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December 2010 – Page 2 – Stephen Skory

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Month: December 2010

Boulder Weather

Boulder Weather

I don't often post twice in one day, but I had to show this:

Sunset was at 4:36pm (and the sun fell behind the mountains even before that), but as you can see above, it actually got warmer as the sun set. The wind also picked up at the same time, and the air pressure fell, indicating that the heat was due to the wind warming up as it blew down the mountains. Boulder weather is weird!

The Doobie Brothers – One Step Closer

The Doobie Brothers – One Step Closer

In the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin the main character works in an electronics store, similar to Circuit City or Best Buy. Along one side of the store is the ubiquitous wall of TVs, all playing the same video for purposes of comparison between different sets. The store manager has decreed that the same video (and accompanying audio) will be played on repeat, all day long, every day, for the last two years. The video is of a performance by Michael McDonald of his song Yah Mo B There, which drives many of the employees crazy.

Michael McDonald was the lead singer for The Doobie Brothers for the album One Step Closer. Listening to this album a few times this week has felt a little like being an employee of the fictional store. It's the kind of smooth rock that has very little substance and gets played in elevators or dentists offices. Only seriously messed up people like this kind of music, which describes the store manager exactly. But it doesn't describe me (I hope!).

The album has exactly one thing going for it: a rare xylophone solo on "Thank You Love". I haven't heard a xylophone solo since music class in grade school.

If you follow the Wikipedia link to the page about the band (above), you'll find out that the band was in a very fractious mood during the making of this album. Many of the band felt overshadowed by McDonald and disliked his musical influence on the band. The tension in the band is obvious in the cover photo. Slumped shoulders, blank expressions, crossed arms, one member is almost entirely hidden, and McDonald is off to the side (in the white shirt) leaning away from the others. This is the kind of picture one gets from sullen teenagers, not adult musicians wanting to sell millions of copies of their record.

Last Week: AC/DC - Back in Black

Next Week: Pat Benatar - Crimes of Passion
Flatirons Vista

Flatirons Vista

Here are some pictures I took on my mountain bike ride on Thursday, two days ago, from the Flatirons Vista Trails south of Boulder. The trails are decent single track that is just a bit more bumpy than I like (this kind of bumpy is not the same as technical, it's just annoying). If I had a full-suspension bike I would probably not find the bumpiness so grating. Indeed, most of the riders I saw on the trails had a full-suspension bike.

The weather lately has been dry and mild, as the photos show. The autumn precipitation so far in Boulder is well below seasonal averages. In contrast, apparently the high mountains have been dumped with snow all fall. I guess I brought some San Diego with me to Boulder.

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AC/DC – Back in Black

AC/DC – Back in Black

According to Wikipedia, AC/DC's Back in Black is the second most sold album, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller. Interestingly, it peaked at only #4 on the US album charts, and none of its individual songs ever reached the top 10. To sell nearly 50 million copies without reaching the top of the charts indicates that this album has had great longevity in the last 30 years. This is likely due to its many genuine hits that continue to get played today. As an example, many of the songs off this album are included on the Iron Man 2 movie soundtrack, which continues to reinforce the popularity of this album.

If I'm in the right mood, I like AC/DC. That mood has to be a not very quiet mood, as AC/DC should not be played softly. Overall, I like this album. I had already heard most of the songs on the album, as will have most of my readers (see above). This also means that this album can be safely missed, for the most part, because sooner or later, you'll hear one of the tracks anyway.

Update 7 Dec: I failed to mention that this is the first album I've reviewed that doesn't have the image of the musician(s) on the cover art. The band had their specific reasons for this (see the Wikipedia link above). I find it interesting that contemporary albums often do not have the image of the artists on the cover, but that 30 years ago a band had to have a specific reason to do this.

Last Week: Stevie Wonder - Hotter Than July

Next Week: The Doobie Brothers - One Step Closer