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Songfactor's Choice: Christmas Fantasy Wish List


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^ :grin: :thumbsup:


R.E.M. - Inside Out: The Stories Behind Every Song

I already have that book, but maybe somebody else might be interested as well :)

Like the title promises this book includes stories of every song in the history of R.E.M., from "Radio Free Europe", to "Around the Sun"

some fun facts from the book:

in 1983 they played a song on David Letterman that was "too new to have a title" (it was "So. Central Rain" (Reckoning) )

a cool story about the hommage to Ray Charles "Cant get there From Here"

how Velvet Underground was the only band that all four members listed as an influence to their music (see "There She Goes Again" on Dead Letter Office)

how Micheal Stipe once had a dream where he was at a party with numerous famous persons - who all had the initials "L.B." (Lenny Bruce, Leonard Bernstein, Lenoid Brezhnev) and worked that into their hit "It's the End of the World as We know it (and I feel fine)"

or how Stipe wrote "Me in Honey" as an answer to "Eat for Two" by 10000 Maniacs' Natalie Merchant

get to know how they got the idea to name one of their albums "Automatic for the People"

who the "King of Comedy" is

who they thought of in "I took your name"

what they thought of when writing "The Apologist"

and hundreds of other facts more :thumbsup:

the ideal gift for any R.E.M. fan :thumbsup:

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I want this. Yes, I know, there is nothing really new here, but I'd like to have this release now, for a couple of reasons. First, I've been listening to Led Zep for a lot of years, and for me, they are probably second only to the Stones. My accumulated music collection has been built, lost, rebuilt, and then scattered to the winds over the years, and a lot of the Zep that I've had in the past, I don't have any longer. Here in this release, are some of the best songs (albeit repeated from The Song Remains The Same in many cases), chosen by the band members, instead of corporate executives. What makes this especially appealing to me is the digital remastering that was overseen by Page, (from what I've read, the songs actually sound good on this release), and the DVD of concert footage that I haven't seen yet. Hard core fans or younger fans may have all the Led Zeppelin they need at this point. For me though, this is a way to bring back together that music that I've had in the past, but no longer do, in a way that actually sounds great, and aquire a good, solid DVD of concert footage I haven't seen, all in one fell swoop. Plus it's priced better than the Collector's Edition Song Remains The Same, which makes it attractive to me!

Read about it here.....

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just as a reminder:

* ALL Songfacts members are invited to vote, whether you've nominated or not. The idea is for this to be THE SONGFACTOR'S CHOICE, so we need everyone's participation!

* List your 5 favorite Christmas wishlist articles, in order of preference, 1 through 5. They'll be allotted points, 5 for #1, 4 for #2, etc. We'll post the results, both here, and on the Main Page officially as......


Bill Graham Series: BG 134 (original Rock Poster)

Blind Melon - Letters from a Porcupine (DVD Documentary)

Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991

Craig Rosen: "R.E.M. Inside Out - The Stories Behind Every Song"

Donovan: A Gift from a Flower to a Garden (original vinyl double LP)

Eric Clapton: "Clapton - The Autobiography"

Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Years 1953-1961 (Box Set)

Help! (2 DVD set)

Led Zeppelin: Mothership (2CD + Concert DVD)

Like, Omigod! The '80s Pop Culture Box (Totally) (Box Set, Various Artists)

Martin Scorcese presents The Blues: A Musical Journey (Box Set)

Motown Greatest Hits (Various Artists)

Neil Young: Heart of Gold (Documentary / Concert Movie)

Pearl Jam: Live at the Gorge 05/06 (Live Box Set)

Slash, Anthony Buzza: "Slash" (biography)

The Complete Stax - Volt Singles 1959-1968 (Box Set)

The Doors: Perception (CD/DVD Box Set)



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Well, I'm too late, but here's what I was debating whether or not to nominate:


Ween - GodWeenSatan: The Oneness

Track listing: 1) You (Bleep)ed Up; 2) Tick; 3) I'm In The Mood To Move; 4) I Gots A Weasel; 5) Fat Lenny; 6) Cold And Wet; 7) Bumblebee; 8) Bumblebee Part 2; 9) Don't Laugh (I Love You); 10) Never Squeal; 11) Up On The Hill; 12) Wayne's Pet Youngin'; 13) Nicole; 14) Common B****; 15) El Camino; 16) Old Queen Cole; 17) Stacey; 18) Nan; 19) Licking The Palm For Guava; 20) Mushroom Festival In Hell; 21) L.M.L.Y.P.; 22) Papa Zit; 23) Hippie Smell; 24) Old Man Thunder; 25) Birthday Boy; 26) Blackjack; 27) Squelch The Weasel; 28) Marble Tulip Juicy Tree; 29) Cloudy Cloud

In 1990, grunge wasn't around. Not much of it, at least. The world was still dominated by green dragons and frizzed hair. Those with better tastes stayed (relatively) underground and only gave themselves away by not having their hair frizzed. Into this (bleep)ed-up world came Ween, and by (bleep)ing it up some more, managed to cure some of its problems.

