Heartbreak Symphony Songlist


Side A

Song

 

Artist

Happy Ending Mika
Time Pink Floyd
When You Were Young The Killers
She Talks to Angels Black Crowes
Raining in Baltimore Counting Crows
In Our Bedroom After the War Stars
Pompeii Bastille
Glycerine Bush
Jumper Third Eye Blind
 

Side B

Song

Grey Cell Green

 

 

Artist

Ned’s Atomic Dust Bin

Closer Ne-Yo
Bizarre Love Triangle New Order
Another Rainy Night (Without You) Queensryche
Little Lion Man Mumford and Sons
Rock On David Essex
Demons Imagine Dragons
I Miss You Blink-182
Panic Switch Silversun Pickups
Sex On Fire Kings of Leon
First Cold War Kids

The Making of “Heartbreak Symphony”


This project started out as what I thought would be a simple idea. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of us who were teenagers at the time would try to impress the people we had crushes on by making them mix tapes. For those of you who are too young to know what those are, they’re kind of like playlists that you had to make with cassettes (no I am not going to explain what those are, just Google it), and they had a limited run time.  You had to find just the right blend of songs to express what you wanted to say in the time you had to work with, and there was definitely an art to it.

I got to thinking about that old art form, and about how sometimes you would pick a song because of a certain line or phrase, and how in many ways you were crafting a poem with someone else’s words. That inspired me to do just that – to write a poem completely out of other people’s words, taken completely out of context but arranged in the order that made sense for my needs, to express my feelings. I also wanted to do it in such a way that it would make a good mix tape, because that was an essential element of the original art form as well – it couldn’t just be a random jumble of songs. Well, I suppose it could, but a poem can also just be a random jumble of words. That doesn’t make it good. The artistry is in the flow, putting them in a certain order so that they sound good and take you on an emotional journey. I felt that if I could manage to do both, to create a poem that worked while at the same time creating a mix tape that worked, I would have achieved a multimedia art form unlike anything I had done (or seen) before.

The first step was the same as any mix tape: picking the songs. I went through and gathered up a list of over 60 songs by artists ranging from the Eagles to Limp Bizkit, paying particular attention to songs that had lyrics that grabbed me. They didn’t have to be anything in particular so long as it was something unique. From there I compiled all the lyrics of the songs with only two rules in mind: first, I had to use a given line complete as written in the song, and second I couldn’t use any line that contained the actual title of the song (I felt that would be cheating). At this point I started narrowing down my list fairly quickly, as I found many of the songs on my list either weren’t as compelling as I originally thought, or else they didn’t have lines I could use. I also found the general outline of the poem already beginning to form, which may have been due to the songs I selected. Whether it is due to my own particular taste in music or perhaps just the nature of pop music itself, I found that most of the songs I was finding quality lyrics in tended toward the melancholier end of the spectrum. (Personally, I think it’s more the latter – the first person who can find any poetic value in “Call Me Maybe” wins a gold star.)

Crafting the poem itself was a bit more of a challenge. It was easy to pick out individual lines I found compelling – too easy, in fact. As the goal was to make a mix tape, I couldn’t use any given song and (preferably) any given artist more than once, and I had a time limit as well. I had to consider the run time of each song I used as part of the poem, and although I have always been fond of the 90 minute cassettes, apparently I am also fond of songs with long run times. Sometimes I wish more artists heeded the mocking advice of Billy Joel from “The Entertainer” and “cut it down to 3:05”.  But I digress. As I went through and wrote the poem, I quickly realized I was piling up a large number of songs and likely would run out of time, so I went back and started adding in the length of each track next to its complementary line in the poem. As I did I saw that I would run out of space before the end of the second stanza, so I made the decision to cut that stanza entirely, which to be honest was not particularly strong anyway.

In this way, the constraint of the time limit turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It forced me to keep the poem tighter than it otherwise would have been and cut weaker material that I might have left in. It also provided me with the artistic guidance to break the poem into two stanzas which equate to the two sides of the cassette. While I believe both the poem and the playlist work very well as a comprehensive whole (and both are meant to be enjoyed that way), there is also a certain completeness to each component part, whether it be the individual stanzas or Side A/Side B of the mix tape.

