Saturday, September 30, 2006

WHERE IS THE LIST???

I'm still compiling the list of 2007 GREATEST SONGS FOR 2007, but I've fallen in a Mastadon hole. It's like a K-Hole, only chuggier. I was unfamiliar with Mastadon before a week ago, but now I've met their heavy music and I'm trying to deside what makes their best songs better than their not-so-best songs. These guys are so up one of my alleys, they should have called them Kate's 14" strap-on.

Listening to Blood Mountain. Again and again. And, probably, again.

But there will be more, soon. I've already got some things to say about Blonde On Blonde.

And I've been downloading things that are so ingrained in my analog music skull that I never thought to actually own them in digital format — Duran Duran, Van Halen, some more Yes...

More list to come!

NEW MCCARTHYISM

Brendan mcCarthy gives some great answers in this post-Solo interview.

I only wish he'd been able to answer the most important question: "When? WHEN will we see more comics? WHEN???"

Wha I Say about Solo #12.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WELL WISHES IN A WISHING WELL

Everybody dogpile Marcos' blog and wish him the well. He won't be updating Carl is the Awesome this week as his is on his sick bed. I visited him a couple of hours ago and he's doing better and should be back on his feet by Friday. He does have a great view of the Statue of Liberty from his bed, so that's kind of nice. Plus super morphine and many visitors. People love that guy, especially when he's doped up.

TO SUR, WITH NAMES

Or: Breddy For Action

perez is surname number 49 in the USA
fox is surname number 166 in the USA
colon is surname number 481 in the USA
dyer is surname number 661 in the USA
bender is surname number 749 in the USA
taveras is surname number 6781 in the USA
sobieski is surname number 17557 in the USA
belasco is surname number 25590 in the USA
siemsen is surname number 43119 in the USA
colavito is surname number 44191 in the USA


gamblor, as a surname, does not exist in this database, because it is not among the top 55,000 most common names in the US

http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2001/thesweetestsound/popularityindex.html

More music and comics to come.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

SHORT SKIP 322-339

Just a shorty before bed. I didn't expect anyone else to think this huge list was a good idea. Kenny thinks it's such a good idea, that he's doing one of his own. Or, maybe, he looked at some of my list and decided it was actually a terrible idea, and that he'd fix it and make it all better. It will be very interesting to see where our lists converge and diverge. I don't know where he gets the idea it's a list of 'favorites' though. Clearly, only the finest empirical evidence is at work here. To wit:

322. Relax Frankie Goes to Hollywood Bang!...The Greatest Hits of Frankie Goes to Hollywood

I love 'Greatest Hits' albums that are one song long, don't you? The best Duran Duran song was all about getting comfortable in the pole position when you want to go to it and shoot it in the right direction. This was the closest music has ever come to throwing in the towel, but it needed it to wipe off, and now we're stuck with this 23-year old towel.

323. What Am I Gonna Do With You Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits
324. You're The First, The Last, My Everything Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits
325. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits
326. Never Never Gonna Give Ya Up Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits
327. I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby Barry White Barry White's Greatest Hits

What hasn't been said about Barry White that he couldn't say better himself. The patron saint of MILF-hunting took disco and slowed it the fuck down. After killing the party, he made his move - and he moved fast on your drunk ass. Where did those candles come from? Is that lotion? Lower lips tremble at the timber of his voice. The ones on the mouth, too.

328. Bcdtmx Autechre Basscad EP
329. Beaumonthannanttwomx Autechre Basscad EP
330. Basscadubmx Autechre Basscad EP

Remixes of minimalist beats? Crazy. Rethink the remix when it really becomes different songs. Cool, different songs.

331. No Jumper Cables Aesop Rock Bazooka Tooth
332N.Y. Electric Aesop Rock Bazooka Tooth
333. Freeze Aesop Rock Bazooka Tooth

Aesop Rock and label leader EL-P are an acquired taste. Frenetic beats no one should even think about rhyming to and rhymes that make you go hmmm... Aesop uses more words in a song than Twista knows. He's an Atari 2600 from the year 2600 who finds all the details you never noticed and shapes them into the devil's own rhythm. After a few listens, you'll wonder how you planned to get through the next millenium without him.

334. Phony Rappers A Tribe Called Quest Beats Rhymes & Life

One of the definitive Tribe songs and possibly the best battle cry in the war against mediocrity. Followed by an even, but non-stellar, kind of mediocre, album. Wha- hoppen?

335. Sympathy For The Devil The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
336. Street Fighting Man The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet

See? I'm not a total hater. 'Sympathy' is the best thing the Stones ever did. If they only did that song, they'd truly be one of the greatest bands ever. Unfortunately, they made hundreds of other songs. Still, what a great song. I guessed his name was Rumpelstiltskin, but I lost that dwarf bargain. 'Street Fighting Man'? I had no idea that was the name of the song. It's a really good tune, even if there are no references to Bison or Chun-Li.

337. Giving Him Something He Can Feel En Vogue Best of En Vogue
338. What's Up 4 Non Blondes Bigger, Better, Faster, More!

I like to think of these two songs as a Final Jeopardy. "Giving Him Something He Can Feel... No. What's Up. We were looking for What's Up." I've been there, Alex, I've been there. Wait. No I haven't. Have I? En Vogue said you were never gonna get it one minute and then they're giving you something you can feel the next. Just like four women. "What's Up?" is better than you think it is. Don't let that girl who never washes her hair ruin it for you.


This list hasn't been very image heavy, and I apologize. Maybe this will give you something you can feel:



I'm skipping Benny Goodman for a while, to figure out how to start. There's a bunch of Davis to contemplate as well, but that might be easier. MIGHT be. What to do about all that jazz...

The Rules
1-85
86-113
114-230
231-321

Sunday, September 24, 2006

OUT OF THE AS (231-321)

It's looking more and more like this will be the first round before the culling. So, we'll see how far above 2007 we get before something's gotta give. I skipped a few albums that I'll have to revisit (like the American Primitives recordings), but I'm finally out of the As. I'm trying to do as much as possible now, while I'm taking breaks from tweaking the digitals on "The Game", because I don't know how sustainable this will all be once I've started pencilling again.

Anyway, here are the next contestants in the 2007 GREATEST POP SONGS list:

231. Trimmed and Burning Built To Spill Ancient Melodies Of The Future

Melodies is a strange album, a real departure for Spill. I think the fact that I'm trying to make sense of it still, points out its inherent weakness. Still, I think this song is pretty strong, and best accomplishes what the others set out to do.

232. And Justice For All Metallica And Justice For All
233. Eye Of The Beholder Metallica And Justice For All
234. The Shortest Straw Metallica And Justice For All
235. Harvester Of Sorrow Metallica And Justice For All
236. The Frayed Ends Of Sanity Metallica And Justice For All
237. To Live Is To Die Metallica And Justice For All
238. Dyers Eve Metallica And Justice For All

Libertarian ideals. A decrying of hypocrisy. An overwhelming persecution complex. A code of morality that seems to exist in a vacuum. An obsessive focus on details. A possible slip into insanity. In literature, we find these tendancies in Ayn Rand. In politics, John McCain. In comics, it's in Steve Ditko, Dave Sim, Frank Miller. In music, it's Metallica. Now, these personality traits aren't so bad that they prevent people from doing good work — in fact, many of the above have done some great work (well, not Rand), but these tendencies can overwhelm an artist. Justice is a great album, each track is actually better than the last, but it was also the begining of the end. Talent and craziness is great when combined with youthful energy, but craziness has more staying power than talent.

239. Everyday Yo La Tengo And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

Don't expect any more Tengo on this list, any Guided by Voices, either. These ears have little patience or interest in indie-rock's damp darlings of dull. It would take something remarkable to sway me otherwise. This wierd, haunting song is pretty remarkable.

240. Angel In The Dark Laura Nyro Angel In The Dark
241. Triple Goddess Twilight Laura Nyro Angel In The Dark
242. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow Laura Nyro Angel In The Dark

Recorded in 1995(!), Nyro pulled a Cash/Dylan with a haunting final statement. Her version of Carole King's 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow', is the best I've ever heard, because she really doesn't think you will. I will, though.

