It feels like ages since I wrote the last Compact Disc Source roundup--it's only been a month, give or take a few days, but good lord
, it's been one hell of a month here at the library. Did you know that I am actually an Authority Figure at the library? Well, heaven help us, it's actually true, even if I supervise all of three people and my supervisory role is more or less approving sick leave and delivering bad news. And! One of my people
had a Bad Attitude towards work, in that she considered some of her tasks to be beneath her
, somehow, which is I suppose a little baffling because it's not exactly as though the very modest demands we made of her were tearing her away from great works of literature or anything, if you follow what I'm saying, here. She was a bit of a complainer
and, in the style of your favorite folktales, she complained all day and all night until
a Very Very Important Authority Figure heard her cries and said, well, okay, if you're so unhappy...
And in cleaning out her desk, we did discover that this work that was ostensibly beneath her dignity / intellect / whatever was just piling up
; I felt like Elmer Fudd firing a shotgun into a tree trunk and being buried beneath an avalanche of acorns, the only difference is that Elmer Fudd did not have to end up eating those acorns himself, and by "eating those acorns" I mean "slowly work through a huge backlog of very time-consuming paperwork". So if anyone needs me, I'll be here, ten-keying in numbers until (from the looks of this pile) the spring thaw (N.B.: this is wishful thinking; there can be no spring thaw in a fucking swamp
). I expect that, by that time, seventy-five percent of my body mass will be in my right hand; I'll have grown four new fingers and each of them will have at least six knuckles. The number pad will be worn down and resemble the mouth of a seven-year-old child that has eaten nothing but grape jam and saltines for a year. The sun will become black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon will become as blood. The stars of the sky will fall to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when it is shaken by a great wind.
On the other hand, it's October, and that means the Halloween decorations are up. The children's department has a life-size Arthur doll (what I presume to be life-size, anyway; Arthur is a humanoid aardvark-thing that walks on two legs and has kid-related problems and adventures, so it's not exactly like I can grab my Field Guide to Holy Shit It's a Talking Animal Wearing Clothes
and see how the doll measures up, developmentally, to normal humanoid aardvarks of the same age) dressed in a child's Spider-Man costume. He looks like Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, and that really is something to smile about.
That, and the Compact Disc Source has finally, finally
graced us with another Lucky Fun Mix of Red State #3 popular and unpopular music (Shipping: No Charge! Thank You For Your Business!) and I am here, now, with razor blade in hand to unwrap these discs and put barcodes on them and add them to this, your
library catalog. Did I ever mention that when I first started this job, the task of unwrapping so many items every single day was actually a little cheerful?--it made it feel a little like Christmas, if you can imagine. Christmas comes but once a year and that is for a goddamned good reason
. I'm warning you right away, though; I'm looking at this invoice and these CDs and I can already tell that this entry is not going to be anywhere nearly as entertaining or as informative (oh, yes, he went there
) as the last entry, which was about nine thousand words long. So let's begin--and remember, you can trust me.Clay Aiken
- "A Thousand Different Ways": Did you know I have never, ever seen a single episode of American Idol
? It's true! I have seen commercials
for the show, which were enough to convince me that I never, ever wanted to sit through--holy shit, this show is an hour
I cannot imagine watching that sort of, er, event
for ten minutes, never mind an hour a week. The closest I've come to the American Idol
experience is playing a Game Boy Advance game called Deutschland Sucht den SuperStar
(which means, yeah, "Germany Seeks the SuperStar", a phrasing I am actually sort of fond of, as though there can only be one and--gasp!--will it be you
?). It's not a very good game, but don't worry, I didn't pay for it. The real highlight is listening to the digitized German voice samples after each performance praise or pan you. Spitze! Tolle Hits!
Clay Aiken was
on American Idol
, right? I'd hate to have wasted your time with something irrelevant! The only people I know about for sure on that show are the British bastard and Ruben Studdard
, the "velvet teddy bear", and that's only because I can't help but think how impractical a velvet teddy bear would actually be in practice, especially in the hands of an infant or toddler. According to my first girlfriend, velvet is supposed to be pretty hard to clean. Sorry about that!
I notice on the back of the CD that Clay Aiken has a couple of websites: www.clayaiken.com
. Why? What's the fucking difference?
