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Written By: frenchy on November 12, 2004 No Comment

This week.. well, should call it this month.. Over here in Holland, we got ourselves a very, very disturbing shituation: Theo van Gogh, a controversial movie director, was assassinated last week in Amsterdam. You probably heard it on the news, it got coverage on the BBC, CNN and other media outlets. Why was he killed? Obvious yet difficult answer: a 26 year old Dutchman of Maroccan origin couldn’t agree with Van Gogh’s views on Islam and decided to take matters in his own hands. There are a lot of discussions on a lot of topics going on: the real reason behind the murder, the bombing and burning of mosks and islamic schools, the bewildering fire attacks on christian buildings (in retaliation?), the anger, revulsion and fear of most citizens (regardless of religious views), the politicians fumbling the ball on every aspect of the event and, last but not least, the mismatch between the supposedly politically correct tolerant self-image of Dutch society and the reality of a society that has to deal with having about one million people of a religion they don’t know but fear.
Do not get me wrong, I don’t especially like or dislike Islam, I sure as hell do not dislike anybody because of their beliefs. I’m a bit more of the disliking of people in general and that’s based on my moods. People I specifically dislike are those that use the commotion to gain personal or political profit and those who are playing judge, jury and executioner by taking matters in their own hands.
What can be done? Don’t know, I’ve been keeping myself a bit emotionally distanced from the whole thing. because getting overcome by all this is something that happens way too easy. Personally, I think that the confrontation is inevitable: part of the hate and revenge cycle must probably run its course, but a different confrontation should happen also, where people of all beliefs and background should talk about what happened and try to start understanding each other a bit better. Now, I know I sound like Rodney “Why can’t we just all get along?” King, but this has to be stated by all parties concerned: we do not get along with eachother on all topics of life all the time, but at least we should be able to agree to disagree and find a way to work with that given truth.

What else? Well… So, Bush won and this election has shown us that what people want in a leader is defined by location: people on the west side of the Atlantic (the voters) want a man who can make Tough Decisions and takes a Moral stand against Evil. People on the other side of the pond (and the rest of the world probably) want a man that understands that his responsibilities extend beyond his own yard, so either you keep the smoke from your BBQ in check or you invite your neighbours over for a nice meal and share the wealth and responsibility.

What else? Well..  The Dutch Shituation took another turn for the worse when a routine arrest of possible terrorists went wrong and resulted in a 10 hour siege in the middle of The Hague. In the end the suspects were arrested but three policemen were injured during the initial arrest. What really, really made things interesting is that two of the suspects were brothers, children of an American-Dutch couple. The young guys were converted to Islam a coupla years ago. Now, how scary is it, when you can’t identify a muslim terrorist by his traditional beard, darker skin and other simple stereotypes, because now the terrorist can be a white anglo-saxon middle-income, suburban kid? Wow.. Now we’ll even have to adjust our prejudices, that’s just too much!

What else? Well.. Band Aid 2004 is happening and the lineup of the current incarnation holds the cream of the crop of pop stars. I really couldn’t give a flying frig about the stars or the fact that I really, really hate hearing another cover of the “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” track. But, I’m very glad that there is renewed attention to the people in need in this world and that will help me endure even Dido or Coldplay. Even more important: the Live Aid DVD box is on sale now and I’m guessing all or most of the money generated will also go to the Band Aid Trust, so buy the frigging thing. I remember that day like it was yesterday.. not really, coz twenty years on a lot of other things kinda happened, but I do know I was in front of the TV during the whole thing with my tape deck and VCR in recording pause, waiting for my favorite bands and artists to perform. Two things will always remain in my brain: Sting’s performance with Branford Marsalis (I’m guessing, “Roxanne“) and the video they showed with music from The Cars, “Drive“. Every fucking time I heard that song after seeing the video, I still get chills down my spine: the whole world saw what Live Aid was fighting for – the people in need, the pain and agony and heart and strength. So just buy the frigging thing, willya?

