Tag Archives: 2020

Reflection: Worst Moments of 2020 (11th to 1st worst)

31 Dec

honorable mention-updated driver’s license.  In AZ, you don’t have to renew for like 25 years.  But my parents said soon, everybody had to transition to a special kind of license.  And if you didn’t you couldn’t fly.  So we went to do it one weekend, and online it made it sound so fast.  And all the info seemed like you just walk up and get it and leave.  But when we got there it was a DMV situation with lots of people and hours and hours of boring waiting.  And the germs!  I was freaking out (this was even before Covid-19 was known at all) b/c I HATE getting sick.  We got the license, and we managed not to get sick.  But what a let down.

10-Sneakers were banned from work except on Friday.  I wrote a well-thought, sincere letter trying to persuade leadership to reconsider and allow fashion sneaks.  This was the first time I had EVER spoken out at this job.  I barely talked for the first year I worked there, due to McKesson PTSD.  And I finally found an issue important to me, and carefully, and thoughtfully tried to address it.  They just reiterated policy and acted very corporate, not human, about it.  What a waste.  The whole thing just made me feel like a number or something.  Then, I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get an ADA pass to wear sneakers to work.  It is very heavy-handed.

9-Pride month got hijacked by BLM.  And I had been really looking forward to it, but there was no to-do at all for it.  Obviously, nothing physical was going on, but I didn’t even get to post, like 1 rainbow anywhere.  And “hijacking #BLM” was pretty much shamed and stigmatized on social media.  I wasn’t allowed to even talk about it. P.S. Pride is necessary. Trans people suicide and violence by others is sky-high. Bisexuals are erased. Gender nonconforming need logistical concerns met by society. Conversion therapy is still practiced. Closeted teens still self-harm, and out-teens go homeless. It isn’t frivolous to celebrate Pride!

8-Arguing with Covidiots on Twitter.  At first, I assumed people didn’t know.  And I watch news twice a day and listen to podcasts daily, so I was getting information quickly.  I tried to educate, and that was a losing battle.  I would refute their nonsense and write facts, but people would argue, tweet by tweet for like, days, at a time.  I soon realized it wasn’t legitimate lack of knowledge on their part but selfishness, political-brainwashing, and willful ignorance.  Now, I do not engage with any individual, b/c it would make me rageful and insane.  I’ll just put a fact-based tweet in general, or navigate away entirely.

7-I had the high of knowing my dink-Supervisor transferred departments.  I had been keeping a log of all his infractions, and had been talking to his boss about it, who (mostly seemed annoyed I was saying anything, and making her work) assured me he was on a mediation plan.  So it was really a happy moment to find he wasn’t going to be in my life any more.  And I wondered what new blood would be in charge of my team.  I hoped I could start out on the right foot with them.  And I hoped they would care a lot more, and be a go-getter, and really make a positive change!  Oh the possibilities!  But my supervisor was replaced with this other guy I had previously worked with, who can be arrogant/condescending/sexist/dinky.  I had been hoping for just someone new and better–so it was a big disappointment that one dink, was replaced with the ONLY other person at the job I didn’t like.

6-My (now) former supervisor wanted me to go to advanced training.  When I asked if it was in the work building and was concerned about going back physically because of Covid-19, he yanked me out of training.  I had to go to H.R. about it because the training was never even planned to be in the building, it was over Zoom, and you can’t yank someone’s promotional opportunity because you’re a Covidiot that doesn’t believe in science.  But it felt bad to have to fight for public health, fight to keep my promotional opportunity. So after a year, I had finally spoken. I asked about the shoes. But then, my supervisor kept doing shitty things, and after I had documented like 30 terrible things, I felt like I had to say something. But now this very important thing came up– and now I’m considered a squeaky wheel. Which is not accurate.

5-Difficulty, time, and struggle to get things delivered from about March to late August?  Toilet paper, Clorox-Wipes, Lysol, and a lot of the food we usually keep on hand were out.  And I was having to repeatedly check Costco, Walmart, Amazon, the Dollar Store, etc… just to get basics.  When the pandemic first started, NONE of those companies were prepared, and everything was a hassle to impossible.  I had a toilet paper A (ration), B(napkins), (Magazine pages), D (leaves) emergency plan.  It’s funny, byt also not an exaggeration, and that made me anxious!

4-Password issue the first couple days of work from home.  I was locked out of my work account for 2 full work days.  And had to call IT and hold with them forever, be on the line with them for long times, and be so frustrated when their interventions were unsuccessful.  I felt stressed and guilty b/c it was literally the first week we were allowed to work from home, and I didn’t want my job to think I was taking advantage and fucking around.  But I also didn’t want to go into the building and get Covid-19, or get fired about it.  