Clay, boychik, every
website is by fucking definition
online. Maybe the former is more personal, real-world, and earthy, and the latter is where he jacks into the Net
and talks tech with his legions of fans. CLAY AIKEN, I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT A SCSI CABLE I FOUND IN THIS OLD BACKPACK AT MY MOM'S HOUSE
According to the promo sticker, this release "includes an all-new mini poster!" Yeah, that's right
, fuckers. Don't even try to get away with cramming an old mini-poster in here, because we are collecting them all
. The mini-poster, by the way, is nothing but the lyrics sheet unfolded, which is just bullshit. You want to know what a mini-poster is? It's the album art to Tarkus
, not this jackoff nonsense. I've got half a mind to stick it to the man
and scan the poster and make it available to you all for free
so that you can Clay up your walls without shelling out for the album, but if you're reading this and you actually want a high-resolution scan of a Clay Aiken mini-poster for printing out or desktop wallpaper or whatever, well, you shouldn't.Beck
- "The Information": Unfortunately has apparently nothing to do with the Martin Amis novel. I have never had any time for Beck and I'm not about to start now; something about the dude and his music just rubs me the wrong way (granted, the last time I actually heard any of his music was what, 1997? 1998? and every review I read [I read a lot of music reviews, and if you asked me why, I really couldn't answer you] says that, oh wow, he's re-invented himself again
, so who knows? By now he could have cycled through so many different phases and styles and whatever that he's finally hit on one that I could enjoy. But I doubt it), and the sheet of hideous stickers included with this CD + DVD release does nothing to improve that particular situation.
How to imagine the sheet of stickers (I guess this little bonus object is an incentive
meant to keep you tech-savvy kids from just grabbing the album off of the Internet or whatever): what if someone went into a particularly pretentious college freshman girl's dorm room, started pulling pictures and images and shit at random off of her corkboard, and then made them into really tacky temporary tattoos? This sheet of stickers
, that's what. You know what? Obviously this fucking thing isn't going to circulate with the album, so I'll mail it to the first person to ask for it. Unless you live somewhere so remote that mailing you a letter would cost like a hundred dollars, in which case you have bigger problems in your life than a lack of stickers from "The Information" from some Internet crank, okay?Tony Bennett
- "Duets: An American Classic": From the promo sticker: "TONY BENNETT celebrates his 80th birthday signing his greatest hits with today's greatest stars."
Damn, Tony. Not only did you have to work on your birthday, but you had to spend it in the company of Billy Joel
, Tim McGraw
, and George Michael
. I'd imagine, however, that Elton John
would be pretty fun at a birthday party, or at least maybe thirty years ago he would.Beyonce
- "B'Day": This is one of those people where I just blinked and then they were, like, mega-famous
The back cover of the liner notes, in case you're interested (of course you are!), depicts Beyonce (and you're right, I just can't be bothered opening up Character Map) in some sort of swimsuit-type garment with, uh, two alligators on leashes. I just love sitting here and imagining the scene: someone comes up with this idea (let's have her standing at the edge of a swamp in a terrible wig and a hideous, convoluted swimsuit, and let's have her holding two alligators on leashes, and oh yeah stiletto heels) and a bunch of other people, tastemakers, people with money, say yes, let's do this; this captures what we are trying to do and convey with this album
Also! I am delighted to report that Beyonce uses the liner notes to announce her new line of clothing! This is too good not to quote verbatim:At the request of fans across the world, I am proud to introduce Dereon by House of Dereon, a younger more affordable clothing line for women. I am thrilled to present my sister, Solange, in our launch campaign for the Dereon collection. This new line means so much to our family as a representation of the next chapter in our love affair with style and fashion. We hope it will mean as much to you.
Beyonce, kid, I don't want to break your heart--from your lyrics I can tell that you've been through a lot--but I don't think that I will ever, ever be as emotionally invested in the success of your new clothing line as you and your family are. I don't have a "love affair with style and fashion" so much as I have a "love affair with whiskey and bad decisions", and baby, our two worlds, they're just never going to meet, you know? Sorry.
She's not kidding, though, when she mentions her family, because holy shit as I live and breathe the credits page is just thick
with Knowleses. It's not nepotism if you've never heard of the word!Black Label Society
- "Shot to Hell": From the promo sticker: "Zakk Wylde Returns!" Oh, Jesus, who is this guy? Why does his name seem so familiar?
Oh, OK. He has been named "Best Metal Guitarist" and "Number 1 Shredder", and received the "Riff Lord" and "Golden God" awards. I--I sort of want to play Dungeons & Dragons, all of a sudden.
