Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Aqua Red Cloud

It was around June of 2009 that I changed the look of this blog to what it was recently. That's like, five years ago now. I had to update the page at some point.

But it's gone further than that. I actually changed the name - "The Red Cloud" - and the description. I even added an image. I went as far as to even change the profile image icon too. That image was taken during the summer of - well, five years ago. I don't really look like that anymore. My hair is salt and peppery. I have age lines. My smile has become grander and warmer.

Actually, nah. I look almost exactly the same save for the fuller beard. My hair is still a dark, dark brown.

I went as far as to change the overall name of this blog because while I am an Ottawan, I don't necessarily fulfill the characteristics of every single person in this region. I'm not a typical person from this city. I don't work in government and never will. I'm not in the high-tech sector. I'm a young man with Asperger's Syndrome working at Wal-Mart while finishing an old college diploma part-time. So my nickname, thanks to my father's social group (my surrogate uncles) will take the full reign from now on. Or at least for another five years.

I'm sure it will be a surprise for those long-term readers (again, as in people having hung around for the past five years) to see "The Red Cloud" instead of "The Ottawan." It's such a major overhaul. But I'm not this city. I just live here, and enjoy the familiarity of it.

The aqua font colour might not make much sense considering the 'red' in the title, but it went with the template, and I actually kind of like it. I don't much care for the borders images have in the post space, as it look amateur to me, but that's all right. It doesn't have to be perfect.

I hope the change rather re-invigorates this page and makes it look fresh again. My readership really seems to come from Ottawa (no duh) as well as Calgary and Toronto, at least in terms of frequency over all the other random places in Canada, the States, and worldwide. In Calgary it's one of my surrogate uncles. Hey James, like it? I have no idea who in Toronto could possibly find this good or bad, considering everyone I know there, I don't know anymore, from photography classmates to a girl who made my summers awkward at work. But either way, I'm looking forward to having it this way.

I had an all right birthday by the way. I skipped work and played cards at my maternal grandparents.' I still have a few occasions with the paternal side coming. Yesterday I checked out the Ottawa Independent Writer's group. It was hugely disappointing from the social aspect (the main reason I went). The entire room consisted of geriatrics. No kidding.

Red Cloud

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Generic Catchy Ska Song

Yesterday - well, Monday, but still yesterday to me as it's after 1am and I haven't gone to sleep yet - I bought my own birthday gift. I find that money's always the best gift for birthdays because you can do whatever you want with it. You don't have a sweater that's too small or scratchy, or some sort of item you won't use or take much interest in, you have freedom. So I bought a left-handed electric guitar.
Unfortunately it's a bit blurry, but you can see it at least. It's a Stratocaster.

It cost $269, plus the stand, cord and strap and HST, so I ended up only contributing $125 of my own money. Pretty good for a new guitar and its accessories.

I bought it after going through three options - the guitar, a microphone, or a used upright piano. The microphone was too expensive ($520 - and I need two, as overheads), the piano was too big to fit in the house (and even if I bought the cheapest one I found off of Kajiji, I'd then have to pay for movers and a truck) but the guitar was both inexpensive and not impractical. It could get down the stairs using only one arm to carry it, and the birthday money would substantially cover it.

A guitar is one thing I've been thinking about acquiring for months. My demos all lack a guitar. I'm not in a band - it would be nice, but I don't have the interest to generate enough willpower to figure out how to find people, and I'm not particularly interested in making music my overall career, running after fame, record deals, world-wide tours and travelling. At the most it's fun and an outlet for my creativity. I'd be happy to get to a point where I'm playing gigs and have municipal or even provincial exposure (national would be pushing it) and produce records/music videos, but that would be it. I want to produce songs and albums, but with all the rights and production owned or done by me. I've been playing with my acoustic since February or so. I know just about all the open major and minor chords.

