• The Tournament of Tunes 2010 - Chapter 3 (The Sweet Sixteen)

    5 Mar 2010, 14:13 de JoeIsListening

    As we make our way into what is actually March, the competition gets fiercer and the descriptions get verboser. There's still a little dross that needs to be burned away, but more than that will be gone by the end of the day - especially when you consider that 75% of the songs in the running have been eliminated by now. An impressive statistic, no? I'm sure my math teacher friends could come up with better ones, but this was the best a right brained dreamer could cook up on short notice. And now, on with the countdown.

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    Frosted Flake Wood - Hooverphonic ***
    All the Way Up to Heaven - Guster ***

    Difficulty: ++
    Comments: The Guster is a nice, poppy song, but it's not one of the best tracks on the album and I'm beginning to wonder if Lost and Gone Forever is one of those records where the songs are all better in context with each other. I could almost say the same about the Hooverphonic song, except it's so strange and quirkly that it's actually started to endear itself to me. …
  • The Tournament of Tunes 2010 - Chapter 2 (32)

    26 Feb 2010, 15:16 de JoeIsListening

    Okay, last week half of the entries disappeared. This week, another half will disappear. And the next week, and the next...

    But according to Zeno's Paradox, I will never get to the end.

    Okay, maybe that's a little obscure for a Friday morning, but it's the best I could do because I've had a long week, too. And now, on with the show...

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    Frosted Flake Wood - Hooverphonic ***
    Perspective - Peter Gabriel ***

    Difficulty: ++
    Comments: I've been a long-time fan of Peter Gabriel, but there's something about the Hooverphonic song that's evocative, even if it is a little weird. And there's that Mellotron, too.
    The Winner: Frosted Flake Wood.

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    All the Way Up to Heaven - Guster ***
    Sam Hall - Johnny Cash **

    Difficulty: ++
    Comments: Both of these songs wearing a little thin during round 2. Perhaps I need to reassess the rating of the Guster song.
    The Winner: Guster

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    Got To Get You In My Life - The Beatles ***
  • The Tournament of Tunes 2010 - Chapter 1 (64)

    19 Feb 2010, 13:37 de JoeIsListening

    Masochist that I am, here I go for the third year in a row with my answer to March Madness - namely Music Madness. Sixty-four songs randomly chosen by my iTunes, the only stipulation being that participants from previous years have been excluded.

    This year's crop is interesting. There are no less than three long medleys here. There's not as much over-representation of artists this year; Ben Folds gets three - one with and two without the Five; and Sufjan Stevens and Smashing Pumpkins each score two entries (which is strange because I only have two Pumpkins albums). As in years previous, there's a great spread of material, from pop to prog to jazz to novelty. Jandek even rears his head once more. Seems like he's had an entry every year.

    One changeup from last year. My difficulty rating symbol has been changed from the reliable asterisk to the plus sign - the scale being one plus (I could judge this one without listening to either song but I did anyway just to be fair) to five pluses (why…
  • Now-It's-March Madness: The Tournament of Tunes, Week 3 (The Sweet Sixteen)

    7 Mar 2008, 15:00 de JoeIsListening

    Hoo-hah! It's March and we're down to the Sweet Sixteen! That can only mean one thing... eight musical acts will leave here disappointed. That is, if they even hear of this shenanigans. And if they even care. But before I go down that downward spiral of despair, here's the results of the current round:

    Electric Blue - Icehouse
    vs,
    Hidden Track - Fay Lovsky
    Difficulty: ***
    Winner: Fay Lovsky
    Comments: The Icehouse track is a slick bit of electropop and was one of the few hits from this truly underrated band. As with many hits, it's not their best track, but was definitely worthy of attention. The Fay Lovsky track, however, is a quirky Asian-influenced piece whose story takes place in Hong Kong. It shows off her ability to experiment musically and succeed - and it's a charming track, to boot.

    Moods For Moderns - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    vs,
    Earn Enough for Us - XTC
    Difficulty: *****
    Winner: It's modern!
  • Not-Quite-March-Yet Madness: The Tournament of Tunes, Week 2 (32)

    29 Feb 2008, 13:48 de JoeIsListening

    With this round I am introducing a new feature, the Difficulty-O-Meter, which gauges the degree of difficulty in deciding which song advances. The scale runs from * (no contest, no thought required) to ***** (pass the razor blades). This will hopefully force me to make more relevant comments than "this was no contest" and "this was a hard choice."

    Electric Blue - Icehouse
    vs,
    Jump Town -Harry James & His Orchestra
    Difficulty: ***
    Winner: Icehouse
    Comments: The Aussies carry this battle of the midlist tracks.

    Love Is a Rodeo - Golden Earring
    vs,
    Hidden Track - Fay Lovsky
    Difficulty: ***
    Winner: Fay
    Comments: Maybe Fay will marry me if she wins!

    Moods For Moderns - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    vs,
    Put A Lid On It -Squirrel Nut Zippers
    Difficulty: ****
    Winner: Elvis is king
    Comments: Costello's quirkiness carries the match.

    Rael 2 - The Who
    vs,
    Earn Enough for Us - XTC
    Difficulty: *
    Winner: XTC
    Comments: The progress of the throwaway track halted by a solid XTC entry.
  • Not-Quite-March-Yet Madness: The Tournament of Tunes, Week 1 (64)

    22 Feb 2008, 14:24 de JoeIsListening

    Okay, I've stolen some ideas from a number of different sources, and the upshot is this: I'm celebrating my indifference towards professional basketball my running my own tournament here on Last.

    I set up iTunes to give me 64 random songs off of my main playlist (albeit with more access to outsider music than usual - I wanted the contest to be interesting). These will be divided into 32 musical face offs. Losers go away and the winners advance until "there can only be one." For added suspense, I will post the results every Friday between now and March 28th, at which time one song will reign supreme.

    Who will triumph? XTC goes into the contest with the deck stacked - four songs in the running. But there are solid songs from other favorites and a couple of dark horses that are the only songs in my collection from particular artists. Got an inside track on the workings of my mind? Call your bookie now!

    One odd thing with this first tournament: no Joe Jackson! I've…