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Random Thoughts on Music

Shawn Colvin


No offense meant to Shawn Colvin, after all, I'm just writing down a random thought that I had this evening while listening to the radio (WMMM in case you were keeping track). I don't even know if I spelled her name correctly.

The station has actually been replaying an interview with her that they recorded when she was last in town and did a littl' ditty in the studio prior to playing her songs, so that got me to thinking. But on to my point.

Anywho... I was just wondering if anyone out there in the vast listening audience thinks that Shawn Colvin is their favorite artist. I mean, she's okay and all, but her music doesn't stand out. It's the same stuff that everyone else and their aunt is recording nowadays. I can understand why groups and artists like Phish, Grateful Dead, Blink 182, Limp Business, Led Zeppelin, Sonia Dada, Otis Redding, P-Funk, Madonna, Garbage, Moby and even the Afro Celt Sound System, Ozo Matli or Celine Dion/Mariah Carey or N*Suck (ACSS is good, Ozo is kinda cool, those other three are crap IMHO) could be someone's favorite artists. Each of the above groups/individuals has something that endears their fans to them. Phish, the Dead, and I assume Blink and Soggy Bizcuit have the whole concert groupie thing going, with large masses of fans stalking them from show to show and have high audience participation (probably it doesn't hurt that the drugs are easily flowing at such shows). Zep was pretty much a pioneer for hard rock and heavy metal, and had a Beatlesque range of material. Sonia Dada and Otis Redding both have electrifying shows and astounding lyrics (written largely by their respective selves). P-Funk was, well, P-funk (They're cool, but I question how anyone can stand to listen to their stuff for more than 30 minutes at a stretch...but that's a story for another time). Madonna, Garbage and Moby are continually making popular fringe music...daring to do what other artists are afraid of - Sometimes failing, but often succeeding, in making such music mainstream. ACSS and Ozo are strange mixes of various types of ethnic music, blended into a unique form. Hey...it works for them, and it works for their fans (which you can include me in). Mariah Carey and Celine Dion appeal to the sappy romantics, mainly people that are just falling into love with someone for the first time or something.... N*Sync appeals obviously to the eyes of pre-teen girls and has catchy and repetitive enough lyrics rifflines to satisfy their feeble minds (no offense girls, but you're dumb if you like 'em).

I don't doubt that Shawn Colvin sells a huge amount of records, probably many more than most of the above-mentioned groups. And I don't doubt that she has fans. I just don't feel there's anything that sets her music apart from the rest. Maybe she's really hot or something. Seems to work for the boy bands, Brittany, et al. But if you, or someone you know, thinks Shawn Colvin is the pinnacle of musical existence, respond to my rant and stuff. Let me know how you discovered her, and the circumstances around the first time you heard her. Let me know your gender, your age, your country or state of origin/residence, your favorite color, and if a female within the range of 16-35 years old and residing in the Midwest or West Coast US, let me know your phone number and when you'd be available for a date. Hehe. Just kiddin'. Well, not really;)

Afro Celt

Speaking of Afro Celt, "Volume 3: Further in Time" has been backordered at my local disk shop for like two weeks so far. Where did that come from? Their first two releases were very solid (I own volume 2, and possess most of vol 1), but as far as I know didn't sell well. But...yeah... Did Peter Gabriel singing on "When Your Falling" put it over the edge into mainstream? Have people finally realized that ACSS is good music, or did the record store just order like 5 copies and have 10 people show up wanting it? To those of you who weren't aware, Robert Plant (Led Zep) sings on one of the tracks, but my favorite-track award goes to "Shadowman." How do I know this without ever seeing the most recent album? http://www.afrocelts.com/ has low-bandwidth (roughly used-100x tape quality) version of the album. Go there, give a listen, and then support the vast machinery that is the Recording Industry (whatever their acronym of evil is) by actually purchasing a copy of the album instead of ripping it off of the real audio broadcast using either high-end commercial products or "Wave Studio" that came with your SoundBlaster card. While you're at the whole internet audio experience, I'd highly recommend http://www.soniadada.com/ (the Webcast section) and recommend (to a lesser extent) http://www.ozomatli.com/.

Counting Crows Soiling the Crow Name

Is it just me or have Adam Whatshisname and the rest of his Counting Crows soiled the Crow suffix? I had been a fan of the Black Crowes, for their covers of Otis Redding and others, as well as their original material. Not to the extent of buying an album, downloading mp3s or whatever, but to turning up the volume whenever they came on the radio. It came to the point that I would just turn up the volume when I heard "Crow," black or otherwise. And then came Adam and his whiny little self-righteous voice, and now I'm tempted to turn off the radio entirely when I hear "Crow." Sigh. What has the world ever come to?

Van Halen is a Girl Group

I just recently noticed this. How I went years and years listening to classic rock stations and never picked up on this, I don't know. At the end of every line the lead singer must feel obligated to do a girly hiccup noise...because that singer hiccups after every phrase in every song he sings. I'm so out of touch with them and stuff that I'm not sure which of their various singers did this throughout time, but it's frigging annoying. My theory is he did it in one song accidentally, the song became tremendously popular and others covering the song mimicked the hiccup, and he thought "hey, they must like that about how I sing." So, then he either intentionally did it in the rest of the songs, or someone in the mixing studio sampled it from the original tape and mixed the sound in after every phrase.

Stevie Nicks, REM, and U2

Is it just me or has their music turned into just a cluttering of phrases and words that not only don't make any sense together, but don't make any sense internally? Maybe my ears are playing tricks on me or they're singing in Pig Latin or omthing-say. Stevie's (and Sheryl Crow's) "Timeless" is a perfect example of this. Too bad I can't pay attention to their ramblings long enough to write down any examples of phrases, but it definitely doesn't tell a story or make any sort of statement coherently, nor is it rife with subtleties or innuendo. Forcing the listener to imagine a bit is good...but this is excessive. Maybe it's not U2 so much, as they came out with a good single recently (no, not "Elevation"). But all REM's recent material has been a bunch of complete nonsensical crap. Are these artists held to a record contract where they have to churn out like 3 albums per year, are they counting on their current rabid fan base to just gobble up any old crap they churn out, or did they just have a good jam and just decide to do the 25-or-6-to-4 thing to it instead of put time into thinking up lyrics?


Any thoughts? Objections? Counter-rants. I'm not in the least bit interested unless you're telling me that you sent money to me or want a date with me or something. But I'll provide my e-mail address anyway. Pags@gamehacker.com.

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