Tag Archives: Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz: Look for the Good Album Review

9 Dec

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 raggae? 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….

My Kind:  It has a ska thing going on that I like.  

You Do You:  This one delves past untimely messaging into cheesy territory.  Though I will say Tiffany Haddish’s part is the best thing about the entire song.

Hearing Double:  This might be a cute little song of the repeat was used more sparingly.  As is, it’s fucking annoying to hear EVERY word twice.

Gratitude:  I had this rated a “meh” but honestly, the chorus singing “meow meow meow” made me increase the rating.  I like the idea of being thankful also.

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!

I think “Brave” is about Taylor Swift

3 Nov

The song was written by Bareilles and Jack Antonoff from the band fun., as the singer was inspired from the struggles that a close friend dealt with in regard to coming out as gay.  in 2011.[4] Antonoff described the song “as a real civil rights anthem at a time when there are no civil rights anthems and there’s a giant need for civil rights anthems.” [1]

Brave Lyrics:

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

According to Bareilles, she wrote “Brave” to a friend who was struggling with coming out as an adult.  She said it was such an intimate story. Also, Bareilles says the song has a connection to Taylor Swift’s frequent producer, Jack Antonoff!  She added in the interview that he is known for all the incredible advocacy work he does in the gay community. [1]

I feel like this group of singers were all in the studio around the same time, touring, and being in festivals together.  I think Colbie Caillat and Sara Barellies have worked together and been in the business simultaneously so they probably know one another.  Jack Antonoff is in the mix, (bisexual) Jason Mraz was around at that time.  Maybe there was a posse’ of LGBT artists in this point in time.  And Taylor Swift was around…  Is there a connection between these artists, and maybe inspiration for songs?  I wanna say at least casually there must have been familiarity if not a group.

Preceding this, Taylor wrote a song believed to be about Emily Poe’s sudden departure from the middle of her tour.

Breathe” is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, featuring American singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat. It was written by Swift and Caillat, produced by Nathan Chapman and Swift, it is the seventh track from Swift’s second studio album, Fearless (2008) [4]

Colbie: “It can relate to anyone, anything.”

Taylor: “It does, it’s never specific as to why, that’s my favorite thing about it, it doesn’t talk about why or who’s fault it was because sometimes the hardest time of when you say goodbye it’s nobodies fault. It just has to stop.”

According to Swift, “Breathe” is about having to depart from a someone, however, not blaming anyone.[1] Swift believed the scenario was one of the most difficult goodbyes, “when it’s nobody’s fault. It just has to end.”[2] Swift explained, “It was total therapy because I came in and I was like look, ‘One of my best friends, I’m gonna have to not see anymore and it’s not gonna be part of what I do. It’s the hardest thing to go through. It’s crazy listening to the song because you would think it’s about a relationship and it’s really about losing a friend and having a fallout.”[2] [4]

In 2008, Emily and Taylor performed together for the last time before Tay released her second studio album, Fearless. Emily says she was booted from Swift’s tour without an explanation, but there were rumors it was because Swift’s managers were afraid of their relationship ruining the singer’s fast-growing reputation [3]

Breathe Lyrics:

I see your face in my mind as I drive away,
‘Cause none of us thought it was gonna end that way
People are people,
And sometimes we change our minds
But it’s killing me to see you go after all this time
Music starts playin’ like the end of a sad movie,
It’s the kinda ending you don’t really wanna see
‘Cause it’s tragedy and it’ll only bring you down,
Now I don’t know what to be without you around
And we know it’s never simple,
Never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand,
And I can’t,
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to,
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to
Never wanted this, never wanna see you hurt
Every little bump in the road I tried to swerve
People are people,
And sometimes it doesn’t work out,
Nothing we say is gonna save us from the fall out
And we know it’s never simple,
Never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand,
And I can’t,
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to,
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to
It’s two am
Feelin’ like I just lost a friend
Hope you know it’s not easy,
Easy for me
It’s two am
Feelin’ like I just lost a friend
Hope you know this ain’t easy,
Easy for me
And we know it’s never simple,
Never easy
Never a clean break, no one here to save me
I can’t,
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to,
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to
Breathe,
Without you,
But I have to
Sorry (oh) sorry
Sorry sorry
Sorry sorry
Years later this happened:

