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culture, music

Comments Off on The Score – Revisited

The Score – Revisited

The Fugess - The ScoreBlame it on the new iPod which has me importing a relatively sizable CD collection and visiting old music with fresh ears all over again. It’s further proof to me that Apple’s niche is lifestyle, not really computers per se, but that’s another discussion entirely.

In my hearkening back to music’s yesteryear, one album that simply refuses to lose its luster for me is The Score by the short-lived yet stil dynamic Fugees. Like the successful vertebrae transplant Dr. Howard Dean gave to the Democratic Party, I’ve just gotta give credit where credit is due. The Fugee’s dropped a bomb in 1996. The album gave the relatively peacenik Fugees’ hip-hop credibility at a time when gangsta rap was all the rage. It also made them a household name seemingly overnight, seeing to several big hits including the voluble Killing Me Softly. But if retrospect does anything, it has to prove this album was more than a lucky break for the three talented street prophets. It’s a classic all right, if not an ageless wonder to behold.

Fast forward ahead nearly ten years and the music sounds as if it were written for today—beat for beat, lyric by lyric. True, the multicultural overtones have mostly been polarized since Republicans took control of the White House, but the the no-nonsense smartness in both intellect and artistry still pleads a very strong and relevant case for today. Lauryn Hill hits it early in the jazzy How Many Mics.

“Seasons change, mad things rearrange. But it all stays the same like the love Doctor Strange.”

Haiti, Iraq, urban disintegration… how did it all come full circle? Thankfully, the Fugess don’t have to lose any credibility (*ahem* reunion album *cough*) to find out. They were postulating today’s issues with thick pulsating beats way back in the day—and I might add with a creativity, style, and soulfellness that has long since gone unmatched in hip-hop.

No doubt, they not only knew the score a long time ago, they settled it.


technology

Comments Off on ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine

As a successor to pMachine, ExpressionEngine looks to take publishing systems where no publishing system has gone before—minus the Star Trek music, of course.

ExpressionEngine was designed with one overriding goal: Modularity. Almost every system in ExpressionEngine is designed as an add-on module, which will enable it to serve virtually any conceivable purpose just by creating new modules.

From the looks of it, the authors wanted to add new features such as multiple tree categories, a photo gallery, and Google-friendly URL’s, just to name a few, to the already rich feature-set of pMachine. This seemed to require a ground-up rewrite of the whole application, which the authors claim “raises the bar for dynamic systems by utilizing server resources at a level almost on-par with static pages.”

Trial versions are available to support their claims.


culture

Comments Off on Quiznos Fried, Not Toasted

Quiznos Fried, Not Toasted

Since when did the marketing wizards at Quiznos Subs start letting Hunter S. Thompson write TV commercials? I understand the need for product differentiation, but can anybody explain to me how psychotic singing ferrets suffering bizarre genetic mutations have anything to do with selling toasted sandwiches?

I do love the Quiznos menu, but the commercials they’re airing make me forget that fact very quickly. That might be how they do advertising on Bizarro world, maybe, but it ain’t makin’ this potential luncher salivate.


politics

Comments Off on Kerry Beating Bush Already

Kerry Beating Bush Already

This poll means absolutley nothing at this point, but it is interesting to see Kerry beating Bush so early in the game (9 months away).

If Kerry gets the Democratic nomination, you can bet your sweet bippy he’ll be getting my vote. But maybe I should take a more prudent approach…

Yes, indeed. Let’s wait and see if he takes a firm enough stance against steroids.


Estranged

David J - Estranged Maybe it’s ’cause I’m livin’ it up more rural with the new house, or maybe it’s the revelation that country music is the new punk, but I just can’t seem to get enough steel guitars in my ears these days.

Former Bauhaus bassist and co-inventor of Goth, David J elevates to unlikely new heights in his latest solo album, Estranged. Actually, to be fair, David has always sounded a bit more countri-fied in his solo efforts. What makes Estranged so unique, though, is his commitment to a more personal songwriting. With this endeavor, we’re always aware of a second presence, (more than likely his wife), who serves as a constant source of inspiration throughout the entire album. I don’t know what sad event happened to cause such an introspective moment of reflection, but many of these songs benefit duly using David’s unshakable poignant tone. And many of them are among the skinny man’s best crafted to date.

  • Guitar Man is a cover from an old Bread song. It’s a fittingly disarming album opener and makes good use of Dave Navarro’s ripping guitar solo.
  • Mess Up is probably the best track on the album, if not the best song David’s ever written. As a funny testimony for the modern day fuck-up, I can’t help but think this song should be featured in the next Farelly brothers movie, fading in just as the lead character inevitably “messes up” the love interest in some funny, yet still tragic, way. It’s a custom crafted ditty for all of the goodly hearted failures of the world, which I should think makes it pretty relevant for a large-sized audience.
  • Pulling Arrows from Our Heels is the surprise sleeper. The string arrangement is unexpected and different from any track he’s ever recorded. I have to say that it works beautifully and could be a great direction for an entire album. The connection to word imagery he achieves in this piece is also quite a milestone.
  • If Anything Should Ever Happen to You was my first reminder of David’s roots in the often macabre world of Bauhaus. It also put me in mind of the fact that David and comic book writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) were once childhood friends. The song is a vendetta-laced free form of sorts, describing a love relationship’s darker side. Chilling, but effective.
  • Bright In Your Absence appears to be David’s full commitment to the country/western form. It twangs, thumps it’s foot along, and should be outlawed, along with the Dixie Chics, in any self-respecting country tavern. But it works. He nails the slide guitar, the preacher-like sentiment, and the sing along airiness, and ends it with a drawn-out trip to a disturbingly alien side. This is, after all, a David J record.
  • Trophy Wife begins the album’s catharsis which sheds light on his marital strife. If it were a part of therapy, this would probably be considered the “a-ha” moment.

This album grew on me considerably by the end. As a longtime fan of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, I knew not to expect anything. After all, this is the same man I saw in 1998 performing with a pink boa during a T.Rex cover.

Clearly, in his age and wisdom, David J has grown into a mature songwriter in his own right. If he is somehow overshadowed by his past achievements in the 80’s, as one of the founding members of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, it shouldn’t be considered that much of a tragedy. However, I’m really beginning to feel that his work as a solo artist lays out more credible proof of his overwhelming, if not undeniable, importance in the influencing of those groups.


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