Friday, March 31, 2006

Top Albums

30. Don McLean's American Pie- The underdog of the upper echelon albums, amidst an array of hig production, high art and epic albums, American Pie sticks out like a sore thumb for this list. If anyone who knows this album an it's beautiful simplicity, you agree then that it is a magnificent work of art. This album isn't on here for the titular song (even though no one can deny its greatness) but rather for the watered down acoustic songs that shine through. The wordsmith that is Don McLean is at his all time best on this album. Songs like "Crossroads" and "Vincent" are truly beautiful ballads. And they aren't ballads laden with overproduced sounds, but ballads that come from the heart and straight to the listeners ear. The lyrics to a song like "Empty Chairs" leap off the record and hit any listener with it's beautiful imagery. Heres a snipet:
"Moonlight used to bathe the contours of your face
While chestnut hair fell all around the pillow case
And the fragrance of your flowers rest beneath my head
A sympathy bouquet left with the love that's dead"
If that isn't amazing songwriting, I don't think I know what is. American Pie is a must own album and one that needs to be spread around. We all know the song, but you should all get to know the album as well.

29. Pavement's Wowee Zowee- It's albums like this that make me wonder how some artists got record deals ever. And it's not because its bad or unmarketable... it's just out there. And it's not out there like some "out there" albums. The thing that makes Wowee Zowee amazing is its schizophrenia. What most people would say is the main problem with the album (not coherent totally and sometimes shifting from genre to genre to sounds to whatever is going on in Malkmus' head) is what makes it golden. Songs like "Western Homes" and "Rattled by the Rush" and "Flux=Rad" probably wouldn't fit if it were any other band. Pavement just knows how to craft insanity into somehting coherent. It's bizarre but listening to this well written album with some of Pavement's best guitar licks ("Grounded" "Half a Canyon" Serpentine Pad") and some of their quirkiest moments, it makes for a great album listening experience. It takes a true Pavement lover to see the amazing fury that is Wowee Zowee.

28. David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust- Bowie's alter ego shines in his first truly glam rocker album. Some of Bowie's best come from this good 'ol record. From the beginning, Rise and Fall brings you to this world that has been created by the atmosphere that Bowie has given us. "Five Years" is one of the stand-outs on this album and in Bowie's catalogue. "Moonage Daydream" into "Starman" brings the one-two punch that will leave you gasping for air. "It Ain't Easy" won't give you that chance to rela. It isn't until side two that Bowie eases up his rock grip, but not for too long before unleashing "Suffragete City" on you. The catharsis that is wrought by the closer "Rock and Roll Suicide" is the perfect way to end the album. Bowie redefined the genre glam rock with this album emulating such great as T-Rex and Mott the Hoople on this. Although those other bands opened the floor for glam, Bowie was the first one through throwing his rock and roll elbows all the way on Rise and Fall.

27. Brian Eno's Before and After Science- This was my first hearing of anything Brian Eno (excluding stuff he produced for Talking Heads and Bowie) and life hasn't been the same since. The album starts with some funky jams on the first side and ends with moody, ethereal songs that makes the listener feel they are coming out of a hectic day and sliding into deep sleep. This isn't to say that this is a boring album. In fact, it's quite on the contrary. Brian Eno creates sound from instruments that no one thought was possible from said instruments. He created landscapes of sound that sucks the listener into a world unknown to them. There are fun songs like the sickly addictive "Backwater" and "King's Lead Hat" to beautiful touching melodies like "By This River" or "Here He Comes." The album is one of the best from the 70s avante garde movement and the best of Eno's career. Also, be sure to get a good look at this album cover before the next time you watch High Fidelity. It appears on Cusak's wall and in his record collection several times.

26. The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots- After much listening of the new album these past few days, going back to Yoshimi made me appreciate it again on a higher level. This is easily the best album to come out since the turn of the century. With a mixture of classic Floydian structure and futuristic sounds in the vein of Eno, The Lips create an atmosphere that I have never heard before listening to this album. Songs like "One More Robot" and "Are You a Hypnotist?" create this ethereal mood in the listener that has yet to be topped by any artist. "Do You Realize?" is one of the most beautifully written songs music and lyrics wise. In "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 2" you get a great feel of the intense fight sequence that you hear and can visualize from the ornate and odd sounds that come from the instruments. As a cohesive concept album Yoshimi stacks up with all the other ones you are sure to see in this list. It is a landmark for the band and will go down as one of the best of all time.

25. Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come-"They never say the classics go out of style, but they do...they do. Somehow, baby, I never thought that we do to." The first line of the album is a mission statement of such irony that it boggles my mind. Saying that they were going out of style was quite hilarious, for Refused single handedly changed the face of Punk music with their final album The Shape of Punk to Come. I'm not a huge fan of hardcore/punk rock when it comes to this, but I never heard a punk album more well produced and with better hooks and insane drumming. The first song "Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull" prepares you for the maelstrom that is to come. A sweeping 7 minute punk song? Who would have thought it possible! "The Deadly Rhythm" is just that. You collapse your thyroid after heavey listening. "New Noise" and "Summer Holidays vs. Punk Routine" are the best pre cursors to what other bands would try to sound like, but never even come close. I like to look at this album as Prog-Punk in some ways due to its interludes, song overlaps and almost conceptual feel. It's amazingly written and bad-ass supreme at the same time.

24. The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers- From the first track to the last, Sticky Fingers is the Rolling Stones' best work. From 1971, the turning point year for classic rock (Who's NExt, Led Zeppelin IV) Sticky Fingers is pure rock and roll at it's best. Songs like "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch" will keep you rocking while "Dead Flowers" and "Wild Horses" will tear down the house with their uplifting and moving lyrics. Where the rock really stands out is on the 7 minute jam peice "Can't You Hear Me Knocking". The opening riff alone will suck you into a vortex of rock and then spit you into a mindfield of sounds coming form the sax, the guitars and tons of percussion. The first full album with Mick Taylor, you can definitely tell where the Stones decided to embark with their brand of bad-boy British rock. Although many see Exile on Main Street as their magnum opus, its here on Sticky Fingers where we see the same style yet in a more tight and compact form.

23. Talking Heads' Remain in Light- With the minds of Eno and the Heads, you really can't go wrong. Remain in Light is the apex of their matchup as it culminates both the otherworldly sounds of Mr. Eno and the pop music mentality and insanity of David Byrne and the rest of the Heads. From start to finish, the album is a constant explosion of sounds, riffs and insane lyrics that only David Byrne and Co. could produce. Songs like "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)" and "The Great Curve" are danceable third-world tunes that combine epic feel with overlapping vocals, riffs, beats and other sounds. "Once in a Lifetime" is one of the greatest pop songs to ever be released, but does not lose integrity amongst the other more artsy stuff on this album. This album is the greatest recording of the 80s and the highest on this list. Among a lot of new-wave crap, psuedo-disco songs and other pop that came out in the 80s, the Talking Heads didn't waver into the realm of crap. Remain in Light stands to this day as one of the most groundbreaking and brilliant albums of the 20th century. Side Note: This album was voted the worst album to listen to when hung-over. If you don't believe me, imagine all the symptoms of a hangover when listening to this next time and see exactly why you would shoot your record player if it was on.

22. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik- Bringing back funk into the rock mainstream is what the Chilli Peppers did in the 90s and thank God they did. With Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the perfect intergration of rock and funk came to fruition. Each song is dripping with sex, passion and pure fun. From "The Power of Equality" to "Sir Psycho Sexy" you get a giant conglomeration of sounds that come togehter in an amazingly crafted album. We all love "Give it Away" and "Under the Bridge", but the greatness goes beyond these hit singles. Songs like "Funky Monks" and the titular track beg us to dig deeper into the possibilities of Funk Rock, Frusciante's guitar licks, Flea's bass wizardry, Chad Smith's rythym foundation and Keidias' transcendent vocal work all add up together to make an album that goes beyond genius and sends RHCP's into the upper echelon of amazing rock bands to come out of the 90s. Dare I say one of the top 3? There is no doubt in my mind and all the proof is in Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

21. Warren Zevon- One of the most birlliant songwriters of all time, Warren Zevon's seld titled second album often gets overshadowed by his almost as solid Excitable Boy much to often. As much as his silly songs from EB are great and all, the songs on Warren Zevon exceed the silly factor and go straight to some of his best songs (fun, poignant and beautiful.) Warren's ability to write an amazing love song is shown on this album. "Hasten Down the Wind" and "Carmelita" are truly beautiful love songs. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" sound fun and silly, but deep down, they are really dark songs about troubled minds. Only Warren's amazing delivery filled with Spanish and sweet interjections could make a song with the lyrics "I've got a .38 special up on the shelf, I'll sleep when I'm dead If I start acting stupid I'll shoot myself" can sound fun and hilarious, but you know there is a hint of truth in these words. "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" is easily his best song and the only way I can end a review on this amazing album is with my favorite words from a song. Warren, you hold the key to my inner being.
"Don't the sun look angry through the trees? Don't the trees look like mystified theives? Don't you feel like desperadoes under the eaves? Heaven helps the one who leaves."

20. The Zombies' Odyssey and Oracle- I'm a sucker for the British invasion bands, but no other Brit band of this time can take the crown of an all around excellent album like the Zombies do with Odyssey and Oracle. This album makes Pet Sounds look like a day at the zoo... and I hate zoos. The orchestration on this album is sheer beauty. With harpsichord, strings, catchy guitar riffs and beautiful harmonies that soar into the cathedral ceilings of the studio space make this album so great. It's the sheer simplicity of the words in "I Want Her She Wants Me" and "Time of the Season" that make it an amazing pop album, but then dark themes in "Care of Cell 44" and "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" that make the album have a ton of depth. The most amazing song is the simply charming and tour de force of "Changes" that points to the future of music to come. Many indie rock bands take the sounds that the Zombies pioneered on this album and go with it to new musical heights. There is no way that any true lover of great music should be without this album. If someone never hears the song "A Rose for Emily" or "Brief Candles" before they leave this world, they did not yet lead a great life. Enriching to the heart is what Odyssey and Oracle does. Simplicity and complexity can sometimes walk hand in hand.

19. King Crimson's Red- When I first listened to this album, I was pretty much floored. King Crimson took prog rock to new levels that wouldn't be matched until they did it again after a 7 year hiatus. Red was released in 1974, yet listening to it makes you feel like it came out only a few years ago, if not months. The song writing that KC had the ability of doing was always amazing, but this album they only had three guys to do it (minus the few studio musicians on select songs.) Knowing this, listen to songs like "Red" or "Fallen Angel" and try to imagine doing that with three people. Unbelievable. The trio of Wetton, Buford and Fripp is uncanny. Easily the greatest rhythm section in prog, bass lines care of Wetton will floor any fan of the bass and the ability of Buford to fill in a space in a song with crazy drum fills in intense. Fripp, words are hard to describe his guitar style. Just listen to songs like "Starless" and try not to be floored by the epic nature of it. No prog fan should be without this disc. Simplicity is far from what makes this album great, but the intricacies of the music is what makes it amazing.

18. Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral- The most intense album released in the 90s, The Downward Spiral is the apex of the industrial music movement. Trent Reznor and, well, just Trent as rumor has it, records overlapping loops of synths, extremely distorted guitars, drums, and sounds that even the likes of Brian Eno never dreamed possible from the instruments used. The chaos of sounds as "Mr. Self Destruct" kicks of the album points to just where NIN will take the listener. It's a ride down the spiral into a void of darkness that in its madness is truly brilliant and at points beautifully dark. Songs like "Heresy" and "Closer" show the influence that industrial music can have on a hard rock song. It's a blending of genres that needed to happen and that no other artist even attempted to make popular as I can't even think of any other artist that released something that sounded similar and anywhere near as good as The Downward Spiral. Ending the album with "Hurt" shows the light at the end of the dark spiral, although the light is pale and only somewhat hopeful for the future. Among the music of the 90s, NIN sticks out like a sore, bloated thumb, but its a thumb that I'm glad sticks out.

17. Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited- From start to finish, Highway 61 Revisited is Dylan's most solid effort. With some of the greatest songs ever written and most of Dylan's best on one album, you don't really get much better. This album came out in the year of 65 when the world was exploding, when music was changing and when electricity ran through Dylan's guitar. Good thing all of this happened, because these politically charged rock and roll/folk tunes would influence many many other artists to come and bring in the age of the greatest rock music ever created. "Like a Rolling Stone" was the flagship of the fleet, but songs like "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Desolation Row" packed just as much power as the leader of the pack. IT's not hard to believe how this changed everything. The sheer songwriting Dylan could churn out was phenomenal. Bringing it All Back Home was released early in 65 and stacks up almost equally to this, but its on Highway 61 that Dylan declared war on the music world and won that war. Nothing else was ever the same...that is of course until the Beatles, but the Beatles wouldn't have done it without meeting Dylan.

16. Weezer's Pinkerton- Voted Rolling Stones worst album of 1996, you begin to wonder what was wrong with people in the 90s. Pinkerton is so far and away better than so many other albums of the 90s, that it took many people to realize why it was great. When a songwriter digs deep into their own psyche, you get some of the best written stuff ever. This plus an amazing cast of musicians who know how to write pop music, you get a product that exceeds excellence. I owned Pinkerton before I owned any other Weezer cd and was simply blown away as a young 13 year old. As much as they suck now, Weezer was an integral part of shaping my musical life, esp. this album. "Tired of Sex" showed me how to rock. "The Good Life" showed me emotions. "No Other One" and "Why Bother?" showed me what could happen with love. It wasn't until later that songs like "Across the Sea" and "Butterfly" would show me just what level Weezer was working on at this point; one that will never come again. Beyond being a pop album, Pinkerton transcends pop music much like some of the Who's albums. I never made this connection before, but albums like The Who By Numbers with its dark themes of love, rejection and isolation in a bed of catchy hooks is just what Pinkerton did for the 90s.

