Wednesday, April 26, 2017

FOB Five: Preparing For Purple




Fall Out Boy is releasing new music tomorrow. In keeping with the recent trend of dropping vague hints on social media, the only info I know is that it has something to do with the color Purple.


While I'm waiting for this new release (a single? a full-length album?) I thought I'd share some of my fave FOB tracks from past albums. These aren't necessarily my five favorites from the band, they're just some unique tracks that I've been feeling lately. 


I'll start with the first Fall Out Boy song I ever heard liked. When pop-punk/emo was in its heyday, I was attending community college a hundred miles from home, and I was a few years older than everyone there. I literally had no friends, and never really made any. But I had overheard a girl named Chelsea talking to her friends about Fall Out Boy, and she specifically mentioned this track:



 I sort of scoffed at first; "Sugar, We're Going Down" didn't appeal to me - and neither did the scene kids. But then I gave "Dance, Dance" a chance. Before long I was blasting it in my apartment, thinking of Angela (my college crush) as Patrick Stump sings this lyric:

   

Speaking of Angela... the chorus of this song always reminded me of her poise and confidence..


..especially contrasted with my lack of same. I personally identified with the lyric "I'm a stitch away from making it/and a scar away from falling apart." I felt so fragile, so exposed. And as I watched her interact with these people that knew her in ways I never would, I realized that she was on another level I could hardly even fathom. All I could do was watch her work the room. 

I just thought it was a unique, emotional, ballady-type song with strong vocals, and the chorus has a good kick to it.



So yeah, Infinity On High was my intro to the band, and I really dug it. Then their next album Folie a Deux kinda fell flat with me (and a lot of people) ...and then they broke up.

If they hadn't returned with Save Rock And Roll nearly five years later, I don't think I would have become a real fan of Fall Out Boy. But it was such an incredible comeback effort, especially the way that the opening track "The Phoenix" just busts down the doors and announces their presence with authority. But I've discussed that track before. 

The track that I've really enjoyed recently is "Young Volcanoes", which is a much slower, smoother jam (almost like a Jason Mraz song?) 
 


Whenever I hear this track I picture myself playing it on an acoustic guitar, sitting on a college campus courtyard with a circle of friends (perhaps I'm wearing a goofy ass hat like Patrick Stump, only I think I'd rock a Dr. Seuss-style lid) The vibe of this song just chills me out, and the lyric "We will teach you/how to make boys next door/out of assholes." really resonates with me. Girls don't want the nice guy, they want to try to tame the bad boy because... challenge?

Another FOB song I wish I could sing is "Jet Pack Blues", off their latest album (until tomorrow?) American Beauty/American Psycho. I don't always love their ballady stuff (I think I've listened to "Golden" all the way through exactly once) but this one is just so dreary and melancholy and beautiful:


This is one of two songs I dream of singing with Taryn ("Circadian Rhythym" by Silversun Pickups is the other). Even though there's no female vocal in this, I think it would work as a duet. (In my head we alternate verses and then sing the chorus to each other. Maybe we change the pronouns around, I dunno.)  

b-t-dubs..Taryn was sick and didn't post anything on social media for almost a whole week. And I was planning to write about how that made me worry a lil'bit since a week away from social media is like an eternity to a millennial... but then she resurfaced. In Tribeca. Which is less than an hour away from me.


A post shared by Taryn Southern (@tarynsouthern) on


Anyway...let's get back on topic, shall we?

Whereas Save Rock And Roll was feast or famine for me (six amazing songs, four sub-par ones, too many odd guest vocals) American Beauty/American Psycho is consistently solid all the way through (though I don't care for the last track "Twin Skeletons") "Centuries" and "Uma Thurman" got all the airplay, but I think "Novocaine" is just as good:



This song kicks butt from beginning to end, but I always chuckle to myself whenever I hear Stump howl "I don't feel a thing for yooouuu"





Ha! I wish.






Thursday, April 20, 2017

Due to overwhelming demand for our product... we are discontinuing our product, effective immediately.

That's pretty much what the folks at Nintendo had to say about the NES Classic.


