About this blog:
I blog on random Pop Culture subjects. I also post Top 13 Lists. I could do a cliched Top 10 like everyone else, but then I'd be just like everyone else.

Monday, May 31, 2010

"Twisted Snacks"

Well, it’s Memorial Day, and most Americans are munching down ridiculous quantities of hotdogs. This over-practiced part of American Culture begs the question, why in the world is a meat product made from various left over scraps of beef and/or pork called a hotdog? How can we shamelessly eat something named after “man’s best friend”, who’s probably sitting at our feet while we eat it, waiting to be thrown the last piece of “hotDOG”? We are sick enough to feed a hotdog to a hot dog! It’s not made of canine meat (at least I hope it’s not), so why call it that? And yet we go through this ritual every “picnic holiday”, not noticing the disgusting undertones.

I was looking at a box of animal crackers the other day, and I noticed something odd for the first time:
You're eating cookies that are shaped like animals. Not shaped like meat, but the actual animals. That's weird. And to make it even weirder and more sadistic, the box is filled with drawings of realistic looking animals of the ones you're about to eat shapes of. And they look quite happy, possibly not realizing their impending fate…
This is very dark, twisted, sadistic, and morbid when you really think about it. Who came up with such a thing?

How about Goldfish crackers? "The snack that smiles back", how twisted is that!
They even go to the length of carving little smiles on each cracker, so they can smile all the way to their death in your digestive system!
And now they even have a bio on the back of the package for one of the fish you're about to devour! So now you even know his/her name as you take him out of existence. Twisted I tell you! Twisted!

Anyway everybody, have a nice Memorial Day, and be safe.

©2010 Denim McDemus

Friday, May 28, 2010

“Music Is My Escape”

Music is my escape, my second salvation, the soundtrack to my life. It drowns out all the drama, the strife, the lies, the incoherent noise, and the inconvenience of being alive. I don't know what I'd do without it. I'd probably lose the slight grasp my whitening knuckles still hold onto that ever-elusive sanity by an ironically proverbial thread.

Through music we can release our need for anger, violence, pain, depression, insanity, breakdown, breakup, breaking things, whatever, so that we don't have to go through with any of it within the cramped confines of reality, in which there would be punishable and regrettable consequences for our actions.

Music keeps many of us alive through relationship problems, family problems, job or school problems, social and romantic failings, fair weather friends, fading confidence, festering ennui, infectious apathy, and terminal boredom.

Currently, I mostly listen to 80’s 90's Alternative Rock, which brings back so many memories of the great times and the great people of the "good old days", back before most of you knew these bands, and I couldn't get enough of them. These are songs we made DJs play at dances, even though we were the only few who knew of them, and were the only ones dancing to them. These are the songs we knew by heart, and passionately screamed out the words to at the top of our young lungs, while cruising around in our first cars, carefree and alive. We were all still sane back then. We had yet to be tainted by this world, because we were above this world, elevated by our own minds, our own revolutions, our own voices, ringing out amid the silence of a world stuck in it's own self pity, and loathsome denial. It was a world more like "Lord of the Flies" than "Utopia". A world of metaphysical cannibalism and masochism, swallowed like a pill, chased down with propaganda and public service announcements, sugarcoated with sitcoms and slapstick, while distracting us with The Cold War, The Smurfs, and Count Chocula.

The music got us through so much. Lyrics we could relate to, sounds we could rock out to, songs that reminded us we were still alive and kicking, songs that reminded us that we didn't have to "fit in", that it was alright to be different, it was human to feel, it was normal to hurt, it was life to struggle, it was required to be imperfect. Music that helped shape the identity of a generation no one cared about, a generation pushed aside, a generation not taken seriously, a generation called lazy and unimaginative just because we had new conveniences never available before, conveniences they sold to us, a generation not allowed to have it's own culture, or signature, or even a proper non-generic name. But we were more than just the kids of the Baby Boomers. We were more than just the children of hippies. We took their generic, patronizing label of Generation X, and waved it proudly as a banner, an anthem, a red badge of courage, a fulfillment of their mindless stereotyping, and yet an identity all our own, by our definition, on our terms.

I don't sleep. Music is more therapeutic than sleep. It all begins and ends with music. If you're still reading this, it must mean something to you too.

