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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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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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