Grammy Schmammy: Why This is My First Watch in Over a Decade

The Grammy’s.  You can generally just chalk this night up as one where I’ll be watching something on the DVR.  Seriously, I haven’t watched in, well I don’t remember the last time I watched.  But this year is different.  This year there is a carrot being precarisly dangled in front of my face saying “watch Melissa, magic will happen”.  What is this carrot?  This:

140121-grammys-grohl-qotsa-nin-buckingham

In case you are rock challenged, from left to right that’s:  Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, Lindsey Buckingham, and Dave Grohl.  I’m so damn amped up about this finale that I will be watching the entire Grammy’s this year, minute by miserable minute.

Well, that AND!!!! Queens of the Stone Age are up for two awards this year:  Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album.

All of my excitement over what boils down to several minutes of this several hour long mess got me thinking, “why the Grammy hate Melissa?”  Hmmm, I love music.  I love music a lot.  I love music more than 98% of things in life.  So why wouldn’t I watch music’s biggest award show of the year?  Because they get it wrong so often.  Don’t believe me?

Exhibit A:  Best New Artist

Holy kiss of death.  Go google the winners of this category.  See if it doesn’t yield a lot of who and WTF moments.  How many of these names went on to success?  Want to feel a little more confused?  Look at the nominees.  Oh, shit, that’s how that guy won.

Arrested Development

1993 yielded this list.  All of the music being made and this is what it boiled down to.  Arrested Development is cool.  Their ONE album was great (yes, I know they actually made more albums).  Thank god they took home the Grammy otherwise my heart might have achy breaked right in two.

Remember this year:

Vacated[III]

That was 1990 when the Grammy went to a group that didn’t even sing.  And it wouldn’t be the last time it almost happened:

Christina Aguilera

Brit-brit and here dying goat paired with pissed cat whinings almost won in 2000.  Xtina is still around.  Kid Rock’s gone country.  Susan?  Macy Gray….well there was that one song.

Point is:  for every Beatles (1965) there are (at least) two duds like Starland Vocal Band (1977) and a Marc Cohn (1992).

starland6

Look at these sparkly new artists.

Exhibit B:  Album of the Year

There are some shining beacons of taste and excellence on this list, Rumors; Thriller; Joshua Tree, and then there’s:

1981 Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross

On what planet does Christopher Cross beat Pink Floyd?  I mean, I’m guilty; I love me some Sailing, but let’s get real here.  A Grammy for BEST album?

1997 Celine Dion
Falling into You

I’m gonna throw up.

Let’s move on.

Exhibit C: 

It all boils down to this one, dear readers.  As a 90s teen, I know, deep down in my bones, that the 90s were at least a little about rock.  Right?  Mixed in with the Color Me Bads (nominated for Best New Artist!) there were some minor bands that were well below the radar: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden et al.  You know, because grunge and rock weren’t 90s at all.

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In the 80s and 90s popular music had changed so much that new categories had to be invented:  Best Alternative Album (1991) and Best Rock Album (1995).  I guess the Grammy’s thought, shit, if we’re going to plug along awarding folks like Milli Vanilli, I guess we need to find some way to appease the people who listen to actual music.  And that’s where my rock friends have been hiding in their jeans and tees for years.  Those winners I can surely agree with…right?

1995 The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge

oaifjahgao;pehaqoewt!!!! 1995 and the best rock album went to The Rolling Stones?  For real….it did!  I get they’re rock royalty, but a win, in 95?  No effin way.

1999 Sheryl Crow The Globe Sessions

Dammit man.  That just hurts.  These were the best rock albums of 1999?

The only positive I can really give is that Dave Grohl and his Fighters of the Foo have taken home many a Grammy.  So sometimes they do get it right.  But he’s not the only deserving musician out there making rock.  What gives?

