Mario Kart Love Song

I wish I could write songs like this:

They Got the Band Back Together

More Ben Folds News!

His band Ben Folds Five reunited recently for one show to pay tribute to their album The Autobiography of Reinhold Messner!

It must be good if I’m willing to link to Myspace!

Mushrooms in Dungeons…

My friend Nate dropped a link to this song on me.  He must know I have a penchant for songs where it’s just a guy and a piano.  Plus, the Nintendo theme linking back to my childhood ties it all together!

Sometimes I feel like I could write music like this.  I’ve never successfully done it, though.

…so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex…

New favorite song, I can listen to it on repeat for a half hour:

The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

The video is okay, but it’s the song I really love.  I don’t know why.  It has good energy and it’s about DC and it’s a little bit appropriate for me in a melancholy way.  I need to check out some more of The Postal Service’s work.

Ipood

Guest post: by poober

I am sometimes stubborn in submitting to certain technological advances. I despise Apple, for reasons even unknown to me, and for that I have long put off getting an Ipod. When the CD player in my car died and I hit commercials on all six of my preset channels (Greg should post on that) I decided something must be done.

I enjoy music, I believe it helps to bring forward emotions and a creative state of mind. When I was in high school I needed to listen to music while I did homework. Believe me, the creativity it helped bring out was crucial in bullshitting my way through most papers I wrote.

I digress.

So, I became a consumer whore and went out and bought an Ipod. While it took me several hours to upload all my music into Itunes, which I also despise (with reason! the format is terrible), and then import all my cd’s onto my computer, I am now loving my decision to go out and buy one.

I am carrying my new Ipod wherever I go: friends house, work, workout, everywhere. I also found music on my computer I didn’t even know was there! Look up Louis Logic, lyrical genius! And while Ipod and Itunes dont really tell you about it, you can go steal all your friends music if they have Itunes as well.  Just dont sync your Ipod with your computer (just means you have to manually click and drag your music onto your Ipod) and then you can plug it into any computer and nab more songs. I’ve already ravaged one friends playlist and I’m hunting down the others!

Play on musicman, play on!

Bonus points for anyone that can guess the video I’m watching.

The Top 12 Movie Themes NOT written by John Williams

Since I was a teenager, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed movie soundtracks. Listening to them can leave me in exactly the same mental and emotional state I was in when watching the movie. They are the classical music of our day.

Of course, everyone knows the famous scores of John Williams – Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Jaws, the list goes on and on. There are many great movie composers out there creating many great scores, so I thought I would highlight a few others I have fallen in love with.

12. Phenomenon – The Orchard – Thomas Newman

I like rollicking themes made up from simple components that don’t necessarily require a full orchestra, which describes this song very well. This is one of Newman’s less famous scores (he is best known, perhaps, for The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty and Road to Perdition for which he received Academy Award nominations), but it captures the feel of the scene and the movie overall perfectly. Confusion is conveyed with sudden transitions, certainty is marked with a steady drumbeat, and it ends with an epiphany of sorts; an otherworldly and almost Lost-like string and choral diminuendo.

11. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Suite – Cliff Eidelman

Of course I had to include an entry from the Star Trek oeuvre in this list, and it was difficult to decide which one. Jerry Goldsmith, of course, wrote many of the great Star Trek themes, including the “Motion Picture” main title which went on to become the theme for television’s Star Trek: The Next Generation. Reserving Jerry for later in the list, I am going to go with the theme from my favorite Star Trek film – The Undiscovered Country. While it does not include the classic “Klingon theme,” it is the most dynamic of the Star Trek scores. With a strong beginning and an even stronger ending, it’s really the middle section that stands out. Intertwining echoing woodwind solos brings you into the wonder and awe of the vastness of the unknown and undiscovered.

10. Chocolat – Main Titles – Rachel Portman

This is the hardest theme on the list to write about. As it begins, it portrays such a deep sadness and slowness and careful reflection. Piano and strings convey these emotions very delicately. Finally, at the halfway point, hope and playfulness appear. These emotions are so obvious and intrinsic that it is almost unbelievable.

9. The Piano – The Sacrifice – Michael Nyman

I’ve actually never seen this movie, but if you’ve been reading you know I have a soft spot for beautiful piano pieces. I also think the music is actually being played, in the movie, on an actual piano, so that also counts for something.

