Saturday, July 30, 2005

List of the week, 7/30: Band names

(Listening to: Radiohead, OK Computer)

A new feature here: I take my obsession with lists to the next level and provide you with a new one every Saturday. How 'bout that. Not like my big mammoth lists, of course -- these will be just top fives or tens, depending on my mood.

I'm sure you'll disagree with my choices, but hey -- that's the point. To inspire discussion. Plus, you're wrong.

This week: the best and worst band names of all time. I'll try to divorce my opinion of the music of each of these acts to focus just on their names -- just because someone is on the best list here doesn't mean I don't hate them.

The best:
  1. The Who. ("Who's playing tonight?" "Yeah!" "Who?" "Yeah!" "No, what band is playing tonight?" "Who!" "That's what I'm asking you!")
  2. Soundgarden. (Apparently taken from an outdoor art installation in Seattle that makes noise when the wind blows through it. A perfect name -- dark, mysterious, and instantly memorable. Just like their music.)
  3. Megadeth. (Fueled by alcohol and anger over his expulsion from Metallica, Dave Mustaine managed to come up with a name even more perfect for metal than his former mates [and Lars even stole theirs from someone else]. Unfortunately, the other guys blew him away musically, but hey: at least he got the cooler name.)
  4. Public Enemy. (Chuck D couldn't have put his group's militant hip-hop anymore succinctly than that. Bonus points for the logo, depicting a black man trapped in a sniper's crosshairs. And honorable mention to Rage Against the Machine, who also chose a great political name.)
  5. Ben Folds Five. (Sure, there's nothing original about a lead singer naming a band after himself. But the genius of the name lies in the fact that the Five only featured three members -- Folds had a knack for smirking, sarcastic songwriting, and the great name spelled that out flawlessly.)
And the worst:

  1. Limp Bizkit. (Just about everything Fred Durst does pisses me off, and the idiotic band name is no exception. Dig the totally hip misspelling! And putting the word "limp" in your name is asking for your music to be described that way, isn't it? And a million extra bonus points for what a "limp biscuit" supposedly is. If you don't know, don't ask. It's gross.)
  2. Hoobastank. (Yeah, a band name is supposed to be easy to remember, but not like this. "Hoobastank" -- which doesn't mean anything, if you were curious -- is like a rotted watermelon thrown against the wall, splattering out in all directions, creating a giant, disgusting mess that you will never get rid of no matter how hard you try. Just like their music.)
  3. Jethro Tull. (The story is that Ian Anderson would come up with a new name every time his band got booed out of a club. The one time they happened to play well and get asked back, they'd called themselves "Jethro Tull," and so were stuck with it. Poor bastards.)
  4. Jefferson Starship. (Jefferson Airplane wasn't so bad, I guess. But Jefferson Starship? Thanks, but no thanks.)
  5. Yes. (No. No no no.)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My 100 Favorite Songs

  1. "The Unforgiven," Metallica (1991)
  2. "Warehouse," Dave Matthews Band (1994)
  3. "Lounge Act," Nirvana (1991)
  4. "Eulogy," Tool (1996)
  5. "Stairway to Heaven," Led Zeppelin (1971)
  6. "Hey Jude," The Beatles (1968)
  7. "Kill You," Eminem (2000)
  8. "Estranged," Guns N' Roses (1991)
  9. "My Friend of Misery," Metallica (1991)
  10. "Shock the Monkey," Peter Gabriel (1982)

  11. "No Surprises," Radiohead (1997)
  12. "Comfortably Numb," Pink Floyd (1979)
  13. "Like a Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan (1965)
  14. "A," Barenaked Ladies (1994)
  15. "Criminal," Fiona Apple (1996)
  16. "Granny," Dave Matthews Band (1994)
  17. "Serve the Servants," Nirvana (1993)
  18. "Free Bird," Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973)
  19. "Rain King," Counting Crows (1993)
  20. "Master of Puppets," Metallica (1985)

