Why I’m Tired of Controversy Surrounding Musicians

Happy New Year everybody!

2013 never failed to be a miserable year that struck so many dissonant chords with so many people, that I’m surprised there wasn’t some sort of social uprising. We had Robin Thicke trolling women, the whole VMA fiasco, Phil Robertson comparing homosexuality to bestiality, and right at the last-minute we had Beyonce angering the families of the Challenger Tragedy.

Now, I don’t think Beyoncé is a horrible person. I think Beyoncé is a human being who happens to be a wonderful vocalist and a human being capable of making mistakes. Beyoncé may or may not apologize on this whole event, but it’s too early to say so. My problem is not that Beyoncé is a bad person, but the fact that the sampling on “XO” was done in poor taste and was really random (why would the Challenger disaster be relevant to a song in 2013??)

Overall, I’m just tired of musicians making mistakes, the media covering those mistakes to death, and the media (Liberal or Conservative) and said musician making a lot of money in the process as that is what the music industry has stooped too these days for profit in the age of uncreativity and music piracy. I doubt that Beyoncé did this as a publicity stunt, but people will be talking about this event for a while.

Again, I don’t think badly of Beyoncé or the people angered; I just wish peace of mind to the families of the Challenger disaster and a speedy resolution to this whole event that everyone can be happy with.

So let’s start 2014 on a positive high note, shall we?

-Tatteybye

Happy 70th Birthday John Denver

As a 24-year-old millennial from New England you’d probably never guess that one of my favorite Folk artists is John Denver. Well, I was only six years old when Denver’s plane went down in Monterey Bay, California so I couldn’t understand the depth of his tragic death until much later in life.

When I was 20 years old in 2010, I found an old CD of Denver’s music that belonged to my parents. The 90s rendition of “Annie’s Song” is the first song I heard by him. Now, not only did I find myself falling in love with his music, but I found a spiritual respect for the artist. As a Christian I believe in the afterlife, so it was like I felt his spirit nearby when I sang his music. Whether or not Denver’s spirit was actually near me or if it was all in my head is irrelevant. Denver’s music made me happy and helped to heal me in a rough point in my life. For instance, my cat Jack got run over, and a close friend of mine committed suicide among other tragic events in 2010.

For how Denver’s music helped lull me out of depression and back into spiritual and emotional health, I’ve decided to become an environmentalist and will help the Earth anyway I can. Today, I’m sure that John is in heaven smiling down on his fans, friends, and family right now. I’m just so sorry that he had to pass away so suddenly as I feel like he still had so much to live for. So with that I wish happy would be 70th birthday to John Denver, RIP to the one who now flies with Eagles and Hawks.

I wanted to find the video of his final performance and mix it into stereo as a personal birthday gift, but it seems that the video was removed from YouTube for some reason. Here are some of personal favorite songs of his, including ones from his latest tribute album “The Music is You”:

Kevin Card’s “Fill in The Blank” Music Awards for 2013

*All of the opinions held within are my own and do not represent the artist or any employer I might have.

Hello WordPress, we come again to my yearly music awards blog. The list is going to a lot longer this year as I’m expanding the categories to different genres. Without further wait, here is my second installment of “Kevin Card’s Fill in the Blank Music Awards of 2013”

Most Overplayed Song: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharell Williams

Now please understand I’m a long time Daft Punk fan, and I still really love this song. Overplayed doesn’t automatically mean overrated. Pharell did a wonderful job singing on this piece, and the fact that they had Nile Rodgers from Chic (one of the best disco groups of the 70s) only makes this song so much more amazing. Plus the music video’s pretty surreal and interesting; my guess is that it’s about individuality. But, the radio stations have a tendency to run great songs straight into the ground with being played too much. We need only look at what the radio industry did to Gotye to see that I’m speaking the truth. So I wish I could have put this higher on my list, but the public wouldn’t agree because they’ve heard the song too much. I’m still going to say that Random Access Memories by Daft Punk is one of the best albums of the year though due to its catchy songs and progressive edge.

Best Country Song:  “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry

As a suburban northern liberal from Massachusetts I don’t often enjoy listening to Country (new country especially.) But, I’m including this song to broaden my horizons. The reason I put this particular song is because of its kickass southern attitude that reminds me of country’s better songs from past decades (yes, I like those “twangy” years better.) I like how vocalist Kimberly Perry is basically saying “Back off from my man, or I will kill you” since it makes for great storytelling in a song.

Worst Country Song:  “Hope on the Rocks” by Toby Keith

I respect what this song was trying to do by trying to be different since so many country songs were all the same this year. But I just feel the lyrics are way too depressing for their own good since it’s about how a bartender is acting as a therapist to broken souls who have turned to alcoholism to sooth their troubles. It’s realistic to problem drinking, but I feel like country is generally about happier side of drinking at a bar. Musically, I feel something more depressing and in the style of folk would have worked better.