15. The Beatles- The coveted White Album. It's really a no-brainer when it comes to the Beatles why their albums are so awesome. They have three of the greatest songwriters of all time. On this album, you get McCartney's masterworks of songwriting. Every Paul song shines above any other song he had written to this point and wrote after this. "Mother Nature's Son", "I Will", "Rocky Racoon", "Blackbird" and "Back in the U.S.S.R." are just a few of his that are the pinacle of his career. This is not to say Lennon and Harrison's cuts are not as good. "While MY Guitar Gently Weeps" is my fav Beatles song of all time with Clapton layin' down the licks. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Glass Onion" are just two examples of Lennon's undying talent for the obscure and the drug-infused rock that they could write. The album is from 1968 and sounds just as lush and beautiful as it did in that era. When people say the Beatles are "overrated" and such, they have to look at the artistry the band was producing and the years their albums came out. Other albums from 1968 look out of date next to The Beatles and it's easy to see why they are claimed to be the greatest rock and roll band of all time.

14. Pink Floyd's Animals- The last truly amazing Floyd album (yes, I said it) Animals shows the sheer musicianship and songwriting encapsulated in three epic length songs and two short acoustic ditties on the outside of the chaos. The album is a great take on Orwell's Animal Farm (not exactly, but pretty much) and scathes the class system in each of the songs. My first listening of this album, I was completely floored by how amazing these songs are. "Dogs", "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep" each have their own feel and each rock out with the fury of any other Floyd songs of the past. In fact, it's safe tos ay this is the most rock infused album that Floyd has put out. Rather than ethereal tones and sounds, we get an industrial feel and a forboding look at the world. The Wall comes close, but tries too hard. These songs are complex but at the same time minimalistic. It's easy to get lost in the long epics on this album and this is what keeps the listener enthralled. The songs never feel long and are always just long enough without getting boring.

13. Television's Marquee Moon-Among the albums of the late 70's, amidst the punk rock and new wave movement was a band out of the hot-bed of CBGB's that decided to just keep the rock and roll feeling alive. With stripped down sounds and epic length songs, Television's Marquee Moon was an album amidst a changing tide in rock. This album stands as a true test that rock and roll would never die and didn't. Tom Verlaine and Co. wrote some of the greatest epic rock songs of the late 70s. "See No Evil" and "Friction" are the accesible rockers that the band produces with their clammering guitars and sweeping solos. "Venus" has one of my top 5 all time lines in any song with the hilarious and sad lyrics "I fell right into the arms of Venus De Milo" (get it... she has no arms.) "Marquee Moon" is one of my top 5 fav songs of all time with its existential lyrics and crescendo of sound that explodes into an ethereal guitar twinkle that makes life worth living. "Torn Curtain" is an amazing closer with, again, amazing guitar work that any fan of rock music needs to hear. I know I've been saying that with some of the more obscure albums on this list, but Marquee Moon definitely needs to be added to everyones music library.

12. Pavement's Terror Twilight- The best slack rock band of the 90s final album, Terror Twilight, is by far the greatest accomplishment. With the producing skills of Nigel Goodrich and the sheer songwriting skills of Stephen Malkmus, some of the most enduring Pavement songs are found on this album. The craziness of Wowee Zowee and the raw feel of Slanted and Enchanted are stripped away for this album. The songs are much more polished, but the structures are still classic Pavement. "Spit on a Stranger" and "Major Leagues" are two of the bands best singles with very otherwordly feels to them, but another world that eases the mind. Pavement also rocks some of the best jams on this disc with "Cream of Gold", "Platform Blues" and "Speak, See, Remember" that have structures that change constantly. "Carrot Rope" is the only song that no matter whats going on in my life, it will bring a smile to my face. Overall, Pavement is pretty great stuff. Terror Twilight is an amazing final album where they continue to improve their sound and keep true to the greatness of their past albums.

11. The Who's Who's Next- It's obvious that Who's Next belongs this high. This is an album of sheer perfection. Coming off of the success of Tommy and Live at Leeds, this album is a divergent feel for The Who. You may be thinking "divergent? what?" but yes, it is. Listen to the albums of the Who before this and try to make clear cut connections. They brought in a lot of new guitar work a la Pete, more production value with lots of overlapping sounds and tracks and an album structure that was pretty different from the rest. Regardless of all of that, it's in the songs that makes Who's Next stand as a monolith to the Gods of Rock. "Baba O'Riley" is not only the greatest rock anthem of all time, it also brings out the best of people when listening to it. "Bargain" is the underdog rocker on this album. Overlooked by the other amazing songs many times, we forget the awesome power this song packs. "The Song is Over" and "Getting in Tune" are beautiful numbers with tons of emotion and feeling behind the music. "Won't Get Fooled Again" is yet another of the greatest rock and roll anthems with the greatest rock and roll rebel scream ever. "Behind Blue Eyes" is a beautifully dark portrit of the tortured soul that is Pete Townshend. The Who still knows how to have fun with their music via "My Wife" "Going Mobile" and "Love Ain't For Keeping." All and all, no matter how much radio stations love playing these songs over and over again, Who's Next never loses it's flair like some other rock songs and albums. This shows just how amazing it is. Also, probably my favorite album cover of all time.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

MAXIMUM CARNAGE! *smashes face in Viggo style*

Being back to life is pretty darn good. My first day back on campus was for the Collegian (I have 4 articles this issue? jeez.) Everyone was freaked about my new hair. Yes, I got rid of all of it more or less. Here is a picture of it. Don't even bother trying tog et all pissy about the hair. It looks damn good and I like it much better this way (less work in the morning, less fuss all day.) Wednesday was back to class. Pretty much a joke. No offense Seydow, but your class is great and all, but uneventful. Oppliger as well... its pretty much just me, Romans and Ed making fun of the class all period. Regardless, as much as they seem like wastes of time, they were much better than being stuck in the hell hole that is my house. Thursday was fun. Returning to Grauke was the highlight of the week. He enjoyed my Eno article (my previous post) and we had a nice conversation about it. We also did some sweet workshopping where he showcased his Oscar worthy performances of the stories we were doing. I then moved on to a night of Hartley, Foodery and Drustery that rivled the Indrustrial Revolution in magnitude of yestivities. I got a classy six pack with some sweet brews and we watched Amatuer. We then stumbled over to find Chwastyk who was across the way at another T-House and we crashed at like 4am. Needless to say I had to get up at 7am. Yikes

The clutch part of the return was Friday. After a few hours of drunken haze from 4-7am, I walked around to wake up and get my muscles goign then hopped on the bus for the Brother Gerry Road Trip 5000 to New York City. Basically, all day was me and Ed Friess championing the immature 8th grade mentality by mocking the entire trip through tomfoolery. We invented the new international sign for MAXIMUM CARNAGE! All you do is mimick Viggo Mortensen smashing the one thugs face in witht he palm thrusts to the FACE! We also made fun of Doc the entire time for owning the DVD of Rent. We decided to call him Giles the entire trip. Needless to say, it was a self-fullfilling prophecy because as the day raged on with comments like "How much is a metro card, Giles?" or "How's that rueben treating you, Giles?", Doc got all pissy and donw right violent in the regular Giles fashion. We also rehashed the point at something and gasp to make people look and walk away routine. We got Texter to do it. That was awesome. The trip was fun only for these reasons and for getting the class to call Brother Gerry "Broj " and for makign fon of Matt Juliano and Bagni for sucking (if eithe rof you are reading it, you already know that I think you suck... so suck it.) I also realized that Road Trip 5000 is half great people (Bianco, Trevor, Yeager, Jacqui, Ed, Doc, Muth, Brooke and everyone else who was at the front of the bus) and sucky ass wipes I want to maximum carnage the shit out of (basically all the Torino kids who aren't female.) The bus ride was annoying due to those douchers, but we had fun betting on Matt Delucia versus Matt Juliano when fisticuffs almost ensued. Regardless, it ruled.

