Category Archives: Music

Here Comes Zune

According to Engadget, Microsoft’s rumoured music player, Zune, “will not be PlaysForSure compliant, meaning you will not be able to use your Zune player with Napster or Vongo, for example. This will be an entirely new system. Microsoft will continue to support and develop for their PlaysForSure initiative, but all things PlaysForSure are handled by two entirely separate division that will not have any crossover”.

So yet again we have another music format from Microsoft. This is the problem with everything they have ever done in this space: the formats and constantly changing. Although I am going to wait to see this device I am guessing that the continued confusion for Microsoft, the public and suppliers will be driving more people to Apple this Christmas. I could be one of them.

On this day…

2005: Coming Soon To A Browser Near You
2002: All For A New Pair of Shoes

Changing The Face of Pop

According to Yahoo, Justin Timberlake wants new sound to change pop and push the boundaries of music with a new album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds”, that marks a departure from his earlier chart-topping style, he said on Friday. I guess all this promotion for his new album is the reason his Man of the Moment page is getting more traffic!

On this day…

2005: Trafalgar Square Vigil
2003: A 4 Minute Warning
2002: Spending Money At Last

Switch Me On?

Will Young

I do like Will Young’s new single and I am not sure why. I kind of imagine that this picture might have something to do with it (but perhpas I am being unfair). According to gay.com Will is now much more comfortable with his out gay profile in the UK which is good news for him and I think for the rest of us too and he’s a lot less of an angry young man.

On this day…

2004: Evening In The City
2003: Remember, Remember (I'm A Bit Late)
2003: Remember, Remember (I’m A Bit Late)

1700 Tracks And Counting

How much music do I own? I have spend several days getting more of my music into my mp3 player. There are 1700+ tracks and I still seem to have a stack of CDs around. So, anyway, the plan is to store the CDs away and only use the digital music version. It’s been an interesting task so far but I don’t want to sit here for days doing it! Still, I’d forgotten how much I had and I am hearing things I haven’t heard for ages. It’s quite interesting (to me) really.

On this day…

2004: links for 2004-11-12
2003: The Trench
2003: More Time Shifts
2001: Privacy Policy

Gay Music Stars Still Stir Headline Writers

We all know there are plenty of gay folks in the music business but few of the stars feel able to come out. Stephen Gately did it a few years ago, Andrew Kinlochan did and so did Will Young. Yesterday, Mark Feehily (the quiet one in Westlife) told The Sun newspaper he was gay and that got reported all over the place. It stuns me that anybody bothers to write about this anymore (or uses the word ‘admit‘ in the headline) but I, along with plenty of other gay men in the UK, wish him well.

On this day…

2004: Technology Gets The Better Of Me
2004: Another Chart
2004: Celebrity Justice?
2002: A Haddock is A Wet Fish

Hits Out Of Hell

I managed to charge the mp3 player I spoke about at the weekend. Yes, I know that it’s not that hard. Anyway, I was standing on the treadmill last night searching for something motivating music. I usually catch up on the news while running but I really couldn’t face it last night. I was looking for some way of escaping the world for 45 minutes. And lo, I came across Meatloaf‘s Hits Out Of Hell on my player and discovered that power rock, big choruses and loud guitars really make the whole exercise of exercise so much easier. Strangely motivating really. Read more about Meatloaf at the BBC.

On this day…

2004: Email At Work
2002: Yesterday was Ben Affleck's Birthday
2002: Yesterday was Ben Affleck’s Birthday

Memories Of The Walkman

When I was younger my Sony Walkman was one of my favourite things. Today, you would probably think of it as a first generation device but I think this was 1982 and it was a WM-4 (or the like). There’s a picture of it here. My brother and I were at an age where we wanted to listen to our own music all the time so I suspect my parents thought it would be a good idea to get us one each so we could listen to our music in the car while they had Radio 2 on. And it stopped the arguments.

I was a avid singles collector at the time and the little Walkman unit wasn’t ever going to play vinyl 45s. So, at this point in my life I became a compilation tape wizard. I would spend hours putting tapes of my records together to listen to in the car. There would be the odd album track from one of my parent’s records but most of the tracks were from those singles of mine.

I would spend hours listening, rewinding, forwarding and listening again to my soundtrack to the 80s. If it had been number one in the charts during that period then it would have been on those tapes.

And so to – what I thought was going to be – the point of this little wander down memory lane. During that time in the early 80s I used to carry a small stock of batteries around. If the Walkman stopped working I just replaced the battery (although I did learn over the years not to use the rewind functions a great deal as they drastically reduced battery life). My cheesy 80s pop was always with me.

