Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of Decade in Review I : Or 2's Best Albums of the 00s

I would first like to say that I hate you guys.

By you guys I mean, Frass, MC and TD5 in no particular order with no varying degrees of boring.  (I apologise, it slipped that I am to use "boring" instead of the "H" word).

Why? Because I am hateful (it's okay to use it if there are other sensible letters attached as shown by example).  But not just because I am hateful, but really because you three made me undertake a somewhat difficult and painstakingly arduous task.

To make matters worse, just when I finished reviewing all the albums I needed to for the past 10 years, I boring myself for leaving my trusty notebook with all of my review notes on my desk, with no chance to retrieve until 4 1/2 days from now.

With that in mind, and my not-so solid memory as I rated every song out of 5 from the dozens of albums I chose and cannot possibly sit here and do that again, I present to you my top 15 albums of the 00's (are we calling this decade the 'Noughties'?) with the difficult decision of choosing 1 album out of many for a number of bands listed here.

Re-listening to albums I have not heard in about a decade (bwahaha, I crack me up) really tests the lasting quality of a song. Memories from those periods of my life definitely play a factor in how many of these albums make the list too. Some albums I was surprised to hear, did not make my final cut and others I 'almost' forgot how much I loved.

15.   System of a Down - Toxicity (2001)

System of a Down's Toxicity was forced upon me by a friend way back when I was in college.  This is unrelated but I find it scary that with the start of 2010 I can almost put a decade of schooling behind me. 

Politically charged lyrics, a bit of silliness, pounding guitar work with some notably heavy bass and the greatness that is Serj Tankian's very unique vocals ( let me not forget that I had a new found respect for a band that put The Legend of Zelda theme into lyrics hailing Link as the Master that he is) makes this album one of the greats of the last10 years.

Memory to Share: I used the track "Prison Song" from this album as part of a presentation I had for Professor Garcia's Prison Literature class.  Listening to that song today made me realise why I was getting such dirty looks from the idiotic girls who only took that class thinking Mr. Garcia was hot, only to boring me even more later when I informed them he was gay.

I proudly may have made some ears bleed that day what with the growling vocals on that song but Professor Garcia loved it, loved me and gave me an "A".  He also made me a bit of a Professor's Pet but I forgive him. I was the only other brown in the class and he was probably bonding over that.  Not to mention I was smart.  Ha.  (Keyword: was)

Noteworthy Tracks: all of it? Pretty much! "Toxicity", "Prison Song", "Needles".

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 6. A Winner is Me.
"X" vs "Chop Suey".

Person to Thank for the Introduction: Sicky

14.   The Strokes - Is This It? (2001)

The album can be a little bit sing-songy but musically and lyrically this album manages to capture a lot of NYC for me. I'm not sure why but is this it? Is it the coolness of the songs of how they're strung together? There are few bands as cool sounding as they are. With this first album, The Strokes show their immediate iconic status they should and have been elevated too. There's undenial sleazy charm in every song along with the deadpan delivery of Julian Casablancas even on those tracks that are more upbeat.  You would not even think it possible but they pull it off.

Memory to Share: The day I frantically asked TD5 if "Take it or Leave it" was on the album and why he did not give it to me because I heard the fantastic cover by Arctic Monkeys.  As it turns out, I missed converting it for some reason.  That made 6 years of embarrassingly not knowing a great song.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Trying Your Luck", "Hard to Explain", "Last Nite", and "Take It or Leave It"

Person to Thank for the Introduction: TD5

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 5. A Winner is H1.
"Someday" vs "Alone, Together"

13.   Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)

Another NYC band that's not really one... well, two members are from the U.K. Is this why I heart them so much? Maybe that's the hidden factor but I'm fairly certain it has everything to do with the dirty, amazing lyrics and dirty, amazing vocals of Paul Banks. Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights is a fairly dark sounding album. Bright Lights? Where? Even when sung in the song "NYC", the bright lights just showcased everything crazy and underground about the city. They're masters of cruelty, this band. They've lived it and then try to shove it down our ears and make us feel cheap too! Thanks, guys for the great album but not so much the pain we feel for you.

Memory to Share: Oh, it's not a great one but I missed them in concert @ MSG making this one of H1's biggest regrets and mine. Though, I think she can feel okay now knowing they did not play 'Leif Erikson'. And really, what's the point if that didn't go down?

Noteworthy Tracks: "Obstacle 1", "Say Hello to Angels", "PDA", and "Obstacle 2"

Person to Thank for the Introduction: TD5

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 5. A Winner is H1.
"Say Hello to Angels" vs "Hands Away"

12.   Hot Hot Heat - Elevator (2005)

It's a bit of an odd selection like many of the albums I chose for this list, but this one I did not think I would put  here.  As I listened, there's no song that's below a 4 out of 5 stars.  They're not the most serious of bands but you don't have to be serious to put out a great album, right? Come now, I am not smug! There's some sadness to this album but the real sadness might be that they're Canadian and I like them so much.

Fun, depressing and Canadian.  Possible? Yes.  You get all on this album of non-offending and often thoughtful lyrics, catchy tunes and a slightly offensive voice from the land of the Maple Leaf.

Memory to Share: The 2005 Foozer concert was one of the top 5 the Hochies attended in our short concert going career.  Weezer nailed it, and Dave Grohl shows why he's a rock star and didn't need Nirvana, with a set of lungs that screamed clear for 2 hours.  And the unknown-to-us opening act Hot Hot Heat immediately garnered my attention.  I bought their albums soon after and have loved them since.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Jingle Jangle", "Dirty Mouth" , "Elevator", "Shame on You", and "Island of The Honest Man".

Person(s) to Thank for the Introduction: HHH and well, myself.  Maybe mostly H1 for insisting to go to NJ to see Foo Fighters.

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 5. A Winner is H1.
"You owe me an I.O.U." vs "No Jokes - Fact"

11. Gorillaz - Demon Days (2005)

I hesitated one summer during the now defunct Virgin Megastore's in Times Square $10.00 clearance event. Some Saturday later, H1 and Luuuuiiiisssss went back and H1 asked if to pick up a copy because I was on the fence. Thank goodness I responded with a yes. I do not like to buy albums unless there are 3 songs or more that I like and on this, I heard 2 but so great were those 2 that I decided for $10.00 I could take that chance. I only recently read the sordid history of the characters behind Gorillaz created by Damon Albarn who I think a genius, and the Tank Girl comic creator Jamie Hewlett.

The animated band, with the strange words and born of a strange creation, experimental sounds including but not limited to a fusion of alternative hip-hop and alternative rock makes this one bad-assed album I am proud to own.  I look forward to their new release in 2010.

Memory to Share: "Dare" must have been played so much everywhere but it's the one song I remember being played as part of the pre-setlist ahead of U2's Vertigo Tour.  It was just H1 and I, and we were 'raving The Cheat style' happily when it came on.

Noteworthy Tracks: "El Manana", "Dare", "All Alone", "Feel Good, Inc.", "Last Living Souls" and "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head"

Person to Thank for the Introduction: Myself

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 6. A Winner is Me.
"Dirty Harry" vs "Feel Good, Inc."

10.   Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (2005)

A party indeed! Give me any album with lots of heavy, fast-paced drumming and I will love you.  But that's not what makes great alone - other than the catchiness there are a few slower tracks that are also down-to-earth.  Silent Alarm can be best described by me as an album that defines this whole culture of troubled kids (who are not emo, I might add).  The album progresses from stories of messed up youth to their building relationships as time goes on and to global issues in need of addressing.

