ckd: (music)
I'd asked folks to guess how many different artists' versions of songs I have. Here are the answers, along with lists of the artists represented.
time to flip over the mix tape )
ckd: (music)
If you ask me to play each of the following songs, how many different artists (including the original artist) will I have available in iTunes? (Not including parodies, but including instrumental-only versions.)
saving your friends page )
ckd: (music)
Another round of the song letter meme. This time, [ profile] whumpdotcom gave me "K". My zealousness in rating songs means that I can trivially generate a list of 5-star songs that start with K, then trim it down to the following:

"Kind & Generous", Natalie Merchant. While not my favorite of her work ("Wonder" still takes the crown there), it's probably my favorite track from Ophelia (edging out "Break Your Heart" and "Life Is Sweet"). It's the kind of song that's become a cliché to be played at graduations and the like, but at least in this case the lyrics actually bear out the intended resonance (unlike the all too common playing of "Every Breath You Take" at weddings).

"Kiss From A Rose", Seal. I have several versions of this in my iTunes library. The acoustic version from the Best Of 1991-2004 bonus disc is my favorite; it brings the song's emotional core down to just his voice, without the somewhat more bombastic delivery of his "regular" version. I'm not actually sure why "a kiss from a rose on the grave" is such a good thing to sing about, though.

I'm sure I've mentioned (once or twice) my love of cover songs. Even so, the fact that the remaining three songs are all cover versions seems a bit excessive, even by my standards....

"King Of Pain", Alanis Morissette (Police cover). This is another acoustic track (from her MTV Unplugged album), which is also unsurprising given my preference for those. I still like the original (and "King Of Suede", for that matter), but her enunciation is a bit clearer than Sting's is and the song really needs understandable lyrics for its full power. That said, the end bit where she sings it as "Queen Of Pain" bugs me. I'm not sure why.

"King Of The Road", The Proclaimers (Roger Miller cover). I have no idea why this song works so well for me with a Scottish accent; it just does. The video's available here if you want to see for yourself.

"Knockin' On Heaven's Door", Warren Zevon (Bob Dylan cover). Because of the circumstances surrounding The Wind, it's possibly the most poignant version of the song ever recorded. A dying man singing this song? A dying Warren Zevon singing this song? Open up. Open up.
ckd: (music)
Suzanne Vega has a great blog post up over on the NYT's website, about "Luka", being labeled a "two-hit wonder", and more. Highly recommended.

(via [ profile] libertango)
ckd: (music)
I'm unsurprised to find that the two songs that nobody was able to identify were also, by several years, the two songs most recently released of the ones in this quiz. (The oldest, "Behind Blue Eyes", dates to 1971; the most recent of the identified songs, "Torn", is from 1997.)

The two releases on the list from this century:
9. I am too dumb I am too smart answer )
12. They tell me your blue skies fade to gray answer )

You also may have noticed some linkage between the songs chosen. Yeah. Not random.
ckd: (music)
1. Everything is temporary anyway "Circle", Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, [ profile] lizzielizzie
2. When I'm surrounded I just can't stop "Brian Wilson", Barenaked Ladies, [ profile] victorthecook
3. It's too late tonight to drag the past out into the light "One", U2, [ profile] bikergeek
4. I have stood here before inside the pouring rain "King Of Pain", The Police, [ profile] bikergeek
5. That long black cloud is comin' down "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", Bob Dylan, [ profile] bikergeek
6. Sat on a fence but it don't work "Under Pressure", Queen w/David Bowie, [ profile] lizzielizzie
7. Some are altogether mighty frightening "Don't Speak", No Doubt, [ profile] lizzielizzie
8. Aspirations in the clouds but your hopes go down the drain "No One Is To Blame", Howard Jones, [ profile] bikergeek
9. I am too dumb I am too smart
10. If I shiver, please give me a blanket "Behind Blue Eyes", The Who, [ profile] happyfunpaul
11. Conversation has run dry "Torn", Natalie Imbruglia[1], [ profile] happyfunpaul
12. They tell me your blue skies fade to gray
13. These are the words I never said "Why", Annie Lennox, [ profile] lizzielizzie
14. What a cold and a rainy day "Like The Weather", 10,000 Maniacs, [ profile] bikergeek
15. Sometimes everything is wrong "Everybody Hurts", R.E.M., [ profile] happyfunpaul

[1] Technically, this is a cover of Ednaswap, but their version's rather obscure. OTOH, see this interpretive dance version.
ckd: (music)
So, as events turns out, both the current and former occupants of the Frickin' Huuuuge[1] Record Store Space at the corner of Mass Ave and Newbury St are closing. This has led Mike Dreese, co-founder of Newbury Comics, to write about his perspective on both Tower and Virgin.