3-My Prop 208 homework. Arizona has been gyped of education by many crooked CEOs, lobbyists, Koch Brothers, corrupts politicians, and as a result the schools are abysmal. I am big on education, because that really is a thing that pulls people up, and helps poverty, and helps people vote better. These things matter by the time a pandemic strikes. Also, my mom is a teacher, and I just think AZ can do better. So this proposition was supposed to tax wealthy individuals to help schools. But of course all the greedy grifters had a big disinformation campaign to trick Arizonans into voting against their best interests. So for 6 weeks leading up to the election, I took it upon myself to refute the scores of people bending facts, lying, and tricking voters about what the prop is, and who it impacts. And people here hate teachers. They have zero respect for the teaching profession and think the educators are over paid. And they regard school as free daycare, really. And a lot of Arizonans hate paying any taxes at all–even to educate kids. It was exhausting! I probably did 2 hours per day every single day of those 2 weeks, with a surge that last week. It was tiring arguing with liars, and trying to convince argumentative ignorants. The prop did pass-yay! But by the slimmest of margins (sad and maddening). And now those dirty money-hungry people are trying to overturn it in courts. gerr.

2-My mid-level manager routinely doesn’t read or pay attention.  And it’s totally annoying, b/c she’ll ask questions she should know, or could easily look up.  Or she’ll get after me, b/c she didn’t read properly.  We follow workflows, and my end point directed me to send the claim to her.  I sent a bunch of info including many numbers and 2 screenshots to this manager.  She didn’t understand it somehow–which is really stupid.  My (new) supervisor wrote to me telling me to make sure to include more info with my “questions” (but this was not a question, it was an endpoint on my workflow).  I asked what else I needed to send (b/c it was more than enough!) and he replied, “more.”  We went back and forth b/c there WAS NOTHING ELSE TO INCLUDE, it was ridiculous.  Honestly, I suspected he hadn’t read my initial e-mail either, he had glanced, seen the manager’s question, and lectured me without looking.  And I felt like instead of admitting I HAD sent more than enough–everything he listed, he doubled-down and gave a generic “more.”  I kept asking, “what else do you need?” Same answers.  Then he said to call him and he would explain it.  But I was like, “I keep a record, can’t you just type out a list of items I need to include in all emails?”  But he was still all, “I can only explain it on the phone.”  Which I also thought was a croc, but I didn’t want to get in trouble for insubordination, so I reluctantly called.  And he literally said exactly what he said before!  He had my email up on a shared screen, and I heatedly asked what other info they needed.  I even told him I suspected the manager wasn’t opening claims, reading notes/remarks, or paying attention to workflows. And he defended that! He said management is very busy, couldn’t I just send more? He said, “more” again when I asked what, specifically–and I LOST MY TEMPER.  The whole exchange was a fucking ridiculous charade.  I sent enough info, but the manager either didn’t look at stuff or was being dumb, and this Supervisor didn’t read the fucking initial e-mail and just assumed I hadn’t sent everything.  And his tone on this unnecessary phone call was jovial, and he was like, “Is that cool?”  And I said something to the effect of, “No it is NOT cool, but you are my supervisor, so yes, sir, whatever you want.”  It was a completely inappropriate way to speak to an authority.  Not what I’m going for at work.  But he was being such a (misogynistic) douche!  An attitude of like, ‘this dumb bitch is so stupid, I’m going to put her in her place because she’s just a silly woman who doesn’t understand things.’ After the call, I sent him 3 egregious examples of the manager not reading or looking or paying attention. I had saved them, b/c this was becoming a chronic issue. And he defended her! Which is crazy. So whatever the fuck…

1-Goose got very sick with the herp.  He’s already under-weight, and we’re always trying to get him to eat more.  We give him appetite stimulant, but he still doesn’t get enough.  When he got herpes in that already weakened state, it hit him so hard.  And he was completely stuffed up to the point he had to open mouth gasp like a blowfish.  So it was extremely concerning.  He didn’t move, didn’t eat, and felt terrible.  Even though we’re home for work, ordering all groceries delivery, and not going anywhere–I took Goose to the vet.  They didn’t offer that much.  Their big plan was to send a can of food.  But I remembered how the feline exclusive treated cats and requested those items.  He did recover, but I was terrified this was the end.

Awesome Albums of 2020 Top 13-1

17 Dec

#13

Black Eyed Peas (8 awesome; 3 good; 1 ok; 2 meh; 1 dislike of 15 = 

53.3% awesome; 

20% good; 

Awesome good avg = 36.65%

80% OK & up; 

6.7% dislike

Awesome – dislike =

46.6% awesome

Awesome good avg – dislike =

29.95%)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/black-eyed-peas-translation-album-review/

Every song could just blend together on this album.  The theme is perfectly executed, where the individual songs can hold up on their own, but the album could be played and the listener might never know when one song ended and the next began.

At one point, I thought Translation would be my winning album of the year.  I decided to weight dislikes heavily though–b/c it takes a LOT for me to not like a song at all.  And I just can’t get behind using the word “bitch” to convey someone you don’t like or respect.  And it pains me to mark down Will I Am because I think he does have a good heart (he is my VERY favorite episome of Songland because he was so nice and fair and awesome), but I can’t get behind that one song…

#12

Taylor Swift (6 Awesome; 7 good; 2 ok; 1 meh; 1 dislike of 17 = 

35.3% Awesome; 

43.8% good; 

avg awesome/good is 39.6%; 

88.2% ok & up. 

