Trust the Gene Genie

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Did you ever

I was going back lookng at my Perfect Song series and realized my first post only listed two songs while the rest include three. So today is the Perfect Song Vol. 1 bonus edition. You can catch up with the past editions here, here, here and here.

The indomitable spirit of The Rob Report remains. That's the way we work around here. While the first response was overwhelming, I must soldier on. So once again, the first three folks to merely respond in the comments get a free copy of The Rob Report's Perfect Songs Vol.1, which will include today's bonus song. C'mon, free goods, it's what the internet exists for.

The Samples' "Did You Ever Look So Nice": The Samples spent their entire career on the cusp of making it big. For some reason, complete commercial success always eluded them and they've since kind of faded off into semi-obscurity. But back in the '90's, they were constantly turning out material that shimmered and rang and stuck in your head for weeks on end. In a good way. One of the finest examples, and probably one of the simplest, purest pop songs out there, is their fourth track from "No Room," "Did You Ever Look So Nice." The song is pure Samples. It's upbeat and catchy and wonderfully melodic, almost shiny. Like a lot of the band's songs it hides a sense of nostalgia and longing behind this happy, bouncy ode to a beautiful girl. "Growing up was on our faces/I remember yours so sweet." In true Samples fashion, the lyrics don't completely make sense, "And if we make through these changes/To find that nothing was in store/But the plans of our exchanges/Did they ever look so nice/Did you ever you ever look so nice." But that just adds another layer . If this song doesn't make you smile by the end, you have a heart of stone.

And so, here, the complete track listing of Perfect Pop Songs, Vol. 1 (the links at the top of the post will take you to my praise-tastic write-ups of each song):

1. The Sample's "Did You Ever Look So Nice"

2. Wilco's "Red Eyed and Blue"

3. U2's "If You Wear That Velvet Dress"

4. The Connell's "'74-'75"

5. The Push Stars' "Opening Time"

6. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs' "El Matador"

7. U2's "Big Girls Are Best"

8. Midnight Oil's "The Dead Heart"

9. Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out"

10. Spoon's "Everything Hits at Once"

11. U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)"

12. Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A word on that one band

I guess we need to put this to bed once and for all.

Dave very aptly pointed out that I've never really stated what it is about Creed that sucks, I've only said they suck. So let me see if I can quantify just what it is about this band I really don't like.

For me, I guess it comes down to two things: lack of any creativity and possessing no originality. To my untrained ears they sound like a bad Pearl Jam cover band. I listen to their songs and it's like they all hit this kind of emotional short-hand. The big power chords, the simple melodies, the generalized lyrics. They make an immediate sensory impact on the listener. It all adds up to Creed being the Smarties of the rock world -- music that's sweet and immediately palatable and then gone as quickly as it came. To me, as a listener, that's lazy and insulting. And I get bored of it really quick.

Had they not sounded like every other grunge rock band that came before them, had their big singles not been played into the ground, had the Evangelical Christians not latched onto the band, I might have given them more of a chance.

The thing is I like music that challenges me. It doesn't have to be indie, it doesn't have to be obscure. It just has to challenge me. That's everything from Queen to Elvis Costello to Wilco to U2. I don't get sick of it, I always hear something new when I listen to it and it entertains me. Creed simple didn't do those things for me. You've heard one Creed song, you've almost literally heard them all.

To be honest, Dave and I may have gotten off on the wrong foot. Creed and U2 are two different groups, appealing to two different people for a variety of different reasons. I will say that as I clumsily tried to make my point about U2 being a better band, in some respects I may have simply been comparing apples to oranges. The issue is moot at any rate. Creed is no longer together and U2 has been inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

One more point, before I put away the pen. I often fall into the trap of pegging people by the music they listen to -- because I define myself by the music I listen to. That's a fallacy. Not everyone defines themselves by their music. So I'll just say, bear in mind U2's the best band on the planet and everything will be right as rain.

Edicion familiar

Here's the update; I've been meaning to do this since Saturday. The fathers/sons was a blast. Leigh, for the most part, did really well. The weather had us nervous. It was pouring in Redding and the further east we got the more constant the rain became. But Leigh and I decided we weren't made of surgar -- we could handle a little rain. The foritude paid off. About 20 miles from the campground the rain stopped and the skies cleared.

Anyway, we got there, set up our tent and Leigh immediately wanted to jump inside, get on her pajamas and crawl in her sleeping bag. It's about 7 at this point and we hadn't even eaten dinner. But, who am I to argue with a three-year-old? She got changed, got into her sleeping bag and after 5 minutes, decided that was good. We were up and out to dinner. She chowed on potato salad and then sat by the fire once it got dark and roasted a couple marshmallows. Fire and surgar. She was in heaven.

