Check out my new song featuring rap ally Schaffer the Darklord. Go gets it!
Hey all – next month I will release a single called “Men Bionic”, featuring Schaffer The Darklord. I’ll keep yah posted.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone. Recently I’ve been thinking about what some of my favorite songs are. I wondered if I could come up with a top ten list, but immediately shot that idea down. There are too many wonderful songs to list just ten. Plus, that’s a lot of work on the brain. So instead, I have decided to compile a list of my 50 favorite songs of all time. Note that I say “favorite” not “the best”. I have absolutely no authority to claim what the “best songs of all time are,” and as of recently I have been trying to work on being less of a music snob. However, don’t let that keep you from telling me that I am wrong about some of these. I embrace dialogue and controversy.
So here they are, my 50 favorite songs of all time. Let the conversation start.
50. 24 Hour Party People – Happy Mondays
49. Age of Consent – New Order
48. Alive – Pearl Jam
47. Baba O’Reilly – The Who
46. Battery – Metallica
45. Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve
44. Blind – Korn
43. Blue Monday – New Order
42. Building Steam with a Grain of Salt – DJ Shadow
41. Connected – Stereo MCs
40. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
39. Criminal Minded – Boogie Down Productions
38. Don’t Bring Me Down – Electric Light Orchestra
37. Epic – Faith No More
36. Face to Face – Daft Punk
35. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
34. Flava In Ya Ear (Remix) – Craig Mack (Featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes)
33. Go – Moby
32. God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters – Moby
31. Halcyon and On and On – Orbital
30. Helter Skelter – The Beatles
29. How Many Times – Insane Clown Posse
28. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails
27. I’m Waiting For My Man – Lou Reed
26. Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
25. Keep Hope Alive – The Crystal Method
24. Kids With Guns – Gorillaz
23. Losing My Religion – REM
22. Love Will Tare Us Apart – Joy Division
21. Midnight City – M83
20. My Country – Midnight Oil
19. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) – The Arcade Fire
18. Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O’Connor
17. Novocaine – Beck
16. PDA – Interpol
15. Philadelphia – Neil Young
14. Possession – Sarah McLachlin
13. Roulette Dares – The Mars Volta
12. Sleep Deprivation – Simian Mobile Disco
11. So Whatcha Want? – Beastie Boys
10. Straight out of Compton – N.W.A.
9. Teardrop – Massive Attack
8. The Fly – U2
7. Trans Europe Express – Kraftwerk
6. Trigger Hippie – Morcheeba
5. Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
4. Wake Up – Rage Against The Machine
3. Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
2. Windowlicker – Aphex Twin
1. Yeah (Crass Version) – LCD Soundsystem
That’s right kids! I have finally made my first album, “The Day The World Woke Up” (released in 2005) available for digital download. Simply go HERE and download all 15 songs for absolutely free. Enjoy.
It’s been a week since “The Dark Knight Rises” came out. I saw it opening night with some friends in a theater packed with enthusiastic film goers. As a filmmaker myself, I have found it increasingly difficult to enjoy films as a non-filmmaker. “How did they do that?” “Is that a composite?” “Was that CGI?” These are some of the questions I ask myself when watching a film, whether I find the film to be terrible or excellent. It is a blessed gift to watch a film without wondering how they did something, or what filmmaker from 1928 inspired a certain scene or piece of dialogue. To buy the ticket, enjoy the story, be thrilled by the excitement of the action, and feel like you truly got your money’s worth that Friday night is what going to the movies is all about. That is the energy that I felt circulating in the theater when I went and saw “The Dark Knight Rises” last Friday, and it put a genuine smile on my face.
Many people enjoy analyzing The Dark Knight Trilogy, including myself on occasion. Director Christopher Nolan has given us something we never thought we would see in the movies. Suddenly we can relate to the man behind the superhero mask and the city he was brought up in. Suddenly we can relate to the human drama of the characters that surround him. But we also get to see things get blown up, and menacing bad guys lose, and awesome shoot outs, and campy dialogue raps that make us giggle. Basically, we get the whole package. Thank you Mr. Nolan. So then why is it so bad that Batman wins at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises”? Haven’t we been rooting for him the whole time anyway? Why do we want so badly for him to fall? These are only some of the questions I am desperately asking critics of this film. Are people so attached to Nolan’s alternative vision that they really think Bruce Wayne should die? Is that why critics of this film are paying 17 dollars to see the film in IMAX, so that they can see Batman fail, and Alfred be miserable in his old age? I don’t understand what the point of that is. I will say this, when Alfred returns to the Italian cafe at the end of the film and sees Bruce, there were a whole lot of cheers in that audience. I for one felt a release, a resolution, having lived vicariously through Alfred. How Bruce got there, and whether he waited days and days for Alfred to show up is irrelevant. As the audience we don’t have to live through those moments. Moments that quite frankly would be painful to sit through. We just get the good parts.