©2010 Denim McDemus

Thursday, May 27, 2010

“Top 13 Quirky TV Shows”

I chose these shows based on quirkiness, weirdness, and oddness. These shows stand out as different from the usual network fodder. Because of their kitschy humor, mainstream audiences were hard to attract. Most of these shows had short runs, despite their brilliant content. Gilmore Girls and X-Files had long runs, but on second tier networks, and due to hardcore support from demographic specific die-hard fans, not mass appeal. Seinfeld’s eventual mass popularity and ratings success kept it from being the cult classic it should have been, and therefore relegated it to the honorable mention list.
I did not include cartoons or kids shows, which are usually quirky by nature. I did not include variety shows like The Tracy Ullman Show, or late night talk shows like Conan O’Brien.
I opened it up to US shows and the BBC, because the British do quirky so much better than we do.

13. Gilmore Girls- Yes, it can be “girly” at times, but it’s definitely quirky. Based in an odd small town, full of odd and quirky characters, quirky dialog, and unusual events.

12. Dark Shadows- Both the campy melodramatic 1966 original and the darker 1991 revival were great programs. A gothic soap opera revolving around vampire Barnabas Collins wet the taste buds of two generations of fans looking for a break from mainstream television.

11. Herman’s Head- Hilarious early Fox program featuring four aspects of the main character’s psyche battling it out inside his mind over every decision he needed to make. Great concept, and well done, even though most people didn’t appreciate it.

10. Red Dwarf- Hilarious and kitschy BBC show about a dysfunctional group of survivors stuck alone together on a ship in deep space. The slacker human, ornery hologram, silly humanoid cat, android, and their computer get into many quirky misadventures.

9. Addams Family- An all time classic full of quirky fun. Certainly not your typical 1960’s sitcom family by far. The wacky antics of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, and the rest of the family never fail to tickle the funny bone, as they are oblivious to how different they really are.

8. Twilight Zone- The weirdest show ever, this all time classic had so many great moments of fear, dread, and wonderment. It gives you nightmares, it gives you chills, but yet you’re compelled to come back for more.

7. The Musters- Just like the Addams Family, The Munsters offered a culture shock polar opposite to the Cleaveresque sitcom families of the 1960’s. Both shows were great, but The Munsters kicked the kitschy quirky humor up a notch higher. Grandpa and Herman are a kooky quirky comedic team that’s hard to beat.

6. Picket Fences- The closest “quirky small town with weird residents” program to Twin Peaks I’ve seen yet. Bizarre happenings and a great cast made the show great, but the weirdness left most of America scratching their heads.

5. Are You Being Served?- The greatest Britcom of all time, focusing on the hilarious antics of the quirky employees of Grace Brothers department store. Brilliant writing, and dead on performances by the stellar cast made this one of the funniest programs ever. The odd characters really made this show stand out as a quirky gem.

4. X-Files- Certainly one of the weirdest shows in television history, the X-Files was never afraid to delve into the strange and the unknown. The very topics investigated alone make this show rank high on this list. Add in the brilliant performances and the quirky characters, and you’ve got a great alternative to 1990’s network drivel.

3. Monty Pythons Flying Circus- Often imitated, but never equaled. The only sketch comedy show to make the list. All the others, SNL included, had their high points and their low points, but Monty Python never failed to deliver both highbrow and lowbrow comedy simultaneously. If a sketch wasn’t funny to you, you probably didn’t “get” it.

2. Arrested Development- The most intelligent comedy program of all time, AD continued to push the envelope of quirky fun. Unfortunately, most people didn’t “get” the dry humor, and the running gags were lost on casual viewers. Add in pathetically absent promotion by Fox, and this gem only lasted 2 ½ seasons, just like the only show that was able to rank higher than it on this list…

1. Twin Peaks- David Lynch’s television masterpiece is simply the best ever. No show in the history of television ever was, or ever will be weirder, quirkier, or more brilliant than this story of an odd small town with a lot of secrets, some supernatural, some soap operaesque, it’s unusual residents, and the strange FBI agent who comes to town. Giants, dancing midgets, a talking log, a transvestite special agent (who went on to star in #4), and lots and lots of coffee, doughnuts, and pie trademarked Twin Peaks as the Greatest Quirky TV Show of All Time.

Honorable Mention:
American Gothic
Black Adder
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dream on
Doctor Who
Get a Life
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show
Mama’s Family
Outer Limits
Small Wonder

©2010 Denim McDemus

Monday, May 24, 2010

“What’s So Great About Sliced Bread?”

