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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 – 2002

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 2002 and I’m 40 years old. I’m adjusting to Toronto life nicely, after spending almost a decade away.

The city has changed a lot since I was a kid. Not only bigger but a much better cultural and religious mix. Toronto is emerging as a multicultural powerhouse. Traffic is getting more congested, not just at rush hour but earlier and earlier in the day.

One of my favorite pastimes is to browse Dollarama, a Canadian biz success story for the new millennium. As prices soar everywhere else, more and more people are shopping at the dollar store and having a great time doing so. Back in those days, everything was just one dollar. And it was amazing what you could find.

I remember shopping at one of the earliest Dollaramas and hearing this song come over the store speakers. It was perfect. Looking around me, it seemed the shop was full of people from just about every nation and religion on Earth. I was full of goodwill and love for all mankind. A great time to be Canadian. A great song.

Carlos Santana has been around for many years. Our family owned his classic vinyl albums from the late 60s and 70s. He’s always had a tasty playing style but in this tune, the licks are not just tasty but happy.

I think he is one of the great guitarists. Not because he plays a million notes a minute but because he chooses his notes so carefully. And his instrument has such a delicious tone.

English: Carlos Santana Live in Hamburg, Novem...

Carlos Santana Live in Hamburg, November 1973 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelle Branch – Wikipedia

In this song, I’d say the vocal performance and lead guitar are about 50/50 in importance. Just like the game of love should be.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Daughtry brings cadre of hits to Palace Theatre (triblive.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 2000

It’s 2000 and I’m 38 years old. I remember sitting in the basement playing around with some fonts on our Windows 98 PC, trying to make a catchy banner for Earthpages for the year 2000.

Everything felt pretty new and 2001 was just around the corner—a special year for me because my favorite movie was 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I saw as a kid.

Chuck Berry releases an Anthology in 2000 and since he’s one of the originators of Rock and Roll, I think it appropriate to list one of his best tunes (there are many) for the year 2000.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Fats Domino: The quiet rock ‘n’ roll rebel who defied US segregation (scroll.in)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1997

OK Computer released by Radiohead in 1997. I like the album/band name but the music never grabbed me – Image via discogs.com

It’s 1997 and I’m 35 years old. U2 releases Pop which for me was a waste of money. One could actually discern the beginning of U2’s slide with Zooropa (1993), Achtung Baby (1991) being a tough act to follow.

Meantime David Bowie releases a strong album, Earthling. I almost chose the song “Little Wonder” from that CD as my fav for ’97 but it doesn’t resonate so much now. I mean, this was 21 years ago and people change.

’97 was the year I completed my doctorate. Hardly a light year. I remember standing in the hall awaiting my examiners’ response after being grilled on my thesis.

Also a TA that year, one of my undergraduate students showed up to cheer me on. He was a bit unconventional and, thinking it would help, started to massage my back while I was standing in the hall. It just made me tenser. I had bought a new suit for the occasion and was afraid he would wreck it while working on my back muscles…

Such is life. I guess I politely asked him to stop. I dunno. Can’t remember exactly.

For Christmas that year I got a greatest hits CD containing the single “Walkin’ On The Sun.”

I like this song’s retro style. 1950s or early 60s, for sure. The lead singer reminds me a bit of Chubby Checker or Bill Haley.

Most of the other pop from ’97 doesn’t age very well. This song harkens back to a classic time of surfboards and beach parties, so still works today. Sort of like that old song “I’m Your Venus” which has been reworked at least twice, I think, for ladies’ razor commercials!

And their kids were hippie chicks or hypocrites
Because fashion is smashin’ the true meaning of it

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

The Number Ones: Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” (stereogum.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1996

Liam Gallagher of Oasis performing at a concer...

Liam Gallagher of Oasis performing at a concert in San Diego, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 1996 and I’m 34 years old. ’96 is an awful year for music. At least for me. There’s a whole bunch of IMO second rate bands pumping out lousy rock that the kids of that era seem to really love.

These bands didn’t grab my attention. So was I just becoming an old fart, out of touch with the scene or could I simply discern that the music was crap?

