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Reelin’ in the Years – 2009

Mandisa, finalist on American Idol.

Mandisa, finalist on American Idol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 2009 and I’m 47 years old. For those of you just joining my journey through the past, Reelin’ in the Years is an autobiography of sorts thru pop music. When I was a kid music was paramount. Its importance has always been there but my focus has shifted over the years. It’s not always easy to pick a favorite pop tune for a given year when almost none of it speaks to you.

I guess pop is about youth. And when you get a little older you have to branch out. Well, yes and no. These days I’m enjoying pop more than ever. So things have come full circle. But rarely do I feel the magic of the 70s and my AM radio.

In 2009 I’ve pretty much hit a brick wall with Top 40 pop. Lady Gaga didn’t grab me, except for maybe her sociological importance back then. And Taylor Swift hadn’t really hit my radar. No, I had to find something else.

Luckily I did. My girlfriend at the time, Ginger (not her real name), lived in a small city that had its own Christian radio station. She was quite well versed in Christian pop while I was a newbie. One day while visiting Ginger I walked down to the dollar store and bought a Christian pop CD – actually a double CD – for a mere dollar or two.

Turns out I really liked some of it. The songs were older Christian songs but I realized there was something there.

The Christian folk-rocker Bruce Cockburn once said that if the music is no good, the Christian message doesn’t get out. I guess Cockburn’s comment stuck with me and I’d just assumed that all Christian pop was bland crap (musically speaking).

But that’s not true. There is some good stuff. WOW Hits is a good place to start for anyone interested. The artist Toby Mac appears quite often on WOW Hits. And rightly so.

This tune is especially dear to me because it reminds me of a pawn shop down by St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto. Until recently, the pawn shop and church were in a downtrodden end of town (now undergoing gentrification).

The other reason I like this tune is the backup vocalists, Kirk Franklin and Mandisa. When Ginger and I broke up, a song by Mandisa helped me get thru some of the rough times.

So for 2009, my favorite tune is by Toby Mac (with Kirk Franklin and Mandisa). I dedicate this to all the beautiful souls down at St. Michael’s Cathedral who “don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose their soul.”

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Taylor Swift voices support for March For Our Lives in rare political statement (thefader.com)

 Elton John: I’m Still Standing – A GRAMMY Salute To Air On Tuesday, Apr. 10 On CBS (denver.cbslocal.com)

 K-Pop Stars Red Velvet Set To Perform In Pyongyang This Weekend (gpbnews.org)

 What Is METALLICA Teasing For Monday? (metalinjection.net)

 Red Velvet, other South Korean musicians leave for Pyongyang performance (rappler.com)

 Without a hit song every musician is a rookie- Oshine (vanguardngr.com)

 Author Marcus J. Moore Is Turning Kendrick Lamar’s Impact On Black America Into A Book (bossip.com)

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Reelin’ in the Years – 2007

It’s 2007 and I’m 45 years old. This year makes me smile because the Canadian TV comedy show The Kids in the Hall used to do a sketch where this groovy looking guy would fall into the camera and the headlines would read “He’s hip, he’s cool, he’s 45…”

I think the implication was that being 45 or more is sort of like being a loaf of stale bread or a bag of sour milk. And as wrong as that is, it’s a cultural bias that persists today.

In a word, ageism.

I probably was an ageist when I was younger. And I don’t blame younger people for looking at me now (55 yrs) as some kind of damaged goods past my shelf life.

Let’s be real. That’s how it often is. People say “age is only a number” but when it gets down to brass tacks their ugly ageism emerges.

Madonna once said on the topic, “So am I suppose to die..?” (or something like that).

That’s my sociological rant for today. To get back to the music, the prime focus of Reelin’ in the Years, I choose this tune for the best of 2007.

I dig T-Pain because he popularized a vocal effect called “auto-tune” that has become pretty mainstream in 2018. Basically, a software program corrects your pitch and can vary parameters (like speed and the musical scale you’re being shifted to) to get a robotic sounding twang.

Others did it before T-Pain. But he made it a staple. As a matter of fact, there now are auto-tune programs (and presets within programs) named after him.

You can hear the effect with various degrees of subtlety throughout the tune but it’s really obvious around the one minute mark.

I recall hearing another song with auto-tune in a dollar store in Peterborough ON sometime in the late 2000s to early 2010s. The effect was more popular and I realized it was becoming a thing. I found that interesting because auto-tune is about the interface of mankind and the machine, a place where I think we are collectively headed.