  21. "Alice's Restaurant," Arlo Guthrie (1967)
  22. "Father of Mine," Everclear (1997)
  23. "Down in a Hole," Alice in Chains (1992)
  24. "Let Me Drown," Soundgarden (1994)
  25. "Taxman," The Beatles (1966)
  26. "Jesus of Suburbia," Green Day (2004)
  27. "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," Billy Joel (1977)
  28. "Turn the Page," Bob Seger (1973)
  29. "The Wretched," Nine Inch Nails (1999)
  30. "Vietnow," Rage Against the Machine (1996)

  31. "One," U2 (1991)
  32. "Welcome to the Jungle," Guns N' Roses (1987)
  33. "Hook," Blues Traveler (1994)
  34. "Alcohol," Barenaked Ladies (1998)
  35. "Sympathy for the Devil," The Rolling Stones (1968)
  36. "Best Imitation of Myself," Ben Folds Five (1995)
  37. "Let Down," Radiohead (1997)
  38. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," The Beatles (1968)
  39. "Mosh," Eminem (2004)
  40. "The Call of Ktulu," Metallica (1984)

  41. "I Grieve," Peter Gabriel (1997)
  42. "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," Blue Oyster Cult (1976)
  43. "Find the River," R.E.M. (1992)
  44. "Albuquerque," Weird Al Yankovic (1999)
  45. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," Marvin Gaye (1968)
  46. "Breed," Nirvana (1991)
  47. "Since I've Been Loving You," Led Zeppelin (1970)
  48. "Bartender," Dave Matthews Band (2000)
  49. "Anna Begins," Counting Crows (1993)
  50. "Time," Pink Floyd (1973)

  51. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," Otis Redding (1968)
  52. "Baba O'Riley," The Who (1971)
  53. "Just Like You Imagined," Nine Inch Nails (1999)
  54. "Exit Music (For a Film)," Radiohead (1997)
  55. "Nautical Disaster," The Tragically Hip (1995)
  56. "War Pigs," Black Sabbath (1971)
  57. "Box Set," Barenaked Ladies (1992)
  58. "Pushit," Tool (1996)
  59. "Drive You Mild," The Verve Pipe (1996)
  60. "Reach Out I'll Be There," The Four Tops (1966)

  61. "Save Me," Aimee Mann (1999)
  62. "The Voice," The Moody Blues (1981)
  63. "The Unnamed Feeling," Metallica (2003)
  64. "Dancing Nancies," Dave Matthews Band (1994)
  65. "Prison Sex," Tool (1994)
  66. "On the Bound," Fiona Apple (1999)
  67. "A Long December," Counting Crows (1996)
  68. "In Bloom," Nirvana (1991)
  69. "Locomotive Breath," Jethro Tull (1971)
  70. "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," Cake (2001)

  71. "Haunted," Poe (2000)
  72. "Across the Universe," The Beatles (1970)
  73. "House of the Rising Sun," The Animals (1964)
  74. "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces," Ben Folds Five (1997)
  75. "Jumpin' Jack Flash," The Rolling Stones (1968)
  76. "You Oughta Know," Alanis Morissette (1996)
  77. "The Stone," Dave Matthews Band (1998)
  78. "Pyramid Song," Radiohead (2001)
  79. "El Scorcho," Weezer (1996)
  80. "Harvester of Sorrow," Metallica (1987)

  81. "Kashmir," Led Zeppelin (1972)
  82. "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," AC/DC (1976)
  83. "Don't Damn Me," Guns N' Roses (1991)
  84. "Strawberry Fields Forever," The Beatles (1967)
  85. "Lie in Our Graves," Dave Matthews Band (1996)
  86. "Would?" Alice in Chains (1992)
  87. "Digging in the Dirt," Peter Gabriel (1992)
  88. "Bukowski," Modest Mouse (2004)
  89. "Wake Up," Rage Against the Machine (1992)
  90. "Rape Me," Nirvana (1993)