Dislike = 5.9%

Awesome – dislike = 29.4%

Awesome good avg – dislike = 33.7%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/25/taylor-swift-folklore-album-review/

What a good album–it’s an understatement.  Taylor Swift again shows her dexterity as a writer and performer.  She really can do anything!  Do I like Dream-Pop?  Absolutely not.  But I like Taylor, she’s a sentimental favorite of mine, and I can appreciate what she’s done here.  This album’s strongest feature was the layered writing, which embedded so much information, that it drove multiple listens–genius.  Folklore is most definitely the most lyrically-robust album of the year.  Like Apple’s work, Taylor shows she has a keen knack for saying, showing, and musically burying meanings everywhere.  Just don’t call folklore “Alternative” IT IS NOT IN THE ALTERNATIVE GENRE.  This is most definitely an attempt at dream pop like Lorde and an inspiration to Taylor, Lana del Ray.  But more hooks and catchiness.  Taylor can’t help but to write earworms.  It’s a good departure and makes me excited for whatever is going to follow.

This album was also heavily penalized for a poorly written (in my opinion) hastily added song.  I expect more from a writer of Taylor’s caliber.  She could easily write a hundred better Covid songs, and she should have.  There’s really no excuse for just throwing a song on an album.

#11

Lauren Alaina 

Getting Good (2 awesome; 2 good; 2 ok; meh; dislike of 6 = 

33% awesome

33% good

Awesome good avg = 33.3%

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/lauren-alaina-getting-good-ep-review/

I never knew given the choice between some drinking break-up album and a more traditional country good-girl album, that I would prefer the latter.  But in this case I did.  I felt like the Getting Over Him wasn’t very authentic for Alaina.  I suggest she #1, just combine into an album in the future.  #2, stay true to herself, because without even knowing there was a choice I gravitated to her more true story.

#10

Kenny Chesney  (4 awesome;6 good;2 ok; meh; dislike of  12= 

33.3% awesome;

50% good; 

Awesome good avg = 41.65%

100% OK and up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/kenny-chesney-here-and-now-album-review/

It feels to me like Chesney knows the exact combination of elements to make a winning record.  And he’s combined them (as he always has) to make a good record.  What I’m not getting, is a lot of genuineness, authenticity, or enthusiasm for making music.  It all seems very detached and formulaic.  Also, this party guy is wearing thin, and feels a bit disingenuous to me.  I’d like to see an album with more introspective, that I can tell Chesney feels.

#9

Brothers Osborne (4 aweseome 2 good 1 ok 3 meh OF 11 = 

36.4% awesome; 

18% good) =

Avg of awesome and good = 

27.2%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/15/brothers-osborne-skeleton-album-review/

The album takes a sharp turn on song 5.  It goes from trite, bro-party country to something better.  I wish they would cut out the first 4 songs, actually–it’s that much of a change.  

#8

Green Day (4 awesome; 4 ok  of 10 = 

40% awesome; 

Awesome & OK avg =

60% good

80% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/03/green-day-father-of-all-album-review/

I think this album utilized the piano better than some of their past works.  And that fast pounding on it, does a lot to increase excitement.  There is also a James Dean sort of 1950s enthusiastic rebel sound that’s still punk-pop, but a little retro.

#7

Indigo girls (4 awesome;  4 good;  3 ok;  meh; dislike of 11 = 

36.3% awesome; 

36.3% good; 

Avg of awesome & good  =

36.3%

100% OK and up.)

#6

Selena Gomez  (7 awesome; 6 good; 4 ok; meh; dislike of 17  = 

41.2% awesome; 

35.3% good;  

Awesome good avg = 38.25%

100% Ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/selena-gomez-rare-album-review/

Does it feel personal to anyone else that Bieber got 4 Grammy nominations for an unpopular album, full of derivative lyrics, and Selena was snubbed?  Like, she calls him out in this album, this solid, good album.  But he gets the noms and she doesn’t?  It doesn’t make sense to me.  Unless politics and or money were involved…

#5

The [Dixie] Chicks (5 awesome; 5 good; 1 OK; 1 meh; dislike of 12

41.7% Awesome; 

41.7% Good; 

Awesome good avg = 41.7%;

91.7% OK & up)

Grammy nominations proved that The Chicks still aren’t off the blacklist. Which is ridiculous considering the political polarization, and mainstreaming of talking $hit about the top politicians. And the Shit-Show that is Trump. The music industry should be groveling at their feet. And fans should be telling them they suffered from being ahead of their time. But here we are, back in hypocrisy-land.