243. Olive and Gray The Residents Animal Lover
244. What Have My Chickens Done Now? The Residents Animal Lover
245. Mr. Bee's Bumble The Residents Animal Lover
246. Inner Space The Residents Animal Lover
247. The Whispering Boys The Residents Animal Lover

Some bands fear treading into conceptual experimentation, The Residents ARE conceptual experimentation. These songs may not have been done by the people previously called The Residents. Or, maybe they were. Only their hairdressers know for sure. The anonymous band actually comes as close as I can see to writing popular music for this album, with a pretty straight-forward concept — love of animals. The first two are hysterical, the next two are great DANCE tracks, and the last is nice and weird.

248. Scientific Remote Viewing Cephalic Carnage Anomalies
249. Inside Is Out Cephalic Carnage Anomalies
250. Sleeprace Cephalic Carnage Anomalies
251. Ontogeny of Behavior Cephalic Carnage Anomalies

The weakest of grind-core/thrash jazz experimentalists' albums, Anomalies gets lost in overwhelming sameyness too often. These four songs, though, either allow more space around the everything-at-once aesthetic to let you really appreciate all-out terror they're providing, or just go so far into the speed/scream assault that they bring a tear to my eye, "That's ma boys." 'Inside Is Out''s first minute and a half is so creepy, that you beg them to unleash the insanity.

252. All I Really Want To Do Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan
253. Spanish Harlem Incident Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan
254. Chimes Of Freedom Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan
255. To Ramona Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan
256. Motorpsycho Nitemare Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan
257. My Back Pages Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan
258. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) Bob Dylan Another Side Of Bob Dylan

Picking the best Bob Dylan songs is like picking the best blades of grass in a virgin field. Sure, it's easy enough to point out the bad sections, but choosing the best? Luckily, history has done most of the job for us. I'll do the rest, thank you.

259. Dancing With Myself Generation X Anthology (Disc 1)
260. Ready, Steady Go Generation X Anthology (Disc 1)
261. Day By Day Generation X Anthology (Disc 1)
262. Prime Of Kenny Silvers (Pt. 1 & 2) Generation X Anthology (Disc 1)

For GenX songs might be a bit generous, but 'Dancing' is one of my favorite tunes, the next are two of the songs I think of when I think of early punk and the fourth is the best Elvis Costello song he never penned.

263. Love Me Do The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 1)
264. Please Please Me The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 1)
265. I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 1)
266. She Loves You The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)
267. Can't Buy Me Love The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)
268. And I Love Her The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)
269. A Hard Day's Night The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)
270. I Wanna Be Your Man The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)
271. I'll Be Back (Complete) The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)
272. Eight Days A Week The Beatles Anthology 1 (Disc 2)

I only have the Anthology versions of these songs, but early Beatles wasn't bad, was it?

273. Evil Interpol Antics

This is the third Interpol song on the list. I'll be surprised if anything but that couch song makes the final cut, but I've given in the the Interpol and their catchy stylings. And I'm almost ashamed. Almost.

274. Second Bad Vilbel Autechre Anvil Varpe
275. Second Peng Autechre Anvil Varpe
276. Second Scepe Autechre Anvil Varpe

To younger ears, Autechre's music might just sound like unrealised Radiohead songs from the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions. To older ears, they may sound like an even more mechanical Kraftwerk. It's hard to express the fundamental shift in my thought Autechre brought about in the mid/late 90s. All I had was an audio cassette Kenny had made for me containing some of the most textured electronic music I'd ever heard. Listening, as each song builds layer upon layer of deconstructed pop motifs, is an immersive and revealing experience.

277. By The Time I Get To Arizona Public Enemy Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black
278. Shut Em Down Public Enemy Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black
279. Bring Tha Noize (With Anthrax) Public Enemy Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black

It's nearly empirical, the degree to which A91 represents a downturn in quality for P.E. from their previous albums. And yet, 'Arizona' might be my favorite of their songs. A hiphop 'Southern Man', Chuck D has lyrical focus and a tight track to ride. "Shut Em Down' has a fantastic chorus and the Anthrax tagteam on 'Noise' is the stroke of genious.

280. I Palindrome I They Might Be Giants Apollo 18
281. She's Actual Size They Might Be Giants Apollo 18
282. My Evil Twin They Might Be Giants Apollo 18
283. Hypnotist of Ladies They Might Be Giants Apollo 18
284. Fingertips They Might Be Giants Apollo 18

Apollo 18 is TMBG's most commercially successful album, and possibly their best. The brilliantly wierd first four tracks are perfect pop tunes. How many songs are in 'Fingertips'? I don't know. It's a tribute to The Residents, and contains some of the best, shortest songs on wax.

285. Welcome To The Jungle Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction
286. Paradise City Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction
287. Sweet Child O' Mine Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction

Three of GNR's best songs were also the big singles and perfect pop-metal tunes.

288. Aqualung Jethro Tull Aqualung

The 'Lord of the Rings' of songs about creepy homeless men. Let that thought slither around your head for a while.

289. My Writes De La Soul Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump
290. Ooooh De La Soul Feat. Redman Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump

The best songs De la's done since their peak, 'Writes' is solid while 'Ooooh' might be their best ever. Thanks, Redman!


291. Pull Up the People M.I.A. Arular
292. Galang M.I.A. Arular

Ok. I first wrote M.I.A. off as a Cibo Mato ripoff, but I've enjoyed these tunes more and more every time I've heard them. There's a lot more there than I once thought. I'm still unclear about the point of making unpopular songs about populism, or using political songs to sell iPods, but these sound like the revolutionary songs of the future, and I'll enjoy them long after that revolution never happens.

293. Ascension - Edition II John Coltrane Ascension
294. Little Rock Sonny Sharrock Ask the Ages
295. As We Used To Sing Sonny Sharrock Ask the Ages

I am no music expert. I can't talk about modality or the science of jazz, but I can appreciate something as stunning as Ascension. In a world populated by Monk, Davis and Coleman, Coltrane stands shoulder-to-shoulder in experimental free jazz. Ascension is like a map of several spiritual journeys that routinely dive into a confusing miasma of different alternative paths, each squeeking and squelching in a congestion of conflicting noise. I prefer the second version over the first, just because it seems like the musicians were ready to explore their solos a little more deeply. Sharrock has been called the Coltrane of the guitar, and the best moments of these songs capture his willingness to make music out of noise. The weakest moments come when he turns into Santana.

296. Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
297. I Still Miss Someone Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
298. Cocaine Blues Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
299. 25 Minutes To Go Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
300. The Long Black Veil Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
301. The Wall Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
302. Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
303. Jackson (With June Carter) Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
304. I Got Stripes Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
305. I Walk The Line Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
306. Starkville City Jail Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
307. San Quentin Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin
308. A Boy Named Sue Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison / San Quentin

Lacking an obsession with labyrinths, Johnny Cash is still probably the Jorge Luis Borges of popular music. His best songs are perfect short-story distillations of the outlaw lifestyle. When he sung them in prisons, in front of a prison audience, he recorded the definitive versions. Forget that lousy movie, the only stories you need to know about the Man in Black are the ones he carved out of myth and put to that single-mindedly driven music.


309. At The Speed Of Life Xzibit At The Speed of Life
310. Light Your Ass on Fire (feat. Pharrel) Busta Rhymes Attack of the Clones
311. Frontin' (feat. Jay-Z) Pharrel Attack of the Clones

Xzibit is at his best when he's introducing himself. He's almost always tight, but he soars when he emcees himself. Busta always shines when the music gets weird, and makes hits where others would be confused by the bat. 'Frontin' finds Jay-Z in fine form, excelling as he does over laid-back tracks. I like Pharrel on this, but he he really should have stopped once the joke was played out.

312. Pretty In Pink Automatic 7 Automatic 7

For some reason, I have New Brunswick's own Automatic 7 covering the Psychedlic Furs classic. I think it's because I like their stripped-down approach to the early Alt. hit. Do I like it better than the original? I honestly don't know. Huh.