Best Tribute Song: “All of My Memories” John Denver Cover by Kathleen Edwards

Speaking of where country and folk songs converge, I’ve been a longtime of John Denver since his music helped nurse me back to emotional health back in 2010. Not only does this song capture the emotion of the original perfectly, it’s also doing what a tribute song to a dead artist should do: say feel better now. Yes, I’m saying that this song to me is like saying “RIP John, I know you’re in a better place now.” Edwards did an amazing job with the music and singing that this piece moved to tears.

Worst Tribute Song: “Annie’s Song” John Denver Cover by Brett Dennen and Milow

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I feel this cover spits on the face of the original due to how low-key and (for lack of a better term) Hipster-y it sounds. It’s too happy and loses all the charm and power the original song had. Granted that the song doesn’t have to be like the original, but I’ve heard punk rock covers of this song better than this particular version. If you want a quality touching and relaxing cover of “Annie’s Song” then check out the cover that Weezer did and ignore this bubblegum waste of three minutes of your life.

Best Rap Song: “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert

I became familiar with Macklemore this year after hearing this song on the radio, and not only is this song progressive musically but also socially and politically. I enjoy this song not only for the amazing accompaniment, but also for the message against bigotry in hip-hop and America at large. And as the recent Duck Dynasty controversy has proven; there is still much hate out there (just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to say!) It seems that with every step forward for the fight in equality there’s always two steps back. But I’ll take a little progress over no progress any day.

Worst Rap Song: “Bound 2” Kanye West

On to the subject of Bigotry, Kanye West is a very vocal component of people fighting racism. I have mixed feelings on the Yeezus album, as I like the song “Black Skinhead” for the edgy composition it has. This song is the exact opposite. The message to Kim Kardashian is sweet, but the sampled part of “Bound” by the Ponderosa Twins is played way too many times for comfort and becomes grating on the ears when listening to West’s poorly intoned rapping and that completely random contrasting non sampled part doesn’t even seem to fit in at all. I respect West for being a successful rapper who experiments with different techniques, but I really dislike this particular song.

Most Enjoyable Pop Song: “Team” by Lorde

Lorde made her freshman debut this year with the single “Royals” and her EP “Pure Heroin.” and while I enjoy how “Royals” sounds musically, I think the chorus in this song just steals the show from her other lead single, it’s just pure ear candy with how it sounds. I find the intro a tiny bit weird, but this song just builds to such an amazing climax that is the most enjoyable pop song of the year from one of the best artists of the year.

Best Composed Pop Song: “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake

I feel like many people overlooked this song at different award ceremonies this year, but I shall give it the attention the song deserves. I haven’t really been a fan of Justin Timberlake over the years, but I’ve fallen in love with this song for the effort Timberlake put into the accompaniment. From the catchy beatboxing and the guitar and strings in the background, to Timberlake’s heart filled singing about the love of his life I really love the composition in this piece.

Worst Overall Pop Song:  “23” by Mike Wills Made It, Miley Cyrus

I’m not going to lie, this song is pretty awful. It’s awful because of how mediocre and annoying the beat is. It reminds of all the throwaway pieces from the musical Dark Ages of 2010 with how artificial and boring it all sounds. I’ve personally never heard of Mike Wills before I reviewed this song, so I’m willing to bet that Cyrus helped get this song notoriety. Overall, this song is purely forgettable as I can tell it’s just another “hanging out in the club” type of song and a tired standard of the pop music scene from the past seven years.

Best Retro Throwback: “Treasure” by Bruno Mars

This piece is my favorite Bruno Mars song since I heard “The Lazy Song” back in 2011. This song reminds of the better songs of Michael Jackson, and it really shows when you listen closely. I really dig the prominent ‘fat’ sounding slap bass line, and the wonderful ‘eargasmic’ chorus. I know people who hate on Bruno Mars quite often, and I don’t like all of his songs. But, he’s one of the best pop vocalists in recent times and I respect him highly for that.

Best Viral Hit: “The Fox” by Ylvis

In no way can this song compete with Gagnam Style or Dragostea Din Dei (“The Numa Numa” song, remember that?!) However, I like how over the top this song is. It’s not a great song, but it works in the same the songs the Lonely Island produce: just something stupid that people can get a quick laugh from to brighten up their day. Also, Foxes actually sound like adorable puppies. Not eccentric Norwegian folks who also happen to love my home state of MASS.

Best Heavy Metal Hit: “Lift Me Up” By Five Finger Death Punch ft. Rob Halford

This song and the album it was on were just freaking amazing! I love the buildup they use and the lyrics representing hope (rising from the ashes like a Phoenix). Ivan Moody sounds amazing, but I really think Rob Halford’s harmonies and verses steal the show here. Halford is one of the best vocalists in metal after all, and Five Finger Death Punch choosing him for this song proves they have great taste. The songs and message on this album are very personal to me since I can relate having had a struggle filled year that music and my friends helped me get through.

