Tag Archives: jazz

My Journey Through Music: Ska

8 Aug


Here are the 10 artists I listened to for ska:

First wave ska:
Toots and Maytals

Second wave ska:
The Specials

Third wave ska:
Operation Ivy
Mighty, Mighty Bosstones
Mustard Plug
Streetlight Manifesto

So far, this has been the most difficult genre to pick songs for. Thanks to @Thebraziliandude and my good friend Tori, I had way more than 10-15 artists to choose from. I also knew several of the bands previously (not well, mind you) such as Aquabats, Mighty, Mighty Bosstones, Streetlight Manifesto, and some others that didn’t get chosen. I couldn’t decide whether I should explore the bands that I knew more, or if I should find new bands all together. Ultimately, I ended up cutting up pieces of paper and drawing all the third wave artists (I only had a few first and second wave, so they were in by default). I was very excited at the outcome.

Once again, a genre has supported the idea that I’m not a huge fan of the pioneers in that genre. I’ve yet to figure out why. It might be that when I listen to “oldies”, I listen for a very specific sound. It might also be that I like a more well-defined, polished sound that comes later after a genre has gotten its footing. Either way, first and second wave ska wasn’t my cup of tea. I listened to Freedom Sounds and Latin Goes Ska by the Skatalites back to back, which are both instrumentals, and it was too much only seconds in to Latin Goes Ska. I can appreciate instrumentals as a musician, but I wouldn’t be able to listen to that for any extended period of time. I didn’t really like the Toots and the Maytals at all, probably because it was more reggae in my ska than I’d like, and Bam Bam was the only song I could really get into at all.

Up next on the playlist were the Specials. They were definitely a step in the right direction. Four of their seven songs I listened to, I liked. Too Much, Too Young, Concrete Jungle, Blank Expression, and Little Bitch all had qualities that I liked, whether it was the upbeat music of Too Much, Too Young (my favorite) or the lyrics of Blank Expression. They only had one song I didn’t like, which I had to fight myself not to change: Gangsters. As for Madness, I was really unimpressed. Their sound as a whole reminded me of your stereotypical 80’s band. When I finally recognized My House, I was even more turned off. Its obviously a catchy song, because every commercial about houses everywhere uses it in their promotions, but that was the end of what I thought about it.

I liked second wave more than first, and the pattern continued because I likelove third wave. The first song I listened to by Operation Ivy was Sound System, and I instantly knew that third wave was for me. Although I didn’t like Bombshell at all, everything else was felt on a positive note. Their songs were extremely short, which almost left something to be desired, but overall I have no major complaints. I was kind of indifferent about the Aquabats. I didn’t feel really great or really terrible after listening to any of their songs, but because of that I feel a little let down. I’ve heard people rave about them. Next, I got to listen to my much loved Mighty, Mighty Bosstones.

They were Amazing.

I loved all of their songs. If I had to pick a favorite of the ones I listened to, it would probably be Noise Brigade, but I liked them all so much I couldn’t truly say that one was my favorite.

Mustard Plug was also pretty good. I wasn’t a huge fan of Skankin’ By Numbers, but it was alright. I especially liked Lolita, and Everyday Girl even moreso (its a personal favorite of all music now). Streetlight Manifesto is on about the same level as Mighty, Mighty Bosstones with me. I knew a few of their songs previously, and I really liked them. I started my Streetlight Manifesto playlist with Better Place, Better Time, and I was instantly in love with them. All of their songs were fantastic. Hepcat didn’t really inspire any great thoughts in me, much like Aquabats. I liked Dance Wid Me a lot, and although No Worries was different, it wasn’t bad by any means.

In my mind, ska was a complete success. I found several new favorite songs, and I feel much more comfortable saying that I like ska. I did find a new website that I believe I will be using for the rest of my musical endeavors. Its called Top 50 Songs and I think it worked well enough.

Do you like ska? What wave do you like best? Have you been listening along?

My Journey Through Music: Jazz

1 Aug


I’ve [finally] finished listening to jazz for my music project. I’ve been busy and travelling with family this last week so I haven’t had the opportunity to listen as frequently as I’d like. Hopefully, some of you have been listening along with me on YouTube! Anyway, lets get down to it. These are the jazz artists I listened to:

John Coltrane
Count Basie
Charles Mingus
Miles Davis
Louis Armstrong
Ella Fitzgerald
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Ornette Coleman
Jelly Roll Morton

Thanks to my friend, Joel, and @Unstoppable_Inner_Strength for helping me with my jazz artists.

I absolutely loved the jazz segment. I knew I would, but there is very little I didn’t like. Up until Ella Fitzgerald (and the list is listed in order of how I listened to them), none of the songs I listened to had vocals. When I got to Ella, it was a stark change to start hearing someone singing, but her voice is beautiful. My personal favorite of hers is “Fever”, but I didn’t listen to that as part of this project. Out of the songs I did listen to, my favorites were “Miss Otis Regrets” and “Love For Sale” because of the smooth quality to them. I also feel like I had a greater appreciation for the music because I’ve played jazz before. I also really liked John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ornette Coleman. Coleman’s “Law Years” stands out as a personal favorite, as I was hooked by the intro. The great thing about this list of musicians is that there are several songs in which they perform together, which gives a more rounded image of the genre. An inner conflict I’m having is if I like trumpet or saxophone better. Nothing beats a good cello or bass, but trumpet and sax are neck and neck. Saxophonists impress me with the intricate finger work I know must be challenging.

All the songs were of a decent, easily listenable length. Even the longest song (10 minutes) wasn’t hard to listen to. The only lyrics I found to be sub-par were those of Ella Fitzgeralds “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, but I was expecting it from my previous knowledge of the rhyme.

Once again, I decided to listen to 7 songs each. For John Coltrane, I used another blog to help me find songs, and it was really helpful because it broke down the song choices as to why they were good. The website I used for punk rock was mostly useless for jazz, so I pretty much used an website I could find. If you have any other suggestions on how to pick songs, I welcome your input!

Also, if you haven’t started listening along and taking the journey with me, you can go to my Youtube channel and follow along.

Do you like jazz? What do you think about my selection? Have you been listening along? 

I Need Your [Music] Help!

29 Jun

I’m working on a personal project which should [hopefully] transfer into a blog project. Before I can even get started, though, I need your help! If you consider yourself an “expert” or at least think you know a genre/your favorite genre very well, then I would like you to give me a list of 10 artists from whatever genre it might be that you think represent the genre as a whole (subgenres are also acceptable because, lets face it, music is so diverse). They can be what you consider “the best” or they can be a wide variety that shows how diverse the genre is…whatever you think represents best! Here is a list of suggested genres:

Indie Rock
Indie Pop
Japanese Pop
Indian Pop
Various Types of Classical Compositions
Music part of various subcultures


Please share!