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Saturday, January 31, 2009

secrets i held inside



...notes on autotune:

artists are now recording whole albums in that "computerized voice" style (lil' wayne, t-pain, kanye west, et al.). in this episode of SONGS I STILL LIKE, i look at some of the early (and winning) expressions of the idiom.

click here to listen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

we have no past, we won't reach back



here's the third episode of SONGS I STILL LIKE, my weekly tour through the top 40 songs that populate our life.

listen here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

obama’s inauguration




i just finished the last edit on my audio postcard for Obama’s inauguration. i hope you can find time to take a listen.

i put my all into this.

click here to listen.

(for context, the "classical" music heard in this piece is taken from "Air and Simple Gifts" performed live just prior to Obama's swearing-in.)

p.s.

in a very real way, i feel as though i've been privately "making" this piece since i read a Frederick Douglass Golden Legacy Comic Book in the third grade.

Monday, January 19, 2009

guitar hero



i finally made time to watch the ramones documentary End of Century. here are my notes...

The Ramones had but one gear, but few groups ever produced so much from so little. The sound was raw and repetitive, and their look fell somewhere between the Hells Angels and the Fonz gone goth. The group’s rise from the mid-70s East Village sleaze scene is chronicled in End of The Century, a decidedly unselfconscious bandography that hands over the narrative to the social actors who lived it. It’s Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy who unpack what heretofore was concealed behind the leather and the hair and the overwhelming surge of sound.

In the wrong hands, End of the Century could have been one of those bloated rock docs that toggle between music critics overexplaining the band’s historical legacy and an omniscient narrator who repeatedly shows up to snuff out any threat of ambiguity. Instead, End of the Century operates as a winning template for expository
documentary. The film weaves the band’s iconic songs over gritty photographs, underscores certain quotes by inserting them as written captions, and delivers just enough vintage footage to leave the viewer aroused rather than exhausted. Nothing, however, is more fun than watching the film build out a story through crosscut interviews that find the individual members finishing each other’s sentences.

The Ramones were a messy gang, and their candid reflections on their younger selves reveal an unalloyed portrait of self-destruction, freak genius, and everlasting bravado that has yet to succumb.

--Ari Zeiger

Image credit.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

let me know if it can't be me


here is the latest episode of Songs I Still Like, a weekly show where i discuss the relative import of three radio-friendly pop songs.

click here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

songs i still like




i've been thinking about pop songs lately. the big, super catchy type. the songs we loved as kids or in college, but now secretly get smuggled into a playlist named "gym workout."

i want to pull out those songs, and look at them...and talk about what they mean and why they're important.

so I am producing a weekly podcast called SONGS I STILL LIKE.

each show will unpack three (lightweight) pop songs--i'll play snippets, talk about what works for me, etc...and maybe even make the case for why these songs might not just be pure pop drivel, but actually something substantive and real and human.

here's the maiden episode.

maybe give a listen.