Friday, June 29, 2007

iT Came Out Today

Today, Apple released its long-hyped iPhone; the latest gadget that's one part cell phone, one part Internet, and one part music library. The iDiot pictured above is one of the few thousands who were able to fork over $600 for the first-generation piece of electronics and also fork over hours of wasted time calling Apple tech support in hopes of debugging it. Many camped out this week at the flagship Apple store off of 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan awaiting the arrival of the sleek electronic carrot.

(Taken from ****- Some bullish Wall Street analysts have predicted sales could hit as high as 45 million units in two years.

“That’s nuts,” said Rob Enderle, an industry analyst with The Enderle Group. “Over-hyping this thing just puts it at risk of being seen as a failure.

“Apple will break (sales) records for a phone of this class,” he said, “but selling tens of millions of units so quickly is going to be tough. First-generation products always have problems that you don’t know about until the product ships.”

More likely, Enderle and other analysts said, Apple will grow iPhone sales by refining its models and improving the software features — much as it did with the iPod, which has fueled record profits for the company.****

In the end, the best thing to do is wait. Maybe by Christmas, Apple will iron out all the kinks with the phones and quite possibly a second generation model will be around the corner. Personally, I don't have any near-future plans to cop the iPhone. Maybe when they release the iPhone Nano for $249.99 and can allow you to hook up with a better carrier than AT&T.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top 20 Best Pop Hits Of The Last 20 Years

Exactly five months ago, The Top 20 Worst Pop Hits Of The Last 20 Years was published here at the Sky. Now, here is its counterpart.

#20 . House Of Pain - Jump Around - In 1992, we learned white boys can't jump, but they can jump around. Rappers Everlast and Danny Boy alo
ng with DJ Lethal were House Of Pain, an act that had a few critical elements : Irish pride, swagger, and well, they can fuck your shit up. Referencing pop culture from Sega to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jump Around can still amp up a party.

#19 . Sade - No Ordinary Love

The British R&B singer, Sade (pronounced Shar Day) always had a cool mystique to her, and No Ordinary Love captures it to the fullest. The smooth soulful and airy vocals, the otherworldly musical arrangements and total chill-out vibe made this one a definite nightcap track.

#18 . Aerosmith - Janie's Got A Gun - After being revived by Run
D.M.C. - 70s rockers Aerosmith broke serious ground with this song that created their new ballad template : guitars, synth and Steven Tyler's manic crooning vocals harmonized with Joe Perry. The subject matter; a troubled youth executing revenge on her tormentor set this one apart from their occasional (and most other rock groups) power ballads.

#17 . Jesus Jones - Right Here, Right Now - In 1991, the world experienced a paradigm shift. Communism fell in the former Soviet Union and Europe. The U.S. declared
war on Iraq and a U.K. dance pop band reflected on it. They weren't Christian rockers, don't be fooled by the name. The song was a statement about being excited and content in the most momentous of moments.

#16 . The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

To place this song so low in the list is difficult because Jack & Meg White play by their own rules and create great music. In terms of the song's pervasiveness, it was minor compared to the lot. The track's minimalist wailing guitar, the steady thump of a backbeat and Jack's passionate vocals sent a necessary rock n' roll ripple into the mainstream of 2003.

#15 . Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge - Anth
ony Kiedis of the R.H.C.P. penned this song as poetry before superproducer Rick Rubin told him it was beautiful and should be committed to music. A song about experiencing the bottom of a physical drug addiction and wanting to break free became the band's biggest hit to date.

#14. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy - When DJ DangerMouse and the soulful Cee-Lo teamed up to make a record, they wanted to chew pop music in all its hybrid glory and spit out something Andy Warhol would smile at. Who wouldn't smile or feel good when Cee-Lo sings a gospel-tinged, "Bless your souuuuuul"
The smooth frenetic groove with a touch of sadness owned the summer of 2006.