Which is just par for the course, since it's the first console/video game/entertainment thing I've wanted in years. I don't even want a new phone. I need a new phone because mine is at least six years old, the back is missing, and the battery is hanging by a thread.. but I'd rather have a reasonable facsimile of a 30 year-old video game system than the latest iThing.
 
There is absolutely no reason for me to spend more than $50 on a phone. I have no friends, and I’m not on social media. I could use it as a camera... but I can't afford to travel anywhere picturesque, and my wife can take family pics on her smart phone. The only thing I really need my phone for (besides calling my mother) is an alarm clock... but actual alarm clocks actually exist, and they only cost like $20.

There is one other thing I would find useful if I had a smart phone: I could download the app that identifies a song for you.

I was in Taco Bell the other day and I heard a song over the digital music channel. It sounded kind of familiar, like I’ve heard a snippet of it before, but I didn’t know the name of the song or artist. I couldn’t even decipher one word (even Al Bundy knew hmm hmm him) Perhaps it was Lorde, or a similar artist like Lana Del Rey or Sia. (Are they similar artists? I don’t even know.)



I’m not all that familiar with Lorde. I know that she’s actually a 45 year-old male geologist from South Park, Colorado.. and that she wrote/named her hit song “Royals” after seeing this picture of baseball legend George Brett:


Wouldn’t it be cool if she had a song called “Leaders”? That way, anyone with this baseball card would win at Lorde bingo:


You know, because she also has a song called “Team”. I can't say I know that song well, but I know the chorus well enough to make up my own lyrics. Sometimes I'll sing this to myself after watching the Devils lose another hockey game:


We're not a good tee-e-eam
We can't even score one lousy goal
And you know
I need a new tee-e-eam



I'm quite desperate for new music, or at least music that's new to me. Lorde - and whatever that song I heard at Taco Bell was - might be just outside of my preferred genre, but I haven't found the time to look into new alternative acts. Soon, though. Hopefully. I'm still listening to the same CDs I wore out in high school and college.


While we're on the subject of things that were way better in the 90's... yesterday was the 30th anniversary of The Simpsons' first appearance on television.




It's amazing to me that this show has been on the air since I was in third grade. My nephews had the first Treehouse of Horror episode on VHS - and they weren't much older than my daughters are now. I owned at least one Underachiever t-shirt, and I can remember when "Do The Bartman" was in regular rotation on MTV. There are crayon drawings of Bart and Homer on the walls of my mom's attic - and some of them were done by a childhood friend I haven't spoken to in 25 years.


If I had more time, I might create a bracket-style tournament of the best Simpsons episodes or secondary characters, like the one I did for Smashing Pumpkins songs. It would be tough to choose favorites from over 600 episodes and 28 seasons, but I think I have my winner:





What's your all-time favorite Simpsons episode? Are you a fan of Lorde, or any artist that sounds like Lorde? 




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sleep on and dream of love. Because it's the closest you will get to love.




A while back I read something in a book I randomly thumbed through that said the reason why men instinctively pursue the most physically attractive women possible is because our physiology is programmed to create the most attractive offspring possible. This is why (younger) men aren't attracted to women over 60. 

First of all, wrong. And second.. my daughters are beautiful. I know everyone says that about their children, but my wife and I both had similar thoughts - how do we have such gorgeous little girls? We are not attractive people. 





The weather this week has been perfect - warm and sunny, with temps touching 80F here in NJ. My 7 year-old has the week off for Spring Break, and my 4 year-old isn't in school because we can't afford pre-K. I would love to take my daughters to the park and run around with them for an hour... but that's a lot easier said than done at the moment.

I could not sleep Sunday night, I woke up almost every hour. Usually stress, anxiety, and loneliness keep me awake. It could have been all three, plus the surge in temperatures.. and when my wife stays awake, the lights from the living room and/or kitchen shine through my bedroom door. And she was also up all night Sunday. Because she was sick. 

She doesn't usually work Mondays anyway, but she planned to so that she could give her father/our babysitter Thursday off. Instead she was on the couch all day, too weak from vomiting the night before. She's still recovering today. Friday is Good Friday and we're going to visit my mother in CT.. so it's possible that D will only work one day this week.  