Initially, the most amazing thing about GWS is that it is a debut album. How many debut albums - even by self-consciously "shocking" acts - run for maximum CD length, contain over twenty five different tracks, most of these in completely different musical styles, and, above everything else, frequently feature lyrics like "Morgan's pain/Succumbs to the frame/In a zany combination of Wayne's Pet Youngin'"? Granted, the songs didn't exactly appear out of nowhere. Ween had spent at least three years inventing, honing, and practicing them (a few are even available in early versions on some of the brothers' earliest tape recordings, most notably 'You (Bleep)ed Up' and 'Bumblebee'). But then so did almost everybody else. What matters is that Ween are coming to the table so fully equipped that this record alone would be enough to guarantee them a place in the annals. They may have made more likeable albums ever since, but they haven't made a single album that would better justify the very need for their existence - or more precisely symbolise their essence, whichever you prefer.

Of course, GWS is juvenile. It flaunts its offensiveness so much that you don't even need to be a PMRC sympathiser to feel a little uncomfortable around many of these songs. I mean, what does one expect from a record whose very first lyrical line reads as "YOU (BLEEP)ED UP, YOU B****, YOU REALLY (BLEEP)ED UP! YOU (BLEEP)ED UP, YOU (BLEEP)IN' NAZI W***E!"? (Admit it, it's hard to imagine a review of GWS that will resist the temptation to quote that in all caps). Even if you're above finding this stuff offensive - you may very well not be above finding it childishly stupid. And I can see that. But the saving grace lies in realizing that GWS is never offensive for the sake of being offensive, a feature in which it even beats some of the obvious Frank Zappa competition. The Weeners aren't being gross because their very nature is gross, or because they're just two dumb hooligans, or even because they're testing the limits of freedom of speech. They're being gross because they're impersonating - more exactly, because they're making caricatures - even more exactly, because they're deconstructing. And since the matters they're deconstructing often happen to be gross in nature - well, rock music is basically gross in nature - they can't help being grosser than the gross.

But only where they find it necessary. Contrary to the expected impressions of a listener who falls upon this with no warning, being gross is just one of the brothers' numerous talents. Others include superb guitar playing, not tremendously advanced in technique but completely mind-blowing in terms of styles and moods covered; a great knack for hooks and grooves, many of which stay with you even if the song itself barely runs over one minute; an unsurpassed knowledge of everything that constitutes pop culture and the ability to use that knowledge without looking too much like pretentious d***s; and, above all, the talent to make GWS look like a thrilling Wizard of Oz-style musical adventure, telling the saga of Gener and Deaner's twisted and exciting journey through the bowels of the Boognish. (The mission itself is explained about midway through in 'Up On The Hill'). And I haven't even mentioned the awesome sounds and arrangements.

The one big mistake, I think, that people often make about this and the following albums is that they are trying to distinguish between the "great songs" and the "joke tunes". Try as I might, I'm not able to make such a distinction. There are certainly some numbers on here that are more fleshed out than others: longer ones, with properly structured verses and choruses, perhaps a slightly lesser degree of open offensiveness, and you might even find Gener and Deaner not screaming their heads off frantically on some of them. But in no way are they more "serious" than the one-minute running gags, unless, of course, one wants to purify the cult of the Boognish by stating that it is improper to say the word "p****y" in front of the Boognish whereas licking the palm for guava is just all right. (Or vice versa?). Especially since many of the one-minute running gags, upon second listen, actually turn out to be fully-fleshed songs as well. Take 'Papa Zit' or 'Tick' - there are verses, there's a chorus, there are instrumental parts, there are codas, everything just like the good doctor prescribed. So what's wrong with being one minute long? Surely what used to be good for Wire may be just as good for Ween.

