All posts by Jason

30% crazy, 40% lunatic, 20% creepy, and 10% nice. Grew up playing video games and watching Cartoon Network. Listens to mostly hip hop and rock. Has unhealthy obsession with basketball.

Grizzly Ear Bombs: Our Music Picks for 10/22/2012

I don’t know about you but I’m digging the new site design. It’s slicker, cleaner, more exciting, and looking a lot more formal. As Kronner would say: “it’s our first step towards legitimacy. Now, all we need are better writers.”

A typical Grizzly Bomb writer

All self-deprecation humor aside, we have nothing much going on in sports this week, other than the huge San Francisco Giants comeback to win the series against Cincinnati Reds and now going for another comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m no baseball fan, but I do live in the Bay Area (and hence my huge fandom over the 49ers). I bear a responsibility to root for teams in San Francisco, unless you’re talking about basketball, simply because I was born a Phoenix Suns fan.

Anyways, I’ll be trying out a new format for Ear Bombs this time round. Let me know in the comments section below if you would rather we revert back to the previous format. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jason, Associate Editor of Grizzly Ear Bombs

Artist: The Blues Brothers
Title: Guilty
Album: Made In America
Year: 1980

I love John Belushi ( Animal House has got to be one of the greatest comedies of my generation) and I love Dan Aykroyd (he is a Ghostbuster for goodness sake!). So it is not that much of a surprise when I say I love the band they formed together, The Blues Brothers. My dad is a huge fan and always had their tracks playing in the house, so I grew up with their soul, rhythm and blues tunes around in my head. Getting older, I realised that these two were great singers and performers, bringing energy to their shows that some artists of today can never produce. With an iconic look and an even more iconic group of musicians behind them, they rocked out constantly. But they also knew how to bring it down a notch or to and hit you emotionally. So here we have Guilty. Originally a Randy Newman track, John performs this on his lonesome. It is a song about pain, grief and loss. About someone who is lost and uses drugs, drink and women to ease the pain and make him think he is someone else. John sings this song with such power and feeling that it is hard not to be touched by it. He is an emotional bowling ball and his music knocks us off our feet like pins. It seems sad, with the reasons behind his death been a drug overdose, that he sings so heart felt about drugs helping the pain. Maybe this is why he sung his heart out on this song, maybe he felt he related in some way. Who knows. What I do know is that it touches me every time I hear it.

-Adam “Bruce Walken” Edmonston
Artist: The Misfits
Title: Skulls
Album: Walk Among Us
Year: 1982

Sometimes you can only listen to so much 80’s new wave before you need to put on some f–king punk rock, and f–king tear shit up hardcore for a bit. The Misfits are my favorite punk band of all time, not only because they’re f–king badass, but because most of their songs, (Glen Danzig era songs) are about spooky weird horror movie shit, rather than any anti-authoritarian, f–k-the-system political subject matter. I’d rather listen to songs about ghouls, demons and brain eating than how much “The Man” sucks. This song in particular appeals to me, because it’s about as close to a punk rock love song as you could get. WOMAN I NEED YOUR SKULL, TO MOUNT IT ON MY WALL. So romantic.

Adam “Cheesebadger” Popovich

Artists: AC/DC
Title: Thunderstruck
Album: The Razors Edge
Year: 1990

Since Marvel Comics started using this bands’ entire back catalogue for their movies, AC/DC have been in the public eye a wee bit. Rightfully so, they are an amazing rock band. With lead singer Brian Johnson high pitched growl ripping throughout the song, to the almost tribal beat of the drums at the start, this song has it all. To sum it up, Thunderstruck is an incredible song. If you ever need to get yourself psyched up, this is the song that will do it. But aside from the awesomeness of this song, the reason I remember it so fondly is because of one person, Blinky 500. He is an adept; I would go so far as to say blooming awesome internet film director, who directed one of the greatest series of fan films out there. Punisher 79-82. Basically a series of short films set as a diary entry in Punishers War Journal, it follows Frank Castle (played to perfection by Shawn Parr) kicking ass. The last part sees Castle turn up unannounced at a villain’s party gathering and proceeds to kill all of them. Pretty much the entire rogue’s gallery turns up to get blown away by Castle. Guess which song is playing while he is killing them all? Yes sir, this one! AC/DC are been used quite heavily for all things Iron Man at the moment, but they suit The Punisher so much better. This song rips through the air, just likes Castles bullets do. When the song ends with Bullseye’s death and Castle stealing his whiskey, it also ends a perfect combination of image and sound.