Thigns are still busy, but life is basically back to normal. I'm looking forward to a lot of thins, but especially the Formal this year. My money is in and my date is the best woman alive. Tara Fleck and I are going to have the best time because, well, we rule.

Thats that.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Eno as Genre

So I wrote this for the Collegian for this weeks issue and it reads more like one of my ranty blogs, so I decided since I'm proud of it to a certain extent that I'd post it here as well. Basically the commentary mag page was about genre so I decided to invent one by looking at the stuff Brian Eno has produced, written, recorded and how he became... well read it and see what you think. This is also unedited, so it is probably riddled with errors. So for more concise and polished reading, check out this weeks Leeg.

Musical genres sometimes alienate the listener from the artist. When an artist somehow transcends the status of being an artist and becomes a genre, sometimes the music is no longer the focal point but the person behind it is. Many producers of music have become genres in themselves, and one of the most influential and purely addictive genres is what I call Eno. Brian Eno, an original member of Roxy Music turned solo artist turned producer transcended the sounds of the ’70s progressive, glam and avante-garde scene. These three genres molded into one becoming the genre of Eno.

It all started with Roxy Music, a glam band of the early ’70s hailing from Great Britain. The band’s unconvential sound, mixing horns, synthesizers and elaborate vocal arrangements were the springboard for Eno to pounce what could be done with popular music. Bending and twisting the sounds of his synthesizers, he made instruments make the noise of some different realm that no one else had ever heard. Roxy’s album For Your Pleasure is the first truly Eno album.

Brian Eno was not the only artist to be affected by his new approach to music making. Many of the greatest artists of the early ’70s sought out collaboration with the man. Robert Fripp of King Crimson would create an album of instrumental genius entitled No Pussyfooting that pointed at the direction Eno would take his later ambient music career. Mixing the sounds of Fripp’s guitar work and Eno’s pop music mentality, Eno recorded early solo albums that evolved the sounds into shorter pop songs that pointed towards the future of music. His first solo album Here Come the Warm Jets released in 1974took some of the feel of his work with Fripp and blended it with his experience in Roxy Music for a new pop sound that was far ahead of anything else that was being produced during this time.

With Eno behind the board of a production, an album would be sucked into his mind and warped into a masterpiece for some latter day ’70s artists. Notably first was David Bowie’s album Low which has instrumentals and short catchy fast-paced synth and guitar driven songs. The second half of the album takes on the darker ambient soundscapes the Eno would produce later in his career. He would also go on to produce Bowie’s albums Heroes and Lodger. The song “Heroes” itself has many Eno moments in it. The thing with his producing was not that he took over the music; rather he influenced the artist to take some of his thoughts on music and infuse it with their style. This made the late ’70s Bowie albums different from his early works, but very complex and beautiful albums that pointed to the future of music.

Possibly the best of the Eno genre were the three albums Brian Eno produced for the Talking Heads. Starting with More Songs About Buildings and Food and ending with the magnum opus of Remain in Light, the repeating sounds, howling instruments and third-world beats came together to create pop music with a smart edge. With David Byrne, Eno found a like-minded genius who loved pop music and new musical territory. Songs like “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads are another sound that Eno influenced. For an adventurous listener, checking out Byrne and Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, you will get an advanced taste of their two backgrounds in an album that broke musical boundaries.

Saying all this shows how several artists were affected by a single person. Much like Phil Spector in the ’60s, Brian Eno created a sound for the ’70s that was ahead of its time and moved music into new territory. Bands of the ’90s and today take after the ideals of what Eno pushed in music. The band My Bloody Valentine’s album Loveless has the ethereal feel of an Eno album. Bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! would take the ambient sound of Eno’s career and make albums that took after what Eno did with ambience. Radiohead and Grandaddy albums take a page of Eno’s sense of pop music mentality and futuristic sounds and themes to make accessible smart pop rock. Listen to Radiohead’s Kid A and Eno’s Another Green World and you will see what I mean.

Brian Eno became a genre by influencing music with his ideas. Although not fully mainstream, his function as artist and producer in the ’70s has made his music identifiable through specific sounds and styles. Artists that became bigger than his own solo work took on the elements of what he was doing with sound and instruments. Genre is defined by style and sound when it comes to music. Brian Eno has definitely transcended the gap between a genre label and his own artistry by becoming a genre in himself.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wiggle your big toe

I made my African Night Flight today. Well, it was more like Noon flight, but still. I left the house for the first time in several weeks. I realized a few things, however.

1. Atrophy can happen to you. Walking sucked. It felt like the string in my leg was broken (let's see who can get this refrence first.) It's really to be expected that this would happen since several weeks of no activity besides watching movies and writing boring blogs on the computer and reading will not stimulate the leg muscles. It is really hard to walk around. And I don't like that since I am feeling better today (although at this later hour, as usual, my throat hurts more than during the day.)

2. Driving was an adventure. I haven't been behind the wheel in a month, so I forgot how the car took the gas from the car I was driving. It felt sluggish like every part of my being. I was actually scared I would crash the car at first, but after a minute I was fine. But I was actually freaked at how that long without driving effected my skills behind the wheel.

3. Fatigue is finally setting in. Although I haven't slept in the while, I finally feel the need that sleep will soon take over the essence of my being. It will be sucky because I will be freed from this metaphysical jail, but at the same time be stuck to going to bed massively early and not wanting to wake up.

4. I have way too much work to catch up on. It seems like I've had a four week vacation, but this damn illness makes it extremely hard to concentrate on anything. So that sucks.

5. It was good to be out of the house and with great friends. Thanks to Danno, Dr. Carey, Simon, Stev, Kevner, Norlax, Lindsey and Jeanne for making today a raucous good time of Apples to Apples (I still think the Philosophy of Winning the Lottery was the best there) and 10 dollar tourney (so far I'm on my third tourney win in a row, so my downfall will be soon... but money enough to pay my Built to Spill ticket AND reclaim my spending for the day was nice.) Seriously, you guys don't know how good it was to be out and with you. Seriously, thanks.

6. I miss the Collegian and School and Internship and Life. After my doctors visit, we will see if my long awaited return is finally a welcoming one. Although, I have a lot of shite for Monday that I am not ready for. (Esp. Bro G. midterm... I'm going to beg for a few days time for that one.) Here's to coming back, but also getting my work done. Tomorrow I will write my Droppliger paper and read as much of Straight Man as I can.

So thanks to everyone who made my African Night Flight possible. It was a worthy time.

P.S.- Smarch Madness is more or less over for me. Illinois is out. Tennessee is out. Luckily my Oakland Bracket is pristine (minus my fuck up with having Bradley on paper, but not on [Can I explain to you the difference... between digital and analog bracketology?]) So here's to not winning like I predicted. It's still early, but I sincerely doubt my commitment to Sparkle Madness.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Destroy all rational thought

Bill Lee: I understood writing could be dangerous. I didn't realize the danger came from the machinery.

