Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things I Have Done Since My Last Post

1) Finished my Christmas Shopping (God bless on-line stores. I hate the mall at Christmas time)

2) Finished unpacking from my move into the new house. (oh, who am I kidding, I still have boxes in almost every room)

3) Put together about a thousand toys for my boys for Christmas (Daddy, why did Santa paint all the toys with Red dots?)

4) Watched a lot of football (which the wife hates but 'tis the bowl season in college so it had to be done)

5) Worked. And worked. And worked (anyone who said middle management is easy has never been in the middle of those in power and those who are not...let's face it you can't please anyone let alone everyone)

6) Hung Christmas the dark. Because I like a challenge.

7) Watched a lot of TV (Hey honey we have almost 34 hours free on the TIVO!!)

8) Hung about 30 shelves (why do houses not come with shelves? Do people not feel the need to display dust inducing chochkees in their houses like we do?)

9) Put together a bunch of storage units and pre-fab furniture (again, more red dots)

10) Procrastinated. Kinda like I'm doing right now.

Coming soon...Your Moment of Zen's Top albums of 2008. Maybe.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Something that got stuck in my head...

I was driving home tonight when I flicked across a cover of U2's "Seconds" by Rogue Wave and I thought, "Wow, I haven't listened to WAR in forever!" My U2 consumption lately seems to be mostly the last two records and THE JOSHUA TREE (because that is all that is currently on my iPod). So when I sat down to re-ignite the blog with posts I dug out WAR and popped it in and was instantly reminded why this was my favorite record of theirs for a long time.

WAR has the mark of a band making the leap. In sports, the leap is when a good player ascends to greatness right in front of our eyes. I remember when I saw Kobe Bryant of the Lakers make the leap. It happened with my beloved LA Angels in 2002 (when they won the World Series) and WAR was when U2 made their leap. The songs had more bite and polish than BOY or OCTOBER. The lyrics now encompassed a more direct marriage of the spiritual and the political and The Edge found his signature guitar sound here. Most critics say that THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE is the leap record because of the presence of Brian Eno but I argue that the images that came from WAR (The band in the snow for "New Year's Day", Bono and his white flag at Red Rocks on "Sunday, Bloody Sunday) are what most people remember from that era of the band.

The real secret of this record though are the album cuts. Unlike other 80's bands, U2 took their time crafting a whole album. Sure the singles are brilliant but "Like a Song..." and "The Refugee" hit the mark for their power and musicianship better than many other bands hits. Re-listening to the record as a whole it strikes me how each song seems to flow into the next, as if part of a larger plan all along. In essence, a band moving away from their established style into something new. In fact, WAR departure in sound from the first two records set the tone for the bands experimental nature (another thing most critics credit to FIRE, when in fact FIRE is more along the lines of OCTOBER than WAR ever was).

So, what does all this mean. It means it's a damn good record (although you probably already knew that) and one that should be included on your iPod just in case you need something that still kicks ass...