Will Love Be There?

Today I’m thankful for “Shine.”

I don’t remember how old I was the first time I heard the song.  I’ve loved it since.  It’s one of the few songs I recognize immediately, by the bass riff.  The lyrics are challenging but hopeful.  It’s in my vocal sweet spot so I belt along whenever I hear it.  It’s one of my top three favorite songs.  One of the others is “Cliffs Of Dover”, which I’ve posted about previously.  The third is embarrassing and I don’t feel like admitting it just now.

Metal-er Than Thou

Today I’m thankful for the Angry Metal Guy.

I’ve mentioned being a bit of a metal head.  I lean more toward older stuff (RIP, Ronnie D.).  I’m a power/prog metal weenie and like some doom and math metal.  The NWOTHM is absolutely my thing.  I prefer clean vocals.  I’m not a fan of black metal.  I’m not offended by the antireligious aspect.  It’s mostly that the world is already so screwy that I don’t need to be any more nihilistic.  I enjoy learning about emerging artists and ludicrously specific subgenres (technical death slam, really?).  I’ve listened to this nonstop for the past several days.

The site manages to be informative and occasionally hysterically funny – see the comments on any Jorn Lande post.  This beauty is a good example.  Sourced via the Angry Metal Guy.  I do not own the video or song, and material on the Angry Metal Guy website is protected by copyright.

I think Monster Magnet may be my new favorite band name.


The Trooper

Today I’m thankful for Iron Maiden.

I appreciate bands that have fun, not taking themselves too seriously and making music for the joy of it.  It’s a bonus if they also happen to be good.  There are three specific things I most like about Iron Maiden:

Chances are if I’m in a Maiden mood I prefer the music to be aggressive.  Their guitar/drum combo never stops moving forward.

Bruce is an old school shouter.  I’d rank him with any of the original generation wailers.

Eddie is the perfect mix of macabre and humor.  He’s instantly recognisable, endlessly modifiable and bloody good fun.

Neither the song nor the video are mine.

Sassy Sings

Today I’m thankful for Sarah Vaughan.

I don’t remember how I first heard Sarah Vaughan sing.  I was transfixed.  Her voice is like silk.  On occasion she would forget the lyrics, or be in disagreement with her band, and she never let it get to her.  Recordings that include such incidents showcase her fairly wry sense of humor.

She started with Chick Webb’s band.  Her broad range and warm voice are what made her stand out from her peers.  She performed almost continually for almost 40 years.

I have no rights to the song or video.


The King Of Space

Today I’m thankful for “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.

The university choir I sang in collaborated with the local symphony to perform The Planets in concert.  There is a choral part in “Neptune” which is what we sang.  Holst wrote the suite during World War I.  The first “Neptune” chorus was recruited from a local girls’ school.

There are movements for each planet that astronomers knew about at the time.  Pluto wasn’t discovered until the 1930s, and its planetary status is still debated (planet, forever!).  The movements in the suite are not in astronomical order.  Being pedantic, this annoys me.  Each movement is intended to convey the astrological, rather than astronomical, aspects associated with its planet.  Mars almost won my heart with a massive kettle drum chorus.  Then, I heard the middle string section of Jupiter.  I got teary and have adored it ever since.  My favorite part starts around 3:07.  I have no rights to the music or video.

Sing It, Sister!

Today I’m thankful for two “sister” groups from the ’30s and ’40s:  The Andrews Sisters and The Boswell Sisters.

I discovered the Boswell Sisters by reading, of all things, an interview with Donald Fagan of Steely Dan.  He mentioned that Connee Boswell was one of his formative influences as a vocalist.  I’m always up for hearing new music so I looked up some of their songs.  They were unique in that they’d switch parts in the middle of a verse, or whenever they felt like it.  They jumped around vocally, so that one sister was never stuck on just one part.  They stopped really performing as a group around 1938, but Connee did a lot for the USO during the Second World War.

If you’ve ever heard “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” you’ve heard the Andrews Sisters.  I don’t know as much about them off the stage as I do the Boswells, but their arrangements are usually just fun to listen to.  It’s difficult not to sing along.  Enjoy!

I claim no rights to these videos or songs.

Lite Metal

Today I’m thankful for DragonForce.

I’m a bit of a metal head.  I love crystalline guitar solos and machine gun drums.  I prefer clean vocals but can appreciate growling. It’s usually when I’m pissed (angry, not drunk) or in the middle of a tough workout.

With that, I most enjoy bands that don’t take themselves too seriously.  They seem to perform out of sheer enjoyment.  DragonForce is technically accomplished.  They also are just as likely to include chiptune riffs and sing about ridiculously wizard-y things as they are to write lyrics about ripping off faces.  All song rights belong to the artist.

Full of Soul

Today I’m thankful for Motown.

I speak only as a listener.  In my admittedly biased opinion, music as a whole package doesn’t get much better.  The vocal talent was astounding, the arrangements drew from multiple influences and the work ethic was intimidating.  I dare you to sit still while listening to I Heard It Through The Grapevine.  Not my video or song.

Central Heating and Electric Guitars

Today I’m thankful for Eric Johnson.

Johnson is a virtuoso guitarist from Texas.  He was a child prodigy who managed to gracefully transition to adulthood and professional musicianship.  This particular song is truly important to me.

I grew up in a house built in the 1940s.  It had iron grates that covered the heating vents.  During the winter I would always sit with my back facing one particular grate.  My father would come and sit with me and we’d listen to this song.  I was 5 or 6.  Dad played guitar in a number of bands, which is probably why I had eclectic taste for a primary school student.  I still have broad taste but I have always loved this song, and this specific performance of it.  All rights belong to the musician.

She’s Scottish

Today I’m thankful for Emeli Sandé.

I’ve loved everything this woman has released.  I first heard her during the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics.  She sang “Abide With Me.”  I wasn’t a fan of that particular performance but I was intrigued enough to seek out the rest of her music.  Boy am I glad I did.  All rights are attributed to the artist.