“Top Rated” Playlist

Here is my “Top Rated” playlist on my iPod. Just to give you some background: I sync my iPod play count with my iTunes and use AutoRate to rate the songs. You can’t see that in the latest version, but AutoRate uses play count, skip count, last time played and a decay to rate your songs (I haven’t checked the algorithm itself, even being an open source project.)

Anyway, the list:

  • 009 Sound System – Dreamscape Long Edit (Annex Trax, Vol I)
  • Alanis Morissette – Thank You (Alanis Morissete: The Collection)
  • Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass (Diva)
  • Arena – Tears in the Rain (The Visitor)
  • Avanatsia – Lost in Space (Lost in Space Part 2 – Avantasia)
  • Avantasia – Farewell (The Metal Opera)
  • Avantasia – I Don’t Believe in Your Love (The Scarecrow)
  • Avantasia – Lost in Space (Lost in Space Part 1 – Avantasia)
  • Avantasia – Lost in Space (The Scarecrow)
  • Avantasia – Sign of the Cross (The Metal Opera)
  • Avantasia – The Looking Glass (The Metal Opera, Part II)
  • Avantasia – The Scarecrow (The Scarecrow)
  • Avantasia – The Story Ain’t Over (Lost in Space Part 1 – Avantasia)
  • Ayreon – Act III “Visual Echos” (The Final Experiment)
  • Ayreon – Computer Eyes (Actual Fantasy)
  • Ayreon – Connect the Dots (01011001)
  • Ayreon – Day Five: Voices (The Human Equation (disc 1))
  • Ayreon – Day One: Vigil (The Human Equation (disc 1))
  • Ayreon – Day Seven: Hope (The Human Equation (disc 1))
  • Ayreon – Temple of the Cat (Universaion Migration, Part I)
  • Ayreon – Tower of Hope (Into the Electric Castle (disc 2))
  • Ayreon vs Avantasia – Elected (Elected EP)
  • Carol Woods & Timoty T. Mitchel – Let It Be (Across the Universe)
  • CCP: Jon Hallur – Akat Montains
  • CCP: Jon Hallur – Retribution
  • Cohed & Cambria – Welcome Home (Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV)
  • Conjure One – Dying Light feat. Joanna Stevens (Extraordinary Ways)
  • Conjure One – Sleep feat. Maire Claude D’Ubaldo (Conjure One)
  • Crowded House – Fall at Your Feet (Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House)
  • Cyndi Lauper – All Through the Night With Shaggy (The Body Acoustic)
  • Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time (She’s So Unusual)
  • Daft Punk – Burning / Too Long (Alive 2007 (Live))
  • Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Discovery)
  • Daft Punk – Human / Together / One More Time (Alive 2007 (Live))
  • Daft Punk – Prime Time of Your Life / Brainwasher (Alive 2007 (Live))
  • Daft Punk – Television Rules the Nation / Crescendolls (Alive 2007 (Live))
  • Daft Punk – Too Long / Steam Machine (Alive 2007 (Live))
  • Daft Punk – Touch It / Technologic (Alive 2007 (Live))
  • Def Leppard – Animal (Hysteria)
  • Def Leppard – Go (Songs from the Sparkle Lounge)
  • Def Leppard – Heaven Is (Adrenalize)
  • Def Leppard – Promises (Promises)
  • Def Leppard – Stand Up [Kick Love Into Motion] (Adrenalize)
  • Def Leppard – Thorn To Shreds (X)
  • Def Leppard – Tomorrow (Song from the Sparkle Lounge)
  • Def Leppard – YOu’re So Beautiful (X)
  • Edguy – King of Fools (King of Fools)
  • Edguy – Matrix (Rocket Ride)
  • Edguy – Navigator (Hellfire Club)
  • Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine
  • Garry Schyman – Praan (Praan)
  • General Public – Tenderness (On the Charts: I.R.S. Records)
  • George Harrison – I got My Mind Set On Your (12 Arnold Grove)
  • Information Society – Ozar Midrashim (Don’t Be Afraid)
  • Information Society – Peave & Love, Inc (Peace and Love, Inc)
  • Information Society – Seek300 2.1 (Don’t Be Afraid)
  • Information Society – Synthesizer (Synthesizer)
  • Information Society – The Seeds of Pain (Synthesizer)
  • Information Society – To Be Free (Peace and Love, Inc)
  • Jim’s Big Ego – Cut Off Your Head (The’re Everywhere!)
  • Jim’s Big Ego – No Better Than You (The’re Everywhere!)
  • Jim’s Big Ego – The Ballad of Barry Allen (They’re Everywhere!)
  • LazyTown – You’re A Pirate
  • Men At Work – Down Under (The Best of Men at Work: Contraband)
  • Michael Schenker Group – Diggin’ Hard (Sltlife Reveries)
  • Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning (Diesel and Dust)
  • Monty Python – Comfy Chair (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – Constitutional Peasant (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – Election Special (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – I Bet You They Won’t Play This Song on the Radio (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – Interlude 2 (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – Interlude (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – I’ve Got Two Legs (Monty Python Sings)
  • Monty Python – Parrot [Oh, Not Again] (The Final Rip Off)
  • Monty Python – The Knights of the Round Table (Monty Python Sings)
  • Parn – Gradius Perfect Selection (OC Remix)
  • Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins: Hits)
  • Pink Floyd – Coming Back to Life (The Division Bell)
  • Pink Floyd – Goodbye Cruel World (The Wall, disc, 1)
  • Pink Floyd – High Hopes (Pulse, disc 1)
  • Pink Floyd – Learning To Fly (Pulse, disc 1)
  • Pink Floyd – On The Run (Pulse, disc 2)
  • Pink Floyd – On The Turning Away (A Momentary Laps of Reason)
  • Rush – Afterimage (Grace Under Pressure)
  • Rush – Bravado (Roll the Bones)
  • Rush – Hope (Snakes & Arrows)
  • Rush – Limelight (Moving Pictures)
  • Rush – Resist (Test for Echo)
  • Rush – Roll the Bones (Roll the Bones)
  • Rush – Sweet Miracle (Vapor Trails)
  • Rush – Time Stand Still (Hold Your Fire)
  • Spock’s Beard – The Good Don’t Last [Radio Edit] (The Kindness of Strangers)
  • Tenacious D – Beelzeboss [The Final Showdown] (The Pick Of Destiny)
  • Tenacious D – Classico (The Pick Of Destiny)
  • Tenacious D – Destiny (The Pick Of Destiny)
  • Tenacious D – Kickapoo (The Pick Of Destiny)
  • Tenacious D – POD (The Pick Of Destiny)
  • The Galvatrons – When We Were Kids (When We Were Kids – EP)
  • TISM – Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me (The White Album)
  • Yes – Amazing Grace (YesYears)
  • Yes – Arriving UFO (Tomato [Remastered – 2004])
  • Yes – I Would Have Waited Forever (Union)
  • Yes – Love Will Find a Way (YesYears)
  • Yes – Saving My Heart (Union)