I was home by 2:30pm yesterday, but I was so exhausted from my own lack of sleep that I couldn't take the girls outside for very long. My back locks up on me from sleeping on a worn-out mattress, lifting heavy bags of trash throughout my teen years, and decades of neglect. My joints ache from living the cubicle life (wifey thinks the Mountain Dew & Monster consumption contributes as well) and because I didn't sleep much on Sunday I was exhausted by 4pm Monday.

My children deserve better parents. Healthier parents. D seems to get stomach ailments every two months, likely because she had her gall bladder removed when we were dating. She was in such excruciating pain that my mom offered to drive her to the hospital. Somehow she toughed it out for another week. And that was when she was in her early 30's.

I never thought enough of myself to keep in shape. I didn't have any weight or health-related issues until I was in my mid 20's. When my first daughter was born, I managed to exercise while she was sleeping. I monitored my weight, and my diet. I actually gave a crap, because I had time to - and because life was better back then. That was before I went back to work, and before depression sucked away my motivation. 




I don't necessarily agree with the passage in the book I flipped through. This blog (and the one that preceded it, and the one that preceded that one) has been used mostly as a diary for my thoughts on women I find attractive, and why. 

Even if we're speaking strictly about physical appeal and not personality traits or intelligence, I still don't see an instinctive desire to spawn flawless-looking children as an explanation for my interest in Taryn (or Joy.) There's a reason why I'm not attracted to waifish looking supermodels, when they would be considered the most "beautiful" to a large segment of society.

When I cant sleep, I start to dig deeper into things like this. And I discovered that the common physical trait among the women I've found physically appealing is health.


Taryn is tall and slender and toned. Joy is small and curvy (sometimes) and has tight, defined muscles. Receptionist lady is 60, but her legs are 25. Pretty much every woman I've noticed since college has had a fit, healthy figure. And it's not so much how they achieve and maintain said figure or even what the specific results are. Aesthetics play a part, sure. But when I think of how often my wife and I fail (to keep up with) our children I'm not wishing for a woman with tight, defined abs. I'm wishing for a woman with energy

 



There's a picture I keep in my mind when I try to go to sleep, but I try not to look at it when I'm awake. Taryn posted it on her Instagram around Christmastime, when she was on vacation in Bora Bora. She's on a beach, chilling under the shade of a cabana, and her legs are stretched out in front of her. It's not a sexy pic or anything, as you can see. In fact the whole reason she posted it it was to show her fans/subscribers that her cat pajamas made the trip to paradise:



A post shared by Taryn Southern (@tarynsouthern) on

I've no idea how to make this smaller. I didn't even know how to embed IG pix until this.



Thinking of Taryn, in her brown tank top and pajama pants with cats on them, helps me sleep. I put my sound machine on 'beach' and close my eyes to the sound of waves crashing gently on the shore. I try to think of what it would be like to lie next to her on that beach, completely stress-free. Completely satisfied.


And then, like a record screech it hits me:  dude.. she was there with her boyfriend. 


And then I cant get it back. I can't relax. I can't sleep.  


 



And then I'm too tired to play with my girls the next day. And on and on.





 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In which I attempt to extract positive vibes from a strange dream




Before I attempt to recollect the details of the dream I had last night, I should tell you about Hazel. 

(No, not that Hazel.) 

I will refer to her as such because she has the most amazing hazel eyes... and also because she might be reading this, though I haven't seen her 'round here in many moons. Hazel is a brilliant writer, introspective and poetic. She was one of my first blogging friends, and in fact we often e-mailed each other back when I was a file clerk with too much time on my hands. I nearly got fired because of it. I wish I had. 

Hazel and I didn't have a lot in common, and I felt awkward around her at first.. but we eventually found a rhythm and for a time I became quite comfortable corresponding with her. She was thoughtful and candid, and validated me in a way that no one else in my life was interested in doing. There used to be a Facebook page called "Intelligent, classy, well-educated women who say 'fuck' a lot." That was Hazel. 

Alas, part of what made her intriguing was that she so often disappeared, deleting her blog without warning and then reappearing under a different name some months later. It's been a while since I've heard from her. I'll not be surprised if this post lures her out of hiding..


