Category Archives: music

Autumn, Nostalgia & Mixtapes


It’s only August, but just the other night I got a hint of a scent in the air that was unmistakable to me as Autumn. I don’t know how to describe it other than wet and earthy. It’s a smell that reminds me of October and all of the Americana that goes along with it: changing leaves, costumes, Halloween in a Normal Rockwell kind of way, and the best parts of my adolescence.

There are certain smells that just go with things. Football players talk about the smell of the field before a game.  I remember that smell, there really is nothing else like it. It almost smells as if the field is sweating before the game begins. The other day at a rehearsal for “Rope” I caught the scent of  a very specific hairspray in the dressing room, a hairspray that I’ve smelled in dressing rooms for decades and with that one contact I was suddenly reminded of all of those shows. The Autumn smell works the exact same way and triggers some of the strongest nostalgia I feel during any given year.

Every year, usually later than now, when the air starts to change and the nostalgia comes on I find myself searching though my music to make a playlist appropriate to the season. I started doing this back when I was a teenager, making mix tapes on my dual cassette/CD stereo system. There was more of an art to it back then. People had tape lengths that they liked to work in (I was a Memorex 90 minute man, myself) and you’d have to plan out your songs and hope that they would fit each side perfectly. I became very good with the Play/Pause button and mastered the length of the tape lead before it started recording. I could do it by feel, no counting required. Somewhere, deep in boxes that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least a decade, there are dozens of mix tapes made from my music library circa 1990-1996. These tapes were with me during car rides with my friends when we first felt the “freedom” of being teenagers with cars. They were there for early relationships and the break-ups that went along with them. They were there for my first cigarette and for my first sips of Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. They were the soundtrack to my coming of age and represent all the songs that meant something to me at the time. They were also a pretty good representation of alternative hits and underground bands of the time.

My friends did it too, across the board. We’d listen to what each other made, finding new songs that we liked and new bands. My friend Jeff introduced to me to Oingo Boingo, Voice of the Beehive and October Project this way. I discovered that my friend Dan and I had a mutual love of The Cars and The Police this way. And my friend Scott exposed me to the power of Bad Religion and Pennywise this way. Entire backyard parties were powered by these tapes. They were teenage sorcery that could help bend the mood of entire rooms full of hormone fueled basket cases.

Technology changed and iTunes and iPods made it very easy to generate playlists based on whatever mood you were in at that second. Gone was the finesse of tape creation; instead you could just slam together song after song on a whim. I remember sitting at the computer for hours at a time, days in a row plugging songs into the playlists where I felt they belonged. I had the perfect list for whatever mood I was in. It was pretty awesome… until the crash of 2007 when iTunes and all of my playlists crashed and burned. That killed a lot of the fire I had for digital playlists. So much time was spent creating things that were wiped away in, literally, a moment.  After that it took until I discovered Spotify before I felt that a digital playlist would be worth creating again. I haven’t created as many playlists as I did before 2007, but I do find that the ones I curate now get a lot more play.

I started a new playlist for autumn 2015 on Spotify. It’s the start of something that will probably get bigger as the days get shorter and the air gets crisper. I’m sharing this because I selfishly want you to share your playlists with me. Back in the day we would swap tapes and CD’s, but now we can toss entire playlists around digitally. This playlist is full of songs that take me back to being sixteen-and-angry, ready to rage against the world… as soon as I finish my journal entry about no one understanding me. It’s what I would want to listen to on a rainy day, hence the name. Check it out and let me know what you think, but more importantly share your playlists with me. Drop them in the comments and show me something new. I want to try and capture that feeling of sharing music again from back in the day. Whether it’s a favorite album from your favorite band or a playlist of your own creation, pop it in the comments and let’s hear something new.

Happy listening.


Filed under creativity, Curtis Andersen, general, happiness, high school, iTunes, music, musings, rambling, songs, Uncategorized

Fun Video Friday – I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Fun Video Friday Update

A friend once said, “You know a good song when you can play it on an acoustic guitar around a bon fire and it still sounds good.” I subscribe to that idea and would expand it to say that a good song can survive new arrangements in new styles as well. The folks over at Post Modern Jukebox are regularly doing this with popular songs. I’m not the first to find PMJ (as the kids call them), they’ve been posting great versions of pop tunes for years and they appear regularly in pop culture and geek blogs. In fact they are going on tour! I’m not getting paid to bring that up, I just like in supporting cool creative things.