It's tough being alive in our times and that is exactly what this album is about.  It's about the Noughties: what we are doing, and what we are not doing.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Pioneers", "This Modern Love", "Like Eating Glass", and "Helicopter".

Memory to Share: Nothing in particular - I listen to all my albums primarily on the train.  But this one reminds of just being on the train, listening and observing people on the daily.  It's what the album calls for, really.

Person to Thank for the Introduction: TD5

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 6. A Winner is Me.
"Blue Light" vs "She's Hearing Voices"

09.   Keane - Under the Iron Sea (2007)

The second attempt from Keane has yet to be defeated by anything they put forth. Quite frankly, I am unsure if it is possible. Their first album Hopes and Fears was incredibly promising and probably made lots of best of lists. I for one, while I enjoyed it immensely thought I could gauge what was to follow - another safe album that would appeal to the same old kind - not crazy but light listening. How wrong was that assessment? I was completely blown away when Under the Iron Sea came out.

Tim Rice-Oxley's still having a blast on his keyboard, and Tom goes on drugs to craft one of the best albums this decade.  The lyrics are sweet, harsh and sung ever so perfectly and are in sync musically as well. This album also has one of the most strong openers that screams attention and leaves you anticipating greatness. The rest of the album does not disappoint.

Memory to Share: Tim Rice-Oxley on keyboard, dancing, kicking up his legs and flailing like a muppet to what song he was hearing? I will never know but H1 and I witnessed it when they opened for U2 @ MSG in 2005.  Wow, that was some good times. I'm sad I missed them in concert for this album but was really glad I did not get tickets after Keane cancelled their North American Tour thanks to Tom entering rehab.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Nothing in My Way", "Leaving So Soon?", "Atlantic", "Broken Toy" and "A Bad Dream"

Person to Thank for the Introduction: H1 and myself.  She loved "Somewhere Only We Know"and I took the chance and bought the first album.

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 5. A Winner is H1.
"A Bad Dream" vs "Hamburg Song"

08.   Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards (2007)

I don't remember what I said in 2007 when I reviewed this album but it must have along the lines of "it is brilliant".  It still is and whatever I said back then, I echo.  Incredibly intelligent lyrics and a full interesting sound keeps this album strong after 2 years and for years to come.

Memory to Share: What a fun time with drums, trumpets and masks these boys had at MSG.  H1 and I appreciated it and we were the only one singing enthusiastically to every song - both annoying and impressing those around us.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Robbers", "Passing the Hat", "We Used to Vacation" and "God Make Up Your Mind"

Person(s) to Thank for the Introduction: The radio, H1, Muse and myself.

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 5. A Winner is H1.
"Passing the Hat" vs "Saint John"

07.  Kenna - New Sacred Cow (2003)

As H1 knows, this used to be the best $9.99 I ever spent (as opposed to the best $11.99 spent on my black jacket with the now pin-adorned strap that goes across the front).  The claymation video impressed me during a time when MTV2 still showed music videos and I still felt compelled to watch them.  An electronica, alternative rock album with melodic vocals that invoked a certain happy calmness while instilling sadness everytime I hear "Hell Bent" - this album will always be one of my most memorable.

Memory to Share: I remember feeling a certain amount of guilt buying this album.  I had not yet started working but really wanted it.  I must have had a little bit of money to spare and decided to purchase.  So in that sense, I suppose this was my second album bought with my 'own' money.  The first was R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People which I bought in Trinidad for $125 TT.  H1 was mad when I did that but it was okay.  R.E.M. definitely veered me away from the route of Sir-Mix-A-Lot, my first album owned for which I make no apologies though.  Do not judge me, H1 and others!

Noteworthy Tracks: "Vexed and Glorious", "Man Fading", "Sunday After You", "Hell Bent" and "Love/Hate Sensation"

Person to Thank for the Introduction: Myself.  I refuse to thank MTV for anything.

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 5.  A Winner is H1.
"Vexed and Glorious" vs "A Better Control"

06.   Radiohead - Hail to the Thief (2003)

If I were to consider all the albums Radiohead made this decade, they'd all be on here cluttering the list.  As is I had a hard time choosing one and ultimately went with 2003's Hail to the Thief. Not a favourite choice of many review lists you may find for this decade but always a favourite of mine.  While Amnesiac and Kid A delved heavily on the experimental which I commend, and In Rainbows was a more traditional rock sound and an amazing album for me, Hail to the Thief successfully blended the experimental with the traditional.  Always with the haunting vocals as mumbled by Thom Yorke and always a dynamically engineered sound masterfully composed by the genius members of Radiohead (Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien and Phil Selway) - this album is one of nearly all that make this band hailed as the greatest of all time.

Memory to Share: What the heck is Myxamatosis? Ohhhh.... You learn something new with Radiohead every time.  Also, I can never get tickets to see this band.  It's probably why I still go to keep me feeling like going for that day I finally score tix to see them.  Really, my concert going will be complete at that point.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Sit Down, Stand Up", "2+2 = 5", "A Punch-Up at a Wedding", "Myxamatosis" and "Scatterbrain".

Person to Thank for the Introduction: Myself.

Song War: 5 or 6? I think it's a tie, honestly.  A Winner is Us.
"Go to Sleep" vs "Where I End and You Begin"

05.   The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004)

Well this was tough having to decide to choose the first album or this.  As great as Original Pirate Material is -  the album that was quick on wit with garage beats and an Englishman who talked through his lyrics and singing, I chose the second.  I love that this album is a concept album.  I love the ridiculous story of a man's misadventures in a short span of time (maybe a week?) - going through losing money, not meeting Mum for tea, falling in love, getting kicked out of the gf's house, finding out his best friend is cheating with said girl and leaving the ending open for a choose your own adventure route.  What the heck! It is brilliant to me.  Who doesn't love a good, plain story about stuff that happens every day? Ha.

Memory to Share: White Plains.  I was excited when this came out and rushed to buy it while I was at one of my many dentist's visits.  I got picked up after by H1, Luuuuiiisssss and me own Mum and like I said, I was incredibly excited to get my hands on this and taking a moment to wonder the strangeness of the album and an hour later, loving it.

Noteworthy Tracks: "It Was Supposed To Be So Easy", "What Is He Thinking?", "Blinded by the Lights", and "Get Out of My House"

Person to Thank for the Introduction: Myself.

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 6. A Winner is Me.
"Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way" vs "Get Out of my House"

04.  The Killers - Hot Fuss (2004)

I do not think I ever listened to an album so much on my own in addition to so much heavy rotation on the radio that I actually had a bit of an OD experience until I met Hot Fuss.  Everyone went The Killers crazy when this album came out.  Songs about girls who are boys and a string of videos making Eric Roberts into a star had all listening, talking and remembering the 80's.  I got hit with the fever too and joined in the madness.  What a fun couple of singles with stupid lyrics that all could enjoy and not question.  No one cared! It was catchy to have everyone singing along.  If you got past the singles and took a listen, the album is a collection of the same but dazzled x10 even down to the The Killers logo on the sleeve.

Six years later, I'm still believing in Natalie and trying to find my last chance to find a go-go dance to disco.

Yes, I had to say that.  And yes, it still makes no sense but yes, I still love it and will forever, probably.

