100 Favorite Songs: 91-95

Second to last.

91. “Every Moment” by Rogue Wave (2004)

Brevity with a solid beat.

10 extra points for the Mormon shoutout.

92. “So Far Away” by Carol King (1971)

5th grade was the year after my BFF moved away, the year that my ultimate elementary school love moved away, and the year I questioned God's existence. In other words, I spent that year depressed, but Carole King's Tapestry on repeat helped. "So Far Away" is one of my favorite songs on the album.

They're all so little!

93. “The Things We Do For Love” by 10cc (1977)

Let's cheer up with a perfectly written pop song, "The Things We Do For Love." The chord progression in the bridge is so good. And what is it about a piano that automatically makes a pop song that much bouncier and awesome?

Good effort with the live vocal harmonies, fellas.

94. “I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles (1966)

Oh, John. Sleep is fantastic. Here's the incredibly true and catchy song as the Beatles defeat a dragon (song starts about 2:00).


95. “Superstar” by The Carpenters (1971, original "Groupie (Superstar)" written in 1969 by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell)

Such a lovely melody and deep voice.

A chorus I'm not afraid to bust out on all occasions.


Grit, glamor, and historicity

Chinatown (1974) does an amazing thing: combines the glamor of 1930s costume with more modern camera techniques. In this way, the film becomes both an homage to the noir films that inspired it, but also comes into its own. It brings more grit with handheld cameras and long naturally choreographed takes that bring the film closer to reality. I appreciated this approach because it created a film that felt like the time period it was trying to portray, but in a way that could only happen with advancement in technology, not to mention the lifting of censorship.

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Too many times have I seen films that seem to be overtly trying for a time period. An obvious example would be The Wedding Singer (1998), which screams everything obvious and horrible about the 80s (granted, this was kind of the point and what added humor to the movie).

Perhaps a better comparison to Chinatown is 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which also takes place in the 30s. Temple of Doom tries so hard to look 30s glamor at the beginning, that it in fact just looks 80s. I guess in this case the movie showcases the view of historicity that texts (films, etc.) are more representative of their own time period than the period they are trying to tell about. An interesting concept, but I find it annoyingly distracting when a time period is aimed for SO MUCH.

Honestly, there is no excuse for that harpy Willie and her ruby red dress.

It's just so 30s, you know? (I hate Spielberg and Lucas so much for letting this character happen).

Here, I'll give you subtle costuming from Chinatown to wash your brain of that travesty:

Anyway, what do you think? Do you have any movies that bother you because they are TOO costume-y?

Also, I find 70s and 90s "period films" to be the most timeless looking (based on a quick top-of-my-brain assessment that included Little Women and The Godfather). Is that totally off-base?


Cannonball Read #15: The Martian Chronicles

When I first read Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles in high school, it blew my mind. This time I read it, and I was only mildly interested. The ideas weren't enriched by years of life experience so much as became overwrought. The book consists of several short stories (some were previously published in magazines, etc.) that give different perspectives of life on Mars, from Martians to earth men. Men first come to Mars to explore, and then to flee the violence on earth, and then leave because a great war has broken out on earth (solidarity, I guess).

Although some of my lackluster second reading has to do with how dated I found the book this time. Obviously the story ("Way in the Middle of the Air") involving all the black people in the south fleeing oppressive white bosses is dated in the 40s-era it was originally written. But more dated to me was the lack of imagination Bradbury had for gender roles. I mean, even the Martian women are homemakers that live at the whim of their husband's decisions. Sure, some of the women are given some sass or an equal relationship with their husband, but the vast majority of the stories involved little female influence (especially the stories about space expedition crews). The story that had the most colorful female character was "The Silent Towns" where all the earth people have gone back to earth for the great war except one man and one woman. Unfortunately for the man (who was waiting for his 7 Brides for 7 Brothers kind of wife), the woman is overweight (now that everyone who told her to watch what she ate is gone) and waaay to eager to get married, so the man chooses to be alone. Haha?

Plus, the story I remember loving the most the first time, "Usher II," seemed kind of douchey pretentious. It's about a rich guy getting revenge for all the stolen books/movies that were censored (Fahrenheit 451-style) by killing the government agents involved. Although I was still amused by the Poe-inspired deaths, it just wasn't as hilarious as the first time I read it.

Things I still loved? The stories that involved earth men falling in love with Mars and wanting to protect it. "--And the Moon Be Still As Bright" tells the story of an archaeologist, Spendor, who ends up using violence against his own crew to protect the freshly vacated Martian towns. I understood the man's need to protect such beautiful things from those who wouldn't get it. Also, "The Green Morning" about Mars' Johnny Appleseed also struck me with its aloneness and awe at an empty planet.