Back to the song…

Permission to Land was my favorite album of 2003… and 2004… and most of 2005 and ’06. It’s a solid, fun, driven rock album and was the perfect anthem for my late 20’s. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” is a song I still love to listen too even though I’ve heard it thousands of times. The New Orleans version below gives it a different kind of energy that still fits the spirit of the song and it never hurts to have a strong female voice driving a song.


And here’s the original:


What are some of your favorite tunes? Pop some links in the comments.

See you next time!

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May 1, 2015 · 8:00 am

Video Friday – The History of Piracy




It is the bane of the modern entertainment industry.

It has completely changed the paradigm of the music industry and altered the business of television and film distribution in ways that have yet to be realized.

For many consumers, media piracy is thought of as a new thing. Something that the industry has to cope with in a world full of modern marvels that allow for quick duplication and distribution. But that isn’t actually true. Piracy is something that is as old as the entertainment industry and CineFix has done a great job explaining it in their latest Film School’D video.

Another lesson from this video? Edison really was a prick. An industrious prick, but a prick.

How do you feel about piracy? what do you think the industry can do to combat it? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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March 6, 2015 · 8:00 am

It’s Funny What Strikes a Chord…


I have been doing a lot of website building and refining these last three weeks as part of my new year commitment, and things have been going well. When all the sites are completed and ready you can bet that I’ll push them like crazy.

First one’s free:

As I’ve been refining I noticed some glitches in my RSS feed and had to go back to my old Blogger page to check some of the old posts. Imagine my surprise when I saw that, even months after having changed sites with the exact same URL, there were thousands of hits on the old version of the blog! Thousands!! I was shocked. There hadn’t been a new post since August, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Out of curiosity I decided to look and see what the most popular post of all time was and it turns out to be my examination of the Macklemore song “Thriftshop.” So since it’s Friday and it’s an appropriate party night I thought it might be nice to revisit that post:

Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

I think this still holds water, even if I would write things a bit differently now. What do you think?

See you next time.

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Filed under music, music video, social commentary, Uncategorized, video, YouTube

Fun Video Friday! Weird Al is “Handy”

So Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” feat. Charlie XCX is arguably the song of the summer for 2014 but I would argue that Weird Al should actually take the title. Here is his parody as well as the original, for comparison.

Have a great weekend!

See you next time!

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Filed under fun video friday, Iggy Azalea, music, music video, parody, videos, Weird Al, YouTube

Fun Video Friday! How to Write a Hip Hop Song in 30 Seconds with Jordan

I was worried that I wouldn’t find a video to post today. This week I didn’t see a whole lot that I thought was worth sharing…

…until this morning!

Presenting 5 year old Jordan who has got skilz!

You can see more of his stuff HERE.

See you next time!

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Filed under creativity, fun video friday, funny, kids, music, music video, video, YouTube

New Years Eve Post – Music Stuff I Saw on NPR

I am a big music lover and when I was doing my morning scan of the internet the Facebook post from NPR music caught my attention. They linked to a video that is a video/audio mash-up of 68 of the top hits from 2013. It’s quite catchy!

The creator has been doing this since 2010 and those are pretty cool too. Check out his other videos HERE.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe night tonight! We’ll see you in 2014!

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Filed under holidays, music, music video, new year, NPR, YouTube

Speaking of Music, Here’s A Story About A Dace Party.


So I talk about music today and then posts a story on about a story on all about a couple of guys who bring a dance party to cities around Canada and the U.S. Kickstarter called it “…the best thing you’ll read on the Internet today”  I’m not sure about that, but it’s a good article about a fun thing.

Decentralized Dance Party

See you next time!

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Filed under music, re-post

General Ramblings On Music In General

I don’t much believe in regrets, but if there’s one thing that I wish I had spent more time on in my youth it would be music, specifically playing an instrument. Any instrument. I made a go at drumming, can wail on a kazoo and can even play a kids toy piano decently, but when it comes to actual could-be-part-of-a-rock-band instruments I have zero skill. I made up for my lack of playing ability by listening music as often as possible.

