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THE TOP 38 ALBUMS OF 2014

Hello, and welcome to the 2014 Year End Music Extravaganza!!!  This year, we've got three blogs instead of two, because last year I had a meltdown.  But fear not, consumer!  Our stark-ravings have turned into your savings!  2013's album list can be read right here, and The Top 20 Songs Of 2014 can be read right here.

So, coming off a year last year that had me doubting my interest in writing and music in their entireties, how did we do this year?  Well, music is pretty fucking weak, to be honest.  Impressively enough, there is something good I can say about every entry on this list, and that's never happened before, but that's also part of the problem.  The distance between the top and the bottom entries in quality has never been so small, and therefore everything kinda averages out.  It was an average quality year.  Couple that with a dismal year for quantity (I can make a top 40 out of every year going back to the 80's if I wanted to, with the possible exception …

The Top 20 Songs Of 2014

This was actually a pretty weird year for songs.  I could've subtitled this "The St. Vincent Show", because, lo and behold, she has SIX entries on this list.  SIX.  Her album only has 11 songs.  That's fucknuts.  Animals As Leaders has four.  There have been nine acts that have notched three before now, but both of these are record breakers.  (For the record, they were: 2013: Janelle Monae, 2012: myself, 2011: Company Of Thieves (God, I miss that band...), 2010: Gorillaz, 2009: Spiral Trance and Method Man & Redman, 2008: Meshuggah, Busta Rhymes and, unbelievable but true, Ashlee Simpson.)  Shit, Skrillex is on here three times, and that ain't shit.

Anyway, it's been a weird year.  (Another bizarre stat is that neither the album I picked for number one OR number two are represented on this countdown.  Let the rampant speculation begin...)  I figured I'd switch it up, since I don't normally offer commentary on the song lists, and throw a few though…

COUNTDOWN ABORTED: A Look Back At 2013's Top Albums Countdown, And Why I Didn't Write It

Last year, I went to write my annual "Albums Of The Year" list, and something...happened.  Reading back the diatribe I posted in its place, I caught a faint whiff, a reminiscence of the anxiety I felt at the time.  I went back there for a second, and holy shit was it unpleasant.  I feel justified for having did what I did.  I was more burnt out on not just music but writing itself than I'd ever been in my life.  Why should I write a long, 10 page essay about music?  (In fact, I thought about quitting writing altogether.)

I've since come to realize: I don't hate writing.  I just hate my college major.  I wish I'd realized that before it was too late to switch, but c'est la vie.  That's one of the main reasons there's been a major drop-off in the amount of content on this blog.  (The other being too busy writing bullshit for J.A.M.S.  Yes, I major in something called J.A.M.S., and my institution of higher learning has managed to suck all the fun out…

Okay, Who Else Gives A Shit? Really? Okay, More Music Reviews.

Bette Midler "It's The Girls"

Still has a good voice, but sings the standards in an unremarkable way.  Next!



Azealia Banks "Broke With Expensive Taste" 1/2 *

Okay, I said last time that I missed albums poorly made and shittily executed, and here we are a mere blog entry later and YAY!  We found the suck!  If early 90's B-Movie Hip-Hop was a genre, it would be this album!  It's really lame, but not in the same way as everyone else, so I'll give her half a point for trying something different!  (But DAMN is this record crap!)



Tenth Avenue North "Cathedrals"

The same as every Christian rock band from the last...ten years?  So hard to hear uniqueness in this genre.  I don't have a problem with wanting to say something you believe in with your music.  I just don't like lame soft rock.  Later.



The New Basement Tapes "Lost On The River" [NEGATIVE 1 STAR]

Just like any other indie folk thing you care to mention, but somehow more so.…

Who Gives A Shit? Nobody. But Nonetheless...Music Reviews.

Foo Fighters "Sonic Highways" ** and 1/2

Sounds like any other classic rock band putting out an album now.  Which is crazy, since they're from the 90's, but we're all getting older, aren't we?  But for real, they have the aesthetic of a classic rock band down, reminiscent of something between AC/DC and the Night Flight Orchestra (a band that sounds like the 70's on purpose).  It's easily the best Foo Fighters I've heard in awhile, but that's not saying much since I checked out after "The Color And The Shape".  The most I can say is that the album doesn't suck, and the songs at least feel a little substantive.  It's not my trip, but it sounds like perfectly serviceable rock music, and not rock muzak.  The thing it's missing the most, however is a memorable song, being the only Foo Fighters track I can name since 2002 is "The Pretender".  Kind of a problem.



Pink Floyd "The Endless River"

This some pretty …

Dude, You've Gotta, Like...FEEL The Piano...WHOOAAAA....

Notes taken from a class about how Body Image is portrayed in film, in this case the movie "The Piano":

[The idea the teacher in this class put forth is that seeing an image would evoke the same sensory response as actually feeing the thing you see.  Which got me thinking...]

