Country Music Has Become a Joke

A popular local radio station recently changed their music format to country. The station had long been among my presets on my car stereo. In the past week, country tunes began working their way in to the mix as my radio scanned through the station presets. It was startling, and horrible.

I listened to some country music when I was growing up. I am still fond of the songs that I remember hearing when I was a kid. I don’t think I can only attribute that to pure nostalgia. Country music was actually pretty good back then. Artists like Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, George Strait, and Randy Travis all recorded some great music. I think that their songs appealed to a broader audience than country music does today. People who didn’t care for the genre could still find something in it to like.

Today, things have changed drastically. Country music has eroded to the point of being nothing but a caricature of itself. The songs I’ve heard on the new radio station are absolutely atrocious. Each song is more ridiculous than the one before it. All of the songs sound like music parodies. The amount of twang in this music has reached a level of absurdity. The genre is wearing dangerously thin. The tired rehashed themes that have been in practically every country song since the beginning of time are now completely played out.

I truly cannot imagine how anyone can listen to this music even for a moment and take it seriously. It’s become a joke. The people who consume this garbage and support this laughingstock of a genre need to take a giant step backward and hear this music for what it really is… Pure shit.

Radiohead Makes Noise

I am not a fan of Radiohead in any way. In my opinion, they are a talentless band that creates hideous music.

I didn’t arrive at this opinion overnight. I’ve listened to their albums from “Pablo Honey” up through “In Rainbows,” some several times. I’ve tried for years to find something about their unique sound that I can appreciate. It just isn’t there. With the exception of “Creep,” their best song by a million miles, the rest of their catalog is pure shit.

Based on that harsh assessment, I’m tempted to consider Radiohead to be a one hit wonder. Creep is the only song that warrants being played in public. Beyond Creep, I will say that the songs “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Karma Police” are pretty good, but those are the only exceptions I can make.

I can barely bring myself to refer to their recordings as music. Their recordings are nothing but noise, pure unpleasant noise. There is no musicianship to be found in any of their songs beyond the two that I mentioned above. It’s as though the band members tripped over a pile of instruments, looped that recording, and put it out as an album. I am quite serious.

The lead singer of the band, Thom Yorke, has a singing style that amounts to nothing but indecipherable whining. I can’t understand a word he is saying. Every song is a four minute whine over a backdrop of ear grating noise. Also, pardon me for being so petty, but the name Thom? It has no impact on their music, but the name Thom makes my eyes roll.

I acknowledge that there will be a lot of people who wholeheartedly disagree with my opinion, my cousin Kevin among them. That is fine. Radiohead obviously has a large fan base, though I really don’t understand how or why. Personally, I find it baffling that they were rewarded a recording contract in the first place.

Zoso Concert at Lincoln Theater

Last night I went to a live show at the Lincoln Theater. Zoso is a Led Zeppelin cover band, but not just any cover band. They play internationally and are renowned for their shows. They did not disappoint. I showed up at 9 PM and there was a long line down the sidewalk. It was packed. We pushed our way down to about 10 rows from the front for the main show. Standing only, of course.

There was an opening act that was an AC/DC cover band. It was hard rock all night. They went on stage at 9 PM, then Zoso came on at 10. They played for three hours until 1 AM without stopping. It was ear-splittingly loud where we were standing. The band put on an amazing show. The lead singer sounds exactly like Robert Plant. The guitarists and drummer were unbelievably good. Tickets were $12, but this group is worth way more than that.

I really wanted to hear them play Misty Mountain Hop, which is my favorite Led Zeppelin song. They didn’t play it, but I wasn’t disappointed. They delivered a solid setlist in their long show.

All ages were present. I was surprised at how many young people (under 21) were there. After all, Led Zeppelin is known for their 70s rock. It’s good to see young people appreciating the classics.

I took the picture below. I was pleased that I didn’t see too many people holding up phones and cameras during the show. That stuff gets annoying. I didn’t see much of that at all. The crowd was busy rocking and cheering.

Zoso at Lincoln Theater

Retro CD Purchase

I wanted to get a new album from a band that I like. I decided to break down and buy it. After searching iTunes and Amazon, it turned out that the physical CD was a dollar cheaper than the album download. What kind of sense does that make? You can see where I’m going with this. I ordered the CD from Amazon. I’m going retro again. I’ll take a disc over a download anytime the price is the same or less. Why not? The sound is better, I get a physical copy, I can rip it into whatever format I choose, plus I get the booklet. I look forward to popping it in my stereo and listening to it the old-fashioned way. Fun!

Hotel California is Fatally Flawed

Everyone knows the famous song Hotel California by the Eagles. I have always loved this song. It brings back great memories when I hear it. I remember hearing it regularly back in the day when out shooting pool.

I’m not disputing that the song is great. It is. However, in my opinion, it could be superb if it didn’t have a fatal flaw. That flaw is that there is not a third chorus for, “Welcome to the Hotel California.” This has always irked me.

Since there is no third chorus, I hardly ever listen to this song all the way to the end. After the final line, “You can check out any time you like but you can never leave,” there is still 2:08 left in the song. It annoys me that it just trails off into guitar for over two minutes while never hearing the chorus of the song again.

Perhaps I am alone in thinking this way. I realize that the last line, “You can never leave,” doesn’t really warrant anything else to follow that. Still, I don’t see a reason to add two more minutes of music after the vocals are over.

I Don't Want a Music Subscription Service

For years, people have negatively complained that iTunes doesn’t offer a music subscription service like Napster and the Zune Pass do. Personally, I don’t want it. I don’t like subscriptions, especially for music. I have no problem subscribing to magazines, cable TV, or even Netflix. I benefit from being a Netflix subscriber because it saves me money on watching movies. Rarely do I want to own a movie or watch it multiple times. Therefore, Netflix is a perfect solution for me.

Music content is something I do want to own. I listen to my music over and over again, and cherish my collection. I don’t want to pay $15 a month to listen to unlimited music. No way. I don’t mind paying for tracks and albums. I prefer it. They are mine and I own them. Seeing the public calling for a subscription model for music irks me. That is just what the record companies want you to do, provide a steady revenue stream from subscribers. I say no! I’ll keep my music that is rightfully mine.

Too many business today are thinking of instituting a monthly or annual subscription fee to use their products. Word has it that Windows and Office may adopt that business model in the future. Yuck! Subscriptions are a way to suck more and more money from consumers. If digital content in the future will be comprised of a slew of subscriptions, then the hell with it.

Add Album Artwork to Multiple iTunes Tracks

For a long time, I’ve been confused on just how to add missing album artwork to multiple songs in iTunes. I know you can automatically have iTunes fetch album artwork, but it is probably the case that not all of the files in your library will be available via iTunes. Hence, no automatic artwork. The artwork must come from an outside source. In my opinion, the best cover images can be found on the Amazon.com Music site.

You can add artwork to any song that is currently playing by dragging a picture of the album cover over to the “Now Playing” window within iTunes. The problem with this is that the individual song must be currently playing. The problem is that I want to add a album art to all of the songs on a particular album! You cannot simply highlight all of those tracks in iTunes and use the “Now Playing” window. You have to select a group of songs and then choose “Get Info” and then drag the new artwork from your computer or web browser into the “artwork” window within the Get Info dialog box. For more information, see Apple’s support topic on this issue: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1409.