Passionati

Archive for December, 2009

Ringo Starr Featuring Paul McCartney: Walk with you

Ringo starr passionato

“Walk With You” is a moving, even spiritual meditation about the lasting power of friendship, and McCartney’s inspired participation on the track was a testament to McCartney’s generosity of spirit and musical talent. “Paul was doing the Grammys, so he came over to the house and was playing bass on `Peace Dream.” So I played him this other track and Paul said, `Give me the headphones. Give me a pair of cans.’  And he went to the mike and he just invented that part where he follows on my vocal. That was all Paul McCartney, and there could be nothing better.  He makes it bigger and he makes it fuller. It makes the song like a conversation between us, and that was Paul’s idea to do his part one beat behind me. That’s why he’s a gen-i-us and an incredible bass player.” – From ringostarr.com

– Duncan Alney


The Dream: Walking on the moon

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I dare you to find a more perfect party track for New Year’s Eve 2010. The Dream’s “Walking on the Moon” is the perfect dance floor jumpstart or mid-party transition with its sweetly seductive vocals, futuristic R&B dance beat, and the irresistible Kanye cameo.

– Emily Peláez

Emily writes about Belgian beer, gardening, mood music and vegetarian culinary experimentation.

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New Year’s Eve Tradition: Dinner for One

Dinner for one: The same procedure as every year

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My friend Ashley Johnson and I watched this film a few months ago. Watching this film on New Year’s Eve is a tradition in many parts of the world. I particularly enjoy this line “the same procedure as every year James.”

Here’s the scoop according to Wikipedia:

Dinner for One, also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. Germantelevision station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category).

The 18 minute single take black-and-white 1963 TV recording featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden has become an integral component of the New Year’s Eve schedule of several German television stations and Danish national television. It has also been a cult television classic in GermanyNorwaySwedenFinlandFaroe Islands and Austria: On New Year’s Eve 2003 alone, the sketch was broadcast 19 times (on various channels). As of 2005, the sketch has been repeated more than 230 times. It is famous in other countries as well — including German-speaking Switzerland and South Africa. It is a New Year’s Eve staple in Australia on the SBS network.[1]

– Duncan Alney


Blank & Jones: Revealed

Trance never sounded this good

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My friend Josh got back from a few months of vacation, and he just turned me on to this track that he heard in a deli in Kuala Lumpur. Can you believe it? He was amazed at how the melody and vocals spoke to him. He shazamed it and downloaded it immediately from iTunes. Listening it to several times in a row, he realized that the melody suggested a sadness, almost a sense of futility and regret. Reminiscent of Moby’s Porcelain, the song has a deep feel, yet balances melody and vocals. I just listened to it and realized that Passionati is not just about new music, but also about enjoying undiscovered gems.

– Duncan Alney

All my friends are revealed
As no one in the sun
All that was concealed
Otherwise undone

All my holes are laid bare
Like smoke dreams in a jail
All the plans for escape
All will fail

All my time has run out
Just seconds in a jar
All nights that I owned
In Saxony and Cuba

All my faith has been lost
Like people in a flood
All the flesh that I knew
All the blood
All my friends are revealed
As no one in the sun
All that was concealed
Otherwise undone
The machine I bought to
forget you
It walks in circles, neglected
The star of the East now
guides me
I floatto the place of
remembrance
I lay an offering before Jupiter
The rust has affected travel
out there
The incessant rain has
penetrated the inner sanctum
I wish for you and yu
appears
Can you ever forgive me and
trust me
All my friends are revealed
As no one in the sun
All that was concealed
Otherwise undone
All my holes are laid bare
Like smoke dreams in a jail
All the plans for escape
All will fail
All my time has run out
Just seconds in a jar
All the nights that I owned
In Saxony and Cuba

All my faith has been lost
Like people in a flood
All the flesh that I knew
All the blood


