Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees…2035

This post originally appeared over at my old writing hub, Lefty Pop.  Given the largely musical space of my personal blog, I thought it a great candidate for reposting.  Enjoy!
The list of 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees is out.

There are rockers of all sorts:  punk, progressive, new wave, and industrial.  We have our now standard rap nomination as well as some R&B.  Missing this year are the acts who would be considered early influencers, those groups who tend to bleed together for me in an amalgam of doo wop and matching suits and have names that always begin with “The” as in, The Comets, The Crickets.  Replacing these acts are a few disco nods.  After reviewing the list, one may be inclined to wonder,  if all of these acts qualify, what the hell is Rock & Roll?

Rock and Roll:  noun a type of popular dance music originating in the 1950s, characterized by a heavy beat and simple melodies. Rock and roll was an amalgam of black rhythm and blues and white country music, usually based on a twelve-bar structure and an instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums.

So pretty much anything.  Because all music has its roots firmly planted in something that could be found in this description.  Arguably all music genres have some influence on others, but I hate to think that lately it’s to our detriment. For example, T-Pain planted some sort of junk music seed with his auto-tune that has grown like kudzu all across the airwaves.  Even country, supposedly the purest of the song-spinning sects hasn’t been immune.  So if it’s all about what was big on the charts, what does that mean for the 50 something year old me?

I wonder…

Here are your nominees for 2035:

Taylor Swift:  Predominantly known for influencing an entire movement of white girl, breakup songs set to sloppy guitar strumming, Taylor managed to remain on the Top 40 charts well into her 40s.  But as her original fans found themselves unable to find the motivation to continue to shake it off whilst balancing a challenging career and successful relationship, her popularity waned.  Now a successful producer of this decade’s resurgence of boy bands (most notably Swifty’s Sweeties and Solo Course), her influence on the industry inexplicably continues.

Nickelback:  Popular for lyrics which require zero interpretation and are repeated over and over again in an easy to memorize succession, this Canadian band soared to new heights as the children of millennials latched onto their parents misguided CDs purchases and forgotten iPod playlists from the early 2000s and termed them classic rock.  Nickleback tshirts started to be featured in Target and their old album sales spiked.  Chad Kroger opened this year’s Grammy podcast with a cover of “Photograph” featuring North West.

Rose Serbert (previously known as Ke$ha):  Rose gained respect after disappearing from the spotlight for a decade (rumored to be spent living on a commune in Montana), and then rebranding herself as a new wave folk act.  Her new offering combined 1980s synth with the hipster folk of the mid teens (2013-2016).  Though she’s fought hard to shed ties to famous white girl party anthems like “Tic Tok”, cougars covered in glitter, sporting vintage grills still sometimes make an appearance at her shows.

Skrillex:  After completing a series of complicated surgeries in the early 20s to fully become an actual Transformer, he released his long anticipated and biggest selling album to date, “Grindy Squeeling Blender Sex”.  This release launched the world’s longest ongoing EDM festival to date.  Skrillex’s set on the festival’s main stage set a world record when it lasted for a month straight and featured one never ending track.

Imagine Dragons:  Somehow this once indie rock band from Las Vegas are still touring on their 2012 release “Night Visions”.  Their track “Radioactive” has been featured in over 35,000 different commercials, movies, and shows.  Rumored release of their sophomore album is early 2036.

Florida Georgia Line:  Credited with the final demise of the genre once known as Country after releasing their 2020 album “Dirt Road Truck Girl Part 3:  Cruising Again”, this power couple switched gears and re-branded themselves as rock.  They’ve most recently been opening for Nickelback on their “Here We Go Again” tour.

Jack White:  Because credibility matters.  And also the death threats from 50 and 60 somethings are getting old.  You’re welcome old people.

With the demise of the radio and the ever growing music streaming services, it’s hard to imagine where the industry will end up.  But hey, it’s what sells records, or downloads, or whatever it is that allows actual musicians to make some actual money off of their art these days.  And who knows, maybe just like Africka Bambaataa grew “Planet Rock” out of Kraftwerk’s beats and started a music movement, one day a new music pioneer will find a gem in an Iggy Azalea track and launch an entirely new sound. But I’m not holding my breath.

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14 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far)

This post originally appeared over at the Lefty Pop.  Lefty Pop is the pop culture and politics site I contribute to twice weekly.  Go check it out.  Lots of funny, talented writers call it home.

