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Friday, Oct 31, 2014
We were dreaming when we wrote this, so sue us if it goes astray. The Purple One’s 1982 breakthrough is the 199th most acclaimed album of all time, and it’s the subject of this week’s Counterbalance. All the hippies sing together.

Klinger: I can’t remember where I parked my car, but I think I’ll always remember the first time I saw Prince on MTV. It was the “Little Red Corvette” video, and I was watching it on a black and white portable TV in my room. (I want to say I was drawn in by all the glimpses of scantily clad ladies, but now I’m thinking that was the “1999” video. Also I have no idea how my dad got a portable black and white TV hooked up to cable.) I would have been about 14, I guess, and I immediately realized that this guy was a rock star, and he was what was going to be next. I didn’t exactly get on board as a fan — in fact, I was probably a little alarmed by what I perceived as a non-white, not-conventionally-masculine threat to the rock hegemony — but when Prince pulled off that astonishing dance move about halfway through the video, I knew that things were about to change.


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Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014
Before you go out to your favorite haunted house or visit your favorite witchy woman, be sure to have the proper monster music handy.

In pagan times, Halloween or “Samhain“, meaning “summer’s end“ in Gaelic, marked the time of year when people believed the boundaries between the physical and supernatural worlds were at their thinnest. They built bonfires and wore masks to communicate with spirits and prepare for the coming winter. These days, while Halloween often means getting a tarty costume from Spirit Halloween and a pumpkin-flavored latte at your favorite coffee shop, it remains the most bewitching time of year. The air sharpens and cools and the leaves blush and drop to the ground. As the daylight gets a little shorter, and the shadows get a little longer, Halloween lurks just around the corner.


Before you go out to your favorite haunted house or visit your favorite witchy woman this year, be sure to have the proper monster music handy. The supernatural has inspired some exceptional and creative tunes, so it’s not difficult to find the perfect song to spice up a dark autumn evening. The following list includes 12 solid staples, comprised of classics as well as a few lesser-known tracks, to add to your playlist this Halloween. Well-known or not, they all capture the essence of Halloween, from the nostalgia of childhood trick-or-treating to the superstitions we still harbor as adults. While this list is only 12 songs long, there are numerous spooky numbers that could have been added to it, so feel free to add your Halloween favorites in the comments section below.


Tagged as: halloween, list this
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Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014
Jack Bruce didn’t need music videos, laser shows, dry ice, PR Kits, and crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics. He was too busy being one of the very best musicians in the business.

The recently-departed Jack Bruce could have had no complaints. He made history, he made records that made people happy, and he made some money along the way. Still, as one-third of the first ever “super group”, Cream, he was never a true superstar—not that he had designs on being one. Ultimately, he was bass player’s bass player, a singer’s singer, a songwriter’s songwriter and, above all, a music aficionado’s musician. Jack Bruce was, to invoke an inevitable cliché, the consummate professional: curious, seldom satisfied, always striving, ever-developing. Decades after he secured his legend, he kept on going, because that’s what the real legends do.


Tagged as: cream, jack bruce
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Monday, Oct 27, 2014
By the end of “Homecoming”, American Idiot has pretty much ended. The plight of the album's narrator is over, having reached closure by returning to where he started with a fresh, optimistic outlook on life.

The narrative of American Idiot began in a grandiose fashion, with the multilayered “Jesus of Suburbia” working as a suite of mini-songs that introduced listeners to the themes, sentiments, and, of course, central character of this stunning punk rock opera. It makes perfect sense, then, for Green Day to conclude this story (well, more or less) with another lengthy epic, and that’s precisely what the record’s twelfth track, “Homecoming”, is. Having faced and conquered an existential crisis whilst traversing the City of the Damned, as well as suffered the rejection of both his disciples and his first love (Whatshername), Jesus is ready to return home, face reality, and start anew.


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Friday, Oct 24, 2014
And if you leave here, you leave me broken, shattered, I lie. I'm just a crosshair. I'm just a shot, then we can listen to the 192nd most acclaimed album of all time. Franz Ferdinand’s 2004 debut is this week’s Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: If there was ever a band that seemingly had it all together and then never really capitalized on their new found fame, I think it might be Franz Ferdinand. You know, that band that released “Take Me Out”, last decade. Everybody loved it. They got a bunch of awards. And then the follow-ups sort of fizzled. Either as a consequence of the times or diminishing returns, I’m not sure which, however I would wager it would be both as the general listening public moved away from the art rock and jangly guitars and the members of Franz Ferdinand struggled to recapture lightning in a bottle.


Tagged as: franz ferdinand
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