FALL 2016 MIX (OR, A MOST MISCELLANEOUS POST) | 20th November, MMXVI

Yes hi all I’m back. For the first time since I started Everything Must Swing I couldn’t make up my own mind on what to write about in a single blogpost, which felt kind of irritating and strange at first but somehow got ok after a while and I have since been able to come to terms with it. Therefore, this one is to be understood more as a collection of scattered, not necessarily-related topics that have contributed to filling my thoughts during the initial period of this fall (or autumn, for those reading from the UK). On top of this, the past few have literally been some sort of crazy weeks to experience, for (more or less) obvious reasons. Really interesting times to be in folks, oh boy they are.

Partly because of the latter point I’d like to start this post by raising awareness and the reader’s attention to an online initiative called 30 Days, 30 Songs. The project is essentially an independent website turned protest movement that had been releasing one song per day from October 10 until US Election Day. At heart, the initiative gathers different artists united in their desire “to speak out against the ignorant, divisive, and hateful campaign of Donald Trump”. Or, as they like to put it themselves:

“We will not be duped by Mr. Trump’s rhetorical contortions, by his pandering and lies and false promises. He has shown the content of his character time and time again, and the very fact of his candidacy is a blight on the nation. His words incite hatred and celebrate inequity. Most troubling of all, over the past year, the country has become inured to the towering vileness of his rhetoric and deeds, his attacks on women, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, and those with disabilities. But we have to remember these acts, and act against them. In the words of Cornell West, we cannot become ‘well-adjusted to injustice’.”

Out of the wealthy catalogue of artists who contributed to the compilation – which incidentally and possibly out of recent developments expanded itself becoming 30 Days, 50 Songs – there’s one particular song that stood out to me, namely “Locker Room Talk” by Long Beach-based indie rock band Cold War Kids. While my previous knowledge of the band’s music certainly helped cementing this connection, I’m not entirely sure what exactly struck me so much in this song, hence I’d rather let the song speak for itself and let the readers decide whether they’d like to agree with me or not:

[Verse 1]
Locker room talk
I can’t believe
You think you’re gonna get around it
Dirt in your mouth
Mic on the sleeve
We all heard how it sounded

[Pre-Chorus]
So many lies
Ya think that it’s true
Try walking on water
With a brick in your shoes
You’re gonna end up drowning
So many lies
Ya think that it’s true
Try walking on water
With a brick in your shoes
You’re gonna end up drowning

[Chorus]
It took a long time to break these walls
And he wanna build ’em up
It takes a long time
To earn my trust
I’m gonna give it to the girl I love

[Verse 2]
Ya conquer the small
To live like a king
From way up in your tower
Show us your hand
We know you’re just bluffing
You got no real power
Keeping your word
Don’t mean a thing
All your friends turn in to enemies
How could you be grounded?

[Bridge]
The hate in your heart
Everybody can see
Your head is hollow, man
You ain’t fit to lead
Let’s stand up and be counted

[Outro]
The girl I love
Give it to the girl I love

Moreover, the last two weeks have been characterised by the release of two of the most highly anticipated albums of this year, that is Policeman Sting’s 57th & 9th and the just unearthed tenth studio album by mighty Metallica called Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. While I’m definitely not in a position now to express myself on said records in form of a proper ARM writing (which might as well never see the light of the Interweb as far as I’m concerned), initial reception and surrogated feelings are very positive and encouraging, especially with regard to Sting’s output. I don’t know if it is because of the contemporary harsher socio-political times or maybe even a need for revisiting older sounds, but both records totally seem to borrow heavily from both artists’ harder and more direct past influences than ever before in recent times. As said, extremely uplifting signs suggesting that – unlike other artistic and societal domains – true, real music is still to be trusted and sought after.

Speaking of real music, another interesting thing I stumbled upon just recently is a NME’s news story item claiming that a Kanye West fan named Dorian_Ye on Reddit massively reworked on the Chicago rapper’s latest album The Life of Pablo by remixing the whole tracklist as well as adding in some early demo leaks, tracks that never made it onto the record and songs that West samples on the LP. I think the result is pretty spectacular and some cuts off the remixed collection such as “Famous”, “Highlights”, “30 Hours” and “No More Parties in LA” sound even stronger and meatier than Kanye’s OG version itself. Regardless of taste, what this guy did is incredibly intricate and I think he definitely deserves a shout out and some RTs online. By the way, here’s how he defines his approach to the whole project, very much in harmonic spirit with Kanye’s original creative vision:

“My criteria for editing the songs was based off of what I felt were the best elements of the final Pablo tracks, the earlier Pablo tracks and the original samples, and how I could blend them together in the most efficient manner. Please keep in mind that a lot of the earlier versions and demos of Pablo songs were not of the highest sound quality (as well as one or two samples on here that were impossible to find HQ rips for). I tried re-mixing the additional elements in these tracks along with adding bass and treble to help them blend in better, but not all of it is 100% perfect. Also, moving this record up 3 weeks from its original December release means that I didn’t have time to get the mixing down quite as perfect as I wanted to (though I still think it sounds pretty solid overall), but much like TLOP I intend for this to be a “living document” and hopefully before the end of the year I’ll have an updated version out with some minor mixing tweaks.”

Let me then switch from the audio to the video artistic realm for the last part of this post by spending a few words on a couple of TV shows that got me excited lately. My choice might indeed surprise you, not least because of the mainstream and social media buzz series like Black Mirror, Narcos or Westworld are currently getting. No, the series I’d like to highlight at this point in time are political drama show Designated Survivor and comedy The Ranch, both available on a website for watching TV shows called Netflix. I believe that my fondness of the two shows comes from two very different places. Designated Survivor relies on my enjoyment of the not-so-remotely-related show House of Cards – come on, in the end it’s all about the President of the United States of America – by adding an extremely addictive catchiness to its high-paced plot making it one of my most binge-watched series of all time. Sadly, there’s only one 10-episode season available as of now though judging by public reception and its ratings we shouldn’t be waiting too long for further seasons. The Ranch, instead, is a gritty, punchy and very, very funny short-form sitcom starring mass tech investor Ashton Kutcher that takes place at a fictional ranch in Colorado narrating the life of the Bennett family, nothing else than a truly dysfunctional group of relatives consisting of two drunken brothers, their angsty rancher father and his separated wife, who also happens to be the local bar owner. Simply great television, not much else to add.

Lastly, just in case you’re asking yourself, yes, I’m still wondering where the hell that promised Ryan Adams record is too. I haven’t forgotten either. Checking his Twitter feed on a daily basis. He can’t be fooling us around for too long. Can’t he?

I’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and I hope to feel your interest again next time.

AV

P.s.: Happy Thanksgiving USA!

http://www.30days30songs.com

30-days-30-songs

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