Memory to Share: None, other than I could not listen to The Killers until this year (I actually tried to forget them!) after having them on...wait for it...overKill. 

Noteworthy Tracks: "Believe Me Natalie", "Andy, You're a Star", "Change Your Mind", "Smile Like You Mean It", and "On Top"

Person to Boring (Thank) for the Introduction: TD5

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 6. A Winner is Me.
"All These Things That I've Done" vs "Andy, You're a Star"

03.   Mindless Self Indulgence - You'll Rebel to Anything (2005)

I was in college when I first heard the insanity that is MSI.  Since 2000 this band has been one of my favourites.  They usually can do no wrong for me and probably the only frenemie of mine who can accept this band as amazing is Beetchie.  We're of a cult, MSI followers who like to take verbal abuse from the members but we all know our place as a bunch of misfits.

While Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy, will always hail for me the fond memory of when I entered this crazy adventure that is this band, I chose YRTA for its tighter lyrics.  It has insults to the mainstream to those who blindly follow whatever, while dealing with the insults thrown back at the sub-culture and all the while still maintaining the unique sound as ONLY Jimmy Urine and MSI can create.  I still don't know what "Jungle Rock" is but I subscribe to it hardcore.  Oh, and no worries - they didn't get so serious on this as to not still make you laugh really hard.  But they do continue to make anthems you can sing to the haters and stupids.

Memory to Share: The Avalon - it was the first pit I experienced and I lasted all of 20 seconds before being pushed to a comfortable zone to watch the show and not have to watch my back.  Beetchie tore it up as she likes to do and Jess was on guard duty making sure no one got to me and tried to rough me up.  I am forever grateful to her and B. for looking out for me.  I sang every lyric to "Bring The Pain" that had B. impressed and when they played "What Do They Know?", I was the happiest person there.  I met the members of MSI afterwards and had one of the best nights ever.

Noteworthy Tracks: "What Do They Know?", "You'll Rebel to Anything (As Long as it's Not Challenging), "Stupid MF", "Tom Sawyer", and "Shut Me Up".

Pokemon to Thank for the Introduction: Pikachu.

Song War: 5 or 6?: No. 6. A Winner is Me.
"You'll Rebel to Anything (As Long As It's Not Challenging)" vs "What Do They Know?"
02.   Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)

When H1 presented her list of albums of the decade, this made her number one spot.  TD5 wanted to know if recency of attending a concert had any influence on her decision but I assured him that was not the case because as we should all just make clear - Arctic Monkeys is one of the best bands to form this decade and will be one of the best ever.

All the more impressive was that the lads when first on the scene were teenagers at 17 or so.  This was backed by the sharp insight, wit and ability to mosaic lyrics into a masterpiece with cheek and delivery that Alex Turner lay down so fierce it had you reeling.

If ever you needed to know what it was like to grow up in Sheffield in the recent Noughties, look to Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not.  While a stellar album in its own right, deserving of having a place on this list even in the stead of this album, I chose Favourite Worst Nightmare because I did not think I could like anything more than the first.  This album comes out and I am floored - the boys grew up, they experienced the world while on tour and all in the short span of a whirlwind year.

The stories were never jaded, still clever and a new powerhouse emerged in the form of Matthew Helders who commanded you stop, listen and then look to see how he could possibly have the skills to drum the way he does.

Breakups, a Brianstorm and a lot of crazy behind the scene celebrity follies were felt, seen and observed - and AM spilt the beans on it all.

Memory to Share: How unknowingly sad my life would be had I not boarded that plane to the U.K. in 2006.  My stubbornness to listen to bands that have been over-hyped can sometimes lead me to miss on great things as the case with AM.  The good thing is, AM are not at all over-hyped and deserve every accolade they have ever received.  There are lots of memories I have from my 2006 trip to the U.K. but this had to be the best.  I finally listened to their first album and came home anxious to spread the wealth of knowledge to TD5 and H1 (Frass and MC won't listen to me but that's okay, they suck).

Noteworthy Tracks: "If You Were There, Beware", "Do Me a Favour", "Teddy Picker", "Brianstorm" and "This House is a Circus".  Really the entire album but if anyone cares, start with those and pick up a copy of WPSIATWIAN while you're at it.

Person(s) to Thank for the Introduction: Virgin Atlantic and myself.

Song War: 5 or 6? 5 is better unfortunately.  A winner is H1.
"Fluorescent Adolescent" vs "Only Ones Who Know"

01.   MUSE - Origin of Symmetry (2001)

Before you eye-roll though I suspect the lot of you did that from the start, I really struggled with this.  I did not want to rank any of these albums at all for fear of persecution when Muse made my top.  But since this is my list and I can say whatever I want, I shall.

I am always the first to admit that Bells is not always the best lyricist and if there is a crappy song by them, it's crappy and let us not sugar coat it. 

If you all are still eye-rolling, or have even bothered to read this far, you can all thank H1 for doing you all an unkindness by not only making me listening to "Time is Running Out" but then going ahead and purchasing Absolution for me back in 2004.

That began my MUSE obsession and I set forth to gather every album I could get my hands on and all great to me from this decade including Absolution, Black Holes and Revelations and The Resistance (maybe this one not as much as the others).  The one I chose is one I had to acquire from overseas and is my favourite of the 5 studio releases.

It's got everything I love about them - falsetto, grandiose sounds, moving lyrics and biting riffs.

Memory to Share: I almost cried the two times I heard "Citizen Erased" in concert (because it's so frickin' sad!) and will always treasure when I heard my favourite song "Micro Cuts" at Wembley Stadium in 2007.

Noteworthy Tracks: "Micro Cuts", "Citizen Erased", "Space Dementia" and "New Born".

Person to Thank for the Introduction: H1. The person you all curse.

Song War: 5 or 6? 6 is better.  A Winner is Me.
"Plug in Baby" vs "Citizen Erased"

The albums from other bands that did not quite make it but made lasting impressions:

Honourable Mention :

The National - Boxer
Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better; Franz Ferdinand
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson in Crime EP
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
Audioslave - Audioslave
The Horrors - Strange House
U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is EP
Menomena - Friend and Foe
Illinois - What The Hell Do I Know? EP
The Shins - Wincing Away The Night
Green Day - American Idiot

The Best Anime Soundtrack of the Decade:  goes to X Tv Series Original Soundtrack by Naoki Sato.  Sometimes I think we should import Japanese composers to film American movie scores and I wonder when they'll get the recognition over here.

The Best Movie Soundtrack of the Decade: Kill Bill Original Soundtrack (Vols. 1 & 2).  Quentin certainly knows how to choose his music to fit the zaniness of his movies and it's always an excitement when a movie of his is released not only for the movie's content but the music content as well.

Honourable Mention: The Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham Original Soundtrack.  That movie was good times too.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not a Bad Miss

H1 has informed me that Hulu has the entire series thus far (series 1 through 5) of Peep Show!

Peep Show is only one of the greatest shows in recent history and I demand everyone watch!

Ah, we can't wait to see Series 6.  Oh what craziness have Jez, Mark and Su'Hands been creating, I wonder.

I wonder when Series 6 is going to be on...

