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Showing posts from May, 2018

Love Song

"It is when he thinks he's past love It is then he meets his last love"
I once knew a man who went through relationships like they were going out of style When yet another connection with someone had broken down, he'd say something along the lines of how he was really too busy to be with someone, anyway, so it was probably for the best they were splitting-up. And, yes, he was a very busy man, of that there was no doubt.
What I always asked myself -- but never the friend directly -- was, "Why do you keep entering new relationships, then? If you know you're too busy for them, then why do you engaging in these Sisyphean undertakings? You're not only hurting yourself." Alas, that friend was not unique. There are plenty of people who sometimes seem to be on emotional auto-pilot, never thinking much about what it is they want or need when it comes to romantic involvement.
Of course, there are the opposite folk, the people who will sometimes proudly procl…

Neighborhood by Night

I've been walking a lot lately. It is part of my goal for better overall health, and has helped me lose sa quarter of my body weight to date. If the destination is close enough, and weather and time permits, then I'll walk there and back.
Sometimes, there doesn't need to be a destination. Sometimes, I'll walk for the pleasure of it, or to shore-up some daily goals. You see, I wear an Apple Watch that monitors how many steps I've taken, calories burned, hours standing, and heart rate. Sometimes, on days where I haven't quite met all my goals, I will head out of the house for a bit, taking a walk around the neighborhood to burn more calories and get some additional steps in.
A few months ago, one of the aforementioned days occurred, where I wanted to take a walk toward the end of the day in order to meet some walking goals. Ashley and I headed out around 10:30pm, and began a stroll around the neighborhood. Halloween had been earlier that week, and houses were st…

"Because you dance to disco, and you don't like rock"

We've arrived at our #1 favorite album of all-time. Thank you for taking the time to read about this, and the other nine albums that comprise my Top 10. It's been fun to revisit these gems, and it's compelled me to start re-listening to them throughout each day.
Here, then, is # 1:
Pet Shop Boys / Very (1993)
A friend once relayed a conversation he'd had with someone about me. The someone, knowing I was biracial (Caucasian and African-American), asked my friend: "Do you know if Matt considers himself white or black?" My friend replied, "I think that Matt considers himself gay."
I'm relaying that conversation just now because, though humorous, it is true that coming out and living my life as an out gay man has probably been more defining that most other aspects of my life, and the album Very came along at a crucial juncture in that regard. Very was, in many ways, like a rudimentary therapist. Listening to it (over and over again), beginning at a…

"... but I've no passion for this hate"

We're down to the final two, and today's entry in the Top 10 Albums list is so good, aside from being rather nostalgic for yours truly.
#2 - New Order / Republic (1993)
1993 opened the floodgates for me when it came to music as an late-teen/young adult. A lot of great music was released that year, and I was paying attention to it. I devotedly listened to the radio, watched MTV, VH1, Friday Night Videos on NBC, and even recorded a sort of countdown show with a friend, of our favorite songs of the week.
Friday Night Videos is where I first became aware of Regret, the lead single off of New Order's Republic album. I came late to New Order. They rose from the ashes of Joy Division in the early 1980s, after Ian Curtis' suicide, and Bernard Sumner took over lead vocals. The group evolved over the years and I have, in retrospect, enjoyed most of their work.

"Electric eyes are everywhere"

On the eighth day of our Top 10 Albums of All-Time experience, we give some well-deserved love to  the late King of Pop.
#3 - Michael Jackson / Thriller (1982)
From production by the great Quincy Jones, to a rap by horror master Vincent Price, to a duet with a former Beatle, Thriller has it all. It can be debated whether or not Off the Wall is the better album, but there's no denying that this was the zenith of Michaels' popularity. He easily navigates various styles, all the while maintaining a constant sound throughout.
Thoughts of Thriller take me back to my little bedroom on Draper St. during the '80s, when I'd wear down the cassette tape listening to it night and day. Thriller was always on, whether I was making a small city out of construction paper, writing a short story, reading a Doctor Who novel, or simply (break)dancing by myself.
There's not much more I can say about this album that hasn't already been said. It was great. Full stop.

"... and it was raining"

You sometimes hear about concept albums. Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours is purportedly one of the first of that category. I've often heard it applied to albums that, frankly, don't seem to warrant the label. Our 4th best album of all-time, however, most certainly does.
#4 - Art of Noise - The Seduction of Claude Debussy (1999)
The last studio album of the Art of Noise finds them exploring the concept of the life and work of composer Claude Debussy, concentrated into a one hour, thirteen track album of synth, rap, hip hop, drum n bass, classical, and opera. It is unlike any recording I have heard before or since. And, if anecdotal conversations are anything to go on, during the nearly twenty years since its release, not enough people have heard of it.

"Kelly watch the stars"

The Top 10 Albums of All-Time Challenge continues over the weekend with the chill-out synth band from France.
#5 - Air / Moon Safari (1998)
This album came out a year after an earlier entry, Polydistortion, and carried on my appreciation during the late-nineties of laid back electronic music. It is, perhaps, the greatest album of its genre ever produced, and very much deserves its place on this list. Twenty years on, Moon Safari is still solid.


