Blog Posts by David Marchese

  • Can Green Day Do It Again?

    For whatever reason, I have a distinct memory of a televised Green Day interview from almost eight years ago, when the band appeared on MuchMusic (a Canadian counterpart to MTV) to support the release of its best-of comp, International Superhits!. The brief Q&A probably stuck with me because of Billie Joe Armstrong's unflattering comparison, and subsequent demonstration, of Scott Stapp's vocal similarity to Cher. But more important, I also remember the Green Day frontman talking about how he was worried that releasing a greatest hits album might be a signal of his band's irrelevance. At the time, I was inclined to think Billie Joe should have gone with his gut.

    In the years following the megamillion-selling success of 1994's Dookie, the Oakland wiseacres appeared to be on the same path to diminished sales and irrelevance as contemporaries like the Offspring and Live. Then, in 2004, came American Idiot. I have a distinct memory about that too. A few weeks after the album dropped, I went

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  • The Worst Album Titles Of All Time

    Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King, the title of the forthcoming Dave Matthews Band album, is reportedly a tribute to the group's recently deceased saxophonist LeRoi Moore. It's also a one of the weirdest names for a record I've ever heard. But does it outdo the titular oddities below? Can you think of some stranger, goofier, just plain worse album titles? Share your feedback in the comments section.

    1. Metallica, Cunning Stunts: Okay, this is a concert video, but I'm including it anyway. Swap the first two letters of the words in the title and see what happens. Stay classy, Metallica.

    2. Joe Satriani, Professor Satchafunkilus And The Musterion Of Rock: I would like this title much more if there were proof that anyone has at any point in time actually called the guitar virtuoso "Professor Satchafunkilus."

    3. John Oates, Phunk Shui: Three things that haven't dated terribly well: Oates, feng shui, and using "ph" for "f."

    4. Limp Bizkit, Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored

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  • Parsing The CBS Final Four Theme Song

    Tonight, after either the Michigan State Spartans or North Carolina Tar Heels cut down the nets as national collegiate basketball champions, CBS will play a montage of the tournament's most memorable moments. As has been the case since 1987, that montage will be set to the song "One Shining Moment." And as has been the case since whatever year it was that I started watching the Final Four, I will enjoy the song in spite of myself.

    You know how some songs are timeless? "Moment," written by David Barrett, is not one of those songs. The cheap synth sounds, the nursery rhyme melody, the trite lyrics. Ugh. Even Luther Vandross's vocals (last year featured a version recorded by the late R&B singer) weren't enough to de-fromage the song. The soullessly inspirational number always reminds me of the kind of thing that would've played over the training scene in an against-the-odds '80s sports movie (something like the song that starts about four minutes into this clip.

    And those lyrics: "The

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  • The Eight Best Triple Albums

    Last Sunday came with a triple shot of Prince--his new albums Lotus Flow3r, Mplsound, and Elixer (credited to vocalist Bria Valente, but produced by Prince) went on sale exclusively at Target. Such fecundity is nothing new for Minneapolis's finest: In 1996 he released Emancipation, a triple album. 1998's Crystal Ball did that one better.

    But Prince is not the first artist interested in, shall we say, challenging the idea of quality over quantity. Some of rock and pop's biggest names have looked down their noses at the already flabby double-disc and opted for the monolithic triple. Below are my picks for the eight best. (In no particular order.)

    1. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass

    Unlike many of the other albums on this list, the quiet Beatle's first post-Fab Four effort is a tightly focused work of lush, spiritually themed folk and melodic rock--until you get to the end, when it devolves into a series of half-baked studio jams that almost, but not quite, sour the memory of what

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  • Remembering Nikki Sudden

    The English rocker, Nikki Sudden, died three years ago this Thursday. Unless you're one of a very small minority, that name likely doesn't mean anything to you. I won't be so presumptuous as to say it should. For a man who made his living as a musician--first in the late '70s with the noisy punk band the Swell Maps, then mostly under his own name--Sudden didn't write a ton of great songs. He was an adequate singer and a simple but effective guitarist. What he was, though, was someone who believed in the idea of a certain kind of rock 'n' roll. It's his devotion to that belief that deserves remembrance.

    It's somewhat ironic that Sudden's initial foray into the music was made in the wake of punk rock. Punk--lean, direct, dirty--was a direct rebuke to the style that Sudden later adopted. What was that style? Think fluttering scarves and grandstanding rhythm guitar, velvet jackets and shag haircuts, songs about bad boys and the girls who leave them. On albums like Texas, Treasure Island,

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  • Lizzy Go Bragh! Thin Lizzy’s Ten Best Songs

    It's St. Patrick's week, which means my favorite bar will be packed with irregulars, green beer will be spilled, and far too many drunken renditions of "Danny Boy" will fill the Guinness-scented air. The holiday is not one of my favorites.