I got a good start. When I was a kid my parents listened to regular radio. Rock, pop, oldies, their music tastes were given to me unfiltered and I have always been grateful for that. I never quite understood the reasoning behind “kid’s music.” I don’t get it, especially when it’s pop music re-recorded by kids. And when I look back on my childhood now, growing up in the 80’s, when Michael Jackson, Prince and Bruce Springsteen were all coming up and making some of the best music of their careers!  If I had been listening to “the wheels on the bus” instead of “1999”… I don’t even want to think of it.

I’ve been consuming a lot more music lately. Technology has made it so that you can. Between Spotify and Pandora having streaming apps for mobile phones and the amount of time Rene and I spend in the car it’s been easy to do. I realize that I’m behind the curve on this. I can already hear some of you saying, “I’ve been using those for months/years!” but I’m a slow adopter. I had a Blackberry Bold for almost 3 years before I upgraded so when I finally cashed in all my credits on an iPhone I was shocked at what I could do with it.

Technology has also changed my storage habits. I haven’t opened iTunes for… a while. And because I haven’t bought any albums or iTunes music since I discovered Spotify it’s not like the newer songs I want to listen to are in there anyway. iTunes and my old iPod were reduced to only playing podcasts which, while good, aren’t always to the wife’s taste (I listen to some pretty geeky and/or “inside baseball” industry podcasts. That’s a different blog post.).

So what am I listening to now? Well, if I’m at the gym it’s all dance-pop. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I’ve got a great Pandora station seeded with Kylie Minogue that keeps the cardio burning! But at home I’ve been regressing to college indie-rock stuff. Going back to R.E.M. and The Smiths and Nick Heyward. There are some newer songs out that have been triggering my nostalgia  but I’ll be damned if I can think of any of them specifically right now.

What about you? How does music factor into your life? what are you listening to? do you have a raging cardio playlist or suggestion to try out? Let me know in the comments!

See you next time!

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Filed under music, rambling

Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

Thrift Shop is “blowin’ up the charts,” as the kids say, and I’m a big fan of the song. It’s got a good beat, you can dance to it and, more importantly, it preaches some great social commentary on pop culture and it’s effect on consumerism.

Before we dive too much deeper into this, let’s review the tape, shall we?

Fun, right? Now let’s review the lyrics:

 “Thrift Shop” (feat. Wanz)
Hey, Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping?

What, what, what, what… [x7]

I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fucking awesome

[Verse 1]
Now, walk into the club like, “What up, I got a big cock!”
I’m so pumped about some shit from the thrift shop
Ice on the fringe, it’s so damn frosty
That people like, “Damn! That’s a cold ass honkey.”
Rollin’ in, hella deep, headin’ to the mezzanine,
Dressed in all pink, ‘cept my gator shoes, those are green
Draped in a leopard mink, girls standin’ next to me
Probably shoulda washed this, smells like R. Kelly’s sheets
But shit, it was ninety-nine cents! (Bag it)
Coppin’ it, washin’ it, ’bout to go and get some compliments
Passin’ up on those moccasins someone else’s been walkin’ in
Bummy and grungy, fuck it man
I am stuntin’ and flossin’ and
Savin’ my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain, bitch
I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s style,
No for real – ask your grandpa – can I have his hand-me-downs? (Thank you)
Velour jumpsuit and some house slippers
Dookie brown leather jacket that I found diggin’
They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard
I bought a skeet blanket, then I bought a kneeboard
Hello, hello, my ace man, my Miller
John Wayne ain’t got nothing on my fringe game, hell no
I could take some Pro Wings, make them cool, sell those
The sneaker heads would be like “Aw, he got the Velcros”

[Hook x2]

