Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A.

Apologies for the lack of Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  I was too busy with my weekly caber toss practice.

This past weekend, I finally saw Straight Outta Compton, the biopic about N.W.A.  I have been a fan of N.W.A. ever since I had the tape of Rap Masters 9: The Best of the Hardcore, which was an oxymoronic title, since it featured ten "hardcore" rap songs, all of which were edited and contained no swears.  Nonetheless, I was particularly drawn to N.W.A.'s "Gangsta Gangsta," which prompted me to buy their full album, Straight Outta Compton on tape.  Even as a white, middle-class suburbanite, I could appreciate the grittiness and truth in the songs.  Beyond the swearing (which, as a 13-year-old, I thoroughly enjoyed), the songs had a message and talked about a reality and perspective that had never really been talked about (or, at least, not so bluntly).  I can still recite pretty much every song on the album, word-for-word.  

Needless to say, I was excited when I heard a biopic was being made, especially since both Dre and Ice Cube were involved as producers.  I really liked it, even though it glossed over a few important details:  Eazy-E's debut album; the existence of Arabian Prince (who I don't remember being mentioned in the film); the group's second studio album, Niggaz4life -- or Efil4zaggin, as it was titled in the reprints of the Billboard charts that I would read in the Chicago Tribune "Friday Section" each week -- which hit #1 on the Billboard album charts; the rather public feud between Dre and Eazy-E in the early '90s (see, e.g., "Fuck Wit Dre Day" by Dr. Dre and "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" by Eazy-E); and Dr. Dre's issues with domestic violence (which weren't mentioned).  I also thought that MC Ren's contributions to the group were downplayed.  That said, I understand that you can't include everything in a film, and even without those details, it was almost two and a half hours long.  One thing was confirmed:  I never want to meet Suge Knight.

With that as the backdrop, this week's Retro Video of the Week will be "Straight Outta Compton."  A few weeks ago, I was at a wedding, and the DJ played this (for reasons that are unclear to me, since we were in a small town in Indiana), but I took the opportunity to rap all of the lyrics.  Cube, Ren, Eazy? I was all of them.  This resulted in a lot of confused and amazed looks from millennials, given that I had been dancing with my children a mere hour before I was explaining to no one in particular that I'd "shoot a motherfucker in a minute / or find a good piece of pussy / and go up in it."  Then again, I'm a crazy motherfucker from the streets, so what did they expect?

I'm including both the explicit and clean versions of the video because I find it hilarious that they made clean versions of any of their explicit songs.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hair Band Friday - 8/28/15

1.  "Never Change Heart" by Great White

2.  "Bad Boys" by Whitesnake

3.  "Action" by Gorky Park

4.  "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard

5.  "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (live) by Guns N' Roses

6.  "Want Some, Need Some" by Poison

7.  "Sucker In A 3 Piece" by Van Halen

8.  "Prisoner" by Dokken

9.  "Tell The World" by Ratt

10.  "Color Me Blind" by Extreme

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Book: Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town by Scott Gorham and Harry Doherty

A few weeks ago I finished reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, which is the sequel to The Shining, released in 2013.  I purposely read The Shining right before reading Doctor Sleep because I couldn't remember the differences between the book and the movie.  I am definitely glad I did that because there were a lot of references in Doctor Sleep to little things in The Shining that I definitely wouldn't have picked up on had I not read The Shining again.  Doctor Sleep is about a grown-up Danny Torrance, who deals with "the shining" by attempting to block it out with booze and drugs.  He eventually moves to a small town in New Hampshire and goes into AA.  A girl in a nearby town with powers similar to Dan's contacts him through "the shining," and they form a bond.  They discover that there is a traveling troupe of supernatural beings that kills and feeds on people with the shining, so they band together to fight said beings.  That's all I'm going to tell you.  It was a good book, and I would definitely recommend it if you are a fan of The Shining.

