Guess Who Stayed Home While His Wife Went to Go See New Kids on the Block: at Barclays Center, 6/16/13

on Jun 18, 2013
I may not be a father, but I certainly wasn't the only husband in the greater New York City area left at home on Father's Day while their wife snuck out to see The Package tour, the 90's boy band event of the year at Brooklyn's preeminent rusty bird's nest, the Barclays Center.

When I was a fourth grader just tryna get by at the height of the Hangin' Tough era, seeing the overpowering effect it had on the bedroom walls of the few girls I vaguely associated with at the time, I gave no thought to the quintet's temporality one way or the other. As perception of time goes at that age, it seemed fair to assume that they might be around for a long, long while. Given another year, of course, it appeared the opposite was certain. Now, it looks like my first impression might have been closer to the truth, not counting what we'll refer to as their "wilderness years" of 1995 - 2007, during which one can safely assume they were all living off the land together in the Massachusetts wilderness. If such a place exists(?).

There we were, on the Bolt bus coming back from Philadelphia on Sunday morning, when my wife, J, got a text from her friend, A. A had won tickets to the NKOTB/98 Degrees/Boyz II Men concert, and needed a cohort to brave the spectacle with. J was reluctant at first, but, after some "Are you kidding? Don't let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness crazy badness like this pass you by!" goading on my part, she was persuaded. We checked the internet and found a somewhat troubling abundance of $5 tickets for the concert. We guessed that not just her friend had won tickets, but also everyone who entered the contest. (Also, just to note, there's no real reason why I'm half-assedly protecting J and A's anonymity here other than trying to keep them from becoming internet-search-affiliated with 90's boy bands.)

Once J and A finally made it to the arena, J's encroaching fear of sad old men singing to a sad sparse audience was quickly squashed by what she later described as the "frenetic energy" pulsing through the very crowded stands. As J's photo reports from the front began to trickle in, the captions went from distanced observations like "crowd is 99% women, some preggers" (leaving me shocked that a full 1% of the crowd could be comprised of men) to, eventually, what I had been expecting all along at some point: "OK, I'm glad you made me go." Really though, my powers of persuasion are nothing compared to that of NKOTB's hits like "You Got It (the Right Stuff)," which are, apparently, now and forever.

Also, as mentioned, 98 Degrees performed. They happened way too late in the 90's for me to actually know any of their songs, but that's them on the left with their custom-built blue-light-special mic stands. Boyz II Men were, unfortunately, too punctual, and J missed them. This was a sincere disappointment. Boyz II Men were the bee's knees in the way-back-when, and remain the top selling R&B group of all time. I'm pretty sure they still get a commission off all bear skin rug and Duraflame log sales in the contiguous United States. Poignantly, while in Philadelphia earlier that weekend, I enjoyed my first official Philly cheesesteak.

We'll Take Any Excuse to Play "(I Wanna Be) Touchdown Jesus"

on Jun 11, 2013
So, yeah, how about the big Tim Tebow news, amiright? No matter how you feel his signing does or doesn't affect the Patriots' douche-factor, one thing seems clear: the NFL loves messing with this dude. Granted, the totes-Catholic Boston area (why do you think they named it MASSachusetts?) has gotta be more churchy than the den of iniquity that is the New York metropolitan area, but this new chapter in Tebow's ongoing saga in the secular Northeast only gives further support to any notion that these are his "wandering in the wilderness" years. (Yes, we know we're inconsistently mixing all sorts of Bible-y stuff here). Maybe the whole thing is intentional missionary work, but it feels like an intentional punishment that the poor man can't get transfered somwhere below the Mason-Dixon line.

Anywho, this ordeal reminded us of a beloved old Giant Steps-era b-side by The Boo Radleys. Unfortunately, YouTube came up empty handed, so the best we could do was find it on Grooveshark. Enjoy!:

Top 11 Songs with "Wedding" in the Title That Should Never be Played at a Wedding

on Jun 3, 2013

Start practicing your Funky Chicken and speak now or forever hold your peace, because wedding season is here to yank tears of happiness out of your eyes and devour your weekend plans. In fact, we love weddings so much that our very own Kyle decided to get one himself last weekend! He's the one on the left, with the antlers:
(Those two deer made it through fine, but the delicious cake they were perched on did not survive the night.)

Weddings have been a rich source of inspiration for songwriters as long as there have been both weddings and songs, which we're pretty sure is a long time. However, one must be careful when compiling their playlist for the reception, because a song about a wedding is not necessarily a "wedding song." If you have been assigned DJ duty this year and are currently shopping around, buyer beware: listen closely to those lyrics before you download...

11:  Billy Idol  -  "White Wedding"

Let's just get this one out of the way. Yes, Billy Idol's greatest hit is surely played at many weddings, because some folks can't leave a bad joke alone.

10:  The Swords Project  -  "Shannon's Wedding Song"

Solid live performance found here:
(Fun fact: we were at the show this video was taken at, because we're not very young.) Disqualifying lyric: There are no lyrics, and it's actually a beautiful song, but it is also a long GYBE-gone-delicate instrumental, one that will probably not go down well when your relatives want to get sloppy on the dance floor.

9:  The Wrens  -  "I Won't Come to Your Wedding"

Not that Wrens, but a 1950's doo-wop group also called the Wrens. Seriously though, that would also be a perfect title for a song by the other Wrens.
Disqualifying lyric: See title.

8:  Outkast  -  "Dracula's Wedding"

Disqualifying lyric: "...but I'm terrified of you," repeated ad nauseum.

7:  Kate Bush  -  "The Wedding List"

Delightful live performance found here:
Disqualifying lyric: "All of the headlines said "Passion Crime: Newlywed's Groom Shot Dead" should give you an idea of what's on Ms. Bush's to-do list.

6:  Radiohead  -  "A Punchup at a Wedding"

Disqualifying lyric: Take your pick! This song is essentially "I Gotta Feeling" played backwards;  aimed at ironic wedding receptions instead of Bar Mitzvahs.

5:  Mark Lanegan  -  "Wedding Dress"

Disqualifying lyric: The most disqualifying aspect of this one is possibly Mark Lanegan's inimitable voice, because typically you don't want to play songs with "haunting" vocals on joyous occasions...but a line like "The end could be soon, we'd better rent a room" comes to mind.

4:  The Wombats  -  "My First Wedding"

Disqualifying lyric: "She's my heartless bitch that I just can't seem to get enough of" is one of many.

3:  Smog  -  "Your Wedding"

Album version found here:
Disqualifying lyric: There are basically two lines in the whole song, but it is Smog, so both of them.

2:  Guided by Voices  -  "Big Boring Wedding"

Disqualifying lyric: As to be expected, the lyrics for this one are a bit random/esoteric, but there are enough darts like "It's hard to imagine that you just wanna leave," that you shouldn't take the risk. And don't play "Game of Pricks" either, no matter how much you love it!

1:  Damien Jurado  -  "Wedding Cake"

Disqualifying lyric: Well, the chorus is "It was clearly never meant to be," but the whole thing is a domestic tragedy set to an upbeat strummy backdrop, and would surely bring anyone's big day to an awkward, upsetting halt. Nice tune, though.

And one more picture of Billy Idol, for symmetry...