K-os: I wish I knew Natalie Portman

K-os, born Kevin Brereton, is a genuine neo-crossover rap n’ roller who’s music, much like your Ipod, might speak to hipster club kidz, pop chart gazers, Canadian indie rockers, dirty south electronic rap renegades, or reggae rude boys simultaneously. As it should – his rhyme and crooning skills took root in arguably the most polyglot and multi-cultural city on the planet, Toronto. And he’s quite vocal about his not belonging to any one genre – he belongs to them all. Says K-os: “I’m a historical opportunist who’s grown up on everything from Dylan to Marley to KRS-One… I’ve never seen myself as just a hip hop artist”.
On Yes!, his 12 song deep fourth album, released in Canada on Nettwerk/Universal, the now Vancouver-based upstart has consolidated everything he’s done before, and chimed in where his head’s at now, like a more musically seasoned audio auteur would, despite his past successes. “As cliche as it may sound, this record really does take the best elements of my past work” he explains. “Strangely, three albums later, it feels like I’m starting new again, with a new label, manager, and agent. This album is a return to me picking up drum machines, guitars, keyboard and going for broke!”
The opening track “Zambony” is an electro-revivalist dance floor number where M.I.A meets Justice and The Cool Kidz in Amsterdam to dance and get musically high – craftily using his keyboard as a drum machine, aided by haunting, ethereal vocals, strings and tabla, and spits some of the tightest rapid-fire verses of his celebrated career.
A superb danceable pop album in the classic sense, Yes! leaves behind much of the social commentaries present on his previous albums. Surefire stealth hit single “4321” utilizes the aesthetic template of hip-hop with a neck snapping break beat, but mashes up the other elements you’ve always heard on K-os tracks like “Superstarr Pt. Zero” with DJ cuts, a hooky chorus, upright bass blasts, and trickling piano plays. As its title slyly suggests, the song was intentionally recorded as a Bizarro rap response to his friend Feist’s Grammy nominated “1,2,3,4” hit (he’s done remix work for her on the Let It Die remix release on “Mushaboom”). As he explains: “I thought how interesting would it be to do a hip hop version of this song? It’s about the battle of the sexes, where I’m rapping “what are we fighting for?” Is this gender war going to happen forever? It’s me saying I hope not.”
K-os’ uniquely subversive hip hoppy twist on popular music and culture is not surprising considering that over the past decade, he’s regularly synthesized a stunningly progressive musical gumbo of hits. Having to his credit two certified platinum-selling albums (“Joyful Rebellion”, “Atlantis”) and one gold one (“Exit”), he’s also won multiple Juno Awards (2003, 2005), MMVA’s (Much Music Video Awards, 2004), Canadian Urban Music Awards (2003, 2004), a Source Award for Best International Hip Hop Artist (2003), and even garnered a Grammy nomination in 2005 for his collaboration with the Chemical Brothers on “Get Yourself High”.
As a musician who’s staked his reputation on playing the Angel’s Advocate, and provoking reaction like most good art should do (“I was the first Canadian hip hopper to smash guitars on the Juno’s!”), this other part of his legend has grown with each CD: he’s publicly beefed with music critics, pseudo punk rockers, Hip Hop the genre itself, and rising world music rap stars. And that’s just over the last 5 years. “Burning Bridges” is the penultimate must-hear response track aimed squarely at critics, haters, biters and fans who want to get inside the mind of this mad musical scientist. “I honestly don’t mind burning bridges because I’ll find my own way in the forest,” he explains. “You can’t be a genuine artist and be worrying about burning bridges, because then you’re just a product. Success shouldn’t make us all soft and coddled. There has to be somewhere to communicate subversive, candid feelings.”
K-os has written and produced nearly every part of all three of his three previous albums, and this one’s no different. As on his first three albums, collaborations are few (in the past he’s hooked up with Sam Roberts, Buck 65, and Kamau). And when he does on Yes!, its pure magic. “Uptown Girl” features who he considers to be two of Canada’s “greatest lyricists”, Metric’s Emily Haines and The Dear’s Murray Lightburn. The song is intended to in his own words “address the ghetto, but very clearly say that I wasn’t from it”. No stranger to sampling or re-tooling massive hits of yesteryear, for today’s purposes, in 2006 he recorded a stellar version of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” for human rights organization Amnesty International.
The battle of the sexes is an underlying theme throughout. W.H.I.P. Cream and The Avenue both candidly speak to the navigation of male-female relations, but with a twist. The former song, arguably the catchiest number on Yes!, provides a thought-provoking and unique lyrical upgrade on how groupie-rock star relations could work in the future over piercing guitars and synths, while The Avenue, might remind you of The Police when they were marrying pop melodies with roots reggae riddim arrangements.
Still very much humbled by his chart-topping success (“…how did crafting these songs in my bedroom end up being sung back to me by 10,000 people in a stadium the size of the Molson Amphitheatre again?”), the haunting “The Aviator” is the disc’s most profound testifyin’ tune where the catchy hook: “I’m just a man, doing the best I can/I might fall short, but I love the unseen hand”) is meant to remind his old and newer fans that despite this impending global success he’s only human, like the (Human) League.
On Yes!, K-os raises the proverbial bar, starring as equal part fire-spitting MC, crooner and composer. K-os embraces such contradictions, and it’s probably what will make Yes! one of the year’s most hyped releases, destined to become a favorite of music bloggers, club DJs, pop charts and file-sharers.