…Speaking of “sisterhood,” you’ve been one of Taylor Swift’s many surprise guests on tour when you two duetted on “Brave” in 2013. [1]

Before she invited Bareilles to the stage taylor said:

“There’s a song that came out a few months ago, and I listened to it every time I had a bad self esteem day — which is a lot,” she continued. “This song is so beautifully written, it’s so original. It’s something I’ve listened to hundreds and thousands of times...” [2]

In the interview, it’s telling how Sara answers the following question:

Regarding “Brave,” you once said in a webisode, “It’s important to be brave because by doing that you also give others permission to do the same.” How do you react, then, to people in the limelight who are hesitant to come out but could potentially inspire so many people if they did?
(Sigh) That’s a really hard thing to speak to. Honestly, I understand both sides of it. Everyone is on their path, and I really believe that, at the end of the day, people are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. Not everyone is comfortable enough to step into a leadership position and you can’t really judge them for that.
I would love to see everyone step into this holy space of carrying the torch of bravery – it’s just not everyone’s role. If you make someone feel bad because they’re not (out), isn’t that similar to punishing them because they’re quote-end quote “different” in the first place? All of that is a form of judgment. I would rather hope that everyone’s doing the best they can and that eventually people feel safe to be exactly who they are. It’s just so hard. You can’t know what’s going on behind the scenes – why someone is as complicated as they are – and I just wouldn’t want to judge someone’s experience. [1]

 

[1] https://pridesource.com/article/73598-2/

[3] https://babe.net/2018/02/15/taylor-swift-is-gay-and-i-have-evidence-for-days-34274

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breathe_(Taylor_Swift_song)

Best of 2012: NEW ALBUMS

6 Jan

Best Music Produced in 2012:

Finally.  I intended on publishing this on New Years Eve when it’s a little more relevant.  These important decisions take time, and listening.  Several listenings to really pars apart the minute details between albums.  It’s a more subjective measure, then just copying LastFM statistics.  You can’t use the stats, because albums produced later in the year are at a disadvantage.  So this is based on my careful listening and whittling of songs–as well as my own unsubstantiated opinions and feelings.  Oh, and let’s get this out of the way right off the bat–I in no way italicized or put into quotations album or song titles.  This took a look time to write (as you can see by the post date of Jan 6), and I just didn’t devote any more time then necessary to grammar.  Just appreciate the music, and forget proper English, OK?  So finally, finally the long awaited, BEST OF 2012 ALBUMS blog (from good to *glorious–for you, mom).  Enjoy–I know I enjoyed listening and writing it.

Thriller

Honorable Mentions:

30.  The Fray–which I found a little too churchy to stand up.

29.  Jack Johnson’s live HI benefit album, which featured many other artists, but was too libertine.

28.  Rhythms Del Mundo with their African remixes of popular songs.

the Fray

27.  Carrie Underwood-Blown Away

Meh–I can’t say I was.  I found it too poppy for the most part.  I want a little more range and a little more country twang from Carrie.  What I got was a very commercial effort and three songs I could settle on liking.  Maybe next album, Carrie will write more of her own material, get back to her roots, or at least construct the CD without sales figures and commercial appeal in mind.

Carrie Underwood

26.  Matt & Kim-Sidewalks

I suppose I like the IDEA of the album much more then I actually liked Sidewalks.  Indie music seems so cool, so hipster.  But each song was too similar to the next for me to really appreciate the whole album.  After a quick couple of listens I was tired of hearing the same song in slightly different variation.  I found only two songs which I liked for longer then a day.

25.  Ke$ha-Warrior

Mmmm, this one was good for working out, and I’m sure dancing.  I fount it to be a slightly immature record though.  Maybe I dislike a very genre-specific record.  It certainly makes sense that I redered a very country-pop, indie, and dance-pop albums to the bottom of my 2012 list.  On this one my attention was only captured momentarily, the songs were too poppy to hold up even over a week.  I think Ke$ha has potential as an artist if she can write a little deeper lyrics, while keeping the dancy beats.

