Jorge Lopez

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Exploring the Country

One thing that’s always boggled my mind is how some people are vehemently opposed to the very idea of possibly hearing a note from a genre that does not fit their musical preferences.  I like to think I’m fairly open-minded about such things but one genre I’ve never really explored is country.  That’s why I was even more surprised when I ended up liking it.

I’ve dabbled with music that has country leanings, Shania Twain to be more specific.  In her case however, I feel her music is watered down country with heavy pop and rock elements that allow her to appeal an extremely broad audience, her 1997 mammoth seller album Come on Over being a perfect example.

Miranda Lambert was something else.

I’d been aware of Miranda Lambert since her fiery debut album Kerosene but I largely ignored her since it was country.  That was until her second album Crazy Ex-Girlfriend began appearing on a bunch of top albums of the year and earned her oodles of acclaim.  I was intrigued as I am with nearly every album that appears on the top of these lists, regardless of genre.

Last year Zune Marketplace offered Miranda’s “Dead Flowers” off of her most recent album Revolution as the free song of the week.  I always download these songs because they’re free and as I’ve discovered on more than one occasion they end up being songs I really like such as Neon Neon’s “Raquel”.

This year I finally got around to actually listening to “Gunpowder & Lead”, the first single from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and instantly loved it.  I decided it was worth purchasing both this album and Revolution.  After listening to both of them, I am now exploring similar artists like Miranda Lambert and adopting a new genre I once did not care for.

I understand that there are some genres that are not everyone’s cup of tea and are difficult to appreciate but people should at least take some time to listen to it as opposed to simply refusing altogether when it comes on the radio or is suggested by someone.  I decided to go exploring the country and lo and behold, a new world of music awaits.

Now, can someone please explain to me why Miranda does not sell as many records as this Taylor Swift girl?

Literal Music Videos

Back when I was a teenager MTV was really the only way to check out the latest music videos, and thankfully then it still played them on a regular basis. The kids from The Hills were still in diapers, YouTube was still a glint in someone’s eye and the World Wide Web was still catering to 28.8 modems.

The modern music video can now be found easily all over the world and shared even easier but is it still an art form or just a promotional tool? To illustrate, I’ve gathered some literal music videos here where some or all of the lyrics are yes, literally translated into the song itself. What’s the point in that?

Pink – Just Like a Pill (2002)

Sure enough, just as the song begins and P!nk tells us that she’s lying on the floor where someone left her….she’s lying on the floor.

Hilary DuffCome Clean


Yes Hilary, the song talks about cleansing and starting over. But when you’re telling us to “Let the rain fall down”, does it really need to be raining throughout the video for us to understand what you’re trying to say?

Taylor Swift – Teardrops on My Guitar


Poor Taylor Swift, that Drew is such a loser. At about 3:14 we don’t actually see the teardrop fall on the guitar but considering she was holding it inches from her face throughout the entire video, there’s a good chance it probably did.

Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire


Such a liar that Billy Joel! Just as he starts to try and excuse himself for not starting the fire, everything just gets worse and worse by the end.

Shakira – Objection (Tango)


At about 2:00 Shakira unleashes her inner bitch and explains that her natural breasts don’t compare to the other woman’s “cheap silicone”. How do we know? They actually pop and deflate!

What are some other examples? I’d love to make this an ongoing thing.


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Creative Album Titles

One thing that’s always irked me about new artists is when they decide to self title their debut album. There’s nothing inherently wrong with self-titling your first album since, after all, in most cases it’s supposed to present you to the world and establish your name but I’ve always interpreted it as a lack of effort and creativity.

Even if it’s something as simple as naming your album after one of the tunes, at least it beats just calling it Taylor Swift. In her defense, not everyone is blessed with such an awesome birth name that screams superstardom so she’s an exception to the rule. Heck, even Leona Lewis, who probably had zero involvement in the production of her highly successful debt album besides providing the gorgeous vocals at least had the common courtesy to call it “Spirit”.

With that, I present my unordered list of what I consider some of the coolest album titles I’ve ever heard because they’re clever, funny, or simply amusing in some kind of way.

  • Sugar Ray — Lemonade and Brownies
  • New Radicals — Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too
  • Collective Soul — Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid
  • Modest Mouse — We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  • Oasis — Definitely Maybe
  • Queens of the Stone Age — Songs for the Deaf
  • Elton John — Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player
  • Britney Spears — Oops! …I Did it Again
  • Xscape — Traces of My Lipstick
  • Radiohead — Pablo Honey
  • Soundgarden — Superunknown
  • Death Cub for Cutie — We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes
  • The B-52s — Wild Planet
  • Public Enemy — Fear of a Black Planet
  • Public Enemy – How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?
  • Salt and Pepa — A Salt With a Deadly Pepa
  • PJ Harvey — Rid of Me
  • Ultra Nate — Grime Silk & Thunder
  • Everything But the Girl — Amplified Heart
  • Peaches – Impeach My Bush
  • Aimee Mann – @#%&*! Smilers
  • Army of Lovers – Massive Luxury Overdose
  • Senses Fail – Life is Not a Waiting Room
  • Yoko Ono – Yes, I’m a Witch
  • Fastball – All the Pain Money Can Buy
  • M.I.A. – Piracy Funds Terrorism
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