What else? Well.. I got bored again, so I googled this up for ya: Mescaline Experiences

This week’s album reviews:
Joss Stone – “Mind, Body And Soul“
The Streets – “A Grand Don’t Come For Free“

Check my album reviews here

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Written By: frenchy on November 12, 2004 No Comment

General Description
Artist/Band: Joss Stone
Album Title: Mind, Body and Soul
Year: 2004

This young lady has a voice.
 
How I Got Into This Music
Well.. Not really, I noticed the hype around this lass when the “Soul Sessions“ album and after hearing her voice I really had to agree with the compliments concerning hear vocal qualities. Now, her first real solo album has come out and I thought I’d give it a listen.

Tracks that got my attention:

Right To Be Wrong
Hmm.. Scary, imagine this voice with a layer of alcohol and cigarette experience: even better!

You Had Me
Current single: annoying the living hell out of me, also because of the overkill airplay 

Spoiled 
Nice song, nice vocals

Understand 
Again, great vocals
  

Conclusion
Joss Stone is a natural, an unbelievably talented vocalist that will keep amazing people with the fact that she’s an 17 year old, white girl from England. The problem? Well, for such a deep, warm and emotional voice, the whole album just seems to be lacking of just those things: there is nothing of what you’d want to hear that voice to bring to your ears, just a slickly produced collection of almost generic songs. The album’s crap, but her talent is something I will be monitoring for the coming years. 

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ (and a bit)

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Written By: frenchy on November 12, 2004 One Comment

General Description
Artist/Band: The Streets
Album Title: A Grand Don’t Come For Free
Year: 2004

Just a nice and interesting discovery.
 
How I Got Into This Music
Well.. A coupla months ago I saw the video for “Dry Your Eyes“ and like a lot of people, I got hooked on the incredible mix of classic moody blues combined with English slang rap. But what really turned my head around was when I even heard the song on the radio over in Curacao during my vacation last August. After that I kept telling meself to have a listen, but of course, I got distracted by Life In General ;o)
Then the second single “Blinded By The Lights“ came out and I knew it was time to get serious with The Streets aka Mike Skinner.
“Mike Skinner is still a major and original UK talent and, two albums in, genre freaks still won’t be able to decide where to file him. Which can only be a good thing.“BBC Music

Tracks that got my attention:

It Was Supposed To Be So Easy
Life where everything can go wrong. Takes getting used to the vocals, but the beat is incredible!

Could Well Be In
Funny and intelligent lyrics, great song 

Blinded By The Lights 
Great skill in lyrics: a night out with the lads can be a bit eventful and now we can take a peek into what’s going on in their heads

Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way 
Chorus is haunting me brain for days!
   
Get Out Of My House 
UK Garage at its best! Bloody great insight into relationships

Dry Your Eyes 
Incredible song. I’m enjoying the image of people buying the album because they loved this single (I called it the RHCP effect)

Conclusion
What can I say? The album is a soundtrack to a small story about a small soul in a small world: urban mediocrity and how to live with it. Which wouldn’t be that impressive if it wasn’t for the great lyrics and sometimes incredible sound production. What I like about the album is the fact that it’s fresh, a word sodomised by record execs and underground wannebees, but in this case it’s justified. Mike Skinner’s made an album that takes different musical styles and genres and combines that with a great narrative that appeals to most people even if they don’t like UK Garage or Slang Rap. 

Rating: ★★★★½

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Written By: frenchy on October 14, 2004 No Comment

This week Over here in Holland, we got ourselves a general strike hitting the public transportation systems. About a million people took a day off because they weren’t able to find alternative transportation. What’s the strike about? Well, the government and the unions are fighting about crucial changes to the whole pension system we have here. A very important issue, but also a very tricky one, because we’ll never be able to predict the effects of the changes for the next generation of geriatrics. The only really sad thing is that politicians and union leaders are defending their positions with very cheap arguments about caring about the people etc. But this fight’s gone wrong due to grown-ups acting like squabbling little kiddies, just begging for some whoopass.