I just can’t figure out what the Grammy’s is based on.  It’s not album sales (though I suspect that has some pull) and it’s not critical acclaim (at least not reliably).  So what is the algorithm?  Quick Google search and…Oh, there’s a “committee”.  Nominations come from the record companies and the public through online submissions.  Weird, I’ve never heard of vote solicitation, so who is voting/nominating?  If it’s the same public watching and bringing us American Idol winners it’s all starting to make sense.  I need to start some sort of change.org project to get my rock loving brothers and sisters to stuff the nomination boxes.

Get it right this year Grammy’s, just a hint.

2014

Bowie, Young, Sabbath, and Zeppelin = music gods.  But this year belongs to QOTSA.

You know, maybe I don’t even want them to win a Grammy because most of my faves are not held to a Grammy standard.  They’re held to something much, much more important, my standards. But then again, I did own a Chumbawamba album.  So……

 

Just kidding!  Give them a damn Grammy!

Who are your favorite nominees this year?

Stay posititive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: The Milk Carton Kids – Michigan

Oh I totally forgot another major reason to watch this year!  This guy is presenting:

Jared-Leto-Girlfriend

Five for Friday: My 5 Favorite Albums of 2013

While I have an affinity for old music (most particularly the 80s and 90s), I must admit that there is still a ton of solid music coming out everyday!  Now, you’re not going to find this on your radio dial for the most part and don’t even try to look to MTV (do they even play videos at all now?).  Most of the stellar new artists and sounds are being birthed right here on the internet.  With the growing popularity of streaming services, the harnessing of social media’s power, and enough music related blogs to overwhelm even the biggest music fan, we have a virtually endless supply of new jams and talent at our fingertips 24 hours a day.  Yes, I do suffer to escape from the grip of nostalgia from time to time and I miss MTV for sure (sorry Youtube, you just don’t offer the same feel), but I must admit that the internet has done simply amazing things for music.  I love that I’m here at the end of 2013 giving you my favorites of the year via the interwebs and this blog!  Drop me a line and let me know what album rocked your world this year!

This year’s favorite list is a fairly solid representation of my musical listening habits.  On the top 5 we find:  2 bands that have been kicking ass since the 90s and would be classified as true alternative rock, 1 band that defies all attempts to be thrown into a category (and who I discovered through the handy, dandy internet), 1 poppy girl group with a indie edge, and 1 hipster necessity.  Let’s dive in shall we?

Number 5:  Local Natives- Hummingbird

Though not as magical as their debut album Gorilla Manor (2010), this sophomore effort lives up to my expectations.  I’m a sucker for vocal harmonies and bizarre instrumental sound.

Number 4:  Haim- Days are Gone

I’m not such a music snob that I can’t appreciate a good dose of candy coated pop every now and then.  But usually it all gets a bit too sickeningly sweet and ridiculous for me after a few minutes.  Enter Haim.  This sister act gives me the poppy lightness I sometimes craze without the cavities.  They were brought up listening to everything from Joni to Motown, and you can hear the diverse influences bleed through on each track.  One minute you hear something that could be at home in the Big 80s (full of synth awesomeness) and the next you’re jamming to something that could loosely be classified as rock.

Number 3:  Full Service- Carousel

I’ve written about these guys several times now, and I’m confident this won’t be the last. There is no other group touring today that sounds like them.  Not one.  They kill on vocal harmonies,  their guitar riffs shred, and their songs have the uncanny ability to get stuck in your head for months at a time.  Since I already was a big fan, I knew I would fall in love with their new album.  Well, even I was shocked and amazed at just how good Carousel is.  Every note on every song is a winner.  There are no throw away tracks here.

I have a challenge for you:  go to Spotify and listen to a few tracks off of each of their albums and then report back to me.  You won’t be sorry.

Number 2:  Pearl Jam- Lightning Bolt

This is quickly becoming a contender for favorite PJ album (I bounce between Ten and Vs. with Vs. usually winning).  So effing good.  It gives me all the best of the band that I’ve loved for so many years:  well-written songs, tight vocals, and killer guitar.  It reeks of the 90s and in a very good, very grungy sort of way.