We've all heard the clichéd saying "The greatest thing since sliced bread" at least a million times about various subjects, some serious, some facetious, unless of course you "live under a rock", thus hypocritically adding yet another clichéd saying into the mix...

I am here to argue the validity of this saying. Why do we use "sliced bread" as the example of the end all be all miracle product, by which all other potentially great products are judged?

And even better, why do we further denigrate the products we are referencing, by saying they are "the greatest thing SINCE sliced bread", thus labeling them as inferior to said sliced bread, as if they can't quite measure up to the high bar set by the "inventor" of sliced bread (whatever idiot had a knife in his hands, some serious time to kill, and nothing better to do than to mar a baked good)?

I'm sure you've each carelessly said this ageless cliché many times, without even thinking about it, as it is an inane part of our language and culture (which says very little for both).

I ask you now to fully examine the context of this saying, and really delve into its bold, yet relatively innocuous meaning. Do you really mean what you're saying, when you label some random item as "the greatest thing since sliced bread"? I present the argumentative question for you to ponder: What's so great about sliced bread?

First of all, almost everyone loves "restaurant bread". We go to a fine dining establishment, and we enjoy the loaf of "homemade" bread they bring to our table, to munch on with or before our fancy but over-priced meal. We sit there and carve out thick slices for each of us, and then fight over who gets the inevitable extra slice. We crave this fine loaf of bread. Our mouths water for it as we wait in line to be
seated, and as we sit at our table waiting for it to be served. I beg to offer the notion that at times we even anticipate the arrival of said bread more so than the impending entree. My point being, this delicious "homemade" loaf of bread we covet, desire, yen, long for, drool over, fight over is NOT pre-sliced. It comes with an obscenely large knife, and we cut it ourselves before consuming it. The bread would seem less fancy, less fresh, and dare I say less appetizing if it was brought to us in a sliced condition.

Secondly, in this fast-food, microwave, dual-income household society, anyone fortunate enough to know someone who still bakes their own fresh homemade bread will certainly agree that the result of the baker's efforts is far superior to any pre-sliced bread you can buy, even in the finest of grocery emporiums. Who would prefer a loaf of plastic encased, twist tie bound, pre-sliced, name brand bread over fresh homemade bread? I venture to guess no one. The only drawback of the homemade bread is, you guessed it, we have to slice it ourselves. I think we'll certainly sacrifice the few seconds it takes to grab a knife and slice the bread, in exchange for the delicious taste we can't enjoy with pre-sliced bread.

Third, there is the factor of freshness. We go out and spend our hard-earned money on overpriced sliced bread at an inconvenient, overcrowded supermarket, not to mention wasting gas to drive there. We take it home, and what happens? Within a few days, this supposed miracle product gets stale, hard, and eventually moldy! And this is supposed to be the greatest invention ever?
I counter with the fact that unsliced bread will last longer. When you slice open a loaf of bread, you eliminate the protection of the outer crust casing, therefore exposing the inner bread to the air and elements, not to mention lurking molds and pesky insects. Sure, the outside of unsliced bread will eventually become hard as a
rock, but the insides may be salvageable, and soft enough to eat without necessitating dental work. At very least, you have a valuable weapon that could be used in defense of your life. Try throwing sliced bread at someone's head, and you will have to hope you can run away before they stop laughing.

So, in conclusion, I feel very strongly that the phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread", when used to imply that something is a great product, while still asserting that sliced bread is a superior product, is both erroneous and ludicrous. Sliced bread is not all it's hyped up to be. I suspect some bread maker propaganda is at work here...and I pray you will break the brainwashed hold they have over your mind and vocabulary.
I hope I have proven the point that most people greatly prefer unsliced
bread, thus making pre-sliced bread an inferior product. I could list tons of products that are better than sliced bread, such as bikinis, iPods, cheese, and Spongebob among others.
What's so great about sliced bread? Not much at all...

©2010 Denim McDemus

Friday, May 21, 2010

“You Know You Love Music If…”

You stay a little longer in your roasting hot car on a hot summer’s day, or freezing your butt off in the dead of winter, just so you can hear the end of a great song, even though you’ve already heard it a million times before, possibly even recently, and you have the same song available to listen to in several different analog and digital formats inside the comfort of your home.

