By my estimations, I've been doing You Asked For It for over a year now -- just about 15 months. In that time, I have come across some really fresh, interesting new music from local, unsigned bands. Those albums have shown me that there is a very solid core of musicians in and around Phoenix/Tempe that just might have what it takes to move on to the next level of their careers. For some that simply means going on an extended tour of the west coast, for others that might mean simply getting signed to a label. Whatever the case may be, I have heard a lot of music that has given me lots of hope for the local music scene.
10. Ringo Jones Gang -- "Hopefully No Ones Gonna Get Killed"
The song on this list has a grammatical error. Coincidence? Hardly. Unfortunately for Ringo Jones Gang, everyone still hasn't been killed
My original thoughts: I listened to the fourth song on the album without knowing its name due to the CD's lack of an entry on Gracenote, so when I came to find out the song was actually named "Hopefully No Ones [sic] Gonna Get Killed" after hearing that line over and over in the song, I simply gave up. I won't harp on the song's grammatical error, but the song is plenty repetitive and pretty much a throwaway song. The name Ringo Jones is mentioned throughout the entirety of the song. Did I mention it is actually called "Hopefully No Ones Gonna Get Killed?" After listening to the song, I hoped everyone was gonna get killed. They weren't.
9. Sneed Leed -- "Straight Funk"
I still don't know what the hell this is. I'm just sad that Sneed Leed didn't include his song "Stay Out Them Bushes" on the album he submitted.
My original thoughts: "Straight Funk" might not win any awards for being amongst the most clever of song titles -- hell, it won't win any other awards, either. The song is confusingly bad, aided in its search for ineptitude with a bizarre, chipmunk-esque vocal sample delcaring, "Mommy, I wish I could be like Charles Sneed." I simply cannot describe to you how truly bizarre and just plain awful this song is in writing, yet I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy to have to sit and listen to it.
8. The Earps -- "One Girl"
Lord knows I love a good ol' countrified rock song about domestic abuse. It's funny to look at now, but when I first heard the song, it was just disturbingly off-putting.
My original thoughts: "One Girl" features some of the band's most inspired lyrics, "Well one girl was a doormat / And one girl had her gripes / One girl now has two black eyes / I had to tell her twice." Take that, women! Not ones to be outdone, the band infuses this domestic dispute celebratin' ditty with another doozy of a line, "One girl wore them high heels / And one girl wore a blouse / One girl and her lawyers / Kicked me out of my own house." Yeah, no shit.
7. 36 Cents And A Dream -- "My Muse"
The somewhat rhetorical question that was at the root of this song's chorus was far too easy to poke fun at. That poor muse...
My original thoughts: "My Muse," by a landslide. Lead singer Heli Lanz constantly asks "Why don't you stay my muse?" throughout the song, teetering on the brink of full-blown annoyance. If being 36 Cents And A Dream's muse leads to garbage like this, then I think she's going to find someone else to inspire.
6. RoQ'y TyRaid -- "Vanguard"
In which Mr. TyRaid calls Obama "a piece of shit" and implores him to "suck a dick."
My original thoughts: The aforementioned "Vanguard" has some rather interesting lyrical content, to say the least. This country was founded on basic rights, one of those being freedom of speech. I'm not going to criticize Raiford's choice to voice his opinions in his lyrics, but I will say that the dude needs to pick his battles. When Raiford raps, "Tangent! / I think Obama's a piece of shit / Take your health care plan and shove it up your ass and eat a dick" absolutely nothing happens -- although it's nice that he warns his listeners about the upcoming political diatribe. If anything, the lyric probably pisses off listeners and makes them wonder why he would bury such a defiant sentiment in the middle of one of his songs like that. He can't perform that lyric live and expect the crowd to get behind him in any way. It's far too decisive for something like local Arizona hip-hop, to be quite honest. Again, I'm all about free speech, but you have to pick your battles.
5. Comfort For Change -- "Lips That Cut"
If the cornball title didn't give it away, this song is pretty rough. The subsequent comments on this particular post -- many from members of the band -- eased my initial trepidation about shitting all over the band's music.