To my surprise and delight, the transition from acoustic to electric really gave me a lot more in sound and fullness. Almost instantly, I was playing certain chords I struggled to barely produce at all on the acoustic. B major and minor, particularly. Just about any bar chord. It was almost unbelievable. Struggling with the acoustic sort of worked. Its strings are a lot higher over the fretboard than the electric's, and the strings are a little thicker. The back of the neck has a slightly deeper bow whereas the neck of the Stratocaster is shallower, so my hand can wrap around it better, with easier reach.

With this new instrument addition to my studio, it sort of completes the set (acoustic, bass, electric) and gives me something major to add to my demos. I already have parts imagined in my head. I just need to play it out to the microphone.

To finish, here's the secondary main focus of this post: The Ska song. I recorded it today - it's a sort of basic start to the guitar and rhythm and recording it. This is as bright and predictable and over-used and catchy as it gets. I recorded drums, bass, two piano parts and two guitar parts. All that's missing is saxophone - that's an instrument I doubt I'll ever learn or buy. My oldest friend plays it - I could get him to play it on my tracks if I wanted.

This video is a screen recording of Audacity; the sound isn't particularly good because the Mac's internal microphone recorded what came out of the speakers. I didn't put up the actual song because for YouTube that meant I had to create a video to add the music to, which was too much effort at the time. And this way, you see how multi-tracking works as I solo certain instrument tracks, such as the piano tracks, guitar tracks (which really sound quite good) and the bass. There's just no sax.

Even though it's a replica of probably dozens of other songs, Ska or otherwise, it is pretty catchy and a good start to playing around with and recording the guitar. In listening to it again hours later, I'm kind of surprising myself with how well I actually got it down. It's not perfect, but it's something, and pretty good. I could make a song out of it with lyrics talking about how over-used and inanely catchy and familiar it is or something. "Generic Catchy Ska Song."

Justin C.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Year of the Cat

Well, after roughly a year, I finally figured it out.

In all the posts in which I describe the musical note B (or H), its major/minor chords, and all the stuff, or baggage, that comes with it for me, I mention or reference a song I heard at Wal-Mart that made the note extremely obvious to me in that way.

It was something I would hear while doing picks. That task is a quiet, mildly tedious one. You're by yourself in a narrow aisle formed by tall shelves (we refer to them as bins) with a scan gun, reading the labels on dozens of boxes; upon finding the right one, you scan it and take the box out to put on a cart to be taken to the floor. Almost always, that box (or pack) is under other items and it's just a demanding, tedious, yet individual task. I'm always absent-mindedly listening to the music. Over the past couple of summers, I'd often spend my alone time doing the picks wondering about how far my feelings went for a person who worked out in the McDonalds, someone from high school. Last summer, it would flit through my mind and then I'd hear this bit of music and instantly see her personality and face.

I figured it out as B through experimenting with it on my keyboard, and took note of it, and would go on to realize that other songs I already knew that made me see the same person used the same note at the same moment. But I never figured out the actual song. It was so frustrating because it's a quiet song and I'd never notice it until that actual part played, and that's the last verse. After that, you get instrumental until it just fades away. Every single time. It's funny that I could never name the song that inspired this whole self-discovery or reflection.

Tonight was the night I finally realized it was on before that part, and I ended up getting up on top of a stacked pallet with my phone held up to the loudspeaker in the ceiling to at least capture a lyric or two by recording a video. I tried having my mother listen to it first; she decided it was someone named Gerry Rafferty. I looked him up; I couldn't find it, and instead found 'Baker Street' (that slightly annoying song with the long saxophone verse, which also played in Wal-Mart for a time). When I tried writing what I thought I heard down, the result was Al Stewart, and his song 'Year of the Cat.'

Rafferty and Stewart aren't that far off. I listened to a few of Rafferty's songs and his voice and music aren't that different. They come from the same time-period and they've both from Scotland.

I looked it up in terms of information and read the lyrics. What I read and what I heard told me that it was about a tourist who apparently spontaneously gets together with a woman and then misses his bus and misplaces his ticket. The country isn't named. I wonder where? I'd say Yugoslavia (as it was at the time) but that's just my own bias. For some reason I actually feel like I'd want to go there someday. I mean Serbia when I say that.

