Because I am busy on bigger and more prestigious things right now, and because I blogged my rear end off last week, you, dear reader, are getting links to other people's stuff. Enjoy.
- I haven't read a Playboy Magazine in years. Apparently, the magazine just isn't what it used to be. I am going to go out on a limb and think you could almost compare Playboy and Saturday Night Live. I think after reaching their heyday in the 70s, neither grew with the times. Then, after the explosion of the Internet and online media, both really struggled. Although SNL has started to design content for the online audience, Playboy might want to heed the 10 Ways Playboy Can Be Better from the NSFW blog Free Porn Star Pix (the title is a bit misleading, it is a blog about the porn industry).
- According to National Geographic, "Western tunes — even with no words — can convey emotion across cultural barriers". This according to a study by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. The article claims Western music mimics the tone of the human voice more effectively than other forms of international music.
- Tim Niland of the blog Music and More listed the five albums that Shaped His Listening Habits. I always learn a lot from Tim's blog of mostly jazz and blues reviews, and this time he lists some absolute classics like Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
In return, here is my personal list of five albums that molded my listening:
1) Soundgarden - Superunknown: This was my first rock album and set the tone for the type of rock I like. Between this and Pearl Jam's Ten, I developed my rock sensibility around the "grunge" sound.
2) Public Enemy - Apocalypse 91 ... The Enemy Strikes Black: This was among my first rap albums. When I first got into listening to rap I bought Heavy D and the Boyz, the Fresh Prince, and Public Enemy. Right off the bat I knew PE definitely had more to say than Will Smith and the Heavster. As I was just getting into politics, for some reason I gravitated to the realism of Chuck D. Not a bad decision for a 14-year old white kid from the suburbs who, embarrassingly enough, used to watch and read Rush Limbaugh regularly. (Then again, I was only 14. What did I know?)
3) Jimi Hendrix - Blues: This album got me into the blues. True story: way back in early 1996, I was on an overnight flight from Phoenix to Tampa. During one of the late night hours, I plugged my headphones into the armrest and started flipping through the airline music channels. On one of the channels I heard the DJ say something about Jimi Hendrix and Booker T and the MGs, then he plays Jimi's version of "Born Under a Bad Sign", which is still my favorite track on the CD. Needless to say, I made it my goal to find that song and this album. I still think it was a message from somewhere that at that particular moment I plugged in and that DJ introduced me to one of my favorite albums.
4) Clutch - Clutch: After a few years of listening mostly to gangsta rap (I went from PE to Ice Cube to Snoop and Dre), this album was one of two to get me back into rock (the other is number 5). Clutch's second album has a little bit of everything - catchy lyrics, stories of pirates, tales of aliens and conspiracies, and even one of the best stoner jams I have ever heard. It's heavy but not only coherent, but also intelligent.
5) Sublime - Sublime: I'll admit, this album has just about entered the realm of the overrated. I don't share the opinion that it is the absolute classic so many people suggest it is. The fact that every frat guitar player from Long Beach to Long Island has this in his repertoire definitely bugs the snot out of me. But Sublime, like Clutch, has a huge place in my musical history. It was the first album I heard that mixed rock and rap. Of course, the Beasties and Run DMC did it before Sublime, but something about the scratching and sampling in Sublime made me think that maybe I should check out some of that rock and roll stuff the kids were listening to.
Hopefully this list will get other people listing their most influential five albums. As long as nobody lists Yoko Ono, I think we will be alright.
(About the image: I don't know if it is from this article or not, but back in 2007, there was a Colombian guitar maker who was making guitars out of AK-47s. I'd like to hang one of those above the fireplace.)