-Adam “Bruce Walken” Edmonston

Artist: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Title: Stagger Lee
Album: Murder Ballads
Year: 1996

In a perfect world, Nick Cave would be as popular as Tom Waits. Not to hate on Tom Waits, but people generally know more about him than they do Nick Cave. The difference between the two is that they both have a thousands albums that are ALL good, but only one is in shitty movies. Nick Cave just makes amazingly perfect soundtracks for amazingly perfect films. When he’s not doing that though, he makes badass songs like this. I guess this is an old folk song that’s been around since the 20’s, but it’s worth listening to just to hear Nick Cave swear so beautifully. It also helps that in the video he’s got moves that are funky as hell. This isn’t the best Nick Cave song in the world, but it’s definitely one of my favorites, and he’ll be a name that’ll pop up again here soon. Now go and listen to the song already.

-Adam “Cheesebadger” Popovich

Artist: Rob Zombie
Title: Dragula
Album: Hellbilly Deluxe
Year: 1998

Let me start off by saying that to me, Rob Zombie is appropriate music for any month, but especially October. Perhaps it’s because, like many people, I associate October with Horror movies and since Mr. Zombie has done a few of those, I tend scroll down to his name on my Ipod a little bit more around this time of the year. I had the privilege of seeing his show last week and was absolutely blown away by everything about it. His stage presence is phenomenal and the sound clarity of his live performance is unmatched by most musicians I’ve seen. This Rob Zombie classic was stuck in my head after the show, and I have yet to stop listening to it since that night.

-Garrett “Godzark” Odzark

Artist: The Swellers
Title: Runaways
Album: Good For Me
Year: 2011

The Swellers are a pop-punk band out of Flint, Michigan who have quickly worked their way into relevance within the modern day music scene of their genre. Bands such as MXPX, New Found Glory, The Descendents, and The Bouncing Souls have paved the way for bands such as The Swellers to come in and make a name for themselves in a genre that to many, has been dead for years. With a unique vocal sound, and high energy live performances, The Swellers continue to be asked to tour with major bands who have noticed their potential. This song has been a constant part of their setlist in almost every show since the cd was first released, and has been a part of many of my playlists since then as well.

-Garrett “Godzark” Odzark


Grizzly Ear Bombs: Our Music Picks for 10/15/2012

In case you haven’t heard, Agent Coulson lives. That made the new S.H.I.E.L.D. show even more awesome. I would have murdered someone out of sheer excitement had Joss Whedon included Jimmy Woo in the series. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you were to be my victim), this is not the case. Boy, do I wish Asians are better represented in the entertainment industry. Obviously, there is an improvement when it comes to diversity (ethnic or otherwise) in recent years, but Asians are still so damn underrepresented. Hell, interracial couplings do not happen often in entertainment, unless it involves Will Smith. Are Hollywood execs that close-minded?

There is a reason why I love Teen Titans (the animated series). There is depth in the show’s episodes. The writers are more than willing to explore themes no other shows are willing to when it comes to a kid’s show. For example, this episode is centered around the issue of discrimination.

On an unrelated note, RIP Amanda Todd. Here goes a toast to a young lady who, unfortunately, ended her life after being bullied at school. Just because she made a couple of mistakes does not mean she had it coming.

Before I get depressed, here are our music picks for the week.

– Jason, Associate Editor of Grizzly Ear Bombs, whose opinions do not reflect those of Grizzly Bomb or its staffers

Artist: J Dilla
Title: Last Donut of the Night
Album: Donuts
Year: 2006

Some accuse hip hop of being unoriginal, since it relies on heavy use of samples. I see it differently. I see samples as a producer’s instrument. Each producer utilizes the same sample in a different manner. J Dilla’s Dollar Circulate and 9th Wonder’s have drastically distinct sounds even though they’re using the same sample. Not everyone’s a fan of J Dilla’s chops, but I like some of them. Last Donut of the Night is one example. It is a beautiful track that you can listen on loop for an hour. Plus, the video is pretty deep if you give it some thought.

Artist: Anberlin
Title: Someone Anyone
Album: Vital
Year: 2012

I completely dig this song. It’s a bit harder rock than what their previous few albums have been and it’s been a return to their old producer that made them decide to go back to their roots. Which works out perfectly because the song is awesome and the lyrics are great. Whether you want make it topical with world issues or just relate it to good old rock against the establishment, I think you can you can find what you’re seeking in this song. That and the lyric video reminds of a screen saver. An awesome visually stimulating one of course.

