My grandfather has lived through the deaths of nearly everybody he’e ever known over the years. He turns 80 years old this July.
We often chat about this very topic over vodka and tonic each time he makes his annual trip south to pay me a visit. I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’ll be sitting in his seat decades from now sharing similar stories.
If it’s not the recent passing of pop culture figures I’ve grown up with in some form or fashion, such as David Bowie or Prince, it’s the moms and dads of friends who’ve been laying to rest for the final time over the past few months.
I wouldn’t consider this list an absolute “best of” when talking about the songs that came out in 2015. But I can certainly say that I would play each and every one of these tracks on my show if I were still doing the college radio thing at WPRK.
Those were some damn good times, by the way. I miss spinning tunes in that dusty old basement.
There’s plenty of albums I’ve yet to get around to listening to from 2015, so I’m sure I’ll come across plenty more gems to add to this list at another time. For now, enjoy this collection of tracks that abused the speakers in my house and car the most over the past twelve months.
I tried like hell to hold back tears the first time I dressed up as Santa Claus to entertain kids at an income-restricted apartment community in Orlando.
A little girl told me, while sitting on my lap as I was dressed for the part, that all she wanted for Christmas were shoes for her little brother. A young boy said he just wanted for his mom to be happy while another boy asked to receive nothing at all.
Similar requests were made in between the typical interactions of kids asking Santa for toys and gadgets they’ll lose interest in by February.
It was the looks in the eyes of parents and grandparents that made my heart ache most as they soaked up whatever joy these kids were experiencing.
Anyone that knows a thing of two about Scott Weiland is hardly surprised by the news that spread throughout the world early Friday.
Over the course of a decade Weiland fronted Stone Temple Pilots, which built a massive following in the midst of a transition from the grunge era of the early 1990s to the stadium rock scene that followed.
Truthfully, I was lukewarm to STP’s arrival when their 1992 debut Core was put in rotation. The song “Plush” was just too much of a Pearl Jam ripoff for me to ever embrace. But then 1994’s Purple arrived and caught my attention with its layers of depth and groove. In 1996 Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop took the madness to an unprecedented level, and at that point I found myself in way over my head in the band’s psychedelic rollicking.
You really missed out if you never experienced the Beastie Boys live in concert.
I saw them twice back in the 1990s, first on May 17, 1995 during the Ill Communication tour and again on August 14, 1998 in support of Hello Nasty. Two times seems far too few now that I think about it.
But I’ll never forget the shenanigans shared on the way to and from the Convocation Center in Cleveland, Ohio each trip. Remind me to tell you all about it the next time we see each other.
Until then, relive the Glasgow, Scotland show from 1999 featuring Ad-Rock, MCA, Mike D and Mix Master Mike. I just did, and it was pretty damn great.
I planned to share my disbelief regarding what took place Friday in Paris, then I realized anything I wrote would be best served encompassing the issue as a whole.
That wasn’t going to happen. We just don’t have much time for that nowadays. But the magnitude of the tragedy, much like any other that’s happened during our existence, is a hard reality to digest when confronted with it.
I can’t imagine attempting to pick up and carry on from such tragedy. Or living with the imagery of horror that was witnessed firsthand.
Imagine having to persevere in search of a new perspective. It’s certainly something to think about. Allow Columbus, Ohio’s Blueprint to take you down that path…
One of the best songs on one of the most creative albums of the year comes off even better in video form.
Kendrick Lamar released imagery for “Alright” earlier this week, a horn-infused and repenting track produced by Pharrell Williams and Sounwave. The black and white video, directed by Colin Tilley, pushes the same type of buttons the To Pimp a Butterfly album has already evoked from listeners.
It’s a refreshing seven minutes of cinema. You’ll want to run this one back a few times.
Born in Mississippi in 1925, his music was a reflection of his upbringing. It connected with people of all walks of life and backgrounds, such is evident in videos below featuring U2 and Big K.R.I.T., and it’ll continue to inspire and live on for countless generations to come. Just as it should.
The four albums that unleashed the solo career of Ice Cube onto the world are a treasure in the history of hip hop.
Whereas stereotypes have largely perpetrated rap in certain ways over the past couple decades, the initial era of the former backbone of N.W.A. is worthy of revisiting as he’s helped legitimize social concerns for an entire group of people.
Once you get past the menacing attitude of the production and equally intimidating delivery of the emcee, there’s lots of depth to peel back within each album. Ice Cube in the early 1990s comes complete with commentary matching the times, which can be tough to digest upon first sitting if hesitant to soak it all in.
There’s scathing tracks about corruption of law enforcement and the prison system, and government degradation and racial tension, and tales of street life and sexual relations. It’s all packaged with punk rock bravado from a ghetto-American point of view.
I’ve always been attracted to the imagery of the music video. Too bad they don’t get much play anymore on television.
But the beautiful thing about the technology of the world today is that the music video fan has taken over where the big-budget directors have left off. So take that, MTV.
The “Stolen Youth” track by Roots Manuva has gotten the DIY treatment by Karina Tolmacheva and Balazs Kajcsa, each of whom captured its essence in different ways while adding to how powerful the song already is on its own.