Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Smashed A Bottle Of Champagne On My Computer

That's how you christen a blog, right?

Hi everyone, welcome to my newest project: a blog. Recently, I read somewhere that blogs are falling out of style. Naturally, that was all the encouragement I needed to start my own. For some time, I've meant to do some writing on my two favorite topics - rock and roll, and baseball (in that order) - and I suppose this blog will be that place for awhile. Don't expect much in the way of flash or gimmicks here; I am 99% html illiterate. This is going to be one of those blogs that features mostly regular text.

So, to kick things off, while I pick chunks of glass out of my hand and the champagne drips down the screen and before the keyboard gets too sticky, let me clear up a couple things for the people who don't know me all that well. This is an opinion blog supported by facts, not the other around, so I'd like you all to know where I stand on the two most pertinent issues.

ROCK AND ROLL BIAS. My favorite kind of music is rock'n'roll. This means everything from "Rocket 88" by Ike Turner* to the punk band currently practicing for the first time in the basement down the street from you. Soon there'll be empty beer cans on your lawn and noise complaints. That's how it goes, 'cause baby, that is rock and roll! And that's the music I'll be writing about most of the time.

BASEBALL BIAS. My baseball allegiance goes as follows: 1. Milwaukee Brewers, 2. Minnesota Twins, 3. Chicago White Sox. The Brewers are easily #1, so be wary of my journalistic integrity when Milwaukee's the topic. Now. When I lived in Milwaukee, I used to root for the White Sox to win the AL pennant. My family, however, is full of Twins fans. Now that I live closer to the Twin Cities, I find that Stockholm Syndrome has effectively set in. I still have a soft spot for the White Sox, though. There aren't many people who can maintain the cognitive dissonance necessary to root for both of these divisional rivals, but I'm one of them.

There. Now that you know where I'm coming from when I'm writing the things I'm writing, let me toss my hat in the ring for real.

Who's heard the new Shannon and the Clams album? It's a great garagey/pop/punk record to be sure. It's also a classic "Alpha-Omega." What's an Alpha-Omega, you ask? Well, it's my own term for when an album's first song and last song are real standouts, usually the best songs on the album and always the most blatant in their epic rock grandeur. Something about this kind of album always makes it a little more memorable, somehow. Maybe if you're about to record an album and two songs are a cut above the rest, the Alpha-Omega route is the way to go (especially if you don't end the record with some silly novelty nonsense a la Nirvana with "Endless Nameless" on Nevermind, or alternately close an album of rockers with a morose ballad a la "Here Comes A Regular" on Tim, my personal favorite Replacements record). On the Shannon/Clams LP, you've got "Troublemaker" and "I Wanna Go Home," alpha and omega. Of course, all the songs between them are really cool, too...

Some Alpha-Omegas:
Stooges - Raw Power (maybe the best example?)
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
Replacements - Let It Be
Clash - London Calling

I'm sure you can think of other examples (hint: the fourth album by a certain New Jersey poet laureate...). Once you're aware of Alpha-Omega albums, I bet you'll start noticing them everywhere you listen.

Ok, that does it for my first post. Tune in real soon for the next one, possibly even tomorrow. See ya later, and thanks for reading.

*the song "Rocket 88" is credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, but that's just a name Ike came up with in the studio for his epochally pivotal tune, maybe the first true rock'n'roll single ever recorded. Whatever the historians say, it sure is a good song... you can check it out here:


  1. What do you call the opposite of Alpha-Omega? By that I mean the best two songs on an album are the last song of the A side, and the first song of the B side. Because Howling at the Moon and Chasing the Night on Too Tough To Die are probably the best example of that I can give right now, and I could argue they are the best two songs the Ramones ever wrote, especially in that era.

    Oh yeah, I'm also a bit more optimistic on the Brewers rotation than I was a month or so ago.

    - Corey Plagiarist

  2. Well Corey, I would think that "Bizarro Alpha-Omega" is a better term than "Omega-Alpha" would be, since it connotes a mutation of the whole premise. But then that might imply that the worst/least-essential songs are first and last, so I'm not sure that works. I just looked up the 24-character Greek alphabet, and my best guess is that the middle two symbols are Mu and Nu (#12 and #13). So, for now, Too Tough To Die is a Mu-Nu. You gotta admit it's catchy!

    It's funny that you mention your optimism about the rotation on the day Mulder announced that he's actually retiring, not attempting a comeback. I'll get more into this soon, but I want to throw this idea at you: is "optimistic" really the word you want to use? What I'm saying is that the Brewers, if they make the playoffs, won't be relying on their shutdown starting rotation and deep freeze 'pen.

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