This Week(s) Obsession(s): 11/26/2009 - 12/06/2009

Final Fantasy Tactics

Back in 1998, while I was still a young, inexperienced gamer , with Final Fantasy VII under my belt and a new found love of FF and RPGs, I decided to play FFT. One bomb and one chocobo later in a marsh, and it was game over. Daunted by my pitiful defeat having 'never played' a Tactical RPG before (Yeah, I failed at D&D: Pool of Radiance, too), I shamefully returned my rental and regretted that day since. With the PSN in full swing, FFT was looming for $9.99 and I, figuring 12 years and 3 recently played Tactical Rpgs conquered, I could take on the monster once more. Oh how wrong was I. One bomb and one chocobo later in a marsh, I'm still finding myself D-E-D. Ded!!!

Hitman Reborn

Again I stopped watching and collected. Still loving it! Even the filler was decent and that's rare. Now to stop watching again and wait another 3 months before picking it up again only to be sucked in.


I've never been a fan of Black Friday. I have however, always been a fan of Online Shopping. Amazon combined the two to make me poor, I'm sure. I have put a ban on myself because I'm out of control. I missed some good deals and got great ones too but I will feel so sorry for myself when that credit card bill comes. Oh woe is me. Curse you, Amazon! You know I have obsessions!

Who Said It Can Not Be Done?

I know not for other cultures but if you're a Trini, you more than likely already know that everything can be curried.

Got some chicken that's been already baked and chicken that's already been jerked and you need to make some creative use of the leftovers?

That's right!

Curry it!

And why not? I ask thee.  Why not?

Disclaimer: If I am ill tomorrow, let it be known it was the pepper Momma Ho busted in the curry concoction that would have contributed to my demise but not the fact that you should not curry left over baked chicken or jerk chicken.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Three Milks?

I heard 'tres leches' and I thought...yum.

When I read the recipe, it sounded kind of ...yuck.

While it may look ordinary, it still tasted fairly decent and not as gross as I thought it may have.  But can you not just look at it and know it's full of condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream?

It is quite possible my stomach hates me right now.

Thanks, H1 - we can scratch this off the list now.

He Likes Her Christmas Gift

Well at least it is getting used but is there any wonder why Jazzie hates me and why she insists on beating Pumpkin's ass out of jealousy?

It was as if she got nothing at all for Christmas...

She's going to kill me whilst I sleep one night.

Oh yes, she is.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Decemberween, Everyone!!!!!

I hope everyone has a great time this day with lots of prezzies, food and of course, family fun.

Prezzie lists to come but thank you all so much for being the best frenemies we could have.

Edit on 12/25/09 @ 5:51 p.m.:

Thanks to everyone for the goo'd times! I hope you all enjoyed your presents as much as we did (except you, TD5.  What happened there?! We are stunned you did you not like your print... stunned and depressed.  In our mind, we're still convinced you were fascinated on some level by that movie and not disturbed as you pointed out.  Now it looks like you will be disturbed for the rest of your life! Even so, a storm trooper...surrounded by petals...American Beauty style.  It's funny!).

This year, the tree did not spew presents into the living room as it usually does...

Who lives in a pineapple in the Christmas tree?

But it somehow managed spew up lots for B'H.

Curse that kid! I'll never win the present war again!
Although H1 has been owning me the last few years...
Curse you, Luuuuuiiiiisssss.

The Christmas Day Massacre went down like serious buisness today.  I am waiting to get mine but I think a lot of us have it coming...


1.   From Bughie J. : Breads of all kinds! And brownies! Yummy.
2.   From Sandy Cheeks: Moose Munch!
3.   From Faye: stylesque clips
4.   From Alex: a monogram tote bag.  Ooooo.
5.   From E. and A.: a baked goodies basket.  (I see some cookies in there that I might need to get into soon).
6.   From Luuuuiiiissssss: Hot pads, make-up gift certificate, clothes, Rachel Ray cooking book (let the REAL massacre begin), and a Nook (not Tom.  He's a biatch).
7.   From Boobey Head: a watch
8.   From Momma Ho and Papa Ho: a sweater, and a sweet emerald & diamond ring
9.   From MC & KIMPOSSIBLE: The Pioneer Woman's Cook Book (I'll have to send it away to be autographed), and Modern Art Appreciation Breath Freshner.  Ooo, you guys are in trouuubbbbllleeee.
10. From TD5: The Labyrinth Soundtrack (finally! One of those things I never got for her but always wanted to)
11. From X: An addition to the Christmas Day Massacre in the form of 4 ramekins (X, see the picture? Notice how she's clutching that popcorn stuffing in anger!!!!)
12. From Sons - Mons
13. From Or 2: Le Creuset cookware set with ramekins, casserole dishes, stock pot and 3 1/4 quart pot (sorry I didn't get a bigger pot, H1), J.R.R. Tolkein's The Legend of Sigurd and GudrĂșn,Arctic Monkeys ticket (although she my argue that I forced her to go), and "Lunch Atop the Skyscraper" print by Mike Stimpson.

Added on 01/02/2010:

14. From Aims: Makeup and a pair of silver earrings
15. From Frass: A pair of blingy earrings (and an awesome skate tag with bells)

Or 2's LIST

1.   From Bughie J.: Lots of yummy breads and brownies.  Which everyone ate off! Curse them! The gift of music and space on which to store it.  Ooooo.
2.   From Gen' Frien': My very own awesome Lucky Bag complete with bento box, special winter edition snacks and stationery/pencil sets.  Ooooooo.
3.   From MUSE: Yes, I can always count on them to send me a digital prezzie of a video.  This year they sent a video of "MK Ultra" live from Italy.
4.   From Faye: Stylesque hair clips (for my hair that's always in a mushroom and the hair I'm constantly bitchin' about).
5.   From Sandy Cheeks: Skeleanimals! A Christmas style Skeleanimal, and a set of keychains.  They're so cute! But not as cute as Gen' Frien's Skeles.
6.   From Alex and J.J.: Manga! Wheeee! D. Gray-Man and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles.
7.   From Luuuuuuiiiissssss: Manga! Wheeee! D. Gray-Man and xxxHolic
8.   From Boobey Head: an Invicta red-faced watch.  I was told it was to show off whatever displaced Trini was in me.  I'm not sure I am agreeable to this.  I also got Christmas Eve Pajamas that are not trying to trip me.
9.   From Momma Ho and Papa Ho: Space.  An awesome chest of drawers that I needed and am excited to set up so I can finally display all my things and clean up.  Oooo, can't wait to organize! And a nice sweater, as well as TWO tins of Royal Dansk Butter Cookies.  Oh yeah.
10. From MC & kIMPOSSIBLE: Hotel Dusk for the DS.  I hope this game doesn't drive me nuts., and bacon bandaids.  Ah, bacon.  Can't go wrong there.
11. From TD5: Monster.  Only the best Anime series, ever!!!!!!
12. From X: Bleach Season 2 dvd.  Oooooo.  Love that damned show.
13. From Sons: Mons
14. From H1: The Beatles Stereo Box Set!! (I did pay for half but it was the one thing I wanted most! Wheeee! Now I can educate myself!)
15. From Me to Me: Scribblenauts for the DS, Persona for the PSP, tickets to MUSE @ WS 2010 and tickets to MUSE @ MSG 2010.  Ugh, yes...already it has started.
16. From The Cheat & Diderick: Royal Dansk Season Tin Butter cookies.  I thought this was a recession!
17. From Gnomey-Gnome: The coolest gift of all- a mini-ornament shaped bottle of Diet Coke.  Greatness.