All in all, it's a good collection of stories that explore what humans would do to a new planet using evidence of past conquests. I like its mosaic style of storytelling, the way different perspectives put together a more holistic view of the overall story. The Martian Chronicles is a pretty good read.

100 Favorite Songs: 86-90


86. “Tempted” by Squeeze (1981)

Blue-eyed soul!

I always try to find a live rendition of the song close to when the song was released. I feel like songs lose their immediacy the more times they've been played, you can see that especially in bands that have been touring for years. In other words, the best thing I could find is this music video:

I love when they break it down with different vocalists/octaves.

87. “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harem (1967)

Mmmm. Organ.

Ultimate goal in life: play this song on a church organ.

88. “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers (1997)

A good, solid rock song.

Jakob Dylan: totally a fox.

89. “Dreaming of You” by Selena (1995)

I've seen the movie Selena (1997) about a millions times which has contributed to my undying love of both Jennifer Lopez and this song. I just can't fight it.

Actual Selena footage starts at about 2:20:

This is the end of the movie...is you couldn't tell.

90. “The Bachelor and the Bride” by The Decemberists (2003)

This is a pretty creepy song, but deliciously so. And I love the bass line of this song. Also, more organ.

I would like to thank Decemberists fans for not being annoyingly loud.


In case you were wondering

I've been in SoCal for the last week visiting my friend Shauna, and subsequently being adopted into her circle of friends. But fear not, faithful reader. I took some ridiculously touristy pictures in LA that I will share with you:

This is me awkwardly standing in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

A kind of blurry picture of Clark "So Manly in a Mustache" Gable's square.

A pretty great picture of William "Beautifully Sarcastic and also has a Mustache" Powell's square.

Shauna and RDJ. 'nuff said.

Me with another old school actor square, the lovely and deep-voiced Gregory Peck's.

Shauna's hands are the same size as Bing Crosby's. Wowza!


I took this picture of gargantuan Jim Morrison at Venice Beach. You're welcome.


100 Favorite Songs: 81-85

The one with the surprise ending.

81. “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee (1976)

I can't resist a fabulous duet.

Best or worst promotional video ever?

82. “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor (1970)

Written for James Taylor's nephew James, this song is a perfect lullaby.

Incredibly weird to see him so young.

83. “Cocaine Blues” by Johnny Cash (1968) (written by T.J. "Red" Arnall in 1947)

I think this would be the perfect campfire song.

It's just so fun to sing along to, really.

84. “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton (1975)

Yes. Peter Frampton. It's a good song, okay?

And at least I didn't choose this version.

Also, wikipedia tells me it was written by Bob Marley so...face.

85. “Fast Cars and Freedom” by Rascal Flatts (2005)

Once again outing myself as a lover of cheesy cheesy songs. I cannot resist a good pop song, even if it's got a splash or 12 of country.

You have to admit these fellas sound good live.


100 Favorite Songs: 76-80

I'm representing all styles today.

76. “Take Me On” by a-ha (1985)

I'm usually not a big fan of falsetto, but when it's used so shamelessly, I can't help but love it. Especially with that sweet, sweet synth line.

Lead singer: A pompadoured Norm McDonald?

77. “How Deep Is Your Love” by The Bee Gees (1977)

Anyone how knows me well knows that I love some really cheesy crap despite efforts to seem cool. Anyway, one of those really cheesy things is the Bee Gees. I love "How Deep Is Your Love" so much. Mosst of that has to do with "And you come to me on a summer breeze" section that might be second bridge because there seems to be more than one, but it doesn't really matter because the entire melody is just so good.

And 2/3 of the group are bearding up. Bonus points!

78. “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley & the Wailers (1974)

I really could have put any of the songs off of the Legend compilation, but "No Woman No Cry" is just all encompassing: organ, background singers, politics, nostalgia. Lovely.

I love that you can find live stuff like this on YouTube.

79. “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger (1978)

I don't think I could resist someone playing this song on a boombox right outside my bedroom window (that currently faces the neighbor's fence). Especially if that person had an epic Bob Seger beard.


80. “You Were Mine” by The Dixie Chicks (1998)

People may complain about how gloomy country music can be, but there are times you just want to be sad, you know? Here, the Dixie Chicks give us some sad mixed with some vitriol.

Oh, dear. How do their outfits look so dated already?