The exact part of the song I've been referencing, though, is about 4:49 minutes in. Particularly when he sings the word "rhythm." There are other parts of the song where the same B is played, but this is the most obvious (and the part I always heard or noticed) because his voice harmonizes with that note perfectly. Or his voice is simply also in B. "But the drum beat strains of the night remain in the rhythm of the newborn day."

Listening to it now, loud and clear and not at work, I get a sort of welcome feeling when I hear that exact bit. I see the same face and feel a little wistful. There's definitely some yearning there. Warmth, and simple notions of right and good. I shouldn't put personality into it because it's much more likely that it's how I feel and see what it is (or who it is) I see. And this started my whole crusade with B and who it puts in front of me.

The reality of everything in this is that the personality I see is purported. It's not her personality or their personality or whatever; it's what I see, it's what I want to see, what I envision in that person. What I feel, and what my mind develops. Everyone has a perception of other people. If you like someone, you're going to see their normal traits, and rainbows and gold will shine out of them to you. You build a version of them in your mind that you want to see. This "B" girl - and the 'In The City' girl - and any others - are simply just romanticized, exaggerated, imaginary characters that my mind has created based on their very normal temperaments and personality traits, all of which I find attractive. They didn't ask to be part of my synesthetic landscape and depth, they probably have no clue or interest in it, they didn't even really do anything for my benefit. They just knew me, and existed as they naturally are.

Anyway. It's like a birthday treat for me that I finally figured this song out (my birthday is today). 'Year of the Cat.' The original B, at least in terms of my noticing it. What a note/chord/scale. What people - people who are simply who they are, whether exaggerated in my synesthesia or not, which is just awesome. Thanks for being there.

Justin C.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Entire List - Complete and Full!

Over the years, I've tried writing 'best-of' song lists, usually in terms of year. I've always struggled with those, because while I like a lot, I can't ever think of anything in the moment. This includes whenever I'm asked what my favourite music is - all I can immediately recall is Madness or the generic "ska or reggae music" response.

That's barely scratching the surface - in fact, it isn't even doing that. Resolving to figure it all out and have it written down, I put the list below together by simply clicking on [year] in music on Wikipedia, and going through the articles' list of albums and notable hits of that year. I started in 1990 and made my way to 2001; then I went back to 1980 and did the same thing. This is what I've come up with. There are a few that I simply did manage to remember (particularly very recent songs such as 'All Eyes on You' or 'Around the Bend.') Then there were some that I ended up deleting from the list because I saw the song purely out of nostalgia and hardly for my own personal liking. Or I saw it as something I enjoyed two or three times but never since.


[A] = Album
[CD] = CD
[BFM] = Heard on Boom FM in my car
[CH} = Childhood, not necessarily Kool FM
[F] = Film
[TV] = Commercial/Episode
[KFM] = Kool FM
[R] = Restaurant
[RD] = Radio, unknown station
[NC] = No Clue
[HS] = High School
[W] = Heard at Wal-Mart
[YT] = Heard on YouTube
[VHS] = Heard firstly on my mother's ancient VHS of recorded music videos.
[W] = Heard at Wal-Mart