Best Underground Metal Hit: “King of the Underdogs” by Newsted

With a title like “King of the Underdogs” how could I not give best underground metal piece? I enjoy the prominent bass playing and Newsted’s amazing lead vocals. The guitars have taken a back seat, but that’s what happens when the rhythm section takes over for lead instruments. Not many people gave Jason Newsted a warm welcome into the world of heavy metal despite his many fans and the publicity that his new band “Newsted” received. They’ve said things like “His voice and the album production are awful. I also think his songs are boring.” I disagree; Newsted has always been a man who cares deeply about music in his life and in many ways he’s my spiritual music idol. I’ve seen and reviewed Newsted (the band) live and they sound amazing with a quality sound person. I guess I can slightly agree the production on his music is lacking, but to me it just sounds different and it’s still a lot better than “And Justice For All” as far as mixing goes!!

Best Love Song: “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry

I’ve never really been a big fan of Katy Perry as I have found her music to be tonally empty and bland. Perry’s song “Roar” I’ve heard too often and was never impressed with (and I could less about if it was actually plagiarized.) However, this song has an enjoyable beat, and a lovely message of letting love back into your life. The song also demonstrates that with great production Perry’s voice can sound phenomenal. It’s a very soothing song, and love’s a soothing emotion; so it’s a perfect match.

Dumbest Hit of the Year: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke ft. TI and Pharell

Obviously I’m not the first person to speak about how this song is degrading to women, and I won’t be the last either. I just feel like this song is stupid because it had such potential because of the fun beat and silly feel of the music to be great, but it was wasted when the lyrics reflected the intentions of a catcalling moron who doesn’t except no for an answer. Thicke’s comments on the song never really helped the situation either. I liked the song when I first heard it, but I know now that it’s just a one-hit-wonder that only managed to piss people off and argue more than make them dance in a club.

Most Majestic Song: “Pompeii” by Bastille

If I had to give the “band of the year award” it would be to Bastille with Imagine Dragons in a close second place. I really, really love this song for the overall feel and the message of two citizens of Pompeii speaking to each other before they meet their end. What really adds the “majesty” to this piece is the Gregorian Chant heard during throughout the song. If you like this song by Bastille, check out their album “Bad Blood” since it’s the most epic thing I’ve ever heard musically and lyrically.

Worst song of the year: “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus

Now please understand, any objection I have to Miley Cyrus is about her music and racial insensitivity. It has nothing to do with her sex life. This song isn’t awful for the composition, but for the subject matter endless drug abuse and partying as the slow beat drones on that doesn’t really fit what a proper party anthem should be (LMFAO anybody??) My feelings on Miley Cyrus and her new career “bold business moves” can be summed up as this: why does making money take precedence more than one’s own dignity? I heard her new album “Bangerz” and the album morbidly sucked. In regards to the VMAs, even if a woman strips down to her undies on national TV and “twerks” Robin Thicke, doesn’t mean she’s a bad person or a “slut” (though making references to Thug Life doesn’t help.) I’m going to throw out there that I may feel that Cyrus looked “prettier” before she dyed and cut her hair, but what she does with her body is not my business; it’s Cyrus’s business and hers alone. At the end of the day, the people in most need of a hug are not Cyrus or the people who witnessed the VMA travesty, but those old  Cyrus fans who now feel betrayed.

Best song of the year: “Wake Me Up” by Avicii

I spent a lot of time deciding on what to put for this category. While this song may not be as epic as some of my previous choices for song of the year, it’s certainly very meaningful in terms of living your life. The message of this song is about becoming who you are, but not rushing the process so you can live your life in a meaningful way. I really like how it goes from being a sort of generic spiritual song to a modern day dance piece as it was an interesting choice stylistically. Overall, I really relate the better moments in my life this year to this song as I’ve grown as a person at my own rate.

Well there we have it, my long winded musings, thoughts, rants and awards for this year. 2013 overall was an interesting year pop culturally with its music and amazing television shows (Doctor Who, Walking Dead and Breaking Bad anybody?) 2013 was also a harsh year for me to deal with, so I’m glad to see it come to an end. I am ready to welcome 2014 and see what it has to bring.

Happy New Years everybody!

-Tatteybye

Life Reflections on a Saturday Evening

In New England, the days grow shorter and the warmth of the sun fades to the cruel cold of winter. Many of my friends are blinded by the majesty of Pumpkin flavored everything, the spirit of Halloween, and the historical significance Thanks Giving can hold for people from New England (Mass especially). People from out of the area love the scenery and the tourism that Autumn offers, but don’t know it as well as those who were raised here. Personally, my favorite season is Summer and I’d love to move to a state where it’s above 70 degrees year round because I can’t stand cold weather.

However, New England is where I’ve lived my whole life and probably where I want to go when I get buried many decades from now. I still need to travel to many other majestic locations around the US and around the world. But for right now, I am happy to have a full-time job and to be alive. I still feel a lot of angst over being single, but I think I’ve accepted my plight in that I just should be patient, meet new people, and see what happens. My FB friends would know I’ve been complaining a lot about my personal life as of late because I was loosing patience, but thanks to their help I’ve found my center again and I will continue to see how things go.

