You can’t handle the truth.
Literally the best, most accurate explanation of why MTV doesn’t play videos anymore I’ve ever seen. And I used to program videos on MTV.
The first thing you need to know is that there’s a blue moon coming on August 31. Mental Floss posted an article about what they are and they’re more rare than you think due to weird farmer math.
As for the song, one of my favorites, it was written in 1934. I love the idea of finding a rare blue moon love under a blue moon. Blue moons are the third in a seasonal cycle and so always fall in Indian summer or early fall — and thus they make me think of hayrides for some reason. Probably the farmers.
It’s become a standard that’s been reinterpreted by dozens of singers — from Sinatra to Ian McCullough to Billie Holiday. There are quite a lot of takeoff songs on the concept as well. Big Star, Toby Keith and Stevie Wonder all have their own, original blue moon songs.
It is made most famous by Mel Torme. I do like this version by Cowboy Junkies. They give it a smokey feel.
Is there life on Mars? No. But NASA has officially landed the Curiosity rover on Mars to test and see if, among other things, it was once hospitable to life. I love space exploration. I love the grandiose span of the universe. I love what both impress on me about humanity. And with those thoughts in mind, I made a playlist of the songs I’d like Curiosity to blast, both in outer space and while it rolls around Mars.
It veers all over the place, from the Bowie must-have classic to dreamy electro-pop to punk rock to indie to idealistic with smatterings of official NASA recordings of the Apollo voyages sprinkled in between. Some songs are hopeful. Others are sarcastic. At least one (possibly three) is nihilistic. A few are straight out drugged up anthems.
If Curiosity if a lonely Wall-E up on Mars, these are it’s tunes. I can’t wait to find out what it learns.
A little while back, maybe even a year ago now, I got a bee in my bonnet to find out more about where Zeppelin’s sound came from since, when they started in the ’60s, it was so different from everything else happening in music.
This playlist covers the stuff they ripped off, the stuff they’ve said was an influence to them, stuff that it blew my mind they even knew anything about. Obviously there’s a ton of blues, but there are also surprises like Ritchie Valens and Art Garfunkel. Enjoy!
For the past one, maybe two, months there have been rumblings about Twitter having a new focus on music. I’ve kept one eye on it because I’m a person who has largely jettisoned Facebook in favor of Twitter for information gathering, although Facebook has drawn me back a little by integrating Spotify/Rdio/iheartradio because I’m nosy and I want to know what my friends are actually listening to as well as what they post that I should listen to. On the whole, though, I prefer to read Twitter.
I found my way to following @Tatiana, the lady who identifies herself as working for Twitter handling music. But that seemed to be largely her personal account with some pictures of herself and artists. It simply wasn’t very interesting to me so when the official @TwitterMusic account appeared, I switched to following that. Thus far it seems to be a lot of far-away Twit Pics from concerts and a series of @ signs. If that’s the plan well okay, but you’re not doing anything to make me feel closer to the music. I do have the impression you’re all having a lot of fun and that’s nice but…what is all of that doing for me? Or any music fan?
I feel like I’m frustrated about this in the same way some people are irritated that Spin is dropping album reviews (or at least were irritated by the way it was announced when they had a moment to go think about it for awhile). I want more. The new stuff Twitter is doing that exports their platform to artists is pretty brilliant. But the way you’re handling music on your own platform so far is shallow and dull. And if anything, Christopher Weingarten’s @1000TimesYes album reviews account showed that talking music on Twitter could be entertaining, if not always informative, given the contraints of the medium. There’s very little that’s interesting or universal about “hey we’re at the M83 concert in LA tonight here’s a picture of where you’re not,” unless you’re someone I know personally. Also, isn’t that what Instagram is for? Not only are you vastly under utilizing embedded video or audio on Twitter for stuff like talking to artists but you don’t even seem to tap into the trending music topics on your own site. I spent Grammy announcement night on Twitter, talking about that show live with a lot of music critics and it was oh-so-very fun. I don’t think any of us knew you existed. You haven’t live Tweeted your reactions to an episode of Glee or The X Factor even once. Do you know how many fake Beatles and Beatles facts accounts there are on Twitter you could be RTing? I seriously hope you’re going to at least start conversing with Blake Shelton. This could be so much fun and so far it’s so…not.
@courtneyesmith talk to him about digital marketing and you might change that opinion. he knows the industry better than most.— Twitter Music (@TwitterMusic) January 14, 2012
Okay, this is a little more interesting. Except saying someone is smart about music and saying they’re smart about music marketing/the industry are not interchangeable ideas. But I’m just relieved to get some insight into what the hell you’re talking about. But like…still, what did he say? What am I supposed to take away from this? How does it help me, the user, get to know Jared Leto better?