[1] As opposed to "wee" (the original Newbury Comics space) and "not so wee" (Newbury Comics after expanding into an adjacent storefront).

The current Virgin Megastore is down to 50% off music and movies, and the stock is getting more and more picked over, but there were still a number of good pickups when I went there on Monday night. (There were fewer after I left, heh heh.)

Tower Records, which opened that location as their superstore while I was at BU (and damn, does that ever date me) has also gone poof, with a liquidator taking over after their second bankruptcy. When I looked tonight they were still at 15% off, which almost makes their stuff almost worth buying. (Crazy-ass overpricing is their middle name.)

I'm worried about the future of their spaces.

The Winter St HMV is now a Mattress Discounters or something, and the Harvard Square HMV is still empty after how many years? I don't see anyone jumping to take over the Mass/Newbury space, and with HMV's One Brattle still empty will anyone want the smaller(?) Tower space?

(Actually, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Newbury Comics move out of the Garage and into the Tower space if the price is right. There's no way for them to expand where they are.)

My history of music buying during the CD era covers a lot of ground that isn't there any longer. After getting my first CD player (which I bought from the old Lechmere, before the Galleria), I bought a bunch of CDs at the Kenmore Square Strawberries (long gone, though their Downtown Crossing store hangs on somehow) during a "midnight madness" sale. Tower opened just one stop away on the T, and I shopped their aisles many a time. On trips to Harvard Square, Newbury Comics was a required stop; I still remember buying TMBG's Flood there.

I graduated and wound up living in Camberville. HMV opened in Harvard Square, Virgin replaced Tower, HMV closed; Lechmere disappeared and was replaced by Best Buy. Amazon and the iTunes Store came along, but neither really compares to the fun of browsing store aisles for me.

Both Tower and Virgin tended to have deep selections but crappy pricing; Best Buy is the master of having cheap prices on the Big New Release but never having heard of the less popular[2]. Newbury seems to have found a niche by having not a complete super selection (which Amazon tends to overwhelm), but having a good set of stuff at reasonable prices. (And stuff that I can pick up and look at before buying, then take home immediately if I do buy it. Instant gratification works.)

[2] One week, I used the Newbury Comics list as a reference when I was at the Galleria, and found that Best Buy had none of the four CDs I wanted that were released that week. None. Zero, zip, nada. But the MBTA runs a bus from Lechmere right into Harvard Square...and Newbury had them all.

Newbury has also made some good moves in tracking their hot sellers and being able to respond instantly; this Globe article gives an example, when they were able to reorder Napoleon Dynamite DVDs on release day. It also discusses their non-music (and non-comics) merchandise, which doesn't interest me but if it keeps the lights on in the stores...more power to them.

So, between last night's run to Virgin and tonight's to Tower, I've done my share of grave-robbing. (Both nights I also bought something from the nearby Newbury Comics, so not all is lost.)

Oh, and by way of grave-robbing? I'm still using a CD wrapper opener that I got as a trade show handout.

The logo on it? Genuity.
ckd: (music)
All safe for work as long as video with audio (and hysterical laughter) is SFW.

Total Eclipse of the Heart played on kitchen appliances by crazy Norwegians.

Hard Rock Hallelujah played by Finnish Klingon/Orc hybrids at Eurovision 2006. Also, the music video for the song, because all high school revenge fantasies should include Finnish Klingon/Orc hybrids...and zombies.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Star Wars (main title) [edit: fixed link] played on a banjo.
ckd: (music)
I quote: This is a twist on the Letter Meme. Instead of coming up with ten items for a certain letter, you come up with five song titles for a certain letter and explain why you picked them. If interested then leave a comment. I'll give you a letter. You post this blurb in your journal along with your list.

[ profile] theodosia gave me "V".

