Categories for Miscellaneous

An NBA Finals Prediction and Kanye/Lebron

June 17, 2013 Adam Thomas

If we could all just calm down for one second, I must rain on this parade: The Heat are still going to beat the Spurs in 7.

The narrative: Lebron, pushed to the brink of elimination, forges his team through the fires of Mt. Doom and attains his second ring. Is he as good as Michael? Is he the Kanye West (or should I say, the Steve Jobs) of the NBA? Can the Heat be beat in a 7 game series?

Two things are clear to me as I watch this series unfold: 1.) The Spurs go on ridiculous hot and cold streaks. 2.) When Lebron, Wade and Bosh are on, they can’t be stopped.

Playing these last two games at home, I fully expect Lebron and Co. to come out and dominate. They will win game 6 by 7, and win game 7 by 6. Confused? Me too. Mark it 8 dude.

Also, I hate Lebron. I cannot stand him. I don’t care if everyone tells me I should appreciate the guy for how amazing he is at basketball, he seems like a punk. So does Wade, and Bosh is just ridiculously laughable.

Perhaps Lebron is like Kanye. Great at what he does, but utterly un-likeable and therefore, very hard for me to appreciate or take seriously.

(Quick tangent: In one of his new songs, “Black Skinhead,” Kanye says that he “keep it 300, like the Romans.” Do you think he even watched the movie? Gah. That’s annoying. If you’re going to reference something, at least get the reference right.)

Anyway, I’m rambling, but take it to the bank: The Heat are winning this series in 7.

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Daft Punk

Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories Reviewed: Through iTunes Clips

May 31, 2013 Adam Thomas

When I go to buy a song or a CD, I usually don’t listen to the whole thing. Instead, I just head over to iTunes and check out their 1:30 music clips. Sometimes, this works out OK, other times, it certainly does not–as the 1:30 clip I listened to was fantastic, but the other 3 minutes of the song were garbage (And yes, I am aware that there are better ways to listen to songs on the internet, but I can get kind of stuck in my ways, ya know?)

Since I just read the Daft Punk article in the new issue of Rolling Stone and since Big B told me that I had to check it out, what better time than now to do a little iTunes track by track album review, eh?

Just to give you the judging criteria–if you couldn’t figure it out–thumbs up is good, thumbs middle is meh, and thumbs down is bad.

1.) Give Life Back to Music (Thumbs Up)

We’re off to a good start, with a nice and easy breezy track, enhanced by thick syrupy synth rises and a catchy hook. Good stuff.

2.) The Game of Love (Thumbs Middle)

This is the kind of song that gets forgotten on albums and then when you go back and listen to them you think, ‘Why did they put that on there again?’

3.) Giorgio by Moroder (Thumbs Middle)

I hate when dance groups (or any groups really) put music behind someone talking. It just seems lazy to me. I didn’t but this album to hear an interview darn it! Now, this song is 9 minutes long so chances are this fool doesn’t talk through the whole thing, but if he does: Thumbs DOWN.

4.)  Within (Thumbs Middle)

Man, I dunno about this. This almost got the old thumbs down. ‘There are so many things that I don’t understand. There’s a world within me that I cannot explain. Many rooms to explore but the doors look the same. I am lost, I can’t even remember my name.’ Besides the bolded line, those lyrics are bad.

5.) Instant Crush feat. Julian Casablancas (Thumbs Up)

Finally. Man, this album was starting to get depressing. Look, when the guy from the Strokes needs to come in to liven things up, you know its getting morose. And I’m not even sure this song is happy but at least it’s upbeat!

6.) Lose Yourself to Dance feat. Pharrell Williams (Thumbs Up)

I’m not a huge Pharrell Williams fan, but I’ve gotta give him credit on this song. That’s two upbeat songs in a row. We’re getting into the album now!

7.) Touch feat. Paul Williams (Thumbs Down)

Again, this song is 8 minutes long so I can’t really judge the whole song, but this 1:30 clip is pretty turrible. It sounds like a damn Styx reject song (not that that is necessarily a bad thing but…wait a minute, yes. Yes that is a bad thing).