#4

Dua Lipa 5 awesome; 3 good; 1 OK; 2 meh of 11 =

45.5% awesome; 

17.3% good

Awesome good avg = 31.4%

81.1% OK & up)

The album reminds me a little of the ‘Bring It On’ Soundtrack.  Nothing ground-breaking here, but a fun listen all the same.  There are glimmers of potential on this album.  And when Dua Lipa embraces her own voice, that’s where things go right.  This artist reminds me of a hybrid between Katy Perry’s California-girl lite pop and 1980’s vanilla, Debbie Gibson. And too often she veers into the easy, superficial sound rather that challenging the status quo of pop. 

#3

Aloe Blacc (8 awesome; 1 good; 1 ok; meh; dislike of 10 = 

80% awesome; 

10% good; 

Awesome good avg = 45% 

100% Ok and up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/aloe-blacc-all-love-everything-album-review/

Overall, a very strong album.. Each song builds on the last, and it fits a cohesive theme.  I’ve heard Blacc use his voice more and would have liked to see more low and super-high notes, but it still left me with a lot of feeling.

#2

Fiona Apple (all good–heavy intellectual = 100%)

(8 awesome; 4 good; 1 ok; meh; dislike of 13 = 

61.5% awesome; 

30.8% good 

Awesome good avg = 46.15%

100% OK and up

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/24/fiona-apple-fetch-the-bolt-cutters-album-review/

I initially was happy to see Fiona Apple releasing music again, because it’s been a long drought, and she’s historically an artist I like.  And on first listen to the album, I could see there was a lot going on and it should be good.  Do I like to listen to it the most?  No. Do I think Apple had the most technically sound and spectacular album of 2020?  Yes.  I think she deserves album of the year Grammy.  But Apple doesn’t just hand it to you.  You have to work to understand and appreciate Fetch the Bolt Cutters.  And it’s also intentionally not that sweet and pretty and pleasing to the ear.  Apple has made known she can sing beautifully, and play piano with virtuosity, but here she chooses not to.  So it’s a little work to listen.  But also a cerebral masterpiece.  Smartest work of 2020–and that’s saying a lot with folklore on the scene.

TOP ALBUM OF 2020:

Kesha (14 awesome, 2 OK of 16 = 

87.5% awesome; 

Awesome + ok avg = 

93.75% good

100% OK and up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/23/kesha-high-road-album-review/

The Good: 2020 Albums Countdown (30-14)

11 Dec

#28

Eminem (2 amazing 9 good 2 alfred talking(3 tot); and hated 4 of 17  =

11.8% awesome; 

52.9% good songs; 

Awesome good avg = 32.35%

23.5% hated = 

Awesome – hated = neg%

Good – hated = 29.4% good

Awesome good avg – hated = 8.85%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/eminem-music-to-be-murdered-by-album-review/

I had to deliberate long and hard to decide where to place the album on the list.  It contains probably the best rap song of all time (yup, I said it) and also a really powerful song, that’s ne of the best of anybody this year.  Unfortunately, it also contains that Eminem-brand misogyny, violence, and toxic masculinity, as well as a denial of white privilege.  I used to overlook those things a lot because I was younger, and I could think of the guy’s real life upbringing and struggles and somewhat justify all that toxicity.  Rap is a historical record of racial politics and socio-economic struggle.  But also, it’s 2020, and these issues are at the forefront, and Marshall Mathers has had plenty of time to get counseling, perspective, and education.  So I could not bring myself to rate it in the Awesome grouping for those reasons.

#27

Alanis Moressette (3 awesome; 3 good; OK; 1 meh; 2 dislike OF 11 = 

27.3% awesome; 

27.3% good; 

9.1% meh; 

18.2% dislike

Awesome – dislike =

9.1% awesome

Good-dislike =

9.1% good

Awesome good avg – dislike = 

18.2%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/11/alanis-morissette-such-pretty-forks-in-the-road-album-review/

I feel like half of this album is my favorite.  It’s a more mature version of Morissette, though she’s still got that edge I’ve always loved.  She is honest and emotional, independant, yet in this album, there’s more vulnerability then I remember on prior works.

But then half of the songs fall into the “trite” category.  Maybe a little too saccharine for my liking.

#26

T.I. (3 awesome; 9 good; 3 ok; 2 meh; 2 dislike of  20 = 

15% awesome; 

45% good; 

Awesome good avg = 30%

15% meh; 

10% dislike

Awesome – dislike = 5% awesome

Good – dislike = 35% good

Awesome good avg – dislike =

30%)

Taylor Swift

Evermore (1 awesome; 10 good; 3 ok; meh; 1 dislike of 15 (so far)

6.7% awesome; 

66.7% good

Awesome good avg = 36.7%

93.3% OK & up

6.7% dislike

Awesome – dislike = 0

Good – dislike = 60%

Awesome good avg – dislike 30%)

DON’T FREAK OUT THESE ARE FIRST IMPRESSIONS & SOME ALBUMS TAKE MANY LISTENS TO APPRECIATE

#25

Kelsie Ballerini (11 of 13 good; 1 strongly dislike message = 

84.6% good 

– 7.7% dislike = 

76.9% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/kelsea-ballerini-kelsea-album-review/

I have this little theory that Taylor Swift went around and did some (uncredited) featured work on all her friends’ albums.  Like just for fun and because she can.  I talked about it on the Selena album and on Katy Perry, and I thought I heard some contenders in this album too.  I heard her on those other 2 albums, then made my theory, then listened  for it on this album.  Song candidates:

1) The Other Girl- the parts where it says, “They know about me” and also “red dress” line.

