Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Songs of a Black Violation - Celebrating Depeche Mode History

Depeche Mode. They are one of the most influential, moving, and soulful, bands in the world. In the span of just 5 days, 3 pivotal Depeche Mode albums celebrated big birthdays.

Songs of Faith and Devotion became old enough to vote.

Violator hit the legal drinking age.

Black Celebration can now rent a car.

While the legions of devoted fans have their own "favorite" album, or top 5 list, the three albums listed above are the ones that top, or nearly top most of those lists. They are defining moments in Depeche Mode history. They each turn the page in sound. They are classics that have held, and will continue to hold, their own throughout the halls of music.


For me, these three albums will each hold a different place in my heart.

I was 14 when Black Celebration came out 25 years ago. To be honest, I don't remember what my first thought was. I do know that it quickly became an important album in my life. By 16, "But Not Tonight" was the song that, all these years later, would be my song - my go to song when I was down, my feel good song, my favorite song. I can't think of one note of one song that I don't like on this album. It was my #1 for many years and still ranks in my top 5.

21 years and counting, Violator is a classic Depeche Mode album, and another one of my favorites. Sweetest Perfection, one of the song titles on this album, is the perfect way to describe Violator in my eyes. I was working in a small record store when this album came out and I played it, and played it, and played it - our regular customers had to be tired of it, I'm sure. But I didn't care. I couldn't get enough of it then and I still can't get enough of it now.

I have a long, mixed emotion history with SOFAD - to long to explain here. But I will say, 18 years on, I appreciate this album much more now than I did when it came out. And it took a while to get here. There are songs that have always moved me - "Judas" and "One Caress" being two of them. Even when I didn't think I could listen to other songs on this album, those two were always with me.

HAPPY 18TH, 21ST, and 25TH BIRTHDAYS SOFAD, VIOLATOR, & BC! You are loved.


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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kenna - A Man, A Musician, A Mission

Music. For some it's just background noise, something to have on while cleaning the house or driving to work. But for others, including myself, it's a way of life. It speaks to us in ways that are hard to explain to those who aren't like us. We hear it differently. We feel it differently. And it moves us differently.

I do not make music. My passion and feelings for it come simply from a lifelong love of lyrics, beats, rhythms, vocals, and emotions. I can only imagine how much more amplified those feelings are for the ones who make music, not only their life, but their career. This is about one of them.

It's no secret how much I love Kenna. In 2003 he hit my world with a force of nature called 'New Sacred Cow'. In 2007 he filled my senses again with 'Make Sure They See My Face'. Since that time he started Summit On The Summit, climed Mt. Kilimanjaro with others & SOTS for the global clean water crisis, and recorded one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard called "Turn" (which can be bought on iTunes). He's also been working on bringing us 'Songs For Flight' - an album nearly 4 years in the making.

In the making of 'Songs For Flight' came the EP Land 2 Air Chronicles: Chaos & The Darkness, the first of 3 EP's, and the song, "Chains." After a less than pleasant "review" from Pitchfork, came news of a musical tragedy - all of the hard work, time, money, and energy that had gone into making SFF and L2AC was lost.

Kenna is not a man making music for the masses. He makes music for himself and for his fans. He makes music with meaning, depth, and sound. Should the masses hear and follow, great. But lack of radio play and superstardom have not, and will not hold him down. Because of this, most of what Kenna does is on his own and with the help of friends. What happened to the files of his music may have caused a big hiccup, but will not stop him. We as his fans and lovers of great music can help. Join the Flight Crew. Spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and through blogs. Download "Chains" once it's released through iTunes on March 8th. And pre-order the EP, along with other great swag on www.kenna.com.

I know I can get all fan-girly with the musical artists I love. It's possible that it is over the top at times. My love for music is beyond my control, plain and simple. I can't and won't change that. It's been with me since birth, it'll be with into the afterlife. And if I can do anything to help the artists that need and deserve the praise, then that is what I will do.

Kenna on Twitter

Kenna on Facebook


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Friday, March 4, 2011

Forever Young - A Random Musical Memory

Tonight I heard Alphaville's "Forever Young." It is a song that fills my heart and mind with so many memories. Most of them come from 1991 and events that occured throughout that year. But another comes from the end of 2002 and a particular hour of music on the radio. 

Back in the day, I used to listen to 107.7 The End in Seattle. The best part of the station was their flashback show, Resurrection Flashback Sunday. Jim Keller and Dick Rossetti were the men in my life from 8am - 12pm every Sunday morning. In November or early December of 2002 The End announced that they were turning over a weekend of music to the listeners. All we had to do was go online to their website, fill out the form listing 10 songs we would play if we could program 1 hour of airtime, and also mention when/what time block we'd choose to be on. I, of course, listed 10 "retro" songs and said I would want to program an hour of time during RFS.

To my surprise, I got an email saying I had been chosen to be on the air - from 9-10am during Resurrection Flashback Sunday! Talk about an exciting moment. I thought I would be on the air with Jim Keller, a dj I had been listening to since my early teen years when he was on the best alternative station Seattle ever had to offer, the short lived 1600am KJET. But then I found out I would actually be on the air with Dick Rossetti, who I gained a whole lot of respect for that day.

*There is actually a funny side story involved with this. After I left the station, my husband and I hopped in the car and immediately turned on The End so we could listen to the next guy. D-Ro, in mentioning me as having been the previous guest dj called me "Kathy" instead of Stacy. My husband gave Mr. Rossetti a call to give him a hard time about it. The next day, I got a call from Mr. Rossetti while I was at work and he was on air doing the Monday mid-morning show. He publically apologized to me for messing up my name. What a guy.

Anyway, back to the story at hand. It was not quite a week after we lost the great Joe Strummer. I had chosen to include The Clash on my playlist weeks before we would hear of his passing, so the hour started off with "London Calling" and a brief tribute to Joe by Mr. Rossetti and myself. I was nervous for the entire hour, but had so much fun. We took a few calls, talked about songs...all in all, I would go back and do it again in an instant.

Here is the playlist I chose for that day (I don't remember the exact order in which they were played, but this is pretty close...I think. It's a miracle I even remember the 10 songs):

The Clash - London Calling

The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket

Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill

Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down Again

New Order - Pefect Kiss

Book of Love - Pretty Boys, Pretty Girls

Siouxsie & The Banshees - The Passenger

The Pixies - Wave of Mutilation

The Smiths - There is a Light That Never Goes Out

Alphaville - Forever Young

I had two other moments of programming fame on The End after that - both exclusively Depeche Mode playlists. I'm pretty proud of those moments too. Maybe those will be stories for another time.


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