A few hours ago I was playing my bass along to the isolated bass track to “Schism” by Tool, and I put my bass down feeling depressed. I was depressed that I’ve spent a year learning a song that I don’t even care much about anymore (there are many BETTER songs by Tool). A little bit later as I was waiting for my small pizza to be delivered for dinner, I went on Facebook and found this video on the Breaking Benjamin FB page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151932163383168

It’s a solo guitar and vocal video of Ben Burnley playing the single “Dear Agony” from their 2009 album of the same name. I hated the song when it first came out, but in retrospect the lyrics speak to my inner pain that I’ve experienced over the last eight months. This performance moved me very heavily as I just want to sing in unison with the singer and express my feelings to the world. And as that vision occurs to me, I also realize that I have the dual gifts of my words and my voice to express how I feel, and who I am to everyone.

I love music, and it loves me. Though the days grow shorter and colder, I know that music will always be there for me; for it is the only art medium that I know that can appeal to multiple human senses and emotions.

-Tatteybye

Take the Good With the Bad

I woke up this morning after having several strange dreams (I woke up at various points in the night), including one about my ex. I have had people in my life tell me “Hurry up and get over her!”, but it’s never easy. They say it takes half the time you were with your partner to get over them, and I was with her for four years. In no way do I intend to let things in my head drag on that long, but it’s never easy to move on when you have a tendency to live in the past and don’t let things go easily. But as my day progressed, things got exponentially better.

Being the social media junkie I am, I was on Facebook looking at Bootsy Collin’s (a famous and accomplished funk bassist) page early in the morning. He had a status about how it’s sad that news outlets keep covering so many negative stories. And well, I’ll let this photo show what happened next:

1378728_10152243955184908_66177606_n

I got acknowledged by one of my favorite bass players ever, with just one comment my mood changed completely. I picked up my bass, and continued my lessons in trying to master Tool’s song “Schism” (it’s a pretty tough song to play). I then played some basketball and left that day to run some errands to complete my Merle Dixon costume (from the Walking Dead).

Here’s a look at the costume and prosthetic so far:

1237683_10152233800719908_937679293_n 1234372_10152244902799908_931116944_n

I just need to get in better shape and paint the prosthetic. It all should be pretty awesome when Halloween comes around.

Plus I should clean my room soon…

Also, I traded my acoustic bass for an Epiphone Goth Thunderbird, so here’s another picture for your viewing pleasure:

1157616_10152245179239908_168155581_n

So it goes to show that when life hands you lemons, and you hate lemonade, then throw the lemons away and wait for oranges instead. And if you don’t like either lemons or oranges, then you could just go find said fruits of life (depending upon your beliefs in fate). What I’ve taken away from today is that just because a day can start off awful, it can always get better; which is also far more proactive than saying “it could always be worse”.

-Tatteybye

Fred Benedtti & Peter Pupping- Here Comes the Sun (Reprint)

Here is the first music review I ever made on my original blog (found here: http://kevin-card-the-music-critic.blogspot.com/2010/12/here-comes-sun.html). I wanted to reprint this version to display how my reviews (and writing style) have evolved overtime. Also, sometimes my opinions can change on certain issues. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this particular blog because I wrote New Years eve 2010, and it was my first professional entry. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

On a starting note, I am reviewing an older version of the CD, it only has 12 songs as opposed to the one you can buy online that has more.

Title: Here Comes the Sun
Year: 1997
Genre: Easy Listening- Acoustic Music
Artist(s): Fred Benedetti and Peter Pupping
Record label: Guitar Sounds
Copyright: © Copyright-Petrus Productins Inc., dba GuitarSounds

Songs:

1. Here Comes the Sun- The Beatles

The first thing I notice is that the audio mixing on the CD is very loud. Also compared to the original the speed of the song is faster, and 58 seconds shorter. This cover is more of a summary of the original, with the guitars taking over the guitar tracks and the vocals. I also can’t help but notice the song is more inclined to being excited and joyful as opposed to feeling relief from depression. It seems like they wanted to try to make the song a little catchier than it already is. Despite it’s short comings the song is still very enjoyable. 3 out of 5 Stars.

2. Dust in the Wind- Kansas cover

The tempo of the song is slowed down, seeming to convey how haunting this song sounds. The emotion of the song is captured perfectly, it’s almost as thought-provoking as the original, except it is just purely an emotional song. Instrumentally they nailed this cover with 100% accuracy, but the slowing the tempo down helped ensure it wouldn’t just be a carbon copy. 5 out of 5 stars.

3. Scarborough Fair- Simon and Garfunkel cover

This is a very short cover of the Simon and Garfunkel version of thing song (nearly four minutes shorter), but it retains the mystical atmosphere of the original. It is at the same speed as the original. Where this one differs is that instead of having two guitars play together on the vocal line like Simon and Garfunkel did,they harmonize the guitar tracks to create this odd yet cool echo effect. During the chorus they have one guitar play while the second guitar plays independently, then the second guitar plays independently, then the main guitar returns to play the main melody with an echo effect behind it. Unfortunately they don’t put in the flute interlude, but the song is still pretty enjoyable despite that and being short. 4 out of 5 stars.