8. Vertigo – Prelude and Rooftop – Bernard Herrmann

Ah, the old school! Yes, movies had scores in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and there were excellent composers creating them. Herrmann is one of those well-respected members of the old school, winning the academy award in 1941. Having scored many of Hitchcock’s masterpieces, Vertigo’s winding and dizzying theme stands out as an example of the most suspenseful and powerful pieces of that time.

7. Backdraft – Fighting 17th – Hans Zimmer

When Iron Chef chooses to use your theme song as ITS theme song, you know you’ve done something right. I don’t know how many people actually saw this movie, but the theme lives on whenever Chairman Kaga bites into his pepper in Kitchen Stadium.

6. Amélie – LaValse Des Monstres – Yann Tiersen

So whimsical! A simple accordion piece which is at the same time like and unlike all the other waltzes you’ve ever heard. It fits the whimsical and fun yet sometimes sad feeling of the movie so perfectly. Also, friends were listening to this full blast in their car when they arrived at my wedding, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

5. The Terminator – The Terminator Theme – Brad Fiedel

I don’t think Terminator was supposed to be the hit it ended up. I assume this score was at least part of why it did end up that way. Two sequels and a television show later, this theme and its powerful percussion has echoed back at us from the screen many times, and it inspires us to imagine that terrible post-apocalyptic future and its undoing all at the same time.

4. The Truman Show – Truman Sleeps – Philip Glass

I linked a video version of this song a few weeks ago. Philip Glass, the avante garde composer, scored this movie so gently, this song with just a synthesizer. The scene in the movie where it plays shows the “Truman Show” composer composing the piece on the spot as the camera slowly zooms into a sleeping Jim Carrey’s face. I can listen to this piece over and over.

3. Unbreakable – Visions – James Newton Howard

The movie, I think, is underrated, as is the theme. This song builds and builds, the same melody again and again, each time more and more intense. If you listen with headphones, you can’t help but be inspired as the drums kick in and the songs nears its conclusion. I wish this song could go on forever, getting more and more intense, the emotions building and never stopping. When it comes to completion, the theme is repeated once more, gently. So powerful.

2. Requiem For a Dream – Lux Aeterna – Clint Mansell

A million teenagers have used this song to score a million youtube videos. I’ve never seen the movie, though I absolutely would like to. This is another song, like the previous one, that just builds and builds. Slowly more and more instrumentation is added until the song is blasting full-bore. Then, the overarching string part appears. Strings are often the most powerful piece of movie themes and this is no exception. This song is a portrait of despair.

1. Rudy – Tryouts – Jerry Goldsmith

They use this song at the Olympics, and in every third movie trailer. It’s used especially in sports movies, I suppose because it is truly inspiring. The thing is that it builds to that inspirational piece, and then it only lasts for about 10 to 15 seconds. That’s the 10 to 15 seconds that appears in the trailers, and that elevates this song to its place of greatness among movie themes not written by John Williams.

I really wanted to actually link these songs here so you could listen, and I think it would be a fair use, but the internet stymied me. I can burn a CD for anyone who is interested.

Emo Greg is emo.

I spent a good deal of today putting together a mix CD. I know, I know, it sounds like I’m fourteen years old. That’s okay! Sometimes I feel that way.

I started off with a plan to put all sort of fun and funny and really good songs on it, but as it was developing, it turned to be a good deal more emo than that.  I guess that’s understandable, though.

I didn’t choose the best song for each artist, just the one that most captures my recent mood over the past few weeks.  If you want to listen, I can make one for you!

Here is the playlist:

  1. Relient K – The Thief
  2. Wilco – Hate It Here
  3. The Mountain Goats – This Year
  4. Fiona Apple – Across the Universe
  5. Radiohead – Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces
  6. Ben Folds – Sentimental Guy
  7. The Flaming Lips – Waitin’ for a Superman
  8. Coldplay – The Scientist
  9. Ben Folds Five – Smoke
  10. Cake – The End of the Movie
  11. Guster – The Captain
  12. Carly Comando – Every Day

Other than that, I haven’t done too much today.  I might go to a movie later.