24.  Jason Mraz-Love is a Four Letter Word

At first I was very enamored with Love is a Four Letter Word.  I couldn’t get enough of the catchy tunes, and Jason’s commentaries about the songs.  It just didn’t hold up over time though.  The more I listened, the more I got annoyed with certain songs, or intros to the songs.  So unfortunately  what started out as a very, very good thing, ended up on the chopping block so to speak.  By the end of the year I was left with just 5 songs I felt were outstanding and liked to play repeatedly.

where's Peter

23.  White Rabbits-Milk Famous

Apparently, in my best-of 2012, I require several things:  Originality, while being true to the expected sound.  Check.  Coolness factor.  They have it.  Many good songs, that mean something to me and that I can listen to anywhere and on repeat.  Sure.  Several Genres.  This is where the White Rabbits fell flat.  They are indy and hipster and original, and yet each song on Milk Famous was much the same.  Just OK.

cherry

22.  Pink-The Truth About Love

I like Pink.  Always have.  I don’t care how immature or how volatile a person she is.  And this album was no exception, I found songs I could sing to, feel emotionally, and dance with.  And I loved how she featured other artists for the first time.  Good things–I like six songs.  But a good, chart-topping, year wowing album requires more then one awesome single and a few notable duets.  There is just no way to put The Truth About Love at the top of any list.  When you listen, you know it’s the junk food of female pop artists. Pink may have a little more staying power then most, and she may have slightly more to say lyrically, but there is just something about this album that isn’t adult.  Despite serious subject matter, Pink is unable to delve deep into her (or my) psyche to warrant serious success.  I want more songs like “Sober” and “Who Knew” that really stop me in my tracks while still being singable.

21.  Alicia Keys-Girl On Fire

Alicia does a good job straddling the line between R&B, piano, pop, soul, and jazz music.  For that, I have to rank Girl on Fire toward the top-more albums of 2012.  In addition, good CD title too.  That said, I only liked six of the offerings.  Usually, with Alicia’s music, I can’t really LOVE each song, but grow attached to at least one.  Not so with Girl on Fire.  No song really grew on me as they had with past albums.  So she gets mediocre rank.

LF polar bear

20.  Minus the Bear-Infinity Overhead

I just expected more.  There was nothing wrong with Infinity Overhead (except that terrible, gritty video for “Steel & Blood”) but I had hoped for more.  The songs were good.  Easy listeners, that were repeatable.  Indy and cool and true to their roots.  I guess I looked forward to the album release so much that these seven songs I ended up liking most did not measure up.  Good music, but a let-down all the same.

IMG_20120901_173242

19.  Dave Matthews Band-Away From the World

I really hate to say it–I do.  Especially as a relatively new fan, whose favorite moment of 2012 was The Gorge Concert on Labor Dave Weekend.  Away From the World wasn’t the best CD DMB has ever put out.  Sure, “Mercy” grows on you and the video concepts are amazing.  There are just no stand out songs, and certainly not of sufficent length, jams, or live footage.  Now, I’m hungering for a new album already, because 2012’s just didn’t do the band justice.  I wish I could rank this one higher. . .

18.  Alanis Morressette-Havoc and Bright Lights

I’m not afraid to say it–I loved Jagged Little Pieces.  Not a popular opinion anymore.  It was one of my staple CDs for years–still is in the case of a break up.  After Jagged though, Alanis sort of lost her edge for me.  I didn’t really love her efforts until this year.  And this album features a lot of songs I don’t hate.  Though I can’t really say I felt much toward them.  I would classify Havoc and Bright Lights as unobtrusive.  The best album Alanis has put out in years, but not a knock out, stand out by any means.  It’s good background or study music.

my x-mas 14

17.  Bon Iver-Stems Project

This album was produced very early in 2012.  And it’s sits toward the middle of my favorites list despite eventual categorization as just unobtrusive, because it has a couple things.  Different variations of the same song?  Surprisingly a good idea.  It has a very original vibe?  Yup.  Indie? sure.  Hipster? definitively.  And yet, it’s not presumptuous.  Stems Project may not have any stand-alone, stand out songs, but in it’s achievement as indy-hip minus the attitude, I commend it.