A few days ago would have been Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott's 66th birthday, and that kind of prompted me to start reading Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town by Scott Gorham and Harry Doherty, a biography of Thin Lizzy penned by their longtime guitarist Scott Gorham and music journalist Harry Doherty (who was close with the band).  I had been holding off on reading it because it is rather large (about 10x8 inches), so I figured it would be cumbersome to read on the train.  It is, but I realized that if I didn't read it on the train to and from work (which is pretty much the only time I read books), I wouldn't ever read it.  The book is good thus far, and has a lot of photos, so that's cool.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Cold Shot" by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

25 years ago tomorrow, the world lost guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan at the age of 35, after the helicopter in which he was riding crashed after a concert at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin.  Vaughan, and his backing band Double Trouble, reenergized America's love affair with the blues in the mid to late '80s, blending blues, rock, and boogie woogie, while adding ridiculous guitar playing by Vaughan.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past year.  My favorite song of theirs is "Texas Flood," but there's no video for that, so I went with one of my other favorites:  "Cold Shot."  The song was on the band's second studio album, Couldn't Stand The Weather, and it's a nice bluesy number that got up to #29 on the Billboard Top Rock Track chart in 1984.  The video is a nice homage to one of Vaughan's self-admitted problems:  the fact that he loved his guitar as much as he could love any woman.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: GMYH Ten-Year Anniversary Edition

Thursday marks the tenth anniversary of GMYH.  Yes, that's right, this here blog has been around for ten years.  It all started because a man they call Wee Wee told me I should start a blog.  So I did.  What started with a post about my then-young dog shitting blood has morphed into so much more, depending on whether you consider a blog with an undying devotion to The OC, hair band music, IU, and old-school videos "so much more" than your run-of-the-mill canine anal bleeding blog.

I sincerely thank each and every one of you for reading GMYH over the past ten years.  I enjoy writing, even if I don't get the chance to do it as often as I did in the early years.  As it turns out, children are a tremendous time-suck.  But rest assured, my goal is still to get you to laugh, whether at me or with me, or at least to force you to read my opinions about music.

With that, here are a few Top Ten lists for you to peruse, since I assume you have nothing else to do on Tuesdays.

Ten GMYH Milestones
Here are ten GMYH milestones, other than my first post, of course.

1.  September 16, 2005:  The first Hair Band Friday

2.  May 18, 2006:  The first Midwestern Eavesdropping (although technically, it started nine days earlier with "Eavesdropping in Chicago")

3.  February 22, 2007:  The last episode of The OC.  I miss it.  Every god damned day.

4.  May 10, 2007 to August 7, 2007:  I listened to all of my CDs, A-Z, and told you all about it.

5.  September 2, 2008:  The first Tuesday Top Ten

6.  October 1, 2009:  The birth of Rocktober

7.  December 2009:  The birth of Daughter

8.  September 2011:  The birth of Lollipop

9.  November 30, 2011:  The first Retro Video of the Week

10.  March 2014:  The birth of Son.  Note that because he is a third child, the announcement of his birth was delayed for two months.

Ten Most-Visited Posts
I attempted to keep track of page hits, but the tracker reset or stopped working a few times, so the number you see on the right sidebar is not accurate.  In June 2010, Blogger began keeping track of page hits, and it says I have had over 299,000 hits since then (which makes me believe the approximately 311,000 on the counter on the sidebar that is supposed to estimate the total visitors since the beginning is not accurate, since I had over 100,000 visitors by mid 2009).  The nice part is that Blogger also keeps track of how many hits each post gets.  According to Blogger, as of today, here are the ten most-visited posts on GMYH (since June 2010, obviously), with the date of the post and the number of hits in parentheses.

10.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Halloween Costumes (2012 Edition) (November 1, 2012; 1,837 hits)

9.  Song Dissection:  "Promises" by Eric Clapton" (April 3, 2011; 1,967 hits)

8.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Halloween Costumes (November 3, 2009; 2,190 hits)

7.  1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (September 9, 2009; 2,374 hits)

6.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Reasons IU is Better Than Purdue (November 17, 2009; 2,566 hits)

5.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Halloween Costumes (2010 Edition) (November 2, 2010; 3,343 hits)

4.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Karaoke Songs For Guys (November 11, 2008; 3,391 hits)

3.  I Hate Purdue (November 15, 2007; 4,904 hits)

2.  Mr. 6000 – Adam McClure (January 7, 2006; 5,970 hits)

1.  Tuesday Top Ten:  Songs with "Sex" in the Title (February 15, 2011; 13,612 hits)

My Ten Favorite Posts
I would be remiss if I didn't present you with my ten favorite posts.  Granted, trying to narrow over 2,800 posts down to ten is not easy, and I'm sure I missed some that I forgot, but here are my ten favorite posts that I remember, in chronological order.  Most of them are from the first few years of GMYH, since I had more time on my hands then to recap my weekend escapades.