1. 10cc
-Things we do for Love (1976) [TV]
-Dreadlock Holiday (1978) [TV]
2. A Flock of Seagulls
-I Ran (So Far Away) (1982) [R]
-You Can Run (1982) [A]
-Story of a Young Heart (1984) [YT]
3. Ace of Base
-The Sign (1993) [CH]
-All That She Wants (1992) [CH]
4. After the Fire
-Der Kommissar (1982) [English Cover] [TV]
5. Alanis Morissette
-You Oughta Know (1995) [CH]
-You Learn (1996) [KFM]
6. America
-You Can Do Magic (1982) [W]
7. Asteroids Galaxy Tour
-Around the Bend (2008) [TV]
8. B-52's, The
-Roam (1990) [CH]
-Love Shack (1989) [VHS]
9. Bananarama
-Cruel Summer (1983) [CH]
Bangles, The
-Walk Like an Egyptian (1986) [TV]
10. Barenaked Ladies
-Enid (1992) [VHS]
-One Week (1998) [KFM]
-It's All Been Done (1999) [KFM]
-Pinch Me (2000) [KFM]
-Brian Wilson (1992) [VHS]
11. Beach Boys, The
-California Girls (1965) [YT]
-Kokomo (1988) [W]
12. Beat, The
-March of the Swivelheads/Rotating Head (1982) [F]
-Mirror in the Bathroom (1980) [YT]
13. Big Audio Dynamite
-E=MC2 (1986) [TV]
14. Big Mountain
-Baby, I Love Your Way (Reggae Cover) (1994) [CH]
15. Blind Melon
-No Rain (1992) [CH]
16. Blondie
-Call Me (1980) [KFM]
17. Blue Peter
-Radio Silence (1980) [BFM]
18. Blue Rodeo
-Trust Yourself (1990) [VHS]
-Hasn't Hit Me Yet (1993) [BFM]
19. Boney M.
-Rasputin (1978) [BFM]
20. Box, The
-Walk Away (1984) [BFM]
-My Dreams of You (1986) [BFM]
21. Boyzone