The Who

Let me start this by saying that, although I like The Who, it’s not one of big bands in my playlist (as in “I’m don’t think I can be called a fan yet”.) But yes, I do enjoy a lot of their songs so, although not almost peeing in my pants like they were Def Leppard, I went to their gig in Sydney. That proved to be a smart move, after all.

The show started with Dallas Crane. The description of “alternative rock” sounds perfectly for them. I got a little bit late into their show and I thought “hey, they sound like a hard-rock Beatles”, only to get a completely different type of song next and then think “They sound like The Police”. Also, unfortunately for them, it seems the audio was bad equalized and drums and the second guitar had a louder volume than the rest — so you would hear the beat taking over everything else. Really bad.

Then we had Counting Crows. Now let me be honest and say that it took me 2 songs to remember that their greatest hit was Mr. Jones. Yeah, I lost contact with them since that song. But, for some reason, all the songs they played sounded most the same (you can blame me for thinking that — I’m far away from being a fan.)

Then, them. The Who. It’s hard to imagine that, at 64 and 65, Townshend and Daltrey can have so much energy — specially Daltrey, which didn’t stop a second. Even the few minutes he could rest, he would stay in the stage and do something, like spinning, running in circles or playing tambourines. That’s one thing that, to me, seems to show how much he was enjoying being there. Not that Townshend was out of stage all the time: He also performed incredible well, with new riffs and chords for some old songs and going into length in his solos.