313. Drive R.E.M. Automatic For The People
314. Try Not To Breathe R.E.M. Automatic For The People
315. Everybody Hurts R.E.M. Automatic For The People
316. Nightswimming R.E.M. Automatic For The People

I'm not sure this album aged as well as I thought it would have. And I wonder how colored my thoughts are due to over-play of the singles. 'Breathe' and 'Swimming' are like the non-singles versions of 'Drive' and 'Hurts' and I think the four of them are the strongest. I might feel different after more time has passed, but 'Man on the Moon' strikes me as a little too 'We Didn't Start the Fire' right now.

317. More Than This Roxy Music Avalon

Should I have gone with the Bill$ Murray version from the Year of Weird Covers? That wouldn't have held up. THIS does. What a great tune.

318. Back In Black AC/DC Back In Black
319. Ain't No Other Man Christina Aguilera Back To Basics [Disc 1]
320. Stop And Check Myself Al Green Back Up Train
321. Whats Yo Fantasy Ludacris Back 4 The First Time

The OTHER great AC/DC song. I think I'll leave 'Big Balls' for others to ponder. Xtina gives us the most recent song on the list. Is it TOO new? It's worth thinking about. It's pretty great. Why isn't 'Stop' on any of the Al Green greatest hits compilations I looked at? It's really good, and good advice to boots. 'Fantasy' is THE definitive Ludacris song: funny, sexual, limber and all about lick-lick-licking you from your head to your toes. THAT's his fantasy. Licking you. And it's my fantasy too.


And that takes us out of the A albums. Whew! What a RIDE. Luckily, the number of albums that start with either a number or the letter 'A' constitute about a ninth of the Fox library. We should move through the rest of the alphabet pretty quickly — probably until we get to 'T'.

So far, one recomendation for Blackstreet. 'No Diggity', I imagine. Of course, that one pre-dates the RULES. Also a recomendation of 'The Twist' by Chubby Checker, which seems like a given (actually, it was for Chuck Berry's 'The Twist', but I don't know that version).

#1-85


86-113


114-230

Saturday, September 23, 2006

STONED CAVEAT LIST (114-230)

This section of the LIST is the most stoned so far. Light your spliff's for the ride.

114. Ya Soshla S Uma t.A.T.u. 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane

I know there are English versions of t.A.T.u.'s biggest 'hits', but the original Russian makes it all sound so much crazier. WHAT COULD THEY BE SAYING??? Why would I want to know?

115. 1999 Prince 1999
116. Little Red Corvette Prince 1999
117. Delirious Prince 1999

This is why I didn't take the easy way out of limiting tracks per artist to, say, 10. Who is to say that The Beatles 11th-best song is worse than Prince's 10th? Or that Prince's 11th-best is worse than Radiohead's 10th? Or that Radiohead's 11th best song is worse than Tupac's 10th? Who is to say? Not me.

118. What's The Difference (feat Xzibit) Dr. Dre The Chronic 2001
119. Still D.R.E. Dr. Dre The Chronic 2001
120. Forgot About Dre Eminem & Dr. Dre The Chronic 2001
121. The Next Episode Dr. Dre The Chronic 2001

On the album where Dre announces that he's still here, it's the songs that really spell out: b.e.a.t.i.n.g.a.d.e.a.d.h.o.r.s.e. that turned out to be the best. We should all forget about Dre for a few years so he comes back to make more top tunes.

122. Owner Of A Lonely Heart Yes 90125

Yes? YES!

123. Statesboro Blues The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979
124. Ramblin' Man The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979
125. Midnight Rider The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979
126. Southbound The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979
127. Melissa The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979
128. Jessica The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979
129. Whipping Post The Allman Brothers Band A Decade Of Hits 1969-1979

Somewhere, deep inside, where I'm soft like a woman, there is a filthy biker yearning to breathe free.

130. Will My feet Still Carry Me Home Elf Power A Dream In Sound
131. High Atop the Silver Branches Elf Power A Dream In Sound
132. Old Tyme Waves Elf Power A Dream In Sound
133. We Dream In Sound Elf Power A Dream In Sound
134. O What a Beautiful Dream Elf Power A Dream In Sound

My favorite of the Athens, GA. bands. It's Neil Young singing over Yellow Submarine.

135. I Ran A Flock Of Seagulls A Flock Of Seagulls

More than just a joke about hair, they also made one great song.

136. Underdog Sly & The Family Stone A Whole New Thing
137. Turn Me Loose Sly & The Family Stone A Whole New Thing
138. Come Together The Beatles Abbey Road
139. Something The Beatles Abbey Road
140. Oh! Darling The Beatles Abbey Road
141. I Want You (She's So Heavy) The Beatles Abbey Road
142. Here Comes The Sun The Beatles Abbey Road
143. Because The Beatles Abbey Road
144. Mean Mr. Mustard The Beatles Abbey Road
145. Polythene Pam The Beatles Abbey Road
146. Carry That Weight The Beatles Abbey Road
147. Abigail King Diamond Abigail
148. Arrival King Diamond Abigail

What list of the 2007 GREATEST SONGS wouldn't be heavy with the Beatles? And what list wouldn't include representation from King Diamond, the man who combined sludgey rhythm and growling with high-pitched howling and screechy guitars into a heavy-metal opera about betrayal, murder, resurrection, revenge, murder, resurrection and murder? Not this list.

149. Long Gone Day Mad Season Above

The greatest Seattle not-so-supergroup getting soberish and bitching about their fair-weather friends.

150. Distorted Prose Dälek Absence

Cannon fodder. Dälek is like the greatest idea that didn't quite work, but this song is close enough.

151. Hot Karl Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!
152. San Jose Fight Song Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!
153. I Love the Valley Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!
154. King Earth Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!
155. Sita Deth Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!
156. House Quake 2 Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!
157. Sad Girl Ten In the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!

I love Jamie Stewart. LOVE. I'd probably hate him if I knew him, but I only know his crazy music, I love him for it. Programed drums, washes of guitar, accordian, distorted, screamy vocals mixed with whispering — TItSJ may be gone, but Xiu Xiu is coming later. Possibly all over the hot carl they gave you.

158. Jailbait Motorhead Ace of Spades
159. Ace of Spades Motörhead Ace of Spades
160. Fast and Loose Motörhead Ace of Spades
161. The Hammer Motörhead Ace of Spades

Lemmy and Motörhead suffer a bit from AC/DC syndrome, they really only wrote one song and then played variations of it over and over again, but it was a pretty great song. These are some of the best variations. Also, LEMMY!

162. Even Better Than The Real Thing U2 Achtung Baby
163. One U2 Achtung Baby
164. Mysterious Ways U2 Achtung Baby

Every joke about U2 is as funny as it is true. Still, they wrote some great singles, and many of their albums would sound better if you ball-gagged half their fans.

165. Stinkfist Tool Ænima
166. Eulogy Tool Ænima
167. H. Tool Ænima
168. Forty Six & 2 Tool Ænima
169. Jimmy Tool Ænima
170. Pushit Tool Ænima
171. Ænema Tool Ænima
172. Third Eye Tool Ænima

Tool sound nothing like Metallica, but I find it interesting that they became awesome as Lars' band became less so, and became even more awesome the less awesome Metallica became. Somewhere, someone is becoming awesome off of Tool's diminishments...

173. Tell Me Why Neil Young After The Goldrush
174. After The Gold Rush Neil Young After The Goldrush
175. Only Love Can Break Your Heart Neil Young After The Goldrush
176. Southern Man Neil Young After The Goldrush
177. Don't Let It Bring You Down Neil Young After The Goldrush

There was a time when Young only made perfect albums. Really.

178. Mother's Little Helper The Rolling Stones Aftermath [UK]
179. Under My Thumb The Rolling Stones Aftermath [UK]

I am not a Stones fan. not by an Art Adams' Longshot. But they did make a few great songs. A few. A tip of the hat to these two, and a wag of the finger to almost everything else they did (I think there's about three more of their songs to go).