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It was a cold, dreary dusk at the docks, though the weather and the atmosphere were out of sync. Music was playing, and lights were flashing, and people were milling about the blacktop. A carnival without rides, as it were. 

I turned right at the food stands and spun around when I heard her voice. Her long, curly hair was hastily tied in a loose pony, falling down on the light gray hoodie that seemed to inflate her upper body. "Heeyyy!" I said as I approached her. As we converged, the time apart became obvious in our awkward sort-of hug, which we tried to shrug off. "Whatever." She smiled. "How are you?"

Walking and talking ensued. Making up for lost time was such a pleasant experience, I had forgotten why we hadn't spoken in so long. 

Hazel got hungry, and I offered to buy her an ice cream cone at one of the food stands. Side note: that's all there seemed to be at the docks. Food, and lots of it. Second side note: why did we want ice cream when it was so raw and chilly outside? 

I approached the ice cream booth and asked for two cones. I was handed an orange creamsicle and told to hold on while the faceless person opened another carton. I ducked my head into the booth for some reason, and gasped at the frightening image on the back of the carton - a dark green Wicked Witch mock-up of Hillary Clinton. "Here you go," said the ice cream server. 

I took my second cone - Hazel's cone - and proceeded past the booth. Right in front of me there was a long metal opening for what appeared to be a laundry chute. I took Hazel's cone and chucked it up the chute. Then I kept walking. Away from the action. Away from her.

Night had fallen. I felt no remorse for leaving Hazel behind. The more I thought about our partisan political divide the more emboldened I felt. I kept walking, down the lively, well-lit streets. The long, looong way 'round the docks. 

As I turned a corner I heard singing. There was an African-American woman performing a heartfelt rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". Side note: I'm pretty sure I know why that specific track popped into my subconscious...



I took a step or two past the singer but then retreated to her. A conservative would never do this, I thought. And so I sat on the concrete ledge nearby and listened for a while. She had changed some of the lyrics to reflect some personal abuse, though I wondered if she might have felt as I did - lost, hopeless, and abused by an increasingly cruel world. 


Eventually I had to go back to the docks. I'm not really sure why. Guilt, maybe? The crowd had cleared out by then. It was well after midnight, perhaps as late as 2am. I knew Hazel was long gone. Had I deserted her? Was she upset? Angry? Would she ever speak to me again?

The entrance to the docks was a sloping hill of rocky pavement. I skipped down as cautiously as could be. There was a message written in red Twizzler on the ground in front of me:


see you on the 13th
love, Hazel


I honestly have no idea what that means. My subconscious didn't seem to know, either. But the guilt began to crystallize as I awoke: She still wanted to see me. She still wanted to be friends with me. I was the asshole letting our differences come between us, not her. 


I have to face the in-laws this coming weekend. Maybe this dream is telling me that I should try to be more tolerant, instead of judging them all as vile, racist money-grubbers. Maybe conservatives aren't all bad. Maybe I should just be the bigger person and be nice to them.


 (But why does it always have to be us?)




~



p.s. I did not stop speaking to Hazel for political reasons - or any other reason, for that matter. In this dream she's symbolic of anyone in my life that I'm discarding and dismissing like that green death-flavored ice cream cone. Also, I dont think these overtones were completely political.. some of this is just me, missing that feeling of meeting up with a friend and having a conversation.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Talking and saying nothing, man. It is an art I have not mastered.


I've decided that this will be my last blog post here. There are a number of reasons for this.




It has been obvious to me for a while that I really have nothing interesting to say here. I'm not being dramatic or fishing for compliments, I'm just stating the truth. This blog has always been my release, my journal. I don't want to keep complaining about my personal life. You know that story. I don't want to keep complaining about my job or my financial situation. You know that story, too.
 


So what topics does that leave? Music? Tried that. I'm too old for the crap you hear on top 40 (except Fall Out Boy, natch) and I'm too young (and too liberal, apparently) to join in the music discussions on the blogosphere. 