I hope you enjoy it. Come back tomorrow for a complete playlist so you can enjoy the mix tape for yourself, and feel free to leave any guesses in the comments below.


Heartbreak Symphony


This is the hardest story that I’ve ever told.
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day,
you sit there in your heartache
in certain company.
And I don’t have nothing to say;
if there’s no one there, then there’s no one there, but at least the war is over.
We were caught up and lost in all of our vices –
I couldn’t change though I wanted to.
And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand.

When your desire has been found
I just can’t pull myself away –
living a life that I can’t leave behind.
You leave me wanting, always leave me wanting more.
But it was not your fault but mine,
and where do we go from here?
I need to let you go;
I cannot sleep, I cannot dream tonight.
Could I be anything you want me to be?
But it’s not forever –
Call it a dark night of the soul.


Bobapalooza 2014: Clash of the Titans – The Final Bobapalooza


First I want to thank all of my wonderful contributors: Janet Currie Konigsberg, Matt Foster, Scott Soper, Yillah Natalia, and Marek Swiderski. You gave me a wide range of talent to choose from, and you make it worth it every year.

But that’s not what you came for. You came to see –

THE FINAL BOBAPALOOZA LINEUP!!!

That’s right, folks. You heard it here first: the Clash of the Titans is the ultimate and final Bobapalooza. As the Kurgan once said, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away.” But let us not dwell in sadness; let us instead revel in THE GREATEST BOBAPALOOZA EVER.

First we have the band that needs no introduction, but is going to get one anyway. The winner of the Clash of the Titans, and the headliner of Bobapalooza 2014: Pink Floyd! This was a hard-fought victory against some of the greatest artists of all time, and as a long time Floyd fan myself, I can’t deny being quite pleased to see them win. Their catalogue of legendary songs is extensive, and Dark Side of the Moon spent over 11 years on the Biilboard Top 200… consecutively. (It was on even longer if you tally the total time it spent there, and Billboard actually changed the rules to prevent albums setting records like that again.) Titans indeed.

And then we have the STAGE OF LEGENDS. This year I offer you a blend of old and new, heavy and soft, sweet and sour and what the hell? Bands that have undoubtedly left their mark on music, one way or another. They are:

Jefferson Airplane (Nominated by Scott Soper) – From Scott: “Go big or go home. When it comes to the one band you’d break your leg to go see in their prime it has to be Jefferson Airplane. Maybe they’re so compelling because they broke up so tragically and never got a chance to perform for so many of their fans. So many songs were at peak power when those artists were just starting out; you can only imagine what they might have done with more time.”

AC/DC (Nominated by Matt Foster) – You have to love AC/DC. Angus Young himself said “I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.” And we still keep coming back for more. The stage show is even better: “When I’m on stage the savage in me is released. It’s like going back to being a cave man. It takes me six hours to come down after a show.” – Angus Young

Weezer (Nominated by Matt Foster, seconded by Janet Currie Konigsberg) – Weezer has long been one of those bands I love to hate, right up until one of their songs comes on and I find myself singing along. How long? Oh, only about twenty years or so. Janet Currie Konigsberg finally convinced me they deserve a place among the Legends: “Twenty years ago Weezer came on the scene with Undone (The Sweater Song), and immediately filled the gap between Nirvana and Pearl Jam perfecting Nerd Rock. As each single was released, Weezer’s fan base grew by leaps and bounds. The crunchy chords and heart-wrenching vocals spoke to post teenage-angst 20-something slackers. I’ve always referred to Weezer as “My Beatles”; they are pop and punk and bubblegum and crunch, they are raw emotion and ADHD. The songs range from kick-ass-psych-you-up (Hash Pipe), to how-did-you-know-how-broke-my-heart-was?? (Say It Ain’t So), to romantic-but-the-world-doesn’t-understand-us (Island In The Sun), to I’m-not-really-sure-what-the-purpose-is-but-dammit-I’m-ME! (Pork and Beans). On top of great music, catchy lyrics, and a beat you can dance to, Weezer has made some of the best music videos of all time and managed to do so in an era where music videos have almost completely lost their importance in pop culture. Weezer: No self-respecting Stage of Legends (or Main Stage, for that matter!) would be complete without them.”

