Saturday, December 26, 2009

Best of Viral Videos 2009

My best of YouTube 2008 was one of the most groundbreaking posts in RTS history. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Why mess with a good formula? Here’s the 2009 edition, although I suppose I should get with the times and call it 2009 Best of Viral Videos. (Not to confused with the best of Vivid Video, which Graham will tackle next week).

I’m a sucker for people falling, first and foremost. Make it a public fall makes it that much better. Wear a Cougar costume just takes it over the top.

I love the mashup spoofs, especially those involving ‘90s movies.

If this lyric doesn’t make your heart melt, I don’t know what will: “Hey shorty, you really lookin’ nice. Let me take you to the movies cause I know what you like.” The best part about that lyric is that he’s on the phone when he says it. She’s lookin nice through a phone call? This video might have to be broken down in full later.

Did I mention I like the mashup spoofs yet? I promise this will be the last one. You can’t top He-Man and Queen.

The best destruction of a door to date.

Unless you play pickup basketball, you can just skip this one. If you play with me, you know which one I am.

This reminds me of South Park’s Alabama Man. That’s a compliment.

I’m not going to post one here because I can’t pick just one, but the Between Two Ferns clips on Funny or Die are hilarious.

As you can see, I’m a big fan of mascots. This one is a little more touching, and by touching, I mean, depressing, pathetic and disturbing.

I’m Ron Burgundy?

There’s times when I feel like the most immature person in the world. Then, I realize, there’s 500,000 other people out there laughing at videos like this too.

A simple fart can get 1.1 million views. Gotta love the Internet.

I’ve probably accounted for 15 of these video’s 12+ million views.

The only cool Boston Celtics fan alive. They need to put this in a time capsule.

I’m not going to lie, my face looks exactly the same when someone puts a beer and slice of pepperoni pizza in front of me.

I don’t think this means what you think it means.

I’d watch soccer more often if you could promise stuff like this would happen.

I love trying to make sense of what’s going on in this clip. Considering I’ve never seen the show makes it a little harder. The 2:45 minute is unintentional comedy gold.

The most amazing basketball shot in the history of the world.

Dumbest invention ever.

This is why I don’t dunk. Well, that and my vertical deficiencies.

I love the local news.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chris' favorite songs in 2009 (and not of 2009)

Before I post my top 5 bands of the decade, I’m going to take a slight detour. Since 2009 is ending, I’d like to discuss my favorite songs of the past year. These aren’t all songs that were released in 2009, rather, songs that I started listening to and added to my iTunes in 2009. Let’s discuss, or you can just skip to the playlist at the bottom. (Note that the songs are in chronological order from when they were added).

Flashing Lights by Kanye West
I’m a pretty lame white dude, if you couldn’t tell already. I’m really a niche music person, rarely extending outside of power pop, and guitar driven rock bands. (See my top 20 bands of the decade to get a feel). Every once in a while though I get sucked into some rap/hip hop. I’m always about 3 years late to the party. I knew Kanye West was big but just assumed it was more of the same gangsta rap thing that I don’t really get. Anyway, long story short, I heard a beat on a Six Feet Under commercial and thought, “what is that song? I like it.” I looked it up, found out it came from this song and downloaded it. I was sold.

West Coast by Coconut Records
I’ve spent too much time discussing this band on previous blog posts here and here. This is my favorite and will forever be associated with 2009 for me, specifically my engagement and marriage over the summer. Good times.

Dance with Somebody by Mando Diao
I actually like Mando Diao’s earlier stuff a lot better but this song is still in their wheelhouse. It’s just your basic catchy pop rock tune, but it sticks in your head in a good way, not a Lionel Richie way.

The Royal We by Silversun Pickups
I didn’t like this album half as much as their previous one. However, this song has the right amount of rock.

Idioteque by Calico Horse
I’m a sucker for cover songs. Idioteque is already a pretty chilling Radiohead song. Calico Horse makes it creepy. I could just see this song being played in the midst of some weird animal sacrifice ritual. And you can’t really find a lot of songs that fit that bill, you know?

Use Me by Pete Yorn and Kinky
We’re still in the cover song portion of the playlist. Use Me by Bill Withers is a classic. I like this version simply because it’s nothing like the original. It doesn’t compare, obviously, but at least they gave it a shot and tried to modernize it. Nothing wrong with that.

