Title Comment Comment Date Comment Link
My Top Rock Songs

Very nice, I would agree with a lot of these. IMO "Won't Get Fooled Again" is really the ultimate rock song. To me it represents the raw and rebellious sound of rock the best. I would say "Radio Radio" by Elvis Costello also deserves a spot. They stand next to the classics like "Break On Through" and "Purple Haze". However this list seems to have a pretty leinient definition of 'rock' given that "Sea Song" and "Why Don't You Eat Carrots" are there? What exactly are you using as your definition of rock - is it as broad as to say, anything non-classical and non-electronic? Anything with guitar and drums? I mean I don't know how to define 'rock' really, but it does bring to mind many of the songs on this list. In my mind it is generally as broad a definition as 'pop' music, which could describe 90% of what I listen to...

8/25/2008 View
Videogame reviews, 2008

Do videogames really disappoint you? If so why are you playing so many of them?

Obviously it's your scale and I'm not saying you should do it differently, or whatever, but I just don't really get the logic behind grading games based on a scale where the upper 1/3 is unattainable given what's out already. By saying that the current most artistic game deserves a 6.4, then you somehow know a video game's artistic capacity is exactly 3.6 more points on the scale, after which they can get no better. Out of curiosity how did you come up with that number?

8/22/2008 View
Greatest Rock Vocalists

I don't think Gary Numan needs to go to something more Ian Curtis-ian...in my mind he's one of the most original vocalists in rock music, why should he try to emulate a different one? As for Mark - I see what you're saying, but I've always thought he was genuine as well. If you ever read an interview with members of Devo they come across exactly as you'd think they would from the albums.

Now I don't mean to say that Doughty's delivery was hard to understand, but it's definietely a sound that takes getting used to. I haven't really heard anyone like it (there are those who have a similar delivery, but I never really get any meaning behind it like I do with Soul Coughing)

8/22/2008 View
50 Albums I Really Should Get Sometime

I liked the write-ups, good to see you enjoyed Kimono My House, that album is perhaps the best dance-pop album ever made, there's just nothing else like it. For a very cheery-sounding album it hits really hard with some great instrumental work. It's just one of those albums where they get everything right.

Anyways I don't know if you've heard of it but I would definitely tell you to check out Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool album, which was recently reissued. Lowe was Elvis Costello's producer for the first five albums and was a part of Rockpile. It's one of the best pop albums I've ever heard - it's more or less based on the radio hits of the era (now called "classic rock"), but with all honesty I'd say Lowe bangs out at least half a dozen classics out right there. This was my best album discovery of the last few months...if you don't believe me look it up on the internet!

8/19/2008 View
_Masterpieces Of Television... According To Me_

I read this list and thought the same thing. I think Seinfeld and the Simpsons are the two I would add first. You reeeeally ought to start watching it (okay I guess this was written a while back, so maybe you have already) - not only is it hilarious, but the humor has dated very well.

Glad to see Sifl and Olly getting its due - seriously who would even ever mention that show? If you like that show I would suggest The Flight of the Conchords, it's the same style of humor and of course all the episodes have 2-3 musical numbers.

Speaking of which I've really come to like some of the S&O song material - few bands (outside of like early, early TMBG) have made music like this with just keyboards and a drum machine. It's a great sound!

8/15/2008 View
Greatest Rock Vocalists

Karl Hyde: It depends what you're listening to. I don't think the genre particularly lends itself to vocals but he really makes it work. If you haven't heard it try "Dirty Epic", which is generally the UW song that the "real" fans point to as being one of their best. "Skyscraper" is another good one.

Gary Numan: Indeed that is the point. I see that as being pretty powerful. There aren't many people who naturally sound so cold. His later, more goth-like material DOES show emotion (notably anger) which suits him well.

Mark Mothersbaugh: What does he have to learn from Byrne? I think the music is similar but the messages are different. That does remind me I would add Byrne to my list.

Bjork: I'm surprised that I don't see her on any of the Scaruffi/st's lists. Indeed I think it's her raw emotion that comes through without much consideration towards particular tunefulness. I never quite know what she's on about but it IS very emotionally powerful, and there's always a certain unpredictability to her that's really intriguing. Regardless Scaruffi says some pretty harsh things...

Tim Smith: Just out of curiosity what have you heard from him? I ask because it would be honestly surprising to me if you heard of Cardiacs anywhere besides from me given they're pretty obscure (unfortunately!), and their albums are out of print - also you have said you don't like illegal file sharing, so I'm guessing you have watched some of their live performances on youtube? (Correct me if I'm wrong) I do see what you're saying, but I think he's just too far out to really understand sometimes. A few of his songs come across as really powerful though (try "Dirty Boy" if you can find a good recording).

Mike Doughty: I don't know, I've never gotten the sense that his emotions don't come through. I always thought he was a particularly great vocalist that did a great job at getting people involved with the songs. For example I have no doubt that "True Dreams of Wichita" really MEANS something. I think his delivery takes some getting used to though.

8/15/2008 View
Videogame reviews, 2008

Perhaps it's the criteria of art that's making me confused. Whenever I think of a videogame as art I think of how the mechanics get the player involved. When a game puts me on the edge of my seat and actually makes me forget I have a controller in my hand, to me, that's art. The reason why I don't think these really compare to film or music is that music is generally judged on the principles of art rather than entertainment.

Which is why you may be waiting a loooong time for the 'work of art' game that is cinematically and philosophically powerful, completely original, etc. etc. Game delevopers will always focus on mechanics, strategy, and fun factor before trying to make something 'artful'. Stuff like Metal Gear Solid is kind of the exception though. I don't think it's quite accurate to say today's video games are parallel to "Birth of Nation". I'm not exactly sure what great innovation you're expecting that's going to put video games in the 8-9 rating category.