So…. Yeah. You can argue with her if you want. Not me.

Black Sabbath (Nominated by Scott Soper) – Scott nails it once again: “When it comes to Legends, there is one who has retained his title as the Prince of Darkness unchallenged across decades of American Popular Rock. The one, the only: Black Sabbath! Ozzy Osborne by himself would be a worthy contender for the Stage of Legends, but reunited with the original Black Sabbath for the new album 13 he seems completely at home, a master having traveled full circle. I would NOT go back in time to see Black Sabbath at their prime, and maybe that’s another test passed for a true Legendary band.

Simon & Garfunkel (Nominated by Matt Foster) – Everybody knows a Simon & Garfunkel song. Start whistling “The Sound of Silence” at a punk rock show and everybody around you will be singing along inside of a minute (if they don’t curbstomp you first; they’re still punks). From hippies to metal heads, there’s nobody who doesn’t like Simon & Garfunkel; they have a gentle, insistent sound that insinuates itself into your soul and makes you a better person for it.

Now you’re probably expecting the Main Stage, but there’s so much more this year! For the first time ever, I present to you THE BOBAPALOOZA MIDWAY!

When you get the urge to dance, slip in to the ALL NIGHT RAVE TENT, with special guest DJ RUST-RYU (http://www.mixcloud.com/rustryu/bangers-and-mashups/)! He’ll be spinning all night long, and of course he’s super request-friendly!

And don’t forget to stop by Uncle Scott’s Concession Stand, where you can pick up fresh kabobs, veggie treats, and of course all your favorite Bobapalooza swag (http://www.printfection.com/bobapalooza)! Uncle Scott will also be running his favorite (exceptionally weird) videos on his Jumbo-Tron monitor right over the concession stand! Here’s just some of the “fun” in store for you:

Disturbed – Land of Confusion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6KXgjLqSTg)
Capital Cities – Safe and Sound (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX54fWP-os4)
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktvTqknDobU)
AWOLNation – Not Your Fault (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm9-yVdxbSs)
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoQYw49saqc)
Ludo – Love Me Dead (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XH3oMNKApI#t=92)
Muse – Knights of Cydonia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Yc3HhSl1Q#t=87)
Primus – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYDfwUJzYQg&feature=kp)
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghb6eDopW8I#t=71)
El Guincho – Bombay (NSFW) (http://vimeo.com/15247292)
DYE – Fantasy (http://vimeo.com/30798517)

And now, the MAIN STAGE! There’s plenty of variety and flavor this year, and many thanks to everyone who contributed.

The Thermals (Nominated by Janet Currie Konigsberg)
Boney M (Nominated by Marek Swiderski)
The Cult (Nominated by Matt Foster)
George Thorogood (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Kae Sun (Nominated by Yillah Natalie)
Metric (Nominated by Janet Currie Konigsberg)
Disturbed (Nominated by Matt Foster)
Al Green (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Sitali (Nominated by Yillah Natalie)
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (Nominated by Janet Currie Konigsberg)
The Black Keys (Nominated by Matt Foster)
Soundgarden (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Petite Noir (Nominated by Yillah Natalie)
James (Nominated by Matt Foster)
DJ Kool (Nominated by Scott Soper)

Be sure to check out all these artists and support their endeavors. The Official Bobapalooza 2014 Playlist™ is still to come, so stay tuned!

Once again, I’d like to thank all of my wonderful contributors from Bobapalooza past and present. You’ve made this entire endeavor worthwhile, and it’s been a blast. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.


Bobapalooza 2014: Clash of the Titans!


The time has come at last for the next installment of the greatest music festival that never was: Bobapalooza 2014! This year we’re taking it to a whole new level. It’s not just legendary; it’s TITANIC.

BobapaloozaClash_of_the_Titans (1)

So here’s the deal: I’ve been sharing my musical past with all of you for a while now, and it’s time to broaden my horizons. I’m looking for new music, and I’m hoping you, yes, YOU will provide it. Specifically, I’m giving ANYONE the chance to get me to listen to the music you love.