About the only flaw of this record that may occasionally give me cause for annoyance is that, despite all the diversity, the Weeners obviously have one preferable groove - the guitar-heavy fast screamish distorted one; there's little doubt that hardcore was one of their main inspirations. It's not so much the very sound that annoys me, mind you - it's more like the realisation that they could have achieved even more if they'd traded in two or three of the weaker heavy numbers for something, uh, completely different. As it is, there's a couple stretches on here that sound monotonous, even if they aren't really monotonous. Of course, we do have to remember that it's a debut album, and debut albums by "radical" bands generally tend to be noisier and angrier than whatever comes next; already on The Pod, Ween would be toning it down a little, and Pure Guava, in comparison to GWS, is like a pansy folkie festival.

But I'm not in the mood to quibble, not about such a particularly joyful musical ride, anyways. Twenty-nine blistering musical parodies that actually transcend the concept of parody ("intertextuality" would be a better word to use if I were absolutely sure people would welcome a word like that in a Ween review, but I'm not, so let's forget all about it). The main trick up Gener/Deaner's sleeve is hyperbole. For all of the album's diversity, the brothers' hunting style is remarkably similar. They track down the musical style in question, pin it down with hoes and mattocks, suck the essence out with hypodermic needles, and concentrate upon, well, how do you say - okay, the oneness of it. Many of these songs, throughout all of their duration, sound like they're just starting - and then starting again - and then again - and you keep wanting for them to go somewhere, and then they're over and you say 'That's it?' and they say 'Well, what else did you want?' and you say 'Oh! Well I...' and then you don't know what to say, really, because you weren't really supposed to expect anything else, and besides, you didn't really need anything else.

Example. 'I Gots A Weasel' is bebop - but with bebop, you'd expect the composition to do something after the 'gots a weasel, it's a teasel, mah pleazel, mah pleazel' line. But it doesn't. It just gets repeated several more times, then veers off into some crazy unpredictable direction for a bit, then gets back and does its schtick some more. What's the deal? The deal is that, face it, if it were a "real" bebop-based song, it would most probably never really advance, emotionally and impression-wise, beyond the initial level of that first line. In other words, the 'weasel-teasel' thing would still be the best thing about it. So why should they develop it further, risking boredom and predictability, when they've already given you the best?

Or take 'Fat Lenny'. The opening two chords - and the opening lyrics delivered in between pauses - make it look like the typical beginning to a typically generic hard-rocker. But then it doesn't behave like a typically generic hard-rocker; instead of growing into a "real" riff-driven song, it just keeps swirling around the same trick! As if the frontman has all of a sudden forgotten about the burning down the house mission and stuck in scratched-record mode, spitting out the verses like mad and getting backed up by the same two chords. Again, the same mode: they are taking the song-opening hook that is supposed to grip the listener and get him to enjoy the rest of the song... and blatantly stating that there's really nothing else to the song other than that hook - and there needn't be anything.

Of course, this doesn't mean that all the songs are necessarily short. Keeping it all one to one and a half minute long would be a self-imposed limit, and Ween are not known for limiting themselves. Twice at least, they break the sonic range with huge nine-minute statements of power. 'L.M.L.Y.P.', in particular, is hard to imagine being shorter; after all, if you're doing a Prince send-up, you can't get away with a two-minute groove. Thus, even if I don't really enjoy all nine minutes of it, I do understand the length. Besides, it isn't really just a Prince parody, even if many of the lyrics are taken directly from Prince's songs and the title, appropriately enough, deciphers as 'Let Me...', well, you know the rest. The guitar solo at the end, for instance, almost takes us into Eddie Hazel-esque heaven, and it's as much a nod to the old magic of Funkadelic as it is to the new one of Prince.

In fact, speaking of old magic, here's a great argument why GWS shouldn't be really judged as a straightforward "parody" album. Its influences are too old. Every song on it can be weighted, measured, analysed, and traced back to some prototype, but very few of these prototypes were actual in 1990. There's nothing on GWS that sounds like a parody on synth-pop; nothing that can be described as a mockery of late Eighties hair metal. Instead, they take on genres as bearded as classic (old) funk, doo-wop, acoustic folk, psychedelia, and even Latin pop; and if they're moving closer to their own time, they still prefer "elitist" styles like industrial or death metal to the obvious, commercial crap of the day. A "parody album" would mock the current industry, so you could buy it, carry it home and proudly say 'hey, finally these (bleep)-eaters are getting their due!' But not here.

Going back to the actual songs - I'm certainly not going to go through all of them, but a few random observations nevertheless:

a) Do not bypass the nine-minute doo-wop-fest of 'Nicole'. Its construction in the latter half reminds me of Roxy Music's 'Bogus Man' - a steady, never-ending rhythm against the background of which all kinds of weird (bleep) are going on. Except that 'The Bogus Man' was weird from the beginning, and 'Nicole' gets weirdified gradually and with much gusto.