Number 1:  Queens of the Stone Age- …Like Clockwork

I have listened to this album no less than 50 times since it’s release.  It gets better with every listen.  QOTSA are easily in my top 10 favorite bands of all time and so my opinion suffers from the standard fan bias, but I’m confident in saying that this is their best album yet.  It’s everything I love about rock and roll bundled into 47 minutes of perfection.  Listen and repeat ad infinitum.


 

Honorable Mentions:

Artic Monkeys- AM

Nine Inch Nails- Hesitation Marks

 

What were your favorites of 2013?

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

 

 

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday: Slow Jams aka Kill Me Now

Ya know there are just some things in life that I don’t do.  I don’t chew with my mouth open (and if you do this around me, you may be on the receiving end of a slap).  I don’t watch Crossfire.  I don’t do R&B (minus a few very minor exceptions).  Seriously, when I saw that we were doing slow jams this week, I almost puked.  Because in my version of hell R&B would be the soundtrack.

Level 1:  Mary J. Blige sings my life story.

Level 2:  R. Kelly plays an extended version of his entire catalog…..on repeat.

Level 3:  Barry White just moans and breathes and says shit like “oh” in the mic for eternity.

Level 4:  Well, you get the picture…

Seriously, I can’t handle it.  Right up there with R&B is whatever type of music Celine Dion is.  So maybe when I get to hell’s core they will blast a mash-up of My Heart Will Go On and some Michael Bolton song.

Rose didn’t let go, Jack killed himself because he heard that song coming from the boat’s deck.  It was just too much to endure.

Anyway, imagine my relief when I took a closer look at the instructions:

Relaxing slow jams. You wanna chill, you want your friends to chill. Any genre from rock to jazz to hip-hop, but it’s gotta be slow-jams

Ok, I can hop on board with this!  I mean, I’d much prefer to rock out, but at least I don’t have to forfeit this week out of concern for my mental health.

So here are some “slow jams” (ugh, even that phrase makes me shudder….Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa), that don’t make me want to kill myself.  In fact, these songs soothe my rock n’ roll brain.

lion-king-quotes-mufasa-say-it-again-668

Ooooohh, say it again!

 

Let’s start with one by my favorite group.  This song was written about a friend who committed suicide.  So it doesn’t have a very uplifting message, but it is a beautiful song nonetheless.

Beyond the Grey Sky-311

 

And because I can’t stop listening to …..Like Clockwork (QOTSA’s new album), I’m including this.  This really is the best album to come out this year!

The Vampyre of Time and Memory-Queens of the Stone Age

 

I found this one through the movie “Rockstar”.  I listened to it over and over again after I got it off the internet without purchasing it….It was a different time people!  I included the movie clip so we can all enjoy Mark Wahlberg.

Colorful- The Verve Pipe

 

Not many bands can get me to chill like this one.

Mykonos-Fleet Foxes

 

An unlikely song for my Smashing Pumpkins favorite, from the soundtrack for “Lost Highway”

Eye-Smashing Pumpkins

 

Gotta feed the hippie soul.  Jen, we need to do a hippie list!  Jam bands, 60s, love, the whole shebang!

A Million Years- Alexander

 

OK, because of the vocals (which by the way are amazing, Andreya Triana is awesome), I guess this is R&Bish.  Bonobo is one of my ultimate chill bands.  Check out their whole Black Sands album for a good introduction.

Eyesdown- Bonobo feat. Andreya Triana

 

I’ll end on a singer who I didn’t think I’d enjoy.  She was over hyped and exploded onto the scene.  I initially dismissed her as another chick jumping on the Adele train, but she’s got chops.  Big time.  This song is brilliant and so is the video.  Well worth the 10 minutes.  Song starts 3:48 if you want to cheat.

Ride-Lana Del Rey

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to:  Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork  for the millionth time.