Everywhere by Vampire Weekend
I haven’t listened to enough Fleetwood Mac. There’s a decent portion of ‘70s music that I never got around too. I like “Go Your Own Way” and “Man of the World.” After hearing this cover, I’m starting to think I should go back and add some Fleetwood Mac to my repertoire. I’ll put it on my music to-do list along with about 3,000 other bands. Oh yeah, I like Vampire Weekend. Thought I should say that.

Can’t Tell Me Nothing by Kanye West
As mentioned above, I was about 3 years late to the Kanye party. I chalked “Flashing Lights” up to me randomly liking a hip hop song. But then this song stuck with me after The Hangover. I guess Kanye’s cool for a reason. Plus, I’m a pretty hard-headed guy so I can easily sing along to “you can’t tell me nuttin’.”

One Wing by Wilco
Wilco reminds me of Tim Duncan. They’re one of the best at what they do yet they’re not flash enough to garner the right amount of praise. They’re solid, dependable, respectable. They don’t take seasons, or albums, off. I’m forever excited to see what they do next even though I can pretty much guess what it’ll be.

Paradise Cove by Pete Yorn
Graham hated Pete’s last album but I don’t see it. Sure, he’s mellowed out but haven’t we all?

The Golden State by Eddie Vedder & Corin Tucker
This song sounds like Eddie is sitting in some lodge wearing a flannel shirt and signing to a group of 14-year old campers. So what? Well, I like the concept of camp. And it needs a soundtrack, and this should be it.

Can’t Say No by The Helio Sequence
I feel like there’s two types of psychedelic music. There’s the jam-band music that was inspired by The Grateful Dead, and there’s the prog-rock version made popular by Pink Floyd. I’m not a jam band guy. I do like some of the spacey, psychedelic pop. This would classify in my book.

(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To by Weezer
Weezer is a tough band for me. I feel like their first two albums were the soundtrack of my high school years. It’s hard to dump a band that carries that weight. But since Pinkerton, they’ve ebbed and flowed. I originally didn’t like this album that much but it’s grown on me with each listen. This song is classic power pop.

Keep Me In Mind by Little Joy
Good band title. This song is just a little joy. I like the lack of production. Sounds just like a couple of dudes playing in their garage.

The Grey Estates by Wolf Parade
If “This Heart’s On Fire” is a juicy hamburger, then this is the French fries.

11th Dimension by Julian Casablanca
I missed The Strokes until I heard this song. It’s the same thing.

Rough Gem by Islands
I find bands randomly. I only have 1 or 2 friends I discuss music with and both of them are out of town. So I’m essentially stuck listening to the same songs over and over again until I finally decide to find something new. I was watching a video with Jason Schwartzman and Wes Anderson walk around Borders and talking about music and movies they liked. Schwartzman said he liked this band. I listened to this song and youtube and was hooked. It’s just that simple, or that random.

Follow Me Around by Radiohead
I’m a Radiohead fan, but not a diehard. I have all of their albums, think they’ve one of the best live bands around and probably the most important band of my lifetime. I say that I’m not diehard because I don’t have the 8,000 bootlegs and B-sides. I just heard this one about a month ago. I’m sure it’s been around for years. Who cares? If you haven’t heard it, it’s still new to you.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chris' Decade of Music Part 3

Picking a best of the decade list has a few gray areas because, well, time changes everything. The more I’ve heard a song, the luster comes off. It becomes like leftover pizza. Sure, it’s still pizza, but after hearing a song 1,000 times, it just isn’t’ the same. At the same time, some new music is instantly gratifying but doesn’t hold up over time. It’s like Little Caesar’s. It tastes alright given that it’s hot pizza, but tomorrow, you’ll regret it. I’m not making any sense. What I’m trying to say is that my 10th band on my best of decade list is only 10 months old to me.

