Tag Archives: radio

Best Song On The Album – Whaler By Sophie B Hawkins

Once upon a time, there was a song on the radio that I liked. Actually, the nineties was a pretty good decade for such things, but this was a while before things like realising Virgin’s “No repeat 9-5″ had virtually the same playlist every day (you could just about set your clock by November Rain at one point), or suffering “Chasing Cars” five times in one night shift.

So this song I liked, I didn’t really catch enough in the way of lyrics, and certainly nothing in the way of announcements, to find out what that song was.

Some years later, on a message board I frequented at the time, I mentioned some half-remembered lyrics, and some helpful person said something along the lines of “That kinda sounds like…”, then named a song, which quick research revealed to be the right one.

“As I Lay Me Down”, by Sophie B. Hawkins.

This turned out to be her last single, coming from the second of her four albums.

Some time after that (I have no idea how much time), I came across that album, “Whaler”, in a charity shop. Due to meticulous record-keeping (AKA “not peeling the label off”), I know I got it in Help The Aged for £2.99. Bit steep for a CD in a charity shop, but hey. I was young (ish) and reckless (well, perhaps, can’t say I really remember).

We have a 5-CD changer in the living room, and some CDs tend to be picked, stay in there for a while (a mealtime tends to take most of 1 CD, and if the player’s left going we’ll sometimes reach a third, and occasionally it reaches the end of the 5th). Then after a while, someone decides it’s time to change CDs, and we get another batch that lasts a while.

Recently, Whaler (from 1994) was brought into the playlist. It’s been played a few times. so what’s the best song on the album?

Sometimes, an album will contain tracks that are better than the singles (“you released THAT one as a single?”). And other times, the single tracks are the good ones, and the rest feels more like filler.

Well this time round, I can’t say that I put on headphones, and subjected myself to a close listening of the album 5 times before writing about it. I did notice that a bunch of the rest of the album had more of a pop edge to it, where if I was making a playlist and was familiar with those songs, I probably wouldn’t choose to listen to them.

Perhaps it’s familiarity with the track, perhaps this track is that much different from the others, but the only track that’s really stood out, in that “I want to hear this” kind of way, as the sound of the album drifts out into the house, is “As I Lay Me Down”. It’s so pretty. None of the other tracks made me want to come over and find out what the track was called. Of course, neither did this one, because I already know. But you know what I mean.

Some Podcasts I Like

I first got into podcasts while I was working nights in a large warehouse, doing a job that left enough brain free to listen to talk while I was doing it.

I think the first one I listened to was The Signal podcast, about Firefly and Serenity, which lasted for a surprisingly long time for a show about a TV show that lasted a season, and a movie that didn’t get a sequel. the Signal got me into Podiobooks via 7th Son.

I moved on from there into The Survival Podcast while it was still in its first 50 episodes.

Feeling the need for Christian content, I found Godcast 1000, a directory of many Christian podcasts. I listened to a few, probably less than 10. I’ll talk about one in a minute, apart from that, there’s another that I particularly remember. It was a short-lived series called “Dark Sayings Of Old“. The episode that stood out most to me, was Episode 4, “Hugh Latimer, The Sixth Sermon preached before King Edward, April twelfth, 1549″, text available at ccel. Though what particularly stood out to me was the mention of Robin Hood.

The other one that I particularly want to mention, is the podcast “The Illumined Heart“. The blurb mentioned the Orthodox church, which I had encountered in a trip to Israel, but knew I didn’t understand at all. Kevin Allen hosted the show, which contained a long string of interviews. Half of them were interviews about the (or, more often, “an”) Orthodox opinion on some topic (animal welfare, the occult, the death penalty), and the other half were interviews with people talking about their conversion stories from different faith traditions to Orthodoxy – from Islam, from the Baptist church, from the Episcopalian church, from Hinduism and Buddhism, from The Byrds – quite a variety.

It was quite a soft introduction, not immediately hard-core theology, and early on there were some things where I had no idea what they were going on about, and kind of had to set it aside and say “I’ll come back to that later, when I know more”.

After moving to America, I decided to visit Ancient Faith Radio, which produced The Illumined Heart, and I started listening to their many other shows. Well, it was less many at the time, it’s kind of taken off since then. I thought I’d list some shows I particularly like.

An introduction to basic Orthodox beliefs and practices, aimed especially at people unfamiliar with it all, the archived radio show Our Life In Christ is a good start. They keep the tone jovial, don’t really get bogged down in The Seriousness Of It All. Even when they discuss one of the hosts’ brush with law enforcement.

I really enjoyed the content put out by the late Father Thomas Hopko, particularly his podcast Speaking The Truth In Love, and in his occasional lectures. He comes across as humble, saying when something is a dogma of the church, or his own opinion, or when he may be wrong about something or other. Some speakers come across more towards the hard line of dogma, or the church position on things, and some will spend more time on a pastoral approach, and I thought Fr Tom was very careful to be not strident, and to be pastoral.

Also taking more of a pastoral approach, Fr Evan Armatas fields questions from all comers in Orthodoxy Live, which is broadcast live on two Sundays a month, and available for download afterwards.

Sermons from various parishes are available to download, I’m quite font of Homilies From All Saints, with Fr Patrick Henry Reardon. He’s very well-read, and will include references, be it to Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars, or, much to my delight, to P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves novels. I was like Captain America, “I got that reference!”