1. "Video Killed The Radio Star", The Buggles

Today is the 25th anniversary of MTV, and back when they still showed videos, they started off with this one. Yes, not only am I so old I remember when MTV showed videos, I'm so old I remember before MTV showed videos.

1a. "Voices Carry", 'Til Tuesday

Another 1980s song well known for its video, though Aimee Mann continued to have a singing career, while Trevor Horn went behind the scenes as a producer instead.

2. "Verb: That's What's Happening", Schoolhouse Rock

See above for note on my age. Yes, this list is dating me something fierce. I'm of the cohort who can hear the word "conjunction" and immediately get earwormed.

3. "Verdi Cries", 10,000 Maniacs

I discovered the Maniacs while in college, and was lucky enough to buy In My Tribe before they pulled "Peace Train" off the disc over the Yusuf Islam/Salman Rushdie fatwa problem. As many people do, I discovered a lot of music during my college years.

4. "Valjean Arrested/Valjean Forgiven", Les Misérables (Broadway Cast)

Another college experience was seeing Les Mis. I'd worked tech for a couple plays in high school, so I wound up spending time admiring bits of lighting design and scenery construction when I should have been paying more attention to the show, but hey.

5. "Vancouver", They Might Be Giants

I still remember buying Flood at the Newbury Comics in Harvard Square, lo these many years ago. Perhaps one of these days I'll get to a TMBG live show. The Venue Songs album is quite good; it reminds me of the writing prompts that many of the writer-folks on my flist take and run with, producing great stuff from a small seed.
ckd: (music)
Random? Shuffle? First lines? Bah.

It's time for a themed lyrics quiz. The theme? You'll see. Bwahahaha!

I can name that song many notes? )

ETA: minor transcription change to #3.
ckd: A small blue foam shark sitting on a London Underground map (london underground)
This Tube map of music is just too cool for words.

Each line represents a genre; each connection point represents an artist that combines the genres in some way.
Each branch line represents a sub-genre: rock sprouts off into grunge and psychedelia when it reaches South-West London; hip-hop diverges, north of Camden, into old school and New York rap. If I was really lucky, the band name echoed the original station name: Highbury & Islington became Sly & the Family Stone.
"This train is for Cameo."

(Via Going Underground's Blog)
ckd: (music)
[ profile] shadesong mentioned trying to keep up with "One Week" and "We Didn't Start The Fire" in the car, which led me to come up with a dozen candidates for "songs that will trip your tongue if you try to sing along". Can you get through the whole half hour?

1. "Confrontation", Les Misérables Original Broadway Cast (try to keep up with Javert and Valjean!)
2. "Hourglass", Squeeze
3. "What About Everything?", Carbon Leaf
4. "One Week", Barenaked Ladies
5. "Your Horoscope For Today", "Weird Al" Yankovic
6. "Can You Picture That?", Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem
7. "We Didn't Start The Fire", Billy Joel (Flash version)
8. "Alphabet Of Nations", They Might Be Giants (WMV of live performance with additional lyrics)
9. "Bruces' Philosophers Song", Monty Python
10. "A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)", Simon & Garfunkel
11. "The Elements", Tom Lehrer (Flash version)
12. "Stay", Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
ckd: (music)
Now that every shipping iPod (save the shuffle) has a color screen and the ability to display lyrics saved within the song file, the metadata problem is even more acute.

Put simply, user-entered metadata sucks rocks. Cory Doctorow calls this metacrap, and notes that even when people have a financial incentive (eBay listings, for instance) they screw up (anyone want a "Plam Zire 71"?).

This seems even more true of CDDB. Sometimes I think they've got crack-addled monkeys entering data. Reversed artist and song title? Yeah, we've got that. Both of them in the song title field? Yup. Incorrect spelling and capitalization? Uh-huh.

Probably most annoying because of its semi-invisibility, though, is the misuse of the "compilation" flag. That's not there just because the iTunes developers wanted to give you a "ticky-box" option! I've now become inured to the habit of checking the "get info" box for the CD before importing, simply as a defensive measure against this being mis-set.