K-os is beyond categorization. I want you to listen to this song. Its the real deal. You’ll love it!

K-os, born Kevin Brereton, is a genuine neo-crossover rap n’ roller who’s music, much like your Ipod, might speak to hipster club kidz, pop chart gazers,  indie rockers, dirty south electronic rap renegades, or reggae rude boys simultaneously. As it should – his rhyme and crooning skills took root in arguably the most polyglot and multi-cultural city on the planet, Toronto. And he’s quite vocal about his not belonging to any one genre – he belongs to them all. Says K-os: “I’m a historical opportunist who’s grown up on everything from Dylan to Marley to KRS-One… I’ve never seen myself as just a hip hop artist”.

As a musician who’s staked his reputation on playing the Angel’s Advocate, and provoking reaction like most good art should do (“I was the first Canadian hip hopper to smash guitars on the Juno’s!”), this other part of his legend has grown with each CD: he’s publicly beefed with music critics, pseudo punk rockers, Hip Hop the genre itself, and rising world music rap stars. And that’s just over the last 5 years. “Burning Bridges” is the penultimate must-hear response track aimed squarely at critics, haters, biters and fans who want to get inside the mind of this mad musical scientist. “I honestly don’t mind burning bridges because I’ll find my own way in the forest,” he explains. “You can’t be a genuine artist and be worrying about burning bridges, because then you’re just a product. Success shouldn’t make us all soft and coddled. There has to be somewhere to communicate subversive, candid feelings.”

k-os-yes-promo


Norwegian Recycling: Ben is chasing beautiful girls

norwegian_recycling

So my friend Meg Biallas turned me on to this. It was featured on NPR’s website. What’s cool is that they take these cliched songs and the mash up actually makes them interesting again by splicing the musical dna together in an unexpected way.

Erin Sullivan notes: Norwegian Recycling mashes up songs across all genres of music.  No matter what type of sound you crave, one of NR’s masterpieces will tickle your fancy.  The man behind the madness is Peter Bull, age 25 hailing from, you guessed it, Norway. With the use of an assortment of equipment and software, sounds collide making the same old tunes new again with a “must listen” twist.

The songs in the mash up are: Beatiful Girls by Sean Kingston, Stand By Me by Ben E. King, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, Back in My LIfe by Alice Deejay, Beverly Hills 90210 opening theme, and I’ll be Missing You by Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans.


United States of Pop: 2009 pop song mash up

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It is what you think – a mega mix of every catchy, fun, and annoying song from 2009 (pop that is). You’ll either love this or hate it!


Photo Essay: Bridge to Zadar

Zadar Passionati

Photograph is of a pedestrian bridge that brings people to and from the historic walled port city of Zadar, Croatia.  Shot in Sep 09.