Politics? God, no. I'm trying to get away from that shit. We're all too entrenched in our partisanship anyhow. There was a well thought out (and frankly necessary) ESPN article about this issue as it pertains to Colin Kaepernick. Naturally, both sides missed the point.
 


I've been quite fortunate lately, in that I haven't had to encounter my in-laws (or my own "sister" and her husband).. but that luck will run out soon. Niece's birthday. Easter. Other niece's college graduation. Brother-in-law's birthday. All in the next two months. My only hope is that by then we'll be able to chant "Lock him up!"



I do enjoy talking and writing about sports, as you know. Part of the reason why I feel the need to cast aside this blog is because baseball season is about to start, and the hockey playoffs will soon follow. I'm sure I'll discuss those things on my other blog "The Collector", which was created in large part so that you all wouldn't have to slog through content that doesn't interest you.
 


I wish I could discuss books I've read or movies I've watched.. but the last movie I saw was Catching Fire last weekend. Yes, it was just as enjoyable the fourth time - and on basic cable with commercial interruption. I watched it while sorting a pile of sports cards and munching on Girl Scout cookies. Good times.


When I was in Connecticut I started reading Confessions of a Dumb, White Guy by Matt Shifley aka Mr. Shife. It's probably the first book I started in two years. I'll read more of it over Easter weekend (and hopefully before then.) Perhaps I'll post again when I finish reading, but I'm just as likely to comment on his blog or leave a review on Goodreads.


A few weeks ago I saw commercials for a movie called Before I Fall. I knew this was based on a YA novel, and I knew I had a copy of said novel.. but nothing about the film looked familiar. How long ago did I read the book? Did I ever finish it? Is the movie drastically different? Or did the story simply not resonate with me enough to recognize it when I saw it? I honestly have no idea.
 


There are a lot of books in my collection that would probably be better suited for teenage girls - though anything by John Green and possibly even the Divergent series supersedes such classification. Fortunately I have two young daughters who will be teens far too soon and might be interested in what will (by then) be two decade old literature.
 


I suppose I could share more about how unsatisfying and lonely my family life is, and how I can never get my girls to listen, or put away their toys, or put down the tablet, or eat their dinner. But those difficulties are hardly unique to my life.
 


The only other subject I enjoy writing about is my crush - whoever it happens to be at the time. But the four of you have heard much more than you ever wanted to about which women interest me, and why. I really should stop publicizing my juvenile thoughts. I don't want to seem like a psycho.


(that's her xbf, btw)


Andso I figured this was the best time to just slink away, while everyone's attention is focused on the alphabet blogging challenge, or the Final Four, or the actual start of spring in this part of the world (forget what the calendar says.)
 


I'll still comment on blogs as often as I can, and I won't delete this blog or any of the posts. Not yet. But I don't see a reason to continue writing here.
 


Thanks for reading this, everyone. I'll talk to you again soon.


~




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Custom Card Crush

Sometimes I wish I had learned Photoshop.. or maybe not. 

I've met a couple of sports card collectors on the blogosphere who have a talent for creating custom-made trading cards. Once such blogger is Corky, author of the blog Pack War. He fulfilled nearly my whole wish list of custom cards. Most of them were female athletes who are fairly well known but have few if any actual collectibles (women's sports aren't exactly in high demand in the collectibles market, unfortunately.) 

If you're interested in some of the sports stars Corky customized I shared them on my other blog.  


Because I'm still very much a teenage boy at heart, I had also requested some custom cards of my favorite female celebrities (i.e. non athletes) Corky came through with this gem:



Awww yeah!

I gave the option of this "Color TV" design from the 1955 Bowman baseball card set, or a more modern Hi-Def flatscreen style. Corky opted for the classic look. Excellent choice.


Not sure where he found this pic (edit - it was her video for "Change It Up") but the colors really pop. This is why I'm glad I never learned Photoshop - if I knew how to make things like this, I'd never do anything else.

If I'm ever able to procure a physical copy, I might just send it to Taryn for an autograph. People send her things sometimes (such as SpongeBob undies) and when I first became a fan I stumbled on her Patreon page, in which she offers to send you a signed (and defaced) headshot if you contribute to her creations.


