately, and giving you all permission to take the day off work. You’re welcome!!*
*What’s that you say? Today is Saturday, and you already have the day off work? Well then. Instead, we give you permission to go out and get drunk tonight, and when you do, please raise a glass and toast yourselves for being the BEST READERS OF ALL TIME!! ‘Cause you are! We love you!
Let Them Eat Vinyl
Awwww…look who dropped in to wish us a Happy Birthday! They must have liked our article.
Happy Monday, kids, and welcome to a new column that we hope to post on a regular basis, entitled ‘Love At First Listen’.
There are some songs that grow on you. The first time you hear them you may not be completely blown away, but upon further listening you end up appreciating the nuances that, with any song, reveal themselves over time (an example of this for me is U2’s ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’). With others there may be an initial strong attraction, deepening gradually into love (most of my favorite songs fall into this category). Then there is the type of song that you fall for, head over heels, the moment that you first hear it. Love at first listen.
Probably the first time this ever happened to me was the fall of 1993. My friend Chris lent me his copy of The Smashing Pumpkins’ new record Siamese Dream (released in July of that year, but we were living in Singapore at the time and everything came out there a bit later). I remember, vividly, lying on my bedroom floor and pressing play. I liked the first two tracks, but as soon as song #3 started, after literally the very first bar, I thought to myself “This is it. I am in love”. And I was right. As the song progressed, it just kept getting better and better, and I listened along dreamily, stars in my eyes. I was a total goner. I must have played that song 20 more times that day, and had it on repeat over the following months.
The fact that Billy Corgan wrote the song about a day in which he was having suicidal thoughts, with lyrics of depression and self-mutilation, did nothing to diminish my ardor – in fact, being sixteen at the time and suffering myself from the requisite dose of depressive thoughts that go along with being a teenager (though no self-mutilation or suicidal ideation, thankfully), it made me feel less alone to know that there were other people experiencing similar emotions.
As is the case with any true love, my romance with this song continues to this day. It is still as relevant to me ‘Today’ as it was the first time I heard it.
How about you? What song did you fall for the first time you heard it?
Happy 2012 everyone! You may have noticed a little change here on the site. When we launched this blog 11 months ago, what we really wanted to call ourselves was Let Them Eat Vinyl. This was partly inspired by something Kurt Cobain said, a rant in an unsent letter in which he famously denounced the insular world of indie elitists and music scenesters, proclaiming: “They can starve. Let them eat vinyl”. This little phrase jumped out at us and lodged itself in our minds, and when it came time to name the site it was our first choice. Unfortunately, the address ‘letthemeatvinyl’ was already taken, by a company that actually sells vinyl records (fair enough, really. We can’t argue with that). We settled on Let Them Read Vinyl because the focus of our blog at the time was music book reviews. However, as is often the case in life, what we set out to do has evolved over time. Book reviews are still a big part of our deal, but we’ve also expanded to include live music reviews, album reviews, fashion and style, and general pop culture commentary. We’re still all about the music, though. Music is everything.
Anyway, we figured that it was high time we embraced the name that we love. Accordingly, we’ve updated our address to www.let-them-eat-vinyl.com. Clicking on our old address will still bring you here, so not to worry. And we’re still the same great site, just slightly modified. After all, we figured that if Prince can change his name to a symbol, or P.Diddy can change monikers on a seemingly monthly basis, then the difference of two letters in our name is No Big Deal.
Our goal for 2012 is to keep bringing you awesome & informative articles about music. So check back often, and join us for some good old-fashioned rocking out.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This might be true, I don’t know. Since I am a writer – rather than, say, a photographer or a painter – I am obviously biased to disagree with this statement. I love words. I am fascinated by them. I studied them in school, and I think about them all the time. Words communicate so much, and, when employed skillfully, are truly breathtaking in their range and ability to convey meaning and expression.
And yet, they can sometimes fall short. So much of what happens in our lives isn’t even expressed in words, from the millions of thoughts we have each day to the extensive forms of non-verbal communication that we use to interact with one another. Often when I sit down to try and write something, I am overwhelmed and stymied by the sheer impossibility of conveying exactly what I want to say, as I see it in my head. Most of the time I feel like I am taking a stab in the dark, and if I manage to capture even some part of what I was striving for, I feel lucky. Obviously some of that can be chalked up to my skill level, rather than a lack on the part of the words themselves, but there are intrinsic limitations to language. How can one ever truly express what it feels like to experience the emotions of joy, grief, despair, or hope? Or describe the experience of falling in love, without sounding like a hopeless sap? Or talk about how a particular song at a particular moment can make you feel like everything is perfect, and why that is. Translating feelings into words is in some ways a loser’s game – you’ll never really be able to do it. But we keep trying – because it’s a challenge, and because it’s fun, and because ultimately we want to connect to something larger than ourselves.
As great as words are, though, sometimes brevity is amazing. Today, I would like to talk about a rarity in music – the One Line Song. There are only two that I can think of off the top of my head, and I appreciate both of them for what they manage to convey with only a limited use of words.
The first is the Pixies’ Stormy Weather. Here is the song:
One line, my friends. “It is time for stormy weather”. That’s it, that’s all. As with a lot of Pixies’ music, sound and feel are given more emphasis here than lyrics, but this is concise even for them. He wields the line in such varied ways, though, that it feels like he’s saying something different with each iteration. I think this is a perfect example of how sometimes tone matters way more than the actual words being used. They’re communicating different moods without changing what’s being said.
Song #2 is Evan Dando’s In the Grass All Wine Colored:
Again, only one line: “I’m in the grass all wine colored”. No further description provided, and yet you can totally see it, can’t you? Do you need any more words than these in order to picture the scene in your head? No, you do not.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes one line is worth a thousand pictures.
Are there any other One Line Songs out there? Let me know if you know of any!
It seems fitting on this day, a Friday, to profile an album called Pink Friday. This record is not new — it was released almost a year ago — but it’s one that I’ve been listening to a lot lately for a couple of reasons: 1) the songs are really good, and 2) I am slightly obsessed with Nicki Minaj.
It’s not often that I buy an album without knowing any of the tracks, but that was the case here. I can’t remember why I picked it up — I knew very little about Minaj, other than the fact that she has a RIDICULOUS ass.
Like, seriously, look at this thing:
Have you ever tried to have dinner at Starbucks? Yeah, it’s actually totally doable. They have these little eggy-hammy-cheesy situations that are quite delightful. I’m in night school at one of the local colleges in downtown Toronto and since I am always, ALWAYS running late, I only ever have time for a mad dash into Starbucks before class starts to grab a coffee and one of these breakfast sandwiches and sometimes a slice of banana chocolate chip coffee cake. Yum.
As you probably know, in recent years Starbucks has made a foray into the business of selling music, serving up new releases alongside their mocha frapps. They also have free weekly iTunes songs available for download. I stopped picking up the cards a while back, because I was just shoving them into the bottom of my purse and then finding them months later, when the codes had long since expired.
But! I was in there last Tuesday getting my usual meal before class, and I noticed a card for a free 10 Song Summer Mix. Now that’s something I can get behind. First of all, free music – yes. Secondly, I was intrigued as to how good a mix put together by Starbucks could be (although, I am sure it’s not the suits who handle the music. They probably have legions of hipsters and music scenesters on the payroll for this sort of thing).
Anyway, I downloaded the playlist from iTunes and have spent the last week and a half listening to it off and on. Here is my synopsis…