Awww, here's my little Gnome chittering away to the bottle of Coke. 
He makes friends easily.

Added on 01/02/2010:

18. From Aims: A marzipan piggyh, Rock Band: Unplugged (PSP), Bleach Season 2 Box Set - sadly, Amazon screwed up by giving me a duplicate to X's (har har) and I will have to exchange.  But for what I wonder...hmmmmm...
19. From Frass: Bleach Season 1, and an awesome box of cadburys goodies and a catch.  Saweet!

Currently: Feeling sleepy... and disturbed that we're having these random thunderstorms in winter.  They scare me.  Man, I hate Christmas Day sometimes - it always goes by so quickly.

Fall's Over! Winter's Here!

And is it ever... after a stretch of warm weather, we got blasted with coldness and a snow storm.  There's the freezing rain report for tomorrow Christmas Day, and bad weather for the Midwest but we're hoping everyone has a safe, happy Christmas.

So farewell Fall and farewell Scarecrow.

Bye Harvest Feasting and the crispy leaves.

Until next year...

Now we usher in Christmas with two friends in the tree...sparkling through the night whilst watching over the presents and waiting for Santa to come (Santa exists now, apparently according to B'H).

They will wait, smiling happily, telling snowy tails to each other way into the night and into Christmas morning until the HOchieS awake and celebrate together.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Decemberween Eve!

I failed this year.

The Cheat and Diderick got me Royal Dansk Butter Cookies in a fancy schmancy bag-like thing, and the tin is fancy schmancy as well. 

And I got them NOTHING.

Well, as soon as that Buffy comic comes out, I will be buying it for them...or The Cheat rather.  Diderick needs his classic reads.

Perhaps I can pull a fast one and wrap up that Simpsons Scene It game for them.


Don't let them know!

Happy Birthday, Pandy!

Have a great birthday! Don't let anyone try to give you prezzies rolled into one for your b-day and Christmas!

Muchas smooches!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Airing of Grievances 2009

My anger is fierce.

1. Chase and Amazon.  If Chase didn't eff me over big time this year, I could have had a billion gift certificates from Amazon by now!

2. X -  This grievance is for you and you alone so stop your bitchin'.  Prezzies from Japan while welcome become null and void if they are bought to distract.  Don't forget that I cannot be bribed! Because I will take your 'bribery' and STILL I will remember your misgivings.  Don't think I forgot that you left us for Bim this year!

3. Bunji - What the heck? You come live with us for a few, make me stay up way late on work days, had me playing Resident Evil 5 until 2 a.m. and then you go to N.C. to live? At least it wasn't Arizona or out nyo again, and since N.C. is like Westchester, then that is the only thing securing your place after X and not before.

4. Beetchie - I accept that you needed to move from the island.  It's great that you did because it needed to be done.  But there was no reason to go to Oregon and begin the Hippy process.  Getting an iphone did not do you any favours either because your smug is overwhelming.
Also, stop ditching us for booty.  Pretty soon, we won't feed you if you come around.

5. MC! Wow, last year you were number 1 and this year...look! Number 4! And no, I'm not incorrect in my count.  This year, you went ahead and got married which is fine but you only introduced us to Kimpossible the night before the wedding.  Wha'?! And you didn't feed us! And on top of that, you made this Ho take in sun not only in Trinidad but Tobago too? You know, I was proud to be displaced - I was the only Trini to never have been to Tobago and now my displacement is in ruins.  Thanks, thanks a lot.

6. Frass - you weren't really bad per say this year.  You didn't feed us like you did last year but you're forgiven being that you had to get a new job and all.  You did bring us alcohol which is becoming a frequent event that we enjoy.  However, you did sleep through Black Friday plans again.  Should we just come to an understanding that we shouldn't make plans that day?  Afterall, I probably cannot support both you and my Amazon addictions on that day.

7. TD5 - are only on this list for getting "505" before H1.  Other than that, you were awesome for coming in August and sharing great times with me.  We saw YYY together, got sick (or rather I got sick), braved assland NJ and almost got struck by lightning.  Oh! and we shared a new GCS tradition of eating ice-cream on the train after a concert.  And Arctic Monkeys was great.  You almost made the top of the list for inviting people to eat my stuffing but as it turns out, we like them a lot so you are spared.  We heart you.

8. Bughie J. - Bread? Greatness.  Brownies? Extra Greatness.  Not enough brownies? Grievance list for you.  It's not your fault that there was a Beetchie, Bunji and Bo Brownies incident but if we had TWO batches, I'd not be crying now! Thanks for our treats!

9. Clee - threatening us with 1 week MAYBE of visits next year is like slapping us in the face! What happened to our 5 weeks?! Okay, we understand why no 5 week sand we can't wait to watch Toy Story 3 with you.  But please, keep your smuggery at home.

10. Gen' Frien' - No grievances against you.  I just didn't want you to feel left out.

11. Anj. - no grievances against you either - I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.  Are you?

Happy Festivus, All Frenemies!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Funny Yet Sad

Thursday was a good day - The HOchieS received presento-pyos from Bughie J.  Yummy Christmas breads and brownie greatness that I have not eaten in probably 2 years or so.  Someone's securing their place off the Grievance List, I see.  Heh.

Beetchie came to visit and we gave her her pyos (she's rockin' her special shirt)!

Then there was the debacle called Alex and Clownie.

This being the last bar night of 2009, we decided to have drinks together and wings on our own.  We now know that we do not have an oven at the work place but a warming tray that goes up to 180 degrees but that doesn't help us get crispy wings, now does it?!

With a bottle of champagne, microwaved wings and great company - we talked life and laughed lots.  It was a fun while with some of my favourite peoples but as we sat there around the table at the canteen, I could not help but hope our good times will last throughout next year and for many years to come.

Memorable Quotes of the Evening:

Beetchie: All the gifts were thoughtful, but this one is the most!


It's Sunday night and we're not watching Dexter.

I'm going through a bit of withdrawal.


The End of Year Review IV: Broadway, Concerts and the Best of the Blog 2009

This year I saw a couple of favourites again for the millionth time, some might say.  And you guys should shut it!
I also finally saw two of my favourite bands for the first time and what will be the last time for the foreseeable future.

It turned out to be a busy year afterall for shows, but also, we had a sad year overall but we're thankful for lots as usual and hope for an awesome 2010 for all!

7.  U2 at Giants Stadium turned out to be a damned nightmare.  I never wanted to go to this to begin with and only went for MUSE.  It turns out that not even MUSE could correct the awful night we had (but of course they were awesome).  U2 toured on a crap album and they're really showing their age - with forgotten lyrics and timing-off.  Yeesh.  This was definitely the worst show we saw this year and that's surprising.  Oh, it didn't help it that we missed Yeah Yeah Yeahs for this.  Psh.

6. All Points West on Friday.  This was the best free concert surprise! TD5 came up to see AM and just like that, tickets appeared and I got to see YYY and he got to see Vampire Weekend.  Though I suppose nothing is for free because we did have to trek to assland.

5. I never expected I would see Arctic Monkeys twice this year and I don't want to go back to a concert in December.  There's always that risk of the coldest night of the year which is exactly what happened to us.  Then there's always the trauma of having a crappy support band as AM likes to pick them.  And the threat of a not so awesome show.  That should never happen with AM but this isn't the best album either.  It did not help that the show was at the cornerstone either.