#13 . Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer

This larger-than-life megahit had it all; the crisp vocal stylings of one time Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, exuberant horns, a gospel choir and the climactic lyrics, "I kicked the habit / Shed my skin" It was a thrill park ride on record that owned the charts and won a ton of awards exactly twenty years back and you'll know why when you hear it.

#12 . Nirvana - Come As You Are - The murky sounds of the toned-down guitars make it seem to appear that the Seattle grunge figureheads are taking you into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The witty simplicity of the lyrics, "Take your time, hu
rry up / Choice is yours, don't be late" and the now haunting, "No I don't have a gun" are the top layer of this sleek sounding gloom tune that followed up that other one they did about deodorant.

#11 . Alanis Morrisette - You Oughta Know - Cana
da's Alanis Morrisette apparently wrote this angry, intelligent vengeful song for her ex-lover; also Canadian native Dave Couiler, famous for his role on the sitcom Full House. With quasi-explicit lyrics about what she offered in a movie theater, her honest feelings of being jilted brought something to the mainstream music landscape of 1995 that was missing.

# 10 . OutKast - Hey Ya! - Andre3000 in full faux-Prince mode had a whole new generation asking their parents what Polaroids were. The infectious driven electric rock and synth dance track was a runaway hit despite its unconventional double-digit time measures.

# 9 . Dr. Dre - Nuttin' But A G Thang

N.W.A. alum Dr. Dre paired up with Snoop Dogg (known as Snoop Doggy Dogg in 1993) and consequently rocked this party anthem that set-checked L.A. county with his trademark brand of gangsta funk that was easily imitated, but hardly duplicated. The general "we don't give a funk" attitude lent the track its edge and reminded everyone that the West coast is doing thangs.

# 8 . Pearl Jam - Jeremy - Pearl Jam can be credited as forewarning America about troubled teenagers with this bombastic, crooning angsty track
about an anti-social boy named Jeremy. Recess ladies everywhere now line their bras with Teflon.

# 7 . Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Loca - Ex-Menudo member Ricky Martin ignited the Latin music explosion in 1999 with this C-4 dancefloor hit. The lyrics are the weakest element but that is easily eclipsed by the swingin' band's backing guitars, horns and drums building into a juggernaut rhythm.

# 6 . MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This - Rocking the dropped crotch oversized jammie pants, Stanley Kirk Burell (Hammer) hyperdanced and rapped his
way into multiplatinum record sales. He did it with the help of his crew from Oakland, California and a Rick James sample. This vibrant and ubiquitous hit had some negative effects too. Music critics thought of categorizing everything rap as pop music and Rick James received enough new royalties to burn a new hole in his nose.

# 5 . Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle - GNR frontman Axl Rose entices the listener with the opening lyrics, "Welcome to the jungle / We got fun n'
Fun n' games are good, Axl, tell us more about this jungle . . . "If you got the money, honey / We got your disease"
Shit! Hold up - didn't know you were inviting us to the seedy underworld of L.A. nightlife. This monster of a thrash rock track ripped into the mainstream and kicked every manufactured heavy metal hair band's collective asses from California to New Jersey.

#4 . Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

A heartbreaking tale of the child of an alcoholic father desperate and determined to experience a better life became a pop sensation in 1988. It also brought new songwriter/musician Tracy Chapman a grip of Grammy Awards.

# 3 . Eminem - Stan - The controversial Caucasian rapper Eminem (ne Marshall Mathers) wrote an artful track about an obsessed fan for his sophomore album. Using a verse from British songbird Dido's "Thank You" and the sounds of incessant scribbling, he told an intense emotional story through two fictitious fan letters and his would-be response
note. Ten years from now, this will be the one Eminem track best regarded.

# 2 . U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - A soulful spiritual song by the uber-band who had their own iPod, packed with one of their albums on the market. But this track off their worldwide commercial breakthrough, The Joshua Tree, spoke of a journey to find God (in the Christian sense) The good thing about it was you didn't have to be of the faith to appreciate it.
It was lead singer Bono's powerful voice that gave the track everl
asting life.