Artist: Travis
Title: Side
Album: The Invisible Band
Year: 2001

I have no idea why I picked this song. Well, that’s false because I picked it obviously because I loved this song when it came out a decade ago. I had my playlist on random last week and it came up and I ended up listening to ‘The Invisible Band’ album and got reminded how I got in that kick of Oasis, Coldplay, blur and other Brit bands. Plus the video has UFOs in it and the band’s name is from a character Harry Dean Stanton played. Obvious bonus points for that. It’s just a catchy song and it makes me nostalgic.

Artist:  Michael Bublé
Title: “Haven’t Met You Yet”
Album: Crazy Love
Year: 2009

I’m so tired of hearing songs about butterflies in someone’s stomach or “I’m so in love with this person and I hope it lasts.”  Where’s the depth in that?  You singers do realize love is far more than feelings level, right?  That’s why I appreciate this song, because it speaks deeper about love than 90% of the popular songs on the radio today.  He sings about working to make the relationship work, not just expecting it to because of “love.”  He sings about giving more than he gets, instead of wanting the woman to do all the giving all the time.  Whoever snags Bublé in real life is going to get a man who apparently understands that love is more than just butterflies and happy feelings.

Artist: Howard Shore
Title: random piece of score
Album: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Year: 2003

I tried remembering and finding the name of the song during this scene, Ride of the Rohirrim, on the Return of the King soundtrack.  But I don’t think it’s there.  I would have to give the entire album a listen-through again to be reminded (or you can just tell me).  I cannot pass up this music, though.  I studied layers of sound audio for films in class on Tuesday, and this was one of the examples our professor showed us.  The music during this scene (starting around the 3:50 mark) is just phenomenal, and the strings in particular really emphasize the presence of the Rohan fighters.  And notice how the music cuts out right as they collide with the Orcs?  Brilliant climax.

Artist: Madness
Title: House of Fun
Album: Complete Madness
Year: 1982

Madness were one of my favourite bands when I was a little kid way back in the early 80’s – and they still are. Of course back then I had no idea what this song was all about. Their early stuff was a lot more ska influenced, but they have always made music that is bouncy and makes you happy – I say always, some of their songs are a touch darker but still great. House of Fun is (so far) their only number one single – which is a crime. They’re still making albums though so there is still time.

Artist: Arctic Monkeys
Title: When The Sun Goes Down
Album: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Year: 2006

The Arctic Monkeys are a great indie band from Yorkshire (Sheffield in fact) – though I don’t like them for the fact that they and I both come from the same county. They are a raucous, rocking band with a singer with an interesting voice. They have great lyrics too. Only a northern band could rhyme stomach with summat (something – for all those of you who aren’t from the north) and get away with it. This song is about prostitution – not a happy subject admittedly but a great song nether the less. [Plus the video features Lauren Socha from Misfits]

And now, one of our new writers: J. Aarons

Artist: Phish
Title: Backwards Down the Number Line
Album: Joy
Year: 2009

The song title refers to reminiscing about old times upon celebrating a birthday. It’s a sweet and sentimental song with a good hook — all the better to flog me over and over about what a shitty friend I’ve been to my homie that just had two babies, joining me in the ranks of dad-hood, and I’ve not yet called him to see how he’s doing. The song captures that good feeling that comes with being nostalgic over earned nostalgia. Thirty years, thirty-five years . . . and yet I’m just playing this thing over and over in my head, hoping to break through whatever mental barrier is preventing me from doing I should have done three months ago. “Happy, happy, oh my friend.” Nonsense aside, nobody plays guitar like Trey, and damn I love Page’s piano.

Artist: Mike Doughty
Title: Na Na Nothing
Album:  Yes and Also Yes
Year: 2011

An anthem for the brokenhearted or screwed over, this song won me over when I first heard it on WTF a few weeks back. Marc Maron interviewed Doughty and they jammed a little at the end. The slightly twisted jauntiness is enticing and depressing all at once, but ultimately it’s a feel good song because dude has epiphany, tells it like it is, and keeps on keeping on.

Grizzly Ear Bombs: Our Music Picks for 10/8/2012

NBA season is a month away, and I’m not excited. My Suns are beyond mediocrity at this point. The Lakers aka the most spoiled franchise of all time has four legitimate all-stars in their starting five. What the hell is wrong with this world? But hey, they did lose their first pre-season game. Yeah, I know it’s pre-season, but f–k the Lakers. (Shout out to Golden State Warriors by the way. It’s my hometown team. Well, sort of.)

