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Monday, Nov 10, 2014
Sometimes you just want to reach out to someone who has created something that has given you such an everlasting gift. Frankie Rose has released two albums that created an entire universe for me, from nothing.

I’ll let you in on a little secret in music journalism that may, or may not surprise you: the part of this job that allows us to interview the musicians we listen to ... not all that great. I’m not being facetious or whatever. When I first started getting published writing about music six years ago, it was certainly one of the main things I was looking forward to. Took a while before I finally got to talk to someone I legitimately enjoyed as a musician (Alex Patterson of the Orb, who in fairness, was quite interesting and a delight to converse with).


Having said that, the vast majority of my interviews provided nothing of interest. It was sort of a letdown at first—“How come all these people who make vastly interesting and compelling music are such duds to talk to?” Then I figured it out. They might be duds, but they might not be—an interview is rarely a good way to figure this out, because most musicians don’t care about creating an engaging interview. They instead are using the interviewer to plug whatever upcoming or recent release they have to publicly stand behind.


Tagged as: frankie rose
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Friday, Nov 7, 2014
Another suburban family morning here at Counterbalance. We have to shout above the din of our Rice Krispies — and the 272nd most acclaimed album of all time. Many miles away, something crawls to the surface of a dark Scottish lake.

Mendelsohn: The one thing I miss about working through the Great List in numerical order was the weekly marching orders. Don’t like the album? Too bad. Don’t know anything about? Better learn. I kind of miss the adventure of exploring music I wasn’t familiar with. So, while perusing the Great List, trying to make sense of albums that came out in the early 1980s, I noticed the Police’s Synchronicity sitting at no. 272 overall and holding down the no. 3 spot for the year 1983 (R.E.M.’s Mumur is no. 1, Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones is no. 2 and the Violent Femmes self-titled debut is no. 4, which — spoiler alert, we are going to be talking about in a couple of weeks). I don’t know anything about the Police, at least anything I wasn’t taught by their singles, and my first experience with Sting was seeing him play the role of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in the critical wasteland that is the 1984 science fiction bomb, Dune.


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Thursday, Nov 6, 2014
After a relatively lackluster September, the K-pop industry was back in full swing this October. From veteran comebacks to solo debuts, there's a bunch of great music to get into here.

Seo Taiji and IU – “Sogyeokdong”


Five years since his last album, Seo Taiji—affectionately referred to as the “President of Culture” among K-pop fans—is finally back with his latest release, Quiet Night. For his lead single, the veteran artist released two versions of the same song, one sung by IU, and one by himself. The two different music videos show opposite perspectives of the same plot, a heartbreaking love story set against a violent backdrop. Sogyeokdong, the neighborhood in Seoul where Seo Taiji grew up, was focus of activity for the Defense Security Command in the early 1980s. The DSC at the time was a sort of secret police/counterintelligence branch of the military under dictator Chun Doo-hwan. With this tense political time as its setting, “Sogyeokdong” shows the story of two young kids meeting, falling in love, and being torn apart by military action.


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Wednesday, Nov 5, 2014
Ten years after Kanye West's first album, The College Dropout, we count down the rapper's top lyrics.

Arrogant. Provocateur. Genius. These are some of the adjectives that have been used to describe the one and only Kanye West. Before the memes, before the infamy, there was the artist. Not only one of the most notable hip-hop artists of this generation, but one of the genre’s biggest luminaries, period. With each of his releases, West has continually brought something new to the table. Through every evolution, West’s razor-sharp lyrics have remained one rock-steady constant. Socially aware with a flair for the superficial (and “so much emphasis”) since his 2004 debut, The College Dropout, Kanye’s words and self-conscious mentality have been just as his important as his self-made, powerhouse beats.


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Monday, Nov 3, 2014
The final song on Green Day's 2004 masterpiece paints a haunting portrait of romantic regret and longing that just about every listener can relate to.

As I said last time in this series, American Idiot essentially ended with “Homecoming”, as Jesus of Suburbia’s journey came full circle and found its resolution.  He didn’t become the rebellious punk antihero/savior he set out to be, but he was able to find solace in himself and the world in which he lives, accepting that life is meant to be screwed up and scary, yet ultimately full of possibilities too. However, it’s precisely those unfulfilled prospects and vague uncertainties that shape who we are and perpetually haunt us, nagging at the backs of our minds for answers that will never come.


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