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20 greatest albums everyone should at least listen to or own at one time (myself included) March 19, 2010

Filed under: entertainment,Michael Jackson,music,rock 101: who's who and what's what from mostly the past,Uncategorized — Christina Lynn Hildebrand @ 3:18 AM
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These are in no order whatsoever, but are just numbered. Sorry.

  1. Out of the Blue (1987) – Debbie Gibson. To many fans of the 1980’s, this is a pop gem. Also it must be noted that Gibson was the youngest person to ever help produce a record (the single Foolish Beat) at the tender age of 16.
  2. Victory (1984) – The Jacksons.
  3. Lead Me On (1988) – Amy Grant. This is perhaps the best Contemporary Christian album ever made. It has a timeless mix in both sound and lyric.
  4. Thriller (1984) – Michael Jackson. Probably one of the best R&B/pop/rock albums ever. With such gems as Human Nature, Thriller, Beat It and Wanna Be Starting Somethin’ one cannot go wrong with this classic.
  5. Kilroy Was Here (1983) – Styx. One of the great rock operas of all time. Rarely does a good album tell a moral story, and Styx knocks it out of the ballpark with the ever-popular Mr. Roboto.
  6. Dreamboat Annie (1976) – Heart. One of the most underrated albums and groups of all time. Ann Wilson is one of the greatest rock vocalist of all time. Better yet, she still sounds good even now, despite her age. Nancy is also a talented guitarist. Nancy shows off her chops on the songs Magic Man, Crazy on You, and White Lightning and Wine.
  7. God (1996) Rebecca St. James – Good things come out of Australia and Rebecca St. James is no exception. This album is better than her previous teen-pop album and has a style reminiscent of the grunge scene albeit with a twist: its Christian music. One noteworthy cover St. James does is a reworking of You’re The Voice, a song previously made popular by Heart. Other great songs to check out are God, Abba (Father), and Go and Sin No More.
  8. Boy (1980) – U2. Arguably this band is the greatest Christian rock band. However, this them before they became Christians I believe but either way, they sound great. This is one that I want to add to my collection.
  9. October (1981) – U2. Once again, U2 proves that they are one of the greatest rock bands, or even Christian rock bands, ever to chart. Only Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. can pull off such songs as Gloria, Rejoice and the hauntingly beautiful title track.
  10. Tragic Kingdom (1996) – No Doubt. This is a great introduction to ska-punk. However, the pièce de résistance is none other than Gwen Stefani’s voice. Best songs to look out for are Spiderwebs, Hey You, Sixteen, Don’t Speak, Excuse Me Mister, and Tragic Kingdom.
  11. Rhythm Nation 1812 (1989) – Janet Jackson. Smoothly produced R&B with a kick and a socially aware message.
  12. Out of the Grey (1992) – Out of the Grey. The Contemporary Christian duo has an incomparable alternative sound which is only highlighted by Christine Dente’s Debbie Harry-style voice and the excellent guitar playing of husband Scott Dente. This album is nothing short of a classic with songs like Remember This, The Dance, The Only Moment, and the duo’s swan song Wishes. Also, the songwriting on this album is not cheesy, unlike some Christian music of the time.
  13. Top Gun Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1986) – Various Artists. This is probably one of the greatest action movie soundtracks of all time. It is one action-packed soundtrack filled with such songs as Danger Zone and Playing With the Boys by Kenny Loggins – who shows he has some rock chops. Other great tracks include Mighty Wings by Cheap Trick, Lead Me On by Teena Marie, Hot Summer Nights by Miami Sound Machine and finally, the eponymous Top Gun Anthem.
  14. Raising Sand (2008) – Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. Bluegrass meets hard rock. However, don’t be fooled because this album is more roots-rock with songs such as Gone Gone Gone (Done Me Wrong) and Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson.
  15. Learning to Crawl (1983-1984) – The Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde is one of the greatest female frontwomen in rock music. Here she proves that she is also an accomplished guitar player and harmonicist with a song like Middle of the Road. However, this album only gets better with such songs like Back On the Chain Gang – which spawned a new meaning for the band after James Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.  Every song on the album is one of greatness; including Time the Avenger, My City Was Gone, and Thumbelina.
  16. Here For the Party (2004) – Gretchen Wilson. In 2004, there was this little-known group in Nashville, TN called the Muzik Mafia. However, among them were such members as John Rich, Big Kenny, and Gretchen Wilson. Wilson burst onto the country music scene in 2004 with Redneck Woman, which went straight up to the top of the country charts. The whole album essentially revitalized the southern rock genre with songs like the title track, Homewrecker, and Redneck Woman.
  17. Surfer Girl (1963) – The Beach Boys. Probably one of the greatest surf-rock bands that served to usher in the greatness of the music of California. With songs like In My Room, Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coup, you cannot go wrong.
  18. If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears (1966) –  The Mamas and the Papas. The lush harmonies of “Mama” Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Denny Doherty, and Michelle Phillips are introduced to the world with such songs as Monday Monday and California Dreamin’.
  19. Synchronicity (1983) – The Police. This album is probably the quintessential Police album with songs like Spirits in the Material World, King of Pain, Synchronicity II, and the ever-popular Every Breath You Take.
  20. Are You Experienced (1967) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This album is the equivalent of standing on your head musically. It is great with such songs as the title track and All Along the Watchtower.
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Some thoughts and memories of Michael Jackson February 20, 2010