Okay.  So, the teacher sees the piano and "feels" the wood.  It evokes that in him, but it does nothing for me.  I can experience the sensation if I stare at the piano and consciously call up the memory of brushing my hand on smooth wood, but it doesn't evoke the feeling in me.

I'm starting to understand what the instructor is getting at, but still have little idea what this has to do with body image.  Also, it took two whole class periods to get to this infinitesimal level of understanding.  (Hell, at least it got me writing again.)   (Though if you go further with this kinda thing, it does make for different ways to watch movies.  Especially bullshit arthouse claptrap like this.)

If …

20,000 PAGEVIEWS (WOO HOO!!!)

Thank you for hitting me up 20,000 times, internet!  To celebrate, here's some fucked up shit that I found when I searched for "20,000", "20K" and "Twenty thousand":

Pictures:








Videos:





Further Reading:

The Wikipedia entry on 20,000:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20000_%28number%29



THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XXV-XXVIII, Third Round (Matches 589-596)

This is, unfortunately, a bit of a one-off.  I wrote these brackets sometime in July, and was waiting to write more and gain momentum before posting.  But finding time to post blog entries of any kind is going to be damn-near impossible for the foreseeable future.  I'll still throw something up from time to time (like this), but don't expect me to finish this tournament any time before Summerslam 2015.  I do hope you enjoy these eight matches that will never happen.  They're pretty interesting:

BRACKET XXV, Third Round (Matches 589 & 590):



Edge VS George Hackenschmidt
Oh how I love a contrast of styles.  Edge made his bread in TLC matches and as the opportunistic character he was, used two Money In The Bank cases and a relationship with SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero to win the bulk of his 11 world titles.  He was fast, impactful (with moves like the Edgecution, Impaler DDT and of course the Spear) and he used psychology over substance at times.  George Hackenschmidt was j…

TO THE MEMBER OF [REDACTED] THAT PULLED SOME RACIST BULLSHIT IN THE PARKING LOT

You made a friend of mine cry.

You made him cry out of frustration, anger, humiliation...I can't pretend to know what was going through his head or feel what he'd experienced, but your actions caused my friend severe emotional distress.  You questioned his very humanity.  And the worst part is, you probably thought nothing of it.

We were just coming in for second shift, around 5 o'clock.  I was already upstairs getting changed, and dude comes in and explains to me what just happened.  Some guy in a Range Rover pulled up to him in the parking lot and said "You don't look like you belong here."

My friend is black, and you are white.

You began forcing the issue, demanding to see the supervisor and this and that, which is what it came down to because you could not believe a person of color worked at this establishment.  My friend was so riled by the experience, he couldn't regain his composure and went home.

I don't blame him.

There was "nothing the manage…

Composure

Crack knuckles.
Stretch neck.
Deep breath.
Begin.

Electrochemical locomotion
Impelling digits
Transmogrifying thought
Into words.

Raw.
Un-oiled.
Returning from
The depths of Hell.

Trying to remember
How this whole thing went.
But not desperately.
Calm reigns.

Confidence
Once extinct
Turns extant
From thin air.

Without the bullshit of
Alchemy
A new chapter is
Constructed.

A nod of satisfaction.
A job well done.
A decent start.
One bite at a time.

The Whole Robin Williams Thing...

You know what's happened by now.  It's terrible.  You're probably really sad, and maybe a little angry.  If you've suffered through depression, maybe you're really pissed off.  Or just a little terrified, because a) This guy had all the resources in the world, and still lost the war, and b) This guy lived with this shit for 63 years, and STILL lost the war.  Alice Radley of the Rational Wrestling Review podcast brought up that first point (and many more profound and painful ones) in this week's episode of her show.  It hurt to listen to, and if you're somehow reading this Alice, I'd love to give you a hug.

That probably sounds condescending, but fuck it.  When you're in that place, human contact can make a big difference.

This is already jumbled and rambling, but whatever.  It's a complex issue with no real solution.  Not really.  If there was, Robin Williams, Mike Awesome, Don Cornelius, Chris Lighty, Jonathan Brandis, Spalding Gray, Chris Kany…

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XXI-XXIV, Third Round (Matches 581-588)

BRACKET XXI, Third Round (Matches 581 & 582):


"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff VS Hernandez
Wow.  Tough month for Hernandez.  Loses his gig with TNA, now he loses in the Third Round of this tournament.  At least he's going out to a guy who main evented Wrestlemania.

Umaga VS Andre The Giant
This might've been fun.  Andre still gets the win, though.  Bulldozin' a bulldozer.


BRACKET XXII, Third Round (Matches 583 & 584):

Pat O'Connor VS The Berzerker
In a completely surreal turn of events, Pat O'Connor throws The Berzerker out of the ring to get counted out!  (Which is what The Berzerker did to his opponents.  Dude, it's not as cool when you have to explain it.)

