Bowling With No Panties

Everybody's a critic. I am actually right.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How Do You Hold A Moonbeam In Your Hand?

I am not an actress, although I will admit to being in a few community theater productions of musicals -- I love to sing, and that's my main motivation.

Growing up with the squarest parents in the Universe did have some benefits. I never had to tell my Mom to stay out of my stash. I also was exposed to a ton of music from genres other than "popular". I knew tons of doo-wop because of my father's insistence to playing 8-track compliations like "Fonzie's Favorites" in the car. My brother and I can still break into "Charlie Brown" or "Sillouettes on the Shade". We also listened to Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, Supertramp, Queen and of course, countless "original cast recordings" of various Broadway musicals.

I think my father liked Queen because of the theatrical quality of their music. My Dad is a church organist, choir director, and has even composed many hymns and arrangements for traditional hymns. He has also acted and sang in various community theater productions of musicals. It's weird watching your Lutheran School Principal father shake his belly and snap his fingers singing "If I Were A Rich Man"...but I'll give it to him, he was great.

I cherish my dear friend M. because she gets just as geeked out over musicals as I do and has been known to burst into song with me while watching one or merely walking down the street. She also turned me on to one of the soundtracks in this top 10, a show that would NOT have been played in my childhood home for any number of reasons. Mostly because the words "Fellatio" and "Cunnilingus" are in the lyrics of one of the songs.

Here are the top ten best musicals/soundtracks:

1. Jesus Christ Superstar (there are so many versions - my least favorite is the movie version because Jesus sounds kind of wussy here and there and I like a badass Jesus but the movie Judas ROCKS.)
2. Evita (Original Cast Recording with Patti LuPone)
3. Sound of Music (the movie version)
4. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
5. West Side Story (the movie version)
6. Les Miserables
7. Rocky Horror Picture Show (the movie version)
8. Oliver! (the movie version)
9. A Chorus Line (Original cast recording)
10. Fiddler On The Roof (Original cast recording).

HONORABLE MENTION: Godspell - I just wish there was a soundtrack that included the opening number "Tower of Babel" because that is so much fun to sing! I was Thomas Aquinas in our local production before morphing into the slutty "Turn Back O Man" broad. I also have a soft spot for Godspell since both my father AND my brother have played the part of Jesus.

I know I left a lot off, there could be at least 10 more that could tie with any of the above but what finally formed the top ten up there are the overall quality of all the songs and performances AND how good any song from the above sounds in the shower at top volume.

I dare you NOT to belt out "Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Operating With A Blown Mind

I have an ex-boyfriend. I have a few but he's the MAJOR 'Ex" -- I was with him for 6 or 7 years, neither one of us know because we broke up and got together about 7* times.

One thing that we had in common is an insane passion for music and the culture where it thrives. We were always trying to turn each other on to stuff in the genre where we were most passionate. Me? Rock/alternative. He? Hip hop. There was a small area where we agreed -- but there was a lot of new exposures for both of us. I can still remember the pain on his face when he walked into the house to me singing "Bat Out Of Hell" at the top of my lungs in full MeatLoafian operatic mode.

He had a philosophy when it came to actually purchasing a record. I've been walking around with this philosophy in my head so long I thought I came up with it, but no, it was him.

"Do not buy a record based upon the first single. You need to listen to at least 4 before making a purchase."

This holds true especially in Pop since "album oriented radio" is deader than Lenin. Once upon a time, artists and labels wanted their record to be the best examples of their body of work. That's why you can listen to "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac and EVERY SINGLE SONG is good. This is also why certain current albums with promising singles end up being coasters or filler for the CD tower. Yes, I'm looking at YOU Scissor Sisters! (I'm sorry, but Ta-DAH isn't as catchy or as listenable as your eponymous debut, which I loved.)

The Ex is also why I had heard of Cee-Lo Green -- back when he was in the Goodie Mob we had their CD in the house. They were a dirty-south group, and he seemed the typical thug but he had a sense of humor. This is why I am so incredibly floored by his voice and his lyrics in Gnarls Barkley.

St. Elsewhere is the first "new" record I've purchased that has really knocked me out in so long I almost have hope for the music business again. Not quite, but almost. I've been hearing the single "Crazy" on the radio forever, but I refused to purchase the record based upon the first single.

Then I stumbled upon the video for "Who Cares?" on YouTube. It's brilliant. I loved the song, but even more the video is taken directly from one of the greatest of 70's Blaxploitation movies EVER -- yes, better than Dolomite!

BLACULA. As you might know from an earlier posting that I probably have more working knowledge of 70's blaxploitation cinema than the average suburban white girl (thanks yet again, to the Ex). I love how Gnarls Barkley gets it so RIGHT and yet sets it in 2006 -- beyond clever. And getting Mario Van Peebles? HOW FUNNY (his father was Sweetback!).

St. Elsewhere is like nothing I've heard but mixes a little bit of everything I've ever liked! There's introspective lyrics, there's funky beats, there's weird ambient noises, there's angelic background vocals, there's a sense of innocent play (despite a song about necrophilia) and I can't believe it's the same guy who rapped about eating fried chicken and collard greens.

I know I'm slow on the uptake and that they dropped the record back in May. I don't claim to be cutting edge or cool...I just claim to be right.


*Actually I won...because I broke up with him 4 times to his dumping me 3 times -- but why be petty?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Most Depressingly Realistic Song Ever About Love/Marriage

I was meandering around a large discount chain store that's taking over the Universe the other week and found myself browsing CDs...and I came across this gem:Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten Hits: 1970s The Singer/Songwriters. Right up my alley.

It's got it all: Jim Croce, Lobo, "The Year of the Cat", "Summer Breeze", all the songs that were on the AM radio I'd listen to as a kid, the songs my COOL Uncle would play.

I think this falls under the "uncool total nostalgia" section in my CD collection but that's my FAVORITE section.

This song, by Carly Simon, is one of the highlights, I love it, but GOD is it depressing. They just don't write them like this anymore.

My father sits at night with no lights onHis cigarette glows in the dark.
The living room is still;
I walk by, no remark.

I tiptoe past the master bedroom where
My mother reads her magazines.
I hear her call sweet dreams,
But I forgot how to dream.

But you say it's time we moved in together
And raised a family of our own, you and me -
Well, that's the way I've always heard it should be:
You want to marry me, we'll marry.

My friends from college they're all married now;
They have their houses and their lawns.
They have their silent noons,
Tearful nights, angry dawns.
Their children hate them for the things they're not;
They hate themselves for what they are-
And yet they drink, they laugh,
Close the wound, hide the scar.

But you say it's time we moved in together
And raised a family of our own, you and me -
Well, that's the way I've always heard it should be
You want to marry me, we'll marry.

You say we can keep our love alive
Babe - all I know is what I see -
The couples cling and claw
And drown in love's debris.
You say we'll soar like two birds through the clouds,
But soon you'll cage me on your shelf -
I'll never learn to be just me first
By myself.

Well O.K., it's time we moved in together
And raised a family of our own, you and me -
Well, that's the way I've always heard it should be,
You want to marry me, we'll marry,
We'll marry.