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Monday, November 30, 2009

Musical Interlude - The White Stripes

Mondays are always rough, but it's even more difficult to crawl out of bed and face a dreary Monday at work, after enjoying a four-day holiday weekend full of rest, relaxation and lots and lots of food. So what song will work best, to get us started on a day like today? I was thinking we'd sample from the stripped down rock of The White Stripes. A guy with a guitar, a girl with a kick drum; it's simple, pure, fun rock and roll. But what song? My favorite is "Seven Nation Army", while "Hardest Button to Button" has a nice little kick, but I think "My Doorbell" is the right fit for this morning. This song is an usual choice for me, because I am in love with Jack White's guitar, but this song doesn't showcase his guitar playing skills and is mostly piano driven. However, it never fails to make me smile. Not only is it a fun song, but the video showcases a whole audience full of adorable Rascal-esque kids. On an interesting side note, this song garnered The White Stripes a 2006 Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Enjoy!




My Doorbell
by The White Stripes

I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
Yeah, I been thinkin' about my doorbell

Oh, well

Well women and children need kisses
Not the man in my life I know
And I been going to mystery misses
I respect the art of the show
Take back what you said little girl
And while you're at it take yourself back too
I'm tired of sittin' and waitin'
Woman, whatcha gonna do now, whatcha gonna do about it

I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
Yeah, I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it oh
I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
Yeah, I been thinkin' about my doorbell

Oh, well

You don't seem to come around
Point your finger and make a sound
You don't seem to come around
Knock knock since you knocked it down

Oh, well

Make a sound and I'll make you feel right
Right at home
Right at home

You know you got me waiting in vain,
How come it's so easy to you?
You don't strike me as the type to be callous
But your words seem so obtuse
But then again I know you feel guilty
And you tell me you want me again
But I don't need any of your pity
I got plenty of my own friends
They're all above me

And I've been thinkin' about my doorbell
When they gonna ring it, when they gonna ring it
Yeah, I've been thinkin' about my doorbell
When they gonna ring it, when they gonna ring it, oh
I've been thinkin' about my doorbell
When they gonna ring it, when they gonna ring it
Yeah, I been thinkin' about my doorbell

Oh, well

They don't seem to come around
Point your finger and make a sound
They don't seem to come around
Maybe they they'll knock 'em down

Oh, well

Make a sound and I'll make you feel right
Right at home
Right at home

I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
Yeah, I been thinkin' about my doorbell
When you're gonna ring it, when you're gonna ring it

I'm thinkin' about my doorbell
When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
I'm thinkin' about my doorbell, oh, oh well

Monday, November 23, 2009

Musical Interlude - Flyleaf

Hello, Loyal Readers, and welcome to the Monday of a short work week/school week. Yay! Here's a little music to get you moving. Flyleaf's long-awaited sophmore album, entitled Memento Mori, was released this month, and they did not disappoint. I must admit, I was concerned, because more often than not, when a band's debut album is super-successful (like Flyleaf's first album) they buckle under the pressure of living up to that standard when they make their second album. Luckily, that was not the case. In fact, I think they've really grown and this album is much richer and complex than their first album. Below is the first single, called "Again". If you like it, then I strongly recommend their other single, "Beautiful Bride." It rocks.



Again
By Flyleaf

I love the way that your heart breaks
with every injustice and deadly fate
Praying it all be new
and living like it all depends on you

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again

I love that you’re never satisfied
with face value wisdom and happy lies
you take what they say and go back and cry
you’re so close to me that you nearly died

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again

they don’t have to understand you
be still
wait and know I understand you
be still
be still

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
The floodgates are breaking
and pouring out

Here you are down on your knees
trying to find air to breathe
right where I want you to be again
i love you please see and believe again

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Right where I want you to be again
See and believe!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Return to American McGee's Wonderland

I've always enjoyed video games. I've saved the world with Missle Command on my Atari system, twisted Greek mythology with Altered Beast on my brother's Sega, helped Mario jump through Super Mario Brothers on the Gameboy, screamed through Resident Evil on my brother's Playstation, stayed up until 3 AM playing Diablo with friends at a LAN party, laughed with Toe Jam & Earl III: Mission to Earth, shivered through Half Life, survived the quests in Fable and helped Ash save the world again in Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick on our X-Box. Even now, I am addicted to the simple puzzle game Zombie Pizza on my iPhone. As much fun as all those games were, and as varied as they were in their technology, styles and challenges, I've never, ever, played anything like American McGee's Alice.

I'm a big fan of all things Alice in Wonderland, so of course I was already hooked by the idea of the game and I couldn't wait to get it home and try it out. I was pleasantly surprised at the terrific playability of the game and was immediately sucked in. It wasn't just a mindless shoot-'em-up. It Incorporated all the best parts of all the different game styles and all of these aspects were executed with superb quality. The story was rich, the puzzles were challenging and suspenseful, the first-person action was intense, and all of it was laced together with dark humor, gorgeous art direction and some of the most beautifully haunting music (scored by Chris Vrenna, former drummer for Nine Inch Nails). This game had it all. And the individual challenges, levels, puzzles, etc. all contributed to the story and led to an ultimate and satisfying goal. Game designer, American McGee, certainly knew what he was doing. He created a world that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting.