180. Pearly Radiohead Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP]
181. Polyethylene (Parts 1&2) Radiohead Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP]
182. Melatonin Radiohead Airbag/How Am I Driving? [EP]

It's not even a proper album, these O.K. Computer outtakes. But these, at least, are great!

183. Aladdin sane David Bowie Aladdin sane
184. Cracked actor David Bowie Aladdin sane
185. Watch that man David Bowie Aladdin sane
186. Let's Spend The Night Together David Bowie Aladdin Sane
187. The Jean Genie David Bowie Aladdin Sane

It's not even my favorite Bowie album. Not even top three, and yet it is SO GOOD.

188. Grind Alice In Chains Alice In Chains
189. Heaven Beside You Alice In Chains Alice In Chains

I like AiC. I'll admit it. These are the best of this album, but I can see them getting cut in the final analysis. Not so, some of their earlier stuff.

190. Ambitionz Az A Ridah 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
191. All About U 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
192. Skandalouz 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
193. How Do U Want It 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
194. 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
195. No More Pain 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
196. Life Goes On 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
197. Only God Can Judge Me 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Book One)
198. California Love Dr. Dre & 2pac N.W.A. Legacy, Vol. 1: 1988-1998 (Disc 2)
199. Can't C Me 2Pac All Eyez on Me (Book Two)
200. Shorty Wanna Be A Thug 2Pac All Eyez on Me (Book Two)
201. Holla At Me 2Pac All Eyez on Me (Book Two)
202. Wonda Why They Call U Bitch 2Pac All Eyez on Me (Book Two)
203. When We Ride 2Pac All Eyez on Me (Book Two)

All eyez were on him, so Tupac made a double album of all hit singles. Seriously. I camethisclose to just putting the whole damn thing on. One of the greatest hiphop albums ever by the man with one of the most ridiculous flows. Only God can judge him, though? Pffft! I'll judge him, and rule that he is guilty. Guilty of stealing my heart. The California Love from N.W.A. Legacy is the superior version, though, because my Eyez version is scratched. Scratched on the ultimate G-Funk song! ARGH!

204. all hands on the bad one sleater-kinney all hands on the bad one
205. Tides of the Moon Mercury Rev All Is Dream
206. Chains Mercury Rev All Is Dream
207. Little Rhymes Mercury Rev All Is Dream
208. You're My Queen Mercury Rev All Is Dream

This album was a disapointment after Deserter's Songs, but these tracks are pretty sweet.

209. Jersey Cream Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
210. Ladies' Man Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
211. The Body Malone Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
212. Let It Believe Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
213. Hot Dog Glove Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
214. Dr. Finast Vons Krasdale Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
215. Pussy Whipped Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
216. Plotonium Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
217. Mad Tea Party Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals

I have no idea how these got in here. I wanted to put them in the list, because I stand by them, but I don't know how they got in this part. Really. I only found out after I pasted all these songs into this post. It's weird. Wide Load Riders is already in the Ultimate Party Mix section of the list.

218. My Sweet Lord George Harrison All Things Must Pass (Disc One)
219. What Is Life George Harrison All Things Must Pass (Disc One)
220. Beware Of Darkness George Harrison All Things Must Pass (Disc Two)
221. Awaiting On The Wall George Harrison All Things Must Pass (Disc Two)
222. Art Of Dying George Harrison All Things Must Pass (Disc Two)

As legend has it, Marcos was listening to this album on a turntable when the needle jumped off. That night, he learned that harrison had died. It sounds like a bad Grant Morrison anecdote, but it doesn't negate some nice songs, with bigger sonics than you might expect.

223. 1/1 Brian Eno Ambient 1 Music For Airports

I was trying to decide if Eno's ambient work broke with my Classical Music rule. I decided that it didn't. This is my favorite.

224. Loose Booty Parliament-Funkadelic America Eats Its Young
225. Gor-Gor Gwar America Must Be Destroyed

Lou's Boo-T has one of my favorite choruses. Guess how it goes. If the end of the world is going to be funny, Gwar will play the soundtrack. It's hard to pick the actual BEST Gwar song, but I think the one where the only lyrics for the first minute are "Gor-gor" is probably it.

226. Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box Radiohead Amnesiac
227. Pyramid Song Radiohead Amnesiac
228. I Might Be Wrong Radiohead Amnesiac
229. Knives Out Radiohead Amnesiac
230. Morning Bell/Amnesiac Radiohead Amnesiac

Amnesiac is my least favorite Radiohead album. I think it contains the most filler, but Hail to the Thief might be a contender for that crown. Amnesiac at least has a proper title. That said, there ARE stellar gems here. These are those gems.

I'm kind of surprised how often I caveated this part of the list. For the record, this part of the list isn't even my favorite part, but so much is so good.

The Rules

#1-85 (Ultimate Party)

#86-113

Friday, September 22, 2006

MORE LIST!

You know what song isn't making the LIST? Whatever the hell song my neighbors are playing right now. It's like one half of Nelson, or Half Nelson, high on the fumes.

As I went through the iTunes library, listed in album title order, I learned three things:

1. 3-Way Tie For Last has so many great songs!
2. 3-Feet High and Rising is a better album than collection of individual tunes. But it does remind me how great other people's songs are.
3. Blur's 13 is an interesting album that I've never really sat and listened to.
3.5. I might need to actually sit and listen to a number of albums I've just let play watson to my sherlock in the past.
4. I may need help with weeding. What are the best Germs, Uncle Tupelo and 50-ft Wave songs I should consider? Any of them?
5. Distinctiveness of song is more important than distictiveness of artist. This goes
back to the context rule. Einsturzende Neubauten and Magnetic Fields, you may be looking at shut outs.

Here's more songs:

86. One (Extended Version) Metallica ...and Justice for All

I miss awesome Metallica.

87. The Magic Number De La Soul 3 Feet High And Rising
88. Me Myself And I De La Soul 3 Feet High And Rising
89. The Price of Paradise Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
90. Lost Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
91. The Big Stick Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
92. Courage Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
93. The Red and the Black Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
94. No One Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
95. Ack Ack Ack Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)
96. Situations At Hand Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last)

There's gonna be a LOT of Minutemen when it's said and dunst.

97. Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
98. 2 Cups of Blood Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
99. Blood Brothers Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
100. 1-800 Suicide Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
101. Diary of a Madman Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
102. Bang Your Head Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep
103. Deathtrap Gravediggaz 6 Feet Deep

I actually think Gravediggaz are in the canon-fodder position, and will thin out once I make my way further down the list.

104. Electronic Performers AIR 10,000 Hz Legend
105. How Does It Make You Feel? AIR 10,000 Hz Legend
106. Don't Be Light AIR 10,000 Hz Legend
107. Toms's Diner D.N.A.(feat. Suzanne Vega) 12" EP

YES!

108. Coffee & TV Blur 13

It's a cool album, but milk carton video wins!

109. Ring Of Fire Johnny Cash 16 Biggest Hits

The rest of the Cash comes later.

110. Mr. Big Stuff (Remix) Heavy D & The Boyz 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Heavy D & The Boyz
111. Chunky but Funky (Remix) Heavy D & The Boyz 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Heavy D & The Boyz
112. Gyrlz, They Love Me Heavy D & The Boyz 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Heavy D & The Boyz

You don't know how much you love Heavy D. until you are reminded. And then you know! And then you need to be reminded again. Every once in a while.

113. Do Me! Bell Biv DeVoe 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Bel Biv DeVoe

Sure, anyone can be a 20th-Century Master. My silver disc is on its way. But. BUT. Do — do me baby. What's not to love?

The Rules.

Songs 1-85.

2007 GREATEST POP SONGS

Hmmm... I guess I did get this email, but it went right into the spam folder. Why would I spam mice elf? I guess I'm no better than Ranald Savage and the article he just read and thought I'd be interested in. Anyway,

Back when we used to use our Forum more, the Cliff FACErs would sometimes make lists of nonsense and nonsensibility. I miss that. Great stuff like: best hiphop duos or groups, cliché robot hands,
Kenny's secret job... and on and on. And on and on.