1.  Interview Tips and Tips for Interviewees (October 25, 2005 and January 25, 2006)
Ahh, the joys of interviewing other people.

2.  Areolas and Such (November 7, 2005)
It will be tough for me to ever top this one.  Just an unbelievably funny pattern of events that led to two consenting adults repeatedly having sex on the floor of a hotel suite, mere feet from many other adults who did not consent to having to hear two consenting adults repeatedly having sex on the floor of a hotel suite.

3.  Saved By The Bell Fans, Revolt! and Hot Sense of Humor (July 15 and 18, 2006)
Remember that time I mercilessly mocked a Christian rock band named Hot Sundae because they weren't the group of the same name from Saved By The Bell, and then the lead singer emailed me and took it really well?  No?  Well, read the above-linked posts.

4.  Golden Showers of Awesomeness (October 30, 2006)
On my 29th birthday, I transformed into Ace Frehley.  Ace Frehley had one hell of a time that night.

5.  I Hate Purdue (November 15, 2007)
If you Google "fuck purdue" –- which you should do at least twice daily, and six times a day during Bucket week -- this post is one of the first results.  That makes me happy.

Anytime someone on a trip to Germany with you sleeps on a park bench and helps deliver newspapers because he got locked out of his hotel is memorable.

It wasn't a particularly hilarious post or anything, but it sticks out because of the fact that I and another married male friend ended up at some chick's apartment at 5 in the morning without any nefarious intent, and then proceeded to talk shit about Dennis Connor.

If I've taught you anything, it should be that you should always challenge parking tickets in person, not by mail.

There was a lot of beer, a lot of blood, and a couple Kardashians.

Possibly the single greatest concert experience I have ever had.

And what about you, fair reader?  What is your favorite GMYH post?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Guy ordering at fast food restaurant: "What's the difference between a bacon cheeseburger deluxe and a regular bacon cheeseburger?"
Twentysomething female worker: "The deluxe has more stuff on it."
--Burger King, Wanatah, IN
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Borderline" by Madonna

This past Sunday was Madonna's 57th birthday, and it also marked what would have been her 30th anniversary if she had stayed married to Sean Penn.  In honor of this blessed union, here is the video for "Borderline," in which Madonna is hanging out with some sort of Latino break dancing dojo, until a fancy photog come along and steals her away, showing her a glimpse of the jet set lifestyle.  Champagne in oversized glasses.  Marble columns.  The whole shebang.  Predictably, things deteriorate as a result of some overzealous tagging (graffiti, not sex), and she returns to her pool-playing, denim-clad boyfriend.  But for how long?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: First Tracks on Debut Albums

Here I was, sitting at work this morning, practicing my kazoo, as I do every Tuesday morning, when I got an email from the House of Payne with a link to an article from Grantland entitled "'Straight Outta Compton' and the Best First Songs Ever" by Steven Hyden.  It discusses "Straight Outta Compton" and how it was a fantastic first song off of N.W.A.'s album of the same name.  Hyden then began to think of all of the great first songs on albums.  Sensing that the task of choosing the best first tracks off of any album might be a daunting one, Hyden rightly narrows his discussion to the best first tracks off of debut albums.  This is something I, myself, have been considering doing for a Tuesday Top Ten for a while, but frankly, it's a hard list to make because there are so many great options.  But, in light of Hyden's list, I suppose now is the time to waste a Tuesday night coming up with my own list.