Here’s how it works: imagine you’ve heard about a music festival coming to town, and on the list of bands is THE band. The one that makes you say, “I don’t care what the ticket price is, I will sell my own children if I have to, I MUST BE THERE.” Any band, any era, living or dead, still together or not. Pick your favorite song and post it to the Facebook event page for Bobapalooza 2014.

But wait, there’s more! Some of you may remember the Stage of Legends from past Bobapaloozas (2011, 2012, 2013). It’s back once again, and there are five brand-spanking new Legend spots up for grabs! That’s right, not only can you nominate your favorite garage band for the main stage, you can nominate your favorite garage band to be a Bobapalooza Legend!

BUT WE’RE NOT STOPPING THERE. Even among the Legends, there are a rare few who have changed the face of music as we know it. They’re not just Legends, they’re Titans. And this time, they’re going to go head to head to see who is the one true greatest music act of all time, to secure the honor of headlining this year’s Bobapalooza! What’s more, you nominated them, so YOU decide who wins!

Now the rules:

MAIN STAGE

1. You have to pick a band you would sit through the entire set. Not “I love this song!” I want “I love this band!”
2. Yes, you can post as many as you like, but really, how many bands are THAT good?
3. If you intend to post more than one, please don’t spam the feed (more than 10 bands a day from one person is a bit much. I do have a life. And see 1 & 2.)
4. If you post it I will listen to it, so please, be gentle.
5. Please note that this is a Main Stage entry.
6. Any band that made it to the show in 2011, 2012, or 2013 (main stage or Stage of Legends) will not be considered for the main stage this year.

STAGE OF LEGENDS

1. All of the rules for Main Stage apply, only even more. I mean, think about 1 & 2 especially. These guys are supposed to be LEGENDS.
2. Testify! Tell me (and the world!) why you think this band deserves to be named a Legend. For an idea of the sort of thing I have in mind look at the write up from Bobapaloozas Past.
3. Any band that made it to the Stage of Legends in 2011, 2012, or 2013 will not be considered this year, however Main Stage acts may still be nominated.
4. Just as Master Yoda told us, “Do, or do not; there is no try.” Once a band has been nominated for the Stage of Legends, they are no longer in the running for the main stage. The whole point of the SoL is to give a fair shot to lesser known bands. If you think your favorite band has what it takes to compete with the big boys, put ‘em in, but don’t hedge your bets. Go big or stay home.

ALL NEW! CLASH OF THE TITANS

1. The match-ups were determined by hacking into the NCAA’s computers and using the same secret algorithms they use for ranking college sports teams. (My lawyer insisted I add the following discalimer: This is a total lie, but it sounds a lot cooler than the truth, so go with me on this one.)
2. Vote by visiting http://tinyurl.com/lwm79nw.
3. The polls open June 2nd (that’s today!). Each round will last for three days, with a day break in between to update the results.
4. Visit http://tinyurl.com/ktevstr to see the current state of the contest at any time!
5. Just like high school, this is a popularity contest, so vote early and vote often!

Starting June 18 I will decide who the winners are, and I will post my fifteen favorite bands for the main stage and the five act Stage of Legends, as well as The Titan of Bobapalooza 2014 by June 25 (Flying Spaghetti Monster willing). I will also give credit to the first person who suggested them, so get in early for your shot at fame!

If you still have questions, please feel free to comment on this blog post or on the Facebook event page. Insightful questions will receive careful, well-thought out answers. Off-hand questions will get off-hand answers. Questions that prove you didn’t bother to read everything I already wrote will be met with shame and ridicule, not necessarily in that order.

For those about to rock: we salute you!


I Think She’s Turning Japanese, I Really Think So


The latest kerfuffle to hit the net seems to be about Avril Lavigne and her new video “Hello Kitty”, and I can totally understand why. I mean seriously, did you see that hair? It’s like she went from punk rock to pop rocks!

Wait, I’m getting some new information in. Looks like the problem has nothing to do with her hair (except for some snarky comments from people who have no substantive criticism to offer) but rather that the whole thing is blatantly, screamingly racist and Avril should be ashamed of herself.