The game takes place shortly after Alice's "Through the Looking Glass" adventure. Alice's house is burned down in an accidental fire, killing her family, and leaving her as the only survivor. Because of her survivor's guilt, she tries to commit suicide and is institutionalized in Rutledge Asylum. Now a troubled teenager, Alice is summoned one night by the White Rabbit, who asks her to help save a radically altered Wonderland, which has become a twisted version of itself under the rule of the evil Red Queen. Since Wonderland is actually a dreamworld created by Alice's mind, it follows that it has been corrupted and turned macabre by her insanity. If Alice manages to save Wonderland, she will save her sanity as well. A sarcastic Cheshire Cat is Alice's companion throughout the game, frequently appearing to guide her (and the player) with cryptic comments. Here's the trailer for the original game:




Since my time with Alice, I've been disenchanted with most of the current games and have drifted away from playing anything. I've tried out Rock Band and laughed at my terrible faux guitar playing skills. However, most of the games nowdays seem very testosterone-centric and very violent, with a lack of story or character development. I figured my video game playing days were over, and I was okay with that. (In case you didn't know, video games are very time consuming!)

Then, my dear friend Raven, (also a fan of all things Alice), pointed me to a link online - an announcement that sent my little Wonderland heart aflutter - American McGee is currently in production on a sequel to Alice! We both proceeded to jump around the room in utter excitement. Below are two conceptual art images from the new game. It looks like the next couple of years will be the year of Alice, with Tim Burton's film, and now this video game. I simply cannot wait! To read my other posts about Alice, just click here. (I'm surprised, for as much as I am obsessed with these stories, that I haven't written more about them!)

Please leave me a comment about your favorite video game when you were growing up, or that you're playing right now. Know of any good iPhone games?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Musical Interlude - 30 Seconds to Mars

I'm still getting back into the swing of things, in life and with my blog. I have several blog posts "on deck" that just need to be cleaned up, finalized and posted. Hopefully, I'll have one posted tomorrow. Until then, why not enjoy this little musical interlude...

I love 30 Seconds to Mars and I practically wore out their last CD, A Beautiful Lie, which was released in 2005. So I was very excited to finally hear new music from them. This is the song "Kings & Queens" from their new album This Is War, which is being released on December 8th. Jared Leto might be an eccentric and bizarre actor, but boy can he sing!

You Tube won't let me embed the video, so just click on the picture below and it will launch the You Tube video in a new window. If you like this song, why not check out their video for A Beautiful Lie, The Kill (the video is an homage to The Shinning), or From Yesterday. All their videos are very cinematic.

KINGS & QUEENS
by 30 Seconds to Mars

Into the night
Desperate and broken
The sound of a fight
Father has spoken

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell

Into your eyes
Hopeless and taken
We stole our new lives
Through blood and pain
In defense of our dreams
In defense of our dreams

We were the Kings and Queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the Children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell
Heaven and Hell

The age of man is over
A darkness comes and all
These lessons that we learned here
Have only just begun

We were the Kings and Queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the Children of a Lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell

We are the Kings
We are the Queens
We are the Kings
We are the Queens

Monday, November 09, 2009

Musical Interlude - My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance is probably one of my all-time favorite bands. There. I've said it.

For those of you who aren't in the know... My Chemical Romance (a.k.a. MCR) is an American rock band, which formed in New Jersey in 2001, one week after the September 11th attacks. The lead singer, Gerard Way, was working in New York and saw the planes crash into the towers. This prompted him to re-evaluate his life and he decided not to waste anymore time, but to go ahead and chase his dreams of having a band. He's also said that he wanted to make a positive difference in people's lives through music. Their music has been described as alternative rock, pop punk, and emo (which it is most definitely not), but I think it's just good straight-up rock and roll.

I'd always intended to include MCR on one of my "Musical Interlude" Monday posts, I just didn't think it would be this song. I was going to post a different song, but when "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" came up on my random playlist on my iPhone this morning, it was the right fit. This is not the first MCR song I heard that made me fall in love with them (that would be "Helena"). It's not even the best song in their portfolio (although it was their first single and it did receive a lot of radio play), but what it is, simply, is a good fast song to wake you up and get your blood moving first thing on a Monday morning.

The song is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek break-up song, about the frustration with a relationship that just didn't work. I also think it's a humorous response to one of those situations where someone breaks your heart or you've just been hurt really bad for some reason, then the person has the gall to ask if you're going to be okay, and most of the time, we answer, "Yeah, I'll be okay," to dimsiss them and let them off the hook, or to save face. This song starts out by saying, "If you want me to be honest, that's all you had to say, and no, in fact, I am NOT okay."

If nothing else, the video is clever. It's filmed like a trailer for a movie, and references a lot of the high school movie cliches, about being social outcasts. I especially like the little references to Heathers (one of my favorite movies) and I love the final joke at the end. I hope you enjoy it, but if not, that's okay. Variety of opinions and artistic expressions are part of what makes the world more interesting!



I'M NOT OKAY (I PROMISE)
By My Chemical Romance

Well if you wanted honesty,
that's all you had to say.
I never want to let you down or have you go,
it's better off this way.
For all the dirty looks,
the photographs your boyfriend took,
Remember when you broke your foot
from jumping out the second floor?

I'm not okay
I'm not okay
I'm not okay
You wear me out

What will it take to show you
that it's not the life it seems? (I'm not okay)
I've told you time and time again
you sing the words
but don't know what it means (I'm not okay)
To be a joke and look,
another line without a hook,
I held you close as we both shook
for the last time
take a good hard look!

I'm not okay
I'm not okay
I'm not okay
You wear me out

Forget about the dirty looks
The photographs your boyfriend took
You said you read me like a book,
but the pages all are torn and frayed.

I'm okay
I'm okay!
I'm okay, now(I'm okay, now)
But you really need to listen to me

Because I'm telling you the truth
I mean this, I'm okay! (Trust Me)
I'm not okay

I'm not okay
Well, I'm not okay.
I'm really not okay.
I'm not okay
I'm not okay(Okay)