June 30, 2015

150th Anniversary: Best Of 2004-2015

I am proud to celebrate I have created 150 playlists/CD mixes/mixtapes in 23 years. That's an average of six and a half per year since 1992! That total does not even count the (literally) unnumbered mixes I've made for birthday presents, party favors, Christmas presents, Yankee Swap items and other special occasion mixes. How should I commemorate this milestone? I last celebrated a milestone in 2004 when I reached my 100th playlist, so I've selected 80 minutes' worth of my favorite songs that appeared over the last decade on playlists #101 through #149. These 18 songs are a pretty good distillation of what I've listened to over the last 10 years.
  1. How'd You Like That: The Kooks [136]
  2. One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend): Wilco [143]
  3. Carried Away: Passion Pit [144]
  4. Calamity Song: The Decemberists [135]
  5. Coming of Age: Foster the People [148]
  6. Gold on the Ceiling: The Black Keys [140]
  7. Hey Julie: Fountains Of Wayne [142]
  8. Jesusland: Ben Folds [112]
  9. Thirty-One Today: Aimee Mann [142]
  10. Paper Planes: M.I.A. [121]
  11. People Got A Lotta Nerve: Neko Case [122]
  12. Rumor Has It: Adele [133]
  13. Smile: Lily Allen [114]
  14. Such Great Heights: The Postal Service [103]
  15. Teenage Dream: Glee TV Soundtrack [128]
  16. Tik Tok: Ke$ha [126]
  17. Turn It Around: Lucius [147]
  18. Use It: The New Pornographers [107]

June 17, 2015

Hot 100 from 1984

In 2013, CBS Sunday Morning featured a profile of Huey Lewis, and during their recap of his glorious superstardom, they included an image of the Billboard Hot 100 chart from September 1984, with "If This Is It" at #6. I took a photo of the TV screen and pledged to create a playlist matching this chart someday:
  1. "What's Love Got To Do With It" Tina Turner
  2. "Missing You" John Waite
  3. "She Bop" Cyndi Lauper
  4. "Let's Go Crazy" Prince & The Revolution
  5. "Stuck On You" Lionel Richie
  6. "If This Is It" Huey Lewis & The News
  7. "Drive" The Cars
  8. "The Warrior" Scandal feat/Patty Smyth
  9. "Ghostbusters" Ray Parker, Jr
  10. "The Glamourous Life" Sheila E.
  11. "Sunglasses At Night" Corey Hart
  12. "Lights Out" Peter Wolf
  13. "Cruel Summer" Bananarama
  14. "Cover Me" Bruce Springsteen"
  15. "Dynamite" Jermaine Jackson
  16. "Rock Me Tonite" Billy Squier
  17. "When Doves Cry" Prince & The Revolution
  18. "I Just Called To Say I Love You" Stevie Wonder
This is where the TV cuts off the list. This chart gives me great ideas for making a new playlist, not of the big hits of 1984, but the songs that never quite broke through to the top 20. Here's another fragment of the chart from the right side of the screen...

  1. "Only When You Leave" Spandau Ballet
  2. "Bop Til You Drop" Rick Springfield
  3. "Some Guys Have All The Luck" Rod Stewart
  4. "On The Dark Side" John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band
  5. "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" Billy Joel
  6. "Flesh For Fantasy" Billy Idol
  7. "Who Wears These Shoes?" Elton John
  8. "Swept Away" Diana Ross
  9. "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" Elton John
  10. "(What) In The Name Of Love" Naked Eyes
  11. "Right By Your Side" Eurythmics
  12. "Strut" Sheena Easton
  13. "Shine Shine" Barry Gibb
  14. "You Take Me Up" Thompson Twins
  15. "The Last Time I Made Love" Joyce Kennedy & Jeffrey Osbourne
  16. "Desert Moon" Dennis DeYoung
  17. "Dancing In The Dark" Bruce Springsteen

Some of these songs I have no memory of! Just imagine what charted #51 through #100!
UPDATE: While creating this blog post I discovered Billboard has their archives available online, so I can see the entire chart, not just the songs that appeared onscreen!

June 7, 2015

Melissa McCarthy in Paul Feig's SPY

In the modern spy movie, the secret agent always has a desk jockey walking them through their mission talking in their earpiece. A complaint about the new Bond movies is that Bond never has to act alone anymore because someone at HQ is always backing him up from a console. What would happen if Bond's favorite desk jockey were promoted to field agent?
What a funny fucking movie! I was laughing out loud throughout.
  • It's hard-R-rated, so the jokes are very rough, and worth it.
  • There's real action sequences, including car chases and hand-to-hand combat. Not Bourne Supremacy good, but much better than most comedies.
  • The A-list supporting cast is perfect: Jude Law finally gets to play James Bond, Miranda Hart is wonderful as the best friend, and Jason Statham might overplay the jokes a little bit.
  • Wonderful location shooting- another plus you normally don't see in a comedy.
  • Great interior locations too- a decrepit Paris apartment building and a disused power plant control room are the standouts.

Stub Hubby Grade- I'm giving SPY an A-minus instead of an A because:
  • I figured out the third act twist immediately;
  • The fat-and-ugly jokes are all very funny, but maybe it's time to set them aside? No one actually calls Melissa McCarthy "fat" but it's in the subtext of many jokes.