Perhaps you’re wondering if I would like to see Steve Nash win a ring at this point, so I’ll give you an answer: No, I don’t want Steve Nash to win a championship in LA. I know Steve was being loyal to the Suns and all, but he betrayed us the moment he decided against going to New York or Toronto or Miami and instead play for our arch nemesis. Plus, our incompetent front office asked for two crappy picks. If it was up to me, I would be asking for three Lakers first rounders from the 15-16 season and beyond. By then, Bryant, Nash, and Gasol will be done and we can hinder their rebuilding progress because Dwight Howard will be crying about his contract and blah blah blah.

Obviously, that will never happen. The Suns front office is has the mental capacity of Snooki, and the Lakers can get whatever they want because, you know, they’re the Lakers. The league handed them Pau Gasol four years ago.

Either case, watching Steve Nash in purple and gold is like watching your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend who loved you so much, but decided to part ways with you because both parties felt like it was in their best interests to do so. Now, s/he is engaged to a trust-fund millionaire with talks on having kids while you’re working a dead-end job with a bleak future. That millionaire also happens to be the high school bully whom you stood up against back then. To make things worse, your ex was there for you when you were going up against the bully.

Screw life. I’ll be rooting for Miami Heat if they’re meeting in the finals. That’s how much I hate the Lakers (and how awesome Lebron was in the Olympics).

Jason, Co-editor of Grizzly Ear Bombs

What does this have to do with music?

– Scott Fraser ( Supascoot), Editor

For our guest writer this week, we have GEEK Magazine staffer Holly Costino dropping her Ear Bombs.

Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Dreams
Album: Rumours
Year: 1977

My love of this song, as well as Fleetwood Mac, definitely stems from my mother. This song brings me back to playing with my sister at a very young age. My mom would put on her cassette tapes while she cleaned or cooked dinner, forever placing a backdrop of Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, and John Fogerty to my childhood memories. “Dreams”, in particular, hits a sweet spot. Every time I hear it, I cannot help but sing and dance along. This song is definitely one of the most beautifully written and performed songs that I have ever heard. It is easily the most popular song by the group, but it also deserves to be.

Title: The Theft
Album: A Death Grip on Yesterday
Year: 2006

I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic this week, so I’m heading back to my band days a little. We called our sound post-hardcore-punk-lite-gangsta-rap, but that never caught on. Atreyu was a band I fell in love with right away, and as the albums progressed my fandom diminished slightly. This song is on the downturn of the epicness, but I still love it. The riffs are moving and powerful, while lead screamer Alex Varkatzas digs deep and pulls out some vocal chords, delivering a rare performance for the time. This started the transition to a more mainstream sound and increased radio play, which meant my hipster mentalities no longer allowed me to listen to them. I did drink beer with them once. Good times.

Title: This Could Be Anywhere In The World
Album: Crisis
Year: 2006

This was my 2006. Post-hardcore greatness. While I don’t have as much of an ear for it as I used too this is still a great song. Alexisonfire is a great Canadian band that rose to quick popularity and spawned a few more acts; such as Dallas Green’s City and Colors, and Wade MacNeil’s Black Lungs and Gallows. This song is fast, energetic, and gets the head moving. The juxtaposition of George Pettit’s heavy, growly vocals next to Green’s soft and soulful tones with some throaty and ragged melodies from MacNeil really pump up the song, as well as the whole album. Always takes me back to that year, and continues to end up on my music list no matter how many times I take it off.

Artist: Donny Mcdonald
Title: Stardust
Album: Cooks For All Cats
Year: 1975

Sometimes I like to wind down, and for me there’s no better wind down music than some nice instrumental jazz. Oh sure, I could throw out the typical John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk, but I prefer to share something a bit off the beaten path. Not that I don’t LOVE Coltrane or Monk, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to them in any way. Anyhow, this song is just one of those special finds that you’d probably never discover if it wasn’t for Youtube, or the internet in general. It has a sad, yet cheerful whimsy about it that I love.The trombone in it is particularly infectious, and you’ll be whistling it’s tune for a while after hearing it. It’s the kind of song I’d play when something really depressingly hilarious happens. It’d fit right in with the entire musical selection from FX’s Louie, or even Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Artist: Andy Hale
Title: Main Theme
Album: L.A Noire Soundtrack
Year: 2011