4. I may never be that close to Alex, Matthew, The Cookie and Nick again in my life.  It was not the best show I've seen from Arctic Monkeys due to material played but it was quite memorable being in such a tiny space such as The Highline Ballroom with my favourite boys.  And to think, I could have reached out and touched Nick! Too bad that effin' P. Diddy had to ruin things by showing up.  I really did not need to see that.

3. I like Green Day and was upset with myself when I missed the American Idiot/Bullet in a Bible tour. They had a really stupid album this time around but I was not expecting what transpired at MSG. They played for three hours straight and were incredible! I would recommend that everyone see them if given the chance.

2. I never thought the day would come when Jude Law would be on any list of mine.  That man is an ass, let us just get that out there but I suppose you can be an ass and still be a great actor.  Aren't most of them are? We saw him in Hamlet and I am still in awe.

1. Nine Inch Nails.  It took me 15 years to see one of my favourite bands and just as they were on their way out.  I discovered I hate Terminal 5 with a passion and I am really thankful I will never have to experience NINfluenza again.  But I am really sad that I will never get to see them again or that H1 will not get to see them.  That was one of the best shows I have been to.  Oh NIN, come baaaaackkkkkk!!!!

Like I said, this year wasn't the best but surely we had some good memories each month!!!

January saw this HOchie with a not so pg13 lucky lucky bag.  I'm still trying to pass off the sekshi toys on some unsuspecting fool but do you people remember the the hip parade?

Hmmm, what do you suppose we should give up for Lent  this February?

Hey, looks like March wasn't that bad.  We made good memories with Bunji and A'Face even though both were kinda scary moments - all I have to say is, zombies scare the eff out of me but still be pretty funny. And I feel really sorry for Spiderman.

April brought me new shady, pirate friends and made me remember one of the horrors of video game history and just how bad I can be at saving people..

What's that they say about Spring and May Flowers? And NKOTB? Say it ain't so...

Our little MC got married in June and while we got to share in the happiness and greatness that is Trinidad and Tobago, we sadly did not get to see our little Pandy get married.

H1 likes to torture me and also make fun of my 'lack' of skills.  She has no idea how that keeps me up at night... But I suppose it was only payback for what I did to her.  Though she seems to be have had lots of debacles of her own.

August is always an ass month but we were quite busy! With NIN, Arctic Monkeys and All Points West, we had quite the few weeks and then of course, August always proves what it is and hits me with sickness like never before.  Ack, damned NINfluenza.

September saw us having crap with U2 but at least we made it up by having fun memories with our friends in the kids room.

October was surprisingly quiet but it wouldn't be October without a Zombie panic attack.

We had fun times in November with Thanksgiving week including attending Hamlet.

And here we have December - there are still days left for memories but so far, it's been a crazy not-so-great month but we're looking forward to Christmas and some time off with each other.

Currently listening to: Whatever is playing in The Hangover.

The End of Year Review III : Video Games 2009

I divided up my time between gaming and watching anime this year, it seems.

Somehow, I managed to touch 14 games!

Even I was impressed but mostly disturbed by this revelation.

Well, 'touching' 14 games does not necessarily translate into my having played them in full.  That is an annoying 'tick' on my part since I am all about doing one thing at a time when it comes to gaming but here's my list of the best of for 2009 -

Oh, before I start I have a disclaimer - I downloaded FFVII and FFTactics for the PS3/PSP this year and they will not be counted towards the 2009 gaming list because those two games would own all else.  Yeah...I try to be fair sometimes, I guess.  I still have a game or two that made this list that were not released this year.  My life will always be that way as there's just not enough time in the year to do everything.  My pile will continue to grow but damn it, even if it takes me 12 years to get to something, I will! I'm looking at you FFTactics!!!!

12.  Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (DSi)

Oh those Mini Marios.  I played the first part of this game a few years ago and was happy to see another installment for play on DSiWare.  I had free points to use and why not on this fun puzzle game? I ran through a first play but it was not as challenging as I had remembered.  The time attack mode is always challenging though and I haven't looked back since.  Ha.

11. Little Big Planet (PS3)

I probably could have benefitted more from this game if I were to use the level creator or played with someone.  This game was charming yet frustrating as most platforms can be.  The Sack Boy was the cutest and the best is playing dress up with him/her.  The music was great and well suited to its corresponding level, and generally the level designs were something quite formidable and impressive.

10.  Final Fantasy : Dissidia (PSP)

Final Fantasy heroes and villains in a battle brawl? I could use Sephiroth to destroy everyone?! Woohoo! Umm...except, I did not have as much fun as I thought I would.  While I enjoyed playing through story mode with an entire battle chessboard set up, complete with stats upgrade, new moves to learn, items, equipment and summons to collect - I could only do those things with the individual heroes.  There was no mode for villains to play through a story!

So, it was not much fun because then I could not have Sephiroth be all bad-assed in a hurry.  It took forever to level him and I didn't even really do that.  Did I do something wrong? I don't think so...?

In any event, the game was still filled with good rpg elements and a fun daily moogle mail system, great memories and music from FF installments past but the story was just 'meh'.   This being a game for fan service for FF fans, it was what was.

9.  Rock Band 2 (PS3)

Rock Band continues to be a great game with DLC released every week and my obsession to dress Zarnyx in any and almost everything is still strong.  He's so rich now that he can buy any ugly guitar he wants.  Beetchie may claim that I 'stole the money from the band' but she forgets that he is on a successful solo career while not touring with The Oxtails.  There were a few good track packs this year including one from Queen.  While I was mostly dissatisfied with the song selection this year, I often have to thank that there is not something I want every single week because then I'd be poorer than I am now.  It's hard keeping up as it is.

8.  Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (DS)

I was not expecting a strategy game when I bought this but I tackled it anyway even though I am mostly lame at these.  It was challenging and an excellent blend of both strategy and traditional rpg elements and had a mostly good story.  I had the choice to be evil but for some reason chose to be good.  I think it was easier to be good than evil and I did not want to be slayed anymore! The monster creation was a cool system but I did not feel much for the characters on a whole.

7. The Sims 3 (PC)

This was our first The Sims game since the first one.  We were rather excited for it and while the game is amazing, it's so time consuming (it always is but I just don't have that much time anymore)! I also do not like that my Sims age.  I think I can make that not happen but it would be interesting to see what happens to them.  I did not re-create any of my old winner families but did make a household of two of my favourite Hitman Reborn characters.  The hilarities that ensued with Gokudera were instant classics.

6.  Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (PS2)

This game was all the rage recently so I finally decided to play.  I was not sure how to feel about a game that makes me go to school and build relationships and then be a vigilante at night but this simulation was actually really interesting and different in a good way.  I liked the action battle rpg style gaming too, the battles were not out of the ordinary but still a bit challenging and monster creation made things difficult for me.  It's like spending money and building an army of strong creatures (much like a job class system) - two things I hate! However, who wouldn't want and like to build an army of misfits?

The music was great, gameplay was awesome, the story was great and the characters were likeable.

All this and I hear part 4 is better! I'll have to break that out soon...

5.  Patapon 2 (PSP)

My one-eyed little army returned to me, or rather I the Great Znyx returned to them.  After reaching an ocean in the hopes of find "IT", the Patapons built a ship and set sail for the end of the world.  One giant sea creature later, a lone Patapon washed up on a distant shore and prayed to me for help.  Being a kind saviour, I decided to help those little fools out.  The beats were much tighter as well as game mechanics, and the introduction of a new system for building additional and unique units plus the Hero made the game much more enjoyable, challenging and a little bit frustrating.  New songs and new moves helped with the new challenges.

