Upcoming: The Supply and Demand of…

I’ve received some pretty good feedback from both of the mixes I’ve posted, so I will continue to put them together. As I mentioned when I released the last one, I will announce a theme ahead of time and give you, the audience, a chance to make some suggestions. I’m going out of town the week after this next week and will be enjoying a week without much for electronic devices, including the internet, so you’ll be on your own for a week, but I will try to get the third installment of Supply and Demand out before then. So here’s the theme…

The Supply and Demand of…Home.

So send in your ideas and suggestions for songs that revolve around the idea of home. Be as creative as you’d like, and we’ll see how this one goes.

Send your ideas and suggestions via email to mkinmotion[at]gmail[dot]com. And I will work diligently to put it all together before I leave on the 16th. Also I don’t know if you noticed the change in the anonymity policy here at MKinMotion.com, but I’m now posting as Matt (my actual name) instead of the more anonymous MKinMotion. Big step.

There’s Been A Lot Of Talk About This Next Song…

Thanks to Cara at Scatter o’ Light, I listened to “Love Rescue Me” in a new way tonight. Maybe you know or maybe you don’t, but “Love Rescue Me” was written by Bono and Bob Dylan. On the studio version on Rattle & Hum, Dylan sings with Bono. I’ve heard Bono talk before about the influence of Dylan both as a musician and as a celebrity. There’s a verse of the song that caught my ear as I listened to the famous performance where Bono announces that U2 are going a way for a while to dream it all up again. They virtually dissappear between this series of concerts in Dublin in 1989 until the release of Achtung Baby in 1991 as a reinvented band with what many fans and non-fans consider to be one of the greatest albums ever. The verse in the song is:

“Many strangers have I met, on my road to regret,
Many lost seek to find themselves in me.
They ask me to reveal, the very thoughts they would conceal,
Love rescue me.”

I’ve said many times that the words don’t necessarily make a song, but these words are pretty profound for both men involved in the writing of the song. Both men have been looked to by many people and communities to have the answers to whatever question hasn’t been answered sufficiently. It makes me think of John Lennon in Imagine (the movie, not the song) when a strange hippie shows up at his house on a sort of pilgrimage to get all the answers to the big questions in life. John Lennon, Bono, and Bob Dylan have all been asked this, Kurt Cobain experienced it, being viewed almost as a modern day prophet. Here Bono and Bob point out that strangers try to find themselves in them or their songs or their persona or even just their image. These strangers ask them to share the deepest thoughts, passions, ideas, their hearts…things that the strangers themselves would hide. As the title suggests, there have been many interpretations of the song coming up with religion, drugs, women, etc as being this solution that the two men are looking to. Could it be love? Not the love of a crazy adoring fan, but the love of someone who respects their heart enough not to expect it to be shared without merit? Just a new thought on an old song.

Where Am I? Where I Am.

The following are a few stream of consciousness thoughts that I tossed together. I welcome your comments. If there are stairs from the level MKinMotion is on, I’m trying to climb the stairs to take this place to the next level…I’d love to have you jump on board and join me. I realize these four thoughts should be separate posts, but I feel like breaking rules and not breaking your RSS readers if you’re on board that way.

Ramble 1
You may not have even noticed a difference, but you are now at MKinMotion.com. Okay, okay, so the URL still says blogspot.mkinmotion.com…but if you type MKinMotion.com into your browser you will come here. I bought the domain. I bought a couple of others that will be making appearances sometime in the future, too. I also secured hosting for the domain, so in the future I may move the blog entirely over to MKinMotion.com and have the blogspot address forward. I mention all of this because I want you to know there is a bigger future to this place I call MKinMotion, but also because the money that has paid for the domain(s) and hosting and email, etc. has come from people like you. With the AdSense ads, the iTunes links, the Amazon.com links, I’ve managed to generate enough revenue to get started. Pat yourselves on the back…the revolution has just begun to begin.