An album is not a compilation, unless it has songs on it by multiple artists. This means that, in general, "Greatest Hits" albums do not qualify. (Some of them may have different but related acts together, like Lionel Richie and the Commodores, or the various Crosby, Stills, Nash, and/or Young groupings.) Random everyday "one artist, bunch of songs" albums? Definitely not, you crack-addled monkey!

Cover art, at least, has Amazon and Wal-Mart (yeah, they're good for something) doing a reasonable job of offering it up. Still, there are bad scans, microscopic JPEGs, and scans with the clearly-readable "PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY" legend right across the middle to contend with.

Lyrics...don't get me started on lyrics. My iPod doesn't display them anyway. This is probably a good thing.
ckd: (music)
Since [ profile] gaudior has brought this one back around, and it seems like a nice distraction from things, here are 25 song lyrics for your edification identification. (Amusingly enough, there's a track here that those who saw [ profile] gaudior's version of this will probably recognize instantly.)

I didn't do a straight "first 25 that came up on shuffle" because, y'know, instrumentals and iTrip files and three tracks by the same artist and insanely obscure rarities and stuff. (I did leave in a cover or two, but I'll accept either the original artist or the cover artist for that one.) Instead, I set iTunes to "Party Shuffle" and kept deleting unsuitable tracks until I had a reasonable list of 25.

Edited to add: oh, and I'll use the music userpic for this one.

I have a little list... )
ckd: (music)
Though I didn't see anyone tag me specifically, seeing [ profile] jmhm, [ profile] pnh, and [ profile] papersky post it was enough to hook me (and [ profile] papersky did say "I'm not tagging people, but if anyone wants to do it, please do").

sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong )
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)
(via [ profile] firecat)

How many total songs?
9959 songs, 26:19:14:42 total time, 35.13 GB

Sort by song title - first and last?
"...This Town...", Elvis Costello
"Zoo Station", U2

Sort by time - first and last?
Tie at 0:04: "Intro", Various Artists, Motown 1s / "Who's Knocking on the Wall?" and "I Heard a Sound", They Might Be Giants, Apollo 18
14:10: "You Don't Love Me Anymore", "Weird Al" Yankovic, Off The Deep End (includes 10 minutes of silence)

Sort by album - first and last?
...All This Time (Sting)
Young Hearts - Complete Greatest Hits (Steve Miller Band)

Top 5 played songs?
22: "Stay", Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
18: "Everybody Hurts (Unplugged)", The Corrs
18: "All Star", Smash Mouth
18: "Particle Man", They Might Be Giants
18: "Walk On (Single Version)", U2

Find 'sex', how many songs show up?
23, seven of which are versions of "I'm Too Sexy"

Find 'death', how many songs show up?

Find 'love', how many songs show up?
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)
(acquired via [ profile] topaz_munro)

A book you own that no one on your friends list does: Sysadmin/technical books are likely to be out there (unless I go back to Beneath Apple DOS, and I wouldn't be too surprised if that showed up). SF&F? Yeah, right. Aviation or other transport related books? I'd worry about [ profile] feorag there, if nobody else.

I'll have to go for Town on the Sound: Stories of Steilacoom on the grounds that nobody on my friends list is from there, as far as I know.

A CD you own that no one on your friends list does: I can think of several candidates for this one, since my iTunes library is particularly rich in the bizarre. The Stairways to Heaven collection from "The Money or the Gun" is my first thought, though Brent Spiner's Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back is another possibility, or When Pigs Fly: Music You Never Thought You'd Hear. (That last includes Don Ho's cover of "Shock The Monkey".) Picking one, I'll say Stairways.

A DVD/VHS tape you own that no one on your friends list does: The Return of Captain Invincible.

A place you've been that no one on your friends list has been: the cockpit of Concorde, in flight, at Mach 2. (I suspect [ profile] feorag will be irritated to hear that.)
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)
[ profile] mdyesowitch got me with the 20 song lyric meme.

On your current playlist, hit shuffle and pick the first twenty songs on the list (no matter how cheesy or embarrassing), and write down your favourite line of the song. Try to avoid putting the song title in the line. Then, have your friends comment and see if they know the songs.

There's an extra bonus (not a song lyric); recognize the source of the cut tag text?

a sacrifice, if we may say so, to the god of Brevity, whom all historians, indeed, all who work with the written word, ought to worship. We cannot say too little on this subject. )
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