4. In My Life- The Beatles cover

This is one of my favorite Beetles songs, and I enjoyed their version of it. The tempo is faster than the original. This version opens with a slightly modified version of the Harpsichord solo rather than the slight build up the original had. After the intro the voice part comes in and it sounds very pleasant with the guitar part. The playing for both guitarists is very emotional and captured the spirit of the original perfectly. They also did a very good job with the Harpsichord solo. The song closes softly with the main guitar part. This is another great example of a cover that stays true to the original but also safely manages to put its own spin on the song. 5 out 5 stars.

5. Father and Son- Cat Stevens cover

This version is a very touching cover of the original. The music is almost identical aside from the vocal part being higher than Cat’s baritone voice. They do play the voice part lower, but not until later in the song. The natural sound of the of the guitars themselves is so close to Cat’s guitar it’s almost scary. They play an accurate and good version of the solo, even if it is sped up a little too much. They made the song shorter than the original, but they managed to capture the feel of Cat’s version very well. The only real difference is that the original was sincere but also somewhat sad, this is just purely sincere. However, I am going to attribute that to them not being able to use words to affect the emotion of the song. 5 out of 5 stars.

6. El Condor Pasa- Traditional Peruvian Melody cover (and Possibly Simon and Garfunkel)

This song is set faster than normal, and it is also very haunting. It is a very good rendition of the song, and the guitars do some cool stuff like trading the melody at parts playing two melodies at once. Other times the guitars play of each other with little riffs that add-on and echoing of the other parts on different notes. It ends with the guitars echoing off each other in different octaves (same notes but higher and/or lower.) This song to me shows just how good Benedetti and Pupping are as guitar players because it shows both skill and soul on their parts. 5 out of 5 stars.

7. Tears in Heaven- Eric Clapton cover

This song is at the same tempo of the original, and the emotion is also accurate to the original. The guitars are very accurate, the second guitar even imitates the bass part pretty well. While listening to this cover I can tell two things 1) They really are Clapton fans and 2) they do the song so much justice as if they are paying respect to one of their favorite players for the loss of his son. I find this to be a very good cover that is a little different, but similar in a healthy way to the original. 5 out of 5 stars.

8. You’ve Got a Friend- James Taylor cover

I quite enjoyed this cover. It opens at a slightly slower tempo than the original, but it still has the spirit of the original. The guitar playing is very simple, the second guitar doing the rhythm guitar line and the bass line and the vocal part. The vocal part is changed a little bit, but that is because a guitar can’t sustain a note like the human voice can. While listening to this it is very easy to imagine hearing James Taylor singing and playing this song. It is about 23 seconds shorter and ends on a fade away, but it works well. A very touching cover of the James Taylor version. 5 out of 5 stars.

9. And I Love Her- The Beatles Cover

This version is set slower and bit more haunting than the original. It has the guitars playing the rhythm guitar line, lead guitar line, and vocal line. Their playing is accurate, except they put their own interesting spin on the solo and they had a little outro solo that was different from the original version. Overall I would say it a good cover, even if it manages to somehow be more haunting than the original which I am guessing they just wanted to make it sound more haunting. 5 out of 5 stars.

10. Bridge Over Troubled Water- Simon and Garfunkel cover

This version has a very long instrumental opening, which is the guitarists adding in their own lines. When the vocals come in you do immediately recognize it as Bridge Over Troubled Water. The guitar parts double each other with a slight bass line to fill in the piano part. There are no extra instruments for the string orchestra. I’ve noticed the song doesn’t build to climax like the original does, almost like they were intending for the song to be good background music. It’s also possible they wanted to emphasize the calming nature of the song (as was the song’s original purpose.) It’s a nice cover, but it disappointments me they left it at the same pace rather than build up to a climax. 3.5 out of 5 stars

11. Black Bird- Beatles Cover

This version is a perfect cover of the original, the only difference is that the guitars are doubled all of the time, and the vocal part only has a single guitar and doesn’t double it’s self like Paul did in the studio. I love this rendition, it’s so full of energy, you can really tell Benedetti and Pupping had fun while playing this song. This to me again shows just how good they are at guitar playing and how they can be almost 100% accurate and still make it their own song. 5 out of 5 stars

12. Fire and Rain- James Taylor Cover

This version is an interesting cover. The guitar parts are very intricate with parts echoing each other, a bass line, and two melodies with the voice line and a guitar part adding embellishments going on. The lead guitar switches between play the vocal part and doing solos quite often. The emotion that comes to mind when hearing this is sincerity. I’m not sure why they changed the emotion since the original was about James Taylor’s friend Susan killing her self after having a horrible time in an asylum, but it strangely works. 5 out of 5 stars.

What I didn’t like:

The only real things I didn’t like was that sometimes their experimentation destroyed the original feel of the song as was the case with Bridge Over Troubled Water, and damaging the sound of the song as was the case with Here Comes the Sun.