A lot of you might actually recognize this one, because it was the main goddamned theme from one of the biggest Rockstar titles to come out last year. Being a pretty huge fan of film noir and adventure games, I bought it without knowing much about it, and was blown away. Sure the actual game parts of it were a bit lacking, but in terms of storytelling, mood and ambiance it was pretty much unrivaled that year. Particularly I enjoyed the soundtrack, which brought back long distant echoes of golden age film noir movies. Any of the films with Bogart, Cagney, or Mitchum would have had a song like this that would fit right in, setting the mood for the sultry, melancholy tales in which they’d star. I defy you to turn on this song and not be taken back to that era, or at the very least be reminded of the films to which it pays homage.

Artist: Otis Redding
Title: (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay
Album: The Dock of the Bay
Year: 1968

I cannot remember the first time I heard this amazing song, but I do remember loving every single second of it. While on a particularly stressful drive to work recently, this tune popped up on the radio and the feeling it gave me was incredible. I became completely relaxed, like my body had melted into a pool of contentment. It wore off unfortunately, which I guess is good, as puddles of contentment are not well known for being particularly good drivers. What remained with me was the slow, dream-like sound the song produces. It is fantastic and Otis is a truly stunning singer. His vocals capture your imagination and make you drift away with him. This song captures a moment in time, like a photograph you remember seeing; you can see the visuals straight in front of you. It is also an instantly hummable song, and great for whistling to (if you like that kind of thing). Something has been troubling me about this song recently, and the overtones I am reading into it. Now interpreting song lyrics is not my forte as we all know, but I am a bit worried about poor Otis here. Lines like

I had nothing to live for


Nothing’s going to change
All the things still remain the same

seem like someone on the edge. This guy no longer seems like a happy camper. I’m kind of hoping that Otis was not depressed when he was on the dock of the bay, as it would not be a good place for him to be. MOVE AWAY FROM THE BAY OTIS. Come to think of it, it is probably not about this at all! Still, what I do know for sure is that this is an awesome song.

Artist: Russ Abbott
Title: Atmosphere
Album: I Love a Party
Year: 1985

What we need to establish about me is I like a lot of rubbish. Films, comics, music, it does not matter as long as they are cheesy – the crappier the better, to be honest. Some songs I listen to are so bad they are good, some are just bad, while others transcend this limitation and go into the realm of greatness. This is one of those songs. Now I don’t have the pleasure of owning Russ Abbott’s album “I Love a Party”, which to be honest is a good thing. If I did own it I’m sure I would have suffered from some dancing related injury from over exertion. What I do have is this song, where Russ perfectly captures the mood of a party. He knows how to craft a party tune alright. This is a celebration of all things rocking. With its ground breaking lyrics like

Oh Whoa!
Let it go!


We can make it last forever
When we’re dancing with gang

The song was too advanced for its time. Now does this not seem like a magical party place to be? If you are still not convinced, then check out the music video. Never has a video emphasized how awesome a song is. Right from the start, we have Russ whizz into the club with his bike, and leave his bicycle clips with the barman. From the look of his cheeky wing, he is up for some fun times. Then when he hits the dance floor with his jumper on, all hell breaks loose! ’80s people loving the party atmosphere, woman that maybe look hot but you are not quite sure and balloons that fall from the ceiling onto the ground. This place is frikking amazing! If you ever need to party down and want something different from Bill and Ted and AC/DC then give old Russ a try.

Artist: Disturbed
Title: Indestructible
Album: Indestructible
Year: 2008
Great song and I think it is Disturbed’s best. You have to love the way it starts off with that siren and background noise that sounds like a war zone is going on behind the music. Little repetitive but the song is damn addictive to listen too if you like metal [Ed. Note – This is not metal] and the artwork on this album is so cool. The guitar solos on this song are fantastic and really make this song stand out from their other work. Recommend it to anybody who likes Nu Metal.

Artist: Bon Jovi
Title: It’s My Life
Album: Crush
Year: 2000
Next song is a little more known and I would be shocked if you didn’t like it. This and Living on a Prayer are my favorite Bon Jovi songs. I have it on my playlist all the time so it had to make it on this music piece. The message “live while I am alive” is a little obvious but still works well and the song is just fantastic. I never get tired of it and it always seems to get played at parties so it hasn’t gone away.

