Do you know Grizzly Bear? If not, you should. So let’s get that part out of the way immediately. This is the incredible song “Two Weeks” – this is also the incredible FAN-MADE video for “Two Week”. Enjoy.
I wanted to share it with The Woman this morning, so just before heading out to breakfast I fire it up. She likes it… and so does Kayleigh. My baby girl starts doing her little sway back and forth dance while watching the computer screen. Knowing full well that she gets real cranky when anyone takes her from Mama, I scoop her up in my arms and start dancing until the crying fades quickly into smiles at the birds and trees and stars that fly by. The music and the video both capture her attention.
And there’s this real connection. We’re all enjoying this song together and Kayleigh is happy and comfortable in my arms despite Mama being only a few feet away. She even starts saying “Do do do” to mimic the piano. I hugged her even more tightly and spun around the room. By the end of the song her face was beginning to burrow into my shoulder, so we fired it up again and Mama danced her off to sleep.
It’s time to create a new and improved “Daddy’s Little Girl” playlist and put “Two Weeks” at the top, because these are the moments I live for.
This post began as one with much lyrical prose attempting to explain how my methods of musical aquisitions have changed over the years. But that became tiring. And led to this not being posted for a week. Essentially I just want to rant about the recent changes over at eMusic. Changes that have me on the verge of cancelling my account after 5 years of membership.
For those unaware, eMusic is a subscription music service. But unlike streaming services from Napster or Rhapsody, you subscribe to get a certain number of downloads each month. Each download gets you one song. Why would you buy music in this method? Because it was freakin’ cheap. On my current plan I typically pay $2 per album. Of course the follow up question is how could they sell mp3s for so little? And that has 2 answers. First, it was primarily indie, classical, jazz, and international artists that don’t sell nearly as much as the major label acts. Second, well, apparently they couldn’t…
A week ago Sony became the first of the major labels to offer some of their catalog on eMusic. In celebration, eMusic raised their rates. Significantly. Now I have no problem admitting that their business model was probably threatened and that my 17 cent per song account could not last forever, but they managed to butcher the situation worse than just about anybody could imagine.
Even though the “announcement” of the changes was made at the end of May, not a single e-mail to subscribers was ever sent. The original letter from the CEO was actually posted to a blog that they refer to as “unofficial”.
That post only spoke about the introduction of the Sony catalog – it conveniently ignored that they had already begun to implement a massive overhaul of their pricing structure.
Sony… SONY?!?! They went with the most heinous of the 4 major labels? This company holds nothing but contempt for their customers and that’s who they go with? The company that saw nothing wrong with infecting their customers’ computers with malware?
Oh, and we won’t even get the latest from Sony. Just the stuff more than 2 years old that MOST OF US ALREADY OWN!
They don’t just end the grandfathering of old accounts (something they claimed they would never do) – they come up with a whole new set of them. My friends who were on smaller plans then me would actually be switched (assuming they didn’t cancel) to a better plan than I am allowed to chose.
A couple posts on the message board claimed that they were listening, but several important questions were ignored, which leads us to the biggest screwup:
Album-only tracks are introduced raising the costs of many albums to 12 based, not just on track length, but on popularity (that’s right – no cherry picking the good stuff from Bad or The Final Countdown). Despite several pleas from their subscribers to clarify the concept of album pricing before July, the eMusic PR person… well… lied. She said it meant a discount and never addressed the fears that some people had about 7 and 8 track albums suddenly costing 12 downloads. Which turned out to be correct.
Most of this is pretty meaningless outside of the eMusic message board, but that won’t stop me from ranting here. Fortunately they’re stuck giving me my old rate until February. But at that point I’ll see the cost of some 3 and 4 track jazz albums skyrocket from 50 cents to $5 (yes they needed a price increase – but not that much). Rather than downloading 8 or 9 albums a month, I’d only get 3 – for about the same price. I’m willing to accept a certain amount of change, but it is doubtful that they can rectify the botch job that was this Sony rollout enough to convince me to say. And that’s a little sad considering how much great music I’ve discovered over there these past few years thanks to the low cost of exploration.
Then again, after the loads of cheap and free music I’ve acquired over the last year in particular maybe it’s time for me to take a break from acquiring and focus on listening…
I’m still not exactly sure what that line means, but I know I’ve “sung” it many times over the past decade and a half. A friend of mine pointed out that the video for Thriller turned 25 just over a week ago. Holy crappola! 25? I remember anxiously awaiting the world premier – you know, back when MTV used to make music video premiers a big deal… actually, back when they just made music videos a big deal. He summed up the feeling with this line:
I remember the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, and realizing that Thriller is as ancient to kids in high school as Woodstock is to me is making me feel ancient.
Since the driving force behind the Internet (besides porn, of course) seems to be 30 somethings who failed to notice that they are no longer 20 somethings and gasp in amazement as they realize that their childhood actually took place many moons ago, now seems like the perfect time to point him and my other aging friends in the direction of kottke’s Timeline twins post.
His Back to the Future/To Kill a Mockingbird “comparison” hits me hardest. I remember seeing that Michael J. Fox opus in the theater with my best friend and then spending the rest of the summer pretending to hitch rides on cars while sitting on skateboards (my balance on those wheels was terrible) and dodging the angry principal. Did kids spend the summer of ’62 rolling down hills in tires and pretending to defend black men in rape trials? Suddenly my childhood seems rather mundane…
Anyway, to stem the bleeding of lameness that is a 32 year-old man complaining about “feeling old” I’d rather just switch to something awesome about Thriller instead. And that would be François Macré’s 64-track, a capella version of said song:
That’s a better use of 350 hours of time than just about anything I’ve ever done. In particular, the muted guitar and bass line are incredible. My only wish is that he had used the original vocals by Michael Jackson so that I could better hear just how close the musical part sounds.
