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The Old Century Theaters

Century 21 on its last day. Image from the linked article.

If you grew up in the South Bay, you probably went to quite a few movies at the old Century theaters on Winchester–the best screens in the whole area. They closed yesterday.  I remember waiting in lines that would stretch almost to Winchester Blvd. for the openings of Independence Day and Back to the Future Part 3.

The last time I went there was a few months ago. My wife and I went to see the second Hunger Games movie a few months back on a Wednesday night. We were literally the only 2 people in the 900-seat theater. I went to the restroom in the middle of the movie, and when I came back inside I yelled: “WHAT DID I MISS?” across the rows. Fun but depressing.

Anyway, thanks for the entertainment, Century Theatres.

Here’s a petition to Save the Domes if you are so inclined.

2013 Music Survey Results

Better late than never. Here are the results of the 2013 Music Survey. I changed scoring this year to include negative points for any mentions for “Least Favorite Song” and a small positive bump for any “Guilty Pleasure” selections.

If you can’t see the embedded box above, the top song for 2013 is “Royals,” by Lorde, followed by “Wake Me Up” (Avicii), “Safe and Sound” (Capital Cities), and “Mirrors” (Justin Timberlake). “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk was probably the most divisive song, with 6 people giving it positive mentions and 3 people claiming it was the devil’s favorite song.

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I originally started this music survey as a way to make a compilation of my college roommate’s favorite songs.  Here  are the compilations from 20122011, and 2010. And here’s a refresher from 2011:

The “FC12 Music Project” started when I wanted to gather favorite songs from my college roommates and their families and turn it into a CD.  We lived in the 12th unit of a somewhat dingy apartment complex called Fountain Circle, hence the name of the project (FC12).  So the final track listing mainly represents songs chosen by them but with some input from friends.

Since 10-11 people are submitting 5 songs each,we have too many songs to choose from to fill 80 minutes. So, while I have some input in how songs are chosen, I follow a priority list to ensure that the music selection is somewhat diverse and not overly affected by my mood at the moment. Here’s the priority list, along with the songs chosen:

1. All #1 selections by Fountain Circlers

Ten songs were chosen using this criterion:

  • Sky Ferreira – Heavy Metal Heart (Criss #1)
  • John Mayer – Wildfire (Andrew #1/Heather #2)
  • Capital Cities – Safe and Sound (Brett #1/Brian #2/Diana#2/Stacy #2/Nadia #4)
  • Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (Diana #1)
  • Justin Timberlake – Pusher Love Girl (Heather #1)
  • Justin Timberlake – Mirrors (Brian #1/Blake #5)
  • Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble. (Nadia #1)
  • Of Monsters and Men – Silhouettes (Stacy #1)
  • Anna Kendrick – Cups (Blake #1)
  • Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted (Dan #1)

A lot of Justin Timberlake, as you can see, which made the running length of these ten songs take up about 2/3 of the album space. And even though I used the radio edit of Mirrors, but at this point we were down to about 25 minutes left.

2. Any marriages or kids get a song.

Brian and Diana married in November, and Dan and Nadia had a baby in December. Brian and Diana chose a song that Dan and I sang at their wedding. It’s a parody of When a Man Loves a Woman. Dan and Nadia chose a nice song by Andrew Bird.

  • Andrew Ishak and Dan Patry – When Brian Met Diana
  • Andrew Bird – If I Needed You

3. Any duplicates on top-5 lists of Fountain Circlers (meaning a song was on 2 or more lists).

This added two songs:

  • Lorde – Royals (Dan #3/Diana#4/Stacy #5)
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us (Brian #5/Diana#5)

So at this point we had 17 minutes left.

4. 1 of the 3 most mentioned songs from all friends.

“Royals” and “Safe and Sound” were already chosen, so we were good here.

5. If only one song from a Fountain Circler’s list has been chosen–and they listed 5 songs–an additional song is chosen.

At this point, Brett, Criss and I only had once song each. I knew I would have an editor’s choice, so that left Brett and Criss:

  • Lucius – Tempest (Criss #4)
  • The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather (Brett #2)

6. Editor’s Choice.

  • The Shins – Simple Song (Andrew #3)

7. Other songs at the editor’s discretion.

  • Daniel Kim – Pop Danthology 2013

 

And there you have it. 18 songs, including a “danthology” which has about 50 songs in it.

My Favorite Music of 2013

Here’s what I’m listening to these days, along with a few exceptions:

1. Songs I feel are safe for my children to listen to. The definition of “safe” varies based on the parents and the kids. For me, “safe” means (for the most part) that I wouldn’t mind if my elementary-school daughter sang the lyrics. One of my favorite songs this year is Phoenix – Trying to Be Cool (10). but “Tell me that you want me, tell me that you want me” is not something I want my 5-year-old singing. Are those the most offensive lyrics for a child to be singing? Of course not! But I can barely handle my kid singing along to Billie Jean. Speaking of things that shouldn’t be near children, here’s a remix of that song with R. Kelly.

2. Folk music–when there’s a guy singing about hills or cold weather or growing old or a country road, all while playing acoustic guitar, blues guitar, and/or mandolin, and your child says: “this song is boring.” I’m underxagerating slightly, but you get what I mean, right? Gregory Alan Isakov – Amsterdam (13), for example. Beautiful song but my kid hates it. Hey, when I was five I didn’t like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Or Bob Dylan. The Dad Classics. Generally, the Dad Classics are songs your kids don’t appreciate now but might later in life.