Eating:  Broccoli, gardein “chicken”, quinoa

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I detest palmetto bugs….worse than R&B even.  Growing up in FL, you’d think I’d be use to them.  Yeah, not so much.  I turn into a baby and shriek like I’m being murdered.  So imagine my ultimate horror when one fell out of my towel and onto me getting out of the shower this morning.  No words folks.  I’m happy to be alive.  Now, does anyone want to come remove the 1000 trees from my yard so I can be free of this fear?  The pest guy says “If you have a lot of trees, they’ll get in your house.”  Ugh, unacceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday: Maybe I Should Have Picked Brian Krakow

Breakups are the worst, right? This week Jen gave us this directive: “Try and create a 5 song mix based on this week’s theme. This week our theme is I Suck because I broke your heart, or you suck because you broke mine.” It is somewhat hard to put yourself in this head space when you’re in a great relationship and completely content with your life. But I’ll play along…..

I’ve been “blessed” with rather amiable splits for the most part. There was that several week period in high school when I actually did become Angela from “My So Called Life”; without the benefit of ever having dated Jordan Catalano. I moped around, listened to Mazzy Star on repeat, cut off my hair, and like, you know, hurt or whatever.

my-so-called-life-angela-and-jordan

We were totally going to be together forever.

I thought I was fine by the time my first year of college started, but apparently this little HS meltdown poised me to plunge headfirst into the worst relationship imaginable.

jc

Oh, so you thought you were equipped to be a fine judge of character? Think again.

This guy, wow. To describe him as my dating antichrist is an understatement.

But thankfully it only took me a few delightful years to realize this guy might not be such a good pick. Are you picking up the sarcasm here? Yeah, I’m laying it on pretty thick. Stupid 19-year-old self.

I don’t think I still hate this person. I’m comforted by the fact that years can now go by without giving him a moment’s thought……until I’m asked to make a playlist about people who suck at life. I will not dedicate this list to him, but will simply say, when given the choice, pick the nice guy ladies. That’s where you belong. Save yourself some time and misery. But you won’t listen. So have fun getting all of your relationship disasters out of the way. There is light at the end of this dating tunnel.

Maybe I Should Have Picked Brian Krakow

Never Came- Queens of the Stone Age

Notable lyrics: “Why you gotta shove it in my face as if you put me in my place. Cause I DON’T CARE if you or me is wrong or right ain’t gonna spend another night, in your bed…”

Blood on the Ground- Incubus

Notable lyrics: “Seeing you is like pulling teeth and hearing your voice is like chewing tin foil.”

Get Gone- Fiona Apple

Notable lyrics- “I’ll idealize, then realize that it’s no sacrifice, because the price is paid, and there’s nothing left to grieve. Fuckin go- ’cause I’ve done what I could for you, and I do know what’s good for me and I’m not benefiting.”

Losing a Whole Year- Third Eye Blind


Notable lyrics- “If it’s not the defense then you’re on the attack. When you start talking I hear the Prozac.” or “Well this drama is a bore and I don’t wanna play no more.”

Of course I need to include one “I’m feeling very sorry for myself” jam:

Favorite T- The Lemonheads

Notable lyrics- “Had to hear about your Danish boyfriend. I forced a swoon. So I went over to your dresser drawer and now I got it on. I got it on, your favorite T. It never looked as good on you as it looks on me.”

And a bonus song that I just find funny. I love Lily.

Not Big- Lily Allen

I’ll leave the lyrics out because they are all rather filthy. But I did include a video with lyrics included.

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Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: Summer Camp – Losing My Mind

Eating: Pasta salad

Drinking: H2O

Random fact: The antichrist mentioned above once told me his Dad had died to get me to talk to him post breakup. Yeah, his Dad was still alive.

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday: Music of the 90s Part 2

I’m back for my second week of participation in http://jenkehl.com/ ‘s Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday.  I had so much fun with these guys last week that I had to come back for more!  It’s also week 2 of the 90s.  And there’s not a decade about which I’d be more eager to blog.  The rules of Twisted MixTape are as such: “Try to create a 5 song mix based on this week’s theme. As we move through the decades the assumption is you know about the music in the past, but not what is to come.”