Photograph by Richard Boyle


Mary J. Blige hot new track: Tonight

9 albums and going strong: Hail Mary!

mary j blige passionati

Mary J. Blige supposedly once said “My God is a God who wants me to have things. He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says, “Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna make sure you’re doing that.””

Well Mary is back. Wait she never really went away and she just might be the hottest thing this year – check out this track and you’ll agree it’s a hot track filled with burning desire and yearning. I can’t stop listening to it.


The Plan: A short film

Ever wanted to just up and leave? To hell with everything. Just up and go. Well this film is about exactly that. Its a short film. And its entertaining.


Teeth: a short film

He who bites last…

I think you’re going to love this short film. Two old friends go fishing. One of them, feeling a little under the weather, sneezes and loses his teeth overboard. His friend finds this hilarious and to add to his good cheer he lands an enormous fish. Capitalising on his friends misfortune he plays a prank that backfires badly leaving the pair miserable and toothless. Be ready to LOL! Some fun trivia: The actor Niall O’Brien is the director, Ruairi O’Brien’s, father.

Teeth was co-directed by John Kennedy & Ruairi O’Brien and produced by Noreen Donohoe of Divamedia in association with The Irish Film Board. The film also features original music by Giles Packham and was shot on location at the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Glendalough, Ireland.

Teeth passionati

Director of Photography Ruairí O’Brien


Xmas Day 2009 note and play list

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I didn’t get to see my mama and daddy for christmas this year. And my wife didn’t get to see her family either. She and I spent the day together. We did the simple things. We ate together with a close friend. We laughed. We talked on the phone and Skyped. We listened to music. We watched a film. We napped. We played with our cats. In a year, highlighted by personal challenges with health and the economy, I’ve recognized once more how insignificant one really is in this massive stream of humanity and life. That the moments mean more than the whole year does sometimes. I’m also careful not to give into revisionist thinking. Things are what they are. And, yet again, it becomes clear, that we Americans don’t make enough time for our families or for ourselves. I’m sure you’ve got a lot on your mind. I’m writing this in the light of a christmas tree. I wish we had world peace. I wish there was no hunger. I wish I could see my family. It could be a lot worse – I’m happy for all I have and for the people in my life. That’s where this list of songs is coming from. Please take care of yourself. And remember somebody loves you very much.

– Duncan Alney

Xmas Songs: Duncan’s 12

NationalChristmasTree

So here’s the first  list – 12 christmas songs. Yes they’re nostalgic, some of them are a bit odd, and one or two are just perfect. The Elvis track is very rare and is a joy to watch. Check them out! Let me know what you think!

12. Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon

11. Mariah Carey – All I want for Christmas is you

10. Please come home – Jon Bonjovi

9. Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC

8. Pretty Paper – Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson

7. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

6. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt


5. Last Christmas – Wham

4. Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby and David Bowie


3. Christmas, baby please come home – U2

2. Do they know it’s Christmas – Band Aid

1. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley


Worst “best” Christmas song

Cartman passionati

Why do you love Cartman’s “Oh Holy Night” rendition? Because its everything that most kids think about Christmas or what kids know about Christmas. His voice is awful and its Cartman’s voice – which you can’t do anything to but laugh frankly.

By Mark Juleen, transcribed by Duncan Alney



Alicia Keys: Love is Blind

Alicia Keys Passionati

Brand new release today – Alicia Keys’ fifth studio album, “The Element of Freedom”. Frankly, this song just struck me immediately. Its got a cool vibe and its indicative of the vintage soul vibe fused within a cool hip-hop production. Recently, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Alicia said: “What I wanted with ‘Love is Blind’ is to let you know immediately that this was a different landscape. It automatically calls attention to that. It’s true they have two totally different energies. The whole record has different values and peaks. From a long time ago, I find it’s just so important to do the music that feels good. If you think too long on who’s going to like what, you’re going to waste so much time. It’s important to go with what feels good.

My music comes from many, many, many places. My emotions, my feelings, my thoughts, and conversations I have with people I know who influence me. Also by looking at the world around me and feeling the energy of the world. It comes from so many places. It couldn’t just be one. I feel that’s what so great about it. People can make it their own story. People come to me and say, ‘That’s a heartbreak song.’ But to me, it could be that it’s a song that lets me say how much I appreciate people that I love and have in my life.”