  91. "Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who (1971)
  92. "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" R.E.M. (1994)
  93. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2 (1987)
  94. "The Best of What's Around," Dave Matthews Band (1994)
  95. "Mad Season," Matchbox Twenty (2000)
  96. "Limo Wreck," Soundgarden (1994)
  97. "The Outlaw Torn," Metallica (1996)
  98. "Hurt," Nine Inch Nails (1994)
  99. "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution," AC/DC (1980)
  100. "Holiday," Green Day (2004)

Monday, July 25, 2005

You have got to be kidding me

(Listening to: Green Day, American Idiot)

Terrorist attacks around the globe. High-ranking White House officials revealing classified information to reporters. We're at war in Iraq. And what is our Congress spending their time (and money) worrying about? People having imaginary sex, obviously:
Just after 7 pm on Capitol Hill today, the House of Representatives voted 355 to 21 to support a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The purpose of the probe will be to determine if take-Two Interactive and its publishing subsidiary Rockstar Games deceived the voluntary Entertainment Software Ratings Board when it submitted Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Today's vote advanced House Resolution 376, introduced by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI). In Upton's words, he is "leading the Congressional effort to determine if a best selling video game maker intentionally deceived the industry’s ratings board to avoid an 'Adults-Only' rating."

In a statement, Upton recently said he was "outraged by the brazenness of Rockstar Games in their effort to do an end-run around the ratings system.... Rockstar Games’ deceit has severely undermined the integrity of the ratings system."

Remember that movie Teen Wolf? Sure you do. At the end, after the basketball game, if you look to the stands during the big celebration, you can see one of the extras expose himself to the camera. That's right: he pulls his wang out for the world to see. It's there, but you probably never noticed. The MPAA never noticed, either: Teen Wolf is rated PG.

Where's the Congressionally-backed FTC investigation of the producers of Teen Wolf? Where's the outrage at their brazenness in doing an end-run around the MPAA?

There isn't any, because it would be ridiculous. And so is this.

But Teen Wolf is rated PG -- it's suitable for kids. It a harmless teen comedy about a kid who turns into a werewolf and plays basketball. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, on the other hand, is a game about carjacking, organized crime, mowing down pedestrians in your stolen car, and shooting police officers. And it's the sex that's a problem?

And as for destroying the integrity of the ratings system -- too late. Much like the idiotic MPAA, the ESRB finds nudity and sex far more offensive than graphic violence, which is why a Hot Coffee-less GTA will get an M. The message: having sex is worse than killing a cop.

I cannot understand where these people are coming from with this controversy. And don't give me that "But the children!" crap either, because if a parent is allowing his/her child to play GTA games, they have no one to blame but themselves. There was a great big M rating on the box. Fuck, the game is called Grand Theft Auto, what did you think?

Did Rockstar deceive the ESRB? It's possible. But considering that the ESRB's job -- in fact, their reason for existence -- is to determine the content of these games, how they can they really be claiming they were misled? If they did their jobs properly, they would have found this stuff. After all, players found it. Why couldn't they?

Also: the game God of War features a sex mini-game. Along with gratuitous nudity everywhere. It was given an M. I've heard nothing from anyone.

And finally: I would like someone to explain to me the difference between the Mature rating and the Adults Only rating. Well, more specifically: explain the need for two different ratings at all. One is for 17 and up; the other is for 18 and up. Huh?


You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Sounds good to me.

Remember Tim? My Pizza Inn Padawan? Misread that prophecy was -- he's likely to be fired by the time I get to work on Tuesday.

I am chugging through an episode of Revolver at the moment. I'm the middle of scene two. I know it's been a while, but I'm making up for it -- this episode feels hugely long. (Probably because it is: the first scene is 11 pages; the first episode was only 14.)

I have written my 100 Favorite Songs list, as I promised I would. I'll post it in a few days.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is fucking dark, yeah? Very Empire Strikes Back there at the end.

After finishing Revolver and posting my list, I'll get to the task of revising "The Outlet," something I should have done long ago.

And it turns out the Astros were only mostly dead back in April and May. Very cool.

That is all.

...Hmm? What was that?

"Take Two"?


*waves hand*

These are not the droids you're looking for.