@courtneyesmith and what do you suppose I listen too?— TruMofo₪ ø ||| ·o. (@heartofariot30) January 14, 2012
Hey Jared Leto, how’s it going? (Not Jared Leto) It’s been a few years, but we’ve met before — when I worked in music programming at MTV. In fact, I was your talent escort a few times for interviews you did for MTV2 and mtvU. I’ve sat there in person and heard to you talk about music and yet…I have no idea what you listen to. Nothing about this exchange cleared it up. So I got curious and Googled it. Apparently you take inspiration from Pink Floyd, Bjork, and Radiohead. And you know what I’d rather find out from Twitter? What you listened to today. Or what you said about marketing music. Or anything at all, absolutely anything that offered me some insight.
* I learned none of that from Twitter. And that is the problem with @TwitterMusic thus far, in my opinion. But you’re just getting started. Maybe this will get better, by and by. Or maybe not and I’ll just go back to my own universe on Twitter. I’ll be watching.
Yes yes, there will be music. If you’d like to see my top ten albums of 2011 list, point yourself to The Dumbing of America. They’ve got my list, as well as interesting ones from Peter Hook (New Order, Joy Division), Tyler Williams (The Head and The Heart), Ritzy (The Joy Formidable), Home Video, and several others.
Once I committed to that list, however, I couldn’t stop myself from making a playlist of my favorite songs in 2011 (subscribe on Spotify or Rdio). As we all drift back towards listening to singles and not albums, it’s a nice way to recognize things that were good but not good albums (er, M83 that means you). By far the best song of 2011, in my opinion, was James Blake’s “The Wilhelm Scream.” Masterfully arranged and produced. I find myself getting more into the b-sides of some once favorite artists and that is how a random Death Cab track ended up here. And yes, propers must be given to Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Beyonce for the absolutely great pop songs they released this year.
I’ll have to give the crown of best movie in 2011 to Midnight In Paris. Which is saying something considering that I don’t even like most of Woody Allen’s oeuvre. Lambast away at that if you must.
In TV I’ll give my biggest nod for a new series to Game of Thrones.
In books my favorites this year included Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming and a slew of country music books I started in on for a project that weren’t released anywhere even close to 2011.
For Finnheads: Neil Finn “She Will Have Her Way”
The best time I’ve ever been set up wasn’t with a boy. It was when Steve Savoca invited Colleen Quill and myself to the Neil & Tim Finn show in Central Park because he thought we’d make good friends (and should discuss our shared obsession with all things Finn so he didn’t have to listen to it for hours, which is smart planning on his part). I instantly fell for her, even though she obsesses on George Michael to an unhealthy level. And if I’d met her outside of the context of this concert I don’t know how things would have gone. But our perfectly orchestrated meeting provided an entry for two people who think very differently about a lot of other things to connect. This all served us well when Colleen got a job as my counterpart at VH1 not too long after and we were like this unbeatable team taking on all comers.
And all of that makes the Finns even more special.
Falling In Love Is Like: New Order “Ceremony”
Last weekend, while I was in Dallas, my friend Beth said to me that she thought she was always waiting for falling in love with someone to make her feel like she did the first time she heard New Order’s version of “Ceremony.”
I thought that was such a lovely thought that I wanted to keep it in my pocket forever. How wonderful, with just the right amount of bittersweet.
Obsession: Blossom Dearie “I’m Hip”
Introduced here by Blossom herself as the infamous “I’m Hip.” I’m having a little obsession with Blossom after a mix I made last night of under appreciated songs interpreted and written by under appreciated artists from the ’40s-’60s. Best Blossom Dearie album title? My Favorite Celebrity Is You — has someone told Kate Nash about her?
Enjoy to the end, there’s scatting there worth hearing.
I’m in love with: Elvis Costello “I Hope You’re Happy Now”
As my Twitter (and Instagram) feed belies, I went to see him last night at the amazing Wolf Trap in…hm, I guess the city would be Fairfax, VA but for anyone who doesn’t ask questions like, “So is that inside the Beltway?” it would be DC. Due to some incredibly good karma and asking the right person the right thing, I landed an upgrade to the second row. WHERE I BELONG BECAUSE I AM A CRAZY STALKER WHO IS IN LOVE WITH ELVIS COSTELLO. Or, you know, just an enthusiastic fan. Or so I thought. There was an older gentleman sitting next to us who kept trying to creep up to the stage whenever Elvis came near-ish to get a setlist signed. I really wanted to explain to him that he’s an amateur, there was no way that was going to happen from the stage while the man had a guitar on but I digress.
Actually this entire post is a digression. I have nothing intelligent to say other than, “Isn’t Elvis Costello brilliant?” If you don’t already know that the answer is yes, get on that and I hope you’re happy now. Thank you.