Clintel Steed: “The (iBook) Computer Series”

Stunning work from NY based Clintel Steed

Clintel Steed is an uber-talented artist, based in New York. After a conversation with his brother about some beautiful images of stars (the galactic ones) that he’d found while surfing the web, Clintell set out to capture the computer (Mac) itself on canvas. Here’s some of the images he created as well as one on one interview with the man itself.

Computer, Oil on canvas, 30x30inch

The Computer Series (c) Clintel Steed

Computer with Goya cane, Oil on canvas, 30x30 inch

The Computer Series (c) Clintel Steed

Computer frustration, Oil on canvas, 30x30 inch

The Computer Series (c) Clintel Steed

Computer screen abstraction, Oil on board, 23x23 inch

The Computer Series (c) Clintel Steed

Computer Star Closter, Oil on canvas, 30x32 inch

The Computer Series (c) Clintel Steed

Computer with African Gold, Oil on canvas, 26x30 inch

The Computer Series (c) Clintel Steed

Who has influenced you? I worked at the Met (the metropolitan museum of art) for 3 years and saw all kind of painting from the 1600 to 2002 and was affected by all of it. But I think Malcolm Morley really changed my mind about painting space and how you can manipulate an image. And distort things in a painting. But all true painting has an affect on me.

What musically inspires when you are creating your work? I listen to all sort of music from Beethoven to 2 PAC and Miles Davis. But if I wanted to make a series on a particular rhythm it would be hip-hop. Because the rhythm and time of the words could be used as a rhythm of forms and colors on the canvas. Since I grew up on rap I think it affects my sense of space and time in a painting in a direct way and indirect way.

Why do you do what you do? Well, the cosmos of the universe explains my passion for painting.

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Clintell Steed email: fowelpit@yahoo.com

– Featuring the work of Clintell Steed as interviewed by Angela Alney

email Clintell at fowelpit@yahoo.com


Movie Update: Avatar looking strong

AvatarHere’s a quick update on what’s happening on the movie scene.

According to – By Gregg Kilday on Hollywood Reporter:

“Avatar” was named best picture by the New York Film Critics Online on Sunday.

“The Hurt Locker’s” Katheryn Bigelow was voted best director, while “Inglorious Basterds” took four prizes, including a screenplay award for Quentin Tarantino.

The New York group — not to be confused with the New York Film Critics Circle, which will announce its winners Monday — hailed Jeff Bridges as best actor for “Crazy Heart” and Meryl Streep best actress for “Julie & Julia.”

The supporting acting awards went to Christopher Waltz of “Basterds,” who also picked up the breakthrough performer award, and Mo’Nique for “Precious.”

“Basterds” also earned a mention for Robert Richardson’s cinematography.

“The White Ribbon” was named best foreign-language picture; “The Cove,” best documentary; and “Up,” best animated feature.

Marc Webb was recognized for his directorial debut with “(500) Days of Summer”

Best film score was “Crazy Heart,” with the award going to Steve Burton.


Mary J. Blige: I am

Here we go, this is the newest song from Mary J. Blige – the diva of soul. Its from her upcoming studio album – Stronger – which is due in stores next week. The video is pretty sweet!

– Duncan Alney

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Kid Delicious: Thirst Friday Mix

Kid delicious- thirst friday’s mix by kiddelicious

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Kid Delicious put this unreal mix together for us. I just listened to it and it woke my ass up, even after a long cold drive, while being buffeted by 55 mph winds. It’s nostalgic, yet updated, reaches back while remaining completely relevant. I love that there are so many great artists living inside this mix. Check it babies!