2)  and/or Love and Hate

3)  and/or Hole in the Bottle (the layered voice could easily be TS, and that last laugh?  If that’s not Taylor, then it sounds identical.  

#24

Smashing Pumpkins (awesome; 3 good; 1 ok; 6 meh; dislike of 10= 

30% good; 

40% Ok & up)

I mean, they haven’t given me all that much to say about the album.  It’s Ok, nothing really stands out except for the progressive track title spellings.  Not bad, could be more noteworthy next time around.

#23

Nada surf ( AWESOME 6 GOOD 1 OK MEH of 9 = 

66.7% good; 

77.8% ok and up )

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/nada-surf-never-not-together-album-review/

Not the “Popular” sound at all!  Far from it.  It’s actually more of a Death Cab for Cutie sound.  I was surprised this one ranked above my honorable mentions list.  It’s mellow, but not boring, and they gave me just a taste of their 1990s sound, but mostly had a new vibe.

#22

John Legend ( 4 good 3 ok of 16 =

25% good; 

44.8% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/john-leg

end-bigger-love-album-review/

There were many songs on this album that I didn’t like something about.  But each of those disliked songs had at least one redeeming factor, or this entire album would have been ranked lower.

#21

Katy Perry (5 good 7 OK of 12 = 

41.7% good

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/katy-perry-smile-review/

#20

Bon Jovi (2 awesome; 6 ok; 4 meh of 13 = 

15.4% awesome; 

46% ok; 

Aweseome + good avg=

30.7% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/bon-jovi-2020-album-review/

Bon Jovi wins easiest, most genuine segway into current events.  He does a seamless job of staying true to his own sound, and having an album that discusses all of today’s issues.  He hits on:  Political ugliness, the division in the country, war, racial justice, covid, and I applaud him for taking it on, and doing it well.  Every artist has a responsibility to do that right now.

#19

Rufus Wainwright (2 awesome; 3 good; 3 ok; 4 meh; dislike of  12= 

16.7% awesome;

25% good; 

Awesome good avg = 20.87%

66.7% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/rufus-wainwright-unfollow-the-rules-album-review/

#18

The Strokes (1 AWESOME 5 GOOD 3 ok of 9 = 

11% awesome; 

55.6% good; 

Awesome good avg = 33%

100% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/02/the-strokes-the-new-abnormal-album-review/

This is one of those albums that just might be too cool for anyone listening to it.  I’m glad to hear some more true alternative genre, but some of the experimental sounds are just too much.

#17

Haim (4 awesome; 5 good; 7 ok;  meh; dislike of 16 = 

25% awesome;

31.3% good; 

Awesome good avg = 28.15%;

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/haim-women-in-music-part-iii-album-review/

I tried to listen to Haim before, because I heard a lot about them.  But I just didn’t really connect.  But some of their stuff was good on this album, and it made me want to listen to more of their catalogue again.

#16

Chris Stapleton (3 awesome; 6 good; 1 ok; meh; dislike of 14 = 

21.4% awesome; 

42.9% good; 

Awesome good avg = 32.15%

71.4% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/chris-stapleton-starting-over-album-review/

#15

Miley Cyrus (3 awesome; 8 good; 4 ok; meh; dislike of  15 = 

20% awesome; 

53.3% good;

Awesome good avg = 36.65%

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/miley-cyrus-plastic-hearts-album-review/

This album is awesome–but not really because of Miley herself.  She pairs with standouts and covers some favorites.  But whenever it’s Miley, by herself on her own track–it doesn’t really hold up.

#14

Lauren Alaina 

Getting Over Him

(2 awesome; 4 good  of  6 = 

33.3% awesome; 

66.7% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/lauren-alaina-road-less-traveled-album-review/

Overall, I was disappointed.  If your EP is made of a few really great songs, put it out.  But if the songs are not perfect, either edit til they are better, or add some stunners and make a full album.  Also, the two things I liked best about her past album, was Alaina’s positivity and good messaging, and her vocal strength.  This EP showcased neither.

Yet, here it is at the top of the ‘Good’ list, because it’s out of 6 songs.  So maybe it’s the smartest way after all…

I didn’t realize Alaina had put out two EPs until (embarrassingly late) the day before I was ready to publish the finalized list.  Why not just make them 1 album?  So to all the people I said edit and put out an EP if you need to–never mind on that.  Spotify made it a complete pain in the ass!  It was hard to see them.  Hey Spotify developers, if you’re reading this–puh-leeze make all kinds of music chronological.