The playlist order was kinda strange to me. Usually, artists play their most famous songs in the end, but they played the famous ones (Baba O’Reily, Who Are You, which appeared in TV series recently) right in the beginning, leaving some less known songs in the end.

Anyhow, one night I won’t forget too soon.

The Playlist:

  • Can’t Explain
  • The Seeker
  • Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
  • Fragments Of Fragments (not sure)
  • Who Are You
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • The Relay
  • Baba O’Reily
  • Eminence Front
  • 5:15
  • Love Reign O’er Me
  • My Generation (without the lisp)
  • Cry If You Want
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again

And the encore:

  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Substitute
  • Pinball Wizard
  • See Me, Feel Me
  • Tea & Theatre

Music reviews galore!

I decided to write reviews of (almost) all the albums I bought on iTunes those days. I wrote all them on Last.fm, since it is a music related site, so you can read them there.

And the list is:

I still have three more albums on my todo list:

  • Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience
  • Powderfinger – Dream Days at the Hotel Existence
  • Valve – The Orange Box (Original Soundtrack)

I’ll let you guys know when those reviews are done.

Failed covers

One of things I really like to do, sometimes, is hear different covers of songs. Once, I had about six different versions, from different artists, of “Helter Skelter”.

Today, listening to “In The Air Tonight” (by Phil Collins), I decided to check the other versions. You can hear 30 seconds of the music before buying in on iTunes, so… why not?

And, honestly, I think they all fail to deliver the meaning of the song. They are too happy, or so indifferent to the meaning of the lyrics that they sound almost boring. Now, there are some covers that are better than the original. Like “Mad World”, covered by Gary Jules, sounds way better than the happy beat by Tears for Fears that is amazing (it also makes the song seem way longer than it should.) But “In the Air Tonight” can be called perfect in the first version. It is dark, the music behind it keeps the pace with the darkness of the lyrics that is amazing. You can feel the real meaning behind the words by just listening to the music.

By the way, if you know any good covers of mainstream songs, let me know.

Ayreon – 01011001

After almost four years, Arjen Anthony Lucassen released the new Ayreon album, 01011001. My guess is that Arjen decided this would be the album that would connect all Ayreon stories, from the blind minstrel to the last migrator. And it does. Unfortunately, from a musical stand point, the album fails to deliver anything impressive.

The songs are completely unimaginative. Sometimes, when not paying attention to the lyrics, I thought I was hearing some other Ayreon album. The same rhythm, the same sounds… nothing new. And when Hansi Kürsch sings, it really feels like you are listening to Blind Guardian, not Ayreon (in contrast, when Mike Baker sung in “The Human Equation”, you didn’t feel like listening to Shadow Gallery. And I would dare to say that when James LaBrie sung in the same album, it also didn’t feel like Dream Theater.)

So far, I would say that’s the weakest of all the albums. But who knows, maybe that was the idea, to give people some context for the next album…

Avantasia – Scarecrow

Latest Avantasia album, “Scarecrow” finally hit the market. And I finally got a copy. So, what we can say about it?

First, this is not Avatansia. Sorry about that, but it isn’t. It is not about Gabriel and his quest to save his sister, while trying to save the universe from clashing with another universe, due the actions of an evil bishop. No, not at all.

This is “Tobias Sammet’s friends – Scarecrow.”

My guess is that Tobias really liked to play with another people and decided to use the name Avantasia for this project. So, fans of Avantasia, sorry but this isn’t part III. On the other hand, for those who like melodic metal, this is an awesome album! And not just melodic metal fans, people who like power ballads will really enjoy “Cry Just a Little” and “What Kind of Love”. I would even dare to say that “What Kind of Love” beats “Farewell” in any competition, hands down.

I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

We always take the side of the famous one

A long time about (a year?) Nightwish split. I can recall people saying that Tarja complained that Tuomas never tell her how was the “feeling” of the song, that she had to put her own emotions on the lyrics and figure out what they really meant. I guess it was written in her open letter, after the other band mates put an open letter explaining why they decided to keep going without her.

All that time, I followed that idea: Tarja was right, Tuomas was not a good leader and she was unrightfully thrown out of the band.

And then came the new singer and the new album Dark Passion Play.