1. Wrecks -n- Effect – Rumpshaka

2. Jazzy Jeff- Boom Shake The Room

3. Kris Kross- Jump

4. Montell Jordan- This is how we do it

5. House of Pain Jump Around

6. Nice and Smooth-  Hip hop junkies

7. Beyonce- SIngle Ladies

8. Naughty by Nature- O.P.P

9 Abba – Dancin’ Queen

10. Jay-Z- Roc Boyz

11. Snow- Informer

12. LL Cool J- Mama Said Knock you out

13. Buju Banton- Champion

14. Kanye West- Champion

15. Survivor – Eye of The Tiger

16. Fabulous- Young’n (hollaback)

17. Phil Collins- The air of night

18. Kurtis Blow- The Breaks

19. Estelle- American Boy

20. Kevin Rudolph- Let it Rock

21. Black Sheep- The choice is yours

22. Doobie Brothers- Long Train Runnin’

23. Depeche Mode- Strangelove

24. Nucleus- Jam on It

25. Lady Gaga- Poker Face

26. Pitbull- Culo

27. Whitney Houston- Dance with Somebody

28. Michael Jackson- Billie Jean

29. Justice- D.A.N.C.E.

30. Pitbull- Culo

31. B.J.Thomas- Hooked on a Feeling

32. Treasure Fingers- Cross the Dancefloor (chromeo remix)

33. Puzique- Don’t Go

34. David Rush- Shooting Star

35. Pitbull- Move Shake Drop

36. Bob Sinclar- Ultimate Funk (tocadisco remix)

37. Flo Rida- Low

38. David Guetta- Love is Gone

39. Lil’ Jon- Get low

40. Junior Senior- Move Your Feet

41. R.E.M.- Nightswimming

42. Eddie Money- Love the rainy night

Check out Kid Delicious every Friday night at Blu Lounge, downtown Indianapolis – that is when he’s not flyin’ all over the world!

– Duncan Alney


St. Vincent: Live & Close

St. Vincent played at Luna Music, the only in-store appearance on her tour at that. I got really close so you can enjoy this raw, visceral performance.

StVincent-MarryMe

– Duncan Alney


Don Alney: Payyambalam Beach

Payyambalam Beach

Payyambalam Beach (c) Don Alney

Instead of Don writing this time, he wanted us to ask you, the reader, where this picture takes you, what it says to you, and how you feel when you look at it. We’d all love to hear from you either here or on the facebook fan page!

– Photo by Don Alney


Billy Joel: The Stranger

Is “The Stranger” Billy Joel’s best work

Billy Joel The Stranger 2

Photo credit: Jim Houghton/SonyBMG Archives

“Slow down you crazy Child, you’re so ambitious for a juvenile, but then if you’re so smart, tell me why are you so afraid, where’s the fire what’s the hurry about, you’re better cool it off before you burn it out,  you got so much to do and only so many hours in the day. But you know that when the truth is told, you can get what you want or you can just get old. You’re gonna kick off before you even get half way through” – part of the song, Vienna by Billy Joel.

For people that like or love Billy Joel, The Stranger, is an album that has mostly aged well. In many ways, it was among the most important albums of my teenage years (the whole list will be revealed over time and its an eclectic list). First, turn on the album and keep reading. I’ve found some great photography from the original photo shoots, and there’s some great interview material and a video of “The Stranger” for you to watch, not to mention the entire album from our friends at lala.com.

According to Jody Rosen in Rolling Stone magazine: “In 1977, Joel’s fifth and best album replaced Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water as Columbia Records’ top seller to date, establishing Joel as a titan of adult contemporary — America’s answer to Elton John.The Stranger also marked the beginning of Joel’s long-term collaboration with producer Phil Ramone, who distilled the Piano Man’s music to its essence: a hook-packed blend of AM-radio pop rock and glistening dollops of Broadway schmaltz. The hit single was the gooey “Just the Way You Are,” but there’s impressive variety here: contemplative ballads (“Vienna”), impressionistic epics (“Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”) and pop’s greatest paean to deflowering Catholic schoolgirls (“Only the Good Die Young”), written in a style that recalls Tin Pan Alley. Joel’s melodic genius invites comparisons to Paul McCartney, but Joel is a much nastier guy, always pissed off at someone, usually female: “She’s Always a Woman” has a lovely, lulling tune, but listen to the words: “She’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding.”