Nearly eight months ago the world lost one of its greatest entertainers, Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was the bestselling artist of all time. He died in June 2009.

For me, personally, many things come to mind when I think of Michael Jackson. First of all, a flood of memories come back. I believe the first time I ever  listened to him was when I was a freshman in highschool in 2001. I went to a private religious (lutheran) and the Invincible album came out, along with that television special that he did with his brothers, the Jackson 5 as well as Usher and Chris Tucker. I never watched it until his death when it re-aired on either BET or TVONE.

Also, that year we would have chapel and there was this chemistry teacher who would frequently give the chapel lesson. He would use the moniker of this fake movie called “Cash Money.” “Cash Money” would act like a mafioso – you didn’t pay him back, you would face consequences. Usually when cash money was about to give someone a beat-down, Beat It would be the ambient music.

That year, I got a Squire by Fender black jazz bass guitar for Christmas. One day I found Beat It while looking for bass tabs on the internet, so I printed it and tried it because it looked so easy. I also downloaded the song so I could play along. I think I got okay with the song, but not nearly as good as the bassist on that recording.

Later on, all those allegations about him being inappropriate with a child came out. Call it looking back in remorse or whatever, but it was wrong of me both as a devout Christian and US citizen to prejudge him and continually say that he was guilty when he was not. I looked at the evidence and the evidence does not render a verdict of “guilty.” It is wrong to prejudge ANYONE.

Then he died.

The weird thing is that day, and the days before he died, I remember those days rather clearly.

I was in summer school at the time, and I remember talking to one of my best friends, Briana, at her birthday party. We were at the symphony and were talking about the next big article that I wanted to do. She, being the good friend that she is, told me that I would get another mega-article.

Little did I know that a week later, that mega article would come in the form of the death of the King of Pop unfortunately.

That day is a day that I will never forget. Like I said, I was in summer school when the whole thing happened. That day I was having an interesting day because I was facing a deadline for another article. I got on the internet before class and heard the news about Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett passing away, but there was nothing about Michael Jackson. After that, I got on my facebook page (I used to have one, but no longer do) and saw my friend’s status that read “OMG Michael Jackson died” and then saw a conflicting status that said he was at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but that nothing serious had happened. I believed the latter.

By the time I had arrived at a vocal lesson, my voice teacher had the tv on and was apparently watching the news. As usual we traded niceties and she told me about Jackson’s death.  I was rather shocked and it put a damper on the lesson as a whole.

When I got home, it was ALL OVER the news – there were at least 2 Barbara Walters specials about his death and Farrah’s death. Out of curiousity, I did want to watch them but was unable to due to the fact that I had a spanish test the next day.

The next morning, my friend Jenny called me because she was helping me with the previous article that I was working on. I had it on the local R&B station and they were talking about and playing his music and they were playing either Thriller or Smooth Criminal. I lamented to Jenny about what I had heard about Michael Jackson, how it was a major loss to ALL the music world – not just pop/rock (Jenny likes lots of classical music as well as country and maybe some rock, but mostly her world is classical). I even told her a few memories in regards to the artist in which she responded with her trademark phrase “good times, good times!”

Suprisingly enough, it was not really addressed at school in class. But I knew I was going to write something about Jackson’s death, so I decided to try to write something on facebook, but failed. So instead I decided (and got permission) to write a tribute article concerning Michael Jackson.