8/15/2008 View
Best Albums of the 00's & 10's

"Neon Bible-Arcade Fire 7.25/10 [probably, haven't yet heard entire album so rating is estimated and not final]"

Just wondering, how many times do you listen to those 'popular' albums before assigning ratings? You yourself say you have to listen to these albums several times before you can 'get' them...

8/14/2008 View
Greatest Rock Vocalists

Ahhh, nice list (although your picks generally mirror your 'greatest albums' list so it's kind of predictable). My picks would be something like:

Karl Hyde (Underworld): I love his deep and expressive voice, and I think he's got a great range. Still I think it's more of what the group DOES with it that makes it work. AFAIK almost none of the electronic bands that cropped up in the 90's had a vocalist, and those that did were nowhere near this guy.

Terry Hall: He always struck me as a man who has gone through a hard life but he really can sing.

Peter Hammill: Over the top to the point of ridiculousness, his vocals make me laugh, but they're also quite powerful. If nothing else I get the impression that HE believes in what he's singing.

Gary Numan: A lot of the New Wave bands would try to make their voices seem without emotion to emulate sort of a 'robotic' sound. Numan didn't have to do this on purpose - his voice was naturally cold and metallic. Maybe the most unique voice of that era.

Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo): Very nervous and jumpy, but it was very distinct. Again there is no one who sounds like this guy.

Greg Lake: The ultimate prog vocalist as far as I'm concerned. Probably sings too much on-key for your tastes though.

Jello Biafra: I'm not even a DK fan, but I think this guy really made them who they were. Sarcastic and biting, Jello sounded more like a game show host than a punk singer. It really worked though.

Bjork: I know, shut up. I like her! Hard to think of many people (short of Tim Buckley) who are more expressive then she is, or even willing to try. Definietely someone with a big range who insists on using it all, sometimes during the same song.

Tim Smith (Cardiacs): He's a loony, but he really can sing, and he makes even the most ridiculous lyrics come to life. A great frontman for a great band.

Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing): Hard to name him as he doesn't even sing too much, but his beat poet-inspired delivery is unlike anyone else. It's a combination of the vocals and the lyrics that make this guy so effecting. Really wears his emotions on his sleeve.

8/14/2008 View
Videogame reviews, 2008

Or, perhaps he DOES like games, but the rating system makes no sense. For example:

Its innovative use of scripted sequences and its lack of level breaks provide a sharp break from the less immersive experiences of past first-person shooters. I still remember playing the Uplink and thinking, "Holy shit, this is a whole new kind of game."

Final rating? "Meh".

8/14/2008 View
Best Albums of the 00's & 10's

I know you meant that when referring to THAT album. But the very idea that you were willing to rate an album without hearing it all made me ask.

So are you willing to give an unchallenging but really great album a 9.0 rating after just one listen?

I tend to see things the other way. First time I heard Trout Mask I thought it was brilliant and bizarre, I loved it. If I had to rate it I'd give it 5 stars right there. Upon listening 15 or so more times it doesn't really evoke the same feelings as when it was 'fresh' and now I don't really have the urge to hear it anymore. Whereas many non-challenging albums like Kid A took several listens before I really started to like them. On first listen I can usually make a guess as to how I'll like it, but many times they're wrong - it usually takes me at least 3-4 listens before I know exactly. I know you didn't like the last album I recommended you, but personally it took me a few listens before I liked it short of the second track.

8/14/2008 View
Videogame reviews, 2008

If games like Okami aren't aimed at being art then what is? I mean it's ridiculous to rate them on the same scale as film or music based but give them lower ratings since you think that there will be better ones coming along. That's why the Scaruffists on here never rate an album 10/10, but leaving the upper third of the rating scale to waste for what 'could be' is confusing. It seems odd that these people can insist that we listen to their favorite albums over and over until we like them, and yet lukeprog tosses off [No] ratings to games he hasn't even played.

Now if he's comparing them to albums, this means that there is not a single video game CLOSE to being 'as good as', say, Dead Kennedies debut album.

Comparing them to the film ratings makes more sense, but I think games have evolved to the point where graphics are nearly perfect and thus most games that can be imagined can be made. They could evolve to include more (such as VR) but then they're way above the scope of a movie anyway. I mean we don't know if innovations in sound can produce an album that gives you an orgasm - surely this would have to be ranked higher than "non-orgasm" albums.

8/14/2008 View
Videogame reviews, 2008

What do the [No] and [Meh] ratings mean? Are you saying that one of the two most innovative games, according to you, just gets a "meh" rating? That the best games released so far only get a 6.0 or so rating? Is it possible you just don't like video games that much?

8/14/2008 View
Best Videogames of all time

As far as 'games as artistic statements' go, I'd say Rez and Katamari Damacy are definitely good in that regard.

8/14/2008 View
Greatest Albums Listening Guide (Rock & Jazz) [MID - REVISION]

Hey AfterHours, just out of curiosity, have you ever heard any Soul Coughing? I've picked up their albums and I think they're all pretty great. I would say you would definitely enjoy the singer Mike Doughty since he is a lyrical genius and has a pretty unique delivery. Their music combined many different styles from jazz to electronic and IMO they were one of the most interesting unique acts of the 90's, though they sadly disbanded after only three albums. It's fair to say there probably won't be another band like them. I would start with Ruby Vroom and go from there. In particular I would recommend the tracks "Screenwriters Blues", "Lazybones", and "$300" (where Doughty pleads with God to allow him to take drugs...classic!)

8/11/2008 View