10. Coconut Records
I love this band. It’s what Weezer would’ve turned into if Rivers wasn’t obsessed with rappers and heavy metal riffs. It’s clever, it’s catchy, it’s pop music at it’s finest. I can’t say that it has some earth-shattering meaning or that it’s going to change the world, but you know what, screw it, music is allowed to be fun. Bonus points for fact that this band is simply Jason Schwartzman. I can’t get enough of the guy. I like the band, I like his old band (Phantom Planet) and his puts out good movies too (Wes Anderson movies/I Heart Huckabees/etc.). I like this band and don’t care if they’ve only been on my playlist for 10 months. They crack the top 10 based on what they’ve done and my belief that they’re not Little Caesar’s. They’re deep dish Chicago-style.

9. Snowglobe
I’m not going obscure just for the sake of it. It’s a local Memphis band that I’ve constantly amazed by. It’s psychedelic pop with a touch of depth. The song “Dreamworks” seemed to sum up my life at the time. It’s rare to feel like you’re listening to a song about your life, but that’s how I felt on the cusp on 23. “You don’t know where you are going but tonight you’re gonna jump.” I thought they were talking about me, or to me, or identified with me. That counts for something. And this isn’t some highly personal band that other people can’t enjoy. They’re hipster popular here in Memphis but don’t hold it against them. They’ve got some chops.

8. The Killers
I don’t feel bad about going with The Killers when I see Graham with Coldplay in his top 10. The Killers are a band that was overhyped, overexposed and overplayed. That’s their first album in a nutshell. But go back and listen to Hot Fuss now and it holds up. It’s probably the premier dance-rock-pop album of the decade. We’ll look back on parts of the ‘00s and compare them to some of the cheesier parts of the ‘80s. I know we will. But the Killers are better than that.

7. Ben Folds
I’m going to confess that I wasn’t a big Ben Folds Five fan. I thought they had some alright songs but thought they were just as much of a shtick (piano rockers!) as anything else. I started to change my mind when The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner was released late in the ‘90s. I fully came around with Rockin’ the Suburbs (go figure, considering we named our blog after it). Ben Folds has become the mentoring voice of the aging dorky white suburban kid. He’s got 10+ years on me but I can’t help but listen to his songs and think, “I get it.” This song/video combo sums up the ‘00s for me, you know, other than terrorism, war and economic depression.

6. Beck
I dare someone to find me a better 4-year album span than Beck put up between ’98 and ’02. Mutations, Modern Vultures and Sea Change. Just listen to Modern Vultures and Sea Change and explain to me how that’s done by the same person. I’m amazed that he can go from fun neo-disco to acoustic break-up emo and pull them both off. Beck seems like one of those guys that would be successful at whatever he did, you know, so long as it was off the beaten path. I don’t listen to Guero as much as I should but like The Information and Modern Guilt. Well done Beck.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bands of the Decade continued (Chris' 15-11)

Graham continued his countdown and let it slip that Death Cab for Cutie would be higher on his list. Then again, he let his Canadian bias get in the way already so I’m expecting to see Celine Dion ruin his credibility when he gets to the top 5. Enough about Graham’s music, he’s my bands of the decade continuance.

15. The Dandy Warhols
Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia would make my top 10 albums of the decade. It’s pop, it’s grunge, it’s mellow. It’s a roller coaster of awesomeness. They followed that up with Welcome to the Monkey House which has the uber-catchy dance-rock song “We Used to be Friends” and the tongue-in-check “The Last High.” I guess I’m slipping in my old age, but I didn’t realize The Dandys had so many albums come out this decade. I’ll have to check the others out, although I already know that Odditorium of the Warlords is fair. Bonus points for this band being in the spectacular documentary DiG! Here’s one of the best songs of the decade.

14. Badly Drawn Boy
Aka Damon Grough who plays music like he’s the British love-child of Elliott Smith and Ben Folds, minus the heroin addiction and sarcasm. Badly Drawn Boy has clever pop music that’s heavy on piano and serious enough without being depressing. He’s had 5 albums in the decade with Have You Fed the Fish being the best. Listen to this and thank me later.