B) Few gentlemen in the business can impersonate real (bleep)ing anger and delirium better than the brothers. Ninety percent of the charm of 'You (Bleep)ed Up' consists of Gene screaming 'you (bleep)ed up, AAAAAAHH!' ten times as convincingly as your random hardcorer, as if the (bleep)in' Nazi w***e had just chopped off his manlyhood. The same with 'Tick' - I can almost see them rolling on the floor with out-of-orbit eyes and dribbling saliva as the 'I'll get you, I'll burn you, I'll crush you' lines come along so realistically.

c) None of the album's hilarious moments (and there are plenty) get me rolling on the floor LOL-ing as much as when Gene (or was that Dean?) says 'Cordoba!' in the third verse of 'El Camino'. I'm still trying to figure out why that is. 'She's a bull of a machine, beauty like I've never seen' - classic.

d) "Mushroom Festival In Hell" currently holds one of the top spots in my head for "Song That Best Matches Its Title". I'd eat my hat to see Opeth or Blind Guardian cover that one. 'All the hippies gonna lick the mind of god, they've already been immersed in the wad' - classic.

e) If you thought Ween were incapable of writing "high-style" lyrics, check out this: 'Squelch the little weasel/Crush him before he spawns/Break it to me gently/But with merriment and song'. Steeleye Span, eat your heart out. 'My flesh betwixt my skin' - classic.

f) 'I'm In The Mood To Move', the only tune on the album where Ween are actually helped out vocally by David Williams, over its one minute blasts "black machismo" to pieces more directly than a million parody pieces could ever blast the bastions of "white machismo". Political corectness be damned? Did it ever exist for the Weeners? 'I'm in the mood to whip your body with a tire iron' - classic.

g) I have no idea whatsoever why 'Birthday Boy' commences with the singer going 'Oh, Jesus Christ... PAIN!' as if he were doing the recording with a breadknife stuck between his ribs, or why the song ends with a brief snippet of Pink Floyd's 'Echoes'. And you know what? I don't even wanna know.

Aw shucks, it's not for nothing that DeRogatis called this Ween's "psychedelic masterpiece". I certainly doubt the spiritual brothers really smoked as much pot as they proclaim to have in the album closer, the barely audible 'Cloudy Cloud', but at the very least they can pretend to - very effectively. It's not like I'm calling on anybody to open up your mind and let in the almighty Boognish, but it'd be nice to at least check in every once in a while and see if he isn't already there, by any chance. You'll probably know he is if your reaction to this surrealistic mess is anything like mine.

PS. Three of the 29 tunes weren't originally present on the album; they have been added in later for the special "25th Anniversary Edition" (sic). All three fit in so well, though, that you'll probably never guess which ones they actually are.

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1. Martin Scorcese presents The Blues: A Musical Journey (Box Set)

2. Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991

3. Bill Graham Series: BG 134 (original Rock Poster)

4. Eric Clapton: "Clapton - The Autobiography"

5. Led Zeppelin: Mothership (2CD + Concert DVD)

This truly is a fantasy. If I actually got these things for Christmas, I'd be one happy chickie! Music that I love, a bit of art to look at, and a great book. I could enjoy them all at once. Please Santa? :)

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1. Blind Melon - Letters from a Porcupine (DVD Documentary)

2. Pearl Jam: Live at the Gorge 05/06 (Live Box Set)

3. Craig Rosen: "R.E.M. Inside Out - The Stories Behind Every Song"

4. The Doors: Perception (CD/DVD Box Set)

5. Slash, Anthony Buzza: "Slash" (biography)

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1. Martin Scorcese presents The Blues: A Musical Journey (Box Set)

2. Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Years 1953-1961 (Box Set)

3. Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991

4. Bill Graham Series: BG 134 (original Rock Poster)

5. The Complete Stax - Volt Singles 1959-1968 (Box Set)

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1. Craig Rosen: "R.E.M. Inside Out - The Stories Behind Every Song"

2. Pearl Jam: Live at the Gorge 05/06 (Live Box Set)

3. Blind Melon - Letters from a Porcupine (DVD Documentary)

4. Bill Graham Series: BG 134 (original Rock Poster)

5. Slash, Anthony Buzza: "Slash" (biography)

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1. Donovan: A Gift from a Flower to a Garden (original vinyl double LP)

2. Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3: Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991

3. Motown Greatest Hits (Various Artists)

4. The Complete Stax - Volt Singles 1959-1968 (Box Set)

5. Eric Clapton: "Clapton - The Autobiography"

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