Guess Who’s Back!?!

Hi all! I know it’s been very long since I last posted. I got busy and then kind of forgot about this great blog. 😦 It’s time to turn it back up to Volume 11! 🙂

I was reading through some old posts today and realized how much fun I had writing for Volume 11 and sharing my love of music with everyone and getting in to discussions with my readers. We’ll it’s official, I’m back! Back again! We even have a new look! Stay tuned for some new stuff! In the meantime, enjoy some Eminem! Guess who’s back…back again? Danny’s back! Tell some friends!

Advertisements

Song Of The Day: 3/6/12 (#4. Eminem) (The Way I Am)

Today’s song of the day is “The Way I Am” from my #4 favorite rapper of all time, Eminem. He is probably the best lyricist ever in the Rap game. He would probably be even higher on this list if he was more consistent. He had a couple albums, namely “Encore” and “Relapse” that just weren’t as good as some of his early stuff. They were actually quite annoying at times. With that being said, his lyrical prowess has never really slacked. The dip in quality was more about the subject matter, music and his delivery than his rapping. His most recent album “Recovery” was his best album since “The Eminem Show” and he also had a sick album, “Hell: The Sequel” with Royce da 5’9″ under the moniker Bad Meets Evil. He has returned to form, but he’s not always the most consistent of artists, although as I said his lyrical skills are always sharp and that’s what has taken him so far in the Rap game and earned him so much respect as “The White Rapper”, who is better than just about any other Rapper out there when it comes to lyrical prowess. This alone makes him #4 on my list.

The 2012 Grammys Are Coming……

So we are just 3 weeks away from music’s biggest night, (or as I call it, the Superbowl of music) the Grammy Awards!!! To be honest I used to get a lot more excited about them, until they started to try and appeal to a younger audience. This aim to reach out to a younger audience has led to a lot more, less “talented” and less experimental/original artists winning. The Grammys problem is they either go to  too old and obscure with their winners or too young and Pop-py (as of late). For instance, I have nothing against Taylor Swift. I like her quite a bit actually, but her winning Grammy for Album of the Year in 2010 for “Fearless” was a little premature. She just hasn’t matured enough as an artist yet, to have earned a Grammy for Album of the Year. As matter of fact her follow up album “Speak Now” was a much better and more consistent album of ever better crafted songs, but she of course didn’t win for her better album or even get nominate for it, she won for her more popular album and that’s just not right. The Grammys aren’t supposed to be about popularity, it’s supposed to be about the quality of the music. For whatever reason it seems like the Grammys are sticking to this new “younger” format, which is evident in the nominations for Album of the Year, as well as other categories in the past 3 years.

The 2010 nominees for Album of the Year were as follows:

Taylor Swift – Fearless (Winner)

Beyonce – I Am… Sasha Fierce

The Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D.

Lady Gaga – The Fame

Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King (the exception here)

The 2011 nominees were as follows:

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Winner)

Eminem – Recovery

Lady Antebellum – Need You Now

Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster (just a deluxe version of The Fame with a handful of added songs, that was nominated the year before and lost, but for whatever reason was nominated again)

Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (really Grammys? really?)

And this year’s nominees are as follows:

Adele – 21 (I’m putting my bets on this album to win. Yes it’s popular, but it’s also quality music.)

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Lady Gaga – Born This Way (she will lose again, as she did for the same album two years in a row)

Bruno Mars – Doo Wops And Hooligans

Rihanna – Loud
Whoever wins, wether it’s a deserving artist or not, there are always great albums that get neglected each year, but I guess that’s just the nature of the politics involved within the academy. One thing you can always be sure of with the Grammys is that they always put on an impeccable show, with great and inspired performances by such a wide range of musicians. So far they have announce that Paul McCartney and Coldplay along with Rihanna will perform and “Rumor Has It” that Adele may make her first singing appearance since her throat surgery, that put the temporary breaks on her skyrocketing career. There has not been any more mention of her performing, but I think the big surprise of the night will be her coming out to sing. I think this is especially likely seeing as I’m pretty sure she will walk away with Album of the Year.

Before I conclude this post I would like to make my prediction for Best New Artist. I am almost always spot on with calling the winner in this category.

The nominees for Best New Artist are as follows:

The Band Perry

Bon Iver

J. Cole

Nicki Minaj

Skrillex

I’m going to place my best on Bon Iver winning. We shall see in a few weeks.

Who do you think will win Album of the Year?

Who do you think will win Best New Artist?

What’s New In Music?

Boy, oh boy, it seems like it has been so slow the last couple months, when it comes to music. It’s actually made it quite hard for me to come up with material to write about. It feels like there has been barely any noteworthy albums that have come out since mid November. But actually there has been a bunch of pretty good albums. Kate Bush’s “50 Words For Snow” was great, as usual. I mentioned in my top ten albums of the year post last week, naming it number 1. There were a couple good releases in December, worth listening to, with albums like “Red” by Dia Frampton and “The Dreamer/The Believer” by Common. Also Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa released a soundtrack album to their upcoming film, a “black” Cheech and Chong take off “Mac and Devin Go To High School” and is better than I’d though it would be. Lot’s of catchy song’s about pot smoking, but what would you expect from Snoop in a Cheech and Chong style film’s soundtrack?