I’ve felt a certain level of disconnect between me and the blog world. I resist the term blogosphere because it’s currently on a list of words I currently hate. I feel like I haven’t had much meaningful to say, and I feel like I’ve been mailing in some of the weekly features. Maybe you haven’t noticed it at all. I really do have a couple of articles rattling around in my head, but I feel like I’ve got to elevate everything I put into this blog. I know how much other blogs mean to me and I want to become that to you. Through the magic of RSS feeds, I’m able to know within minutes when someone adds an article/post to their blog, making it very easy to keep up with hundreds. Mostly people I don’t actually know, but somehow feel like I know a little bit more about them from reading sometimes daily thoughts. Everyday I spend a little time in the morning and a little time in the evening reading through what people have been saying for the day. I may even have you on RSS…you never know. So I guess I feel challenged by the realization I’ve had over the last couple of weeks. This realization that this stuff means something to me. These blogs I’ve become attached to…what am I doing to contribute to that? Does what I have to say mean something to anyone out there? The challenge is to elevate what I preached a couple of months ago when I answered the question “How do I drive traffic to my blog?” that a reader sent in for Q&A Wednesday (though this happened to be a Thursday like today). I think I had 3 C’s but I think I have more than 3 now. Consistency, content, and connections were my original 3. I would add comments to that. The first thing most people do when I comment on their blog (especially if they’re a complete stranger to me) is the follow my link back to my blog. They may or may not comment on mine, but I know they came here. The more you read, the more you involve yourself, the more you comment, the more you form a 4th C “community.”

I’m often described as a quiet guy, and sometimes I agree with the description and sometimes I dispute it. In many situations I tend to be the quiet guy. I’ve always been a little analytic, the observer, the thinker. I think I have an odd self perception of myself, though. I think sometimes quietness gets confused with shyness; with arrogance; with indifference; with how do I say this…stupidity. I know I’m not stupid, so I can say it. I may make stupid decisions or have stupid opinions or laugh at stupid jokes, but I know I’m not stupid. I’m working in a job right now where I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to. Typically I put my ear buds in choose a playlist select repeat and tune the rest of the world out for two 4 hour segments of the day. I wonder sometimes as the others in my department carry on conversations about the weather, bad television, and whatever else they talk about if they think I’m one of those things…shy, arrogant, indifferent, stupid. I guess it doesn’t matter, because I’ve done more work each day over the last two week there than they usually do, so I feel alright about perceptions. The work itself is easy but there’s tons of it. Paperwork, literally; lots of paper lots of work. The work itself isn’t the least bit challenging to me, so I have to make creative goals for myself to be motivated to get as much work as I’ve been getting done. There’s no incentive for me to be faster than anyone else, there’s really no one keeping track, but I feel like I have to challenge myself or I would go crazy…or maybe just talk all day about the weather and Big Brother while listening to Kenny G and Nick Lachey.

I’ve been lurkily (MSWord doesn’t think that’s a word) keeping up with Robert Scoble via his blog. I feel pretty safe to assume that most of my audience doesn’t have any idea who Robert Scoble is…that’s fine (here’s his wikipedia entry). All you have to really know about him is he’s worked at Microsoft for the last few years and been plugged in with their blogging and vidcasting/vlogging. All these words MSWord hates. He recently left Microsoft to jump on board with a start-up down here in the Bay Area. The company is PodTech and they’re a podcasting/vidcasting company. It’s really inspiring to me. I listen to a lot of podcasts and watch a lot of vidcasts, as I’ve mentioned on here, and I really would like to get involved with something like that. I watched his last interview tonight from his MS gig. He interviewed Alexander Gounares, who happens to be Bill Gates’ technical assistant. Alexander said a lot of interesting things as you might expect someone who’s the technical assistant to one of the smartest people technically and non-technically on the planet. He prefaced one of his comments with, “This is gonna sound cheesy” when he was asked what he sees as his goal. His answer was “to make the world a better place.” Don’t we all have that goal in a way? I hope we do, but I’m convinced we don’t. After you get done gagging at Gounares’ comment, understand that he went on to explain that through some Microsoft and non-MS tools his father who owns a small business is now able to do business with people all over the world. It’s remarkable that at the top of a huge corporation there are core values in place. I’d love to be involved with something where at the core is to change customers’ lives and make their worlds as well as the world at large a better place. I’m sure you’ve seen the Microsoft commercials that show the kid playing piano on the table, the businesses filling in the gaps, the schools growing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac user or a Microsoft user or a Linux Nazi, people around the world use these things to create, to fix, to communicate, to educate…you can’t stop it.