You swallow your pride and pay $20 at FYE to buy the much anticipated new CD by one of your favorite bands, just to get it the first day it comes out, because FYE is closer to your house than Best Buy, and Walmart probably wouldn’t have had it. Buying it online and waiting until it was shipped to you would be unacceptable in such cases.

You’ve sat through terrible opening bands, such as The Boxing Gandhis, Vic Chestnut, or the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies just to hear a band you love, who fortunately came to your town, but unfortunately has bad taste in opening acts. Perhaps they had struggling artists forced upon them by their record label.

You’ve suffered through pop radio friendly headlining acts, just because the lesser known, and much more musically respectable bands you love, that everyone else hasn’t heard of yet, were surprisingly added as the opening acts. This explains why I once attended a Sheryl Crow concert...

You’ve bought your favorite albums on CD and mp3, even though you already own them on cassette tape and vinyl (and if the album has been around long enough, maybe even 8-track!). And when the money-hungry, integrity-free record company, who has inevitably inherited the rights to the album, releases a new “Re-mastered Special Edition” version, containing one arbitrary B-side or live track, you’ll go out and shell out the afore mentioned $20 just to add another copy of the album to your collection.

You’ve ever driven 14 hours in sweltering summer heat, in a ratty old car without air conditioning, and lived in a leaky, smelly tent for two weeks, without showers or any modern conveniences, with a friend who forgot to pack deodorant, and chose to eat bean-filled chili for every meal, just to enjoy a crowded concert festival featuring several bands you love, despite facing certain dehydration, probable sunstroke, and possible crushing in the process.

You’ve ever swallowed your pride and sacrificed precious hours of sleep, just in the off chance that MTV will air the one Dead Milkmen video they have somewhere around 2:00am, when they assume no one is watching.

You ever bought the soundtrack to a movie you’ve never seen, never intend to see, and may not even have any interest whatsoever in seeing, because they recruited great bands for the CD.

You spent a good amount of your adolescence memorizing every single band member listed in the liner notes of every cassette tape and CD you bought, not to mention every band they thanked for helping them along the way, that is, when you weren’t falling off of the rusty old metal folding chair you were standing on, just so you could see yourself rocking out on your air guitar, or your invisible microphone in your bureau’s mirror.

You know you love music if you’ve ever done any of these things. You know you truly love music if you’ve done them all.

© 2010 Denim McDemus

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Top 13 Adult-oriented Cartoons"

This list only contains animated cartoons that aired as regular series on TV in the US. They are cartoons that either target adult audiences, or have content within their episodes that only mature audiences would “get”. I based the list on creativity, quirkiness, humor, and entertainment value, not commercial success or longevity.

Top 13 Adult-oriented Cartoons
13. The Simpsons- This is the only one receiving consideration for longevity. The early episodes were kind of raw, and the later episodes are desperate for new ideas, but the seasons in the middle were very creative, humorous, and entertaining. Extra points for the line "I bent my wookie!"

12. Ren & Stimpy- Hilarious classic! Ren's great! And how great was the Slinkyesque "Log" jingle!

11. Daria- Most people didn't get the dry humor, but I certainly did! Daria is basically an animated female version me.

10. Space Ghost Coast to Coast/Cartoon Planet- Great reinventing of old cartoon characters. The Brak songs on Cartoon Planet are unbeatable entertainment. These shows are the reason Adult Swim exists.

9. The Tick- One of the most humorous cartoons ever. Hilarious main character, and creative side characters such as American Maid, Sewer Urchin, Bipolar Bear, and The Breadmaster.

8. Dr. Katz- Again, most people missed out on the hilarious dry humor, and were turned off by the slow pace. The exploits of Dr. Katz's slacker son Ben, and the therapy sessions with comedians such as Dom Irrera, Ray Romano, and Dave Attell are classic quirky humor for the mature mind.

7. Duckman- Hilarious, absurd, and very adult-oriented cartoon gem starring Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander, following the always immoral exploits of a Private Eye Duck, his dryly hilarious sidekick Cornfed Pig (brilliantly voiced by Gregg Berger), and Duckman's wacky family. A must see program, but without the kids.

6. Bevis & Butthead- Fire! Fire! One of the naughtiest and funniest adult-oriented cartoons of all time. The plots aren't great, but the segments where they commentate music videos are classic entertainment at it's finest. Extra points for spawning Daria.