Come to think of it Rap has has had a few good months, recently, which Hip-Hop desperately needed, because Hip-Hop has been, well, dead for years now. Some really good, new Rap albums I’ve been listening to include Eminem’s new protege Yelawolf’s debut “Radioactive”. Childish Gambino a.k.a. Donald Glover from the TV show, Community, who you’ve NEVER heard like this before, released a killer debut album called “Camp”. Idle Warship’s is a genre bending Hip-Hop group consisting of Talib Kweli and female singer, Res, who released their debut album, “Habits Of The Heart” back in mid October on Spotify before it even hit the store shelves, to create a buzz. It seems like all the good, new music is coming from new acts and a lot from Rap for a change. This is what Rock needs. Rock has had really no major albums come out in recent memory and all the Rock radio stations are switching format away from Rock. Rock really needs a renaissance. If Rap can do it, so can Rock. The Black Keys new album, “El Camino” is really good and they have been getting quite a bit of attention and are even on the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone. Foster The People are another Rock band that have been holding it down on the pop radio waves with their surprise, smash hit “Pumped Up Kicks” from their album “Torches”.

I began writing this blog post as a question of what to do when there is not much good music coming out, but in the end, I realized that there is quite a bit of pretty decent music out right now. However the questions remains the same, what to do in times, when you thirst for something new for your ears to feast on and there really isn’t anything catching you ears? What I do is go back and listen to old artists that I’ve always wanted to, but never got into and start to dig through their catalouges. While it might not be “new” music, it’s new to me. So, I’ve been listening to the above mentioned albums and some “old” music by Kate Bush, The Allman Brothers and some other older artists. I should note that just because there may not be any major releases out doesn’t mean there is nothing good out. It just takes a bit more digging to find something new and fresh. What do you recommend I listen to right now? Have you heard anything new and interesting? Anything oldy, but goody?

These are some of the albums I’ve been listening to that you all should check out. There’s a little something here for everyone.:

I Am……Music

So I LOVE music!!! All music, from Rock to Pop to Rap to R&B to Folk and Country to Classical to just about any other music genre you can think off. Just as a basis, you should know that my very favorite musical artist are  The Beatles, Michael Jackson, OutKast, Kate Bush, Justin Timberlake/*NSYNC, Matchbox Twenty, Billy Joel etc. From that wide range of artists I just mentioned you can get a little feel for my wide range of musical tastes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of how expansive my tastes are and how deep my love of music goes.

I’ve always had this love for music and have had many different influences in my life that have shaped my eclectic tastes. I grew up listening to music around my Mother mostly and she had me listening to a lot of Pop, R&B & Disco. My father was more into Classical Rock. Being that I was raised by my Mother, I wasn’t exposed to as much Classical Rock in my early years as I would have been, had my Dad been around me more playing that short of stuff. So in my early years I was very much into the type of stuff my Mother listened to and my earliest favorite artist I can remember was Michael Jackson and as I’ve just stated he’s still up on top for me. My older Brother listened to a lot of 90’s Dance music and Rap while I was growing up which later changed to Metal and Hard Rock. So with the combination of my Mother’s influence and my Brother’s influence, by the time I was about 13 to 15, I started to discover my own music taste.

Some of the first artists I remember finding and liking all on my own were *NSYNC, Matchbox Twenty, OutKast, Eminem and The Beatles. Between about 2000 to 2010, throughout high school, college and post college, I dabbled here and there with all sorts of music. Learning about new stuff from friends, media and my own quest for great music. In 2003, OutKast released the incredible “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”, which is my very favorite album and had a huge impact on me. The reason I love it so much is because it, like me and my musical journey, experimented with all different genres, styles and sounds. It is still the only pure Hip-Hop album to ever win Grammy for Album of the Year. This album opened me up more than ever to new sounds and adventurous music. I started listening to other experimental artists and groups like Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Kanye West, Gnarls Barkley and more.

I always said the only genres I didn’t really care for were Country and Metal/Hard Rock, but in recent years that wall has started to crumble. When it comes to Country, I actually had a phase when I was around 10 and Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus came out that I listened to a lot of country, but that phase passed pretty quickly. Now a days I enjoy listening to some of the more poppy stuff like Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Dierks Bentley, but also some more gritty Country Rock, like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers. When it comes to Metal/Hard Rock my likes don’t stretch to far because I’m a sucker for Harmony and Melody and I personally find it difficult to hear those elements in Metal and Hard Rock, but I do throughly enjoy System of a Down, early Linkin Park, AC/DC and some others.

I’ve always had a VERY strong desire to create music, but never had the opportunity or resources to learn to play an instrument, so I joined chorus in school and acted and sang in school musicals to exercise that desire as much as possible. In high school and early college I actually started rapping over instrumentals with friends, which was a great way to make music without having to know how to play an instrument. It was a great creative outlet for me, but after a certain point, just rapping wasn’t enough for me and I felt boxed in and unable to really express my musical ideas anymore, because I didn’t have the theoretical knowledge or the knowhow with an instrument to be able to further my creative growth in music.

I stopped making music in about 2006 and since than I haven’t thought to much about creating, but in the last few years and especially the last year as I’ve been trying to step a little more out of mainstream music and into more unexpected artist as well as classic/legendary artists, I’ve realized my desire to no longer be solely an observer (listener) of music, but also a participant (creator) or music. So I have made it my new goal to get a guitar and to start practicing and taking lessons. This leads me to the reason I wanted to start this blog in the first place, which was to have an outlet to share my pretty vast knowledge of music and learn more about music from all of your vast knowledge of music. I also want to document and share my musical journey as I discover more music and learn to play music myself on the guitar and hopefully one day on the piano. I hope that Volume 11 can become a community of passionate music listeners, players and creators. A place where we can share and enjoy all that the music world has to offer. So let’s turn up the music to Volume 11 and jam out!!!

Me, about 4 years ago cranking the music up to Volume 11 and rocking out with my air guitar. I really need to learn to play a real guitar; air guitar isn’t cutting it anymore.