What? I sat through the whole video (admittedly on mute – I’m not a strong man), and despite thinking that Rainbow Brite threw up on her I didn’t see anything to particularly take issue with. So what’s the deal?

Here’s the thing: Americans, and particularly white Americans, are very sensitive and determined to take offense, especially if they can do so on behalf of someone else (it’s the new white person’s burden). The irony of course is that those most likely to try to police others in their actions are, as always, the least likely to bother actually getting more than a superficial understanding of the people and cultures they are trying to “protect” and “stand up for” (see how this sort of language subtly diminishes and disempowers those other cultures? Nah, neither do I.) So if someone is actually paying tribute or homage to that other culture or, god forbid, accurately reflecting it but doesn’t match the preconceived notions these folks have of what someone of that culture should look like (particularly their skin color, gender, features, etc.) then they are being racist.

Did you catch that? If you don’t look how we say you are supposed to look and you aren’t doing what we expect you to do, you’re the one who is being racist. Interesting turnabout there. And all in the name of “protecting” people from… what exactly? Damaging the culture? How exactly is Avril Levine or Miley Cyrus (to name another famous singer recently accused of “appropriation”) damaging the culture by trying to partake of it? (Okay, I wouldn’t want to be associated with Miley either, but still.) It’s not like anyone believes they invented it, nor are they claiming to have done so.

To those who would suggest that these cultural artifacts “belong” to one group or another exclusively, I say with all the eloquence I can muster: horseshit. Culture is a human artifact to be shared, manipulated, adapted, adopted, and remixed by other humans so that we can all grow and benefit from it. What would happen if white people tried to say, “Hey, we invented golf, it’s part of our culture and you can’t have it”? Oh wait, they did, and two things happened. First they got sued, and second Tiger Woods came in and made them all look like idiots.

I’ve “been” a lot of things in my life: preppy, nerd, punk, nerd, goth, nerd (seeing a theme here?), grunge kid, and Average White Guy™. Most all of those have been amalgamations of various different cultural influences, and none of them would exist if purists such as these had their way. Maybe instead of trying so hard to police the behavior of others, they should spend some time working on themselves.


Bobapalooza 2013: The Playlist and the Loot!


Hello everyone and welcome back to The Greatest Music Festival That Never Was! I know most of you are freezing right along with me and it’s hard to remember those soft, warm summer days when we all got together and basked in the glow of our shared love of music and good times. But that’s why I’m here today! To remind you of the joy, the laughter, the fun.

And to pimp my wares.

That’s right, Bobapalooza is selling out, just like all your favorite bands! But first, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

The Official 2013 Bobapalooza 2013 Playlist

The Doors – Break On Through
Nirvana – In Bloom
Death – Politicians in My Eyes
The Heavy – Short Change Hero
Preston Reed – Ladies Night
Divine Fits – Civilian Stripes
Awol Nation – Not Your Fault
Matsiyahu – King Without a Crown
Sting – Desert Rose
Garbage – #1 Crush
KMFDM – Juke Joint Jezebel
Nine Inch Nails – Head Like a Hole
Animal Collective – My Girls
Axis of Awesome – King of the Hipsters
Nirvana – All Apologies
Volbeat – Sad Man’s Tongue
Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
K’Naan – Take a Minute
Sting – If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)
Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass
Dream Theater – Pull Me Under
Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds
Johnny Cash – Hurt
The Doors – Riders on the Storm

In many ways this is probably the most challenging playlist for Bobapalooza to date. I feel it has levels of complexity and depth that have been missing from the others, and a richness of character that has only been hinted at before. Not only that, I actually had to go back and look over the nominations from last summer to put this list together, and I have to say again how overwhelmed I was and still am with the sheer quality of artists nominated for Bobapalooza. Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, I turned down James Brown. THE GODFATHER OF SOUL. That’s how fierce this competition gets, and it’s all because of you, folks. Thanks for being a part of this.

And now for the part I’m most excited about: the Bobapalooza Swag Store is now open! Love the show? Get the gear! Show your support for the greatest music festival that never was! Remember, I only make a tiny little commission on every purchase, so make sure to buy a lot! Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your frenemies!  I have no artistic integrity! The Bobapalooza Swag Store: Selling out since 2014.