Artist: Harry Belafonte
Title: Turn Around
Album: Love is a Gentle Thing
Year: 1959

This is an oldie but a goodie and has been done by quite a few people through the years. It is probably best known, by those much older than myself and my compatriots here at Grizzly Bomb, as the subject of a Kodak commercial in the 60’s. It showed pictures of a baby girl growing up as a toddler and school age child and then as a teenager and finally as a grown woman with a baby of her own.
Why is this song on my list this week? Well my baby sister got married this past weekend and this was the song she and our dad danced to. Needless to say, there weren’t many dry eyes in the house!

Artist: Alabama Shakes
Title: Be Mine
Album: Boys and Girls
Year: 2012

This time of year I start to feel very southern. It probably has a lot to do with my beloved Crimson Tide dominating in the divine world of SEC football; or the fact that we are starting to cool off down here and it’s just a beautiful place to live. Whatever the reason is, I’m feeling very southern. When that happens, I tend to turn my iPod to the southern artists as well. I’m actually not totally sure how this song ended up in my library but ever since I first listened to it on April 10th (I looked it up), it’s become a fast favorite. I want to meet and sing with Brittany Howard. She could wipe the floor with me but I would have a great time anyways! Everyone should check out this album- it does not disappoint.

That’s it for this week. We’ll see you back here next week. Just like last week. And the week before that. You can check them out here.

Countdown to Halloween #30: Michael Jackson

Regardless of your perception on Michael Jackson, he was the biggest pop star on Earth for the better part of three decades, and he totally redefined the music scene in the 1980’s. Maybe Michael Jackson did become white, maybe he did molest kids, but as David Chappelle would say, “He made Thriller. Thriller.“

Continue reading Countdown to Halloween #30: Michael Jackson

Grizzly Ear Bombs: Our Music Picks for 10/1/2012

Thank God they’re not Beats by Dr Dre. They insanely overpriced and have the durability of Grant Hill’s ankle.

From this issue on, we’ll try to bring in a guest contributor every week. This week features selections (for the 3rd time) by Fister Roboto of Left Hand Horror. If you like all types of horror entertainment, please check the site out.

This Comes to mind, somehow.

This week, the 49ers defeated straight up demolished the Jets. But then, you can’t fault the Jets. Their best player is out, and Mark Sanchez has been garbage lately. As for the staff favorite, the Detroit Lions, they lost. Yea. I’m on a hot seat here. It’s probably a good idea for me to not badmouth the Lions. The unanimous game of the week did not disappoint, with the Packers and the Saints grinding down to the final minutes. It’s such a shame the Packers won. You can’t blame it on the refs this time round. *shrugs*

Anyways, here are our picks for the week.

Jason, Editor for Grizzly Ear Bombs

Artist: Ween
Title: Object
Album: La Cucaracha
Year: 2007

Ween are nothing if not a genre-crushing force of nature. Object from their last album La Cucaracha is both beautiful and suddenly haunting when you start paying attention to the lyrics. Written from the killer’s point of view, Object guides the listener through a velvety chorus and twists the knife with Deaner’s discordant and melodic guitar solo. Ween know no musical boundaries and that, my friends, is what gives them their soaring popularity and staying power. Acid jazz, metal, country, ballads – Ween never stop.

Artist: Opeth
Title: Burden
Album: Watershed
Year: 2008

Check my iPod and you’ll see Opeth’s transcendent album Watershed in my “played to death” section. Proving that Sweden’s best export is not the delicious red, candy fish, Opeth move swiftly between crushing death metal masterpieces to deliver songs like ‘Burden’. Not content to blast drum us to death, Opeth do what they do best in these electric ballads. If you’ve never listened to Watershed in its entirety, you’re doing yourself a massive musical injustice. Do it.

Artist: Nina Simone
Title: Feeling Good
Album: I Put a Spell on You
Year: 1965

There are many covers of the same song out there. You have one by Muse and another one by Michael Buble. None of these, however, capture your soul like Nina Simmone’s. Its grimy, yet hopeful, tone gives listeners  a feel of relief after a long day’s work. Any other covers which came after hers follow the very template set by her, from the tone to the delivery. This is how transcendental Nina Simone’s Feeling Good is – artists from half a century later are still performing the same track the same way. There is simply no way you can make a case against this version of the song being the best.

