February 29, 2016

155 May Be February?

  1. "Policy of Truth" ∴ Depeche Mode
  2. "Making Time" ∴ The Creation, best known for its use in the movie Rushmore.
  3. "Kids" ∴ MGMT. Maybe I am fed up with this mode of soulless disaffected alt-rockers, as if they're too cool to care about what they're singing about. Also, this song is 5 minutes long? This song goes on way too long to be worth five whole minutes. I am cutting a radio edit in my mind right now...
  4. "I Don't Sleep, I Dream" ∴ From R.E.M.'s "rock guitars" record, the post-grunge Monster, the lyrics sound vaguely sexual but are unsexily performed half-spoken, half-falsetto.
  5. "Twentieth Century Boy" ∴ Great riff, and fine female backing chorus on this T.Rex glam gem.
  6. "Let's Dance" ∴ RIP David Bowie! My first reaction to his death was disbelief. I could hardly believe Bowie could do something as boring as die. Then I discovered his farewell album Blackstar made his death almost meaningful, and on his own terms. Looking back at "Let's Dance"- Terrific production from Nile Rodgers - I love the reverb on Bowie's voice, the woodblock percussion, and the horn-guitar riff. Of course, don't forget Stevie Ray Vaughn on lead guitar. A kickass party band played this song at our company kickoff party in January 2016.
  7. "Back On Top" ∴ Nice baritone harmonica riff on this Van Morrison song sounds almost like a saxophone.
  8. "Chains" ∴ The Beatles cover a Goffin/King song for their debut LP Please Please Me- I recently heard this song on the American Masters: Carole King PBS special.
  9. "Good Feeling" ∴ Flo Rida featuring Etta James. I did some research and the chorus of this Flo Rida hit single (#3 Hot 100 hit in 2011) samples the Etta James song "Something's Gotta Hold On Me", but Avicii's song "Levels", also samples the James song and is itself sampled, so does that make the Flo Rida a double-nested sample-sample?
  10. "Sour Girl" ∴ Stone Temple Pilots. Scott Weiland was so troubled I don't think anyone was surprised he finally succumbed to his drug demons.
  11. "Walk The Wire" ∴ A terrific guitar riff from Boy & Bear
  12. "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" ∴ Morrissey
  13. "Passionate Kisses" ∴ Mary Chapin Carpenter
  14. "Let 'em Say" ∴ Lizzo.  I heard this song in the pre-titles cold open of Season 3, Episode 1 of Broad City.
  15. "Random Name Generator" ∴ I am still bitter that my wife and I paid big bucks to go see Wilco  at the Solid Sound festival in 2015, but they played nothing from their upcoming "surprise" album Star Wars. I consider that festival, with its premium three-day weekend pricing, to be a special event for superfans, so it hurt my feelings that we were not treated to their new material.
  16. "The One Thing" ∴ I became a fan of INXS with the album Listen Like Thieves, and a superfan of their CD Kick, but now I'm trying to appreciate their earlier material.
  17. "Back to Black" ∴ I've been told the Amy Winehouse documentary AMY is really good, I gotta check it out.
  18. "Opening Up" ∴ Sara Bareilles. From the wonderful bound-for-Broadway musical Waitress, this opening number has a stomping 4-4 beat that reminds me of ELO's "Mr Blue Sky"...
  19. ...so I followed Bareilles with Jeff Lynne's "Lift Me Up" with a similar 4/4 beat.
  20. "Stoney End" ∴ I never would have imagined I'd include a Barbra Streisand song on a playlist. I am a rock and roller, and Streisand is a square Broadway singer - a middle-of-the-road pop singer at best! But then I fell down the AllMusic.com rabbit hole a few months ago and discovered Streisand dabbled in pop-rock in the early 1970s. "Stoney End", her note-for-note cover of a Laura Nyro song, was produced by Richard Perry and hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. (The song had previously been recorded by Rashida Jones's mother Peggy Lipton but failed to make the Hot 100 in 1968.) The subsequent eponymous LP went platinum.
  21. "Where You Lead" ∴ Carole King, from Tapestry

February 20, 2016

Deadpool

I was on the fence about seeing Deadpool. I like Ryan Reynolds- his comedy Best Friends with Amy Smart and Anna Faris is an underrated gem - but I didn't really know or care about this character, beyond his appearance in the mediocre X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie.
Then, the Monday after it came out, two friends recommended the movie. Two female friends. They both said it was funny, and super-violent, and there's lots of nudity. Word-of-mouth counts for a lot: if someone goes out of their way to say how good a movie is, go see that movie!
So I went to see it and really enjoyed it. The action sequences are exciting, inventive, and funny too. In two parts I laughed harder than I have laughed in the movies for a long time:

  • When Deadpool breaks both hands trying to punch Colossus
  • When the cab driver Dopinder reveals he's abducted his romantic rival and Deadpool secretly congratulates him.

I really enjoyed the Colossus character. He's a total goody-goody in the body of an unstoppable giant. His seemingly endless supply of patience with Deadpool, and his old-fashioned gentlemanliness when Angel Dust pops out of her top, are both charming.

My Issues:
The pacing felt weird - I am not sure the flashback-flashforward format helped make the movie better, except as a vehicle for adding more funny Deadpool voiceover. I appreciate that his true love for Vanessa is the engine that drives Deadpool's quest for vengeance, but their courtship scenes bogged down the momentum.

The villain Ajax, aka Francis, (Ed Skrein) was a real jerk, but he was completely anonymous-looking, and his only mutant powers seemed to be strength and regeneration, the most boring of all.

His hench-woman Angel Dust (Gina Carano) was authentically tough-looking, but again, her mutant powers seem to be "stronger than Colossus" and I don't know what else.

I enjoyed the indifferent grouchiness of Negasonic Teenage Warhead (newcomer Brianna Hildebrand), but I am not sure what her powers actually do? I agree with Deadpool when he hears her name "Negasonic Teenage... what the shit? That's the coolest name ever!"

My grade: A-minus
February 20, with Adam at Woburn