8.) Get Lucky feat. Pharrell Williams (Thumbs Up)

Pharrell, winning me over. This song is even better than the last one that he guested on!

9.) Beyond (Thumbs Up)

Close your eyes….and RISE! Where are we going? To the land of love, beyond love. That’s where! How could anyone hate on that?

10.) Motherboard (Thumbs Middle)

Cool strings and flutes made me feel like I was watching that guy’s solo performance in the Big Lebowski.

11.) Fragments of Time feat. Todd Edwards (Thumbs Up)

Keep on bringing back those fragments of time, Todd Edwards!

12.) Doin’ It Right feat. Panda Bear (Thumbs WAY Up)

Best song on the album thus far–and since there is only one song left, I’ll just declare it the best song of the album.

13.) Contact (Thumbs Up)

Whooo boy, did I almost speak too soon. Contact gives Doin’ It Right a run for its money, but I still think I prefer the former to the latter. But this is what electronic pop music should be. Fun, upbeat, synthed out to the MAX! This is how every album should end.

OK, so, let’s look at the totals, shall we?

Thumbs Up: 8

Thumbs Middle: 4

Thumbs Down: 1

So yeah, it looks like the album is all that it’s cracked up to be. A little slow at the beginning, but once it gets cranking, watch out cause it starts moving! I would definitely recommend checking it out.

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Nevermind vs. Ten

April 22, 2013 Adam Thomas

nevermind-and-tenSince I am going through a 90’s grunge phase musically, I wanted to compare two of the most famous 90’s albums that helped shape alternative rock, so what better place to start than Pearl Jam’s Ten and Nirvana’s Nevermind?

I had never heard Ten in its entirety but I had listened to Nevermind numerous times. I was expecting to listen to two heavy weights exchanging their best punches, neither backing down, and having a hard time declaring a winner. I was expecting wrong.

One song into each album, the fight is already decided. Nirvana comes out of the gate as hard as they possibly can with ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ absolutely obliterating Pearl Jam’s meandering—and to be honest, not very good—‘Once.’

‘Once’ sets the tone for Ten, and it’s not a very good tone to set. Granted, the hits—Even Flow, Alive, Black and Jeremy—are genuinely good songs, but outside of that, everything else is pretty bland. The problem with Ten is that most of the songs follow the ‘Once’ pattern of song writing, when they should be following the ‘Even Flow’ formula.

Conversely, Nevermind starts sprinting out of the gate with ‘Teen Spirit’ and never lets up. By the time ‘Polly’ comes around as a welcome pit stop 6 songs in, the listener has enough time to catch their breath and then ‘Territorial Pissings’ sets them off sprinting again. It is a really, incredibly brilliant album, one that I had lost appreciation for over the years but have now regained. And can we get some love for Dave Grohl’s drumming for a second? Holy crap, that guy is ridiculous.

Nevermind just sounds like it has more to say and a more unique way of saying it than Ten, and it’s obvious that while one album—Ten—was a product of the 90’s grunge movement, the other—Nevermind—transcends it. Ten sounds dated and corny at times, Nevermind still sounds fresh and sincere.

To be fair, Nevermind was Nirvana’s second album and Ten was Pearl Jam’s first effort so they were still learning how to hone their sound. But even listening to Pearl Jam’s sophomore record, Vs., it’s clear that they were still light years behind Nirvana.

With all that said,Pearl Jam was an obviously influential band with a unique sound. I just don’t think that musically and lyrically, they are anywhere close to Nirvana. They do write some good singles, but the problem is that if you put all of Pearl Jam’s hits on one album and then put that album up against Nevermind by itself, Nevermind would win.

There have been lots of debates over which band is better, Pearl Jam or Nirvana? In my mind, it’s not even close. Nirvana. Every time.


80’s Movie of the Week: At Close Range

April 19, 2013 Adam Thomas

“Sean Penn. Christopher Walken. Like father. Like son. Like hell.” –1980’s narrator guy from the trailer.

As I write this article, I am listening to Madonna’s ‘Live to Tell’ which is both embarrassing and totally appropriate at the same time. The reason? The song is played, at least instrumentally, throughout the brilliant 1980’s movie At Close Range (it also plays while the credits roll).