My original thoughts: "Lips That Cut" has a title that condemns the song right away, but don't let the name take credit for the song's overall crappiness. The song sounds like the hordes of other pop-punk, emo garbage that flooded the airwaves in the early 2000s. It wasn't a whole lot of fun to have to deal with that crap then, and it boggles my mind as to how bands can still record albums full of this genre in 2010. Sure, emo-riffic pop-punk is fun to play and all, and your fan base will love you for articulating what it's like to be a 14-year-old struggling with an identity crisis because their stepdad is a total dickhead, but there's got to be some middle ground somewhere. Music evolves over time -- it doesn't just feed off of whatever genre was the most popular 10 years ago.
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4. Noxious of AZ -- "Ponzi"
This song still boggles my mind to this day. This guy actually decided it would be a worthwhile idea to write an entire rap song about Ponzi schemes. As well, Noxious manages to condemn his own song within the first five seconds.
My original thoughts: But I digress. "Ponzi" has to be the worst song on the album. It joins the dubious ranks of "Post-Boom Babies" and "Coffee Eyes" as being a YAFI song with some of the worst subject matter ever imaginable. The song starts off with a message from Noxious to his listeners, "There seems to be an overwhelming need to cover a topic that may not be considered the most riveting of all." First of all, no there doesn't. Secondly, don't damn your own song within the first five seconds. Telling everyone you're about to rap about something boring is probably not the best way to get things going. Yet, there it goes -- "Ponzi" is 5 minutes of Noxious rapping about pyramid schemes.
3. Moovayla -- "She Will Bleed"
This band is the reason I deleted my Myspace account, aside from Myspace itself being ridiculously outdated. Sorry, you guys write and perform tired, shitty pop punk. Taking a picture of me from my unfortunately public Myspace account and putting it on your Facebook page like that was a total dick move. Don't think I didn't see that bullshit.
My original thoughts: That being said, "She Will Bleed" takes the dubious distinction here. There's nothing quite like an overtly-threatening, supremely misogynistic ditty about "making the streets run red" and warning that "daddy bought a brand new gun." We know you're heartbroken, but that is the lamest, most tritely-emo way of writing some bullshit revenge song towards some girl that dumped your ass. I'm sure the guys in the band think "She Will Bleed" has some substance to it, at least I hope so. I honestly wish this song was about a girl getting her period. Then it would have at least been remotely interesting.
2. Blaine Long -- "Coffee Eyes"
This particular YAFI post has received, by far, the most comments of any post I wrote. They are all because I didn't like a song about a dead dog. Yell at me, flame me, belittle me all you want -- it's still creepy and kind of a downer to hear a song about some guy's dead dog.
My original thoughts: "Coffee Eyes" is a befuddling little song with an equally odd chorus, "I've always been told there'll be dogs in heaven / Yeah / I've always been told I'll see my dog again." Now, I love my dog as much as the next person loves theirs, but if I were to write a song, I wouldn't necessarily make it about my dead dog. Maybe I'm too dense and I am missing the metaphor with this song, but it sounds, to me, like a song about Long's beloved -- yet dead -- dog. Oh, I guess he liked to refer to his dog as "Coffee Eyes," so that's where that name comes from.
1. Pride of the Garage -- "Post Boom Babies"
This whole album -- "Post Boom Babies," particularly -- still haunts me to this day. I have had to take a break from listening to a YAFI album once in my tenure, and it just so happened to be while listening to Pride of the Garage's Young Man's Game. The subject matter of certain songs on this album is frighteningly bad, yet a song about the generation that followed Baby Boomers is -- by far -- the worst song I have heard in my 15 months of doing YAFI reviews.
My original thoughts: But he doesn't stop there, no. Miles chose to write a song about the generation that followed Baby Boomers, "Post Boom Babies." If I could have organized a poll on what would be the most uninteresting, blatantly boring subject matter for a song, I don't think "the generation following Baby Boomers" would have made the list because no one would have been that willfully dumb and unknowingly cynical to think that writing a song about people born in 1965 would be an affable choice. Such is the masterful logic of Dan Miles.