Speaking of creations.. many thanks to Corky for combining two of my favorite things: classic baseball cards and Taryn Southern. This absolutely made my day :-)



~


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pumpkin Playoffs - March Music Madness vol. 2

Back by popular demand, here is the conclusion of my March Music Madness - The Smashing Pumpkins song tournament. After one round, the following songs remain: 

(1) 1979 v. (8) Appels & Oranjes
(1) Today v. (8) 7 Shades of Black
(1) Tonight, Tonight v. (9) Stand Inside Your Love
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings v. (9) Heavy Metal Machine

(2) Disarm v. (10) Crestfallen
(2) Cherub Rock v. (10) Pug
(2) Perfect v. (10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
(2) Zero v. (7) X.Y.U.
 
(3) I Am One v. (11) Hello Kitty Kat
(3) Siva v. (6) Geek U.S.A.
(6) Soma v. (14) For Martha
(3) Thirty-Three v. (6) Starla
 
(12) In The Arms of Sleep v. (13) To Sheila
(4) Tarantula v. (5) The End Is The Beginning Is The End
(4) Rhinoceros v. (12) Raindrops & Sunshowers
(4) Rocket v. (5) Eye


I'm going to skip the first "region" for now, and you'll see why in a sec. Let's start with the middle groups: 


(2) Disarm def. (10) Crestfallen
(2) Cherub Rock def. (10) Pug 

(10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans def. (2) Perfect 
(2) Zero def. (7) X.Y.U.

Perfect struggled in the first round, then gets picked off by Porcelina in the second. And it's a really good song. This only gets harder from here.



(11) Hello Kitty Kat def. (3) I Am One
(3) Siva def. (6) Geek U.S.A.
(6) Soma def. (14) For Martha 

(6) Starla def. (3) Thirty-Three 

Kitty Kat's run kontinues. In hindsight, I should have ranked For Martha much higher. The loss to Soma was a double-overtime thriller that made me tear out (what's left of) my hair. Most of these match-ups were incredibly difficult. I don't know why I'm doing this.


(13) To Sheila def. (12) In The Arms of Sleep
(4) Tarantula def. (5) The End Is The Beginning Is The End
(4) Rhinoceros def. (12) Raindrops & Sunshowers
(4) Rocket def. (5) Eye 


These battles were relatively easy. Eye is one of the Pumpkins' most unique tracks (and that's saying something) but Rocket is just kicking ass and taking names. 


And finally, the bracket-buster:

(8) Appels & Oranjes def. (1) 1979
(1) Today def. (8) 7 Shades of Black
(1) Tonight, Tonight def. (9) Stand Inside Your Love
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings def. (9) Heavy Metal Machine


I feel like I should explain this one: Appels & Oranjes (yes, that's how it's spelled) is one of my absolute favorite Pumpkins songs.. primarily because it sounds like a New Order song.
It feels wrong to knock out what is arguably the band's most well-known song in the second round; I can only assume that anyone who only knows a little bit about them knows 1979.. but I don't know what it's like to not be a Smashing Pumpkins super fan. Appels advances. Sorry, seventy nine. 


Your Smashing Pumpkins Sweet 16:
(4) Rhinoceros v. (8) Appels & Oranjes 
(1) Today v.
(4) Rocket
(1) Tonight, Tonight v. (13) To Sheila
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings v. (4) Tarantula

(2) Disarm v. (6) Soma 
(2) Cherub Rock v. (3) Siva 
(6) Starla v. (10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
(2) Zero  v.
(11) Hello Kitty Kat

At this point in the tournament I'm still trying to be fair and match-up similar sounding songs.. but I'm also becoming aware of the growing divide between songs I really love and songs I like a lot but aren't my absolute fave. It might lead to more low-seeds advancing than you'd see in the college basketball tournament, but I've got to be honest. Here we go:



(8) Appels & Oranjes def. (4) Rhinoceros 
(4) Rocket def. (1) Today 
(1) Tonight, Tonight def. (13) To Sheila
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings def. (4) Tarantula 

Case in point: top-seeded Today goes down. This was agonizingly close, both are personal faves. I'm not happy about losing another one of SP's biggest hits, but it just didn't have the stamina to take down Rocket. To Sheila was a Cinderella story, but it gets clobbered by Tonight, Tonight.


