Friday, May 19, 2006

All Hail The Queen

Finally the Victoria Day long weekend is upon us. This is a time for all Canadians to celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 -1901). You see, during the 1900s, Victoria Day used to be called Empire Day and then... Okay, lets just get real for a moment shall we? This weekend is unofficially known as May 2-4 in Canada. A weekend devoted to leisure, bbq's and more importantly alcohol ("2-4" is a beer reference for my non-Canadian readers). Still, this blog has decided to pay respect to the late Royal with a "Queen" related post...sort of. Hey, the show Jeopardy gets away with such loose associations all the time. All hail the Queen!

Random song 1: Queen - Another One Bites the Dust


Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary


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In my opinion Wolf Parade's Apologies to the Queen Mary was one of the best albums to come out in 2005. If forced to make a top ten list, it would rank number two by a hair (Sufjan Stevens' Illinois album slightly edged them out...just slightly). I first encountered Wolf Parade when they opened for Arcade Fire. Having no prior knowledge of the band I thought they put on a decent set, yet no one song stood out. It was only after I listened to the EP, which I picked up at the show, did I truly get a sense of the bands potential. There was a lot going on in the EP, in regards to both the instruments and the lyrics, that my ears missed during the live show. Needless to say I was glad to see that their full-length debut Apologies... surpassed all my expectations. Their themes are often dark; dealing with such things as lost, death, ghost, etc.… Yet Wolf Parade's songs, for the most part, are rather upbeat and diverse. This is evident in songs such as Shine the Light, and Grounds for Divorce. The thing I like the most about this Montreal band is how distinctive there sound is. This is a result of having not one, but two unique lead singers. Both Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug alternate singing duties on every other track. While you can debate which singer is better, you cannot deny the fact that both vocals fit the bands overall sound perfectly.

Here is the video for the somber track “Modern World”




Random song 2: The Queens of the Stone Age - Go With The Flow


Ghostface Killah - Fishscale


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Back in the 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan emerged from the Queens Bridge projects to release their landmark debut album Enter The Wu-Tang 36 Chambers. The record is easily one of the most influential rap albums of the 90's. While the album is still relevant today, the same cannot be said for a lot of the Wu-Tang members. Artist like Method Man, GZA, and RZA, to name a few, have long since branched out into Hollywood. Leaving Ghostface Killah to proudly carry musical torch for the group as far as he can. The funny thing is, he keeps getting better with age. Fishscale is not just a response to all the critics that thought he dropped off after his Supreme Clientele album. It’s also a battle cry to the rappers trying to take his throne. Songs like The Champ and Kilo demonstrate that Ghostface has not lost a step. You truly get the sense that Ghostface, unlike many artists today, has really lived in the world he talks about. He never glorifies the criminal lifestyle by turning it into a mindless party/club anthem. Yet my one complaint with the album is that there are too many "skits" on it. I remember when skits first started to appear on albums, they were actually funny. Now they are just plain annoying, and make the record feel much longer than it actually is. With 24 tracks (skits included) on Fishscale, you can't help but feel exhausted by time you reach the 18th song. Still, with so many good tracks on the album Ghostface can be forgiving for the skit mishap…this time.

Take a look at "Back Like That" featuring Ne-Yo:



Since I have a soft spot for animated videos, here is Ghostface Killah's classic video for "Daytona 500" off of the Ironman album. This video promptly brought Speed Racer back into the mainstream...unfortunately, he was sent back to obscurity three days later. R.I.P Racer X:




Random song 3: David Bowie - Queen Bitch


ABBA - Dancing Queen



Oh, don't act like you didn't know it was coming. I played the Queen (the band) card too early with the first random song selection. Obviously the picking were somewhat slim after that. Say what you will about ABBA, but this song still gets women (and yes, men too) of all ages on the dance floor. I thought about putting up the original video for the song, but decided to use this version instead. Partly because Muriel's Wedding is a really good film, but I also think this video truly embodies what the song is really about:




Ipod Workout Plan of the day: LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out. What does this have to do with the overall theme of the day? Haven't you seen the recent movie Last Holiday? No? Me neither. Regardless, LL Cool J had a small role in the film playing the love interest to the main star: Queen Latifah. Yes it's a stretch but work with me here people! :)

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