Look back at what happened in New York City the night the lights went out in summer 1977, plunging seven million people into darkness. The event led to both horrifying lawlessness and acts of selflessness and generosity.

Tag: music

  • One Downside to Streaming and Subscriptions

    One Downside to Streaming and Subscriptions

    The way that we consume media has greatly changed over the last twenty years. At the turn of the century, which seems just like yesterday, we listened to mix-CDs on our Sony Walkman CD players or had MP3s that were either ripped from CDs or obtained via other means. Movies were on DVDs, as Blu-Ray would not come to market until 2006. And there was no streaming media to speak of due to lack of bandwidth, both on the server and consumer sides. Basically, we purchased our media or borrowed it from others.

    There were some who had high-speed internet, but this was likely using a desktop that was not equipped with Wi-Fi. One of the most ubiquitous items that everyone has today is a cell phone. Yes, cell phones were available and had just started to become more and more popular, but they were still not as commonplace as today. If you did have a cell phone, you actually used it as a phone and if you were lucky you could possibly have a very basic game or two. Life has changed significantly in a mere twenty years.

    Today we have streaming media and subscription services. There seems to be a subscription for just about everything these days. Some of the types of subscriptions available include games, music, movies, apps, and tv shows. The two types of services that most users have a subscription to are for Music and Movies/TV Shows. For music, there are options like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, among others. For Movies and TV Shows, you can subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Hulu, and Disney+, along with other options.

    The shift that we have had over the last twenty years means that we have gone from owning our own media to merely being renters. Having a subscription can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, we are able to see shows that we may not have purchased. This results in us being able to consume more media, which creates more demand, which means more content will be created. Being able to subscribe to a service means that you can dip in and out, and you do not need to make a significant commitment to the service. To provide some perspective for the amount of content available, according to Variety, in 2019, Netflix alone had more new shows than the entire television industry did in 2005. And that is just one streaming service, so you can imagine how many new shows were created in 2019.

    With having subscriptions, on an intellectual level, we all know that we do not have perpetual access to media, yet is not always something that we fully understand. We have all had a show that we enjoyed on a service disappear because the rights for that program with that service have expired. This is quite common with movies and TV Shows. Whereas it is not as common with music. However, I have experienced, first hand, a song that gets pulled from a service, yet it does happen from time to time.

    I am one who subscribes to fewer streaming and subscription services than most. I have Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Apple Music, and This Old House. I used to subscribe to Apple Arcade, but I cancelled it, but that is another story. The service I use the most is Apple Music. This is because I listen to music throughout the work day.

    Now I have had songs that have not been playable, because they were singles and the album that contains the single has been released, so access to the single is removed. In these cases, I just re-add the song and continue one. However, I have not had a song just become completely unavailable before. I went to listen to the song “Never Told a Lie” by Noah Smith using Apple Music and I could not. At first I thought, maybe an album has been released with it on it, but that is not the case.

    Next, I was thought, I will go and buy the song. I searched the iTunes Store, could not find it. I then searched Amazon Music, could not find it in the U.S. It is not available on Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, or any other streaming service in the U.S. Even the YouTube video has been pulled. When I did some searching it is possible to purchase, just not in the U.S. You can purchase the song in the UK, Germany, Italy, and many other countries.

    While I am generally in favor of streaming services, the times when media is no longer be available, can be inconvenient. Suffice to say, if you want to be sure that some media remains available you will need to purchase it. You will likely want to purchase the items before it is too late.

    I do this with movies and some TV shows, but not as often with music. Due to not being able to listen to “Never Told a Lie” anymore, I have taken my own advice and purchased a number of songs that I did not own, but had added to my iTunes library from Apple Music. In all, I ended up purchasing 39 songs. Some of these songs were just singles, so I purchased the entire “album”, while others were just songs on albums, so I purchased them individually.

    I understand that this is very much a first-world problem, but it is one that you may experience at some point and it is easily avoidable. If you would like to see the list of songs that I purchased, you can do so by browsing the Apple Music playlist.

  • Lucky Boys Confusion’s Stormchasers: A Review

    Lucky Boys Confusion’s Stormchasers: A Review

    I do not normally write reviews of music. This is for a couple of reasons. The first is that I do not listen to that much new music. The second is that I generally just end up adding single songs from albums. However, this is a different situation. I am going to review the new album by Lucky Boys Confusion Stormchasers

    History of the Band

    It is possible that you have heard the name “Lucky Boys Confusion”, also shortened to LBC, is likely a band you may have heard of before, but cannot place. The is because they had a single Hey Driver back in 2003 on their album Commitment. In fact, prior to Stormchasers, there were 8 previous albums.

    The band hails from Naperville and Downer’s Grove, both of these are western suburbs of Chicago. The fact that some of the band went to the same school as I did, does not hurt. There is something that makes their latest album special; it is their first album since 2009.

    The previous songs from the band have had a variety of styles. These range from pop, to rap, to ska, and even rock and roll.