I apologize if this blog entry rambles a bit, I have a lot to say about this film and it is quite possible that I may not have the patience to structure those thoughts very well. Which is ironic since one of the main reasons I loved “The Dark Knight Rises” was for it’s wonderful structure.
“The Dark Knight Rises” follows, with strict discipline, the classic three act structure that Hollywood set as a standard so long ago. This structure works. It helps the audience comfortably navigate the film, and helps with their catharsis at the end. “The Dark Knight” lacked this structure. (FYI: Do not let my criticisms of “The Dark Knight” lead you to believe that I did not like the film. I did. It just wasn’t my favorite of the three). Not only did “The Dark Knight”, for the most part, play out like a series of scenes, rather than a developing story, it also had more then one ending (see “Return of the King”). The entire movie feels like it’s going to lead up to an incredible climax, but instead we get Gorden, Dent, and Batman standing around taking turns talking about who’s dick is bigger. In a nutshell, the ending (the official one) felt forced and disjointed and almost too cerebral for my taste. Also, I didn’t buy Two Face. Not only visually, but emotionally. There wasn’t enough of a transformation of his character between the beginning of the film and the Joker visiting him in the hospital to warrant his thirst for anarchy. The reason “The Dark Knight” was so good was because of its visualization of Gotham, Heath Ledger’s performance, and Nolan’s playing with the theme of chaos. We excuse all of its problems, or pretend we don’t see them, because the qualities outweigh the imperfections. But wait, then why aren’t people doing that with “The Dark Knight Rises”?
Okay, I’m done criticizing “The Dark Knight”, you can all relax.
That being said, there wasn’t a single scene in “The Dark Knight Rises” that was as poorly constructed as that last scene of the “The Dark Knight”. Where “The Dark Knight Rises” ‘fails’, is in its (sparing) use of predictable forumlas. THAT being said, no matter how smart the director, I have come to expect these formulas in ANY superhero franchise, let alone a Hollywood blockbuster. (Name one superhero film you adore without formula and I will exile myself to Bane’s prison). All three films suffer from this. It’s the classic action film curse that I have come to accept. Why do I accept it? Because I would rather take the ride than negatively criticize things I cannot change – especially minor things. A bad film suffers from an imbalance of thrills versus predictability: when the latter outnumbers the former (see “Batman and Robin”). Not one of these three films has suffered from that imbalance.
And then there’s Bane. I agree that the technical adjustments in his dialogue made his voice louder then everything else in the entire movie, and that it was occasionally distracting. But at least I got to hear what he was saying, and enjoy Hardy’s performance. What’s the use of a character if you have no idea what hell he is saying? I’ve been on board with that switch ever since it’s controversy started way back when. To leave it the way it was would have been pretentious on the part of Nolan. I’m glad he woke up and realized he was making a popcorn film.
Popcorn film. Let’s use that term as a segway into the next section of this post (that is perhaps already too long). In a way Nolan has fooled the intelligent film-goer into thinking he’s created a piece of what they might define as high art. Really all he has done has made a really good action trilogy. Perhaps even the best action trilogy. How did he do that? By caring. How novel! Under the beautiful cinematography, above par dialogue, and detailed realism is a Batman movie. We’re just lucky that we got a really good Batman movie. When Nolan signed on to direct “Batman Begins” he was not out to revolutionize the way we think about government, financial infrastructure, the judicial system, or any other loaded theme. He was out to make the greatest superhero film of all time by using unorthodox, but logical methods. He succeeded. Consider yourself lucky. This is Hollywood at its best. Hollywood as intellectual as it can possibly get.
I suppose I could go on and on, but for your sake I will end this. I had a great time watching “The Dark Knight Rises”. I loved the pacing, the action, the attention to detail. I loved that Crane came back as the judge of Bane’s trials against humanity. I loved the “Wall Street” baddies being forced to walk on ice until they faced inevitable death. I loved how the Gotham Police Department channelled the spirit of Batman in his absence. I loved when Bane broke Batman and exiled him to a pit, and I loved when Batman found the courage to rise from that pit and reclaim his city. I loved that Alfred’s dream of Bruce finally escaping the pain that is Gotham, and the burden that is Batman came true for him and that he doesn’t have to die alone feeling like he let down everyone he ever loved. Oh and also, even though his name wasn’t Dick Grayson, I still loved that Blake was Robin.
This is an excellent film. It provided all of the necessary thrills while also maintaining a high level of maturity. I didn’t feel like a film editor as I was watching it, I felt like a kid again. A kid who wanted to grow up and make movies. Nolan has accomplished the simple mission of entertaining us, or at least the hundreds of people who were in the showing I saw. I have since heard many argue that the film treats the audience like they’re idiots. The people I shared this movie with didn’t seem like idiots at all, they seemed like satisfied customers.