David Cronenberg ceases to amaze me with his talent for filming things that are strange, yet meaningful. Taken from the William S. Burrough's novel and from biographical events in his life Naked Lunch is a film that transcends adaptation and biography. Taking events from the novel and events from Burrough's life, the film takes on mystique of trying to figure out reality and the other world in which the drug-abusing Bill Lee lives. What is real? What is in his head? What parts of the talking typewriter bugs are actually there? It's a really bizzarre film that leaves you questioning what is going on. But that's what makes it great. It's like Videodrome where nothing can be trusted, yet everything should be seen as real. Cronenberg loves these topics. Even A History of Violence takes on the topics of what is real and what is not (although in a much more basic and realistic way.) Where Naked Lunch shines among Cronenberg's films (probably second only to Videodrome for me) is in its effects and its ability to make the fantasy elements of the story come to life. I really miss the days where effects came from tangible things rather than CGI. The bug typewriters, although obviously not real, seem more realistic than if it were done today with a computer. The mugwumps too look much better as animtronic or puppets or whatever you want to call them. You know its a film and its not real, but it looks better than Jar-Jar Binks, which is basically the same exact creature. Another thing Cronenberg loves is the idea of the mechanical. In Videodrome, the camera and television were extensions of the body, so much so that the one character could only appear through VHS tape on a television screen. In Naked Lunch it was the was the typewriter that was the extension of the mind. Writing took over the body so much so that the typewriters came alive. Naked Lunch is hard to talk about unless you are in a group of people who have witnessed it. It's just flat-out bizzarre. And I love it for that. Here is a monologue that is actually verbatim from the novel, but you have to love Peter Wellers delivery of these lines.

Bill Lee: Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his ass to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I had ever heard. This ass talk had sort of a gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you have to do is turn loose? Well this talking hit you right down there, a bubbly, thick stagnant sound, a sound you could smell. This man worked for a carnival you dig, and to start with it was like a novelty ventri-liquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called The Better Ole that was a scream, I tell you. I forget most of it but it was clever. Like, "Oh I say, are you still down there, old thing?" "Nah I had to go relieve myself." After a while the ass start talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy in-curving hooks and start eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it, but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags nobody loved it and it wanted to be kissed same as any other mouth. Finally it talked all the time day and night, you could hear him for blocks screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it, but nothing did any good and the asshole said to him Its you who will shut up in the end. Not me. Because we dont need you around here any more. I can talk and eat AND shit. After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpoles tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call un-D.T., Undifferentiated Tissue, which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly and grow there, grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell. So finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have have amputated spontaneous - except for the EYES you dig. Thats one thing the asshole COULDN'T do was see. It needed the eyes. But nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophied so the brain couldnt give orders any more. It was trapped in the skull, sealed off. For a while you could see the silent, helpless suffer-ing of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes WENT OUT, and there was no more feeling in them than a crabs eyes on the end of a stalk.

Definitely a must see film. Just be prepared for something rediculous and out there. Again, along with La Dolce Vita, it's not your popcorn flick; you need to use your mind. Also, popcorn might not be good since it is gross at many times.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Smarch Madness, Baby!

I used to actually watch TV a lot. I even liked sports so much that I had teams! Football was Michigan, Hoops was Syracuse (Orange Men?) and I loved watching bits and peices of NCAA March Madness (agreeing with Lazor that it's the best sporting on intense!)

Anyway, I rehashed my love for it and have done a bracket this year. It started already and I picked 4 right and 3 wrong thus far (suck) but luckily my teams that I have going semi-far and some of my good upsets have won. So here are my Elite 8, Final 4, Champ game and the winner.

Elite 8:
Duke vs. Texas
Pitt vs. UCLA
Illinois vs. Tennessee
Florida vs. Boston College

Luckily today in a super exciting game, Boston College eeked out a win in double overtime. I believe Florida won close too. Tennessee wooped I believe. Regardless, I have them right in this first round.

Final 4:
Duke vs. UCLA
Illinois vs. Florida

Duke vs Illinois

Orignally on paper, I had UCLA, but on the online dealy, I friggin put Duke, so I am stuck with my enemy there, but thats not such a bad thing since they have a damn good team... that said...

I'm channeling my inner Sufjan Stevens, John Wayne Gacy (Jr.) and such for this one. I doubt it, but they got robbed last year. They had a damn good team. Now it seems unlikely, but who knows. Fuck Duke.

Anyway, the games today were really intense. Esp. Boston and Pacific. I just watched Alabama vs. Marqutte game which was an upset choice by me. It was uber close until the last 15 seconds or so when Bama rocked it out to move on.

I don't plan on winning this pool, but it's damn fun to watch. I've spent 10 bucks well. And hey, we have more than 15 people playing, so if they do placements, I'll shoot for Bronze if I end up doing better than I am right now. Luckily the ones I chose wrong were upsets I didn't do and the ones who beat them don't really move on past the next round on my brackets. So there!

PS- After I finish my homework of writing a craptastic Brother Gerry paper, I will be finishing Naked Lunch which I watched half of today. Gotta love that insane Cronenberg. Genius!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Director's List (still a nerd, still sick)

I love film. Duh. I decided since I can't focus on Neo-Nazi's or studies on Violence in media right now, I decided to do this. A nice list of my favorite directors. It's large. And I'm still sick so its really ranty. But, I need to pass the time and I want people to read this and leave me nice comments so it gives me something to do while I'm still laid up. So here are my top 20 (with the top ten getting write ups) directors of all time. These are the people I look up to when looking into the film business.

20. Fernando Meirelles (City of God, Constant Gardener)
19. Peter Weir- (Witness, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show)
18. Terry Gilliam- (Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 12 Monkeys)
17. Darren Aronofsky- (Pi, Requiem for a Dream)
16. David Cronenberg- (Scanners, Videodrome, A History of Violence)
15. David Lynch- (Elephant Man, Lost Highway, Mullholond Drive)
14. Spike Lee- (Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, 25th Hour)
13. Jim Jaramusch- (Down By Law, Dead Man, Broken Flowers)
12. Christopher Nolan- (Following, Memento, Batman Begins)
11. Spike Jonze- (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation.)

Just some notes on these guys up here. We will see a new Lynch pic, Aronofsky flick this year (or early next) AND an untitled Jonze/Kauffman project. YES!

Now here are the top 10. I'm including a fav of my actors that these directors seem to utilize over and over too. I find it odd that they all have one. So it's just a fun fact for the list.

10. Alfred Hitchcock- I think we all know any fan of filmmaking owes a ton of kudos to the first real insane perfectionist in filmming. He's a genre for God's sake! And, his films are damn good. By far the best of the classic directors, Hitch knew how to make a movie that would suck the audience in and scare the hell out of them with their psychological twists and turns. The man loved the climax of his movies so much, that a lot of them pretty much end at that high point (see Torn Curtain, Rear Window or Sabatoge and you know what I many more.) I went through my Hitch addiction early, but those were good times renting all those classics. Psycho the first time always rules, Vertigo never fails in its amazingness, Rope is the underdog fav of mine and With a Friend Like Harry is pretty hilariously dark. If you truly love film, you gotta love Hitchcock. ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Jimmy Stewart (Vertigo, Rope).