"This is what the lonely heart must know..."

Everyone always chuckles when I say I like the Bee Gees. Maybe it's their disco period? Regardless, they were a solid recording act for several decades, and deserve much respect. Truthfully, I view their Saturday Night Fever era with nostalgia, more than anything. And not real nostalgia. I was too young to be aware of the disco phenomenon when it was happening. The nostalgia I feel for disco is akin to the kind I feel whenever watching film noir from the '40s, if that makes any sense.
The 1990s is when I truly appreciated the Bee Gees' work. They released three albums that decade, and the second is our focus for today's entry in Matt's Top 10 Albums of All-Time.
#6 - Bee Gees / Size Isn't Everything (1993)
We already know that 1993 was the best year for music, ever. Size Isn't Everything was certainly a part of that. While subsequent re-listens have lowered it slightly on my list of all-time favorite albums, it's still a classic.

"Do you call out his name, when your conscience is shivering?"

An album is (for yours truly, anyway) a complete experience. Sure, there can be some standout tracks, but in order for me to consider something a great album, I have to enjoy listening it to it all the way through. Occasionally, that may be the only way for me to truly appreciate it. Such is the case with the focus of our fourth day of Top 10 Albums.
#7 - GusGus / Polydistortion (1997)
While there are some tracks of note on Polydistortion -- Is Jesus Your Pal? and Purple come to mind -- it is mostly an experience. This is an album where you turn down the lights, and just chill. While it evokes the type of happening where you'd likely hear it played in the white-walled room of a young person talking about the meaning of life and the universe for the first time, with one of those multi-colored, psychedelic blankety-things pinned to the wall, I never listened to it that way. I always heard it alone, in the dark of my bedroom, on nights when I just wanted to shut out the world and let…

"If I could melt your heart... "

Day three of the Top 10 Albums Challenge is upon us! Without further adieu, here is our latest entry:
#8 - Madonna / Ray of Light (1998)
Consisting of great singles and solid deep cuts, Ray of Light is not only my favorite Madonna album, it's one of my favorite albums of all-time. Led by the haunting hit single Frozen, I was immediately enraptured by this release.
In early 1998, some friends and I drove over to Indianapolis for a night. There we went to one of the gay dance clubs, and it was having a Ray of Light release party. They had limited edition copies of the CD, and were playing some tracks off it. The one that I remember most was the Victor Calderon's extended remix of Frozen, and the DJ played almost all 11 minutes of it, which retains the song's stirring quality, while turning it into a dance-floor stomper.

"What do you want from me?"

Day two of the 10 Best Albums countdown is our # 9 pick: Monaco's debut album, Music for Pleasure.
Released in 1997, during New Order's extended break, Monaco was made up of David Potts, and legendary New Order bassist Peter Hook. In all, Monaco would have only one more release, in 2000, but this was their masterpiece.
I love the sound of Music for Pleasure. Not every song is necessarily single material, but they all come together to create a certain feeling. There is a passion to this music, yet also some reserve. Perhaps it is how -- no matter how loud or crashing the synths and guitars become -- their is a clear and distinct rhythm and melody. Everything is precise about this album.
Music for Pleasure also weaved its way into my heart and brain by manner of its lead single, What Do You Want From Me? As the music soars and the synths rise, the chorus of the song kicks in:
What do you want from me?
It's not how it used to be
You've taken my life away
Ruining everythin…

"Just wanna sing, 'Do you love me, baby?'"

One of the latest social media things is to 'challenge' someone to talk about their Top 10 favorite albums over a period of ten days. I was recently challenged by a friend for this, and of course it's right up my alley. Here, then, is the first of my Top 10 favorite albums of all-time.
10. ELO / Alone in the Universe (2015)
What will be the most recent album on the list is the latest work by Jeff Lynne, here acting as his old, successful band ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). Alone in the Universe wastes none of its time. Its songs are just as long as they need to be, and are melodic, melancholy, and hopeful. The songs feature chord changes that you can predict (I don't mean that as a slam), and it even manages to make a bitter song sound beautiful (Dirty to the Bone).
Alone in the Universe was a pleasant surprise from an ageing rock artist. Here's hoping he has more stuff like to share with us in future.

You Choose

A recent ruling by a judge allows for bar owners (among others, I'd guess) to remove Trump supporters from their establishment because there is not, apparently, protection under the law for political discrimination. Whatever side of the political aisle you fall on, that surely has to be a somewhat eye-opening factoid. More so than the ruling, itself, I've been intrigued by the online chatter about why certain folks have been okay with the decision.
Discussions I have read seem to center themselves around why it is okay to allow political exclusion, but not okay to ban someone from someplace because of their ethnicity, or sexuality. The latter two factors are, many argue, not a choice, while someone's politics are most certainly chosen. The aspect of choice, it would seem, is what dictates punishment or praise. It is also, I would argue, not a great way of determining what we accept, or don't accept, about people.