    I could learn to love it, though. All I need is more Thin Lizzy. The Dublin band, and its leader, the late Phil Lynott, ranks high on my list of underappreciated rockers. Bono, the Hold Steady's Craig Finn, Mastodon, or Billy Corgan would say the same thing--they've all either covered Thin Lizzy or publicly praised the band, whose combination of hard rock bravado and streetwise soul never quite translated into superstardom during their late '70s heyday.

    If there are any pub owners reading this, below is a list of the ten best Thin Lizzy songs. I promise they'll inspire more revelry than the usual flat playlist of Irish drinking tunes.

    1. "The Boys Are Back In Town": The band's biggest hit is also its greatest pop confection, an irresistible mix of

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  • Why You Need To See Leonard Cohen

    I saw Leonard Cohen play at the Beacon theatre last Thursdaynight in New York.It was one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. But fear not--soon, you'llhave a chance to see him play too. The world's coolest septuagenarian Jewishchansonnier starts a tour April 19. Here's why you should buy a ticket:

    1. The Songs

    I'm a pretty big Cohen fan and even I was surprised at theamount of gems the dude kept pulling from his catalogue: "Bird On AWire," "Suzanne," "Hallelujah," "First We TakeManhattan," and on and on. Trust me, even if you don't know the songs byname, you'll recognize them when you hear them (perhaps from a famous coverversion--e.g., Jeff Buckley's haunting take on "Hallelujah"). Theonly problem was that since the concert was three hours long, and Cohen wasn'tmessing around with deep cuts, it was hard to find a good moment for a bathroombreak. But the music was worth the small amount of bladder discomfort.

    2. The Voice

    Despite saying in "Tower Of Song"that he was born with the

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  • No Go For The JoBros–The Jonas Brothers Should Stick With Cute

    When the Jonas Brothers' ALittle Bit Longer album came out last August, I gave it a few listens,found myself largely unimpressed, and went back to adulthood. Recently though,I was given a couple chances to reevaluate the stylishly coiffed siblings, asthey played with Stevie Wonder at the Grammy Awards and then performed twosongs on this past weekend's SaturdayNight Live. My opinion hasn't changed.

    The main problem isn't the music. Hit songs "Lovebug" and "ALittle Bit Longer" are pleasant enough doses of puppy-dog melodic pop. Thething that bugs me about the brothers--21-year-old Kevin, 19-year-old Joe, and16-year-old Nick--is that they seem so foolishly intent on positioning themselvesas a real band and not just Tiger Beat meat. Take the Grammyperformance. While they were playing their own "Burnin' Up," with Stevie Wonderhelping out on keyboards and the chorus hook, the band sounded fine. That songrequires little more than the right amount of pre-pubescent yelping in thevocal in order

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  • How To Stay Sane In The Morning

    If I'm outside my apartment, there's a good chance I'mlistening to music on my headphones. But whatmusic is a decision that requires serious thought. I've never been a fan ofshuffle. Rather than open myself up to the possibility of jarringMetallica-at-the-supermarket emotional juxtapositions, I'll try and programperfect musical mood matches. Case in point: I spent ten minutes last Sundaymorning scrolling through my iPod library before deciding that the Delfonics'1970 symphonic soul hit "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" offered the exactright combination of optimism and unobtrusively pretty sounds to accompany meon the way to the coffee shop for a chocolate croissant. I go through a similarprocess multiple times a day. I bet some of you do too. I hope some of you dotoo.

    Lately though, there's been a daily activity that's provenconsistently difficult to soundtrack. Maybe you can help. I need suggestionsfor music to listen to on my morning subway ride to work. Let's lay out thefacts:

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  • Springsteen Delivers A Solid Hit At The Super Bowl

    Bruce Springsteen is known for a lot of things, but brevityisn't one of them. Given his reputation for delivering marathon concerts ofwide emotional range, it was interesting to see the Boss try to fit his shtickinto the 12 or so minutes he was allotted during yesterday's Super Bowlhalftime show. Knowing that New Jersey's finest is a perfectionist and planner ofOCD-like levels, it's no surprise that he managed to put in an entertaining, ifnot transcendent, performance.

    But even the most devoted Springsteen fan had to questionopening with "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." The song, from 1975's Born To Run is a fan favorite and alongtime staple of Springsteen set lists, but not the kind of thing a casuallistener would recognize, and when the audience is a billion people, casuallisteners are going to make up the majority. It might have been pandering, buthow awesome would it have been if Springsteen busted out "Born In The U.S.A."?

    If "Freeze-Out" didn't work as an immediateattention-grabber,

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