And guess what? It is really awesome. They are back in the classical/metal mix, not the somewhat-classical/kinda-pop songs. Which makes me rethink the reasons behind Tarja being thrown out. One of the reasons said in the open letter form the band said that she became “too comercial.” Now, looking back at their latest album, the pop one, it really looks like they were trying to reach a different group. You know, one not in the metal/classical area. I can’t say for sure, but maybe someone pushed the strings to that direction.

I’m changing my opinion now: Nightwish is better without Tarja.

The hidden cost of buying digital products online

Today I had my first experience using a digital music provider system. I was there, with my MacBook in front of me, listening to the same old songs and there was that “Store” option right in the screen. “What the hell,” I thought. “It may not be all that bad.” So, after browsing some bands, all which had things I already had or not so interesting albums, I decided to buy the latest “Shadow Gallery” album, “Prime Cuts.”

There is one thing weird about online shopping for things you don’t see. There is no waiting for boxes, no cashing you must take out of your wallet… And iTunes also makes the process of paying completely invisible: you provide your credit card information on account creation and it is never displayed again. So you don’t see your money going out and you don’t see things coming in; ok, maybe your playlist will get larger, but you don’t get that plastic box that you throw out a few months later because you ripped the album anyway and bout a larger storage for your CDs. But, in essence, it is a completely empty process (in what you feel when paying and receiving.)

It is so completely invisible that I manage to buy three more albums before getting worried about how much I was wasting. “Carved in Stone” and “Tyranny“, also by Shadow Gallery. “Crystalline Dreams” and “Alaska” are the awesome songs in the first album (and if Alaska doesn’t use that namesake song as their anthem, they should have their heads examinated, as the lyrics makes you want to move to Alaska.) And “Synthesize” by “Information Society“, a band I thought was dead in the beginnings of the 90s. Still doesn’t sound as “popper” as InSoc was in the end of the 80s, sounding more like techno but hey, it is still InSoc and they sound almost like before, being not so depressive as “Don’t Be Afraid.”

Crowded House Concert

Yup, my first Australian concert happened last night. And, honestly, I can’t say I regret it. I mean, I chose a band which I only knew one song and bought CDs a few weeks before the concert. But, in the end, I had a lot of fun.

The show started with an Irish band called “The Walls”. They are not bad, but I don’t think they are good either. They played about 5 songs and left the stage for “Augie March”. It seems they are somewhat famous around, even if I never heard about them, as some people really cheered when they entered the stage. I can’t really say if they are good or bad, as the sound was too loud to get most of it. And the lightning sucked. The guys may be good, but their crew is really sloppy and ruined the show.

Then, Crowded House. Yes, they are actually good. I mean, REALLY GOOD! Either that or they were on playback all the time (but I guess every band gets good after playing a long time.) Sometimes, they would stop between songs and do jokes and play around, do jokes between them and so on. It was the kind of show that the band was having fun in the stage and decided to bring the audience to it. It was fun for people in the audience and for the band.

And here is the setlist (thanks to Cameron, as I couldn’t identify most of songs):

  1. Private Universe
  2. World Where You Live
  3. Don’t Stop Now
  4. Fall At Your Feet
  5. Whispers & Moans
  6. English Trees
  7. Heaven That I’m Making
  8. Love You Till The Day I Die
  9. Silent House
  10. Don’t Dream It’s Over
  11. Pour Le Monde
  12. Walked Her Way Down
  13. When You Come
  14. Distant Sun

  15. Locked Out
  16. Something So Strong
  17. Weather With You
  18. Four Seasons In One Day
  19. Italian Plastic
  20. Better Be Home Soon

I took some pictures, but my camera sucks on dark environments. The ones that didn’t suck too much I uploaded to Flickr. You can check them here. All those and the ones that sucked will be uploaded to my picture site later.

Learning to like Crowded House

To be honest, I didn’t know too much about Crowded House when I bought my ticket. All I could remember was “Don’t Dream (It’s Over)”.

Last week I bought two CDs by them. “The Very Best Of” with their, well, best songs and “Time on Earth”, their latest album.

I’m not sure if it is my current mood or anything like that, but I’m really enjoying the songs. I’m not a great listener, as I usually just let the music play while my brain focus on something completely different. But, when I “realize” that there is something playing, I really like what I’m hearing.

I think I’m going to like the concert.