What I did Like:

The playing was solid, they had very good expression of the songs messages and feel, and they managed to change things around expertly enough to keep it fresh without destroying most of the songs. Even with Bridge over Troubled Water and Here Comes the Sun they were still nice to listen to.

Who would enjoy this album:

Guitarists, fans of the artists who were covered, fans of easy listening, any one needing good study/working/tax paying music. Pretty much anyone except for fans of percussion music.

Overall:

I feel Benedetti and Pupping did an amazing job on the album, with great skill, experimentation, and emotion. Not to mention just how much fun they had sometimes as well. I also liked how interestingly they used the guitars on the other instrumental parts of the song with things like the echoing and the embellishments. The only downfall is that they sometimes experiment too much and spoil the broth so to speak. This is a solid album and I definitely recommend buying it, especially the newer version since it has many more songs.

Rating: ****

A video of Benedetti and Pupping’s cover of Dust in the Wind by Kansas:

A video of Black Bird and Here Comes the Sun in Memory of Princess Diana: 

First World Musician Problems

Being a musician, I feel that music is an incredibly spiritual force in my life that has been there for me through thick and thin. And as a Musician I listen to most forms of music much differently than other people. I live a different sort of life style which can bring great experiences, but also minor inconveniences (hence the tittle).

First World Problem Number 1: Hatred of Top 10 Songs

In my late teenage years (I turn 24 this November), I was head over heels obsessed with hard rock and Metal, and as such I hated pop music. My favorite bands were Rammstein, Metallica, Tool, and Iron Maiden. Being of the hard-rock background is probably half the reason I always seek out unique types of music to play and listen too instead of just listening to top 10 songs. I’ve always despised the idea of being in a top 10 cover band. Other musicians continue to tell me that playing pop music’s easy money (and how “that’s just how the biz works”), but until now I wasn’t willing to acknowledge the idea that crappy music would allow me to pay the rent. I’m not running out to play bass guitar or sing in a Top 40 band anytime soon, but I’ll do it if I have too (or have a change of heart).

F.W.P. Number 2: Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Yes it’s abbreviated GAS, laugh if you must.

Anyways, have you ever had that friend with a hobby who just buys endless amounts of merchandise for said hobby? Well, I’m one of those people who likes to buy a lot of guitars. The only problem is that as a starving artist type I have no spare money to purchase said guitars, so I often frequent places like Guitar Center or online outlets like Sweetwater to look at the new toy(s) I so deeply desire. My inability to acquire these guitars has caused me great frustration and sadness in the past. My biggest goal at the moment is to get a steady day job, then when I get off of my feet I can build my dream collection and personal recording studio.

F.W.P. Number 3: Not Having the Vocal Range I Desire

For those who don’t know me, I’ve always been a capable low Baritone and Bass vocalist in the quires I’ve joined in the past, and I’ve mostly been happy with having a lower vocal tone. However, a lot of my favorite musicians are all Tenors that often sing the notes that soar above my bass voice and it’s angered me many times that I can’t hit said higher notes. It’s hard to get gigs as a lead vocalist being a bass. But, at the same time there are many fascinating pieces and songs for people with lower pitched voices (Johnny Cash anybody?) So it could always be worse.

F.W.P. Number 4: Not Having Enough Time for Piano

Now I’m not saying that I’m a slouch when it comes to building my chops on bass guitar or vocals, but I’m referring to a personal lack of devotion to re-learning how to play piano. Five years ago I stopped taking lessons, but continued playing at an intermediate skill level (just above child’s level) for a few years. I’ve since stopped playing piano to focus primarily on electric bass and I’ve had anxiety of playing piano again, but I still want to play it. For now the job hunt prevents me from taking lessons once more, but YouTube is an amazing resource for learning music so I just need to find the time to get on the horse and eventually become excellent at all three musical pursuits.

So just like with everything else, I need to learn to take the good with the bad and continue onward into the sunset of someday performing music for money no matter how big or small the venue (or paycheck).

P.S. Now for those who wondering if I’m any good as a musician or singer, I’d reluctantly say yes. Here are some videos of my self that I’ve put on YouTube to prove it:

-Tatteybye

My Top Four Facebook Statuses (2011-2013)

As a writer I often have my moments of reflection and deep thought, and as a person I have my moments of simple emotion and impulses. In the digital age there is no better way to measure the human psyche than with social media. Enter Facebook; where everyone expresses their political, social, philosophical, personal beliefs and actions to a world of complete strangers. And here I am, basking in the warm glow of social media in my own selfish desire for attention.

Note: I would have had more than four posts but I recently cleared out my timeline of many statuses since I’m job hunting right now.

4. Working today at New Horizons, I went up to retired Naval Veteran and thanked him for his service to this country. He thanked me back saying “Thank you, too! Because you’re a great guy!” It’s the little things that go the furthest sometimes.