I stole that information from this guy's Wikipedia entry, which, by the way, is fucking hilarious
. The best part of any Wikipedia article is, of course, the Talk: page, in which people take shit very, very seriously
, and just blather the hell out of each other in goofy back-and-forth sub-Usenet arguments that make me want to take the English language behind the woodshed with a tear in my eye and a shotgun in my hand. "Furrykef", for example, asks "Isn't the gear section a little excessive? I doubt even many guitarists are going to really care about every little thing Zakk Wylde uses" in prelude to his "cleaning it up a little", and gets this sparkling gem of a response:your damn right im lookin for one of the types of his guitars mabey that info could have been useful so dont be a butthole
UFOs! PLEASE LAND HERE
The cover of this album has some wrinkly old nuns shooting pool. And there's a skull on the 8-ball!
I see nothing in his Wikipedia article about his ability to travel through time, so I am just left to assume that everything about Zakk Wylde stopped moving forward on July 21, 1986, the absolute last day in human history an image such as that I just described could be described as even remotely interesting, edgy, or entertaining.Cherish
- "Unappreciated": Hey, ladies, you all have gold bracelets with your names spelled out in fancy script. Surely someone appreciates you! Surely
you didn't buy those bracelets for yourselves! So stop whining
According to the liner notes, we have Jesus Christ to thank for this album. Big ups, Jesus. I'm sure it's great.Chingy
- "Hoodstar": Chingy, I do not like your name. Please change it to something that doesn't set my fucking teeth on edge before I have to catalog another one of your albums. According to your Library of Congress authority file, your real name is Howard Bailey. It's a bit square, sure, but I'm sure you can do something fun with it. Thanks in advance!
P.S. And Howard? You can get surgery for that. It's a simple outpatient procedure and relatively painless; you should look into it.Gloria Estefan
- "Oye Mi Canto: Los Exitos": I'm still waiting for that Miami Sound Machine Unplugged disc.The Grascals
- "Long List of Heartaches": I didn't really have anything unkind to say about this album--the cover photo features a bunch of goofy-looking guys, not exactly photogenic but extremely sincere, standing around in an alley (?) with their guitars. And then
I saw the promo sticker, featuring a quote (which is repeated on the back of the album itself, just in case you somehow lose the sticker!) from Dierks Bentley, whom we established earlier is a douche
"One of my favorite new bands of any genre of music," he says. Well, sorry, anything you like cannot be good, and you've damned your friends the Grascals by association.
The liner notes also contain a long-ass biography of the band. Hey, the Grascals. You're a new(ish) band
. This sort of piece belongs in a career retrospective or best of release.
Man, I'll tell you, I do feel a little bit like a heel for dogging on these guys. They look so fucking sincere
in every photo! I hope they don't read this; I don't want them to be discouraged. It's just--come on, guys, tell Dierks Bentley to clean up his act and get a better haircut if you're going to keep palling around with him.Indigo Girls
- "Despite Our Differences": Another one for the "they're still around?" file. They don't look so good. I don't mean that in a spiteful or shallow way; I'm not taking an easy shot, I just mean that they look unwell
. Are they dying?
I have known only two guys that have liked the Indigo Girls (outnumbering female fans of the band I've met 2-1). One of them was the editor of our school newspaper, the year that I worked on it; he visited New York City that year, too, and literally wet his pants a little from sheer excitement when he got to sit in Conan O'Brien's chair. I do not think he told anyone at the time. This was probably unhygenic for a few people in a few ways.
The other one was a pretty good guy until he got to college, at which point he made several vigorous attempts to become an intolerable hipster douchebag before perfecting the recipe; if I'm not mistaken, his fondness for the Indigo Girls was sudden and surprising, because--surprise!--it was pretty much contrived and insincere and calculated to get girls into his dorm room (this did not work).Iron Maiden
- "A Matter of Life and Death": The cool Tim Bradstreet cover cannot change the fact that this is an Iron Maiden album
, and these guys are what? in their fifties? writing what I can only guess from the sheer lengths of them are prog-metal songs about war and valkyries and whatnot.
Oddly enough, one of my earliest memories is a bit of Iron Maiden graffiti on a crumbling overpass near where we used to live. I have no idea why that stuck with me.Alan Jackson
- "Like Red on a Rose": Do you think the imposing presence of his mustache has ever gotten him out of a fight? I like to think so. And I fucking hate
- "Turn Around": I cannot believe how much this guy looks like a clean-cut, healthier Jandek
. Oh, and according to the promo sticker, one song ("Thankful") features guest vocals from Michael McDonald
, which means I could
check this album out now, or I could just wait until my next fucking dental appointment.
