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World on Fire

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:41 AM

For some reason, Sarah McLachlan's “World on Fire” is stuck in my head at the moment — actually, it has been for the last day. What's stuck in yours?

The world's on fire and
It's more than I can handle
I'll tap into the water
(I try to pull my ship)
I try to bring more
More than I can handle
(Bring it to the table)
Bring what I am able

I watch the heavens and I find a calling
Something I can do to change this moment
Stay close to me while the sky is falling
Don't wanna be left alone, don't wanna be alone

Chart Topper: Taking Over Me

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:48 AM

Well, I had an event of historic proportions occur today. I had a song cross over the 100 play count threshold in iTunes for the first time. The song with that honor was “Taking Over Me” by Evanescence (from the album Fallen ). For those not familiar with iTune's play counter, it tallies one play for each complete playing of a song in iTunes or on any iPod that is sync'ed through that copy of iTunes. I've been using iTunes primarily since May 2004 when I became a full time Mac user, but most of those plays on this particular song come from September 2004 and beyond.

I really took note of the song, which may be my favorite from Evanescence, in Fall '04. It just seemed to fit for a variety of reasons, and so I listened more closely and became rather attached to it. It actually has some associations with the picturesque day in October of that year I felt compelled to write about last fall in my series “Nameless” (I never did finish the series, but the first parts were here and here).

At any rate, I digress. it's a good song. In general, Evanescence is a bit “harder” rock than I typically like, however, it is this hardness juxtaposed with Amy Hartzler's (nee Lee) voice, the orchestra scores and sometimes a pretty impressive choir that really makes the band interesting. Sometimes the choirs sing in Latin even, such as in “Whisper” from Fallen or “Lacrymosa” from the Open Door, the latter of which draws on the Requiem Mass/_Dies Irae_ by way of Mozart. Even in quieter pieces such as “My Immortal,” there is a contrast of the softness of the piano and the hardness of the guitars that take over at the end of the “Band Version.”

But, “Taking Over Me,” is something different. I cannot objectively define a reason, but I tend to think it is my favorite song from Evanescence. It is haunting and has a unique lead in. An earnestness to it makes it easy to relate to. Perhaps most importantly, there is something especially appealing about the movement from sorrow to hope in it. So, it is not entirely without merit that it was the song to take the 100 play honor.

In Other News: I noticed my post archive is messed up at the moment. It has long had a “known issue” that I've meant to resolve that makes it so that you can only see the last 20 posts in any given category, however SAFARI (my homebrewed CMS/blogware, not the web browser) now has a bug that makes it sort by something other than date, and a lot of old posts are showing up in the categories at the cost of hiding newer posts. I need to fix both issues, but in the mean time, here's your chance to (turn on booming announcer voice) relive favorite classic asisaid moments today! Yes, that's right, you can enjoy posts from as early as 2002 from the convenience of your own home. Call — ahem, I mean click — over in the category box today!

Good Music

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:22 AM

What's everyone listening to these days? I'm in a rut. :(

It's a Marshmallow World!

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:45 AM

For some reason, I have Dean Martin's rendition of “It's a Marshmallow World” stuck in my head. Yes, many of you have turned off the Christmas music — I know — but this is more “winter music” anyway. And, last I checked, this is the beginning of winter. So there.

It's a marshmallow world in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground,
It's the time for play, it's a whipped-cream day,
I wait for it the whole year round.
These marshmallow clouds being friendly,
In the arms of the evergreen trees,
And the sun is red like a pumpkin head,
It's shining so your nose won't freeze.

The world is your snowball, see how it grows,
Thats how it goes, whenever it snows,
The world is your snowball just for a song,
Get out and roll it along.

It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts,
Take a walk with your favorite girl,
It's a sugar date, what if spring is late,
In winter, it's a marshmallow world.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:47 AM

Anyone have any new favorite Christmas music from the past year or three? Thanks.

Opening the Open Door

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:54 AM

So, as I predicted, I broke down and purchased Evanescence's new CD, the Open Door. I was doing some Christmas shopping on, and they had new releases for $7.99 — how could I resist?

So far I like it. In an odd way, it seems more upbeat than their previous works (relatively speaking, as you will understand if you know Evanescence). I decided not to listen to the whole CD in one sitting, so listened to the first four songs. I had already heard “Call Me When You're Sober” on XM Flight 26, right after the single for it came out in August or September, so there weren't any surprises there, but the songs around it were very well developed. Like Fallen, the CD has a very connected, polished sound that avoids the feeling that certain key songs were meant for single status and everything else was left in rough form.

The Open Door

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:30 AM

Well, Evanescence's the Open Door has finally been released. I've been sort of fascinated with this release, not only because I really enjoyed Fallen, but also because I wanted to see what their first real post-Christian music release would sound like. For those not familiar with the group, since the band's founders at least previously claimed to be Christian and Fallen had some clearly Christian-flavored lyrics, it was briefly marketed at Christian bookstores, until a rather odd tirade by Amy Lee and Ben Moody, the co-founders, caused the label to pull the CD from the Christian market. I'm not sure whether Lee or the newer band members consider themselves Christians as of right now or not. At any rate, unlike Fallen, the Open Door is being marketed exclusively as a secular CD.