I work part-time as a Waiter at an Assisted Living facility called New Horizons right now, and I go out of my way to brighten up the day of the residents’ there anyway I can. In this case I was expressing my thanks to a Veteran around this past Memorial Day Weekend. It managed to brighten my day as well.

3. “The Newsted show was so amazing!! The opening bands were great, I got a fist bump from Jason and conversed with him like a doofy fan (forgot to give him my name, lol), and I heard My Friend of Misery and Whiplash LIVE for the first time ever. Additionally, Brad and I were up front and center the whole time so I got a great view of his new band and the gorgeous basses Jason Newsted was using. I’ll write the review tomorrow and post it to the Newsted FB in hopes of getting my name out as an entertainment writer!!”

This was me talking about my experience seeing Newsted live after I got home the night of the concert with a friend of mine. It was a truly amazing experience, one that I hope the review I posted last month captured pretty well. For reference, the whole concert at The Middle East was put up on Youtube (though Audio quality is rather poor in some videos, sort of like my camera work). The reason I chose this as number three on my list was because Jason Newsted is a personal hero of mine for how he rose to fame against really pressing odds, and has remained a genuinely nice guy despite it all.

 2. Instead of putting Whitey Bulger to death I say we make him listen to “Dinosaur” by Ke$ha for the rest of his life.

I was insulting Ke$ha’s music and Whitey Bulger with this Facebook status. I didn’t enjoy the terrible ear-bleeding quality of the Ke$ha song “Dinosaur”, which happens to be about a creepy old dude who hits on very young girls. I wrote my review of Ke$ha’s first album around the same time they caught Whitey Bulger down in Florida, and I was just being a smart*** to express my disapproval of a renowned criminal and cult icon pop star. However, I’ve since learned to appreciate Ke$ha as a living parody of all pop music today. For that I can at least appreciate that Ke$ha’s music still has some substance and can rouse emotions out of me (as I’m often a tough critic of top 10 songs). So, my apologies for associating Ke$ha with a murderer and being harsher than I should have been.

1. “There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery”. Dante pretty much explains how I’ve been feeling for the past five years while thinking of the Summer and Fall of 2008. My misery and pain in the present won’t just magically disappear as it supposedly does for some people (as if), but pain normally lies in the present so I pray for a better tomorrow. I guess the old saying “Time heals all wounds” is a good comeback to the saying Dante wrote, but “wounds never heal quickly” is my own comeback.

I’ve been through an interesting and very hard journey through my late teen years and my early 20s. The year 2008 is still very special to me since I finished High School and began College. I also met many friends and my ex-fiance that year in Salem so I still reminisce quite often about 2008. Looking back at that year now with how things have not been easy for me shows how true the quote by Dante really is. But, I’m a writer and amateur philosopher so I put my own spin it; that spin simply being that the past can’t be changed, but the future can be. However, change’s always a gradual process and in my case it will take me a while to embrace the future.

There we go. In the vast human experience I can be very wise about life, or wise when it comes music and other subjects I dislike making me all the more human. At the end of the day I am who I am, and I will always enjoy being the narrator of my own story.

-Tatteybye

Reflections on College Graduation

It’s time to dust off the digital cobwebs of this blog and cast off this loathsome writers block off of my shoulder and announce; I have graduated Cum Laud from college!!

65631_10151651376276322_381200367_n

This news does come with a negative side though; I’m no longer engaged to my now ex-fiance. I’m not getting into the specifics, but needless to say it’s been very hard for me since she left. From here on out I’ll be keeping my personal life out of my blogs.

Graduation day was long, and some of the speeches were not inspirational and very dry, but it was a great day overall. As I was waiting for my name to be called I couldn’t help but think of my humble beginnings at Salem State, the struggles I had faced, and even distant flashes of my high school graduation.

Time is truly the greatest force of change to the attitudes of mankind, as I never would have thought of making it this far when I was just an anti-social dude playing Xbox all throughout high school. But I did it, and the seeds of accomplishment are mine to reap. Unfortunately, so are the loans I’ve borrowed and the this miserable economy we live in.

The job hunt for me so far has taught me that temp agencies are the best route for corporate jobs, and that the best thing to do is have a relevant well organized unique resume that reflects who YOU are. People will endlessly critique your resume and change it to their idea of a perfect resume, and if you take that new resume to someone else they will change it to their liking and so-on (it’s an unending hair pulling process.) Lastly, show initiative before getting the job (going in person, research their history) and tell them how you can best be an asset to the company you applied too. Now, if only I could follow my own advice and get a job…

The important thing for me is to not give up hope, even though my future plans have changed pretty drastically from what they were in December. I would like to thank my family, friends, and loyal readers for getting me this far. I’ll keep pushing until I get further in life, and someday when the economy gets better I’ll be a Music Critic like I’ve wanted for the last four years.

-Tatteybye.

The Top Things I Will and Will Not Miss About College

Sing the Alma Matter, sign the degree, get out your funny hats, and let’s party. I’ve graduated college with a bachelor of science in Journalism and a minor in Music. So what that means is hopefully I can find a job before the debt collector comes a knock knock knockin’ on my door. Pray for me folks, I’ll need all the help I can get. But, since this the final days of me being an Undergrad are here I think I will take the time to come up with a list to acknowledge the things I will and will not miss after I’m gone from campus.