(2) Disarm def. (6) Soma 
(2) Cherub Rock def. (3) Siva 
(6) Starla def. (10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
(11) Hello Kitty Kat def. (2) Zero  


Cherub Rock and Starla move on without much difficulty. Hello Kitty Kat is folowing the old Jim Valvano motto: survive and advance. Zero isn't nearly as strong of a two seed as Disarm; the shirt was far more iconic than the song. 

  


As for Disarm...umph. It was agonizing trying to choose a winner between two of my very favorite songs off Siamese Dream. Soma is amazing - if you haven't heard it, you have to trust me. (Or just give it a listen.) Why am I doing this? This isn't fun anymore. 


Anyway, here's the Elite Eight:
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings v. (8) Appels & Oranjes
(1) Tonight, Tonight v. (4) Rocket  

(2) Disarm v. (11) Hello Kitty Kat
(2) Cherub Rock v. (6) Starla 


So, here's the deal: I can tell you that the top four Smashing Pumpkins based on chart/sales success, airplay, recognition, etc. are most likely 1979; Tonight, Tonight; Today and Bullet. That's why they were #1 seeds. If I could have a fifth #1 seed it would be Disarm. 


If I were to continue with this NCAA basketball-style tournament, the Final Four would be:

Appels & Oranjes; Rocket; Disarm; and Starla

But I'm not even sure those are my four favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs. Maybe I'd choose Bullet instead of Disarm. Or Tonight, Tonight. Or Soma. Gah...this is impossible!


Either way, the championship match would be between these two songs:







and





And I am not choosing a winner. I've made enough gut-wrenching decisions today.







~

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March (Music) Madness - Round One

This week my wife told me about something so awesome it actually made me miss Facebook. One of her Facebook groups for her favorite band Muse has made an NCAA basketball-style tournament out of the band's best tracks. Not sure who decided which songs should go where, but fans can vote on their favorite and decide the winner of March Muse Madness (incidentally, "Madness" is a Muse song...that was featured in a commercial for the NCAA Tournament a few years ago.) 
 



Unfortunately, because I'm not on Facebook I can't vote for my favorite Muse songs. So I decided to do some March Music Madness of my all-time favorite band, (The) Smashing Pumpkins. 

Here's how I did it: I made a list of 64 Pumpkins tracks, sorted them as objectively as possible by popularity, airplay, and general recognition... then matched them up tournament-style. I don't have brackets to illustrate the results, but here they are:

#1 seeds: 1979; Today; Tonight, Tonight; Bullet With Butterfly Wings
#16 seeds: Feelium; Depresso; Pulseczar; The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning

#2 seeds: Disarm; Cherub Rock; Perfect; Zero
#15 seeds: Jennifer Ever; Sun; Nothing and Everything; Slunk

#3 seeds: Thirty-Three; I Am One; Siva; Ava Adore
#14 seeds: For Martha; Snail; Soothe; To Forgive
 
#4 seeds: Landslide; Tarantula; Rhinoceros; Rocket
#13 seeds: To Sheila; Tear; Frail & Bedazzled; Thru The Eyes of Ruby

#5 seeds: The End Is The Beginning Is The End; Drown; Eye; Mayonnaise
#12 seeds: The Aeroplane Flies High; Quasar; In The Arms of Sleep; Raindrops & Sunshowers

#6 seeds: Soma; Geek U.S.A.; Bodies; Starla
#11 seeds: Bleeding The Orchid; Hello Kitty Kat; Silverf*ck; Bury Me

#7 seeds: X.Y.U.; Muzzle; Tristessa; The Everlasting Gaze
#10 seeds: Pug; Porcelina of the Vast Oceans; Crestfallen; Love

#8 seeds: Doomsday Clock; 7 Shades of Black; Jellybelly; Apples & Oranjes
#9 seeds: Stand Inside Your Love; That's The Way (My Love Is); Heavy Metal Machine; Quiet


That was hard! The first five seeds are either singles or songs that had a fair amount of airplay. After that I went with songs that seem to be popular with fellow Pumpkinheads and/or songs that I felt were more significant. Many of the last two seeds are early SP demos that didn't appear on any of their albums. 