I just looked at the lyrics sheet and one song actually features CB lingo
. In this day and age. Astonishing.Ludacris
- "Release Therapy": I am going to tell you everything I know about Ludacris.
1.) He released an album called "Chicken & Beer".
2.) Bill O'Reilly can't stand him.
Ludacris, I think we can hang out
- "Halloween 2: Creatures Collection": Okay, this is the funniest goddamned thing I have ever received in this capacity. Ever. I don't even know where to start
with this amazing fucking thing so I am just going to start infodumping and let you piece it all together, because--
- It's Mannheim Steamroller
, a band whose music I have never seen for sale anywhere but in Hallmark stores
- It's Mannheim Steamroller
, a band whose music I believed to be entirely about / related to Christmas
- It's a THREE-DISC HALLOWEEN PARTY PACK (the ultimate Halloween party experience)
- A huge credit on the front cover in one of those free spooky fonts you download from Tripod sites with lots of animated GIFs and broken guestbook links states that the album was deranged by Chip Davis
(that is as opposed to being arranged
, GET IT?--you have to spell things out, sometimes, for people who buy Mannheim Steamroller albums)
- The liner notes, without any sort of explanation whatsoever, feature a prose piece called "Creatures of the Night", which I am quoting verbatim (all spelling / punctuation / capitalization / third grade creative writing tropes are stet) here, because it makes no fucking sense, not a shred:It was a beautiful autumn Saturday. My two friends and I were taking our six kids for a morning stroll in the cool fall air. It was so unexpected when the sight of the shadow engulfed us in silence. The blue beam tickled at first and then we became conscious as an eerie sound protruded. We could see our kids below as they disappeared. It was beautiful ... it was scary ... I don't know where we are, but we are around a lot of creatures that look human ... Gotta go before my thoughts are read ... a mom.
- Maybe the answers to my questions can be found on the DVD VIDEO, which features "Creatures of the Night" and "Creatures of the Night Dance Instructional Video". Oh yeah and the Monster Mash, because, you know, it's the Monster Mash
. According to the back cover, the DVD VIDEO features "OVER HALF MILLION DOLLARS IN VIDEO!" Uh, yeah--show, don't tell, Mannheim Steamroller.
- The front cover. The back cover.
I, uh--should I check this out and watch it?The Mars Volta
- "Amputechture": Because every day, somewhere, there is an 15-to-21-year-old male who is just pissed as hell
about being kicked from an IRC channel.Paul McCartney
- "Ecce Cor Meum": All right, McCartney, you pretentious, fading old gasbag, what the hell is this? Did you compose another opera? Because HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Who's buying these? Are they actually listening to them, or are they just Beatles obsessives who can't stand the idea of their shelves being somehow incomplete?New Found Glory
- "Coming Home": I'd just like to remind my readers that The Delgados
have broken up--they will never record another new song as a group--and these fucking bozos are still cranking out albums.You made this happen, America.Andre Rieu
- "The Homecoming!": I don't have anything in particular to say about "The Homecoming!"; it's just that exclamation points in titles always, always give me the fucking giggles, and I have no idea why.
As seen on PBS? You don't say!
I'm actually a huge fan of public television, but let's be honest: out of one hundred CDs, you or I or anyone can pick out the one that was "seen on PBS". I think the last one to come through here was Celtic Woman
. I mean, come on--Celtic Woman
. Can I get a wolf howling atop a craggy cliff airbrushed onto my tote bag, please?
(Alternate joke: can I get "blessed be" in a vaguely gaelic-looking font printing on my sweatshirt
Various Artists - "The Best of Miami Vice": WHO ASKED FOR THIS
This album has Autograph
on it.This album has Autograph on it.
And Sheila E.
and Glenn Frey
and there is not enough cocaine in the world
to justify the existence of this album, which, yes, I checked, does in fact have a copyright and publishing date of 2006.