9. Tim Burton- I know I warned him recently, but Burton's style and eye is something I will always love. His love of Suburbia and skewing it to this surreal atmosphere is fitfully brilliant. I love it. From his first full-length feature to now, he has kept that Gothic image no matter what film it is. Not all his movies are amazing (Planet of the Apes) he has too many classics under his belt to not let him on the list. Pee Wee's Big Adventure is still hilarious today as it was when I was younger, and for different reasons. Batman is still the greatest comic book movie, even if Burton was forced by the studio's to do a lot of things with it (Prince). Ed Wood is obviously his masterpiece. Beetlejuice is probably the underdog of the bunch, but how can you not love the scene where Keaton seduces a fly with a Zagnut! Burton has his ups and downs, but his ups a so much higher that his downs are pretty much excusible. Dark and funny make for a great experience anytime, but Burton's eye for the oddities of the real world and his world blend together. And let's not forget Danny Elfman. ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood)

8. Jean-Pierre Jeunet- I already wrote a long post on this man in my blog entitled Artistry Part II, but hey, why not again. Some of the finest films ever produced, Jeunet's eye for "motion pictures" is something that only a French man could do. Splashes of color, the lust of the story telling and the characters (not to mention same actors) are always complex, quirky and so well acted that his films have a mystique. He's a true Auetuer if there ever was. Amelie is the most beautiful film I've ever seen. Not to mention the introduction of one of the most beautiful women ever to my life (swoon for Audrey). A Very Long Engagement can take a dark subject like World War I and weave a beautiful love story into it. Delicatessan is a Gilliam movie times 3. Hilarious and dark with a ton of quirks, it just works. He is the highest foreign director on here and deserves his spot in the top 10 (even if he directed Alien: Ressurection... *shudders*.) ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Audrey Tautou (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement)

7. Quentin Tarantino- What an annoying person. But what a brilliant director. The love of ultra-violence, broken narratives, explotation films and amazing dialogue, there is no doubt that this annoying person is one of the best of all-time. He led a new generation in independent cinema that now is the mainstream. His influence has also spread into bringing some fringe foreign films like Hero to the USA. Thats a true lover of filmmaking. Reservoir Dogs started it all with the fast-paced dialogue and bloodtober gest that we all know and love about Q. For me, this film tops my list of favs for him because lord knows I love the low budget grittyness of it, but he perfected this with Pulp Fiction which argueably has his best characters. Kill Bill is rival to Pulp in its characters and winding story, but they are all so different in themselves. Even Jackie Brown which I love is a different take on Q's love of explotation films and violence and hilarious witty dialogue. He jsut knows what he's doing and hasn't gone wrong yet in his directing career. Keep it up! ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Uma Thruman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Series)

6. Paul Thomas Anderson- Another eccentric, PTA is another consistently brilliant director. His quirks lie deeper within then that of some other directors. He usually likes to bury his subtexts deep within the characters psyches and the all around direction of the films. Magnolia has the best ensemble cast of all time and makes Tom Cruise an oscar nominated nutcase (and he deserved it that year... no offense Michael Cane, but Cider House Rules sucks). Magnolia has so much depth to it that even though it has a three hour running time, I still find bits about it that I didn't pick up before after many many many viewings. This and The Godfather are the only super-long movies that go by like a flash. Boogie Nights is his Goodfellas of the porn industry. Punch Drunk Love is the darkest romantic comedy ever. I love every frame of that film. Hard 8 is even great. It's just that magical artsy movie making I love. And yes, he is artsy fartsy... which isn't bad because he can do that and be a little more mainstream then some. ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Phillip Seymour Hoffman...which was actually a tough call toss up with John C. Reilly, but I have to be honest with myself sometimes. (Uhhh, every film? But noteably best in Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love.)

5. Woody Allen- I think he's up to #37 (almost in a row, but not quite) and he has two more movies coming out. What a career! He's a lover of NYC, comedy, sex, lies, relationships and some really dark shit. And they all transcribe and flow together at times to make a career that seems like one huge film at times. He really knows how to make an actor shine. With so many films, lets start with the best. Manhattan is just pure Woody at his ultimate. It has the best opening montage sequence I've ever seen backdropped to "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin and put in black and white (like he says New York should be depicted in this film.) Crimes and Misdemeanors is dark and hilarious. Landau is brilliant and Alda is so hilarious as well. Not to mention a Law and Order double dose with both Sam Waterston and Jerry Orbach! Annie Hall is just comic masterpiece and the list goes on and on.~Fav Actor Director Team Up: Diane Keaton (Manhattan, Annie Hall, Manhattan Murder Mystery)

4. Wes Anderson- New to the top 5, I had to admit my love of his style to being worth this high spot. His film Rushmore was the first film of that style (quirky, artsy, different) that I actual liked and appreciated. I turned a new leaf in life enjoying the artistic side of film. Anderson has a style of story telling and writing that really hits home for me. Hilarious and meaningful, he hits the heart and the funny bone with precision. Rushmore is in my top 5 for these reasons. It shows the best of his attributes in one cohesive stroke of brilliance. The Royal Tenenbaums has the second best ensemble casting ever and my personal favorite role for one of my all time fav actors, Gene Hackman (robbed of an Oscar nomination and win.) Bottle Rocket was an excellent first film and has some of the funniest moments from his and Owen Wilson's writing. The Life Aquatic takes on the amazingly hilarious subtext of the self reflective film. "It's all really happening" as Bill Murray stands inside an obvious huge set peice of a boat and the proceeds to appear actually outside on the deck of a real boat. Wes just knows how to do it and has yet to dissapoint. Let's hope this next project can live up to the films we all own on DVD right now (I suck, however, lacking Bottle Rocket. It's on my list of needs though.) ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Bill Murray (Rushmore, Royal Tenebaums, The Life Aquatic)

3. Martin Scorsese- Marty! Where can I start. His films range from the gritty, dark tones of his 70s catalogue to the lush, epics of his modern day flair. Regardless of this, he takes on topics he loves and puts them on celluloid. Never did Marty have a movie he didn't want to do or get it done. Some have taken him a while (Gangs of New York was one of three films he wanted to do for a long long time) and some seem to be just perfect for their time and place. Taxi Driver still haunts me to the bone with its dark subject of paranoia and isolation. Mean Streets still reeks of penance and sin. Raging Bull still flows on the screen and shows a lost soul fighting for his life. After Hours is still fitfully hilarious and dark. Goodfellas is a brilliant epic in its own right. Marty adds a personality to his films that stand out among a lot of other directors. The thing with this, however, is that its harder to pinpoint what exactly it is. You can pick out Burton or Hitch's style, but Marty is more elusive. ~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Robert DeNiro (Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Goodfellas)

2. Hal Hartley- I can't thank Byron enough for this one. Hal Hartley is the greatest indie director I have ever encountered. And it's his renegade style that makes him a cut above the rest. Even more than any other director I know, he uses the same group of actors which make all his films flow into one magnum opus on life. He relives the same topics over and over again, but they always take on a new life. The deadpan acting style, the smart high brow dialogue mixed in with punch in the face comedy moments cause for a learning experience that film has never given me until I found him. Surviving Desire is the greatest short film I've ever seen (which isnt saying too much since most of the others I've seen are Hartley shorts). You get so much in just 60 minutes from that film including a great dance scene. Trust takes you on a journey of love that is dark, hilarious and very melancholy at times. Henry Fool is his masterpiece mixing all the styles he has ever done and bridging the gap between his early 90s films and his later films. The Book of Life is a really great portrayal of religion and the end of the world (maybe). Simple Men and Amateur blend together to show just how clockwork his style is. Some of the funniest film moments I have ever experienced can be found in a Hartley film alond with some of the most meaningful.~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Martin Donovan (Trust, Surviving Desire, The Book of Life)

1. Stanley Kubrick- Whoever didn't already know that Kubrick takes the cake probably has never seen the fact that I own his box of DVD's. His craftsmanship at shaping a shot, telling a story and getting a feel across works in every single one of his films because he is so good at it. His filmography isn't as large as you'd think (over almost 50 years, he only made 13 films!) but from Lolita to Eyes Wide Shut, you got nothing but genius. I may harp on Barry Lyndon a lot because it's slow and kind of a boring story, but God is it ever amazingly beautiful and radiant. It's a true art peice for a director who knows how to mix the two better than anyone else ever. Lolita is really creepy but in a really funny way (thanks to Mr. Sellers.) Dr. Strangelove is the best satire ever filmmed with the best performances from, once again, Peter Sellers. Then Kubrick moved into the next level of awesomeness. 2001: A Space Odyssey is his masterpiece of visual brilliance. It holds up so much better than any CGI ever will. It's extremely trippy and deep philosophical side also stand the test of time. A Clockwork Orange continues this tradition to a new level of greatness. One of the best characters ever and the best performance of Malcolm McDowell's career. The Shining is my personal favorite horror movie of all time. Not even Shelley Duvall could ruin one of Nicholson's most psychotic and awesome performances. Full Metal Jacket is a great look at war. No matter what anyone says, just because the Parris Island stuff is so memorable and awesome, doesn't make the movie whole. You need the horror of Nam after the glorification of killing and the military. Besides the bathroom scene with Private Pyle and such, the best image is when the soldiers find the sniper out to be a little girl. Another one commonly knocked, Eyes Wide Shut was his last and still an amazing look into a relationship (and one that was semi-real with Cruise and Kidman). Even after death, his next film would have been A.I.:Artificial Intelligence which even though people knock it for the ending (blame Speilberg not listed on the top 20) it still reeks of what might have been on of his finest images had he taken the helm. We miss you, Stanley. However, we will always remember the fact that you had the greatest eye for cinema.~Fav Actor/Director Team Up: Peter Sellers (Lolita, Dr. Strangelove)

Monday, March 13, 2006

15 All Time Video Games (I'm a nerd... duh)

Screw your Madden and MVP. Even my addiction to XIII is only because I'm sick and I can't find my other games. But thanks to Danno rehashing the NES games list, its time for me to do my long awaited top 15 games of all time. Since I was deprived of NES as a youngin (my first system was, in fact, Gameboy) I will do all platforms. I never had that many games, but I played a lot (rental, borrowing, etc.) I'm including computer games on this list as well since I've had my share of comp game addictions. And I'm making this list 15 for no reason. 20 is probably too many (altho I could do it) and 10 is too little. So here tis. The main criteria for this was the gameplay-ability. Meaning no matter what (even the RPG's) I could keep playing these games over and over again. And yes, if i had the systems and the games, I wouldn't be writing this now and probably playing one of them. Anyone who knows me well will automatically know what isn't on this list. And that's Contra. Not because it didn't own, but because I was so detreimentally bad even with the code, that I can't like it. Everyone would say, eff playing with you, you suck! So I ended up hating it. Anyway, here we go.

15. Final Fantasy VII (Playstation)- No other game universe as as unique as the FF universe. With a ton of games under it's belt (and two more to come on my list), between amazing stories, endless amounts of possibilites and the first of the post Nintendo FF's, VII is a legend in the gaming world. It's pretty much the perfect RPG. And anyone who is a fan of the real-deal RPG's and not the Action RPG's which are also amazing, this is the best. However, it ranks third on my FF list and 15 overall game of all-time. Why? You'll find out when you read about the other ones on this list. It is epic and great and lord knows those cut scenes are amazing, but something about the Materia gameplay made it so complicated at times that it held me back a bit. Overall, this game is amazing and a lot of people rank it as one of the greatest ever made. I can see why.

14. Super Mario Kart (SNES)- Yes, I went there. I love Kart in every form, but every incarnation of it (for me at least... I know no one will agree with me on this one) just wasn't as good as this. This game had some of the hardest levels (between the ghost levels and the various rainbow roads) that made it challenging and amazingly fun. This also has the best memories for me as me and my oldest sister had massive rivalries at who would trump who. Koopa Troop was my fav. Also, personalized songs for when certain characters won was pretty sweet. The one thing this game had that was odd that I loved was the feather item that made you jump mad high. And it seems kind of useless at first, until you hone your skills and learn when to use it to jump a tight turn and get ahead. Regardless, probably one of the games I spent the most hours playing.

13. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)- Probably the most recent game on the list, this is the premier third person shooter, although there is not a huge amount of shooting. The ultimate test of stealth and thriftyness (you run out of ammo so fast, it's not even funny) and the thinking mand's violent game. The story picks up after MGS 1, but is a little more intriguing. I usually don't care if my game has great graphics, but my word. Lush is a good word to use. There is soemthing about sneaking around, putting an enemy to sleep and then hiding his body in a closet that makes a game great. When you have to think as much with a shooter like this, it makes the gameplay so much better than any other. Oh yeah and a crazy awesome ending that freaks your mind.

12. Super Mario World (SNES)- Again, I'm turning heads here, but this is by far the best Mario Bros. game for any system. It has the best power-up's (The cape is the best hands down), Yoshi, the many Koopa's named after several hard rockers (Iggy, Lemmy etc.) and the inspirado for the first mario spin-off game (Kart... all the races parallel the games levels), and just all around amazing endless gameplay and hidden secrets, Mario had never been this unique and intricate. Mario 2 can suck it as far as I'm concerned. It goes by too fast. Mario 1 is great and all, but this took the smae greatness of that and injected it with Awesome. The closest to greatness that comes from any other Mario game is the real Mario 2 coined Lost Levels that came out for Mario All Stars.

11. Goldeneye 007 (N64)- This is on everyone's list because we all wasted most of our late teen years and on for this games multiplayer greatness. Even the 1 player game was unfettered brilliance, but here you got a game that did both. A lot of times the game is good at one and crappy at the other (Smash Bros.). But here we have a first person shooter that is just plain fun. There really isn't too much depth to the game (and that is why its not higher on my list... i have 2 other first person shooters that trump Bond), but we all know that it was reliable enough to be damn fun. That and this is one that I think myself, Stev, Norlen and Dr. Carey all claim to own. So this usually calls for the best match-ups in big gaming events (this and Kart 64).

10. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarnia of Time (N64)- The first of the 64 games that really showed the future of gaming. Real time atmospheres, highly advanced gameplay and great story make this the second best Zelda game of all-time. Difficult at many turns, yet super fun with lots of side games and such. The useage of actually playing the Ocarina is a sweet add with rediculous spells and such. I found myself just fishing in the one pond at times for a while. The horse riding was awesome too. Just an all around complex, yet fun game. It was never so complex (minus that goddamn water temple... most annoying level in that game) that I lost interest. That and the bosses were awesome. I miss this game a lot.

9. Half Life (PC)- What can I say about one of the scariest game I've ever played. Yes, this freaks me out sometimes way more than Resident Evil. The AI in this game is really creepy. Stalks you when you need to run because you only have a few bits of health and a few bullets. You try to run, but they track you down. This game also brought on the best online multiplayer I have ever played. With a few spin off mods (Counter Strike) and a specific online version (Team Fortress Classic) had one too many hours on this. I got so good that I had nerds bigger than myself asking me to join their "clan". Never did that because they did training and practice. Thats lame. The single player game was one of the coolest stories ever, enough so that I think this deserves a movie before Halo. A cliffhanger open ending to a video game is always awesome too. This is also one of the hardest games I've ever played on an advanced hard mode. You have to be the best to beat that shite on the hardest level of ability. And even myself who prided in being damn good, took so many hours trying to finish that on the hardest level. Fun times.

8. Final Fantasy V (SNES)- Why was this game never brought to the states until playstation did it like 10 years later? I only played this on emulator on the computer, but my word was it amazing. The job system was really cool. You honed your skills as specific types of characters (black/white mage, knight, dragoon, ninja, etc.) and then once far enough in the game, you could mix your characters abilities and make them an ultimate fighter with healing skills, magic skills and fighting skills like whoa. Rather than having to change your line-up and leave certain characters out, you had four of them who could learn all trades and types of fighting. Not to mention, the characters and story were so complex that this was the most complex FF I think they ever dreamed up that didn't lose any gameplay-ability. If you like classic RPG's, try to download this. So worth it.

7. System Shock (PC)- I got this game randomly one Christmas from my sister who probably had no idea that she bought one of the strangest and most awesome PC games ever made. I said Half Life was scary, but I forgot about this game. A shooter it was, but it was more than that. It was a game about being stuck on this space station where the computer took over and mutated the people on it to these weird cyborg things or humanoids and such. Your goal was to shut down the computer that was at the top level, but it was so intricate that you had to accomplish things sometimes in a viruatl reality type part of the game (not that I had to wear something on my head, it was all in game stuff.) This game also had so many intricate possibilites. You woudl get fatigued and there were patches you had to apply to yourself sometimes in order to funciton right. Also, although it got annoying if you forgot to save, but there were some small chances that you could prematurely end the game. It only happened to me like twice, and they were two different possibilities, but it sucked. This game was really hard and really great. I doubt anyone else has ever played it, but since its so out of print and I had to install it via like 8 floppy disks back in the day, its a lost treasure. They made a sequel which I need to find, but I bet it lacks the greatness of the first one. It was made way late after the other one, so who knows if any of the first developers were on it. It ruled and I need to find it (so if you see it at a flea market, Ryan, get it for me no matter the price.) Also, System Shock was "the gaming world's first 3-D environment." This game eludes me so. I need it back!

6. Donkey Kong Country (SNES)- Ah yes. The many days spent on this amazing masterpiece of a game. Takes the Mario jumping on heads format and perfects it into a fun adventure game. Chock full of the best side-scrolling gaming ever made, the levels were more complex and interesting than any Mario game for these early systems (Even Super Mario World couldn't touch the complexity of these levels.) Also, some of my favorite game music is on this game. It's not the great 8-bit sounds of NES that forged the best tunes, but its the jungle tunes that made you tap your feet as you stomp all sorts of crocidilian creatures, armadillos and snakes. Plus, who could resist the much fun of the mine cart levels replaying the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom feel... but with primates. I beat this game with over 100% completion several times (that means I really searched for those extras.) The good old days of SNES.

Now to the 5 games I wish I was playing right now.

5. Civilization II (PC)- You know you are a real gaming nerd when you have Civ II in your top 5. But this game has the same addictive effects as tobacco. There is no game on this good earth that I have played for more hours than this. Nothing can compare. You would think that a game based upon raising an entire civilzation from the days of inventing the wheel to the implications of Nuclear Weapons and trying to end the game by building a space craft large enough to reach Alpha Centauri would be amazingly lame. Well, many people probably would hate this game, but when you love spending time building army units, creating world wonders, keeping the peace in all your cities and getting money from your citizens, you get pretty engaged in it. Civ III was great and all since it had better graphics, but gameplay was at its height on this game. I found a site where a guy lost all hope in school, relationships and life in general from this game so much that he deleted his game, tried to sell it on ebay and when no one bid on it, he took a gun and shot it (not really, but heres the picture dramatization.) Games can take over your life and this one is probably the one that would end me if I still had it. Too much fun and so time consuming!

4. Final Fantasy III (SNES)- The best classic RPG ever made in the (Final Fantasy series). In Japan, this one was VI. The story line in this is rediculous and intricate. It also varies so much that you can play this game so many times and have a totally different outcome so much so that I have no idea how many it really is. It all depends on certain points what characters path you decide to choose. My word it was hard. But hard never made it bad like some games could be for me. The plot was about a time when magic was dead, yet this strange person was discovered with the power to hone the magic skill. This was bad with the reign of some king that I forget his name, but it got intense at times the stuff you had to do. And for SNES it was worlds ahead of any other game to that date. I probably rented this game more than any other because I had to keep it out long so other people didn't delete my game. That's all I'm saying on it. It's been too long since I've played it and I'm searching for the playstation re-release that has this AND V on it. That would rule to own.

3. Tetris (Any system, but I had Gameboy version)- Well, this is the simplest game ever made, yet it's more fun than most any other game I've ever played. So much so that my Dad and Sister would ask for some time on Tetris on Gameboy and I'd have to fight for it back. Everyone can play, but not everyone is good at it. Regardless, the tension builds perfectly and the gameplay will never let you down. If I still had my classic gameboy (it broke on me.... piss) I'd still be playing this. This and my Atari games which I didn't include on this list for some reason, but I really only loved Joust and that's probably #16. I don't like the online Tetris I find, so I need either a Gameboy or NES to get this fix back. Tetris Attack was cool, but dynamics were different. That was better for multiplayer anyway. I need some alone time with Tetris...

2. Chrono Trigger (SNES)- This, my friends, is finally the greatest of any classic style RPG. It blends some of the elements of the Action RPG style (Zelda) and throws in the classic turn-based style of other RPG's (Final Fantasy) and it does it perfetly. Another amazing plot and another game that sucks your life away for several hours on end. I think everyone reading this is finally noticing that I had a very lonely existence and played a lot of one player RPG's, but what you don't know is that I played a lot of these games with friends each taking turns and contributing to the process on those long all-nighter grade school sleepovers. This one wasn't one of them, however, for I found it late in the game and had to play it on emulator style. You know a game rules when now it goes on ebay for a good chunk of change for a SNES game (I've seen 80 bucks shelled out.) Another game that depends on what you do and such andone that changes when you select certain characters. I also now have this on the Playstation release they did with this and Final Fantasy II. Lot's of fun and there is a huge cult following for Chrono Trigger.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)- You all know (unless you haven't played it like Dr. Carey) that this game is the best. Tons of levels, items to find, characters to meet (I freaking love Shahsrhashrasrrhhsrhsahhshrsahshshaala or whatever his name is) and the greatest gameplay ever, you got lost in this game. If you haven't, discover it on emulator or SNES somehow. It's engrossing to the max, has the greatest musical score of any game ever hands down, and it's just damn good fun gameplaying. I really can't say much else about it. You know how awesome it is.