-Picture of You (1997) [F]
22. Bryan Addams
-Run To You (1984) [CH]
23. Cars, The
-You Are The Girl (1987) [W]
-Magic (1984) [NC]
-Good Times Roll (1978) [BFM]
-Tonight She Comes (1985) [YT]
-Drive (1984) [YT]
24. Chemical Brothers, The
-Let Forever Be (1999) [TV]
25. Chicago
-25 or 6 to 4 (1970) [W]
26. Chilliwack
-My Girl (1981) [BFM]
27. Chumbawumba
-Tubthumping (1997) [KFM]
28. Citizen King
-Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out) (1999) [CH]
29. Coldplay
-Clocks (2002) [TV]
30. Counting Crows
-Mr. Jones (1993) [CH]
-Hangingaround (1999) [TV]
31. Devo
-Whip It (1980) [TV]
32. Dexy's Midnight Runners
-Come On Eileen (1982) [TV]
33. Diego Garcia
-All Eyes on You (2011) [W]
34. Don Henley
-The Boys of Summer (1984) [NC]
35. Donnie Iris
-Ah! Leah! (1980) [RD]
36. Donovan
-Mellow Yellow (1966) [Heard in a pawn shop]
37. Doobie Brothers, The
-It Keeps You Runnin' (1976) [F]
38. Duran Duran
-Rio (1982) [RD]
-Hold Back the Rain (1982) [YT]
-New Religion (1982) [YT]
-Hungry Like the Wolf (1982) [R]
-Is There Something I Should Know? (1983) [YT]
39. Eagles, The
-Hotel California (1977) [TV]
40. Econoline Crush
-You Don't Know What It's Like (1999) [TV]
-All That You Are x3 (1997) [TV]
41. Eiffel 65
-Blue (Da ba dee) (1999) [KFM]
42. Eight Seconds
-Kiss You (When it's Dangerous) (1986) [BFM]
-Sincere (I Will Return) (1988) [YT]
-Tell Diane (1990) {YT]
43. Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
-Turn to Stone (1977) [W]
44. Enya
-Orinoco Flow (1988) [CH]
44. Eric Clapton
-Cocaine (1976) [F]
45. Eurythmics
-Would I Lie To You? (1985) [TV]
46. Falco
-Der Kommissar [Original] (1981) [YT]
47. Fatboy Slim
-Praise You (1999) [TV]
48. Filter
-Take a Picture (1999) [KFM]
49. Fiction Factory
-(Feels Like) Heaven (1983) [YT]
50. Fine Young Cannibals
-Good Thing (1989) [TV]
51. Fixx, The
-One Thing Leads to Another (1983) [TV]
52. FM
-Phasors on Stun (1978) [BFM]
-Just Like You (1985) [YT]
53. Foo Fighters
-Learn to Fly (1999) [TV]
54. Foster the People
-Pumped up Kicks (2010) [TV]
55. Gary Numan
-Cars (1979) [NC]
56. Genesis
-Turn it On Again (1980) [NC]
-Misunderstanding (1980) [W]
-No Reply at All (1981) [YT]
-Me and Sarah Jane (1981) [YT]
-Keep it Dark (1981) [YT]
-That's All (1983) [NC]
-Illegal Alien (1984) [VHS]
-Invisible Touch (1986) [R]
-Land of Confusion (1986) [TV]
-I Can't Dance (1991) [NC]
-Jesus He Knows Me (1992) [CD]
57. George Michael
-Freedom 90 (1990) [TV]
58. Gino Vanelli
-Just a Motion Away (1985) [BFM]
59. Glenn Frey
-The Heat is On (1985) [YT]
60. Go-Go's, The
-Our Lips Are Sealed (1981) [TV]
-Head over Heels (1985) [TV]
61. Gowan
-(You're a) Strange Animal (1985) [BFM]
-Cosmetics (1985) [BFM]
-Moonlight Desires (1987) [BFM]
62. Green Day
-When I Come Around (1995) [TV/CH]
63. Hanson
-MMMBop (1997) [KFM/CH]
-Where's The Love? (1997) [VHS]
64. Harvey Danger
-Flagpole Sitta (1998) [TV]
65. Honeymoon Suite
-Wave Babies (1984) [BFM]
66. Huey Lewis and the News
-Heart and Soul (1983) [Cover of original by Exile] [BFM]
67. Idle Eyes
-Tokyo Rose (1985) [BFM]
68. J. Geils Band, The
-Centrefold (1980) [TV]
-Freeze Frame (1980) [NC]
69. Joe Walsh
-Life's Been Good (1978) [TV]
70. JoBoxers
-Just Got Lucky (1983) [YT]
71. Journey
-Lights (1978) [BFM]
72. Julian Lennon
-Much Too Late for Goodbyes (1984) [YT]
73. Katrina & The Waves
-Walking on Sunshine (1985) [CH]
74. Kim Mitchell
-Go For a Soda (1984) [BFM]
-All We Are (1984) [CH]
75. Laura Branigan
-Self Control (1984) [BFM]
76. Len
-Steel my Sunshine (1999) [KFM]
77. Lenny Kravitz
-It Ain't Over 'Till it's Over (1991) [TV]