Bon Jovi: 2020 Album Review

10 Dec

Bon Jovi wins easiest, most genuine segway into current events.  He does a seamless job of staying true to his own sound, and having an album that discusses all of today’s issues.  He hits on:  Political ugliness, the division in the country, war, racial justice, covid, and I applaud him for taking it on, and doing it well.  Every artist has a responsibility to do that right now.

Limitless:  It’s an upbeat and exciting opener.  Well, it took a long time, but Bon Jovi’s voice is shot.  The shimmer & jitter have impacted the vocal quality throughout.

Do What You Can:  Speaks to the anxiety of our nation right now.  It’s a reminder to stay vigilant and social distance, but that doesn’t preclude helping a neighbor or stranger.  America needs to hear it.  It’s nice to have a covid song that stays within the band’s typical sound, where the writing is not forced.  

American Reckoning:  “Our conscience has been looted, and our soul is under siege.”  Bon Jovi discusses our racial tensions and how history repeats.

Beautiful Drug:  Extending syllables “lo-ah ah ah ah uv” does a lot to make a song catchy.  It goes all the way back to our first infant babbling of phonemes like ba ba, na na, etc.  It’s used effectively in this tune, and was the first song on the album that really caught my attention.  And though I think the sentiment is naive (for where we are as a country) I can appreciate the optimism.

Story of Love;  I totally tuned out of this one.  The song tells of relationships between parents and children, which is nice.  It’s a little too melodramatic, though.  The instrumentals in the last third of the song redeem it.  I was about to take it off the list, but it goes out pretty nicely.

Let it Rain:  Good beat to start.  I can tell it’ll be exciting.  The sample is cool, and just a bit overused.

Lower the Flag:  A somber tone.  This is really meaningful, and genuine.  I like the idea of limiting the jingoism a bit.  We can be more moderate is what Bon Jovi suggests.  The fast part is catchy and I like it.  I’m not sure about the call outs, but it doesn’t ruin the song.

Blood in the Water:  I don’t know…  I can see he’s going for a relevant song , but it’s too much with devils and sharks.

Brothers in Arms:  I think this song represents Bon Jovi’s catalogue best.  It’s rock and a little gritty.  And it’s a message we’re all related and need to stick together.  And hello, is this miraca that I’m hearing–it’s pretty much the best.

Unbroken:  This song is Ok.  I like how the cadence is like a hymn and the subject is military.  But I just–maybe it’s too much religious imagery for me?  I’m not sure what exactly, i don’t care for that makes it a meh for me.  

Do What You Can (duet):  It’s a livelier, country version of the first song, and it sounds good as a duet.

Shine:  A nice ballad.  Excellent harmonies, and good guitar works. I like when artists use volume to convey importance and emotion.

Luv Can:  The sentiment of love speaking when words don’t work is a nice one.  He uses some phrases that I think he used in other songs before, so I’d like new material.  The breakdown is also kind of 1980s.  The “love is like a rolling thunder refrain” is nice, and perhaps the best portion of the song.

Haim: Women in Music Part III Album Review

9 Dec

I tried to listen to Haim before, because I heard a lot about them.  But I just didn’t really connect.  But some of their stuff was good on this album, and it made me want to listen to more of their catalogue again.

Las Angeles:  References to California Dreamin’, a pretty solid instrumental breakdown, and lamenting about the superficiality of LA.

The Steps:  “You don’t understand me” is such a a memorable refrain.  These gals know how to put together songs that will get stuck in your head!

I Know Alone:  The way this song could be a commercial jungle reminds me of Savage Garden’s “I Want You” and that’s an awesome thing.  If you’re writing is so catchy it’s mistaken for a jingle–that’s good.  And the production has a lot of little tid-bits to spice up the track.

Don’t Wanna:  This could very well be–Fleetwood Mac.  Not the Stevie Nicks-centered songs, but that other gal.

Another Try:  I like the chorus, as it is layered and pleasant to listen to.  My favorite thing about this song is the horn that peeks through. 

Leaning on You:  Beautiful harmony.  I know I keep saying on every song, they remind me of someone else.  But this one is reminiscent of an Indigo Girls song with the harmony and the guitar strums.  It’s rich and layered, yet stripped down.

I’ve Been Down:  It’s almost talk-singing, and that reminds me of Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do…is Have Some Fun” which is always good. 

Man from the Magazine:  “I don’t wanna hear,  ‘it is how it is’. . .  ‘it is what it is’” is an example of what Taylor has been talking about.  Just because you signed some $hitty contract as a nobody, doesn’t make it right for artists to never own their own creative output for life.  The industry needs modified.

All that Ever Mattered:  Inside the album, this song is catchy, with some of the best instrumentation of all.  But on a playlist, that screaming noise is jarring.  

FUBT:  This track has a hollow (acoustic?) sound to it that reminds me of being in a restaurant that has a featured band.  Aren’t those the BEST restaurants?!  But it’s not the best acoustics.  It’s better when more instruments filter in on the breakdown.