Fast forward to 2005. This afternoon I was heading to the gym and thought I’d take my new century Walkman-equivalent with me only to find the battery was drained. Except this time I can’t just swap out the batteries – I have to charge it. So I wasn’t able to walk with my music.

And they call it progress.

On a side note, my parent’s loft probably still houses the Walkman – the cassette part gave up years ago but the radio still works and the stereo sound from it is still one of the best I’ve ever heard. Those 80s hits singles are all stored in boxes in the same loft space but the compilation tapes have long since gone. It would be amusing to try and recreate one of them through the wonders of digital music but I shan’t be setting myself that kind of goal.

Spooky side note. When I wrote the words above I had no idea that the entries on this day in 2004 and 2003 were both – in some way – music related. I wonder was it is about today?

On this day…

2007: Presentation Porn
2004: Digital Download Chart
2003: Silly Pop Stars
2003: Beep Beep To Profit
2002: When Love Comes To Town

Erasure: The Nightbird Tour

erasure_show_logo.gifI’ve seen Erasure a couple of times in concert. The last time was the Other People’s Songs tour. While I enjoyed the album I wasn’t so sure about the concert: they seemed to be going through the motions a little more than previous times. So, it was with some interest that I got by tickets to The Nightbird Tour at Hammersmith Odeon (erasuregig.com).

From the moment Andy Bell appears on stage with angel wings you know they are back on form. The Nightbird material fits very well into the overall set; the feeling of a ‘show’ is back and the audience was – most definitely – behind Vince and Andy. The first number ‘No Doubt’ leads into ‘Hideaway’ which I don’t recall seeing performed for a very long time and is one of my favourites. But we also got ‘A Little Respect’, ‘Who Needs Love Like That’ and ‘Blue Savannah’ plus a Vince performing ‘Rapture’.

The concerts are recorded so that you can get a copy of the show you went to see. I shall be having one of those for I had a superb time.

On this day…

2005: They Have The Cool Jobs
2004: Formula 1 2004 Race Calendar For Outlook Import
2004: Real Player For Palm Devices
2003: They're All Abroad
2003: They’re All Abroad
2003: Thoughts on Blogspace

Love In The Song Title

Fact: Since I was born (to today) there have been 47 UK number one hit singles containing the word ‘love’ including hits by Little Jimmy Osmond (Long Haired Lover From Liverpool), Kraftwerk (The Model / Computer Love – to give it an official title), Glenn Medeiros (Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You) and the Black Eyed Peas (Where Is The Love). Two number one hit singles had ‘sex’ in the title (Rod Stewart and Color Me Badd) but none seem to have had death in the song title.

This week’s Number One is Steve Brookstein’s version of Against All Odds which has also been a Number One selling hit for Mariah Carey & Westlife and Phil Collins.

Hours of fun to be had at everyhit.com.

On this day…

2004: Today

Music To Go

Earlier (technically last night) I signed up to Audioscrobbler to submit my musical listening habits (at least from my machine at home) to the system. So, now you all get to see my appalling music tastes and have a good old laugh – although I recommend you sign up as it’s fascinating.

Meanwhile, I posted a comment over at Nick Bradbury’s site about digital music players and, while not the best expressed point ever I would content it holds true:

IMHO, the biggest problem Microsoft have with WMP is the lack of a Microsoft audio player and that’s Apple’s big advantage. I’ve had four or five players and none of them integrates well: playlists, ratings and recently played are not transferred. The iPod has all of this spot on: musical tastes need to be able to move between devices. In addition, WMA-compatible music stores have moved the goal posts so some of my previously purchased music is now not able to be played on my player.

I’ve used WMP for a while and encoded most of my music in their WMA format – it wouldn’t be impossible to switch but it would be a pain but I swear that it’s very, very tempting. It’s not just the iTunes software and it’s not just the iPod – it’s the combination they’ve got right.

Then Nick points out that the WMA conversion is all handled in iTunes and the whole thing becomes even more tempting. So, if you are a Windows user with iTunes and an iPod is it as good as it’s cracked up to be?

UPDATE: After posting this I realised the ‘On This Day‘ link is to a previous time I wrote about Digital Music players. I still have the Rio Riot and use it occasionally. It’s still a decent music player but suffers because they don’t update the software anymore and it wo’t play all my rights-managed WMA files. an iPod user from two years agao would have no such trouble would they?

On this day…

2003: Here Comes Christmas
2002: Rip Away