I can't wait for the third installment.  I'm a little bit scared to see what awaits on the other side of that bridge.

4.  Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS) 

I cursed this game so much this time around.  The puzzles seemed harder than the previous installment and once again I had everyone pitching in to help solve some of the questions.  The presentation was beautiful, the music much more enjoyable and not as repetitive and the story unravelled more brill. than the first witha slew of new mini-games to collect.  Professor Layton and Luke are as cute as ever and I look forward to the rest of the games in this series to be released in the U.S.  Yes, so I can curse some more.

3.  Resident Evil 5 (PS3)

While not the best Resident Evil of the series, I had so much fun playing this game with Bunji making it high up on my list.  For starters, I have never played an RE on my own.  This is a Bunji game and I am a spectator, who unwittingly occasionally gets drafted to run around zombies without 'wasting ammo'.  It's scary! This time around with co-op play, Bunji and I took on the zombies and lickers together!

Being a co-op play, this was the least scary Resident Evil made I feel.  It was less a survival horror game but very much an action game.  Let us say that I proved that I am the one with good aim as my head shot percentage was high.  There were lots of debacles and many hours spent awake near 2 a.m. busting up some lickers.

2.  The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks  (DS)

As I write this, I am not quite finished with it.  Thus far, I remember having much more of a blast with Phantom Hourglass.  I will always love little Link and the Zelda series is one that is the best of all time.  This one is still great - my train skills are the best, and I can shuffle people to and from like nobody's buisness.  Having Zelda play a bigger role has been interesting.  She has a great personality and is so cute! Who knew she could be of use to me...ha.  I have not been as impressed with the boss battles as I usually am but they're still innovative.

Musically this game is one of the best in the series but the controls can be sketchy at best sometimes if it's not absolutely quiet.  The use of the mic for my pan flute creates difficulty while on the train and becomes frustrating at times.

1.  Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS)

I had to give number one to this game.  I never played a console version of the GTA but always enjoyed watching Luuuuuiiiiiisss play.  I always felt that it would be too overwhelming for me so when the DS version came out, I figured "hey, small system, small game, right?" Okay, that never should be said knowing full well the capabilities of the DS and game developers.

I cannot tell you just how much fun I had with this thing.  I played non-stop! The missions were crazy, fast-paced and exciting.  The controls were sharp and made good use of the stylus.  Selling drugs always gave me the pure joy of making tons of cash at once, running from the cops and crashing cop cars is always an adventure and putting down hippies at a riot - well, that's what I do.

There was laughter on the daily with this game and Uncle Kenny got what he deserved.

Honourable Mentions:

I did not finish it but Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door was rather cute and a little bit umm, shocking.  And The Beatles: Rock Band is amazing - the band is one of the greatest and the game is visually stunning.  Finally, I played Chrono Trigger for the DS this, that was some awesome times.  Again.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The End of Year Review II : Music 2009

2009 was supposed to be the year of excitement.  Most of my favourite bands were releasing new albums and I couldn't wait!

Then everyone released their albums and they all mostly sucked.  Big time.  This is a very sad list to make but things need to be ranked and bitched about.

There are a couple of albums that were not released in 2009 but I listened to them this year and they will be counted.  I realize I usually do this and while unfair, meh...ask me if I care too much.

Also this year, I tried to do a 'mathematical equation' to get results suited to best and worst albums.  I ranked songs out of five and added the total - obviously this experiment failed for the most part as not every album has the same number of songs but it did force me to listen to each song individually and make a determination as to which songs really were great, horrible or just okay.  In that sense, my stupid method was successful because 1 great song does not make 1 great album.

11. U2 - No Line on the Horizon

U2, WTF? For the first time in our lives as U2 fans, we can honestly say that they have an album that's unlistenable.  For many people, those albums were Pop and Zooropa (why? I continue to question...those albums are fantastic!), but for the HOchieS it was definitely this latest.

There are many words to describe this album: recycled, lazy and boring.

Anyone who tries to tell me this is experimental, needs a slap.  This is not experimental - it's bad.  I can hear a lot of old and new U2 merged into one and somehow it managed to be crap.  Maybe that's due to the fact that they ripped off themselves? I expected more.

So great was the disappointment after the whole Giants Stadium debacle that I have self-imposed a ban on U2 songs for the rest of the year.  I refuse to listen to anything by them!

Also, I have re-named this album to something a bit more suitable: No Hope on the Horizon.

Best Songs: Any? Yeah, okay.  There was at least one.  Maybe two? Two too many! "No Line on the Horizon" was a decent one, for H1 it was probably "Moment of Surrender".

Album Cover Review: Grey and dull, much like the music.  Ha.  Truthfully, though, I like this cover.  "B".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 > 6.  H1 wins.

10.  Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

After the awesome album that was American Idiot, Green Day decides to follow with a WTF.  If only that were the title of the album and it was good.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  I was wise to GD's tricks...  The album had over 20 tracks but quantity does not translate to quality.  That was a failed cover up, GD.  It really was.

The songs were much more appreciated in concert but that does not save this album in any way.

Best Songs: "Peacemaker", "East Jesus Nowhere", and "Song of the Century".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 > 6. H1 wins.

Album Cover Review: As BH would say, "boring".  I really dislike this cover.

9. Illinois - The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe

Ever since they opened for The Fratellis at the Roseland Ballroom, I have been anxiously awaiting something from this band.  It may be that they translate better live but this was just a  decent album.  The vocals can be odd, the lyrics are more put together but not really all that fun as with "What The Hell Do I Know?" for many of the songs and the music was still uniquely arranged for a bit of it but a bit 'mainstream' on most.  Well, I still love the banjo!

Best Songs: "Old Saloon", "An Open Door", "I Hate Love" and "Kid Catastrophe".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 < 6. A winner is me.

Album Cover Review: Designed by a fan (or fans), I think I like the entire series, kind of.  "B-"

8. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

I never would have picked this up on my own but two degrees of separation away from the band, and a free album - keyword being "free", the least I could do was listen.

Never a fan of Bruce Springsteen (GA has been compared to him) and certainly never a fan of NJ (yes, they hail from none other), I listened with reservations but was not offended by what I heard.

While I have not been converted as I will not seek out anything in a similar style or maybe any follow up albums by them, I can still admit that this album is not bad at all actually.

Best of Songs: "Here's Looking At You, Kid" (a song I quite love, really), "Casanova, Baby!" and "Great Expectations".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5< 6. A Winner is me.

Album Cover Review: Blargh.  Why do I need to look at you? "F."

7.  TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Having only discovered TVotR last year thanks to their incredible Dear Science, I had to get this album.  I did not love this as much as the aforementioned third album but respect that this was very solid.  I felt it was a bit too similar between songs in a way but not dull by any means.  Far from it, really and a great introduction to a really good band.

Best Songs: "Playhouses", "Wolf Like Me", and "Dirtywhirl".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 > 6. H1 wins.

Album Cover Review: looks like a giant nest and I don't really see any cookies... "B".