Sometimes AFR has talks from various events. I mentioned the Doxacon Orthodox Science-Fiction and Fantasy Conference in some past post that I’m too lazy to look up, but I’d like to point out that there have been some moments that particularly stuck with me in these two events:
Eighth Day Symposium – Imagination and Soul: Harry Potter, Twilight, and Spiritual Formation (“Whence Potter-Mania?” is so funny)
The World Below (particularly Systemic Abandonment).

If you’re stuck for something to listen to, give something from here a try.

Non Sequiturs Galore

Every so often (or, as I called it back when I listened to the radio, “all the time”), a song comes around that’s not too bad on the first listen, but rapidly turns annoying, often due to some tedious bit that repeats ad nauseum.

I’m not sure that the song I highlighted today ever entirely outstayed its’ welcome, but there is one bit that once you realise it makes absolutely no sense, there’s not really any going back.

Welcome to “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.

“I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.”

Well, I’m sure that’s very nice for you, but do you happen to know what a non sequitur is?

“I’ve got ham but I’m not a hamster.” Apparently Bill Bailey already did this one. I may even have heard it from him, I’ve watched a couple of his shows, but I think I also came to it independently. Either “Great minds think alike”, or it’s just the obvious gag, but there’s no reason to stop there…

I’ve got toes, but I’m not a toaster.

I’ve got hips, but I’m not a hipster.

I’ve got abs, but I’m not an abstract.

I’ve got eyes, but I’m not an iceberg.

I’ve got pain, but I’m not a painting.

I’ve got pills, but I’m not a Pilsner.

I’ve got tea, but I’m not a teacher.

I’ve got poise, but I’m not a poison.

I’ve got wind, but I’m not a window.

I’ve got fat, but I’m not a fatwa.

I’ve got a car, but I’m not a carpet.

I’ve got a toy, but I’m not a toilet.

Every time I hear the song, they just keep coming! It keeps making no sense!

(“Yeah, you know you got to help me out…”)

Make it stop!

(“Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the backburner…”)

What gems can you add to this pile of parody? It’s ok, the song’s asking for it.

(“Yeah, you’re gonna bring yourself down…”)

(“I’ve got soul…”)

Radio Killed The Radio Star

Coming out of a discussion that just happened in the room behind me (that I joined in with). There’s something about not having control over the music you’re listening to.

There have been several places I’ve worked where the radio has been on for the enjoyment (or otherwise) of the employees.

One was a relatively small store, where we had a little boom box on out back, in the warehouse area of the store. Sometimes we’d bring in CDs, but most of the time we’d hear the radio. A lot of the time we weren’t back there, being on the shop floor, but even then it was clear that some stations were more repetitive than others. Virgin’s “No Repeat 9-5″ offered some reprieve to this sameness… until you clued in to the fact that the playlist was pretty much the same every day. You could just about set your clock by the appearance of some of the songs – if I remember correctly (it was ten years ago), there was a period where the great November Rain by Guns ‘n’ Roses without fail would come on right before the 11 o’clock news. Made it easy to find out what the song was called.

Out on the road, by that point, I had started reverting to the rather more talky Radio 2.

A few years later, I was working in a rather large distribution centre on a night shift. The shift lengths varied a bit over the years I was there – it was between 8 and 10 hours a night. They played radio there, too: I think the station got picked by one of the office workers, I know it changed sometimes.

The speakers in the area I worked in were relatively small for the area they had to cover. Other parts of the complex, you could hear more clearly. Where I spent the most time, you could hear the higher frequencies kinda ok, and the lower frequencies not at all. The upshot being, if there was an annoying part to a song, you would get that scratched into your brain.

For example, Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies” was popular at the time, and you couldn’t hear the grungey electro-industrial weirdness that runs under the song. You could hear the singer, but not particularly clearly. The part where she repeats “All the single ladies” over and over – it sounded very much like “I want cigarettes”.

Another song that became particularly obnoxious very quickly was Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”. There was one song, and I think it was this one, that I counted five times in one shift. Seriously? A century of recorded music and you have to play that whiny junk over and over again? (incidentally, this also was the only song that carried through our floor from the shop below, while I was trying to get to sleep. Un-fun…)

Actually, most of the songs I tired of easily (Single Ladies, too) just sounded so whiny. The tinny speakers didn’t help, of course.

But even pre-tinny speakers. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. Just as whiny. (May I recommend the Dead Ringers parody version.)

As music radio became more tedious to listen to, I started listening to other things. Especially in that distribution centre job. Final Fantasy MIDIs on my phone soon became mp3s of my CDs, soon became podcasts and podiobooks. I’d venture to say that podcasts have changed my life. This may not have been possible without the utter tediosity that radio has become, so I can’t be entirely ungrateful.

I’m not quite in the same boat as Queen, though. “Radio, someone still loves you!” That wouldn’t be me. Radio, I’d be happy to love you again, but most of the time you’re just not really worth listening to.

———————-

Reading Program update: Oldest hit 9 hours altogether, Middlest hit two. I reached one hour total from reading to kids (today’s half-hour reading to Middlest, most of that was a chapter of The House At Pooh Corner) and five minutes on my stopwatch from reading to myself, in a little break, and I didn’t count thumbing through a newspaper from 1975.