So with the editor’s blessing, I conjured up a tribute/career highlights article and, literally, stayed glued to the television the whole weekend. All the news networks, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, as well as all the music channels Mtv, Mtv2, MtvTres, VH1, VH1 Classic, and Fuse had constant videos and/or news concerning his death. Also, someone on youtube posted Captain EO in its entirety. So I watched it.

Then Sunday came and I went to church.  You would think that people would be talking about it after church – mainly those that grew up listening to Jackson’s music. Some did but the conversation was initiated by me, especially when I talked to my friend J., who apparently listened to him as a child. J, being a few years older than I, recalled that she listened to him as a child and that his music brought back childhood memories.

The next few days were rather rushed. I had to publish the article on time – the one about Michael Jackson, and also had another article about UH Concert Chorale going to Wales. Both the Michael Jackson tribute article and the Concert Chorale Wales article were in the same issue of the Daily Cougar!

The memorial service was another entity in itself that week and I ended up covering a celebration of his life at UH. It was a great and memorable celebration.

 

Presenting…………..the Best of Amy Grant in all forms! January 30, 2010

Best single – Christian: Lead Me On (1988). The driving guitar and impeccable lyrics are what makes this her best known-Christian song.

Best single – nonchristian: Baby Baby (1992).

Best album – Christian:

Unguarded (1985). With high-energy songs such as Love of Another Kind, Fight, Wise Up, Find A Way, and her trademark leopard-print jacket what is not to love about this peppy classic?

Best nonchristian album: House of Love (1994). Probably one of the then-most hypepd calbums ever done by a christian during that time.

Best single from the 70’s: Father’s Eyes (1979). The lyrics are more like an anthem. That is what makes this song very special.

Best single from the 80’s: Find A Way (1985). This was her first real attempt at crossing over into mainstream music.

Best single from the 90’s: Good For Me (1992).

Best single from the 2000’s: Simple Things (2003). The song that reintroduced her to Christian audiences.

Best Christmas album: tie A Christmas Album (1983) and Home For Christmas(1992).

Best video:

 

Changes that should be made at the House of Mouse: Disney January 12, 2010

The other day, I purchased The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2010. For those of you that love the Walt Disney Company (like I do), I highly recommend this book because, aside from things like hotel accomodations, it gives a little bit of inside info in regards to the parks and what may become extinct soon.

Reading the book, I could not help but come up with some ideas for the Walt Disney Company.

Disneyworld:

This is one great place that Disney could make some changes.

Epcot:

  • Where the Wonders of Life pavillion used to be, make another ride. One idea that would work well would be a 4D spectacular ride called Space Paranoids – based on the 1982 Disney cult classic and video game Tron and the December 2010 release of its sequel, Tron Legacy. It would take elements of the Toy Story Midway Mania ride and expand on them. The preshow area would consist of narration and instruction by a man named Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and there you would recieve your 4D helmets which would come in adjustable sizes. The interior of the place would look alot like Flynn’s arcade in the original movie. These helmets would look like the ones in the new movie – complete with surround sound and a clear shield that would show you things such as targets. The preshow area and helmets would be designed by the original Tron designers Syd Mead, Peter Lloyd, and Jean Giraud (a.k.a Moebius). The ride would start off as a virtual track ride where each participant would ride in a light-cycle and would be guided by bit, who can only tell you in yes-or-no fashion whether a data bit is safe to merge with. The second game in the ride would be the light-cycle race, where (in virtual form) the object of the game is to cut off the other light-cycle. The last one standing would be the winner. In the final game, it would be a shooter style game where you shoot down enemy spacecraft. The helmets would look like what is seen in this trailer.