June 30th, y'all

So finals week, right? As usual, I'm failing at studying/doing final projects, and am instead on the internet writing nonsense because I'm not even wasting time study time on reading books or watching movie to review. You know what I did tonight instead? Watched the trailer for Eclipse. That's right. The third movie in the "Twilight Saga."

OMG dull. By far this is most painful book I've ever endured, if only because it's SO LONG. I've discussed reasons why before, but overall, I think the story would be so much better if it was, oh, about 2 scenes long. In fact, let me write them for you.

Scene 1


EDWARD is standing in his usual stalking place in the corner while BELLA sleeps. BELLA wakes up.

What the hell? I thought I asked you to stop doing that.

But you seemed so complacent about developing a healthy relationship before. I didn't dare think you were serious about not wanting me to stalk you at night.

Just stop it, okay? Go home and not sleep somewhere else.


Recycling lines? Really?

It's a good point.


I'll give you that.

EDWARD awkward starts staring at BELLA'S head. She sticks a pillow over her head to avert his gaze.

What? You used to love staring into my perfect eyes that are attached to my marble and Adonis-like body.

Well, it's kind of boring, okay?


You've obviously lost a lot of social skills over the last century, what with not interacting with people normally. I mean, no wonder you're going out with a high schooler: the ultimate awkward. You just wanted to be with someone even less well-adjusted than you.

EDWARD takes a moment to contemplate this.

Until tonight I have never known myself. It's as if a new person seems to be talking through you.

It's telling that you're more or less quoting Cecil Vyse.

Daniel Day-Lewis is a great actor.

Which is why he played the snobby, turn of the century nerd so well.

They share a blank look.

Anyway, we should break up. I'm sick of seeing your face. Also, you are cold.

Fair enough.

He jumps out the window. BELLA mutters under her breath as she has to get out of bed and close the window herself.

Scene 2

JACOB and BELLA are standing standing in the wood like they do.

Well, I broke up with Edward.

You did?

Yeah, so do you, like, want to hang out?

BELLA bites her lip because she is played by Kristen Stewart.

First, let me ask you this: are you going to use me as a both metaphorical and literal sun, seeing as I have a higher than average temperature?

Yes. No. Maybe? Can we never use that metaphor again?

Oh, thank God. That was getting old. Look, let's go ride motorcycles.

Sorry. That reminds me of when I was hallucinating about Edward because I was severely mentally unbalanced and more than a little bit depressed.

It was pretty weird how you never left that chair.

Yeah, my dad's making me see a therapist now, like he should have in the first place because when your teenage daughter is that depressed about a really boring boy, you should probably seek help, you know?


JACOB and BELLA continue to stand in the woods.

Well, we could try something normal and teenagery like eat disgusting food at Denny's.

There isn't a Denny's near here.

There's not?

You keep forgetting that Forks is a terrible place to live.

These delusions have been so inconvenient. Well, let's see...


Do you or do you not own some sort of video game console?


Mario Kart?

You're on.

They somehow reach JACOB'S house from the middle of the woods and play dorky video games. It is infinitely more endearing and interesting than anything that happens in Eclipse.


You're welcome.


100 Favorite Songs: 71-75

Soul with mellow, stadium, and glam rock.

71. “Swingtown” by The Steve Miller Band (1977)

Mellowest band ever?

Unfortunately I couldn't find young Steve Miller Band footage, so have some vinyl instead.

72. “Ballroom Blitz” by The Sweet (1973)

I love some theatrical in my rock. The "I see a man in the back" section is the best.

The "Are you ready, Steve?" shoutout is pretty great, too.

73. “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green (1971)

It's great song.

That blazer is all kinds of excellent.

74. “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding (1966)


Here's Otis Redding and many members of the Bar-Kays' last television appearance:

Mini-skirt dress.

75. “Heat of the Moment” by Asia (1982)

Again, I can't control my love of epic 80s rock songs. Sorry.

It's just so epic, you know?


100 Favorite Songs: 66-70

I...don't know.

66. “Mushaboom” by Feist (2004)

Sometimes Feist is a little too twee/hipster for me to really like, but this song is all the adorableness in the world in under 4 minutes.

Cute cute cute.

67. “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye (1973)

The best part about working at Burgerville was setting the jukebox to "Let's Get It On" at least twice a shift.

Too sexy for clothes, apparently.

68. “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger (1984)

Yeah. I went there.

If you must know, mostly because the build up to the chorus is perfection.

Proof that emotional investment is directly tied to how much you sweat.

69. “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” by Phil Collins (1984)

Simple melody, great vocal performance, heartbreaking devastation.