-Fly Away (1998) [CH]
78. Lighthouse
-Sunny Days (1972) [BFM]
79. Live
-The Dolphin's Cry (1999) [CH]
80. Lou Bega
-A Little bit of Mambo (Minus Tracks 11, 12, & 13). (1999) [CH}
81. Macy Gray
-I Try (1999) [TV]
82. Madness
-One Step Beyond (Minus Tracks 1, 5, 7, & 15) (1979) [All CD/YT except for 'Our House,' RD]
-Work, Rest & Play EP (1980)
-Absolutely (Minus Track 7) (1980)
-7 (1981)
-Presents The Rise and Fall (1982)
-Keep Moving (1984)
-Mad Not Mad (Minus Tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 10) (1985)
-It's Madness (Compilation including B-Sides) (Tracks 4, 6, & 12) (1990)
-It's Madness Too (Compilation including B-Sides) (Tracks 10 & 12) (1991)
-Wonderful (Minus Tracks 6, 8, & 11) (1999)
-The Liberty of Norton Folgate (Minus Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 14, & 15) (2009)
-Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da (Tracks 1 & 10)
-It Must Be Love (1981)
-House of Fun (1982)
-Driving in my Car (1982)
-(Waiting For) The Ghost Train (1986)
83. Martha and the Muffins
-Echo Beach (1980) [BFM]
-Song in my Head (as M+M) (1985) [YT]
84. Men at Work
-Down Under (1981) [YT]
85. Men Without Hats
-Safety Dance (1983) [TV]
86. Michael Jackson
-Beat it (1983) [TV]
-The Way You Make Me Feel (1987) [CD]
-Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (1983) [RD]
-Black or White (1991) [TV]
-Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough (1979) [RD]
87. Mighty Mighty Bosstones
-The Impression I Get (1997) [YT]
88. Moby
-We Are All Made of Stars (2002) [TV]
89. Natalie Imbruglia
-Torn (1997) [KFM]
90. Natalie Merchant
-Carnival (1995) [VHS]
91. New Radicals
-You Get What You Give (1998) [RD]
92. Nik Kershaw
-Wouldn't It Be Good (1984) [YT]
93. No Doubt
-Don't Speak (1996) [TV]
94. Oasis
-D'You Know What I Mean? (1997) [VHS]
95. Offspring, The
-Why Don't You Get a Job? (1999) [TV]
-Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) (1998) [TV]
96. OutKast
-Ms. Jackson (2001) [TV]
97. Our Lady Peace
-Innocent (2002) [TV]
98. Partland Brothers
-Soul City (1986) [BFM]
99. Paul Simon
-The Boy in the Bubble (1986) [YT]
-You Can Call Me Al (1986) [TV]
100. Payola$
-I'm Sorry (I Only Did it For the Money) (1981) [YT]
-Eyes of a Stranger (1982) [BFM]
101. Pearl Jam
-Alive (1991) [CH]
102. Peter Frampton
-Baby, I Love Your Way (Original) (1975) [BFM]
103. Peter Gabriel
-Game Without Frontiers (1980) [BFM]
-In Your Eyes (1986) [BFM]
-Sledgehammer (1986) [TV]
104. Peter Schilling
-Major Tom (Coming Home) (1982) [BFM]
105. Phil Collins
-Don't Lose My Number (1985) [TV]
-Another Day in Paradise (1989) [YT]
-Take Me Home (1985) [YT]
106. Philosopher Kings, The
-Charms (1996) [VHS]
-I Am The Man (1997) [CD]
107. Pilot
-Magic (1974) [TV]
108. Police, The
-So Lonely (1978) [BFM]
-Message in a Bottle (1979) [NC]
-Walking on the Moon (1979) [TV]
-Don't Stand So Close to Me (1980) [TV]
-De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (1980) [HS]
-Contact (1979) [YT]
-It's Alright For You (1979) [YT]
109. Pretenders, The
-Back on the Chain Gang (1982) [YT]
110. Psychedelic Furs, The
-The Ghost in You (1984) [BFM]
111. Prince
-When Doves Cry (1984) [BFM]
-Raspberry Beret (1985) [BFM]
-Kiss (1986) [RD/BFM]
112. Randy Newman
-I Love L.A. (1983) [F/TV]
113. Red Hot Chilli Peppers
-Under the Bridge (1992) [VHS]
-Soul to Squeeze (1993) [VHS]
113. R.E.M.
-Stand (1988) [RD]
-It's the End of the World As We Know it (And I Feel Fine) (1987) [F]
-Losing my Religion (1991) [CH]
-Shiny Happy People (1991) [W]
-Man on the Moon (1992) [CH]