Epcot World Showcase

  • Another country needs to be added. My recommendation would be Australia so that you could do the outside exterior of the Sydney Opera House which would house The Rescuers Down Under ride.  There, you could add a Rescuers Down Under-style 4D show where Cody, Bernard, Miss Bianca, and Marahute rescue a red kangaroo from the clutches of fur-hunters. The Sydney Opera House structure at Epcot could also house other live acts such as Austrailian cover bands that would cover such artists such as Rebecca St. James, Men at Work, Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban, INXS, AC/DC, and Olivia Newton-John. As far as retail shops go, a Billabong surf shop would be a great aspect to the Australia pavillion. They would offer shipping of your surfboard or skateboard (should you choose to purchase one) to anywhere in the world. Swim and skatewear would also be sold. Next door there would be a shop where children could purchase toys such as boomerangs, rugby balls, stuffed kangaroos, as well as Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed up as surfers. For dining, 2 restaurants – one being a fine dining/bar and the other being a quick-service restaurant would be a great choice. These choices would be Uncle Tony’s Kebab’s, an actual fast food restaurant based in Australia that serves kebabs but in this case would also serve vegemite sandwiches, and Quay.
  • The Germany Pavillion would have a new live-music act entitled 99 Luftballoons that would play popular music from Germany. Included in their setlist would be the german version of 99 Red Ballons by Nena and both Der Kommisar and Rock Me Armadeus by Falco.
  • The England pavillion would lose the cover band “The British Invasion”- a Beatles tribute band in favor of a ride entitled Yellow Submarine – based on the upcoming Disney film of the same title, which has been in talks by Disney for a remake directed by Robert Zemeckis. To replace the cover band, there would be a Top of the Pops-style show that would feature 1 band that would cover lots of British artists and bands such as the Eurythmics, Coldplay, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Oasis, The Clash, Yes, the Who, Queen, Kate Bush, Duran Duran, the Pretenders, etc.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formely MGM studios)

  • The Great Movie Ride, while it is a good ride on its own, needs a little updating. It was suggested in the forementioned travel guide that they are thinking of getting rid of the soundstage set for Alien (1979) and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). In place of those soundstages, some suggested great assets to these sets would be the soundstages for Poltergeist (1982), Blade Runner (1982), and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).  Some suggested scenes that could be used would be the scenes from Poltergeist where Carol Ann Freeling is getting messages from the static in the tv and exclaims “They’re heeree!” , the scene where mom gets possessed , or when Carol Ann gets rescued . The most appropriate scene from Blade Runner would be the following scene . Any scene would do from The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Get rid of Sounds Dangerous starring Drew Carey. Instead, why not a show about how special effects are done?

The Magic Kingdom

  • Get rid of Stitch’s Great Escape. Replace it with a 3D space adventure-motion simulator ride.
 

Post 9-11 entertainment: what changed and why January 8, 2010

Part 1: television

One thing that is rarely looked at as far as how the world has changed after the horrible events of September 11 is how entertainment media changed. Whenever a major event or catastrophe happens, the entertainment portion of the media reacts.

Take for instance the current hit NBC show The Office. In the 2009 season, one of Michael Scott’s (played by Steve Carell) excuses for not being able to take a call is that he is at an “Obama fashion show.” This was no exception in 2001 in the days after 9/11 – albeit with a serious tone. Post-9/11 ratings for television show such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart soared. Some viewers proclaimed the show as their “bonafide news source.” Other comedy shows, such as The Late Show with David Letterman, opened with a more somber tone where a rather nervous and sad Letterman lamented to the audience about hwo the attacks “made any goddamn sense.”

Television was heavily afftected byy the attacks with a major blow producer David Angell, who was on board hijacked American Airlines Flight 11. Angell was a producer and co-creator of NBC’s Frasier. In Frasier’s final episode, Niles and Daphne have a baby and name their son David as a tribute to Angell.

Other television shows inevitably had to write in plots dealing with terrorism and grief. Shows such as The West Wing aired non-story arch episodes that dealt with the attacks. The West Wing episode Issac and Ishmael opened with a plea from the cast to donate to charities for those that were lost in the 9/11 attacks. Other shows, such as NBC’s Third Watch, directly dealt with the attacks by including them into their storylines.  The start of the fall season of television for new shows was delayed or it had to be altered due to the show’s content.

Other mainstay shows had to quickly pull episodes that dealt with some form of terrorism. Reruns of certain episodes of  shows such as Married……..With Children and The Simpsons were pulled from syndication. The Simpsons episode The City of New York vs. Homer, there are scenes that prominently display the World Trade Center. After the events of September 11, many thought that, despite the relative innocence of the scenes in question, that viewers might have been too sensitive to seeing images of the building intact (even in cartoon form), with the events of that day still fresh on the minds of the people. This episode has since been put back into syndication as time has passed. The episode in question in regards to Married…..With Children was the episode Get Outta Dodge where Al Bundy is approached by some Arabs who want to buy his old Dodge car and also ask Bundy for directions.

After September 11, 2oo1, FOX notified all of its syndicated carriers of the show about the episode in question and left the decision up to the discretion of the individual stations. A number of TV stations in the US did temporarily pull the episode and showed other reruns in its place. As time passed and sensitivity lessened, the episode began being aired again regularly.

