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Posts Tagged ‘musicians’

The Cure

Today’s rock stars are too damned serious. It’s all about image. You’d never see Marilyn Manson or Linkin Park sing a song called Friday I’m in Love. That shit wouldn’t sell with the angry kids in the burbs these days.

The Cure practically invented “serious” when it comes to rock music, so you might be tempted to think the same thing about them. The ratted out hair, the lipstick, the mopey lyrics… it was quite a scene. The whole Goth movement came out of their heyday, and some idiot even committed suicide during one of their concerts — an act I’m sure he would be thoroughly embarrassed about today had he not succeeded, the silly fool. Especially if it was before they played Just Like Heaven. Awkward.

Because for every droning minor guitar chord the band ever played, there was a happy-go-lucky counterpart song in a major key on the B-side. So much for appealing to the misguided misanthropic teenagers. You can’t really stab yourself in the face to a song called Mint Car.

It’s almost funny that The Cure is known for being a depressing Goth band when they wrote some of the giddiest pop songs ever recorded. But to be fair, they did write some seriously creepy shit, too. Albeit still awesome as hell:

More catchy treats:

For creating a genre and then defying it at the same time, The Cure are effing awesome.


There are only so many musical notes in the diatonic scale. You’d think at some point people would run out of ways to arrange them. How many variations are even possible? Especially when you boil the melody down to a single guitar riff that might only last around eight seconds. So you got around twelve notes to play in eight seconds… now give your fans something they haven’t heard before.

Sounds like a daunting task, and yet Jack White of The White Stripes seems to be able to do it twelve times an album.

All it takes is some scientific curiosity and a little google-fu to find a mathematical answer to the question: Will we ever run out of melodies? Will Jack White ever run out of riffs?

…we can estimate the number of all possible “melodies” that can be played within a given time frame. Known limitations of human hearing can provide an estimate on this number. Humans can distinguish about 200 notes per octave and are able to distinguish about 50 notes per second. Within the frequency range humans can hear, the number of all possible “melodies” we can play during one second is about 7 x 10^100, a seven followed by 100 zeros… this number is grossly overestimated… [because] the constraints musical structures put on the sound space are very tight.

It’s doubtful that most people could actually distinguish 200 notes per octave, and 50 notes per second seems rather ambitious, but at least we have an upper-end estimate to work with:

Jack White should be able to think up 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
guitar riffs before repeating himself.

But there ain’t nothing like the awesome simplicity of a good guitar riff, and a simple riff can almost seem more awesome than a complicated one, which begs the question: how many simple riffs could possibly exist? We know they aren’t all used up yet, but that math is too hard, so we’ll just sit back and assume that there are many more good riffs where those came from.

Jack White’s guitar riffs are effing awesome.


The Decemberists

Did you know that you can take rustic sea chanteys, old Chinese allegories, allusions to treacherous murder, the ghosts of dead babies, and erudite lyricism and turn it into a folksy pop orgy of incredible delights, even though it may require a dictionary to fully enjoy the experience?

Neither did anyone else! Except The Decemberists, who happen to have a new LP out today. Here is a little help with some of the lyrics, in case you need it:

Plinth : a course of stones forming a continuous foundation or base course

Loam : a nutrient-rich soil consisting of varying proportions of clay, silt, and sand

Andalusian : from a specific region of Spain, loosely: Spanish

Bonhomie : Cheerful friendliness; geniality

The Wrong Side of the Lee : outside or beyond a protective shelter

Leda : In Greek Mythology, the mother of Clytemnestra and Helen of Troy, who was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan

Panoply : a magnificent or impressive array

The Decemberists are effing awesome.


David Bowie

David Bowie's Wonky Eyes

It’s easiest to explain why David Bowie is so awesome by making a list of what sets him apart from other musical geniuses.

  • He hasn’t died of an OD. Yet.
  • That whole different colored eyeballs thing.
  • Changes.
  • When he re-invents himself, he doesn’t come off as artificial or desperate. *cough* madonna *cough*
  • He was bisexual before it was cool. In fact, he met his first wife when they were dating the same man.
  • Labyrinth.
  • His real name is Davy Jones. And yes, he’s the only musical genius to have that name.
  • Space Oddity.
  • He’s actually got a sense of humor. *cough* prince *cough*
  • He owned his Internet presence before any other musician, and released the first Internet-only single.
  • Apparently, Bowie Bonds caused the current economic crisis.
  • Modern Love.
  • He’s got the batshit craziest scene in the batshit craziest movie ever made: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
  • He experiments with performance art without crossing over into pointless theatrics. *cough* lady gaga *cough*
  • He’s 64 today. Dude looks 40, max. That’s nuts.
  • His crotch. His crotch. It even has its own facebook page.
  • Suffragette City.
  • He was close friends/huge rivals with Marc Bolan of T-Rex, who was also awesome, and he kinda looks like Tilda Swinton.
  • He’s collaborated with John Lennon, Queen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Trent Reznor. He most likely had sex with all of them. Although that’s sheer conjecture.
  • He’s David Effing Bowie.

So, for managing to avoid death, self-destruction, obsolescence, flaming out, or just fading away, and for making memorable music for fifty years, David Bowie is effing awesome.


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