Fiona Apple-Criminal

16.  Fiona Apple-crazily long obnoxious title, I’m not going to try to write out.

Jarring.  That’s the most effective description I can think of for *insert longest most unwieldy album title of all time here*  This is over a couple of other artist offerings, because even though I could hardly listen to some of the songs, Fiona was saying something.  Sometimes in a good way, oftentimes exceeding my listening saturation point.  I do like that Fiona did her own thing.  She made her own rules, and really went for it–not keeping an eye on record label profits.  Respectful effort for sure, and I can see potential again, because we all know Fiona can be a little unstable and unpredictable as a person–though she channeled that nicely for the album.  I do suggest less shouting and a shorter title for the next project.  Oh, and by the way, I don’t know if anyone can beat Fiona’s singing chops with her garble-waver and range of pitch.

15.  Amy Ray-Lung of Love

I always have love for any half of the Indigo Girls.  And I feel like Lung of Love has a more country feel to it.  Which is an awesome addition to the rock, folk, and punk infused grooves she already has going.  Extra bonus points for incorporating Brandi Carlile’s voice.  I also like the other featured artists on this album.  Except, I don’t know what it is, but Amy Ray has this way of getting a momentum where every song has the same vibe.  Even with all those different genres and contributing artists.  I start to wonder where one songs ends and the other begins.  And it isn’t in a cohesive–this CD has a theme way.  It’s like she finds an original sound, then sticks to that same sound too much, so that by the end of the CD it’s not novel at all.  I say an album that goes together is fine–but too much of a good sound just becomes boring.

Indigo Girls

14.  A Fine Frenzy-PINES

I love the enchanting whimsy of A Fine Frenzy in general.  And this album, certainly gels together in a nice theme.  Problem the best presented cohesive package of the year.  The only trouble with PINES is the length of some of the songs.  A couple of my favorites are 6-7 minutes long.  A few are just extraneous in length.  Anyway, a nice dramatic effort, that will last in time for sure.

CO wildflower

13.  Green Day-Uno, Dose, Tres

Though there were technically three albums, I judge as one musical effort this year.  Of course, conceptually, the guys deserve kudos for thinking outside the box and producing three separate  yet combinable CDs each several months apart.  I think it’s a great marketing ploy, it’s different, and it’s creative.  Together-it’s a lot too many songs, that tend to blend toward one sound.  Many songs lack their own characteristics, instead being obvious “fillers.”  Yet, I’m not sure I would have liked the 12 songs I ended up liking well, AS much if they would have been on just one disc, as one offering.  So I rank Green Day as top of the middle in my 2012 list, if nothing else for their creativity in bucking a rigid label-system to produce three mini-albums at three intervals.

12.  Keane-Strangeland

There was a different vibe on 2012’s CD then Keane had in the past.  Still good, just another variety   The one thing I disliked was really based on a feeling, then tangible qualities.  I felt like Keane had a certain umm, what’s the right word?  Not arrogance–that’s too much.  Just a level of comfort and familiarity that comes with being sure of success.  I got the feeling Keane feels established enough to not TRY and struggle to make it anymore.  Which, they may have a well-established fan-base, but I think very few artists truly get to stop worrying about their number of listeners.  It ranked just slightly lower because it’s heavy Europe.  There is just a UK vibe that, as a true American (I suppose) turned me off.  This makes it sound like I didn’t like the record at all, which isn’t the case at all.  I felt very strongly toward the 12 songs I did like though, and there were plenty more offered on Strangeland.

11.  Eisley-The Valley

It’s difficult to believe that more then one person is singing.  The blending is impeccable.  I think the musicality, the beats especially, are improved from their last few albums.  If I had to describe what Eisley does to me when I listen to The Valley, it’s to tear delicately.  The lyrics and peaceful pitch gets inside my head and heart, and the emotion behind along with the instrumentation rips at my insides.  It’s a soft assault on my sensibilities.

