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Month: May 2011

Phil Collins – Face Value

Phil Collins – Face Value

I am a fan of the BBC auto/entertainment show Top Gear. Often the three presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, will be given a humorous challenge which involves accomplishing some ridiculous set of goals with inappropriate vehicles. A couple examples are crossing the Channel in a car-to-boat conversion and “caravanning” in questionably designed and executed homemade car-to-RV conversions. As a bonus to these challenges, often a pair will work together to sabotage the third presenter’s car in some humorous way. A favored method is to (permanently using glue) set the radio to loudly play music disliked by the target. In the case of James, it’s anything contemporary, and for Richard, it’s progressive rock.

Face Value by Phil Collins is solidly in the category of progressive rock, also known as “prog rock”, and every time I listened to it I thought about Richard getting stuck listening to prog rock. There are some aspects I like about this album, most notably the lead track “In The Air Tonight”, but the things I dislike the most about this album are actually what define prog rock and annoy Richard the most. Things like directionless piano solos and the over-use of synthesizers. It’s those songs that made me feel, well, bored, and stuck listening to the music.

Overall, this album isn’t anything special, and chances are you’ve heard the only good song enough times that you can safely skip this album.

Last: James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work

Next Week: Kim Carnes – Mistaken Identity
Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Today Melissa and I went to Yellowstone. I have read that only 3% of Yellowstone’s visitors come in the winter, and although it’s only a month until Summer, the park was still pretty empty. I figure it’s for good reason. The park is still very snowy, and today it was windy, nearly freezing, and often snowing.

The internet at our hotel in Jackson isn’t very fast, so here are a just a few photos.

Melissa and Stephen at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
I show how much snow is still in Yellowstone.
A Coyote hunting small animals under the snow.
A mother black bear and her cub. The cub is on the mother's back. It was over half a mile away, making me wish I had a longer telephoto lens with me.
The Grand Tetons on our drive from Jackson.
James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work

James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work

James Taylor - Dad Loves His Work Cover Art

It’s really hard to write a review of an album while asleep. Because that’s what Dad Loves His Work by James Taylor has done to me. It is a boring, pointless album. I actually like some of his earlier work from the 1970s, but this album is very uninspired.

Furthermore, what kind of musician needs welding glasses and gets his face dirty in the course of his work? The answer is, of course, an awesome one! I have trouble imagining what music that would require active welding might sound like, but chances are it would be more interesting than this easy listening drivel. I have listened to this album twice, and I hear no evidence of welding sounds. The cover is definitely false advertising.

Furthermore, again, I can’t figure out what James Taylor’s fatherhood has to do with anything on this album. It’s hard to tell, like I said, because I’m asleep, but there are no songs about or to his children. The album could equivalently be titled “White Male Loves His Work” or “33 Year-Old Lennoxian Loves His Work”. If he’s implying by the cover and the title that he loves to weld, I’m just confused, and so his he.

Huzzah! With this review I’ve caught back up to my review schedule. In fact, the next review isn’t due for a week and a half.

Last: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Next: Phil Collins – Face Value
Yahoo! Mail is Run By Idiots

Yahoo! Mail is Run By Idiots

I have heard from a couple people that Yahoo! Mail will not send messages to my new email address. Below is a screen capture demonstrating this (not that I doubted them):

My email address is indeed valid, and I have now sent and received hundreds of emails using it. Furthermore, the specifications for email addresses are very simple, and my email address follows them (obviously). Yahoo! clearly needs to hire someone who can read a Wikipedia page and write a simple regular expression validating email addresses. Actually, a quick Google search (natch) proves that this has already been done dozens of times.

Just yet another reason why I’m glad I finally switched away from Yahoo! Mail. Good riddance.

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Interestingly, although this is the second AC/DC album I’ve reviewed as part of my 30 Years On project, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in fact originally came out before Back in Black. This album was released in Austrailia in 1976, and only came to the ‘states in 1981, after the 1980 release of Back in Black.

I suspect that AC/DC was a major inspiration for the 1984 mockumentary (that I think is brilliant) This Is Spın̈al Tap. In fact, I think a straight line can be drawn from AC/DC’s song “Big Balls” to Spın̈al Tap’s “Big Bottom”. If you enjoy Spın̈al Tap, you’re likely to enjoy AC/DC and this album.

Most of what I said about Back in Black can also be applied to this album. AC/DC is fun band to listen to if you’re in the right mood. However, because the songs on this album don’t quite get the same airplay as those on Back in Black, this album is worth checking out at least once.

Last: Grover Washington Jr. – Winelight

Next: James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work