13. Foo Fighters
I know Graham will have the Foos in his top 10 and most likely his top 5. I’m completely okay with this. They’re a great band. I know what I’m getting with the Foo Fighters every time they release an album. It’s going to have some hard rock songs, some catchy riffs and lyrics and one or two mellow acoustic songs. It’s a good formula that’s been working and they’re easily one of the best live bands out there. I’ve only got one problem with this band. “Everlong” is so awesome and nothing else they do comes close. They’re judged against themselves and they fail. It’s an impossible test to pass considering music doesn’t mean as much to me or carry the same importance as it did when I was in my late teens. I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone. Regardless, 13 is as high as I could get for this band this decade. It’s still top 15 guys! Here’s my favorite Foo Fighters song of the decade from a show I was at:

12. Pete Yorn
I’m not as down on good ole’ Pete as Graham is. Then again, I haven’t listed to any of his duet album with Scarlett Johansson. All I know about Pete Yorn is this: I like him. I know that his last 2 albums aren’t as good as his first 2, but they still hold up. I really like “Paradise Cove” from his album earlier this year. There’s nothing wrong with mellowing out when you get older Graham, come on.

11. Red Hot Chili Peppers
My argument against the Foo Fighters is that they peaked with “Everlong” and every song is held to that standard. My argument for the Red Hot Chili Peppers is that they’ve progressed immensely from their early ‘90s post-punk/funk/alternative days. I can easily say that their best albums are their last three (two of them this decade).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Decade in Music - Part 1a.

I originally proposed to Graham about 5 months ago that we get a jump on the “best of the decade” thing that’s going to happen and list our favorite new bands of the decade. Naturally, we procrastinated and I ended up deleting my original list. So what does Graham do over Thanksgiving? He proposes we do our top 20 bands of the decade. How novel.

Since Graham gave his back-story on the differences between 2000 and 2009 in his life, here’s mine. On the cusp of 2000, I was living in my first apartment, had just finished my 1st semester of college with a 4.0 and was kinda hoping YK2 turned the world into Mad Max. Now, I’m married, have 2 college degrees and still kinda wish Y2k turned the world into Mad Max.

Before I get into my top 20 bands of the decade, here’s who just missed the cut.

I really like some of these bands but if they only have 1 album that’s good, or great, I can’t call them a band of the decade. I’m sure they’ll be hurt. These bands include: Vampire Weekend, Evan Dando, Justin Clayton, Bloc Party and MGMT.

If the majority of your music in the decade was released after you died, then you missed the cut as well. I’m talking about Elliott Smith. I guess I shouldn’t say “he missed the cut,” huh?

A few bands get an incomplete cause I need to listen to them more: Earlimart, Wolf Parade and Of Montreal.

Lastly, these guys put out some good music but nothing I would put in the “amazing” category: Sam Roberts, Phantom Planet, Weezer, Mando Diao and Silversun Pickups. Weezer is one of my favorites but The Red Album is so bad that I have to penalize them.

20. The Hives
When making out this list I try and remember how good the music was one it first came out and not just how it sounds now. The Hives were the garage band du jour that I jumped on, as opposed to The White Stripes. Plus, bonus points for The Hives being one of the best live shows I’ve seen.

19. Coldplay
It’s pretty cool to dislike Coldplay these days. It’s not that hard considering Chris Martin turned out to be a nut and they push Apple more than Justin Long. But how can they not be a band of the decade? They’re absolutely huge and it’s because Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head were solid. Plus, this song still holds up. It’s even better cause it shows how nutty Chris Martin is.

18. The Flaming Lips
I really like The Flaming Lips simply because most of their early music is terrible. After loving The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi I went back and listed to their earlier stuff and was amazed at how bad it was. It’s night and day. Anyway, I’d put Yoshimi in the top 10 of the decade and At War With the Mystics is decent. Plus, The Flaming Lips did some of the best covers of the decade as well (Radiohead, Kylie Minogue, Queen).

17. Nada Surf
Easily the most underrated band of the decade. They’re on the cusp of popularity mostly because they were a one hit wonder in the ‘90s. I don’t even know what made me buy Let Go but it’s on of my favorite albums start to finish. There isn’t a weak link in there. It’s a great winter album too, pretty mellow, not too depressing. Their last album was pretty average, but The Weight is a Gift is pretty good as well.

16. Death Cab for Cutie/Postal Service
If I can’t include Ben Gibbard’s side project, Postal Service, then they wouldn’t make the cut. Death Cab is pretty good. Other than Transatlanticism, everything else seems to be pretty normal. But the Postal Service album, Give Up, is one of the best of the decade. Here’s my favorite:

I'm guessing Graham will throw out his next 5 and we'll go from there.