Hallelujah:  Sung angelically, I imagine this song brings chills to the skin and tears to the eyes when taken in live.  It’s original but still meaningful.

Summer Girl:  It’s a remixed version of the first song with a bit more jazzy vibe.  The repeated phonemes are super-catchy just as PopVerse told me they should be.  I like this version better, but both hold up.  And they’re different enough to each warrant their place as album bookends.

How I Formed My 2020 Album Countdown

8 Dec

I try to do a yearly top albums of the year countdown. And usually I uses the Wiki albums (for that year) page to see what’s dropping. I make sue to listen to my historical favorite artists, and if I still have time I’ll check out albums of genres I’m a fan of, then big names. And I usually just go by my own opinions–nothing academic, nothing fancy. I simply rate the albums as I like them.

This year I decided to try a more quantitative approach. Which is why my descriptions of songs and albums, might not match up all that well with the album’s placement on my list. I judged songs on a scale of awesome, good, OK, meh, and dislike this year. OK means neutral. No complaints, but no excitement either. meh, ment to me that it was boring, or I tuned it out, or the song didn’t make an impact on me. Awesome songs instantly made me enthusiastic. It is a rank based on my own reactions, and what gets me going. So obviously–awesome isn’t objective. It’s geared toward what I like. Good were the songs that were above neutral, but that didn’t make me excited. They were solid songs, but didn’t have that it factor. And dislikes were things that offended me, things I thought were thrown together without a bunch of thought, things that made me angry. It takes a LOT for me not to like a song!

Then to formulate the list from worst to best, I mathematically quantified the number of each type of song against the number of songs on the album. And this definitely favored artists with less tracks. But a theme this year, was edit. Which, when I was first getting into music was entirely different. Back when you had to pay $12, then $17, and sometimes $22 for an album–it sucked when that album was short. What a waste of money. Those albums with 8 songs or something were an awful value. But also it sucked to buy a whole ass album, just for 1 song. And the rest of the songs sucked. I’m talking to you Billy Joel, River of Dreams. Don’t just put songs on an album to fill it out. Now that streaming is primary, nobody needs or wants filler material. I suggested that artists only put out there BEST work. Also, I really weighted disliked songs heavily. Just because I like most things. It really has to be awful for me to dislike it.

What came out was a list of albums that surprised me. It would have been different if the rankings weren’t based on percentage. But I can tell you the albums represent how much I like and dislike the tracks. So I might not do it this same way next year, but it’s totally accurate to the songs I like and dislike for this year.

2020 Album Countdown: The A-OK (24-18)

7 Dec

I’m trying something different with my countdowns this year. Instead of writing a whole big thing (that nobody will read) I did individual album reviews and put the link under the artist. If you wanna check out my specific thoughts, click the link-if not, move through the count!

This is NOT the final list. This is the middle of the countdown list.

24.

Jason Mraz (1 awesome; 2 good; 5 ok;  meh; 4 dislike of 12 = 

8.3% awesome; 

16.7% good; 

66.7% OK & up

 -33.3% dislike = 

33.4% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/jason-mraz-look-for-the-good-album-review/

This is a very light, and optimistic album.  And I have an ethical dilemma about supporting a “look for the good in everyone” or “make love not war” narrative, when it’s a matter of ethics violations, suppression, human rights, and life and death, as is going on right now.  It’s the right message for a different time.  Sorry (not sorry), but this hippy-dippy $hit ain’t gonna cut it right now, and it’s a pretty privileged position to be coming from when people are literally dying in the street.  At this time, I say, Jason, read the room.

Also, not to get too down on the artist of my first concert experience, but I really dislike the genre of reggae.  So each song was judged on my opinion, rather than on it’s own merits as I usually would.  Because there’s no way I’m putting even a good reggae song on my playlist!

Thirdly, listening to reggae I do not like made me wonder if there’s some sort of listener effect (scientifically speaking) where your opinion remains consistent.  For example, because I didn’t like 2 reggae songs in a row, am I more likely to hate that third song too?  Even if it’s not reggae? And this is only broken with an extreme like of that third song?  I was wondering because of the true reggae songs, I think there were 3-4, yet I really didn’t like any of the songs that followed….

23.

Jojo  (2 awesome; 3 good; 5 ok; 1 meh; 4 dislike of  16 = 

12.5% awesome; 

18.8% good;

Awesome good avg = 15.65%

62.5% OK & up

25% dislike

Awesome – dislike = neg

Good – dislike = neg

Awesome good avg – dislike = neg

Ok – dislike = 37.5%)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/19/jojo-good-to-know-album-review/

22.

Lady Gaga (5 good, 5 meh, 1 hate of 16 = 

31.2% good; 

31.2% meh; 

Avg of good & meh = 

31.2% OK

-6.3% for hated song = 

24.9% good; 

24.9% OK

Chromatica (interludes):  they’re nice.  I like them and was left wanting more each time.  I gather they are a type of separation for the musical chapters.  I say that because I was wondering why the album doesn’t sound futuristic until a third of it is finished.  And I realized there was a break-up to end the first third, then a 2nd chomatica interlude, and a definite change in feel/sound.  If that’s the case, I say throw out the entire first chapter.  Every song was weak and generic.