-Everybody Hurts (1993) [NC]
114. Republica
-Ready to Go (1996) [TV]
115. Robbie Robertson
-Somewhere Down the Crazy River (1987) [VHS]
115. Robbie Williams
-Millennium (1998) [TV]
116. Robyn
-Do You Know (What it Takes?) (1997) [VHS]
117. Romantics, The
-Talking in Your Sleep (1983) [BFM]
118. Roxette
-The Look (1989) [TV]
119. Sandra
-(I'll Never Be) Maria Magdalena (1985) [YT]
120. Sarah McLachlan
-Building a Mystery (1997) [VHS]
121. Sass Jordan
-Make You A Believer (1992) [VHS]
122. Savage Garden
-I Want You (1997) [KFM]
123. Scritti Politti
-Perfect Way (1985) [TV]
124. Seals & Croft
-Summer Breeze (1972) [TV]
125. Seal
-Crazy (1990) [RD]
-Kiss From a Rose (1994) [VHS]
-If I'm Any Closer (2010) [W]
126. Shaggy
-Dance & Shout (2000) [CD]
-It Wasn't Me (2000) [CD]
127. Sharkey, Feargal
-Listen to Your Father (1985) [YT]
128. Sherry Kean
-I Want You Back (1984) [BFM]
129. Sheryl Crow
-Everyday is a Winding Road (1996) [KFM]
130. Simple Minds
-Don't You Forget About Me (1985) [F]
131. Smash Mouth
-All Star (1999) [CH]
-Then the Morning Comes (1999) [CH]
132. Snow
-Informer (1992) [CH]
133. Some, Belouis
-Imagination (1985) [TV]
134. Sonique
-It Feels So Good (1999) [KFM]
135. Specials, The
-Nite Klub (1979) [YT]
136. Spin Doctors
-Two Princes (1993) [RD]
137. Split Enz
-Message to my Girl (1984) [VHS]
138. Spoons
-Nova Heart (1982) [BFM]
-Romantic Traffic (1984) [TV]
139. Staind
-It's Been Awhile (2001) [KFM]
140. Stampeders, The
-Sweet City Woman (1971) [BFM]
141. Steely Dan
-Reelin' In The Years (1973) [W]
-Rikki Don't Lose That Number (1974) [W]
142. Steppenwolf
-Magic Carpet Ride (1968) [F]
-Born to be Wild (1968) [F]
143. Steve Miller Band
-Jungle Love (1977) [TV/W]
144. Steve Winwood
-Higher Love (1986) [VHS]
145. Stevie Wonder
-Uptight (Everything's Alright) (1966) [YT]
146. Strange Advance
-We Run (1985) [BFM]
147. Suggs
-4am (1995) [YT]
148. Sugar Ray
-Every Morning (1999) [KFM]
-Fly (1997) [KFM]
-Someday (1999) [KFM]
-When It's Over (2001) [KFM]
149. Supertramp
-Dreamer (1974) [KFM]
-Logical Song (1979) [CD]
-Bloody Well Right (1974) [CD]
-Breakfast in America (1979) [CD]
-Take the Long Way Home (1979) [CD]
-Child of Vision (1979) [CD]
150. Tal Bachman
-She's So High (1999) [BFM]
151. Talking Heads
-And She Was (1985) [RD]
-Burning Down the House (1983) [YT]
-Life During Wartime (1979) [BFM]
152. Tears for Fears
-Change (1983) [BFM]
-Shout (1985) [RD]
-Sowing the Seeds of Love (1989) [YT]
-Everybody Wants to Rule the World (1985) [TV]
-Head Over Heels (1985) [YT]
153. Tenants, The
-The Tenants (Minus Track 5) (1983) [YT]
154. Third Eye Blind
-Semi-Charmed Life (1997) [CH]
154. Thompson Twins
-Hold Me Now (1983) [W]
155. TLC
-Waterfalls (1994) [VHS]
156. Toronto
-When Can I See You Again (1983) [BFM]
157. Toto
-Africa (1982) [W]
158. T'Pau
-Heart & Soul (1987) [TV]
159. Tragically Hip, The
-Courage (For Hugh MacLennan) (1993) [CH]
-At The Hundredth Meridian (1993) [VHS]
160. Train
-Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me) (2001) [KFM]
161. U2
-Mysterious Ways (1991) [CH]
-Beautiful Day (2000) [NC]
-I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (1987) [BFM]
162. Uriah Heep
-Something or Nothing (1974) [YT]
163. Vapors, The
-Turning Japanese (1980) [TV]
164. Verve, The
-Bittersweet Symphony (1997) [KFM]
165. Wall of Voodoo
-Mexican Radio (1983) [TV]
166. Whitesnake
-Here I Go Again (1987 Radio Remix) [RD]
167. World Party
-Ship of Fools (1987) [YT]
-Way Down Now (1990) [YT]
-Is it Like Today? (1993) [YT]
168. Yes
-Owner of a Lonely Heart (1983) [RD]