What I will miss: 

1. My friends and professors- Of course I may come up to visit occasionally since I don’t intend to burn any bridges, but I will miss seeing my friends old and new. From my bros and platonic girlfriends in the freshman residence halls to my closest allies in my final years at school. You guys have been there for me through thick and thin, and though some turned out to be bad eggs, I’m glad to have met you all. These last four years have been an interesting Journey. Also, my professors in both departments are excellent at their jobs, even if some of my opinions vary from theirs radically.

2. Having my own independent thinking space- it was nice to have my own rooms despite moving often because I could focus my thoughts and listen to my favorite music at loud volumes. Of course the loud volume has gotten me noise complaints in the past, but I just wanted to live while I was young and enjoy my music at substantial volume. I know I will have to be more respectful in the future with my neighbors and such.

3. Yoga Pants- I’m going to off on a limb here and say that girls check out guys, guys check out girls, some people check out the same gender, and others don’t look at all. It’s human nature, but so often what we (guys especially) forget about that the person is more than just a nice butt or a good pair of… eyes. Personally when I see a women, I see a person and a human being who also happens to have amazing physical features. Which leads me to state that Salem State is the Yoga Pants capital of Massachusetts and it was fun to behold it for so many years and even coin the acronym GWYP (Girls Wearing Yoga Pants) with my roommate Sean this past semester. That being said, I’ve stared too much over the years, especially for a man who has been engaged for three years (my fiancee Annie is fine with it, but still). So for this ladies of Salem State, I truly apologize: just know you look fantastic in those pants!

4. My Jobs- Some jobs were a nightmare to work that never fit with me, but I found a good niche in with the Music Department and IT as well as the Salem State Log. The amounts of crap people give me and IT for “sucking at your job” is unbelievable. We are hard-working and intelligent people. I’ve had my fair share of disagreements with a past boss and I hated the hour cuts via a bad budget, but my bosses still treated me better than my old bosses at McDonald’s ever did (I am still mad at McArches, but also happy to not be in fast food anymore). I am glad to have worked with the fine folks of the Music Department and IT at Salem State, and with luck these jobs shall lead me to find a REAL job rather than just fast food.

What I Won’t Miss (no offense meant to anyone): 

1. The Shuttle- I mean no disrespect to the drivers and phone people, but the student shuttle has proven to be unreliable too many times. From taking too long to pick some one from going way over the estimated time of arrival to not taking people to the mall on weekends, it’s been a bit of a pain. I wish the shuttle more luck and better funding in the future, just know I’d rather own a car instead if I had the money for it (same goes the MBTA).

2. Navigator- I don’t want to look like a hypocrite for my comments about IT earlier, but I just I never enjoyed using the website it’s self for it’s design and the difficulty of access. I am glad I only have to log into it a few more times to see my grades, and then I am just done with it. Forever.

3. Residence Life Purists- Now let me please clarify, I have not hatred towards the department of Residence Life and the people who work for it. They are just people doing their jobs to the letter, and doing said job very well. What I dislike are the people who happen to just let the job go to their heads by enforcing the rules like a hall monitor in a Catholic elementary school. Getting deeply offended when people use the term “dorm” isn’t worth the frustration. I know a dorm is where a person sleeps, and the residence halls are a community with many activities, but the way the residence halls are set up, they are hot beds for drama. I know where you guys are coming from since I used to be the same way; I play bass guitar player (not regular guitar), and it used to offend me deeply when people called my instrument a “guitar”. People (even trained musicians) still call my instrument a guitar and for me it just wasn’t worth being offended over, and the same rule should apply to you guys because people will keep saying “dorm” as the term is more widely used by the average person.

4. Room Mate Drama- Excluding my friends on Facebook and elsewhere, I’ve just had way too much crap go down the last few years that it’s probably left me permanently scarred and mentally aged by ten years. I’ve dealt with hoarders, neat freaks, and people extremely envious of the love that Annie and I share. The latter category is the one that bothers me the most; from being threatened online through a 20 paragraph Facebook message, to dealing with false rumors that Annie was pregnant. It’s been a real fun time dealing with immature and stupid people. I’m glad to be done with bad eggs and all of the drama they cause since I will be back with my family and eventually move into my own place with Annie. I know that tomorrow will be brighter than yesterday, and that living well is truly the best revenge.

I hope my views have not upset anyone, but as a Journalist I suppose that comes with the territory. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, and may all of the other holidays be good too. Congrats to my self for completing a major obstacle in life. Now let’s hope the world DOESN’T end on the 21st, and that 2013 turns out to be a good year for us all.

Tatteybye,

Kevin James Card.

P.S. To any Grammar Nazi reading this, I know I crossed active and passive voice and didn’t use AP format at all. Deal with it. I structure my personal pros the way I want too.