I was listening to the Lady Gaga album, and a song came on that immediately made me amped up and excited.  I thought–finally!  It took til track 16, but here is a show-stopper.  It was the next song in her catalogue, Bradley Cooper singing “Black Eyes” off A Star Is Born Soundtrack.  But that little story tells you how I felt about Chromatica.  There was some strong ‘remix for the gay club scene’ vibes from this album.  It’s dancy.  I did like, what I gather, is supposed to be 3 chapters of a story.  It’s a neat concept, and I’d like to see it done better in the future.  On this album, you could unfortunately toss chapter 1 and 3 in the trash.  Each of the songs on the first and last thirds of the album were weak to bad.

21.

The Flaming Lips (4 ok of 11 = 36.4%)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/06/the-flaming-lips-american-head-album-review/

Alice fell asleep in Wonderland.  That’s how I would describe the album.  It’s experimental, but down-tempo, low-key.  Background music, with distortion.  

These last 3 songs, finally woke me up.  I nearly didn’t finish listening to the whole album, because I thought I could tell where it was headed.  I’m glad I didn’t abandon it before it got better.  I wish Flaming Lips had released an EP with the latter-part of the album.  

20.

Alicia Keys (7 ok of 16 = 43.8% ok)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/07/alicia-keys-alicia-album-review/

I guess the album is good, though it’s not my cup of tea, apparently.  I wanted higher energy, less slow, less chill.  But even for those who like this easy-going music, I think the album could have benefitted from some editing.  Don’t keep every song just to have a more substantial album.  Cut weak songs–even if it turns into an EP.  Or single.  

19.

Joan Osborn (7 ok of 10 = 70% ok)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/08/joan-osborne-trouble-and-strife-album-review/

18. The Top A-OK album of 2020 is:

The Lone Bellow (6 good; 6 meh of 12 = 

50% good; 

100% meh and up; 

avg = 70% Ok )

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/27/the-lone-bellow-half-moon-light-album-review/

Next list is The Good.

Check it out!

Honorable Mentions: Artists to Watch

4 Dec

Mandy Moore

I forgot at first what album I was checking out.  Because Moore sounds adult.  There is zero bubble-gum teeny bopper pop here anymore.  Still catchy though, with a definite maturity.  Good piano work also.  I think it reminds me of Amy Grant?  Is that who I’m thinking of?  Very adult contemporary, easy listening.  And that’s not criticism–just accurate.

Fifteen:  It’s interesting to hear the perspective of a grown-up former teen pop star. Her descriptive language really sets the scene and takes the listener back to that time.  Also, Moore talks about the milestones she had to miss for her singing career, which people forget about.  Fame is cool and neat, especially for a teen, but it also sucks and steals your childhood.  “Still a part of me” drives the point of the song home.

Forgiveness:  One of the strongest songs on her album.  Lyrically driven but catchy.  “Will I forgive you?  You don’t get to know.” Also, a little more melancholy and assertive than we’re used to seeing Moore.

Vanessa Carlton

All of it is very stripped down, like a new artist singing alone in a school gym. Yes, complete with the echo of the gym.  I was disappointed all the strings of the last album were absent, and when there’s any instrumentation, it’s soft piano.  Turns into background music readily.  It would be good study music, because it’s not distracting or overpowering in any way.  It’s also not super memorable either, except for:  Back to Life, The Only Way to Love, Salesman, and Miner’s Canary.

Mt. Joy 

Very mellow.  After “Come With Me” the album improves.  The latter half of the album starts to give me something to listen to.  The choruses become more catchy, the instrumentation a little harder and intricate, and some beat.  More emotion and excitement are in the latter half.  I’m going to name this year’s album collection (all of them) something about editing your work.

CeLo Green

Lead Me:  I like how it sounds like Sunday morning.  And I think that it’s hopeful.

I Wonder How Love Feels:  I like the waltz for Green.  It’s his brand, but new and interesting too.

Down with the Sun:  The falsetto salvaged this tune.  It’s a little vanilla save for that.

The Way:  This song kind of reminds me of an old Western, with the sort of bell tolling sounds.  And deep, voice telling a story.  It’s an unexpected for Green to wander, which makes it all the more exciting to the listener.

What I like is the extra funk flavor  put in many of the songs.  It’s almost a disco feel.  And the falsetto singing.  And the excitement some of the tracks generate.  What i do not like is:  Too many superficial topics, such as People Watching.  Also, I have a difficult time buying heterosexual songs from flamboyant (probably internally homophobic) Green.  I suspect he’s what I call a ‘dick in a wall’ playing straight, but then going to a truckstop/porn-store bathroom and well you know the rest.

So that’s not the way I wanted to end the post, so instead I’ll talk up giving a variety of music a listen.