As if this wasn't hard enough - I then had to choose which songs to 'face off' against each other. I didn't want to put my thumb on the scale and choose an easy match-up for a certain song I wanted to 'win'.. but with no one to oversee this, I didn't have any other opinions but my own. And so it played out thusly:

All the #1 seeds advance: 1979; Today; Tonight, Tonight; Bullet With Butterfly Wings

The 8/9 match-ups: 
(9) Heavy Metal Machine def. (8) Doomsday Clock
(8) 7 Shades of Black def. (9) Quiet
(9) Stand Inside Your Love def. (8) Jellybelly
(8) Apples & Oranjes def. (9) That's The Way (My Love Is)

Quiet v. 7 Shades was very close. I really had to think about that one.


All the #2 seeds advance: Disarm; Cherub Rock; Perfect; Zero
Though I really like Jennifer Ever and Sun.. let's say one of them gave Perfect a fight

The 7/10 match-ups: 
(7) X.Y.U. def. (10) Love
(10) Crestfallen def. (7) Muzzle
(10) Pug def. (7) Tristessa
(10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans def. (7) The Everlasting Gaze

Ouch. Only the gritty, heavy-metal X.Y.U. holds serve against some of my favorite album tracks.

The 3/14 match-ups:
(3) I Am One def. (14) Snail
(3) Siva def. (14) To Forgive
(14) For Martha def. (3) Ava Adore
(3) Thirty-Three def. (14) Soothe

The upset special! I like For Martha (and about five other tracks off Adore) a lot more than the album's title(ish) track, which was a moderately successful single. I Am One very nearly suffered the same fate.. but the Pumpkins' first single survived on a buzzer beater.

The 6/11 match-ups:
(6) Soma def. (11) Bury Me
(11) Hello Kitty Kat def. (6) Bodies
(6) Geek U.S.A. def. (11)
Bleeding The Orchid
(6) Starla def. (11) Silverf**k

When choosing which songs to match-up against each other I tried to pick two that sounded similar. I may have done that a little too well with the one upset; Bodies features one of my all-time favorite lyrics ("Love is suicide") .. yet it still loses to a b-side.

The 4/13 match-ups:
(13) To Sheila def. (4) Landslide
(4) Tarantula def. (13) Tear
(4) Rhinoceros def. (13) Thru The Eyes of Ruby
(4) Rocket def. (13)
Frail & Bedazzled

Landslide is a wild-card since it's a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song. It's probably an unfair result, but I feel more of an emotional attachment to the perfect summer night ballad that is To Sheila.

The 5/12 match-ups:
(5) The End Is The Beginning Is The End def. (12) The Aeroplane Flies High
(12) In The Arms of Sleep def. (5) Drown
(5) Eye def.
(12) Quasar
(12) Raindrops & Sunshowers def. (5) Mayonnaise

The first and last battles were very close; all the 12 seeds except Quasar had a legit chance of advancing.

Here are the match-ups for the second round:
(1) 1979 v. (8) Apples & Oranjes
(1) Today v. (8) 7 Shades of Black
(1) Tonight, Tonight v. (9) Stand Inside Your Love
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings v. (9) Heavy Metal Machine

(2) Disarm v. (10) Crestfallen
(2) Cherub Rock v. (10) Pug
(2) Perfect v. (10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
(2) Zero v. (7) X.Y.U.
 
(3) I Am One v. (11) Hello Kitty Kat
(3) Siva v. (6) Geek U.S.A.
(6) Soma v. (14) For Martha
(3) Thirty-Three v. (6) Starla
 
(12) In The Arms of Sleep v. (13) To Sheila
(4) Tarantula v. (5) The End Is The Beginning Is The End
(4) Rhinoceros v. (12) Raindrops & Sunshowers
(4) Rocket v. (5) Eye


If anyone is interested in this madness, I'll play out the rest of the tournament on Monday (and I'll embed the videos of the Final Four.)  Hope you all have a great weekend!



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