The start of the 90s saw me entering 4th grade and closed out with me in my sophmore year of college.  So as you can imagine, there was A LOT of change going on for me both personally and musically.  I started the decade loving stuff like NKOTB, Madonna, and Tiffany.  In the mid 90s I was sporty flannel and emulating the grunge scene.  By the end of the decade my musical taste had broadened to include everything my parents cruelly subjected me to as a kid (ie. the music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s which I greatly adore to this day), all of the alternative rock bands that defined my high school years, and the few decent bands that emerged in the late 90s (there weren’t many).

In last week’s TMTT post I included some of my favorite angst ridden songs and I’ve already written about the 90s albums that I consider to be the most definitive of my teenage years.  Today I give to you songs from some great bands of the 90s that I really didn’t get into until  after the 90s were over.  Sure, I might have jammed to some of their songs that were played on the radio (for those who actually got air play), but I never owned any of their albums and wouldn’t have really named myself a fan.

Bands of the 90s:  Better Late Than Never

 Foo Fighter- Big Me 1996

As I mentioned in previous posts, I love Nirvana.  And I just wasn’t eager to acknowledge Dave Grohl in his new, more peppy positive role.  I found myself enjoying their music, but just never made the leap to fan.  It wasn’t really until the last several years that I’ve really started to dig these guys.  It mostly spawned from my deep admiration for Dave (musical genius)  and the fact that their music is evolving.  They just get better and better (unlike other aging bands….looking at you Red Hot Chilli Peppers).  Their latest album is amazingly good.  I’ve listed to “Rope” several million times at this point.

Also, if you haven’t seen these guys live yet, do yourself a huge favor. I’ve seen them twice now.  They put on one hell of a show.  And they play an insanely long set.  The first time I saw them, they were on stage for over 3 1/2 hours!  No one does this.  It was probably the best concert I’ve ever experienced and that’s saying a lot!

Screaming Trees- Alice Said 1991

The Screaming Trees never really came across my radar in the 90s save “I Nearly Lost You” on the soundtrack for the movie “Singles”.  And funny enough, it was this soundtrack that sent me in search of their music years later while in grad school.  Mark Lanegan just has such an interesting voice that every time the song would come on I’d think, I really need to listen to more of these guys.

Fugazi- Promises 1989 (close enough….)

Technically born in the 80s, these guys saw their biggest success in the 90s.  And somehow I didn’t hear song one till around 2000.  But then there was no looking back.  Punk rock with more musicality.  I was hooked.  “13 Songs” was on repeat in my car for so many months that it’s ridiculous.

Our Lady Peace- Starseed 1994

Just like with Screaming Trees, a compilation disk led me to these guys.  I can’t even remember what the song was or what the disc was at this point.  It was some sort of 90s alt rock promo disc.  “Somewhere Out There” was all over the radio but I don’t feel it’s very representative of their standard sound.  I guess the mainstream loves a good ballad.  I ended up picking up 2 CDs in a CD Warehouse (used CD store for those of you not familiar) several years ago and really got into them.  Matt also missed out on these guys in the 90s and is now a big fan.

Bonus, they are still making great music.

Queens of the Stone Age- Regular John 1998

I was only a few years late to the show for these guys.  I picked up when a lot of others did, the release of “Songs for the Deaf” in 2001.  I immediately went out and bought their first two albums and have purchased every album since.  Josh Homme is perfection.  I love the weird guitar that you can immediately peg as QOTSA.  I love his odd voice.  I love that Dave Grohl has drummed for them.  And I especially love that I will finally get to see them live this year at Music Midtown. 

Oh, and in case you couldn’t already guess what I think about their new album….love it.

So I cheated a bit and went over my five songs in terms of Youtube videos, but I technically only listed five 90s songs.  So it’s like, whatever dude.

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to:  Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Eating:  Couscous and black-eyed peas.

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  I always feel a bit taken aback when I discover a “new” band that’s been around for a while.  It’s a combination of feeling dumb for not previously being aware that they existed and feeling deprived of all of their musical goodness over the years.

30614_1444852531206_5481641_n

Me (second from the right) in 1999ish.  I really need to dig out some OLD pictures so I can seriously embarrass myself.