Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Thu 2 Jul 2009 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Food & drink, Music

Is there a Pizza Hut-Taco Bell on Jamaica Avenue?

I’m at the Pizza Hut! I’m at the Taco Bell! I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell!

I can’t explain why that stoner refrain is so darn catchy, but it cannot be denied. Give a listen to the Das Racist song “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (Wallpaper Remix).” You can play it here (MP3) or here (Pitchfork) or here (YouTube).

I don’t know if this song will be a hit, but it begs the question: Is there really a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell on Jamaica Avenue in Queens? Yes. There is. It’s now been immortalized in song. Here it is on Google Street View: (more…)

Sat 30 May 2009 3:06 pm   //   Posted in: Music, No right to be good

In defense of schmaltz and tourist attractions

Two items for the no-right-to-be-good file:

  • Brad Paisley. I’m not supposed to like country music. I’m not the target demo. In fact, I’m programmed to hate it. Pre-fab corporate schmaltz wrapped in the American flag hits all my cynicism buttons. But for some reason, I enjoy putting a country channel on when I’m cooking or driving, and lately I’ve grown fond of Brad Paisley songs. The other day I nearly teared up when “Letter to Me” came on. Now at this point in the blog, I should get analytical, right? I should be doing research on whatever Nashville machine manufactured it, or parsing what my fondness for this music says about me. But I’m not. I’m just going to say I enjoy it, because it’s good.
  • South Street Seaport. Yes, the shopping mall in Lower Manhattan. The one where dozens of coach buses unload hundreds of tourists every day. The one with a Pizzaria Uno and a kiosk where you can have your name etched on a grain of rice. In other words, the most un-New York place in New York, if not the worst place in the whole universe. However, the Seaport happens to be built on a pier over the East River. And in a stroke of genius, there’s a deck on the far side of the complex with what might be the best view in the whole city (easily in the top five). Few things are as relaxing on a summer evening as buying a Coke in the Seaport food court, claiming a chaise lounge on the deck, and gazing out at Brooklyn while boats go by.

Thu 14 May 2009 7:19 am   //   Posted in: Music, Videos

Go folk yourself

I’m not sure what to make of the explosion of ukulele artists and homemade folk music acts on YouTube, but there’s definitely something real going on. Is it really so great that everyone can be a novelty music act? Are we going to be a nation of Weird Als? Doesn’t somebody actually have to create original stuff before the bored kids of the world can chew it over, mash it up, and record the parody kazoo version?

Eh. Whatever it is, let’s welcome it. If Glenn Beck gets his own show on national TV, then the guy with the kazookeylele deserves to be heard, too. Thank you, Internet, for giving homemade trash culture as loud a megaphone as mass-produced trash culture!

Mon 11 May 2009 8:56 pm   //   Posted in: Music

The saddest song ever written

A lot of things don’t make any sense. One of them is the persistence of the 1977 Jimmy Buffett song “Margaritaville.” The lyrics tell the following tale:

I may look relaxed as I play guitar on my porch, but don’t let my appearance fool you. I have been drunk for three months. I have lost the few simple things I had. I got so wasted that I got a tattoo of a Mexican woman and I don’t remember why. My sandals disintegrated and my foot is bleeding. The only thing I have to live for is the alcohol. And the sorriest part of my story? This sad descent into depression isn’t due to bad luck. Nor is it because a woman broke my heart. It’s a consequence of my own poor choices. And I have to live with that.

Yet people don’t think of “Margaritaville” as a lonely ballad of personal anguish. It’s the party anthem for every trip to the beach! It’s so popular at concerts that it has its own sing-along chant. And it’s a multi-million-dollar marketing concept, complete with a chain of theme restaurants. It’s surely one of the most lucrative recordings in pop music, in the same league as “White Christmas” and “I’m Proud To Be An American.” And even now, that easy tune is probably stuck in your head, and putting you in a good mood.

Seriously, does anything in life make sense?

Fri 24 Apr 2009 8:00 pm   //   Posted in: Music, Videos

Rude, and also hilarious

This is the new Eminem music video for “We Made You,” which is brilliant, despite being the most un-PC thing you’ll see today. (Aside: Pharmaceutical companies should pay for product placements in his songs, if they don’t already.)

Sat 28 Mar 2009 3:25 pm   //   Posted in: Music

So long, and thanks for the free songs

Music magazine Blender magazine folded this week. A moment of silence for those who lost their jobs.

Okay, moment over. Blender, you might know, packaged a bunch of free MP3 downloads for its readers each month. The magazine may be gone, but you can still download the last three issue’s worth of free music online. With any free music sampler, about 1 track out of 10 is good. Which means if you download all 41 free Blender songs, you might find four songs you like!

Free songs from Blender’s April issue.

Free songs from Blender’s March issue.

Free songs from Blender’s February issue.

Thu 26 Mar 2009 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: Music, Transit

In search of the perfect Manhattan Bridge song

It takes four minutes for a New York City subway train to cross the Manhattan Bridge. I usually listen to music and take in the view as we soar over East River. After countless express trips between Brooklyn and Manhattan, I’ve been wondering: Is there a perfect four-minute song to play on the ride?

Here’s my current favorite: “All Will Be Well” by The Gabe Dixon Band. The song is the right length and its gentle reassurance is perfect for starting and ending the day. You can play the song here and download it on iTunes, etc.

Wed 25 Mar 2009 12:00 pm   //   Posted in: Hard times, Music

John Rich, Detroit, and the culture of blame

There’s a country song out right now called “Shutting Detroit Down.” It’s a sad song by a singer-songwriter named John Rich about the economic crisis in Detroit. And it’s good! Except for one line in the chorus:

“While they’re living up on Wall Street
In that New York City town
Here in the real world they’re
Shutting Detroit down”

I don’t want to hear your damn song blaming Detroit’s problems on New York. There are no car companies in New York. The rusting of Detroit (and Cleveland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Gary, etc.) is a decades-old story about Amercia’s shift away from a manufacturing economy. Kid Rock and Eminem have been singing sad songs about Detroit for ten years. “Roger and Me” came out in 1989.

That said, the economic crisis is bad and calls for a little populist outrage. Go ahead and blame financial services companies for the credit crisis. But to your list of cities to hate, add Seattle (Washington Mutual) and Charlotte (Wachovia, Bank of America). Do you think people are “living it up” in Seattle and Charlotte?

Here in this New York City town, 270,000 people are expected to lose their jobs. These are working people with bills to pay. I’ve watched several of my friends get laid off. City services are stressed, storefronts are going dark, and a feeling of malaise is settling over Gotham.

Detroit deserves a sad country song, and its people deserve help from places that are better off. But nobody’s climbing out of this hole if we keep blaming the other people in it.

Tue 3 Mar 2009 8:00 am   //   Posted in: Music, Videos

Just because

I don’t feel like writing another post about the sorry state of things. I feel like watching a kick-ass Weezer video!

Fri 27 Feb 2009 8:07 am   //   Posted in: Hard times, In the news, Music

The last CD store

Virgin Megastore is closing its locations in Times Square, Union Square and San Francisco.

I have spent many hours in the Virgin Megastore, because it’s near my office and it’s a reliable place near a big subway stop to meet up with friends. With all those movies and CDs and listening stations, it’s a fabulous store for wasting time. However, I can’t remember the last time I actually bought something there. So now we know you can’t run a store on the free-content model, either.