The Supply and Demand of Almost Hymns

Okay, this goes back a few posts, more like a few weeks. I went on a little blitz about songwriters a few weeks ago and listed some of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters” according to Paste Magazine. Then I went on to add my top 20. What I’ve done for this edition of Supply and Demand is put together some of my favorite songs from my top 20 living songwriters. I had a whole other mix of songs ready to go, but I got frustrated with a couple of the tracks having pops or skips in them, so I relented to this idea I had a few weeks ago. Their in order of my 20, so follow along. A warning, there may be some adult themes or language mixed in. I have realized more than ever that this type of thing really requires me to add my own voice to add some color to it. I got a new microphone last weekend, so maybe the next edition of Supply and Demand will have my not-for-radio-voice mixed in with songs. And as always, let me know what you think. As the title suggests, there has to be demand for me to supply more. Also if you have suggestions or ideas for songs to be included in future editions, send them via email mkinmotion[at]gmail[dot]com. Also if you’re interested in lending your voice to introduce a song, let me know and you can either record it yourself, or I have a way for you to record it via phone. I’d love to get some participation. Enjoy your mix and support these great songwriters by buying their stuff.

Download here.

1. Bob Dylan, Positively 4th Street
This is probably not the best nor your favorite Dylan song, but I love it. The title also makes me think of nights spent on 4th Avenue in Anchorage. Many an interesting night took place on 4th whether it was getting involved in a street brawl cage match or jukebox magic at the Pie Hole, it’s a good street to be caught on in summer and winter alike.

2. Bruce Springsteen, One Step Up
Maybe a bit of a surprise for anyone who considers me a Springsteen fan or a purist if you will. I’ve always loved this song, the sound of it and the words…it all works.

3. Paul McCartney with Wings, Band on the Run (sorry, not available for sale on iTunes)
Probably his most famous song other than “Live and Let Die” that came out of his post Beatles catalog. Sure some will say “Spies Like Us” or “Say, Say, Say” but come on, this song blows all of that away. You can’t help but sing this one and it’s so well crafted into what sounds like several songs put together.

4. Paul Simon, Homeless
As I listen to this song mixed with the others, I’m realizing it’s probably not the best example of his songwriting, but I didn’t want to use a Simon & Garfunkel song so I went through Rythym of the Saints and Graceland and this one stood out as unique. Don’t hold it against me.

5. U2, A Day Without Me
I had to go early…but not too early (U23 might not be the best representation of songwriting). The entire Boy album is full of great songwriting. These guys are just 20 year old kids trying to find their voices (literally, in this song) and this song shows the concepts they were trying to tackle even back then. Three Pauls in a row?

6. Neil Young, Razor Love
I’m sensing a trend here, and that’s that I’m betting that there are diehard Neil fans that are shouting at their screens right now. I picked this song not only because it’s beautiful, but because I love the image of love as a razor wire that “cuts right through.”

7. Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey (again, not interested in iTunes revenue)
Ivan has written so many great songs that I could have chosen from, but I think this is a prototypical song that sums up his skill with words and turning them into almost hymns.

8. Ryan Adams, Damn, Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)
Again, I could have chosen from countless songs that Ryan has put out, but I chose something from Heartbreaker that shows that he can take some simple chords and make them into a great song. Do yourself a favor and start collecting this guy’s stuff.

9. Wilco, Hummingbird
Jeff Tweedy is a genius. I know I’ve said it before, but this is one of those songs that makes you feel something. It kind of always rolled by when I would listen to the album, but then when I saw them at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin the night before they played ACL, I fell in love with the song.

10. Counting Crows, St. Robinson in His Cadillac Dream
For my money, I still think there isn’t a better song than “Sullivan Street”, but I already put that song in my first effort. This recording comes from the live album that Adam and the boys released last week. I keep listening to it while I’m at work and find myself blowing through hours of mindless work with this album on repeat. It’s good and this is a great version of this forgotten song.

11. R.E.M., Turn You Inside-Out
This one has all the things that people like R.E.M. for. Guitar, harmony, depth, a little bit country a little bit rock and roll. I’m gonna get sooooo sued.

12. Tom Waits, Downtown Train (link is not the Storytellers version)
Images of Rod Stewart in neon may come to mind when you hear this, but yes, Tom Waits wrote it. This is taken from one of the most fascinating episodes of VH1 Storytellers ever. Gotta love that voice, don’t you?

13. Jackson Browne, These Days
A great song to try to teach yourself basic finger picking on the guitar. Sorrow well blended with melody makes for a great song.

14. David Bowie, Life on Mars?
You know it’s a truly great song that if you don’t know the words but you can’t help but sing along anyway.

15. Radiohead, Karma Police (someday, maybe Radiohead will jump on iTunes)
Besides “Creep”, it might be the most well known song, but there’s a reason for that. I think it’s pure genius. It has an apex in the middle of it, which also happens to be the turning point of OK Computer. Hopefully you’ll pull out your copy of the album and listen for the change that happens in the middle of this song. I’d also say there’s a hidden track, but I wanted to include “Fitter Happier” also, but in this medium there really aren’t hidden tracks.