5. The Critic- Jon Lovitz at his comedic best since his classic days on Saturday Night Live. One of the world's most underrated comedians delivered a very humorous and entertaining cartoon, with tons of great Pop Culture references, and laugh out loud slacker plots.

4. Family Guy- By far one of the most entertaining and creative cartoon series ever. Great characters, hilarious plots, and a plethora of wonderful Pop Culture references make this show hard to beat.

3. Aqua Teen Hunger Force- How can anyone not love this bizarrly hilarious program, filled with absurdly lovable characters? I guess not everyone "gets" the humor. Meatwad, Shake, Carl, and The Mooninites are some of the most enjoyable characters of all time, and their loony adventures leave me rolling on the floor. Besides, they're #1 in the hood, G.

2. Animaniacs/Pinky & The Brain- Hilarious and very creative cartoons from Warner Brothers.
Animaniacs is basically the hoodlum little brother of Tiny Toons, who pushes the envelope even further. As if the sheer wackiness wasn't enough entertainment, they really tried hard, and succeeded in sneaking a lot of double entendre past the censors. There were silly examples like telling Pablo Picaso, "There's p p on your shirt!", and much more shocking lines like saying to the dictator of Anvilania, "Ok Mr. Tator, or should I call you Dic?"
Pinky and The Brain is flat out brilliant, hilarious entertainment. Very creative, intelligent humor. The many absurd answers Pinky gives to the oft repeated question "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" are some of the most precious gems of all cartoondom.

1. Looney Toons/Merrie Meoldies- Simply the best cartoons ever! These childhood favorites we all grew up on are hilarious to child and adult alike. There were so many double entendres and adult themes presented in the zany antics of slightly insane characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, and the rest. These toons featured some of the greatest characters ever created, and some of the best animation and writing of all time. Most modern cartoons were heavily influenced by these very creative and funny classics. No other program has eclipsed their greatness, nor do I think any ever will.

Honorable Mention:
(I'm not thrilled with this list. Please comment your suggestions.)
AEon Flux
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs
Courage the Cowardly Dog
Dave The Barbarian
Ed, Edd, & Eddie
Family Dog
Growing Up Creepy
MTV’s Oddities: The Head & The Maxx
Spongebob Squarepants
Tiny Toons
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack

©2010 Denim McDemus

Monday, May 17, 2010

“Why Avatar is the Worst Movie Ever”

By my own admission, I have never, and will never see James Cameron’s equally overrated and over-marketed film “Titanic”, which I’ve always assumed was the worst film of all time. But I swallowed my pride and rented “Avatar”, to see what all the fuss was about. With the exception of “Gummo”, “Stan Helsing”, and possibly “Titanic”, “Avatar” is the worst film of all time. How can I say it beats out three films I’ve already stated are worse? Because “Avatar” was the most hyped up film of all time, beating out even the equally horrendous “Blair Witch Project”. It also beat out “Titanic” to become the highest domestic grossing film of all time, meaning more people’s minds have been tainted by this utter garbage than from any other film. Let’s look at some of the many criticisms I have of this film:

It has horrendous language for a PG-13 film that the studio knew a lot of kids would want to see. And then there’s the mating scene…

Blatant cruelty to animals that didn’t need to be in the plot at all.

Terrible sound editing. The audio levels of the sound effects and the score are mixed ridiculously loud, while the volume of the dialogue is mixed pathetically low. You have to choose between either suffering through eardrum blasting effects and music in order to hear what the characters are saying, or keep your hearing abilities intact, but struggle to follow the dialogue.

It’s very boring for a film that’s being hailed as “The Greatest Adventure of All Time”. It never became interesting. Some films warrant being extremely long, such as Braveheart, but his film would be boring even if it were trimmed down to 90 minutes. Most of the content of the film could have, and should have ended up as deleted scenes on the DVD’s special features. At no point in time did this film ever catch my interest.

The plot is very predictable and unoriginal. It borrows heavily from “The Cell”, “Dances With Wolves”, “Attack of the Clones”, and even “Braveheart”.

The dialogue is terrible, both spoken and subtitled. Lines like, “His alien smell fills my nose.” and “Outstanding!” really don’t motivate my viewing instincts.