Artist: Linkin Park
Title: Castle of Glass
Album: Living Things
Year: 2012

Remember the last time Linkin Park actually made a good album? Me neither. Their recent attempts on reinvention have failed miserably. They stepped a little too much out of their comfort zone, and eventually lost their own nu metal / rapcore sound. 2007’s Minutes to Midnight was a huge disappointment to me. Luckily, one more failed album later, they have finally found their own identity. Does Living Things top Meteora? No, but it is a welcoming return to their comfort zone. Chester Bennington sounds great in this track and the production is good. With that said, it is very well-executed, though not spectacular. By the way, this track will be featured on EA’s Medal of Honor: Warfighter aka another Modern Warfare wannabe. What did you expect? It’s EA!

Artist: No Doubt
Title: Bathwater
Album: Return of Saturn
Year: 2000

No Doubt has been one of my favorite bands since I was 8 years old, so 1996. Although Tragic Kingdom is my favorite album by the band, Bathwater may be my favorite song. When I listen to it, I cannot help but smile. It is just one of those songs… no matter how awful my day has been, if I throw this tune on, I dance around my house and sing into a hairbrush. Aside from being an audiophile, I am also moved by lyrics. This piece is the most pure way to describe being in love while being extraordinarily insecure. I think we’ve all been there. When I hear it, I remember all of the times when there was something I could not control in a relationship, and the feeling of complete helplessness because there was absolutely nothing I could do but wait. It also reminds me of sitting back and admiring from afar those whom I was not allowed to be with, whether it was that they were too much trouble, I messed things up with them, or simply because I was with someone else at the time. Somehow this song makes all of those feelings okay, and I can dance it out in my Spider-Man underoos. Look out, world!

Artist: Billie Holiday
Title: Gloomy Sunday
Year: 1941

Lady Day is one of my favorite artists of all time. Gloomy Sunday is a song with a very rich history. It has been redone by many musicians; however, Billie Holiday’s recording is the greatest. Gloomy Sunday was originally created by a Hungarian composer in 1933. It was known as Vége a világnak which translates to “End of the World”. Ms. Holiday was not the first to translate this song into English with different lyrics, however. Hers was the first widely-known version in English. The song was described as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, because it was rumored that people committed suicide while listening to this song. The original Hungarian lyrics translated to English are far more depressing than the version most of us have heard. The ending to the English version (lyrics by Sam Lewis) indicated that the person telling the story was only dreaming, beginning with “Dreaming, I Was Only Dreaming- I Wake And I Find You Asleep In The Deep Of My Heart, Dear-…”. There are very few songs that haunt me as much as this. As I write this, my eyes are beginning to well up with little tears. If you believe that you cannot be strongly moved by lyrics and music, as I said before that I am, I urge you to close your eyes, sit back, and play this song loudly. Gloomy Sunday is the ultimate tale of despair.

Artist: The Temper Trap
Title: Sweet Disposition
Album: Conditions
Year: 2008

This song is something I have to thank one of the writers Megan for because admittedly, she’s more tuned into music than I could ever be. She introduced it to me a long time ago and still, to this day, always makes the playlist once in every few months. The song starts off simply with the guitar chords but it has a hypnotic riff to it, and the vocals as well as arrangement just hook you into the song. It also solidified my weakness for hipster music but I don’t care. It’s not a complicated song in terms of music or lyrics but it shows it doesn’t have to be one in order to hook you. It’s a fun driving song to listen to and even better writing song to have in the background. Granted, it probably helps that I’m on a JGL kick and it was featured in (500) Days of Summer but hey, you can’t fault it for that. More importantly, they are a great band that is still under the radar, so it’s definitely worth a listen.

Artist: Justin Timberlake
Title: Let Me Talk to You/My Love
Album: FutureSex/LoveSounds
Year: 2006

Yeah, I decided to go mainstream for this one. It also made me realize that JT hasn’t released anything in the last six years. I remember him doing this song live for the first time at the 2006 VMA’s (y’know, when they were barely relevant at that point) and hearing the Timbaland beat just stole my attention from the get go. It was completely different from anything else at the time. It just blew my mind. The crescendos in the melody are mesmerizing and the production is great. Plus, JT, whatever feelings you might have about him, just kills it with his vocals. Dammit, the dude is talented and I hate him for it. But that just makes me jealous because he puts out amazing stuff and owns pretty much everything he touches; Jessica Biel included.