I do intend to revive my poorly conceived music blog at some point in the near future. Doing so will coincide with whenever I finish my “Best of 2008” list – yes, I’m sure you’re all giddy with anticipation. However, until that time I wanted to point out that Amazon.com is still running their Black Friday promotions, which includes their top 50 mp3 albums for 5 bucks.
Work on the nursery is finally coming to a close. Hopefully this weekend the tremendous task of removing inch-thick velvet wallpaper, washing off 30-year old glue, sanding down the “textured” ceiling, skim-coating everything with joint compound, priming all surfaces, painting the walls and ceiling, and installing wainscotting will come to an end. And hopefully a good one.
Of course the fact that we’ve got a baby girl heading our way soon is bringing out The Woman’s inner princess. Not that she hasn’t always loved the color pink, but the nursery has given her an excuse to really use it as a primary color. Her last attempt was in our stairway. She didn’t even get halfway through by the time I got home and could only tell me, “It’s really pink.” I concurred and eventually covered it up with a somewhat burnt orange color that I originally wanted (win for me!).
Since she is currently limited to painting in 2 minute increments, the task of “pinking” the nursery fell to me the other night. It’s a rather emasculating task – even for a closet metrosexual such as myself. I have a love/hate relationship with the color. On one hand it can look absolutely fabulous when used right, but on the other hand it isn’t used right 95% of the time. And let’s face it, I’m not necessarily manly enough to pull off pink (and a skirt) like some guys. Thus I remain torn on it’s use.
I didn’t bring an extra battery with me for my camera. I forgot to check the charge on the battery that was already in my camera. That meant that I didn’t get to take many photos tonight. Where was I? At Maxwell’s watching motherf’ing Moby shred the stage apart. Me. The guy who carries over $1500 worth of camera gear in a backpack just to go to the mall couldn’t be bothered to make sure everything was set for an incredible opportunity. Only me.
At least the show was phenomenal – more on that elsewhere…
If you’re a waitress, and you see me looking over a menu indecisively, and you’re about to offer me a special that includes the words “three meat” and “wrapped in bacon”, just stop. Turn around. Go back to the kitchen and get me one. Don’t waste our time pretending that I might order the scallop and shrimp combo or something as trivial as a hamburger. You put together 3 different animals and then still felt the need to wrap it in bacon – that is what I call dedication to my satisfaction.
This message has been brought to you by the brilliant staff of Nicky Fischer’s who served me a three meat meatloaf… you guessed it… wrapped in bacon. Genius.
The Woman and I were down that way Saturday night to see the Pat Metheny Trio at the Keswick Theatre. I’m not going to tell you about the show, because I already posted about it on my other blog. Remember that one? I’ve actually been posting to it (despite my lengthy, vacation-driven absence on both sites) – and that includes some cool concert info that I recently discovered. Ha ha! Now you have to check it out or you’ll never know what it is!
I always have grand plans – and they never quite pan out. A couple years ago, when I first picked up my current domain name, I had a few other ideas for things I wanted to do online. If you saw my host’s control panel you’d see about 5 or 6 domains just waiting for me to do something. But eventually I break down and move forward because I realize I’m never going to have a “perfect launch”.
And so, with little fanfare, I’ve quickly thrown together the start of my music blog: Used to be cool… It seemed a lot more clever when I first came up with the idea like 2 years ago. Regardless, I’ve got an about page and my first post up – as well as some swell widgets courtesy of last.fm. We’ll see how it goes.
Take a gander, and give me some feedback over here as to what you think of the idea.
Now, why should you care? No reason, really, but I wanted to make sure that Chris saw this and was forced to acknowledge my greatness. Alright, in reality the milestone is simply an excuse to encourage any of you who listen to music regularly through the computer or on mp3 players to try out last.fm if you haven’t. It’s a stats geek dream. Honestly, it’s difficult for me to listen to music for more than 20 minutes without checking what my profile and my friends’ profiles look like.
I originally joined the site when it was just audioscrobbler – which is still the name of the technology behind it – but was never regular enough with it at work. For starters, I didn’t have my entire CD collection (or at least a majority of it) ripped and available. Which meant that I only listened to what I remembered to bring with me or whatever was available from my eMusic account. As a result, things like Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm got played way too much while Arcade Fire sat in my car. Once I started ripping certain CDs and storing them with my digital downloads, using the shuffle mode resulted in tons of Led Zeppelin, Yo La Tengo, and Pearl Jam interspersed with random tracks I got for free – not exactly a stellar listening experience. Then when I tried to play full albums, I’d end up with lots of dead time as I would be too busy to find another one to listen to after the first.
So, what changed?
For starters, ripping about three quarters of my CDs to an external hard drive and sorting them properly with my digital downloads. Now it’s not a matter of picking and choosing – everything is there. More recently, I decided to remove all of the samplers and freebie tracks I’ve gotten from eMusic. You might not think that makes a big difference, but it comes out to over 3000! No wonder it screwed up my shuffle mode! I’m still keeping them, but they’ve been moved outside of the “library” so that I can go through them at me leisure. Also, I switched to foobar2000, because Winamp took up so much memory it would interfere with my work after awhile (not to mention that the interface got too bloated with all of the online stuff I didn’t use).
Now I can sit back, put my collection on “Shuffle (Album)”, and enjoy lots of music without having to babysit the media player. And now, once again, I’m putting on my sad little face and asking for more online friends – because that’s how I measure success. Seriously, it’s very cool… and I’m lonely…