Seeing scantily clad blue people is like having a bad nightmare after eating a jar of pickles just before bed, in which a village of Smurfs were stretched out to become tall and skinny, while their clothes stayed the same size.

Joel Moore, the dorky actor from “Grandma’s Boy” and “Dodgeball” in a role in which we’re supposed to take him seriously as a brilliant scientific mind? He’s a one-dimensional actor. Every character he plays comes across as exactly the same, and serious is not an adjective I would use.

Sam Worthington, the clichéd lead actor hero, is basically a John Cena clone, and that’s not meant as a compliment. He’s quite boring and monotone, even in very emotional scenes. And couldn’t they come up with a better character name than “Jake”?

Sigourney Weaver as the fowl-mouthed lead scientist certainly does not behave like a professional intellectual. Her character might be more believable as a bartender or evil stepmother, but not as the head of the most expensive and impressive technological breakthrough of all time.

With how much each avatar costs, why isn’t there anyway they can track it or see where it is? They have someone in the lab who is controlling each one with their minds, so why can’t they be tracked?

For how much money they spent on making this film, the effects are very unimpressive. If this film had come out 15 years ago, I might have been impressed. At times, I thought I was watching the “Land of the Lost” television series from the 1970’s.

James Cameron once again spent a ridiculous amount of money, delivered a terrible film, successfully marketed it to the sheep that are the general public, and lined his pockets with millions of dollars he did not earn. I hope all that money helps him sleep at night, when he realizes how badly he’s raped the US film industry.

©2010 Denim McDemus

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Love Affair With Music

I love music, good music anyway. There's a lot that gets passed off as these days that is harmful to both my ears and my sanity. There's a lot of garbage that becomes extremely successful and profitable for music executives and the sheep they parade in front of us claiming to be artists. They sugarcoat the lyrics, pop up the tune with catchy beats, and bombard the general public, especially those languishing in their awkward and impressionable tween and teen phases, with catchy marketing and strategic peer pressure.

I've loved good music my entire life. It's been one of the driving forces in my life for as long as I've had memories. I wanted to be a rock star from the time I was old enough to sing coherent words on my own. I was given the prenatal treat of attending my dad's band practices when I was still in my mother's womb. In my childhood, I was weened on the great Classic Rock tunes of the 1960's and 70's that my dad played all the time, both on his stereo and on his guitar. the last year or two of the 70's, I was old enough to pick out a few favorite songs to sing along to myself.

Growing up as a kid in the wonderful decade of the 80's, I was introduced to the FM Radio Pop Music of the time, as most young people are, before they really find a musical identity of their own. Fortunately for me, a lot of the popular music of the early 1980's was different than the "Pop" of the decades to follow. New Wave was in full swing, and at very least the most Pop-friendly bands of this exciting new genre, such as The Cars and The Police, could be heard on any Top 40 station in the US. These were the types of songs that would be buried on obscure "Alternative" radio and video programs in the late 80's and early 90's, being shunned from popular culture in favor of R&B, Rap, and Hair Rock.

And MTV really was "Music Television" in the 1980's, a rebellious, youth oriented cable network, where adolescents could tune in and be guaranteed to see music videos from bands we liked, a variety of bands, rather than the Reality TV nonsense and five artist rotations aired on that now corporately puppeteered network today.

As the musical culture of America began to change for the worse, away from the pure Rock & Roll of my youth, and the sophistication of New Wave in my early adolescence, towards mass produced corporate bubblegum Pop Rock, and gimmick filled Rap and Rock acts, preconceived in stuffy offices rather than smokey garages, my musical tastes gravitated away from the mainstream, and towards Indie Rock, and the unfortunately but aptly named "Alternative Rock". But not the MTV bred, prefab "Alternative Rock" that became commercially successful and overly trendy in the mid to late 90's, but REAL music, by real bands, bands that balked at corporate cookie cutter formats, and held true to their musical integrity.

The late 90's and the 2000's were not good times for music, at least not the music most people were able to hear. There were a few bright spots out there, but Rap, R&B, and Pop infected the airwaves. The few Rock bands still out there became overshadowed by the scourge that is Emo, a sad perversion of Goth, Punk, and New Wave, perpetrated by kids who weren't even alive during the heydays of the bands they're now so poorly imitating. I found myself forgoing current artists in favor of 70's-early 90's Punk, Ska, and "Alternative".