6. The Horrors - Primary Colours

Things that throw me off - bands that turn 180 degrees.  I enjoyed the Brit. goth trashiness of the first The Horrors album a lot.  It was scarily 'bad' and incredibly entertaining.  I liked the fast pace nonsense, and the electronica.  I was happy to discover they would be releasing another and lo and behold, I questioned whether or not I was listening to the same band.

What's this? Songs that aren't creepily dark? Songs that aren't fast? Songs that....sound well-thought out?! Oh the horror! Umm...sorry.

But you know? It's not so bad.  In fact, it's a pretty good listen.  But I still feel betrayed and cannot accept the fact that it's all so sullen with cleaner arrangements.

Best Songs: "Scarlet Fields" (ooo, one of my favourites all year!), "Sea Within a Sea", "Three Decades" and "I Only Think of You".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 < 6. A Winner is me.

Album Cover Review: "B-" They're there yet not.  I like it.

5. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

This was a pretty huge disappointment for me for the most part.  I must have listened to it briefly once when I first got it and had to force myself to listen for this review.  It turned out not as horrendous as I initially thought and still not bad enough to be at the bottom of the list but it really is a bottom of the list as far as FF albums go.  It should not even be on a list from them as it is that embarrassing.

The songs are not as clever as their other work and that is the charm to FF.  That charm is mostly gone as they created a dumbed down 'club' collection of songs with annoying sounding bits.  What happened to my smart Scots?

Best Songs:  "Dream Again", "Ulysses", "Lucid Dreams (original)", and "Bite Hard".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 < 6. A winner is me.

Album Cover Review: "C-" While I do not mind having to see them, I do appreciate their trying to avert my eyes from a horrible album but if only they would have done more to block my ears when I really needed them to.

4.  Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

There are so many hateful things I can say about this album.  This year was so bad for music that even Arctics with their crap third album they still managed to make it as high as number 4.  Truly, this is a mostly crap album.

Why is it so crap? Let me point some fingers -

Alex Turner and his happiness from that stupid girl.  Where's your wit, AT? I'm glad the boys are comfortable with who they are and what they do.  H1 and I have 'watched' them grow up but it doesn't really make me too happy that is the end result.  This album was supposed to have been the one I listened to a million times by now but that is not the case at all.  It saddens me how boring it is.  Not enough biting wit, lyrically not as challenging and sharp if at all, and 'boring' musically.  Matthew always needs to shine and he doesn't.

I am pointing the finger at Josh Homme.  You, J.H. need to stay the eff away from Arctic Monkeys.  They did not need a desert experience.  As a producer, J.H.'s signature is all over that shit.  It SOUNDS like Queens of the Stone Age a bit.  And I don't even LIKE them (save Era Vulgaris, which was just stellar), in fact, it is safe to say that I am close to 'really hating' QOTSA.  His insistence on producing AM pushes me of the edge to taking out the "really" in that 'really hating' phrase.


Best Songs:  "Pretty Visitors", "Potion Approaching", "Secret Door", and "Cornerstone".

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 > 6. H1 wins.

Album Cover Review: "D".  There's not enough Nick! Where is he?! I do see Matthew though and Alex looking like a hipster.  Ugh.  The Cookie I can do without.  'cary.

3. The Killers - Day and Age

It's been a long time since I listened to an album by this band that I liked.  Okay, so maybe there was only one in between their first and this but considering I had an O.D. of The Killers, it was amazing I even decided to give this one a spin.  It came out in December of last year and I had every intention of avoiding but Rock Band has on more than one occasion forced me to buy a song or listen to a band for their often excellent song selection.

I loved the song "Spaceman".  It's a pretty stupid song and most songs on this album don't make too much sense.  Artfully stringing together some form of pop I can sing along to is one thing The Killers know how to do.  I was also intrigued that the vocals did not sound much like Brandon Flowers to me.  Then I actually listened to the album and found it to be much better than the crappy Sam's Town.  In fact, they were back to form almost (nothing can be better than Hot Fuss)! And I actually wanted to go back on the Almost Pop Drug called The Killers!

That's so wrong of me...

Best Songs:  "I Can't Stay", "Spaceman", "Losing Touch" and "Goodnight, Travel Well"

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 < 6. A Winner is me.

Album Cover Review: "A".  You know, I really like this one a lot.  It's so purple and mosaic like.

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

I never felt that any of the previous YYY albums I could like as a whole.  Collectively, they're good but as stand alone albums they've never been very solid for me.  They have lots of great songs and they're certainly a great band but they never had that one album I salute and hail as all greatness.  The only thing that came close was the Is Is EP. 

And now It's Blitz!

I struggled with my number 1 album of 2009.  This almost made it (and didn't not because I am biased) but as I rated songs, I realised that for the most part, the album had really great songs but mostly mixed with average tracks.

It's an amazing album nonetheless, with the TVotR producer working his magic.  This is a point I wanted to make - when I first got the album, I was amazed at how much influence a producer has because there were elements similar to Dear Science.

The songs are fun, David Chase as a drummer sounded like he had lots of fun, Karen O. has one of the best vocals of all bands these days and I heart Nick Zinner's guitar'ing and experimenting.

Best Songs: "Hysteric" (another fav. of the year), "Dull Life", and "Heads Will Roll"

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 > 6. H1 wins.

Album Cover Review: "B".  I kinda like it; I'm kinda grossed out by it and I can just see the rage against that poor egg.  Be kind to eggs.

1. MUSE - The Resistance

Really, I am not biased.  I can admit when MUSE got crap going on with them! Of the 5 albums, this is probably my 4th liked (Showbiz is still not the greatest to me).  It's pretty good though.  There's a symphony but honestly, while the symphony itself is really good, I am not as impressed with the fact that Matt wrote a 3 part symphony only due to the fact that I listen to a lot of Final Fantasy video game music and Anime music where music often classical in nature and otherwise is so vital to the feel of those forms of art that the music is often guaranteed to be amazing.  It's been done and continues to be done.

The Resistance is grandiose, much more so than Black Holes and Revelations - with more stadium anthems than ever before.  What I do like about this album a lot is how much fun my boys are having.  They're comfortable, doing more than quite well, produced this themselves (and the sound is quite great, actually) and now they're just doing what they want to do and I can respect that.

Song wise, this album is plenty radio friendly with not enough (or any?) killer riffs Matt is known for but despite all of this, it's still MUSE at its core.

Best Songs:  "Unnatural Selection" (THE song of the year for me! followed by Arctic Monkey's "Catapult" from the b-side to "Cornerstone"), "Exogenesis Symphony", and "Uprising".  And yes, I even love "Undisclosed Desires" as pop as it is.  Ugh.  But MUSE also had the WORST song this year that got a big fat zero from me in the form of "Guiding Light".  What a nightmare that was.

H1 vs Or 2 = 5 < 6.  A Winner is Me.  Big time.  H1, you got "Guiding Light" and I do feel sorry for you.

Album Cover Review:  "A+".  For the first time in the history of MUSE album covers, I like this one a lot.  It should have been the first indicator that the album would not be that good, I guess.  Aha.  Next time I'll know...

ANIME and VIDEO GAME Best OST List - 2009

1.  Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
2.  The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
3.  Soul Eater 2
4.  Kuroshitsuji
5.  Sayonara Zetsubuo Sensei (series)
6.  Persona 3
7.  Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
8.  Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
9.  Rock Band 2 (2009 was a sad year for DLC but did have Queen!)
10. Patapon 2

Currently listening to: "I Think I'm Paranoid" by Garbage.
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