There are probably a few I'm still missing, but the range is many times over what I thought it would be in terms of artists and, in particular, genres. I might as well say I like ska and reggae - as well as pop acts, 70s rock bands, one or two 80s rock bands, several boybands, more than a few one-hit wonders, a grunge song, a few big-beat songs, a hip-hop song, more than a few female artists, definitely New Wave, some alternative stuff, big bands and solo artists from all over North America and Europe.

I could go on and categorize them - how many are British, how many are there thanks to Boom FM or even Wal-Mart, how many tended to come out in 1997 (quite a few, that was definitely a year for music) and many more, but that would take another several hours and I just spent the last two and a half finishing the list (of songs and where I heard them originally). The longest aspect was locating the hits or bands, and ensuring I put in the right year of release.

It really is a much more comprehensive list than I ever thought. 168 bands/artists/DJs, etc., ranging over five bloody decades. There is a focus on the 80s and 90s, but the 00s, 70s, and 60s all have their share of people...even the past four years.

It's pretty awesome. I'll be linking the songs in that list that I've reviewed on here in the past in the future.

Justin C.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

No Time to Compare, to Rate, to Preach, to Show

It's so late yet I'm putting this down now because it's foremost in my mind.

You know that old feeling of inferiority? Or superiority? That feeling that comes based on comparing yourself to others?

I think about that lyric I wrote a few weeks ago - that song called "Not My Problem." In retrospect, it's kind of a berating lyric. It highlights all the infighting, the negativity, the true experience of human garbage people experience throughout their lives. It's a song about animosity in general, and about ignorance. And it does nothing but angrily point it out, all at once, in a preachy way.

Maybe I'm being harsh. I haven't gone back to re-read it. Those words aren't a final product - just what I came up with as the general idea and meaning. The music is there, has been there since early last year. But in the end, I still come up with pompous preachiness when I think about it.

It's quite obvious, when you compare yourself to someone else, all you do is give reason to make yourself feel miserable or swelled up. That's where I think some of that lecturing comes from; I feel that I am not ignorant or stupid or just low, so I can lecture others that I perceive are because I'm better. That's not remotely the case.

There's the reason that song lyric isn't a product. After all, everyone is the same at the end of the day - I've made stupid mistakes, I've been rude, I've put people right off a lot of times. Half the time I don't intend to, but there is no doubt that in my twenty-three years (almost), I've intentionally acted in some way that has served to give people grief or a negative experience. There isn't a human being on this planet that hasn't been or acted in a selfish way, or forgotten their manners, or acted unnecessarily impatient. I'm like that with my mother all the time, impatient.

The point is that it's fine to lecture when a time or reason allows for it, it's fine to advocate for kindness and to point out (to an extent, and only necessarily) someone's mistakes or blind spot or negative quirk, but at the same time, you can never divorce yourself from that same behaviour. Everyone has to improve in some area of their lives. No one's perfect. And just because someone has reached a milestone before you have doesn't mean they're better in any way, nor does it give reason to compare. They're different, not dumb or better or whatever.

In finishing, I realize I'm sort of 'preaching' or 'lecturing' in this very post right now - but at the same time, I've pointed out my own flaws. I'm working on them. This year's different. Unlike the past four years in which every day or month was a lame-duck affair with no stimuli or relationships (of any kind), it's like I've somehow pushed the fast-forward button on my outlook, attitude, engagement and will to change in several ways. I'm considering joining an independent writer's group based in the city; I've got my piano lessons. I've been outgoing at work and looking at ways to improve certain aspects of my life in general. 2014 is the year I finally switched from negative fatalistic pessimism to positive outgoing, engaging easiness. It's working.

Still, I'm not perfect, and no one else is. Keep an open mind. Thanks for reading.

Justin C.