New music, is there anything better?  Okay, perhaps there are a few things that rank higher in life, but not many.  I seldom sit in silence.  My life has a constant (well made) soundtrack provided by my iPod, Spotify, or the humming of whatever ear-worm that has worked its way into my cranium.  We’re over halfway to the finish line of 2014, and so far, this year’s audio offerings have been rather pleasings.  Here are 14 of my favorites in no particular order.

Best Songs of 2014 (14)-  Midge Ure: Are We Connected?

Remember Ultravox?  They were responsible for that melodramatic 80s new wave hit Dancing With Tears in My Eyes.  Midge Ure was the vocalist/guitarist.  Since 1985, he’s been riding solo, but he is still bringing all the new wave exaggerated emotions this girl loves.

Best Songs of 2014 (13)-  Leisure Cruise: Believer

Dave Hodge (of 90s Bran Van 3000 roots) and Leah Siegel (a local NY songstress) formed Leisure Cruise as a soundtrack to their imagined story about final time on earth prior to colonizing a new planet.  It’s been said to, “Imagine the music of a John Hughes film if it had been written by Bowie, remixed by Johnny Jewel, and fronted by a female Prince, and you’ll start to get the idea.”

Best Songs of 2014 (12)-  Speedy Ortiz:  American Horror

Remember how amazing Liz Phair was back in the 90s before she got all poppy and over produced?  Yeah, that’s Speedy Ortiz.  Raw, feedback laden guitar and deadpan, angsty female vocals have earned this band constant rotation in my playlist.

Best Songs of 2014 (11)-  Future Islands:  Seasons (Waiting on You)

Imagine if a guy with spastic moves, death-metalesque vocals (toned down), and vaguely Joaquin Phoenix looks fronted an indie-electropop band.  Future Islands is what you’d get.  They earned a place in indie hearts after their performance on Letterman wowed Dave.  Go check it out and enjoy the Cookie Monster vocals.  I’d rather share the official video which is even more bizarre.  Sympathetic nod to the right?

Best Songs of 2014 (10)-  Phantogram:  The Day You Died

The electronic rock duo eased their way into my faves a few years ago with Don’t Move and When I’m Small.  Their 2014 album followed up with multiple highlights.

Best Songs of 2014 (9)-  Beck: Unforgiven

This may be my favorite Beck.  I listened to his new album Morning Phase in its entirety at least 25 times.  Mellow, dreamy, and beautiful.  If heaven had a soundtrack, this would be a strong contender.

Best Songs of 2014 (8)-  311: First Dimension

You’re really surprised 311 made this list aren’t you?  Like I’m not going to offer up a track from my favorite band.  Check out my review of their latest album, Stereolithic.   My favorite song on the album changes weekly.

Best Songs of 2014 (7)-   Mastodon:  The Motherload

Mastodon’s new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, was just released.  Fans have eagerly been anticipating it following the much loved 2011 album from the Atlanta rockers, The Hunter.  It was worth the wait.  Solid.  Yes, I have Mastodon on the same playlist as Phantogram.  Variety people, it’s the spice of life.

Best Songs of 2014 (6)-  Jack White:  Would You Fight for My Love?

I’m kind of digging what living in Nashville is doing to Jack White.  His latest offerings chase the ripping guitar with a bit of twang.  The result is rather pleasing.

Best Songs of 2014 (5)-  Kongos:  Come With Me Now

Super catchy.  Who doesn’t love a bearded accordion player?

Best Songs of 2014 (4)-  The Pretty Reckless- House on the Hill

Apparently the lead singer was on Gossip Girl.  Regardless, I love what they’re offering up so far.

Best Songs of 2014 (3)-  Temples:  A Questioned Isn’t Answered

Anywhere a band is creating psychedelic rock that would easily be at home on a commune, I’ll be there to listen with a smile.  Why does this music make me so happy?

Best Songs of 2014 (2)–  Cloud Cult:  Chemicals Collide

Strings may be my ultimate weakness.  Throw a violin or cello into a track and I’m all in.  Besides what part of “experimental, environmentally conscious band formed in the 90s” doesn’t sound like it was made for me?

Best Songs of 2014 (1)- Tokyo Police Club:  Tunnel Vision

A fitting indie rock track to end the list.

 

 

I’m Shakin’

In a little over 5 months, I get to marry my best friend.  I honestly don’t think it’s possible for me to be any happier.  Each day just seems nearly too good to be true.

He and I have history.  We met in college.  We’ve both admitted that while love at first sight may not exist, we both caught each others eye and that was that.  I made any excuse I could to be around him.  He made me smile.  He also had a girlfriend and I was coupled with the devil incarnate.  So we left it at a friendship, though we both knew we should be together.