As we begin our journey into the unsure times of 2010, not knowing what the musical culture of this generation will be like, my outlook is not hopeful. There are a few bright spots out there, such as Rise Against, The Briggs, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, and Against Me, and some holdovers like Pennywise, NOFX, Bouncing Souls, and Dropkick Murphys, but mainstream America would rather have their ears tickled by the intolerable din of Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and The Black Eyed Peas. FM is a joke, MTV has no music, and even satellite radio has become almost unbearable. Thank God for iPods! Thank God those of us who still remember how great music can be can still cue up The Cure, The Smiths, The Ramones, and The Clash 24/7, to preserve our own sanity.

Copyright 2010 Denim McDemus

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top 13 Album Titles of All Time

It's time for this week's Top 13 list, The Top 13 Album Titles of All Time.
I searched long and hard through my iTunes, Internet search engines, and the recesses of my own Pop Culture plagued min, and came up with this list. (admittedly, most of the list came from albums I own)
I had to leave out a lot of worthy candidates in the process of weeding it down, so if some of your favorites are missing, they probably just barely missed the cut.
The criteria I used to make this list was creativity, humor, poetic value, and originality.
So without further adieu:

Top 13 Album Titles:

13. Teenage Politics by MxPx
Great title from West Coast Pop-Punk heroes. Describes the unpleasant experience we all went through in High School, whether you were trying desperately to fit in, or trying your hardest not to.

12. Dark Side of the Moon & Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd
Always poetic, legendary Psychedelic Rockers Pink Floyd hit high notes title-wise with these two great albums.    

11. Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Uncle Meat by Frank Zappa
Always quirky, always creative, I narrowed Frank Zappa's nominations down to these three albums.

10. Losers, Kings, and Things We Don't Understand by Less Than Jake
What better title for a compilation album by slacker Ska-Punk band Less Than Jake?

9. The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste by Ministry
Industrial giants Ministry make the list with the HILARIOUS, yet politically incorrect play on a famous charitable organization's overplayed PSAs. Admit it, you laughed when you first heard this title!

8. Big Lizard in my Backyard, Death Rides a Pale Cow, & Metaphysical Graffiti by Dead Milkmen
I struggled to limit myself to these three album titles by Philadelphia's greatest quirky Post-Punk band. Be sure to look beyond the titles, because this band owns some of the funniest lyrics around. 
7. Songs to Burn Your Bridges By by Project 86
Great aggressive album title for the powerful musical assault contained within by West Coast Hardcore experts Project 86. Truthless Heroes came close to making the list too.   

6. The Living End by Husker Du
Husker Du had many great moments, but none finer than this. The ominous title is an exact description of what you're hearing, the living end of Husker Du. This is a collection of live tracks from their final tour, as tensions between Bob Mould and Grant Hart were exploding on stage. The internal strife, and the need to outdo each other is what drove their performances to greatness, and is why this title needs to be on this list. 

5. Plastic Surgery Disasters by Dead Kennedys
Great title (and cover art) by the quirky and purposely offensive Bay Area punk legends Dead Kennedys.  

4. Supersadomasochisticexpialidocious by Elvis Hitler
Hilarious title from the little known Detroit metal band Elvis Hitler. I am one of the few people who own this.

3. Cupcakes Taste Like Violence by Jeffrey Star
I love this title from the Electro-Punk Queen Jeffrey Star! This is the only album in the Top 13 I do not own.  

2. Pocket Full of Kryptonite by Spin Doctors
Great title for an album filled with songs about being the underdog, such as Two Princes, How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me), & the title referencing Jimmy Olsen Blues, from 1990's Alternative Jam Band Spin Doctors. 

1. Hitler Bad, Vandals Good by The Vandals
Simple, yet brilliant, hilarious, and true album title by West Coast Punk legends The Vandals tops our list. 

Honorable Mention:
About a Burning Fire by Blindside
And Out Come The Wolves & Let The Dominoes Fall by Rancid
Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub
Beautiful Freak by Eels
Black Sheets of Rain by Bob Mould
Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth
Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant by Belle & Sebastian
Mystery of the Whisper by The Cruxshadows
Pretty Hate Machine by NIN
Recipe For Hate by Bad Religion
The Fiction We Live by From Autumn to Ashes
The Unfortunate Result of Spare Time by The Badlees