Well, the success of these bands seemed short lived and today they’re mostly forgotten. So I tend to go with the “just crap” hypothesis.

The Beatles (sort of) released the Lennon post-mortem reconstruction of “Free as a Bird.” I remember hearing that and feeling some nostalgia but also that it wasn’t quite right. Proof positive that Elton John and Bernie Taupin were wise to say:

And you can’t go back and if you try it fails ~ The Captain and the Kid

No Doubt released Tragic Kingdom which I enjoyed at the time but not so much today. And Oasis had a hit with “Wonderwall”—another one I liked then but not so much now. Listening to that tune last night I was amazed at how Liam Gallagher’s vocals ingloriously drift off-key when he holds a note.

Image via musicdirect.com – Fair Use / Fair Dealing rationale

Yes, I understand that “detune” is cool in EDM but was he doing that on purpose or is he just a crummy singer? I guess a hit is a hit. So he must have known what he was doing. And as I say, I liked it when I was younger.

I don’t remember too much from my personal life for ’96. Probably just working my butt off on the Ph.D., a few friendly and romantic dates here and there, and taking long walks, checking out Ottawa mostly on foot.

I do remember talking to a lot of street people and watching their natural progression from say, just losing their apartment to becoming homeless babes in the urban woods.

I learned a lot from talking with those street people—musicians, drifters, and drinkers, alike.

It was sad and I sometimes tried to help. But after getting scammed by one operator I started giving less and less, with a few exceptions. I guess what I learned most from my long interactive walks is that street people are individuals just like anyone else. No stereotypes really apply to any of them.

The shield from the Coat of arms of Canada. Th...

The shield from the Coat of arms of Canada. The shield was created by a Royal Warrant in 1921, thus out of Canadian Copyright. http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/arm1-eng.cfm (Wikipedia)

Anyhow, my fav song for ’96 wasn’t an obvious choice. I really only recall the hook when Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip sings “You are ahead by a century…”

Gord Downie is a hero in Canada. A very brave guy. With terminal brain cancer, he kept performing and advocating for Canada’s First Nations communities, trying to shed some light on one of Canada’s dirty little secrets.

Personally, I think there are more dirty little secrets in Canada. But only time can bring those to light.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. But I look at it as a physician would look upon a desperately sick nation. No cure without first identifying the disease.

So with that said, hats off to Gord Downie, a great Canadian in line with other heroes like Terry Fox and all those who sacrificed their lives or health in the line of military duty, fighting to ensure our country remains “The True North Strong and Free.”

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Liam Gallagher On Noel’s Wife: “She’s The Reason Oasis Is No Longer” (stereogum.com)

 North Korean Figure Skaters Make Olympic Debut, To Cheers (gpbnews.org)

 Music icon Quincy Jones says Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen can play guitar ‘just like’ Jimi Hendrix (businessinsider.com)


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Christmas Without You

This song has a melody but I won’t have enuf time to get that together by Xmas so I’ll just post an instrumental and let my guitar gently weep.

Dedicated to all those who might be alone or missing someone over the holidays… and to all those 70s pop stars who made FM radio a unique moment in musical history…


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Moody Blues’ Melancholy Man (cover) – notes…

Just listened to the preview of my cover of the Moody Blues’ “Melancholy Man.” Since posting that I’ve been pouring hours and hours into it… added a BIG DANCE CLAP sound and lots of whooshes and pops. It’s really coming along nicely. About 75% done. The more I get into sound production the more I see that it really is WORK. Wow… I love it but its tiring. Part of the trouble is my relative newness to it. Whenever I want to do something new I have to look it up or dialogue on the blog for my recording software. Again, it’s fun. But every little change takes hours! Will probably be doing more tonight if the creative impulse hits me.

One thing I like about this song is that it’s not just a sad song. There’s all sorts of apocalyptic and revelatory stuff and big rays of hope. As the lyrics go

A beam of light will fill your head
And you’ll remember what’s been said
By all the good men this world’s ever known…
(and) we’re going to keep growing… wait and see.

Meanwhile, new songs are coming to mind, and how I might arrange them… must be a sign that I’m approaching the end of this one. 🙂