MV5BMTM0ODQ2MTQ5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDczMTcyNA@@._V1._SX640_SY959_For those unfamiliar with At Close Range, here’s all you need to know: it’s a 1980’s crime drama starring Christopher Walken and Sean Penn–playing estranged father and son–based on the true story of the Johnston gang which terrorized Pennsylvania farmers (as well as establishments like Longwood Gardens and Dutchwonderland) throughout the 1970’s.

Now, from what I’ve read about the Johnston gang, the movie seems to be shockingly accurate, which is pretty crazy.

There are many reasons that I love this movie, but the most obvious is because of Walken’s performance. These days, Walken is usually found helping out Joe Dirt or plotting against the Country Bears, which is awesome, but this is Walken at his best. He just looks like a damn snake in the grass, willing to kill anyone who threatens to put him behind bars. He also rocks one of the greatest cinematic mustaches of all time. Seriously, there are few things as menacing and redneck in this world than a red mustache (trust me), and his soliloquy about coyotes is terrific.

Penn is awesome too, as can be expected, and the final scene between the two is one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever watched (besides the cock fighting scene that occurs earlier in the movie).

One of the unsung heroes in the movies though–at least in my humble opinion–is all of the country, redneck Pennsylvania flossing that occurs in the movie. For instance, Penn is first in awe of Walken when he spends the night at his house and then wakes up the next morning to find Walken’s lady friend lounging in the pool. Not just any pool, mind you, but an ABOVE GROUND pool, aka the status symbol to end all status symbols.

So watch the trailer embedded below (take special note of the face Walken makes at the 2:39 mark) and then rent the movie. You won’t regret it.


The Masters…

April 15, 2013 Adam Thomas

1.) Was awesome. I only watched it on the final day, but man, what a day to watch!  The final between El Pato (aka Angel Cabrera) and Adam Scott was incredible, with Cabrera basically coming within inches of winning it twice (well, once with his chip on the first playoff hole and then barely missing birdie on the second which would’ve put the pressure on Scott).

adam scottI thought it was awesome that a guy named Adam Scott won and–let me be the millionth person to make this joke–it wasn’t the dude from Parks and Rec.

2.) I read a Rolling Stone interview with Louis CK and it’s a really good read, but in it, CK claims that he isn’t a millionaire which I find hard to believe. It seems like that guy should’ve made a million bucks by now, and if not, can somebody please get this man a better financial advisor?

3.) It was good to see Roy Halladay look like his old self yesterday against the Marlins but man oh man is it going to be tough for the Phils to catch both the Nationals and the Braves–who look like the best team in baseball.  But remember: it’s only April and word over here is that the Upton brothers have short attention spans. (That made a lot more sense before I looked up BJ Upton’s numbers and saw that he is hitting .163 with 1 HR and 2 RBI’s…so they are winning even without him playing well offensively.  YIKES!)

4.) Doug Collins is out as Sixers coach which is the greatest news about the team all season.  Seriously: the man is a bad coach. He never lasts more than 3 seasons with a team and is very self-serving in the press, throws his players under the bus and deflects a lot of blame.  He should go back to broadcasting and stay there. It’s what he’s good at.

5.) Draft season is right around the corner (aka Randy’s favorite time of the year) so let me make a few predictions: a.) The Chiefs will trade out of number one OR draft Luke Joeckel (BOLD!).

b.) The Raiders will trade out of their spot or draft Ezekial Ansah (which I am not on board with).

c.) The Eagles will draft Dion Jordan if he’s available.

d.) The Jaguars will take Geno Smith.

Yeah, they aren’t the boldest picks but what are you gonna do? It’s Monday and I’m tired.

6.) Before I go, I want to give a big shout out to Dolph Ziggler for winning the WWE World Championship.  It’s about darn time. That man is the best wrestler on their roster and they needed to reward him. Now, after he gets done with the obligatory Alberto Del Rio feud, if he can somehow feud with Damien Sandow (the best mic worker currently in the WWE), we’ll be getting somewhere. And yes, I know they are both heels, but whatever. WWE can make it work.