The liner notes actually have the goddamned hubris to state outright that Miami Vice
was a direct influence on Homicide: Life on the Street
. I just felt something like a bubble snap-pop in my brain, I think, and I can't move my left thumb
Various Artists - "Grey's Anatomy Original Soundtrack, Volume 2": This show that I have never seen is "TV's sexiest medical drama", according to an ad for the DVD box set that fluttered out of the jewel case. I have heard--and I have no fucking idea how or where I heard this--that this show actually features some pretty good music. So I checked it out and goddamn if it isn't true
: I see Saint Etienne
and The Boy Least Likely To
and Nouvelle Vague
and Emiliana Torrini
and oh god, my dearly beloved If Looks Could Kill
and I Fought The Angels
. What the hell
Oh, wait. None of these artists are represented on either of the two soundtrack albums released so far. Surprise!
Clearly, someone somewhere has got some good taste; having said that, I do not think that I will start watching TV's sexiest medical drama. If I ever desperately need to hear these songs in a dramatic context, I can always just queue them up in Winamp and, I don't know, attempt to overdose on pills or something.George Strait
- "It Just Comes Natural": I just wanted to remind everyone that George Strait has his own brand of dog food, and it is called, no shit, Strait Nutrition
Also Dick Van Patten once marketed a dog food called Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance
and his face was in a little golden oval on every little can and oh my god Google seems to be telling me that it still exists
. Many years ago, when this product debuted in stores, I showed it to my brother, who (a) laughed so hard that he threw up right in the middle of the pet aisle and (b) insisted that my mother buy him this can of dog food, so that he could look at it in the car on the way home and just laugh and laugh and laugh. That was pretty fucking great, so thanks, Dick Van Patten, for making my brother laugh until he threw up. That's probably the only time you've ever had that effect on anyone.Justin Timberlake
- "Futuresex/Lovesounds": Have I ever said that someone has "the whitest name I have ever heard"? If I did, and I didn't say it about Justin Timberlake, I fucking take it back
The only good thing about this album is that some record critics are taking it and by extension him seriously, and that makes for fucking hilarious reading
"Here, Timberlake magnifies the persona he adopted on his debut, somehow both consummate lover and desperately needy. On hyperactive second single "My Love" his sexual propositions constantly elide into a proposal, as if anything less than matrimony is barely worth contemplating."
Pitchfork reviewer Tim Finney, I am going to have to dock you a letter grade for not including a Works Cited page.Too $hort
- "Blow the Whistle": Another artist who spells his name with a dollar sign! :D
I actually thought that Too $hort was dead, but it turns out I was thinking of Eazy-E
When I was in seventh or eighth grade, I knew this guy, I think he was a sophomore or junior. Older, anyway. And he suffered from some weird and unspecified neurological problem, so that much of his body was all twisted up but not so much that it was entirely useless. He could walk around, just with a pronounced limp; he could talk, but through lips that were all screwed up in this strange mash of grin and scowl (sort of like if Billy Idol got splashed in the face with some of that toxic waste from the last big fight scene in Robocop
). Anyway, this guy, before and after school and between classes, would just limp around the campus rapping (or, well, you know) Too $hort. I'd call it "inspiring" except it wasn't.
Now that I think about it, I knew or knew of a lot
of interestingly deformed people around that point in time. Is "deformed" considered a harsh word? I guess I'll find out after my inevitable scarring in a horrible car crash, what fortune tellers and God have referred to as the next big "who's laughing now" event!TV on the Radio
- "Return to Cookie Mountain": I had to check, and yep, I fuckin' knew
Is this band any good? Because I've heard good things and yeah, 4AD, and I want to like a band that drops a Super Mario World
reference into one of their album titles, but I just have this strange suspicion that I will be terribly disappointed. Young Dro
- "Best Thang Smokin'": This fellow, who appears to be very popular indeed with the ladies and presumably interior decorators (and yet he's not smiling in a single photograph! what could possibly
be missing, Young Dro?), raises what I call the Sonic Youth
Question, to wit:
Is there ever going to be a point at which he self-consciously changes his name, or is this the rap equivalent of planned obsolescence?
The last track is called "It Ain't Over", which is cute.
As before, I am going to leaven the proceedings with some positivity:
I have no idea how I came across Monkey Swallows the Universe
, but their album "The Bright Carvings" is really good and really lovely. I listened to it about four or five times while writing this.Camera Obscura
is another one of those "new to me" bands that I cannot stop listening to, especially their first album, and Tracyanne Campbell is goddamned adorable
Sorry, folks, but you do
all get a burn from my goddamn hotness. You really do.
And that's it, I'm fucking done. Oh god this was long. Gotta go before my thoughts are read ... a mom.