I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I took a little break from virtual life, spent time with real people, real family, real words printed on real paper, and it was quite fantastic. However, such is the extent of my narcissism, that I feel that none of that stuff is truly real unless I pontificate upon it.
- I finally got Mylo Xyloto for Christmas, after holding off (for once in my life) and saving money by not buying it. And I must say, that for once everything I have heard about it makes total sense. It seems to be a collection of wonderful melodies in a style broad enough to reach a very wide audience, and alienate all the indie fans. Well done, Coldplay. I admit that I too was disappointed by the eclecticism and pop flavorings at first. Then the melodies sank in and I couldn’t resist.
- I also appreciate the ‘high-ness’ and the spirit of the album. It’s pretty uncool to come off as that happy these days, and as Brian Eno says, when everyone is being very cool, uncool becomes very important.
- My only critique of the album might be the production/mastering, which is pretty compressed. But that’s just the norm now, especially as iTunes begins to phase out cd’s, and no one cares too much about lossless file formats except for nerds and Jack White. Or maybe I’m just on a kick, as I had the chance to hear a Vangelis record on LP at my folks this Christmas, and was reminded how good recorded audio can actually sound.
- Of course, the last track on Coldplay’s album is super Vangelis-inspired, so I guess all is forgiven. So much so that I am wondering if those are actual analog synths on that song. Did Mr. Eno perhaps pull out some of his old Prophets? Or is it just a Nord Lead 2x making me sound stupid by mistaking modeling for the real thing? Perhaps we’ll never know. And even if it says ‘Nord Lead 2x’ in the liner notes, I will still maintain that we will ‘never know,’ and it’s all a big mass-produced company conspiracy.
- Same as I refuse to believe that Edge is playing an Axe-FX on demo’s for the new U2 album. I find that life is much better if you simply disregard any facts that disturb you. Christians are masters at this.
- As for pop music influence, which these days of course means R&B and rap influence, I have been trying very hard to get into those styles. Why? Because those styles are extremely popular; meaning, a lot of people like them. And I have learned over the years that explaining pop culture away as ‘mob mentality,’ or ‘intellectual bankruptcy of the general populace,’ borders very dangerously on close-mindedness and elitism. It’s these very mentalities that used to cause me to consciously force U2 melodies out of my head and listen to Dream Theatre albums that gave me headaches, in an effort to be artistic and cultured. So I’ve been trying to see what it is about pop music that I am missing. And I’ve been honestly, failing hard at trying to appreciate it. But the R&B-influenced beats and tracks under the real melodies in the new Coldplay album are really helping me get there. It’s never a bad thing to broaden your horizons a little bit.
- In the same vein, a few months ago I played a Nelly Furtado song at church. ‘Say It Right.’ Now I’m not a Nelly Furtado fan, but I will say this. We did the live version at the Grammys, I believe, and I saw a guitarist up there the whole time. No guitar sound. So I was just about to write the song off and go learn the other songs, when all of a sudden the guitar player comes up and rips a very, very soulful solo. Definitely food for thought. There’s some good musicians out there in the ‘homogenized, mass-produced, big box’ music.
- The afore-mentioned song is not embedded here, as we get people of all kinds on this site, and I don’t wish to offend anyone with the lyrics and Miss Furtado’s dancing. Both of which are incredibly tame compared to anything you even see on commercials these days, but still. However, that brings up an interesting discussion. I was helping out at the church that played this song. They had thought about it a good deal, prayed about it, and shared the vision for doing the song in a worship set with the band. I also had a good conversation with the pastor about it, and it was a night at which they expected a bunch of unchurched people to attend. I appreciated where they were coming from, and played the song out of respect for their theology on the performing of it. However, I am not at a place where I would ever choose to do that song in a worship set at my home church, or at any church in which I had a hand in choosing the setlist. In fact, I am reticent to choose any song for a Christian worship service that does not either directly glorify God, or very decidedly drive home a point made somewhere else in the service production. And I am very, very curious to hear your guys’ thoughts on that.
- Had more fun than you could possibly imagine with a Boss OD1 and an Arion SOD1. Boutique is on its way out. Or maybe its never been in, except for us church players, hacks, and other non-professionals. Nope, I retract that immediately. The true bypass tone fairies compel me.
- There are a lot of bitter Christians at Christmas time. Either that, or pretending to be bitter and have a ‘cutting edge church’ view on Christmas makes for good sermons, blog posts, and status updates. Personally, I think it’s pretty cool to make a big deal out of Jesus. Plus, I heard a song admonishing me to come and adore Christ the Lord. At Disneyland. Where ten thousand other people also heard it. I think that’s pretty cool.
- Got to end a Christmas carol at our Christmas Eve service on a ‘Tierce de Picardy’. Now that was fun, and there’s no way I can sneak that in again until next year.
- I also snuck in an aug5 chord as the actual tonic of the song. That, unfortunately though, was not on purpose. lol
- I also think that saying ‘Tierce de Picardy’ makes me sound smarter. When in reality, it just means ending an Em song with an E major chord, and I read a cool name for it somewhere. hehehe
- Speaking of pretentiousness, ( ), my wife and I watched a video tape of a high school Christmas play we were in together. She made me. And as fun and hilarious as it was to watch, I was reminded of how incredibly cool I thought I was. And how incredibly false that sentiment was. haha Yet realizing that doesn’t change the way I treated people, and sometimes still continue to treat people even to this day. As stepping stones for my ego and sense of self-worth. I’m sorry, everyone. Although, as I was treating you poorly, you were probably laughing at how big I thought I was, acting my little heart out.
- Isn’t it funny that even when we’re penitent, we’re prideful? It’s great to be sorry for the hurtful way you’ve treated others, but incredibly hilarious how we think so highly of ourselves that we’re certain one word from us can destroy someone else. When in reality, they probably passed it off as ‘What a jerk’, and never thought about it again. Of course, be careful with it though; there are the Steve Buscemi’s out there who may have your name on their ‘People to Kill’ list from high school.
- People always apologize for giving gift cards, when in reality I want to kiss them for the best gift ever.
- I risked a bad power adapter on my acoustic board that could have cut my entire signal at any moment, just so that I could have the option of doing swells if I needed to. Which of course, I never did. I make myself sad sometimes.
And that was a lot of things. Some might even say, too many things. I would also.
Thanks for reading, or for at least choosing the two bullets that are one line and reading those. I have a feeling we’ll be talking about gift cards and aug5 chords.