# 1 . Nine Inch Nails - Closer

He was noted as one of the 25 most influential musicians of the 20th century. For the second single off the Nine Inch Nails breakthrough masterpiece, The Downward Spiral, NIN mastermind Trent Reznor and Interscope Records selected 'Closer'
With the provocative and carnal refrain, " I want to fuck you like an animal, I want to feel you from the inside," the track, complete with another radio-friendly version soared into ubiquity. It was post-industrial techno with Reznor's signature piano and noise-rock programming. The song broadened Reznor's audience by mass proportions and catapulted him into arena-rock performances. That's quite a feat for a song that suggests rough sex could bring you closer to God.

That's a wrap. If you didn't see the flipside to this list - click here:
The Top 20 Worst Pop Hits of The Last 20 Years
Of course some of the best pop hits didn't make the cut. Here are the honorable mentions:

(Sting - If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock - It Takes 2, Faith No More - Epic, Alicia Keys - Fallin' and Beastie Boys - Sabotage)

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 18, 2007

20 Whatever

Marty McFly: Where are we? When are we?
Doc: We're descending towards Hill Valley, California, at 4:29 pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, Twenty Fifteen.
Marty McFly: Two Thousand And Fifteen? You mean we're in the future?
Jennifer: Future? Marty, what do you mean? How can we be in the future?
Marty McFly: Uh Jennifer, I don't know how to tell you this, but... you're in a time machine.
Jennifer: And this is the year 'Two Thousand And Fifteen'?
Doc: October 21st, Two Thousand And Fifteen to be precise.

Above is an excerpt of dialogue from the motion picture, Back To The Future Part II.
You can note that the Doc character first presents the information about that future year as Twenty Fifteen, until the Marty and Jennifer characters say it as Two Thousand And Fifteen.

I remember a very rainy day back in 1997. It was a violent downpour of a storm. The type of rain that feels like it can penetrate through you. A few friends were over my place and I pondered what will we call the next decade? "This is the Nineties and the decades past were the Eighties and Seventies and so forth. Will we call it the Two Thousands, The Zeroes...?"
Someone asked why I would consider The Zeroes and I said I was thinking of place value.
Even now in 2007 there hasn't been any defined term for the decade and more importantly a smooth way of saying each year. If you ask any English speaking person what year it is, who doesn't wear tin foil and talk to their self without a BlueTooth headset, they'll tell you it's Two Thousand Seven or Two Thousand And Seven. No one will tell you it's Twenty Seven or Twenty and Seven.
Perhaps we do this from what we have heard long before the 21st century. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick's imagined 2001 : A Space Odyssey was pronounced Two Thousand and One. There was a segment on Late Night With Conan O'Brien called "In The Year Two Thousand." The huge Y2K scare in the late Nineties had many concerned if all the computers in the world could adjust to the year Two Thousand.
So will the Two Thousand prefix remain the standard? Some linguists disagree.
They believe that most of the time how we say things comes from rhythm and not logic.
Some linguists believe that we will affix the Twenty sometime in the year 2011. Simply because it is easier to say Twenty Eleven than Two Thousand Eleven. And why not in 2010? Twenty Ten or Two Thousand And Ten, which flows better?

Sunday, June 03, 2007


There are many things to be grateful for.
We have a lush temperate rainforest in front of our backyard space. It obscures our view of the neighbor's homes from across the way and of course provides a substantial amount of oxygen and shade. We are 19 months away from a regime change. This is a good thing and a bad thing depending on what other nation is behind the scope of the Neo-Cons.
Paris Hilton will be incarcerated in a few days for her drunken driving road head incident. Maybe I'm mixing up her offenses.
Finally, the Rock The Bells festival kicks off next month in NYC with a line-up of hip-hop legends and greats no other hip-hop festival this year can produce. Headliners are the newly reformed Rage Against The Machine and Staten Island's first and finest crew, Wu-Tang Clan and a whole mess of others. Just watch this little promo video they made: