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Greg Nilsen Posts

Midweek Music Break: Justin Timberlake – SexyBack

So, for some reason it took be about a decade to actually come around and like this song…

I mean, after rising with a meh boy band and not making too many good songs himself, while still having women go gaga over him, I took him for a vapid self-indulged talent-less tool.

However, The Lonely Island and Jimmy Fallon made me rethink everything.  So, after many years I’ve come around…at least to this song.  Besides, the beat’s by Timbaland, who’s just about the best in the business.

So, put on a smile and get down with your bad self…this one’s just for fun!

Midweek Music Break: Silversun Pickups – The Wild Kind

I’ve been a fan of the Silversun Pickups for a while now, and their 2015 album, Better Nature, is another great collection of songs.  My favorite so far has been “The Wild Kind”:

This is the last song on the album, and it has that feel.  It takes it’s time, starts out slow, builds up, and then chills out again.  And somehow, it manages to maintain an ethereal feel to it across the song.  It’s also a slight departure from some of the band’s darker and cynical songs, which might also be part of the draw.  I always enjoy when a band tackles something out of their safe zone, and then does it well.  It’s almost as satisfying as when they manage to hit the bar on a follow-up song we as listeners tend to set for them when we like a song.

If you haven’t checked out Better Nature yet, I’d advise checking it out.  It’s even available streaming for free on Prime Music.

Midweek Music Break: Turbowolf – Nine Lives

Once again, thank you Guitar Hero

I was playing Guitar Hero Live’s TV mode last week and was treated to this song (with it’s extremely phychidelic video), and afterwards I couldn’t get it out of my head, so it’s now joined my collection.

I love how this song just hits and keeps on hitting, making it a great driving song, and the intertwining of male and female vocals makes the song distinct.  It’s like a modern homage to 70’s rock, somewhere between The White Stripes and Alice Cooper…and a whole lot of fun!

Midweek Music Break: R.E.M. – Strange Currencies

R.E.M.’s Monster is my favorite album by the band, by far.  The grit and the character of the offbeat songs really struck a chord when I was in high school, and one of my favorites was “Strange Currencies”.

While the lyrics are a little awkward, and almost stalker-ish (in that “I’m desperately in love with you, and you clearly aren’t, but I really hope I can win you over” kinda way).  While I’m not keen on the sentiment (which captures “Nice Guy Syndrome” almost perfectly), it’s still a beautifully crafted song from non-traditional sounds that I can listen to over and over.


Midweek Music Break: Mousse T. with Roachford – Pop Muzak

Following up on the mashup from a few weeks ago, I thought I’d continue the theme with another, but drastically different song from Mousse T.

When I first heard this song, I wasn’t sure whether to take it seriously, or as a farce on the typical pop song.  Then I realized I can have both!

On one hand, it’s a beautiful and well-done pop love song, and on the other, it’s almost so cookie cutter that it’s hard to take at face value.

Either way, it’s catchy as all get out, and I can’t help but gobble it up!

On Being Human…

As a white male in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I’ve honestly not had to spend a lot of time dealing with racism and sexism, but I have had the fortune to come across a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds.  I’ve always tried to use those interactions to learn more about other cultures and learn to see things from other perspectives.  I want to stand on my own merits, and try to treat others in the same way.

I won’t say I’m perfect though.  I’m sure I’ve said the wrong thing more than once and offended people I never meant to.  When I do so, I try to recognize it and course correct, so it doesn’t happen again.

Some may view that as being a people pleaser, trying to be politically correct.  I see it as treating others as human, and I try to make sure my boys see it as the normal way to act, and not a badge of honor.

So, I have a hard time understanding the mindset of the bold racist/sexist.  And twice in this young this week, I was caught by a few different introspections on the subject:

First was Dave Kellett, a California cartoonist who creates the hilarious Sheldon and Stripped (the greatest documentary on comics ever, which is available on Netflix).  I really appreciate his reflection on the world around him:

Second, is a bit close to home, and it hurts because of it.  Virginia Montanez has been writing about her Pittsburgh experiences as long as I can remember.  Sometimes scathing, and sometimes humorous, she hits a home run with this response to a racist troll.

This only persists as long as we put up with it, and there’s no reason for anyone to lash out against someone they know nothing about.  I know the easy thing to do is to shy away and let it pass, but I encourage you to speak up when you see this abhorrent behavior.  The vocal minority will only continue to get their way as long as the silent majority stays silent…

Midweek Music Break: Dropkick Murphys – Surrender

While I was first introduced to the Dropkick Murphys with “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya“, I was looking for something a bit more positive for St. Patrick’s Day…

Surrender is a high-energy song with surprisingly introspective lyrics (which are, honestly, only slightly more positive than “Johnny”), but it’s about rediscovering meaning and carrying on.  It’s too easy to get bogged down in the negative and problems, so we must fight that and move forward.

So, today, remember what’s been lost, celebrate what you have, and work to make tomorrow even brighter!

$50 to watch a movie at home?  It’s like they’re not even trying anymore…

The Screening Room, backed by Sean Parker, is trying to encourage Hollywood studios and exhibitors to offer first-run movies at home for $50.

Source: Day & Date Movies at Home for $50 Being Pitched to Studios, Exhibitors | Variety

Look, I probably only bother to see 2-3 movies a year in the theater as it is, so the idea of spending $150 in equipment and then $50 a pop to watch a movie on my television sounds absurd.  I mean, I can barely justify spending $15 on Amazon to buy a movie that I get to keep.

While I understand that I’m not the target audience for this service, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around who is the target audience.  So far, the best I can come up with is:

  • people who fear public spaces who like bad movies
  • germophobes who like bad movies
  • people who kept watching the Oscars after Chris Rock’s monologue

I’m sure they’ll get some traction along they way, but I really can’t see this being a common thing.  The only possible beneficiary, besides the Screening Room, is the movie studios.  If they were able to get a high-margin content delivery system in place (requiring a set in almost every home), they could win big.  However, that doesn’t seem like a very safe bet, because if the consumer doesn’t see benefit, they aren’t likely to buy.

Midweek Music Break: Mousse T. vs. Dandy Warhols – Horny As A Dandy

Ok, I’m often a sucker for a good mashup, especially when something new emerges.  In this case, the mashup is completely new, but still manages to capture the essence of both songs (especially since the underlying theme of the Dandy Warhols’ “Bohemian Like You” is “sure, whatever weird stuff you’re into is fine…can we do it?”).

In this case, the mashup is completely new, but still manages to capture the essence of both songs (especially since the underlying theme of the Dandy Warhols “Bohemian Like You” is “sure, whatever weird stuff you’re into is fine…can we do it?”), and you still get the energy of Mousse T.’s “Horny ’98“, but swap out the disco beat for grunge.  Plus, you get the trippy Franz Ferdinand style music video for free!

And that’s your dose of odd fun for the week!

Midweek Music Break: LCD Soundsystem – Disco Infiltrator

Heard this one on my commute today, and while LCD Soundsystem is best known for “Daft Punk is Playing at My House“, their entire self-titled 2005 debut album was pretty awesome.  “Disco Infiltrator” is just one of many great songs on the album.

Unlike some other songs I’ve shared, this one is a bit harder to pin down why I enjoy it.  It is eminently dance-able, very raw, and has a feel that is distinct to the band, with a lot of personality.  Yet, it’s the overall song and not any particular portion that really draws you in.  And that’s fairly unique, as most songs live on “the hook”, and while it’s there in the song, it’s clearly just a part of the whole.

Anyway, now that the band is back together after a 4-year hiatus, I’m excited to see what they come up with next.