ALBUMS. My favorite album of the year is Bankrupt!, by Phoenix, the band from France that sings in English. Besides the aforementioned Trying to Be Cool, I like The Real Thing (6) and Drakkar Noir/Chloroform (2). I am cheating already; Drakkar Noir and Chloroform are two separate tracks, but they go together like…two French things that go together. Croissants and indifference.  These two tracks are in a symbiotic relationship of synthpop and rattling bass. Together they make one of my favorite songs of the year, and so here I cheat by including them as one song.

I also enjoyed HAIM‘s album, especially The Wire (4), Falling (18), and the title track, Days are Gone. And so did my wife. But I’ll tell you what my wife didn’t enjoy: Este’s Bassface:

(source: NBC via Buzzfeed)

My third and final favorite album is John Mayer‘s Paradise Valley, and a classic example of the two types of music I identified earlier coming together. I don’t think it is as intriguing as last year’s album, but I love folk/blues music and I love songs that speak to themes that are family-friendly: friendship, aloneness, aging, discovery, adventure. Dad Music. Take Wildfire (1) at one end and Badge and Gun at the other. The former celebrates the value of togetherness with some slide guitar, the latter has horse clomps and explores aloneness. But both songs are kid-friendly in the sense that togetherness and aloneness are ideas they should explore. So it’s a very good album in that sense. I also like I Will Be Found (17) and Who You Love (9). My daughter thinks that last song is about her and her little brother. It’s cute.

Lastly–and this is probably most important–Mayer is a wizard with the guitar even on the simplest songs, and this is especially apparent at his shows. While it was on last year’s album, I love the extended live version of If I Ever Get Around to Living (Live at Red Rocks) (5), especially the back half. And Call Me The Breeze (14) is a great cover of one of my favorite blues songs by J.J. Cale.

LATE TO THE GAME, BAND EDITION. Here are some songs by popular bands I have never listened to before this year, which makes me an anti-hipster, which I guess makes me really really hip? I don’t know. The National – Pink Rabbits, Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?The Shins – Simple Song (3) and No Way Down. All good albums, too.

LATE TO THE GAME, SONG EDITION. Here are some songs from late 2012.

  • Electric Guest – Troubleman (11). 9 minutes of goodness.
  • Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams (15). Something weird: most of the songs on this album use a AABB rhyming scheme. No really, go take a look at the lyrics. Is that weird? I think it’s weird.
  • Anselmo Ralph – Nao Me Toca. An Angolan dance floor number. No idea what he’s saying, but I think it’s “don’t touch me,” which is a reasonable thing to say in any language.

SONGS TO RUN TO. My favorite songs to run to this year are:

  • deadmau5 – The Veldt. It’s 8 minutes long, which is nice when you are running.
  • Kelly Clarkson – Catch My Breath. No shame.
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop. Tons of shame. Tons of it. This is the McDonald’s cheeseburger of music.
  • Lorde – Royals (16)  and Team. Are all her songs about how cool things are not cool? Not complaining, just wondering.

VIDEOS. My favorite video of the year is Capital Cities – Safe and Sound. I could watch this 100 times. I have already.

My least favorite video is for the previously mentioned Catch My Breath. DO SOMETHING ELSE, KELLY. Stop standing there for 4 minutes raising your arms in victory. I have a short attention span. Who was the director on this one?

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. Okay, let’s play a game.

Songwriter A has penned tracks this year that use drugs, bubblegum, and a “spaceship coupe” as metaphors for sex and/or love.
Songwriter B has written songs that use vampires, boxing, murder, and a mental illness as metaphors for sex and/or love.

Which one is Justin Timberlake and which one is R. Kelly?

Wrong, they’re both Justin Timberlake.

Just remember: the next time you make fun of R. Kelly for writing songs called The Zoo, Sex Planet, and Sex Dolphin, remember that Justin Timberlake wrote a song with these lyrics:

Hop into my spaceship coupe
There’s only room for two (Me and you)
And with the top down
We’ll cruise around
Land and make love on the moon
Would you like that?

Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just dadsing out here, but are those useful lyrics for anyone over 15 years old and/or anyone who isn’t an astronaut? I’m not anti-metaphor. You could say I think metaphors are the spice of life, like in Kacey Musgraves – Silver Lining (12). Musgraves uses every single folk saying in one song but makes it sound right–I don’t know how, but maybe it’s that sweet voice of hers.

 

OTHER SONGS I LOVED THIS YEAR.

    • Tegan and Sara – Closer (7)
    • Andrew Belle –  Sister (8)

  • Sara Bareilles – Satellite Call (20), December, and Islands
  • Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play. Hold on buddy. Buy me a drink first.

  • The 1975 – Chocolate
  • HAERTS – Wings
  • CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share. I guess we’re using all caps now, every band? Is that what we’re doing?
  • Typhoon – Hunger and Thirst. “Take your genres and shove them!” is what I imagine this band saying, right before they break up because no radio station will play their music.
  • Delta Rae – Bottom of the River. This is an enjoyable video for such a heavy song.

  • Washed Out – All I Know
  • Jillette Johnson – Torpedo
  • Phosporescent – Song for Zula
  • Vampire Weekend – Step
  • Postiljonen – Supreme