Awards shows were also affected. The 2001 Emmy Awards were postponed twice due to the terrorist attacks, the then-impending US airstrikes against Afghanistan and the bakckout of Don Mischner Productions – who was producing the show. The telecast finally aired on November 4, but cost CBS millions of dollars. The 74th Annual Academy Awards held a tribute to New York-themed films hosted by Woody Allen.

Sources:

http://www.film.com/features/story/tv-after-911/16331988

http://www.guardian.co.uk/pictures/image/0,8543,-10404256105,00.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106004/trivia

http://www.twiztv.com/cgi-bin/transcript.cgi?episode=http://dmca.free.fr/scripts/thewestwing/season3/thewestwing-300.txt

http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Emmy_Awards/2001

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0313162/trivia

http://www.snpp.com/guides/lisa-5.html#5.2.7

http://www.bundyology.com/hpg/817.html

 

“I Want My Mtv!” January 3, 2010

On August 1, 1980, Mtv launched with the rallying cry “ladies and gentleman, rock and roll!” and made television history with the Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star, followed by You Better Run by Pat Benatar.

Mtv was, at the least, a revolutionary idea. It introduced us to great artists such as The Police, Duran Duran, Madonna, and Billy Idol. The network also broke color and success barriers with the airing of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Jackson would later go on to have massive success with the music video genre right up until his death in June 2009.

According to the BBC, what Mtv did was allow the record companies “to market and package bands to a much greater degree than before.” “MTV was born partly out a backlash by the music industry in an attempt to boost sales” says pop music lecturer Simon Warner.

This push also enabled record companies to push their bands through videos without relying on live performance, which musicians of the past heavily relied on. It also gave the 80’s a fresh start in music by ushering in acts such as the Eurythmics, U2, and Tears For Fears.

With that said, here is some of the best videos that were ever aired on Mtv.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran

Who’s That Girl – Madonna 

White Wedding – Billy Idol 

Don’t Stand So Close To Me – The Police 

You Better Run – Pat Benatar

Sources:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1465495.stm

 

Happy Festivus! December 23, 2009

Alas, another year has come to pass and once again we as a nation are brought to this day, 23 of December, better known to all Seinfeld fans (like myself) as “Festivus.”

If you are not familiar with the holiday of Festivus, the holiday has a rich history that starts with a man, Frank Costanza, who explains here in this video how festivus came to pass:

Instead of using a Christmas tree, it is required that you use an aluminum pole so that participants won’t be distracted by the tinsel.

“The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances.”

With that said, it is now time for 2009’s Airing of Grievances!

  • Ex boyfriend: Things were going just fine between us and then you had to break it off just days before one night in heaven event, my birthday, and valentines day. You suck!
  • Facebook and whoever posted U2 concert photos on that site: You became an addiction for me. I had to rid myself of you because frankly I do not care about who posted U2 concert photos. Furthermore, I do not care that the rich church-fakery-playboy named Matt Ferstler went to the U2 concert and was in that little circle. He probably paid off the band or his rich daddy did! Thanks for rubbing it in of what I don’t have and what some don’t deserve!
  • People who leave me out of things such as invites, parties, etc: I may understand if we are not close, but I frankly don’t need to know about your dumb party all over facebook. Thank you for not inviting me, you suck!
  • The band “Heart” a.k.a “Ann and Nancy Wilson:” In 2008, you put on a rockin’ show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion with Journey and Cheap Trick. The air was hot (as it is in Houston when it is summertime) but the concert was cheap for lawn seats – $29.oo for me and my friend Caitlyn to go. In 2009 you come back to Houston, TX to the Htown Arena Theater with just the band and no other acts like Journey or Cheap Trick and you jack up the ticket prices to a whopping $65!  So guess who could not go to your concert? Two great fans of yours named Christina (me) and Caitlyn! Thanks! Other than that your music still rocks!
  • Jon and Kate Gosselin (of the tv show “Jon and Kate Plus 8): Kate you must change your attitude! You are mean on that show and mega-harsh!
  • The “De-friend” option on facebook: Oh how I love to know that people I thought were my friend were, well, not!
  • Healthcare public option: There is a reason that people come from all over the world for healthcare. Yes, systems have flaws and our private healthcare is no different; but getting the government involved will not solve any issues, but will make things worse. Just look at how other countries are having troubles with public healthcare, therefore their citizens are coming to the USA.

Now all of you must try to wrestle. Don’t knock yourselves over.