NV Feb 2010 241

10.  Maroon 5-Overexposed

I have no idea what it is.  These guys are just different from everybody else.  I really can’t put my finger on what makes their music so outstanding.  They can say mean things in ways that get stuck in your head.  Their beat initiates dance moves unparalleled.  They are poppy, and seem uncategorizable (yeah, I make up words to suit my purposes) as anything else.  Yet, it isn’t mindless, bubble-gum dance pop that is fleeting and superficial.  A relative flurry of music in the last two years doesn’t hurt to keep them on the radar.  But it’s more than that, too.  I guess that’s what is so great about Overexposed–you don’t know what makes it shine, and why you can’t stop listening.  But you do.

9.  Trampled by Turtles-Stars & Satellites

Damn you Trampled by Turtles!  First off, they get marked down where no one else was even judged, for NOT having any merch featuring a group of turtles, or any turtle at all.  If an animal is in your band name you HAVE to have it on at least one piece of merchandise!  Rawr.  Anyway, the music–ugh, I wanted more fat-playing banjo and fiddle.  I wanted upbeat, dancing blue-grunge or whetever they call their hybrid bluegrass, country, rock, indy, folk music.  But Stars and Satellites was quiet and thoughtful.  Which is not bad.  Not at all.  Just not exactly what I wanted.  So even though I liked every single song, and found no problems (other than the afore-mentioned merch dearth) they are here.  Because the prior CD was better.  That’s all.

turtle line 2

8.  Lifehouse-Almeria

The same band, but just different enough to be totally new–that’s the beauty of Almeria.  I liked the bouncier, dancier songs, though they were still laid-back and chill as Lifehouse has ever been.  I liked this especially, because with such a dramatic change of style, it doesn’t seem forced or over-marketed.  I don’t see Lifehouse catering to record labels or commercial interests with this change.  It just feels like an establishment of maturity.  A great effort, and I can’t want for more.

7.  Ben Folds 5-The Sound of the Life On the Mind

Yay they’re back!  Ben Folds +/- Five is like a club.  You just have to know to understand.  And apparently, I hold membership, because I’m finding it difficult to explain this to outsiders:  It’s less piano (which I loved) but still awesome.  Though the songs on The Sound of the Life On the Mind (or something to that effect-damn, keep album titles short!) seem somehow more down-tempo they are still captivating.  And not really down-tempo.  I totally just said two opposing statements, but it makes sense if you compare the older stuff to this new release.  At any rate, I found seven really solid songs and can’t stop listening to them.  What else can you say, but listen?

6.  Matchbox Twenty-North

Another YAY, they’re back.  What’s the refrain–again with more feeling?  That’s how I felt with North.  It’s everything great about Matchbox 20, lyrically superior, emotion, singable, textured.  But with more feeling.  Every song resonated with me.  I left the CD wanting more.  That’s why they’re in this position.  Also, they don’t really transcend genres or have a purely original sound.  That’s not criticism, just when you have to rank the best albums of a year it comes down to the meticulous details to differentiate the top from the superior.  And these guys are comfortably at the top.

N. lights 10

5.  David Gray-Foundling

A surprise new favorite.  Like everybody else I had heard David Gray, liked some of the more popular songs, then regaled him to the background.  Between 2012 Draw the Line and Foundling, I found 20 songs that I could not tire of.  Yes, they are still good for the background, but the more I listened, the more I felt in tune with David’s unpretentious croonings.  A secret success, that’s already has a huge fan-base.  Add me.