It wasn't nearly as cold at night as last year's campout and Leigh managed to sleep pretty much through the night. Except for one point at like 2 in the morning when she decided she wanted to crawl into my mummy bag. Yeah, it didn't work. We bundled her up and got her back to sleep without incident.

After breakfast we went and climbed this gigantic rubble pile of volcanic rock that's like 300 feet high. The whole way up it was, "Daddy? We climb mountain?" over and over. It was fun.

Comments about her being the only girl at an all-boys event were relatively few. One obnoxious 9-year-old, known in the ward for being the primary's most pious know-it-all (that maybe a little harsh, he's pretty funny most of the time and helped me put the rain fly on my tent) told me I probably shouldn't have taken Leigh and that we should charge girls to come to the fathers/son.

I asked him what are fathers who have no sons to do? He responded, "take a non-member." You can't argue with that. I told him once Leigh was too old to take, that's what I'd do -- if he promised to do it as well. I didn't get a definite reponse.

In other news, I've taken my brother-in-law Scott's advice and told the rest of the family about the Rob Report. So, welcome family. Sit back and enjoy my pointless, meandering writings.

And to you Luker, a special shout-out. Lucky bastard has a disease named after him.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's all brand new

The time has come, as Peter Garrett once said. After two years and more than a thousand hits, I'm updating the look of The Rob Report. So I give you the generic blog template SnapShot Sable. If I were somekind of savy computer guy, I could maybe design my own page. As such, we'll make do riding on the coattails of Blogger.

It's late May. That means the annual Fathers/Sons Campout is coming. It's an interesting tradition, if you stop to think about it. To commerate the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, fathers take thier sons and head for the hills. Describing it like that almost makes it sound fundamentalist. It's not really like that. Mostly, it's an excuse to go camping and hang out with your familiars. And if your ward is doing it right, the event will include a short, concise, campfire devotional on the Aaronic Priesthood.

Anyway, the Fathers/Sons is tomorrow. We'll be heading up to Hat Creek, which is a pretty nice area to go camping. I bring it up because I have no male offspring, just two beautiful, crazy daughters. Two years ago, when we first got to Redding and Claire was just 3, the ward was making a push to get all the priesthood holders to go, sons or no sons. I thouht it would be alright but thouhgt it wouldn't really be fair to leave Becky alone with two crazies for a weekend while I went off camping, so I took along Claire. And we had a blast.

Anyway, she's closing in on 6 now and these days really kinda sticks out as a girl at an all-boys-and-men event. But Leigh (there on the right), well, she's 3 now. I can take her. So yeah, I'll keep the family tradition alive and take a daughter to the Fathers/Sons. And it should be a good time. Leigh is hilarious. She's a total goofball 3-year-old and if you can placate her mean streak (and it is a serious mean streak), she's a lot fun to hang out with.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I'm Resting

I'm resting on my laurels. Now that I've passed that magical threshold of a thousand hits, it's like I've got nothing left to do. I know, I know. My reader (singular) is clamoring for more. So I post on. Actually, I might be embelishing a little bit. No one's really clamoring for more. Except my pride. It's clamoring for more. It should be put in its place.

Anyway. There's a little bit new to write about. I finally picked up a copy of Passengers -- U2's 1995 experimental electonica album they recorded with Brian Eno. I've, of course, heard it before. Some of it was pretty freakin eclectic. And listening to it now, well, nothing's really changed. It's almost obtuse. But still kind of fun.

So my brother-in-law Scott has started his own blog, called the Scogg. I know, pretty awesome. Anyway, he's easily the funniest and more gregarious of all my marriage relations, so I'm looking forward to reading all his musings. Well, maybe not all of them. He's a city manager too. If he goes off on urban planning, I might fade off.

Which presents an interesting dilema for me. I purposely didn't tell the family I created my blog, because in those early days I used it to kind of rage against those family members that bugged me. I know, it's very passive aggressive of me. But everyone needs an outlet. Anyway, the Report's been pretty family friendly for a year now. So I'm left with the dilema, Do I tell the fam about the Rob Report, or do I continue on writing for my audience of two -- sometimes three -- readers? Or do I go back and expunge the offending material and then go public? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

It's at times like these I'm grateful for Show and Tell Music. And more specifically for the Mystery Singer. He makes life just a little more sweet. If only we knew who he was. Seriously. If I ever put out an album, this is how I'm doing it. Show and Tell is going through a redesign, so most of its album art archive is not available. But there's still a pretty good amount of stuff there, enough to keep you plenty entertained for hours. Go check it out. You'll thank me later.

And, as one final note, go support your local immigrant population. It's them with us that makes America truly what it is. Por este razon, yo digo, Viva Mexico. Y viva el obredor. Tienen derechos tal como tu y yo. Y deben poder llegar a ser ciudadanos de este pais si quieren. Hizimos lo mismo por tus abuelos.

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