Moreover, it is the first release lacking Ben Moody, who not only co-founded the band, but was also the writer of the song that originally attracted me to the group, “My Immortal.” Given that I think Moody soften up the band's heavy sound a bit, I was wondering whether I'd like the Open Door or not. Even Fallen pushes the limits on what I can stand in music. I like it, but the heavy guitar sections of the CD come close to being too much for me.

From the iTunes 30 second preview clips, I'm not entirely sure of the Open Door, but at least several of the songs sound like they have potential. I've already heard “Call Me When Your Sober” on the radio, and it was pretty good; it is a bit different than their previous work while still maintaining the essential sound of the group.

I'll probably order the CD soon — in case anyone is interested, I'll post a review sometime after I hear the whole thing.

TQ: Music

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:36 AM

This week's meme from Mark covers music. This is perfect since I just got back from the season opener of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra: Bartok's The Wooden Prince.

1. What is your favorite way to listen to music?
Live. :-P OK, beyond that, probably in the car. I'm not so much interested in the volume as the acoustics and immersion factors. Being in a small, enclosed space that has six or eight speakers sounds great. Not as great as it sounded tonight at Powell Symphony Hall, though. :)

2. What classical composer doesn't get enough credit/airplay in your opinion?
In the spirit of the evening, I'll say Bartok. I must confess I was not at all familiar with him until tonight, but his composition was truly enjoyable. It was a fast paced, varied score that kept a 103 piece orchestra very busy for almost an hour non-stop. While I probably preferred the Mozart concerto that proceeded it, I'm glad to have been introduced to this Hungarian/Romanian composer.

3. What band / artist would you like to see (cough) retire immediately?
Pretty much any rapper, especially St. Louis's very own Nelly. I just don't think a rapper singing explicit lyrics represents the spirit of St. Louis.

4. Looking into your crystal ball, what will replace the mp3 player?
The MP3 player, in as much as one means an electronic player that plays digital audio files from some solid state or hard disk storage, I think the MP3 player is pretty much here to stay. Primarily, I suppose I see the same thing happening to it as has happened to the PDA: it will become increasingly part of cell phones rather than a stand alone device. Perhaps the successors to the 80 GB iPod, and other high end devices, will stick around in independent form, but in 2010, I think most people will use their 100 GB cell phones that can connect to the iTunes Music Store wirelessly for no additional charge.

Note: The questions on this page written by Mark are governed by the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.5 license. I believe my responses are allowed under fair use and therefore are not licensed under the Creative Commons license (I don't want people messing with adapting my personal opinions, thank you very much).

Wow, David Robertson is some conductor! That was spectacular tonight. The SLSO is an amazing orchestra, but Robertson's conducting was simply an amazing performance all by itself. It was a good way to ring out this year; tomorrow's my birthday. :)

Rebecca St. James Finally Managed It...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:52 AM

I've listened to her music a number of times and never had anything really hit me as something I liked. As I was riding back in my mom's car from the dealer where we dropped my car off for body work (needed from when I was rear ended), “You are Loved” played on XM Radio's the Message. It now has the questionably good distinction of being the latest song to wedge itself into my head.

I finally like a song by Rebecca St. James. I might have to look over her music again.

We were younger then, you and me, full of dreams, weren’t we?
I went my way, you went yours, where did you go, dear?
Someone said you had left the life we lived together then
This is my way of reaching out ‘cause I remember…

This is what I want to say to you
If I had one chance to speak to your heart
You are loved
More than you could ever know
This is what I want to say to you
If I had one chance to tell you something
You are loved
More than you can imagine

If I told you would you believe, the narrow road, I did not leave
If I told you would you understand that I’ve found truth
Are you jaded? Are you hurting now? How I wish that I could tell
Where your heart’s at…can you see? Mine has found – home

Not sure if I’ve, made it clear enough
It’s not my love I sing about
Everybody asks, “Is God good?”
I believe, He is
In fact I know, He is

No Doubt the Mall has Music

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:29 AM

For some reason, shopping at malls have a tendency to cause music to stick in my head. I'm not sure exactly why, but it has happened a number of times, such as here. Well, its happened again.

I'm not exactly the frequent mall patron, but I found myself in the mall several times over the past few weeks, including last week when I went to pick up a suit at the Men's Warehouse. The mall played No Doubt's “Don't Speak,” the chorus of which lodged itself in my head thereafter:

Don't speak
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me cause it hurts
Don't speak
I know what you're thinking
I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me cause it hurts

I've never actually heard of No Doubt. I did hear that song sometime last decade when it was new, but I never paid attention to who it was from. Well, the next week, I was at Borders Books, Music and Cafe (which is an anchor tenant at the same mall) and another song lodged itself in my head, but this time, only the accompanying instruments — I couldn't recall the words, which was even more frustrating than having a song in my head to which I could recall the words. I happened to be on iTMS looking to see what No Doubt sounded like beyond “Don't Speak” and tried listening to a song called “Running.” As it turned out, that was the second song I heard in the mall.

Running, running
As fast as we can
I really hope we make it
(Do you think we'll make it?)
We're running
Keep holding my hand
It's so we don't get separated

If you're waiting for some kind of pithy conclusion, I confess I don't have any. I just found it interesting that (1) music seems more likely to be “sticky” to my brain at the mall and (2) in the last two or three weeks, I've heard multiple songs from the same band (which I was not familiar with) at the same mall that managed to get stuck in my head.

Anyone else have a song stuck in your noggin at the moment?

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