What else? Well… So, final debate between Kerry and Bush was held and the end result seems to be a 3-0 whitewash win for Kerry. But did it really work to Kerry’s advantage? Dunno, but when people start getting paranoid about a bulge on the president’s back instead of, oh, lemme shoot for the stars here, the thousand plus American casualties and lordknows how many thousands of Iraqi corpses, I get a bit worried. Just des(s)erts?!

What else? Well.. There’s quite a ruckus about Eminem’s new video for the “Just Lose It” track. Michael Jackson’s allegedly being thrashed in more ways than one in the video. So the King of Pop asked media outlets to ban the video… Some have, some haven’t. I guess the Whacky One (note the restraint, please, note the restraint) needs all the diversion he can get so people’ll lose interest in his case. You can say and think what you want but Peter Pan never misinterpreted “playing with kids”.

What else? Well.. Yusuf Islam happened. The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens made headlines a little while ago due to his problems with US Customs. Now he’s really going for gold, Christmas gold, by releasing a Yuletide single with former Boyzone short stuff Ronan Keating. For the record, I don’t have any problem with my man Yusuf other than the fact that he supported the fatwah death sentence the religious leaders declared on Salman Rushdie a while ago for his book “The Satanic Verses“. I respect his beliefs up to the point where he agrees with things like that. Ronan Keating however.. Nah, too easy. Just browsing the Web and I’ve found a piece by Stevens denying he ever supported the fatwah. Read on.

What else? Well.. I got bored again, so I googled this up for ya: Turtle Trax

What else? Well.. Modern times aren’t necessarily better times. In Holland we’ve just received news of the first school that’ll be publishing their pupils results on the internet. This’ll enable parents to get a better and more actual view at their kid’s performance. I’m just thinking back at how many times I got away with stuff by managing the information flow between my parents and my school: fake parent notes, “disappearing“ letters from school for my parents etc. *Sigh*

This week’s album reviews:
None yet

Check my album reviews here

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Written By: frenchy on October 7, 2004 No Comment

This week I went to see little Mical, she’s so tiny! I must be getting sentimental =sniff=

What else? Well… Over in England, people are getting exited about football (again). First off, an American business wants to buy up quite a large share in Manchester United FC, Ltd. Corp. and that’s a  big no-no. How the hell are you gonna let the country that calls a national baseball title “The World Series” get involved with British football? How the hell can a football club gain so much financial power that it becomes a visible financial target instead of a frigging football club?
The Spanish coach, who should remain nameless as he is clueless, made a silly mistake. The coach told a player of the Spanish national team that he’s better than his fellow striker at Arsenal, Thierry Henry. Little detail: the coach emphasized this by “colouring” his words, which got headlines in the English tabloids, accusing the coach of being racist. Wow, what’s scary? The fact that the mistake was made or that a camera crew just happened to be there when the mistake was made?

What else? Well..  Janet Leigh passed away. Final shower curtain for a classic actress.

What else? Well.. Rumsfeld happened.. Silly rabbit. “No, our judgement wasn’t sound because of the wrong intelligence.” [insert media spin, shake for three hours] “No our intelligence wasn’t wrong and that’s why our judgement still remains sound”. One day later another American enquiry testified before Congress (or the House, dunno.. it’s not like it’s my prerogative to be factual) and reported that there still aren’t any WMD’s to be found.

What else? Well.. I got bored again, so I googled this up for ya: Fierljeppen

What else? Well.. Over in Holland we got the infotainment show coming up, letting the audience to vote for the Greatest Dutchman (person, if you wanna get all PC about it). The shows producers are still busy working on the shortlist, but during their research they discovered a very painful thing: Anne Frank isn’t Dutch, she didn’t receive Dutch citizenship when she came over from Germany as a refugee. Well, these things happened and still do, but what really made me wanna become a refugee and ask for human asylum, was the way the public and especially the politicians reacted. The politicians wanted to grant her citizenship posthumously, the sick hypocritical bastards! You should’ve heard the wankers make their comments in the media, any soundbite to get their profile.

This week’s album reviews:
Tom Waits – “Real Gone”
Paul Weller – “Studio 150”

Check my album reviews here

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