4.  John Mayer-Born & Raised

Growth, so much growth can be ascertained from this album.  I’ve always liked John, but I found Born & Raised to be his best work yet.  It was just the right blend of emotional, country, soul-searching, and pop.  I liked nearly every song, and thought the effort raised above commercial marketing and genre alone.  He stood alone and was his own person, overcoming, sameness (cute guy + guitar) syndrome.  It feels like John grew up, and with that maturity found his real musical niche.

fireworks 13

3.  Adele-21

Oh the talent! I have nothing new to say, that hasn’t already been said or written throughout the year.  This gal is the real deal–no disputing that.  Belying her physical appearance, she can belt it out like a soul-queen.  Riveting and heart-felt, that’s how I would describe 21.  And the ONLY reason she doesn’t rate higher on my list, is she put the album out too early in the year.  Last January, and due to over-play, I’m somewhat over it.  As much as a person can be, anyway.  Not Adele’s fault, or by any lacking of the music quality at all either.  I’ve just had enough for now.  I see this album will be classic, and remain on best-off all-time lists.

2.  Brandi Carlile-Bear Creek

Believe you me–I wanted to pick Brandi’s CD as the top album of the year.  If only for cute-ness factor (Brandi’s not the album).  But there is that ONE song on Bear Creek that I alone just do not feel.  Everyone else likes it, but this is my list, and that song took the CD down a notch.  Anyway, Bear Creek is amazing.  I feel it transcends genres, is re-playable, goes with any activity or mood, and does well live. I also thing it will stand up to the test of time.

Brandi cute cowgirl

And–drumroll please–the number one album of 2012–as I see it:

1.  Mumford & Sons-Babel

Musically and lyrically.  Catchy with longevity.  Multiple listens in a variety of contexts.  I deem Babel the number one album of 2012, just because I was able to listen to it everywhere over and over without tiring of it.  Also, because I enthusiastically liked each song.  The ONLY downfall is Mumford & Sons don’t tour in the U.S. widely if at all.  I would happily take in a concert of theirs!

Best of 2012: LISTENING

1 Jan

Where do you even start when trying to say your favorite 10 artists in the year?  Well, it’s an impossible task–so you turn to the quantitative data, of course.  Here is what Last FM says I liked best in the last year, based on my own scrobbles.

MY Favorites in 2012 (as per Last FM stats):

10.  Maroon 5

It seems these guys had a frenzy of albums, remixes, and singles this year.  I like them because there’s a syncopated beat unlike anyone else.  More listens are in order for 2013!

9.  The Avett Brothers

Rogue bastards snuck in.  I listened in order to prepare for Labor Dave Weekend.  They were opening, and I thought I’d attempt to gain an appreciation.  And their discography is quite extensive, though I can’t say I ever caught on to them.  But here they are in my top-listened. . .

8.  Jason Mraz

What with a new album out, and of course a sentimental favorite of mine since he was my first concert ever–I am not surprised he still frequents my most-listened list.

7.  Taylor Swift

I WISH she had produced a new album, or had more songs.  This place on the lst seems low compared to how much I like her songs.  Her writing really speaks to me.  Plus, I saw her biography once and am super-impressed that she was hired as a song-writer (for other artists) so young.

6.  Mumford & Sons.

Love!  My current favorite album.  I enjoy every single song, which hardly ever happens.  The only downfall is they never tour in the U.S.

5.  Piano Tribute Players

On the list because I can’t always study to violins, and I had not discovered where the heck the heavily advertised Classify was actually located.  Good covers all the same though.

4.  Indigo Girls.

Thanks to Spotify, and easy access to many artists all the time, I branched out this year.  My Indigo Girls are still a (if not THE) fave, but the fell to 4 due to exposure.  Still amazing.

3.  Brandi Carlile.

Younger.  Cuter.  Closer in proximity.  Transcending genres.  Here’s some love for my secret girlfriend Brandi.  I never tire of her music or concerts.  I always hunger for more.  And one day, maybe I’ll finally get to meet her.

2.  Vitamin String Quartet.

Really a tribute to how much a studied last year more then anything.  I listened to lyric-less music to study, and they are #2 most played.  Yay good grades.

1.  DMB

Somehow, I became a real fan.  I’m not sure when it happened because really, they were Cool’s thing and I was just supportive.  I never before had “felt” them, even though “Crash” was amongst the very first 12 CDs I ever owned (thanks BMG Music Club!).  Sometime, in listening and in preparing for and attending the Gorge concert–I became hard-core.  Now I have more listens then Cool.  And their cute, and amazing selection of merch doesn’t hurt either.