    If you listen to a lot of LBC’s songs, you will get a sense of what they are about. In the beginning of their career, a number of the songs revolved around two primary topics, “Life” and “Drugs”, specifically weed and alcohol. The latter is not covered as extensively as it has been in their past songs, but the former is absolutely a primary focus of the new album.

    The Songs

    Stormchasers consists of 12 all new songs. They range from “traditional LBC” styles to more contemporary topics.

    Growing Up

    Some of LBC’s older songs covered “growing up” and maturing. There are a couple of song on Stormchasers that elude to more maturing. The two songs that most exhibit this are “Sun In My Eyes”, and “White Collar”.

    For “Sun in my Eyes”, the following line exemplifies this.

    How did we go from being so high to being so shallow?
    

    This song describes the mellowing aspects to life, but also tackles the clarification of realizations as one ages. This song seems to capture the essence of how many individuals feel about their life.

    The sun in my eyes doesn't bother me like it used to
    
    The gossip and lies, they don't shake my world like they used to
    
    And I don't need no paradise
    I don't need careless points of view
    

    These lines all express how as we get older the things that used to seem like the biggest concerns, are no longer areas of concern.

    White Collar is likely my favorite song from the album. It is one of the top songs that I have listened to from the album. As the title implies, “White Collar” goes on to describe experience as a White Collar worker, with a twist.

    “White Collar” in particular describes how many feel about their job:

    Aren't we all stressing out without any meaning?
    Chasing goals, put to you without any feeling
    Show up, get paid
    Hold on to your breathe while you plan your escape
    Show up, get paid
    

    These previous lines directly sum up how some people feel about their job. I also think there may be a hidden meaning in this song, somewhat of a lament of what could have been. Which brings us to the next set of songs, ones that reflect on life experiences

    LBC’s Experience

    One of the the mainstays of LBC’s music is their experience with record companies. This is most prevalent in the title track of their 2003 album, “Commitment”. The “Commitment” song describes the limitation that record labels can put on artists. There are actually two spiritual successors to the song “Commitment” on this album. The first is “Name in Lights”, the second is “Good Luck”.

    “Name in Lights” is what one might call a cautionary tale. What I mean by this is “Name in Lights” describes, what I surmise an experience that LBC went through when they became more mainstream and garnered national attention. The cautionary portion is most apparent in the line

    I lost sight of the target
    I got my name in lights
    

    In this I think the band wants others to realize that while being a headliner is great, you can easily become distracted from the ultimate goal; playing and making music that the band and others enjoy. The advice within the song comes in the stanza:

    Take ten shots at the half-moon
    Remember not to fall in love
    'Cause after the buzz, the chase kid
    You'll get your name in lights
    

    The song “Good Luck” is also a somewhat auto-biographical song about their experience with mainstream media. Most particularly the lines:

    They skipped off to college
    We got a van from a record company
    

    This is exactly what happened to the band. While their peers were going off to college, the band went to California in a van from their Record Company in 2000. One of the other aspects to LBC songs is a somewhat “screw you” attitude. This is shown most appreciably in the lines:

    Burned out they call us
    Screw 'em, we got endless memories
    Punk Rock and the polish
    I hope it gave you something to believe
    

    Even with the “screw you, I do not care what you think” attitude, there is still a bit of the “even though you are knocking us down, I still hope the songs meant something” feeling.

    Songs about Life

    There is one subject matter that prevails in LBC songs more than any other, “songs about life”. This is covered in three songs, the title track “Stormchaser”, “Burn a Little Brighter”, and “A Candle in the Window (Please Come Home)”.

    Stormchaser is about two people, Johnny and Jamie. Both of these individuals are looking for a way to “feel alive”,

    When nothing's beautiful
    You just want to disappear
    

    Instead of doing something that they may regret, they decide to do something that changes this and likely outside of their comfort zone. So “Johnny built a rocket ship”, and “Jamie had the nerve to quit”. I think both of these lean towards a moral of the song. That moral is sometimes you have to do something drastic to make everything better in the end. This is definitely shown in the lines:

    Stormchasers and stars
    Find out who you are
    Thinking like this can make life dangerous
    Thinking like this can make life dangerous
    Thinking like this can take life
    

    On the subject of life, “Burn a Little Brighter” is one that I cannot tell if it is based on an actual incident, or merely captures a feeling about the state of America.

    The song is about someone reminiscing about their fondest memories about a fallen classmate. I suspect this from the following.

    And the best times that I remember 
    Sneaking out the fire escape
    Playing "Never Surrender"
    But I never forget the officer said, 
    "That you didn't come home from school today"
    

    What this song is really about is school violence. Whether this is the shootings that make it into the national news, or just violence that many experience every day, I do not know. What makes me think this is the quote above along with this one:

    There's something circling here on our street
    Everybody's got a taste for more
    It's a re-run, it's no mystery
    I've seen this one before
    
    All the outpour and the outrage was a spectacle to find
    The pretenders and grifters, yeah just left me so resigned 
    Grandma saw this part of his jacket and said he'd want it to be mine
    Now Chicago burns a little brighter
    Yet tonight she burns a little brighter
    

    If you take the quotes above and pair them with the following one, I think it paints the entire picture.