How good does this sound live? Phil, you're great.

70. “King of Pain” by The Police (1983)

I love that the melody on the first chorus becomes the harmony to the rest. Also, I love Sting.

So many shorts.


100 Favorite Songs: 61-65

Dear Past Kelsy,

What a great selection of songs. You have great taste!

Future Kelsy

61. “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” by Billy Joel (1977)

ack ACK ACK ACK!!!! Right?

This just looks fun.

62. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins (1995)

The drums and bassline on this song--great.

Is there anything cooler than a female bassist?

63. “We Work the Black Seam” by Sting (1985)

This song is strangely addictive with its blend of social consciousness and inaccurate science.

A fun practice/live version.

64. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 (1983)

Also known as the only U2 song I like. It's pretty powerful stuff, helped by the fact that Bono hadn't become the pretentious message-bearer he's become today.

The black and white style makes this even more timeless.

65. “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys (1966)

The Beach Boys not singing about surfing is my favorite. When they use their powers of sweet harmonies for a gorgeous singles like this, perfection.

Mmmm, lip synching.


Cannonball Read #14: Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

I always wish I watched more old movies. Almost all old movies with a reputation for being awesome are really that awesome. But I've seen even less of the silent movie era, only seeing a handful of well known classics like The Passion of Joan of Arc (yes, it is as awesome as its reputation holds). So when I saw Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture, I had to check it out from the library. Essentially a text book of of the early days of cinema, it's an easy read with plenty of pictures to illustrate the gorgeous cinematography and artfully painted posters that advertised these films.

One of my favorite things about this book was how much of cinema culture that we know and love (to hate?) today was established by the 1920s. Film was at first just a way to make money, with quickly made nickelodeon movies and eventually two-reelers churned out quickly for the middle- and lower-classes. Obviously that still exists today, with most films mostly released to entertain rather than enlighten or enrich. I especially loved the section on Cecil D. DeMille in the director chapter, which essentially described him as a money-grubbing hack who embraced spectacle much to the chagrin and disapppointment of critics. Right there in the 1920s there was the precursor to Michael Bay. All this has happened before; all this will happen again.

And while the book repeatedly points out that there were as many mediocre and terrible movies as there are today, it also emphasizes (even more) the artistry developed in the early days as well. I think it's easy to think most of the fast editing and montaging seen so often today as new and contemporary when it was quickly established as methods of storytelling when the technology was still developing. Also, plenty of movie stills shown through the book showed just how beautifully these films were shot--it's just bad copies are often what's left today.

And that's where Silent Movies is headed: the preservation of early silent films. So many are lost due to neglect from studios or from self-destruction of the highly flammable film stock used so often in the early days. But it's fascinating to take a look at the culture--even just the way filmmakers wanted to portray the culture--and to look at the artistry--which is incredible what many early filmmakers were able to do. It's an incredible heritage and history that's worth preserving.

For the Love of Film blogathon also promotes this goal: check out some of the posts.


More horrifying advertisements on Pandora

So I'm trying to revise a paper, and THIS pops up on Pandora:

Really? Is that a look now/still? We're still not over short skirts over leggings, with a dash of arbitrary belt? And don't forget the short faux-leather jacket? Correct me if I'm wrong, that look hasn't been "punk" since 1980 or so. It wasn't punk when I was in high school between 2001-2005, and it still isn't getting punker.

I guess the hair is new. Is this day over yet?

100 Favorite Songs: 56-60

Music of the '70s, '90s, and today!

56. “Bad Company” by Bad Company (1974)

I love anything that sounds like a grizzled drifter.

I love that the drummer is the only one bringing the crazy, while every one else mellowly goes about their work.

57. “Evil Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra (1975)

Strings + rock = fabulous combination. Also, fun falsetto.

Who knew Jeff Lynne had eyes?

58. “Paper Bag” by Fiona Apple (1999)

So many things to love: horn section, angry girl lyrics, and a melody in my range.

Happy birthday, Daddy?

59. “The Heart of Life” by John Mayer (2006)

I enjoy the inherent contradiction of playing an electric guitar gently like an accoustic, but I think it benefits this song. It gives the cheesiness with an edge that supports the song's lyrics.

I recommend this song for epic emotional breakdowns.

60. “Chop ‘em Down” by Matisyahu (2004)

Live at Stubb's is one of those albums I bought on a whim and have never regretted it. I'm tragically undereducated about Matisyahu's other work, but I love this guy live.

I will never be able to look at Matisyahu and not think of my sister's fiance.