Artist: Ennio Morricone
Title: Deep Down
Album: Danger: Diabolik Soundtrack
Year: 1968

I love Ennio Morricone. What movie buff doesn’t? The man’s a genius, and has made some of the most memorable movie music of all time, if not THE most memorable movie music of all time. Hands down. I guarantee, no matter who you are, you’ve heard his work without knowing it. Danger: Diabolik is one of his more obscure films in America, but directed by renowned italian filmmaker Mario Bava, who adapted the Diabolik comics pretty perfectly, into one of the best and most underrated comic book movies of all time. I defy you to read any Diabolik comic and tell me this movie isn’t that book brought to life. Some may find the movie kitschy, cheesy, or weird, but it’s never boring. There’s so much awesome to like in this film, not to mention the totally awesome soundtrack keeps the whole thing buzzing along at a nice pace. I can and have watched this movie, over and over again, simply because it’s such an enjoyable experience for me. Its poster is proudly displayed in my room, and it’s one of the best, and last episodes of MST3K. In fact it IS the last episode, and for that reason alone I love it. MST3K is a show I grew up with, and I have a real sentimental attachment to it, so seeing this brilliant movie send off Mike & The Bots, was a perfectly blended amalgamation of things I love from my youth and my present. Do yourself a favor, and track down a copy of the original film, but if you can’t, watch the MST3K version. It’s a bit butchered, being edited for time and all, but it’s damn hilarious. This song is featured prominently throughout the whole film, and brings me back to that wistful feeling I get every time I think about Saturday mornings spent watching MST3K, back when Saturday mornings were a thing that mattered to me.

Artist: Blondie
Title: Atomic
Album: Eat To The Beat
Year: 1979

There is a woman in my life who may or may not be real. I’ve dreamt of her. I’ve seen her. I spoke with her. She knew my name, she gave me water, she told me she’d be seeing me again soon. I met her in my dreams before I met her in real life. In my dreams she loves me. In my dreams I love her. When I dream of her, our love is more real than anything else in my waking life has ever been. When I find her again, I’ll be hearing this song. It will be playing. I’ll see her. She’ll see me. We’ll embrace, and I’ll tell her:

“Your hair is beautiful.”

Artist: (A bunch of creative people and the He-Man cartoon show creators)
Album: (You can’t tie this song down)
Year: 2010

I never saw the original He-Man video made by Slackcircus in 2006, but I did see this one within the last month.  My husband started singing it one night as he was playing MechWarrior, and as soon as I admitted my lack of knowledge, he pulled up the song on YouTube and my life has forever been benefited/degraded.  In reality, I find it fascinating that people can be so attuned to the culture around them that they can look at a cartoon, watch the character’s lip movements, and then attribute words to him/her that was not in the original script.  It’s kind of like the Bad Lip Reading channel on YouTube, or the way you can watch the first part of Wizard of Oz synced with Pink Floyd.  He-Man singing is a tribute to the power of twisting culture to create more culture.

Artist: Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars
Title: “Safe and Sound”
Album: The Hunger Games Soundrack
Year: 2012

I read The Hunger Games trilogy before the movie came out, and thought it was one of the best pieces of young adult fiction I’d read since Harry Potter.  So when I heard that pop star and teenage-obsession Taylor Swift would be doing the movie adaptation’s main song, I became very angry.  Really, the studios were going to bow so low as to make The Hunger Games a cultural sensation only by bringing in Swift and not strive to keep the entire production a timeless message and reminder to all in the future?  But then I listened to Swift’s Safe and Sound and actually caught myself being impressed, even shocked, at the musical, lyrical, and vocal quality (I’m sure some of this had to do with the haunting elements that The Civil Wars added).  Also, since I’d read the books entirely, the music video had so much references as to what would happen in the Hunger Games universe that as an older sister, I could not help but tear up a little.  Kudos to Swift for “growing up” gracefully and taking us along with her.

Artist: Echobelly
Title: King of The Kerb
Album: On
Year: 1995

Echobelly are a nineties indie band (that people tend to look at me as though I’ve made them up) and this song is one of their biggest hits. They’re one of the bands that reminds me of my misspent youth – I was, and still am, a bit of an indie girl. Despite of the lyrics subject matter – prostitution and homelessness – this is quite an upbeat, fun sounding song.

Artist: Franz Ferdinand
Title: Take Me Out
Album: Franz Ferdinand
Year: 2004

Scottish in origin (Glasgow to be precise), Franz Ferdinand is an other great indie band. Take Me Out is a stomping tune with a fantastic rhythm. It’s a song you just have to turn up loud and sing along to – helped by the fact that the lyrics are fairly untaxing to remember.