Gene Kiniski VS "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig
Whoever loses, a legend will fall.  And this time, it's Mr. Perfect.  Kiniski was one of the greatest heel champions of all time; even Mr. Perfect wouldn't be able to stand up to the man who came within an eyelash of winning all three m…

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XVII-XX, Third Round (Matches 573-580)

It's been awhile, and I'm afraid it will be an undetermined amount of "longer" still before the next batch, because I HATE writing these things now, but I was bored, I haven't posted a blog in a week or two...let's see if anybody notices if I don't mention this on Facebook and just post these eight brackets up right 'chere:


BRACKET XVII, Third Round (Matches 573 & 574):


"The IT Factor" Bobby Roode VS Mike Awesome
This would have been one for the ages, folks.  Both men quick for their size, and Mike Awesome's power matched by Bobby Roode's technical ability.  Both men former world champions.  In the end it comes down to experience.  Bobby Roode wrestled far longer than Mike Awesome chose to.  The IT Factor takes IT to the bank.

Rey Mysterio VS Rick Martel
Holy greased lightning, Batman!  The amount of agility in a ring with these two between the ropes would set the world on fire!  (Good God, King!)  I've gotta give the edge to R…

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XIII-XVI, Third Round (Matches 565-572)

Due to some technical difficulties, I can't get this blog to akk rite and render pictures.  So we'll just have to run with all text today.

BRACKET XIII, Third Round (Matches 565 & 566):


Dick The Bruiser VS The Big Show
The Bruiser is a cigar chomping compatriot of The Crusher, a muscle-bound flat-topped bleach blonde who stomped plenty mudholes and did a fair amount of pedestian-based evaporation on the back end.  The Big Show, however, barely needs to move to fuck up your whole day.  One chop to the chest can cave in your rib cage.  Show goes to Round Fo.


Earthquake VS "Macho Man" Randy Savage
Quake was a helluv an irresistible force and immovable object all in one man.  But he was no match for the Madness Oooh, no.  You will NEEEVER EVER ever be able to stop the Madness, no you won't.  It's like a force of nature you just can't control, and yeah THE EARTHQUAKE is a force of nature, ooh yeah, BUUUT, the Madness will always be stronger, ooh, yeah.   THE …

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets IX-XII, Third Round (Matches 557-564)

BRACKET IX, Third Round (557 & 558):




Harley Race VS Roadkill, The Amish Chicken Plucker
Lo, The King shall reign over this pesant.  About five minutes.




Billy Kidman VS Loch Ness
I...think Billy Kidman is a little "out of his depth" if you know what I mean.  He's the size of one of Loch Ness's legs.


BRACKET X, Third Round (559 & 560):




Daniel Bryan VS Eddie Guerrero
Holy Dream Match, Batman!  Sadly, this can never happen, since we lost Eddie in November '05.  But just think of the awesome possibilities!  Yes, Guerrero has mas experiece, and is beloved by everybody, but I've gotta go with Daniel Bryan.  The guy is just more well rounded.  (And that's sayin' somethin'.)




Dolph Ziggler VS Antonio Inoki
Sorry Show-Off, but it ain't showin' off when you're standin' next to the most suave lookin' motherfucker in the history of professional wrestling!  Seriously, look at this guy!  Is this not the suavest motherfucker you have ever se…

Fan Video For Russian Driver: (BMX) Tricks Are(n't) For Kids

Today, my guitar playin' buddy Mike told me there was a video of a friend of his doing crazy BMX tricks in his driveway on my Facebook wall.  And lo and behold: THERE WAS!  The Night Howls have a music video, ladies and gentelmen (sort of).  Rock and roll.

Here is "Not Cleaning The Garage", aka "Old Man, Old Bike" by Donald Satanski:


THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets V-VIII, Third Round (Matches 549-556):

BRACKET V, Third Round (Matches 549 & 550):




Jackie Fargo VS Triple H
Jackie Fargo may have trained some of the best, but Triple H is one of the best.  Believe In Evolution.




Monty Brown VS Chris Benoit
This is one that would have been smash mouthed, but when Brown would go for the Pounce, Benoit would sidestep him into the Crossface for the tapout.  A brisk six minutes.


BRACKET VI, Third Round (Matches 551 & 552):




Alberto Del Rio VS "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
Interesting matchup, but there's no way Austin would lose to ADR.  About 14:38 for this one, then the Stunner, followed by a beer bath for e'erbody.  (But because Austin can be a gracious motherfucker, he drenches Del Rio in Corona; also because WWE writing has never been great with subtlety.)




Bad News Brown VS Bobby Lashley
Allan "Bad News" Coage won the Bronze Medal for the U.S. in 1976 in Judo.  The guy was legit.  Lashley, however, not only has the action figure physique, the speed of a cat and th…