And then life happened.  He moved away for grad school and got married.  I finished grad school and started on the path to my current career.  There were other boyfriends.  Good boyfriends, good people.  But no one ever really fit me.

I met him out with my current boyfriend at the time once.  He brought his wife.  It was awkward.  We sat across the table from each other, just two old friends.  Two old friends who never wanted to be friends.

More time went by.  And roughly a decade after the day we met a fateful “how are you doing text” started a communication that’s never ceased.  His marriage was over and I was flying solo.  It was finally our time.  And we both seized the opportunity.  We haven’t looked back since.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  We look back all the time!  It’s fun to reminisce about how truly clueless we were back in the day.  It’s crazy that we missed each other.  It’s stupid that neither of us said the right words at the right time.

But as with many things in life, timing is everything.  I don’t for a minute regret us taking the paths we did.  Yes, no one desires divorce or a failed relationship, but they teach us.  The years taught us both how to be better partners.  They taught us what we wanted; what makes us happy.  We grew up and learned about ourselves.  So now that we’re finally together, we can really appreciate how truly special our relationship is.

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So, all that as back story for this week’s 100 Word Song inspired by Jack White’s “I’m Shakin”.  It’s about my first road trip to see him  after our reconnection.  Go visit my friend Lance over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog and share your 100 word story!
245 miles.

That gives me roughly 4 hours  to compose myself.  Shit, I’m nervous. It’s a good nervous though, the kind that leaves you antsy and causes your heart to randomly flutter.

115 miles.

Ok, only an hour and a half to go. Just a quick stop to apply deodorant. Jesus, why am I sweating so badly?  Maybe I’ll just roll down the window a bit, get some air in here.

2 miles.

There’s the exit. This is it. The moment of truth.

Parking lot.

There he is. Smiles, flutters, roller-coaster tummy.  I’m shakin’. The car door opens.

Hi there.

 

 

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Five for Friday: Five Famous Dudes I Find Oddly Attractive

Attraction comes in many forms. It can be a look, a smell, a shared life theory. It can stem from admiration or basic carnal desire. Sometimes we find ourselves oddly attracted to people who aren’t our “type” or what we think our type is. And sometimes they aren’t even close to what anyone would consider conventionally good looking. When people typically make a list of famous guys to which they’re attracted, they offer up names like Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum. Shocker. What a boring list. Today I bring you a different kind of list. These are people I find attractive that really kinda aren’t…..at least not in the shallow, conventional looks department sort of way.

Number 5- Steve Jobs

steve_jobs_apple-580-75

Why- The man was brilliant. Intelligence is attractive. And not only was he smart, he was super successful. Apple continues to grow and innovate.

Ok, so this one’s a bit of a cheat. Steve Jobs was actually HOT in his youth. And it is a bit morbid since he’s dead. He probably should have been saved for a list of dead dudes who were attractive…or something like that.

jobs

See?!

Number 4- Bill Clinton

bill

Why- He was president. Power is attractive.

Sure he is a shitty husband. And he is old as dirt now. But in his prime, Bill was the man. And for a president, he’s smoking hot. Go look at the list and get back to me.

Number 3- Bobby Flay

Why- Bobby can throw down in the kitchen AND he’s gotten filthy rich doing it. Cooking skills are hot.

I don’t know what else to tell you on this one. Sometimes I don’t get the “why” either.

Number 2- Jack White

jackwhite

Why- Pure musical genius. He can write, sing, and play various instruments. And he does it all well. How many successful projects has he been involved with? About a million. I own music from 3 different bands plus his solo project.

Yes, he does look like a cross between the Crow and the Joker, but so what. 1. I thought Brandon Lee was hot. 2. Heath Ledger played the joker. Again, hot. Great, two more dead guys mentioned.

Number 1- Conan O’Brien

conan-o_brien

Why- Funny? Smart? Successful? Yeah, but even I don’t get this one. I’ve just always had a “thing” for him.

Honorable Mentions:

Dave Grohl- Again, another musical genius.

2011DaveGrohlNMEAwardsDC200112

Josh Homme- That voice. That guitar.

josh

Ok, this one IS a definite cheat. Because he’s clearly good looking.

Observations:

What’s Attractive Check-list: Intelligence, success, power, musical prowess, business savvy, culinary skills, humor. I’m sure a lot of people would list these qualities.

How three gingers made this list, I’m not sure. Maybe I have a secret ginger crush? I kinda do dig Ron Weasley….

Who’s on your list?

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Day

Eating: Leftover squash, aspargus, black rice, and spinach

Drinking: H2O

Random fact: My favorite type of beer is IPA.