Someday, I might post some of them here for posteriority. But today is not someday. Today is the day I'm gonna be starting something new. Something crazy.

I propose to make a list of the 2007 GREATEST POP SONGS to ring in the New Year. The new year of 2007!

Here are the rules:

1. No classical music, no modern classical music, no pre-classical music. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just a convenient restriction, especially since you then get too deep into the question of variations of performances. Everything else is gamey!
2. It has to be music you or I have or can easily acquire.
3. There must be 2007 songs — no more, no less.
4. Each song must operate on its own, free of all context.
5. All 2007 songs must get my approval (meaning there will be songs you love that don't make it, and songs you hate that do). You are free to make your own, all David Grey list. The difference between your list and mine? Mine will be definitive, yours... not so much.
6. I have to be able to defend each song. If you call me out, and I can't muster a defense of the tune, you win! And it dies. Alternately, you can feel free to make your own suggestions, but you must defend them if I doubt you!
7. This playlist will probably be around 6 straight days long, possibly 7 gay days. So, stock up on coffee when it's all ready for unleashing.
8. I need to average 144 songs per week to get it all done for 2007.
9. The list will be presented in the order the songs are added, and
the order should not be considered qualitative in any way.

Let's begin:

Oh. I did.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

YOU KNOW...

I had this idea at work, wrote it up and emailed it to myself here at home where I could post it. But it never arrived.

So, maybe I'll start doing the thing I proposed, and then put the explanation up tomorrow when I get it.

First, songs from the ULTIMATE PARTY PLAYLIST, because they all gotta represent:

1.Follow The Leader Eric B. & Rakim Follow The Leader
2.Rockit Herbie Hancock Future Shock
3.Work It Missy Eliot
4.Intergalactic Beastie Boys Hello Nasty
5.Slow Hands Interpol Antics
6.I See You Baby Groove Armada & Gram'Ma Funk Best of Groove Armada
7.The New Workout Plan Kanye West The College Dropout
8.Are you Feeling Me Aaliyah Romeo Must Die Soundtrack
9.My Lovin (You're Never Gonna Get It) En Vogue Best of En Vogue
10.Gravel Pit Wu Tang The W
11.No Said Date Masta Killa No Said Date
12.Doin' It LL Cool J
13.Rappers Delight The Sugar Hill Gang Waxin Lyrical
14.Nas Ne Dagoniat t.A.T.u. 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane
15.James Brown Is Dead L.A. Style Techno Mix 98 -Rave All Nite
16.The Need to Be Naked Amber Naked
17.Gasolina Daddy Yankee Cangri Hits - Culeo Mix
18.Breathe Fabolous Real Talk
19.The Way You Move (ft. Sleepy B Big boi feat sleepy brown Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
20.Rush Talib Kweli Quality
21.You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC Back In Black
22.Pour Some Sugar on Me Def Leppard Vault - Def Leppard Greatest Hits
23.When I Grow Up garbage v2.003
24.Beware Of The Boyz Jay-Z & Punjabi MC Blazin Hip-Hop And R&B Vol. 33
25.Crazy in Love Beyoncé Dangerously in Love
26.Whoomp! There It Is Tag Team Whoomp! There It Is
27.Baby Got Back Sir Mixalot
28.Let Me Clear My Throat DJ Kool
29.Everybody dance now c&c music factory
30.I Like It (Original Mix) Narcotic Thrust I Like It - Single
31.Can't Get You out of My Head Kylie Minogue Fever
32.What Is Love >Reloaded< (Radio Edit) Haddaway What Is Love >Reloaded<
33.Milkshake Kelis Tasty
34.10 M.I.A. Arular
35.My Neck, My Back Khia Nasty Confessions
36.One, Two Step Ciara featuring Missy Elliot Goodies
37.Sugar (Gimme Some) Trick Daddy featuring Ludacris, Lil Kim & Cee-Lo Sugar (Gimme Some) - Single
38.Whenever, Wherever Shakira Laundry Service
39.Kiss Prince Parade
40.Shimmy Shimmy Ya Ol' Dirty Bastard RtrnToThe3602
41.Oops (Oh My) Tweet & Missy Elliott Southern Hummingbird
42.Lean Back Terror Squad, Fat Joe & Remy Lean Back - Single
43.Push It Salt 'n Pepa
44.Naughty Girl Beyoncé Dangerously in Love
45.Move Ya Body Jabba & Nina Sky Universal Smash Hits, Vol. 3
46.Goodies Ciara featuring T.I. & Jazze Pha Goodies
47.Throb Janet Jackson Janet.
48.Now That We Found Love Heavy D & The Boyz & Aaron Hall III 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Heavy D & The Boyz
49.All Things (Just Keep Getting Better) Widelife What's That Sound? Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Soundtrack from the TV Show)
50.Move This Technotronic Pump Up the Jam - The Album
51.It Takes Two Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock Profilin' the Hits
52.I'VE GOT THE POWER snap
53.Poision Bell Biv Devoe Bell Biv Devoe
54.Ignition (Remix) R. Kelly Chocolate Factory
55.Slow Jamz Kanye West Feat. Twista & Jamie Foxx The College Dropout
56.Humpty Dance Digital Underground
57.Whats Yo Fantasy Ludacris Back4TheFirstTime
58.Dip It Low Christina Milian It's About Time
59.Bootylicious Destiny's Child Survivor
60.Pump Up the Volume (USA 12" Mix) Colourbox Best of Colourbox 82/87
61.Put 'Em On The Glass Sir Mix-A-Lot Chief Boot Knocka
62.Get Your Freak On Missy Eliot
63.Jesus Walks Kanye West The College Dropout
64.Hey Ya! Outkast Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Andre 3000)
65.Cantaloop US3
66.Doo Wop (That Thing) Lauryn Hill The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
67.The Seed (2.0) The Roots Phrenology
68.Sugar is Sweet CJ Bolland
69.This Is Not A Breakdown The Realm Ibiza (Disc 1)
70.Born Slippy Underworld Trainspotting
71.Pump Up the Jam Technotronic Pump Up the Jam - The Album
72.OPP Naughty By Nature Naughty By Nature
73.PDA Interpol Turn On The Bright Lights
74.La Tortura Shakira & Alejandro Sanz Fijación Oral, Vol. 1
75.Get By Talib Kweli Quality
76.Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix) [Featuring Jay-Z] Kanye West Late Registration
77.White Lines (Long Version) Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five
78.Joy & Pain Rob Base
79.Sexy M.F. Prince The Hits/The B-Sides (Disc 2)
80.Wide Load Riders Suave Prospects Forbidden Libidinals
81.Baby,I love you Ronettes Phil Specter
82.I Only Have Eyes For You Flamingos
83.Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow Laura Nyro Angel In The Dark
84.Goodbye Pork Pie Hat Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um
85.Let's Get It On Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye's Greatest Hits

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

GAE. SCANS. MATCH.

Done with all 64 The Game scans.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

ON WRITHING

So, I was wrapping birthday presents on Thursday. Not my favorite activity. As anyone who's recieved a gift from me can attest, my distaste for the activity really shows in my work.

Anyway, I was wrapping a somewhat irregular item and imagined the recipient looking at it and asking what it was.

"Air car."

It's what I thought. Really. Then I thought, "Driving My Air Car Through a Strange French Future."

I know I'm supposed to be working on the current book, and then progressing into my Ellisperiment, but that phrase just stuck in my head like a barbed rail spike.

Anyway, ten pages of thumbs cranked out. I think it should be 48 for the Frenchies. Honestly, I don't think it will be hard to thumb 48. The thing writes itself. When in doubt about the story, just go back to "Driving My Air Car Through a Strange French Future."

This is where ideas come from. The project that wins placement in the next issue is the one that is fittest. "Air Car" is damn fit.

ASS I CAN LIVE WITH

Okay. I think I can look at this without tearing my eyes out. Any more than I would anything else in this book.