    It was later on the corner
    The whole gang was getting high
    And when we talked about it, everyone had alibis
    Grandma always said there are different ways to say goodbye
    Now Chicago burns a little brighter
    I clench my fists a little tighter
    

    This is only my interpretation of the song, but I think it is a plausible one. Regardless of what the actual meaning is, “Burn a little brighter” is a powerful song that can hit you on many levels.

    The last song on the album is “A Candle in the Window (Please Come Home)”. This song is a song about a woman whose husband is off to war. She is remembering all of the good times when he was at home. This is captured in these lines:

    Days flew by when you were with me
    Now missing you almost hurts
    Until the siren sound
    And feelings disperse
    

    The song emphasizes that it will end at some point and to take solace in the dawn of a new day.

    Sunrise don't cry
    Listen to the birds they sing that everything's all right
    He'll be home again to hold you
    He'll be home again to hold you tight
    
    The war is over
    Finally we can sleep
    The war is over
    Finally we can sleep
    

    There could be another interoperation of this song. “A Candle in the Window (Please Come Home)” may not be about an actual war, but could be about an internal war, or struggle, about losing a loved one, whether that is due to death or just due do a breakup. It is also possible that the song fits both interpretations.

    Final Thoughts

    If you are a fan of previous Lucky Boys Confusion music, then Stormchasers will not disappoint. It is a whole new set of brand new songs. While everyone will have their own personal favorites, there are absolutely songs for everyone on the album. Stormchasers mixes what fans have come to expect from Lucky Boys Confusion, but also takes it all to a whole new level.

    While I do not want to wait another eight years for a new album, I think the time has allowed the band to really hone its skill and create one of the best, if not the best, album they have done to date.

    In the intervening eight years since their last release, technology has changed significantly. Most notably, the modern era of streaming. Even though streaming has become the norm I purchased the album. I did this not only to support the band, but also because I knew I would likely end up listening to the album many times. I recommend that everyone go and give it a listen today. I think you will be glad that you did.

  • Daily Run Down 07/04/2013: Morning Edition

    Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

    Big News

Social Issues/Human Interest

International

Politics

Health

Science/Space

Financial

Gaming

Gadgets

Law

Technology

Internet

Software/Apps

Funny

Chicagoland

Total Number of stories: 26

Look for more news stories this evening.

  • Daily Run Down 07/02/2013: Morning Edition

    Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

    General News

    International

    Politics

    Health

    Science/Space

    Financial

    Historical

    Gaming

    Technology

    Internet

    Mobile

    Rumors

    Software/Apps

    London/Britain/UK

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 42

    Look for more news stories this evening.

  • Daily Run Down 07/01/2013: Morning Edition

    Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

    General News

    International

    Politics

    Obits

    Science/Space

    Financial

    Historical

    Gaming

    Law

    Technology

    Internet

    Rumors

    London/Britain/UK

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 37

    Look for more news stories this evening.

  • Daily Run Down 06/25/2013: Morning Edition

    Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

    General News

    International

    Politics

    Obits

    Science/Space

    Financial

    Historical

    Gaming

    Gadgets

    Law

    Technology

    Internet

    Mobile

    Software/Apps

    London/Britain/UK

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 68

    Look for more news stories this evening.

  • Daily Run Down 06/20/2013: Morning Edition

    Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

    Recalls

    Social Issues/Human Interest

    General News

    International

    Politics

    Obits

    Science/Space

    Financial

    Historical

    Gaming

    Gadgets

    Law

    Patents

    Technology

    Internet

    Mobile

    Rumors

    Software/Apps

    Security

    London/Britain/UK

    Personal

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 82

    Look for more news stories this evening.

  • Daily Run Down 06/19/2013: Evening Edition

    Here is this evening’s Daily Run Down.

    Big News

    Recalls

    Social Issues/Human Interest

    General News

    International

    Politics

    Obits

    Health

    Science/Space

    Financial

    Historical

    Gaming

    Gadgets

    Law

    Technology

    Internet

    Social Networking

    Mobile

    Rumors

    Software/Apps

    Security

    Developer

    London/Britain/UK

    Personal

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 89

    Look for more stories tomorrow.

  • Daily Run Down 06/16/2013: Morning Edition

    Here is this morning’s Daily Run Down.

    Social Issues/Human Interest

    International

    Politics

    Obits

    Science/Space

    Historical

    Gaming

    Social Networking

    Mobile

    Software/Apps

    Security

    London/Britain/UK

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 47

    Look for more news stories this evening.

  • Daily Run Down 06/15/2013: Evening Edition

    Here is this evening’s Daily Run Down.

    Social Issues/Human Interest

    General News

    International

    Politics

    Obits

    Science/Space

    Financial

    Historical

    Gaming

    Gadgets

    Reviews

    Technology

    Social Networking

    Mobile

    Rumors

    London/Britain/UK

    Personal

    Funny

    Chicagoland

    Total Number of stories: 46

    Look for more stories tomorrow.