Concerts (2003 to July 2022)

20 Jun

2003 when I was 20 (so old!) was my first concert.  Randomly Mid-Missouri got a lot better people than Northern Nevada.  Steadman opened for Jason Mraz.  It was a really cool first concert, because Steadman sings amazingly and Jason Mraz talked a lot throughout the show, telling song origins and being funny.  that same year I saw John Mayer, who was good, and Shania Twain who is SUPER-talented!  I cheaped out and ended up in the second to last row, but boy can Shania belt it out!  She had costume changes and was totally giving things to the first few rows and singing autographs as she sang.  I wish I would have paid for better seats!

I saw Ani DiFranco, in Columbia, Missouri because she is Douche’s favorite.  All the lesbians young and old were there, so that was cool, but I am fairly unimpressed with Ani.  Firstly, she doesn’t vary her guiter riffs.  Her singing voice is sub-par.  She thinks she’s so profound, so her lyrics are pretentious.  She can’t really be a lesbian icon, because she was married to a man at the time.  I especially do not like the drug rumors.  And she did seem jittery and erratic to me, so I could see how she might be doing coke or some other upper.  I can say, she is very congenial and the audience wants to LIKE her.

I also saw Soggy Bottom Boys who opened for Blind Boys of Alabama because of Douche.  It was a really good show though I initially had no interest.  The blind guys would get up and rock out dangerously close to the edge of the stage, and their gospel flavors would just inspire the crowd to really get into it!

Then, I went to a flurry of Indigo Girls concerts.  The first was in Saint Louis with Douche.  Then, two years later I saw IG on all three tour stops near Missouri:  Saint Louis where Girlyman opened, the Blue Note in Columbia (which the Girls hated, b/c the acoustics weren’t right for them), and Kansas City.  The Kansas City show was especially good, as the crowd was really into it, and Amy and Emily were surprised by that, and geared up to meet the energy, and promised to come back in the future.  Then, I saw them again in 2006 in Saint Louis with Lori.  And in 2010, I saw them in Tacoma with Cool.  I make all my girlfriends go to their concerts with me, I guess!  Now Cool and I are going to see them at the Seattle Zoo next month.

In between, the IG I don’t remember going to any other concerts.  Maybe there are more that I just don’t remember right now. . .  I tried to see Dave Matthews Band with Cool, even had the tickets, and went to the Gorge and everything.  Only to find out that the tickets were for the day before.  It.  Was.  Heartbreaking.  That super-sucked!

In 2016 I saw Lord Huron and Trampled By Turtles at The Complex in SLC.  The venue was horrible!  It’s in a bad neighborhood of abandoned buildings, trash, and the edge of the homeless population.  The first thing was getting frisked.  The venue is literally a dark, dank warehouse that someone slapped a stage into.  There is no seating, sticky concrete floors, and the alcohol options are sorely lacking.  You can get over-priced watered-down (I assume) cocktails in a different room and miss the show, or pay for over-priced piss-water fratty beer in a sectioned-off portion of the main room.  Who doesn’t sell a single craft-beer option in 2016???  Get with the program!  The sound is loud, but garbled.  You are packed in like cattle, and as always, people are rude.  And the tall people always push to the front.  The two screens went black.  There were 45 minutes between the opening act and the main band.  The small of “fart” would waft by frequently.  It was hot.  I’ll never go back to that venue–I’m too old for that crap.  But both bands were awesome!  Lord Huron opened and I’m sure some of the crowd came just for them.  People seemed really into it, and knew the songs.  They made a fan out of me, too.  The light show was good, and they rocked!  It’s the very first time I’ve ever heard the crowd chant, “one more song” at the end of the opener.  I don’t think they prepared another song, or maybe someone told them time was too short, because there was no encore by the opener.  But the crowd most definitly clamored for one and it would have been awesome to see!  Looking back, I’m kinda glad they didn’t because things moved slowly enough as it was, and that standing in a jam-packed group on concrete super-sucks.  Then, Trampled By Turtles came on and were amazing.  I would describe their sound/genre as “hipster bluegrass.”  It’s the instrumentation of bluegrass, with less country of vocals, more indy/alternative singing.  I like them all the time, especially their fast songs.  But watching in person made it even better.  Their hands move so fast!  And the harmonies and timing are so awesome!  TBT just moved into my top 4 favorites.  I think this year (this moment) it goes:  Indigo Girls (because of 1sts/nostalgia, longevity, a huge catalog, ability to tame any crowd, and ability to grow with the times), Brandi Carlile, Dave Matthews Band, then TBT.