See previous posts for why this doesn't look as bad as it could.

SETTLING ON ASS

Another try at getting this right:



Trying to fix that mental block that will make this acceptable ass:



Deciding that I may have to settle for the lesser of 5 asses:



Hell, it was practically my dating mantra in my early twenties...

Maybe I'll try again. These days, I don't settle for lesser ass. Or something.

PROGRESSION OF ASS

Well, I've finished most of the physical retouching. Decided on doing six images instead of just two. But the one image that bothered me the most is the one that's needed the most reworking.

Here's what I started with:



Argh! What WAS that?

I tried light-tabling for minor changes, but this needed a more complete overhaul. I thought about photo-reference. And used myself. Then I did a quick once-over with the photoshop pencil:



Then I took that and tried to turn it into a proper drawing:



Aside from looking like me in drag, this was still missing something...

GAME ON

Imagine a disc timeline that went...

Do You Want More?!!!??!
Illadelph Halflife
Things Fall Apart
Phrenology

short break to deal with Mailk B's rehab

And then...
Game Theory

I't Earth-2, and The Album I Dare Not Speak Its Name never existed.

That's how I feel right now.

Shit. This is fuckin' HOT.

"False Media" comes from a strange trip-hop zone when Black Thought comes out full force on top of every instrument ?uestlove knows how to play. "Game Theory" starts a little easy and then transforms into an all-out sonic attack of awesome. Suddenly, I'm listening to Things Fall Apart but Rock HARDER. On "Don't Feel Right" ?uestlove and the band funk it up, throw in a hot female alt-R&B chorus and continue to force Black Thought to keep the fuck up. Then he gives him a break and funks it even more. "In The Music" catches a light sneeze on percussion, Knight Riders the guitars, blows out the chorus with spooky effects and demands some serious rhyming. "Take it There" boom baps on beats and rhymes, showing off that rolling vocal rythm that pulls you along (even if the spoken word breakdown is a bit... there. More wierd guitars and piano. "Here I Come" sounds like what would've happened if hiphop had embraced metal, instead of the other way around, using some of its elements to augment a rap song. "Long Time" embraces... INXS-style warm dance/funk/blues. It's weird and works.

The biggest weakness with the album is sameness. After a while, ?uestlove and the band seem like they could use a jolt — a different energy to shift the feel. Part of thew problem is Black Thought's lack of dynamism. He's a great writer, a great rhymer, but not the greatest emoter. Thankfully, Malik B and a couple other performers add some vocal switchups. They mix in other tempos, and I like a number of the little flourishes, but there's no song that really goes out there. That sounds like something new. The cohesiveness of the album becomes a bit of a limitation.

However, you get at least half an album of pretty, truly, awesome. An album that sounds better louder. Something to get pumped up for a night at the Nuyorican or a day of marching or an evening of sitting around smoking up.

The Roots are angry again. They have something to prove again. They're energized again. They're good again.

Except on Earth-2, where they were never crap.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

OH CRAP

Next fall's tv season...

Obata Prison Break!

It could combine Go with Death Note with Prison Break.

And it would be the only show ever on tv better than The Wire.

Okay. NOW I'm going back to work.

WALL OF DUNZ II: THIS TIME, IT'S PERSONAL

Here's the final pages of "The Game" (short the two redraws I want to do)

DONE! Redraws tomorrow. I didn't do that long sleep I wanted to do last night, and I'm hoping I get to do it tonight. Then some lettering! Two pages worth.

Will finish "Remember" retouches soon. Then I put "Game" together. And "God."

I might take a day or two off next week for some plowing. We'll see.

———————————————————————————————————————

Cracked Kramer's and Comic Art. They look gorgeous. Kramer's I usually gotta crack a few times before I start reading it. Maybe I'll do it start to finish this time...

I might actually hold off on CA until SPX. Might make good travel reading.

Didn't crack Mome. Didn't crack anything else... except Hikaru No Go! Truly, I am sick. But I had to know how the tournament ended! Need to see if Forbidden has #5 (Hanley's did not, but they had 6, 7 and...8?). I need to read them all before Obata gets out of prison.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

EMAIL SELF FOR BLOGGING ON FLIES

Who's got thumbs and a newly gutted bank account?

When Jog wrote that this week was going to be hefty, I sort of laughed it off. Now who's laughing?

Probably someone with no thumbs...

Kramer's Ergo #6

Comic Art #8

The followup to The Push Man. With a different title just to make you work at giving D&Q money. I think it's called, "Laugh it Up, Furball." No, wait. Abandon the Old in Tokyo. Mom, dad. Guess where we're going next year!

You know, David B. really saved Mome's ass last time around. It helped that a number of the other contributors also stepped up to the plate. But it hurts, because it meant I picked up the new one.

For good measure, I picked up the 4th Hikaru No Go, a couple minis and Casanova 4. The last one made me laugh, and I haven't even looked inside yet. $1.99 and barely tipping a pharmacist's scale.

I didn't get BKV's Pride of Bahgdad. I like Runaways a LOT, but Y, The Last Man was no good and I've heard "eh" from a respected alpha male about Ex Machina. I'll wait on this a bit.

I also almost considered buying Alan Moore's Victorian Treasury of Pornography, but could barely lift the bag as is. And I'm still not entirely convinced it's something I want. I said it to Marcos and Kenny last week, if Alan Moore had done nothing between From Hell and Lost Girls, Lost Girls would be a no brainer. But I've spent money on a lot of lesser Alan Moore books over the years to not get overly enthusiastic about dropping 75 on this.

I'm sure it's good. I've heard that there's muff-diving to alternate dimensions. If ever I had an alley, this seems like it was injection-molded right up it.

But, you know, people said Supreme was good. And WildCATS was good. And Top 10 was good. And Promethea was good. But what I read really
wasn't (okay, Top 10 was just ugly, but adequately written). Now, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was fun. Smax was fun. And Lost Girls probably has tornado tongues, cherry poppy fields, cries of "Off to give head!", Tinkle Bells, Captain Hookers, hole-downing, tweedle double Ds. Smiling kittens. I can't think of anything for Jabberwocky...

I bet Moore did, though. D-Man him!

In the meantime, I've got ass-loads of stuff to read and lots of work still to do.

SIX

Six panels. One full page and a half page of redraws. Then I'm done with "The Game." I have some lettering to do on "I am God." And I'll have some puter work to do, but that line at the end of the tunnel is just round the next corner.

Checked the colors on "Remember" and it turns out my 'coloring on a laptop' fear was unfounded. The colors look pretty on target. I have a little cleaning to do on that, but it looks like it's just about ready to go. So, some lettering on "I am God" and just six panels on "The Game." I should be done drawing tomorrow. "God" lettering is either Thursday or this weekend. The puter work for "Game" should be pretty quick - no colors.

Then it's just printing and it's a month to go before SPX.

That means I also gotta crank the writing on the next thing to 11.

Maybe I'll actually finish cleaning the apartment. Marcos moved, what, two and a half months ago?

There's also the neglected life to consider... eh, that's what SPX is for. Or something.

In the meantime, I go crank 8 to 11, for the next 45. Then I hit hays I've deprived too long for 6.5. Maybe I hit hays for the full 8 tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

AH, McCLOUD

Here's the punchline to Making Comics:

He never actually gets to the making of comics.

Sure, there's whole chapters on facial expressions, body language, character design, perspective, backgrounds and wacom tablets, but he leaves out the whole process of actually making the comics.

He talks about web publishing (and there's more online! about web publishing! because you can't talk about it in a book... or something). He devotes a panel to a xerox machine, but acknowleges that this isn't how serious peoples do it. They use a professional printer, through an arrangement with a publishing concern.

They never use their home printers. Or silkscreens. Or stickers. Or glue. Or staplers. Or bookbinding tape. Or yarn. Or wood. They might use cutting boards, but only to cut bristol board for drawing on.

And they'd never paint their original pages. Or photograph them. Or create multimedia pieces. Or work on canvas. Or scratchboard. Or letterpresses. Or illustration board. Or use crayons.