[Verse 2]
What you know about rockin’ a wolf on your noggin?
What you knowin’ about wearin’ a fur fox skin?
I’m digging, I’m digging, I’m searching right through that luggage
One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up
Thank your granddad for donating that plaid button-up shirt
‘Cause right now I’m up in her skirt
I’m at the Goodwill, you can find me in the (Uptons)
I’m that, I’m that sucker searchin’ in that section (Uptons)
Your grammy, your aunty, your momma, your mammy
I’ll take those flannel zebra jammies, second-hand, I rock that motherfucker
The built-in onesie with the socks on that motherfucker
I hit the party and they stop in that motherfucker
They be like, “Oh, that Gucci – that’s hella tight.”
I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch (shit)
I call that getting swindled and pimped (shit)
I call that getting tricked by a business
That shirt’s hella dough
And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t
Peep game, come take a look through my telescope
Trying to get girls from a brand? Then you hella won’t
Then you hella won’t

(Goodwill… poppin’ tags… yeah!)


[Bridge x2]
I wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road


Is that your grandma’s coat?
I feel that right off the bat, just from the name of the song, you should be able to tell that this is not going to be your typical hip hop number where it sounds more like product placement than a song. And that’s an important point to my argument. I put forth to you, reader, that modern hip hop and pop music has drifted into a position where it is more important to mention things like “Benjamins” and cars than emotional connection and story. I don’t want to state, definitively, that this is bad or wrong. Art, in my opinion, cannot be bad or wrong it just may or may not be to your taste. “Product Placement Music,” or PPM as it will be referred to in this post, is not necessarily to my taste, but I’d be a filthy liar if i said I didn’t listen to or like a lot of it. It is easy to name check artists who mention brands, going back to the 80’s when Run DMC who sang about “My Adidas” to the constant mentions of Cristal and diamonds by just about everybody, including Jay Z. The push to show off conspicuous displays of wealth  dominates the lyrics of modern pop and hip hop. 

As with all trends, there will be those who reinforce it and there will be those who react against it. With “Thrift Shop” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have shot a warning across the bow with a hit that directly addresses blatant consumerism in a tight beat.

At first glance it might be easy to laugh off “Thrift Shop” as nothing more than a white rapper novelty song designed to get him on the charts. It worked for Eminem for a few albums allowing him to get into the heads of mainstream America with hits like “My Name Is” but then following up with the deeper, more troubling songs like “Stan” (although, it is worth pointing out that there is far more subtext to ‘My Name Is” than this post gives credit for – that could be a whole different discussion). It wasn’t until I watched the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis  Tiny Desk Concert that I changed my mind. The first song, “Same Love” is specifically calling out the homophobia present in hip hop. There’s no if, ands or buts; Macklemore has a message and he’s delivering it in a fun package.

So let’s take a look at the song overall. “Thrift Shop” starts off with typical bravado, and then quickly draws in the listener with humor referencing R. Kelly peeing on things and how cheap stuff is while also asking for your, yes YOUR, grandpa’s hand me downs. The hook identifies blatant displays of wealth as ridiculous by saying, “I’m gonna pop some tags Only got twenty dollars in my pocket.” For those not familiar with the phrase “popping tags” it is defined by the Urban Dictionary as: “buying shit…poppin’ the tags off of merchandise.” Instead of Bentlys and Rolexes he’s buying broken keyboards and footie pajamas.

But the point really comes home here:

They be like, “Oh, that Gucci – that’s hella tight.”
I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch (shit)
I call that getting swindled and pimped (shit)
I call that getting tricked by a business
That shirt’s hella dough
And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t
Conformity through purchase, not only is it wasteful, but also unimaginative.

For the record, I’m not advocating that we all stop buying expensive cars and jewelry  I love the way well made clothes fit and feel and they usually cost a bundle and I’m not much of a car guy, but I’ve driven some pretty bitchin’ vehicles and, while I may not want to own them, I can appreciate them. But I think that perspective is important, we, as a society, need to put the right kind of importance on luxury – that is to say almost none as far as I’m concerned. The items themselves mean very little, but the work you do to be able to get those things can mean so much more.

Big ups to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for making a statement. I paid for the song, that’s my way of adding to those $20 in their pockets.

See you next time!

If you’d like to get the song you can download it from Amazon MP3!

Here’s the original explicit version:

Here’s the radio friendly version:
And here’s the whole album:

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Filed under music, music video, social commentary