Here are Hyden's criteria for "an excellent album opener":
1. A dramatic entrance
2. A palatable sense of rising action
3. Simple yet direct lyrics that act as a mission statement
4. A climax powerful enough to compel the listener to play the rest of the album

He also has the following limitations:
1.  "No skits, spoken-word interludes, or stand-alone instrumental passages." I take this to mean that he does not consider a song that comes after a skit, spoken-word interlude, or stand-along instrumental passage to be the first song off of the album.  
2.  "Songs from debut albums preceded by EPs don't count, either."  This excludes "Straight Outta Compton," among others.

Hyden's list is in alphabetical order by artist.  Here it is:

1.  "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce
2.  "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath
3.  "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
4.  "Can't Knock the Hustle" by Jay Z
5.  "Lucky Star" by Madonna
6.  "Personality Crisis" by New York Dolls
7.  "Rock 'N' Roll Star" by Oasis
8.  "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones
9.  "I Wanna Be Adored" by The Stone Roses
10.  "Bring da Ruckus" by Wu-Tang Clan

I'll admit that this is a pretty solid list, and several of those songs will be on my list as well.  For sake of ease, I will abide by Hyden's criteria and limitations for my list.  I am also going to add the limitation that I must actually own the album.  As I went through my collection, I found myself adding more and more songs to my "rough" list, so forgive me for having a ton of songs in my Honorable Mention category.  There are just so many first tracks that grab my attention.  Expect it to be rock-heavy (although that is more of a function of the "no skits, etc." limitation, which excludes a lot of rap and hip hop albums).  Again, this is limited to the albums I own and the conditions listed above, so calm your shit down if your favorite first track off a debut album isn't on here.  If nothing else, this is a great bar conversation to have with your friends.

Honorable mention:
"Can't Get Enough" by Bad Company
"Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys
"Twice As Hard" by The Black Crowes
"Busted" by The Black Keys
"In One Ear" by Cage The Elephant
"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" by Crosby, Stills & Nash
"Pigs" by Cypress Hill
"Jacqueline" by Franz Ferdinand
"I'd Have You Anytime" by George Harrison
"Purple Haze" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Positive Jam" by The Hold Steady
"Prowler" by Iron Maiden
"Everyday I Love You Less and Less" by Kaiser Chiefs
"Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers
"Strutter" by Kiss
"Hit the Lights" by Metallica
"Faith" by George Michael
"Live Wire" by Mötley Crüe
"Once" by Pearl Jam
"Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley
"Keep Yourself Alive" by Queen
"Steady As She Goes" by The Raconteurs
"Bombtrack" by Rage Against the Machine
"Pain In My Heart" by Otis Redding
"Takin' A Ride" by The Replacements
"Out Of The Black" by Royal Blood
"Holidays in the Sun" by Sex Pistols
"Big Guns" by Skid Row
"Suspect Device" by Stiff Little Fingers
"Dead & Bloated" by Stone Temple Pilots
"1969" by The Stooges
"I Will Follow" by U2
"Sucker Train Blues" by Velvet Revolver
"My Name Is Jonas" by Weezer
"Jimmy The Exploder" by The White Stripes

10 (tie).  "This Is a Call" by Foo Fighters (Foo Fighters, 1995)
With this song, Dave Grohl announced the arrival of what would become the best hard rock band of the next 20 years.

10 (tie).  "I Feel Free" by Cream (Fresh Cream, 1966 in the UK, 1967 in the US)
This is kind of cheating, since "N.S.U." was the first track off of the UK version of Fresh Cream, but "I Feel Free" was the first song on the American release of the album, and that's good enough for me.  This song is pure energy, and it captures what it great about Cream:  taking blues and R&B influences, and turning them into frenetic rock and roll.

9.  "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles (Please Please Me, 1963)
This is a very underrated Beatles song, but I think it really sets the tone for the Please Please Me album and the musical direction in which the Beatles led the world.  It's catchy and edgy at the same time.  The opening line -- "Well she was just seventeen / And you know what I mean" -- should not be overlooked. Basically, it's a song about dancing with an underage chick, but you forget about it because of the "myiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine" and the holding each other tight and such.