While I was growing up in Calcutta in the early 80’s – Billy Joel was confessional, yet in a way that took control. He wasn’t the pussy that Jackson Browne was to me at the time (although that album would save me from despair in many ways in 2006) and got even more interesting with a chance encounter with Jackson in LA later that year. Billy Joel was American to the core, not just singing about Pink Houses or being happy to be born in America, but also proud to be a New Yorker, and eager to share the motley crew of characters that populated his life. Movin’ Out has, of course, become bigger because its the name of the show, The Stranger track, itself, always made me sad when I realized the distance between Billy and his lover – and this was in my early teens. While Just the Way You Are is a sugary song, which was a huge hit, it has always been a favorite. My mother and I sang it to each other and it was part of the soundtrack for my early formative relationships. While most people love Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, my favorite is Vienna. Perhaps, now, in my forties, I can come to the conclusion that this is track on this record that has aged best. Its stood the test of time – its never been over played and it speaks to the fact that growing older (not old) bring new pleasures, and even suggest slowing down because the meaningful awaits.

I hope you’re listening to these tracks and when you get to Vienna. Take the phone off the hooks and disappear for a while. Its alright. You can afford to lose a day or two. When will you realize? Vienna waits for you.

Footnote: There’s also a 30th-anniversary reissue which includes a bonus DVD featuring two live promotional videos from The Stranger including Billy Joel’s 1978 appearance on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test (which only aired once on the U.K.’s BBC2) and there’s the bonus live CD of a Carnegie Hall performance from 1977.

CREDIT: Jim Houghton/SonyBMG Archives

Photo credit: Jim Houghton/SonyBMG Archives


Heaven: Tykwer’s masterpiece

A must see for lovers of thought-provoking cinema

This film wasn’t a blockbuster, although it has drugs, guns, and drama. It doesn’t cater to people with an attention deficit. Instead, it feels new and its guaranteed to make you think. Heaven is a home run for one of my favorite directors, Tom Tykwer, and “X Filme” Project that he heads up. Tykwer, the director, is German, Cate Blanchett, one of the leads, is Australian, Giovani Ribisi, the other lead, is American, and Krzysztof Kieślowski (Three Colors) and Krzysztof Piesiewicz (the writers) are Polish, and the film is set in Italy. If you’re not familiar with Tykwer’s other work – I recommend “Run Lola Run” as another entree into his work. Kieślowski’s work is sheer genius – from his use of colors to the heavy symbolism to the intense character development – he stands alone in many ways and it’s tragic that more people aren’t exposed to his work. Tykwer is definitely a director’s director. All the details are thought through, and the emphasis is on executing the vision, not market research based outcomes.

heaven1

Yes, it’s philosophical. Yes it will blow you away. Yes it will make you think. And, yes, this film will stay with you longer after the last credit has rolled. It carefully examines both the needs and thoughts of the individual as well as that of society. This isn’t the film for people hoping to get a look at great Italian landscapes. It is the film for people hungry for a glimpse of the many facets that make up the complex human psyche. Giovani Ribisi and Cate Blanchett both turn in stunning performances. Welcome to the work of Tykwer. If you’re already familiar, then welcome home, once more!



Killers: Happy Birthday Guadalupe

Surprising because I love The Killers only inconsistently. This song grabs me. Its got a less produced sound and I love the music video. Its a particular vibe, different than the usual Killers sound or look (all Vegas and deserty). “Happy Birthday Guadalupe” is the fourth annual Christmas song the Killers have recorded for (RED). This year’s song features their touring partners Wild Light and Mariachi El Bronx. The video, directed by Chris Callister, features Luke Perry.

This is The Killers 4th annual Christmas single, “Happy Birthday Guadalupe,” and it was released via (RED), on World AIDS Day – December 1st. This is the band’s fourth Christmas single to benefit (RED); all the proceeds from the song’s sales go directly the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. The song is available for sale now at all digital service providers, including iTunes andamazonmp3. Newbury Comics is offering a special edition CD single here.

Picture 97

– Duncan Alney