You either do it on bristol or you do it in photoshop. Actually, he seems incredulous that there are still people making comics on paper at all. Why use a pen or brush when it can all be done in wacom?!

He knows there are comics without facial expressions. Or body language. Or perspective. Or figures at all. He even mentions them. But they're not normal.

I still like the book. And there's plenty of fun to be had. Many of the chapters focus on things we cartoonists sometimes forget (like detailed backgrounds! you got to have them if you want McCloud to like it!) that we can benefit from being reminded of every now and then.

Two of the books in EMAW #7 have the backgrounds and the good word-to-picture ratio. The big story doesn't. Some of those panels drown in words and the backgrounds are almost as non-existent as backgrounds get. He actually yells at you for doing something I did. I admit, it wasn't the best solution, but it was something I wanted to mess with. I think McCloud will accept #8 as proper comics. He won't really like it, though. A wacom might never touch the page...

OH, YOU DIDN'T KNOW?

The Carl is the Awesome website debuted today. Go look! I get a beer for every hit Marcos gets from my blog. Don't ask him about this deal. He doesn't know yet.

How will I get me lots of beers? Here are some of the ways:

screen
capture
videos
hypatia
lee
laytex
french
maid
costume
esther
baxter
naked
carlas
choice
the
gnarles
barkley
ssx
presents
maria
swan
solo
anal
photos
bettie
ballhaus
lesbian
justin
fox
tight
delights
brendan
mccarthy

Don't ever say I'm not never not above anything.

DMAN YOU!

Okay. Part of it was thinking about Beyoncé. Part of it was thinking, "wind-swept rooftop." Part of it was switching to ye olde nine-panel grid (from a six-paneller). part of it is going right into the thumbnails without a break between projects. Part of it is getting to know the characters better, one day later. Part of it is a willingness to toss the thumbs that aren't working.

But, D-man it, some of it was McCloud's Making Comics.

Maybe it's the excitement of reading about process in such a detailed way. Maybe it's seeing some brillaint cartooning on display. Maybe it's being reminded of things I might sometimes need reminding of.

Suddenly, better compositions are presenting themselves. Better shot selections are becoming obvious, more intuitive. Set design is becoming more suggestive. Personality traits are showing through body language. The writing is feeling crisper. The whole thing is getting sexier.

D-Man you, McCloud! You and your ways...

READING MAKING COMICS

I'm only about 30 pages into this, but what amazing about the book is McCloud's cartooning. Often, people get worked up about his ideas (one way or another), but we often overlook his virtuoso cartooning both here and in Understanding Comics. Maybe that's because he managed to drop the ball so far on Reinventing Comics and... The Further Adventures Of Abraham Lincoln — ack! ack! ewwww...

Really, the best primer on HOW to make comics is the cartooning itself, more than the further adventures of aspect-to-aspect transitions. Someone should write something about the way McCloud makes his making-of. Making Making Comics.

The complaints from Understanding still apply (accept there's no abstraction pyramid, so far!), but there's plenty of new stuff to enjoy and the book also works just as a great path into McCloud's thought process.

It's providing a great in-between snack while I'm inking and writing. Especially since he starts of with the thing that I was stumbling over earlier this evening... choosing your moment. Choosing your scene. It's like he was reading my mind before I had the thoughts. By the end of the week, I imagine I'll be stuck on thoughts of "genre maturity" and there'll be McCloud, adressing the issue without really answering the specific issue.

Monday, September 11, 2006

THE DAY MIDDLE AMERICA TOTALLY GOT ATTACKED

In this post I go out of my way to prove I have no soul, taste or talent. This is for the doubters. Hatas, make way.

———————————————————————————————

Went out to get some A-1 Deli supplies and noticed they had turned the big World Trade Center floodlights on for the five-year anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.

I love it when they turn the lights on. It looks like I'm just one stop away from putting myself behind the wheel of a used Subaru. At these great 9-11 prices? Why not TWO?

I just picture an Uncle Sam and an Osama Bin Laden yelling at me in puns. "Feel the freedom of a factory re-fubished Subaru!" "These towering prices are crashing down!" "No downpayments for qualified buyers, they're Penta-GONE!"

————————————————————————————————

Picked up a bunch of Fells. It's... cartoonier than I imagined. But I like the character designs. Templesmith is pretty good with body language and facial expressions, but it's weird that the characters never open their mouths unless they're yelling. It also doesn't match the density and drama of Casanova. It's certainly likable, but I wish Richard Fell wasn't such a good cop. He's more CSI than The Wire good. And things resolve themsleves awfully quickly. It's the problem of pacing for 16 pages, especially when you're used to packing a lot less story into 176 pages. And it's something to watch out for. I'll certainly pick up more do see how Ellis continues to work through his self-imposed challenge. And, like I wrote, it's still enjoyable.

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If I do go ahead with this experiment, I'll have to include writing about Phil Spector, Wall of Sound, "Be My Baby" and "River Deep, Mountain High." Apparently, it's one of the obligations.

For the record, "River Deep, Mountain High" is damn-overrated as a masterpiece. It doesn't feel like a wall of sound. It feels like a jam band full of dirty hippies. And Tina Turner's voice really overpowers the sonics instead of merging with them.

On the other hand, "Be My Baby" is one of the most pefect pop tunes ever. It's more than the opening kick drum (which has to be one of the top ten song intros), it's all the Latin percussion without the Latin rhythm. It's the spooky Ronnette's harmonies. It's the way Ronnie's (?) voice bleeds out of the backing vocals. It's the way teenagers talk about sex as love and dependancy in the way that just sounds disturbed to an adult. It's that impenetrable mix of instruments that only gives way during the string-section bridge.

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So, I looked at the early scibbles I laid down late last night and saw something I didn't want to see. Damn. I screwed the pooch right out of the gate, didn't I? I wanted to do "Crazy in Love" and the first four panels feature two comfortable characters sitting on the edge of a bed. Talking. Things kick in after that, but why did I start so boring? At the very least, I need to get these two on some windswept rooftop... or balcony... or pier, even. There was nothing intrinsic about the scene that required an edge of a bed. THIS is the sort of thing I need to avoid. It's a comic for crissakes. And not one about two people sitting on the edge of a bed. I've done enough of that already. It's got the freakin' horns-blaring cover image (one of the projects gestational ideas) but then it needs to go into a little more "Oh-oh! Oh-oh! Oh-ohwa-ohwa! I'm gonna... Oh-oh! Oh-oh! Oh-ohwa-ohwa!" And then the freaking horns! again! Then the 'verse' and then it's horns and the chorus and crazy go nuts.

Why did I bother diagramming five or six pop songs if I'm gonna toss the work the second the pen hits the paper? Wait. I did what? I'm such a nerd. Shut up. No, you shut up.

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I also picked up the usually entertaining Scott McCloud's Making Comics. Mostly out of curiosity, because I already know how to make comics. Making Comics Gooder is the book I really need. But I'd settle for Making People with Money Buy Your Crap Because You've Hypnotized Them into Thinking It's Good. Or, maybe, No One Wants to Read Your Comics About People Sitting on the Edge of a Bed, You Souless Piece of Crap!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

16 PAGES

I keep meaning to check out Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's Fell. I got a little Ellis-ed out a while ago, and wasn't ready to jump back in the pond when it came out. I think my enjoyment of Casanpova has put me in a place where I can get into it. The two are part of a mini line at Image comics, both sharing a similar format: 16 pages of story, four or five pages of "back-matter" (essays, behind-the-scenes annecdotes and images) and a $1.99 price point.

Content-wise, there are some other similarities. Both books feature a single protaginist in a fairly recognizable genre setting (detective noir and psychadelic super spy). Both are written by pop-culture obsessives who like to make a lot of music analogies to their writing processes (the format is another of Ellis' stabs at creating pop-album singles in comics form, Fraction likens Casanova's stories to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions). Both have art by guys with styles that place them just outside the mainstream.

I thought both books were two-color productions, as well, but it appears Fell is fully painted.