16. Coldplay, One I Love
I wanted to put a song that wasn’t really on an album on here, I think it’s one of their best songs, especially from that in between period between Parachutes and Rush of Blood. This song happens to be the b-side on the “In My Place” single if you were wondering.

17. Pearl Jam, Nothingman
All of these artists have such huge catalogs of songs to choose from. It makes it hard, but I think this one has several elements that put Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard on the list.

18. Pink Floyd, Brain Damage
I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a song to represent Roger Waters’ songwriting. I looked at his solo albums and then the Floyd stuff. I picked this song because it shows that even outside of the context of the concept album the songwriting is so solid. Within the context of the concept album, his talent is so much more evident.

19. They Might Be Giants, She’s an Angel
I know what you’re thinking. TMBG are all about fun melodies and fun, sometimes funny lyrics. Well, you’re right. This is an example of a They Might Be Giants love song.

20. Kris Kristofferson, Sunday Morning Coming Down
Johnny Cash took this song and turned it into a hit, but Kris Kristofferson wrote it and here he sings it. That’s the story of Kristofferson’s early career, he’d write the song but someone else would sing it. But like Willie Nelson and Jackson Browne, he overcame that to put together some great performances too.

Bonus Tracks

You remember that I left some significant players out of my top 20 and got some emails about who I left out. And while I can’t include everyone, I thought I’d throw on two bonus tracks of songwriter’s who could easily jump into the top 20. My apologies to those of you who where looking to fit this onto a CD because the bonus tracks put you over the top, but these two songs speak for themselves.

21. Daniel Lanois, Death of a Train

22. Matthew Ryan, Chrome

KRex, before you mention that there aren’t any women in this edition, join me in putting together a women’s edition. Seriously, I’d even let Ani slide if you could justify her songwriting skills.

The Next Edition

I’ve gotten a few requests to put together another iPod friendly compilation. I’ve decided to oblige. I’ve begun working on it. Don’t expect it tonight, probably Monday night or Tuesday. If you remember, the title of the last one was “The Supply and Demand of Parachutes” and the theme was summer songs. I won’t disclose the theme of this next edition but I will disclose that Supply and Demand will continue to be in the title. As mentioned in the last one, I’m looking for help with these too. I think I will start to do these once a week and announce the theme early in case anyone wants to contribute. Look for more about this on Monday or Tuesday when I post the next edition. And if anyone has a good idea for hosting, I’m in the market. I figured if I wanted to turn this into a weekly podcast I would use something like LibSyn, but I’m not sure a dozen or so songs a week justifies that yet. Anyway, if you have a good place to publicly store larger files, let me know…I’m not necessarily looking for something free. Enjoy long weekend for those of you who have tomorrow off, for those of you who don’t, I’m right there with you.

Album of the Week: Irish Music on the 4th of July

I got a couple of emails about last week’s Album(s) of the week asking why I didn’t wait until this week (Independence Day week) to do Springsteen. It might have worked, but the Album of the Week is generally something I think of in advance with the idea that it might not be something you already have or maybe something you aren’t even aware of. It’s a spotlight of sorts for something out of my collection that I listened to and thought “People need to know about this.” The possibilities are endless, because there are plenty of albums that are great but overlooked. This week I received my ACL CD/DVD set in the mail. And though I would love to feature it as the Album of the Week, I hold off. Instead I highlight a band that shows up on that CD and DVD that I’ve come to love. I’m talking about The Frames. Specifically for Album of the Week I’ve chosen their 2005 album Burn the Maps. Van Morrison and U2 put Ireland on the music map at least for my generation, and many Irish bands have been able to be noticed because of their success. Hothouse Flowers, The Cranberries, and The Frames can all credit their countrymen for getting them noticed. Like U2, the Frames’ music doesn’t have an Irish sound to it despite their having a violin player. Burn the Maps has a great mix of straight rock and roll that can rival anything else out there these days and fresh pop. I recommend “Dream Awake” and “Suffer in Silence” if you’ve only got $1.98 to spend on music today. Also check out their other albums while you’re at it…it’s quality music.

The Frames – Burn the Maps
The Frames – For the Birds
The Frames – Set List: Live in Dublin

Revelate” from the 2005 Austin City Limits Festival.

Also upon further review, Grant Lee Phillips’ Nineteeneighties is pretty spectacular. I highly recommend it.