’03 Steadman opened for Jason Mraz- Jessie Hall(?) CoMo

’03 John Mayer-  Jessie Hall(?)(2nd x) CoMo

’03 Shania Twain- Arena(?) STL

’03 Indigo Girls (1st time)- The Pageant(?)(2nd x) STL

’04 Ani DiFranco- ____Theater(?) CoMo

’05 Soggy Bottom Boys opened for Blind Boys of Alabama- Blue Note, CoMo

’05 Indigo Girls (2nd x)- The Pageant(?)(3rd x) STL

’05 Indigo Girls (3rd x)- Blue Note (2nd x) CoMo

’05 Indigo Girls- _____ KC (4th x)

Oct 2005 Miranda Lambert played a concert prior to the NASCAR race & sang the national anthem- Kansas Motor Speedway, Kansas City

’06 Girlyman opened for Indigo Girls (5th x)- The Pageant(?)(4th x) STL

’10 Indigo Girls (6th x)- Pantages Theater Tacoma

06/’11 Empty Space Orchestra opened for Minus the Bear- Knitting Factory, Spokane

Got a table and beer service

07/’11 Indigo Girls (7th x)- Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle

10/’11 Brandi Carlile- Knitting Factory (2nd x), Spokane

(left an hour early b/c of super late start and necessity of working early the next day)

Sat, 9/1/’12 Avett Brothers opened for DMB- Gorge

Thurs, 10/’12 Brandi Carlile (2nd x)- Knitting Factory (3rd x) Spokane

Sat, 11/23/’12 Brandi Carlile (3rd x) w/Seattle Symphony- Benaroya Hall, Seattle

Sun, 8/31/’13 DMB (2nd x) @ Gorge (2nd x)

Fri, 8/29/14 Brandi Carlile (4th x) opened for DMB (3rd x) @ The Gorge (3rd x)

Sun, 8/31/14 Brandi Carlile (5th x) opened for DMB (4th x) @ The Gorge (4th x)

Sun, 8/16/15 Anderson East opened for Brandi Carlile (6th time) @ Red Butte Gardens, SLC, UT

Wed, 9/9/15 DMB (5th time) @ Stateline (Harvey’s, Lake Tahoe)

Sat 8/13/16 Blind Pilot opened for Brandi Carlile (7th time) @ Deer Valley Resort in Park City

Mon 8/15/16 Lord Huron opened for Trampled By Turtles @ The Complex in SLC, UT.

TBT didn’t take the stage til 10 PM, so we left after 2 songs. I never want to have to leave a concert early again!!!

3/23/18-3/25/18: 1st Annual Innigsfestival (Young the Giant, Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, White Buffalo, Luke Combs, The Head and the Heart, MT Joy) @Tempe Town Park

10/3/19: Tour de Fat- Trampled by Turtles. @tempe town park

8/11/19: bought ticks to see Young the Giant in Phoenix, but Cool was being bipolar & it was on a Sun and I had to work at McKesson early Mon, so we didn’t go. I hate that so much!

2/29/20: 3rd Innings Festival (Portugal the Man, Jason Isbell, DMB (6th time)). @tempe town park

Covid taken seriously

7/6/22:  Katie Pruitt was 1st opener.  Tanya Tucker was next.  Brandi Carlile (8th time) at Kansas City’s Starlight Theater