This was a bit of a revelation to me. I was thinking about the books, thinking, "hmm... this could be an interesting challenge..."

What if I were to create a 16-page story with a pop-music aesthetic and some "backmatter". Well, Ellis' pop-music mind tends to lean towards the gothy britpop sound (I'll know for sure when I checkk it out) and Fraction tends to veer in the direction of late sixties pop. That's great, and I have a love of both, but what if someone wanted the comic to be more — reflective — of contemporary pop? Might contemporary R&B or Hiphop be a natural fit?

And that got my head back into that question I've been flirting with myself for a few years now, "What would a hiphop comic actually look like?"

So, I had some vague images in my head, and I started thinking about them in a pop-music structure. And then I saw some pages of Fell online. The fully painted art gave me ideas. I was stuck in the two-color world of Casanova, trying to beef some black-and-white thoughts into black, white and... light blue? deep red? It seemed better than trying to peel full-color head images back to something more stripped. But, after seeing those pages, I started to wonder about two-color art on top of fully painted art. Cutting Casanova out figures and pasting them on top of Fell backgrounds.

I was already thinking about doing some photo-referenced art. Not the crap you see in a lot of comics today (a lot of Marvel, DC and Image books seem stuck in this utterly lifeless photo-reffed look), but a freer, looser photo-reffed look. I'm thinking about Paul Pope or Bill Sienkiewicz — using photos as a basis for backgrounds, or to quickly jot down some anatomy so I can spend more time making the image than figuring out why I can't connect this elbow to this upper arm. There's a panel from the upcomming The Game that was photo-reffed. I couldn't get a figure into one of those highschool/college desk-chair combos, and wound up trawling through my ancient past to find this photo of me sitting in one from Sophmore year of highschool. Then I changed the outfit, turned myself into a girl and doubled myself up. It looks like all the other panels I drew, but it's a little more anatomically sound and I did the drawing in no time. Blam.

So, I'm back to thinking about pop comics (triggered, in no doubt, by Brendan McCarthy's Solo #12), hiphop comics in particular. With a single protaginist in a story that could concievably continue without end (that's another aspect, these single issue storie are part of a longer series). With painted backgrounds and two-color figures. I'll probably actually start using my digital camera a lot more. Snapping locations and figures.

And doing some writing. I want to be IN this by the time I get to SPX (or is that Arizona?). By the end of this week, I expect that all of my EMAW #7 work will be on the computer, but I don't want to suffer through another re-learning process artwise. The less time I spend between projects, the better off things will be. Maybe I'll even get a bunch of books out between now and this time next year.

So, I'll be scanning, retouching, printing and making headway into the next thing for the next couple of weeks. Probably burning more social bridges as well. I'm off to assembling a good pop mix in the iTunes to think about story structure. Thinking, "What makes a comics verse? A chorus? A bridge? How do I want to approach rhythm?" I know I want to do a more visual book than the wordy motherfucker I'm doing now. And I know that a comic with a pop song sensiblility is going to be more of a book about one idea, and less of a complex "story".

And I want it to be big and brash. A track #3. The big single. The hit. The Hot 97 high-rotation dominator. The TRL mainstay. Probably a little bit ridiculous. Beyoncé, crazy in love and trapped in R. Kelly's closet. Fabulous, breathing and finding out what he knows about T. I.

Hope this is as fun as it sounds like it could be.

BURNOUT

Here's the wall of done. Or mostly done. At least one of these needs to be redrawn this week. But, this is what the studio wall looks like when I've got a lot of pages inked. Four more to do. Those pencils are hanging in the hallway, as this wall is only so big.



Here's one of those panels, one that came out almost pretty good. It's panel 1 of page 8 and would make for a great Lichtenstein reproduction. You listening to me, Lichtenstein? You GOTS to be back to doing comic book panel reproductions by now, right? Dude, I totally spackled a wall you hung work on one time. Gimme some sugar.

Monday, September 04, 2006

FIFTH AND LAST

Fifth and last post for the day.

I'm looking at that first panel after posting it and my reaction is:

"Why does it look like I just drew my head onto a panel of Tear-Stained Makeup?"

And then I started thinking that doing a comic of just THAT would be hysterical for almost two minutes. Admittedly, that would make it about a minute and a half funnier than anything else I've ever done.

INKO!

Well, I've finished the inks for the first four panels (the first page) and hope to get into the next four in a couple of minutes. Here's the finished inks for the first panel:


Let's see, I added the background in after the foreground was done. I knew the image needed something, and the missing thing was faux wood wainscoting. Nothing says, "Justin Fox drew this" quite like the appearance that the comic takes place in a finished basement somewhere. I'm pretty pissed at the way the lettering and the art interfere with each other. This is what happens when you decide to do the lettering AFTER drawing the damn thing. I'll probably try to fix that as I move along.

The rest of the panels look about as good as I can make them look.

So, the process is: finish inking everything, scan it all, assemble the pages, digitally fix the egregious errors, print and assemble the books. I have 36 days. There;s still a few things I have to do with the other books in this issue, and a few #6s to print AND a shitload of #5s to print. 36 days.

GRILLING THE TUNA

Manny Post while ink dry.

It's nice enough outside that I have all the windows open. Finally airing out the ashtray that is my apartment.

But, now, I think someone is out there grilling tuna. Is that something people do? Do they crack a can and slosh it over the hot coals? What's wrong with people? the air smells like a kitten beacon.

Either way, I think "grilling the tuna" should be a Suave Prospects song. Or at least a hot line. Maybe "crack a can and slosh it over the hot coals" and "smells like a kitten beacon" also.

And "windows open." What?

THE GAME

This was my original thumbnail for the first page of The Game, the 16-page story I'm including in EMAW #7. I was originally working within a 9-panel grid, but that changed when I decided to print the book in a smaller format. It was a 13-page story, at first. I cut out some fat and densified some of the panels to fit it all in 16 when I switched to a 4-panel grid.

And here are the pencils for the first panel of page one. I'm drawing each panel on 9x12 Bristol board (vellum finish) and then I'll put all the panels together in photoshop, once all the inking is done. I did the lettering before I scanned this in.

MO' LOVE, MO' PROBLEMS

Well, it took turning the ringer off my phone, blocking out anyone who wanted a piece of me and doing my best to ignore distracting thoughts, but I transformed into a drawing MACHINE this weekend. Eight pages of pencilling, some of it actually quite good! Creezy.

So, that's the 16-page centerpiece story all pencilled out. Inking starts today.

Maybe I'll post some images tonight. Of the work, not my shit-eating grin.

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On the subject of comics making me smile, I'm in love with Hikaru No Go from Yumi Hotta and Takeshi (Death Note) Obata. It's a fun kids book about the spirit of an ancient Go player haunting a 6th-7th grade kid and inspiring him to become the greatest Go player in the world. It's infectious. I think I read that the books inspired a youth-wide revival of Go. I almost want to learn to play. Obata's art is more stylized than in Death Note — or stylized differently — to fit the Dragonball Z type story, but the series is so similar to Death Note (ancient spirit haunts kid, testing and revealing his inner strengths and pitting him against curious genious kid) but with a more simplified moral debate, that it feels compatible while still seeming fresh. It's also ridiculously addictive. I've read the first three and can't wait to get more.

Friday, September 01, 2006

BRAULASCO!

Tested a few bottles of this out Wednessday night. Stopped at three when I realized the damn things were 40% alcohol by volume.* DAMN! That's some serious washtub hooch! It's pretty tasty to. I guess it's a stout, a malty, hoppy stout. Not what I'd normally drink, as I'm a puny lager man, but I liked this and want more. Mass production of Olde Belasco's Finest! Also, my bottles need labels. Old-timey labels.



*It's possible that they're not, and I was just having a low-tollerance night.

MORE ON SOLO #12

It should be no surprise that what Jog has to say about Solo #12 is more bEtter ritTen than what mee say in befOre post. It's a different enough reading that I don't feel the need to completely obliterate my critique, but, where our thoughts overlap, his are more considered.
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