For those old skool critics of newer music who may think auto-tune is just a cheap gimmick, I urge them to try doing it themselves. As a bedroom producer, I can tell you that doing it well is an art and a science. You gotta be smart, tech-savvy and artistically gifted to pull it off. Yes, you can make your voice twang with a VST plugin. But to get it timed right, clean and effective, well, that’s another matter. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they are talking about.

Before my time some conservatives thought electric guitars were a cheap sellout or of the devil. Dissing electronic music without any kind of appreciation of what’s involved to my mind is not so different.

People get stuck in patterns… at any age.

T-Pain performing at Hot 97's Summer Jam 2007 ...

T-Pain performing at Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2007 in Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Believe it or not, T-Pain and his wife just gave us major relationship goals (mashable.com)

 T-Pain ft. Mr. Talkbox “May I,” MURS ft. Tech N9ne “Same Way” & More | Daily Visuals 2.15.18 (hiphopwired.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1993

Image Wikipedia

It’s 1993 and I’m 31 years old. Looking at the charts I almost gave up on posting a favorite song for this year, the music is so lackluster. There are a lot of okay songs from older acts on the way out and from promising younger artists not fully matured.

I don’t know if this is my favorite for ’93 but I remember liking it. I’ve searched for “Suffer” on YouTube over the past few years with no luck. Just found it now. Hopefully, it won’t be pulled too soon.

The song seems to be about seeing through and closing the door on manipulative spiritual figures who love playing head trips on vulnerable people for money, power, and self-aggrandizement. This could apply to bad apples in any religion or organization.

Watch out, seekers! Don’t forget what Annie Lennox said in 1983.

David Bowie also released a 2CD retrospective, “The Singles” in ’93.

Pretty much all the songs are good. I remember buying it downtown on Yonge Street (in TO) and thinking it was a nice deal. This was just before the internet took off so having all these Bowie tunes in one collection seemed an attractive option.

Image Wikipedia

I’m converting to Christianity in ’93 after dabbling in just about every spiritual path known to mankind. Soon I’m going to immerse myself in Gregorian chants and choral music, still keeping an eye on pop but putting it on the back burner.

’93 was the year I took down all my Hindu, Buddhist and New Age icons and put up Catholic images and symbols in their place. I’ve never really turned back. Although these days I’m not quite so iconoclastic.

I do not believe all paths are the same. But from my experience, they do seem to work together when all parties are sincere and respect proper boundaries.

Most of Earthpages.ca is dedicated to explaining my beliefs on spirituality so I won’t elaborate here.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Katherine Jenkins – she’s gone up an octave (slippedisc.com)

 Dressing David Bowie As ‘Ziggy Stardust’ (thecut.com)

 Elon Musk’s ‘Starman’ is our new space hero (mashable.com)

 Watch Japan’s ice skating team dance to Ryuichi Sakamoto (thefader.com)

 What reviewers are saying about Apple HomePod (bostonherald.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1962

Billboard Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1904

Billboard Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1904 – Wikipedia

Okay, it’s mid-winter in Canada and, frankly, I need a little diversion that’s just sheer fun. So I thought it would be a great idea to do a top song for each year I’ve been alive, starting at 1962, the year I was born.

After a quick look at Billboard for 1962, I decided I’d begin with two songs instead of just one. I may do that again, I may not. But since ’62 is the year I came into this world, I think it’s okay to start with a bang!

Both of these songs are familiar to me. I had older bros and sis’s. And I can still see their 45s (those are vinyl singles, for those who don’t know) in my mind’s eye. Also, they’re just good songs that have enjoyed a lot of airtime and cover versions through the years.

So here’s my beginnings… 1962. And two songs I know and like from that year.

Stay tuned for next time… 1963!

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Now Charlie Puth Has Candles (stereogum.com)

 Lil Uzi Vert says he’s finished a new project (thefader.com)


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When it’s so good, they think it’s fixed…

I’m fascinated by digital music making. Especially the production side. So when I listened to the first video posted in this article (above) , I thought it was fake. But then when she sings alone… well, you be the judge.

Could the whole thing have been faked/staged? Possibly. But how could she have lip sinked so well with no cues (beat, background music)?

A beautiful woman and voice.


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Dual – My old turntable… still works!

I’m revising an article about parallel universes, now more commonly called the multiverse. This ol’ turntable figures in my story. Should be out at earthpages.ca in a day or so.


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Water under the bridge

Had a sublime moment today in the local park (Serena Gundy). Just last summer I realized a secret entrance that I’d never known about. Also, I used to go away for summers when I was a kid. These days, I improvise.