Apr. 6th, 2012

saikou: (misc • starbucks • writing)

01. "Year Zero" by Nine Inch Nails

The year was 2007, and I was working at Nextel Partners Inc. as a Data Support Specialist. I was part of a tight-knit little group that, when it wasn't working, loved to bond over geeky, offbeat stuff. My coworker, John, was your typical intense iconoclast with an experimental rock band and a love for World of Warcraft. I had a helluva crush on John. We bonded over things like, well, World of Warcraft and experimental rock. He was the one who advised me that Nine Inch Nails was supposed to be releasing a new album. "Finally!" I said, excited by this news but also a little disheartened. I was left sort of cold by 2005's "With Teeth" (A-With-A-TEETH-A - official spelling), like many, and wasn't expecting much. However, I love Trent Reznor.

Only a few days later (February 23rd), John came into work looking a little shaken, with a story to tell me. At first he couldn't really get it out. He just shook his head vigorously, grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote a URL on it: nin.com/yearzero. "Go home," he told me in his usual intense and iconoclastic (and melodramatic) way, "turn out all the lights, put on your best headphones, and go to that site. That's it, just go to that site."

I did. I cried and could barely calm down. I came back to work the next day and raged on him. John said he "ripped his headphones off and threw them at the wall" when he watched it.

Yes, I assure you this entry is about a music album. But Year Zero is so much more than that.



Apr. 6th, 2012 03:16 pm
saikou: (misc • you're going places)
I forgot the hint for Part Two of "Fifteen for Thirty"... here it is!

Hint for Part Two: A full-length response to fame culture from a band that should never have been a one-hit wonder. ♥

Any guesses? :D
saikou: (misc • i'm a hipster • clothespins)

02. "The Verve Pipe" by The Verve Pipe

While I can't promise that every one of these entries/dissections will be as epic as the peaen to "Year Zero", I'm going to try my best to deliver some quality musical thought to chew on. That said, we have reached an album I'd almost forgotten about, 13 years after it was on constant and relentless repeat in my CD player (aww, that sounds almost quaint).

When you think about The Verve Pipe, if you ever think about The Verve Pipe, you're going to think of "The Freshmen". This song haunts me for entirely different reasons than it haunts Brian van der Ark, lead singer and lyricist of the band. "The Freshmen", lead single and breakout hit from the band's 1996 album "Villains", catapulted them to musical fame at an auspicious time in the industry. Tastes were veering away from the alternative rock craze of the early-to-mid 90's, and more into nu metal, pop, and techno influence. By the time The Verve Pipe released its eponymous follow-up to "Villains" in 1999, America just didn't care anymore. Which is a shame, because "The Verve Pipe" is a brilliant album.

"Villains" was brilliant as well, with dark musical beauties like "Ominous Man" (a lovely, tender ballad about a stalker with a restraining order against him) and "Myself" (a spiteful ode to actress Sophie Marceau, or so the stories go). The Verve Pipe were a band that recorded two stellar albums in the span of four years. I listened to both of them religiously, to the point where they still tend to overlap in my mind. But in choosing which to place in my favorites list, the sheer narrative and pathos of "The Verve Pipe" has to win out.

It's short, coming it at just over 45 minutes, but in that span of time it manages to pack in lyrical twists and turns that match perfectly with the tight, rough-around-the-edges, but ultimately graceful music The Verve Pipe was known for.

Who the hell are the Verve Pipe? )

Hint for Part Three: This classic is so hipster, it was Vampire Weekend before Vampire Weekend was Vampire Weekend. In 1985. You heard me.


saikou: (Default)
Vee Hoffman

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