8.  "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath, 1970)
The rare self-titled song off of a self-titled album, this song invented heavy metal, plain and simple.  Using the devil's triad, the band creates a creepy and heavy sound, complemented by lyrics inspired by a haunting experience bassist Geezer Butler had, where he saw a figure in black at the end of his bed in the middle of the night, and when he reached for a book about witchcraft (naturally) that had been on his nightstand, it was gone.  How metal is that?

7.  "Good Times Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin, 1969)
The opening riff coronates rock and roll's new kings.  It's a bombastic song, with a 21-year-old singing about "the days of [his] youth" and a blistering guitar solo.  If you think about what was popular in 1969, this is even more striking.

6.  "Magic Man" by Heart (Dreamboat Annie, 1975)
I'm not sure if you knew this, but females can rock too.  If there was any question, Ann and Nancy Wilson answered emphatically with Heart's 1975 debut album, Dreamboat Annie, and the first track off of that album, the inimitable "Magic Man."

5.  "Runnin' With the Devil" by Van Halen (Van Halen, 1978)
Hyden left this off of his list because it didn't have enough of a guitar solo.  I can't exclude it from my list.  Van Halen redefined hard rock and ushered in the carefree, good-times attitude of Sunset Strip rock and roll that followed VH in the early '80s.  "Runnin' With the Devil" is a great song that shows its listeners what Van Halen was all about:  heavy yet catchy songs, a bit of a naughty attitude, wailing vocals, killer backing vocals, and great guitars.

4.  "More Than a Feeling" by Boston (Boston, 1976)
Boston gets a bad rap because they get thrown in with the "corporate rock" of the mid to late '70s, but I'm not sure that's fair.  I've always liked them, and their debut album was the best-selling debut album for many years.  "More Than a Feeling" is a classic rock radio staple, and it's a song I just don't get tired of hearing.  Brad Delp's voice hits notes that most singers (male or female) could only dream of hitting.

3.  "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" by The Doors (The Doors, 1967)
I think this song (and probably The Doors in general) get taken for granted nowadays, but The Doors were pretty fucking amazing, and they were doing some things that no one else was really doing at the time, mixing influences and genres to produce some fantastic music.  After a brief Brazilian-inspired drums and organ bassline intro, we are introduced to Jim Morrison's mad man wail.  The song is two and a half minutes of energy, and its lyrics were controversial enough that, for 30 years after it's release, both on the album and on the radio, they edited out the word "high" after the repeated "she gets" in the bridge. Even when I hear the unedited version now, it seems weird.

2.  "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones (Ramones, 1976)
This song not only announced the arrival of The Ramones, but it also announced the arrival of punk rock.  If there is a greater punk anthem, I haven't heard it.  This is far from my favorite Ramones song, but in the grand scheme of punk rock and alternative rock, it's hard to oversell this one.

1.  "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses (Appetite for Destruction, 1987)
The best first song off of a debut album comes off of arguably the best debut album of all-time.  From the opening riff and howl to the last "it's gonna bring you down, huh!," this song set the tone for the album and announced that the world's baddest rock and rollers had arrived.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Thirtysomthing female:  "I am so tired of my husband wasting time and caressing my face and telling me sweet things before sex.  Just hurry up and pound me so I can get to sleep or play Words With Friends.  Jesus."
Eavesdropper:  Rockford Peach

Thirtysomething male:  "I want to start the Best Business Bureau, to take those motherfuckers down."
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

Thirtysomething male, during discussion about the last days of Earth's existence:  "The rich will be the first to go because they are the least resourceful."
Eavesdropper:  Rockford Peach

Hair Band Friday - 8/14/15

1.  "Patience" by Guns N' Roses

2.  "Open Fire" by Y&T

3.  "Still of the Night" by Whitesnake

4.  "Let's Make It" by AC/DC

5.  "Sing Me Away" by Night Ranger

6.  "Hot Rod" by Junkyard

7.  "Bang Your Head" by Quiet Riot

8.  "Our Father" by Extreme

9.  "#1 Bad Boy" by Poison

10.  "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)" by Van Halen