A Little Traffic Music

If you’re standing at a traffic light or driving around Ann Arbor, crank up the CD Between Here and Gone, by Mary Chapin Carpenter. The entire collection is good, but one of her best songs is “Goodnight America,” with the memorable traffic lyric: “The noise, the heat, the crush of cars just robs me of my nerve/Then someone yells and blasts their horn and pins me to the curb.” Is she singing about Ann Arbor? No, east LA, but this CD will keep you good company anywhere.

Kanye West at No. 1 Spot

Late Registration by Kanye West is this week's no. 1 hit on the Billboard 200 chart. His 2004 debut The College Dropout opened at the no. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Kanye West has been in the news lately with his comments against the president, George W. Bush during the NBC Universal Hurricane Katrina telethon. Kanye West is also embroiled in a lawsuit with a Chicago D.J. over an alleged forged recording agreement.

Hip-hop history in the making

Last week featured hip-hop history on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Several artists interviewed on the program have talent to spare. In addition to recording their own music, artists like Queen Latifah, Will Smith, the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, and Mos Def have acted in movies and television series, composed film scores, and even provided voices for animated films.

The Play Ground

The music season is opening with fanfare and September will be a busy month for The Play Ground and all music lovers.

On September 10 at 8pm the Arbor Opera Theater will open its 2005-2006 season with A Bernstein Celebration. The evening's centerpiece will be Trouble in Tahiti, a one-act chamber opera premiered in 1952 and the first opera Bernstein wrote. Set in suburban America, the story chronicles the emotional decline of a contemporary marriage. The remainder of the evening will feature selections from other Bernstein works such as West Side Story, Mass, and Candide. The performance will take place at St. Clare's/Temple Beth Emeth.

Früheads Unite!

"Take a dash of Ogden Nash. Add a smear of Edward Lear. Toss in a Beatles news conference circa 1964, a sprinkle of Elvis Costello, four media-saturated childhoods and a splash of Monty Python. Garnish with a deep sense of concern about the world. Cultivate in Canada. Mix well" -Ted Anthony, AP National Writer

"{Moxy Fruvous} sound like the Roches meet XTC at a party thrown by Camper Van Beethoven for Robyn Hitchcock's marriage to Cole Porter with They Might Be Giants as wedding band and Tom Lehrer acting as minister, but just as everyone starts singing old Queen songs, the party is crashed by the entire cast of The Muppet Show. Moxy Fruvous is that good." -Dave Anderson writer for 'The Octopus', Champaign, Illinois

Back to School Inspiration

If you want a good chuckle to fight off the back-to-school blues, meet Mrs. Rosemary, the best teacher Donald Davis ever had. And while you are at it, tap along with the hilarious Down in the Backpack, by Bill Harley. These two amazing tellers remind us that some of our most outrageous stories come from school.

Spoon - Gimme Fiction

Spoon has thrown down a helping of unbelievably good music in their latest offering, Gimme Fiction. While listening to this album, you know you are listening to something special. Even better, you're not going to hear this album looping all over the airwaves, so it's almost like you've found your own private beach in the tropics with a tiki bar serving ice-cold Coronas for a quarter.

Kanye West - Late Registration out Today!

The second album from Kanye West, Late Registration, is being released today. I know I can’t wait to listen since the album is supposedly just as good as his first. Late Registration features additional artists such as Jamie Foxx, Common, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, and many others.

If you haven’t already, you should check out Kanye’s first album: The College Dropout. It won a Grammy for Best Rap Album of the year, and “Jesus Walks” won a Grammy for Best Rap Song.

Welcome Back College Students!

If you're waiting for classes to begin and looking for some entertainment, try listening to How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Music Theater. The title perfectly describes the plot, with a little David Sedaris and a little Catcher in the Rye thrown in. I'm not sure I would listen to it in public, unless you can keep from snorting when you laugh. Here's my favorite quote from our hero's high school english teacher:

"Oedipus Rex. A heartwarming little family story in which our hero
kills his father, sleeps with his mother, and gouges his own eyes out.
If it had been written last year, the school board would be burning it
on the front lawn, but since it's two thousand years old, it's deemed
acceptable for your impressionable little brainlets" (pg. 58).

Have fun moving in, and remember all the dorm beds are extra long twin!

Hilary Duff on Top of Chart

Most Wanted, the greatest hits collection by Hilary Duff tops the Billboard 200 this week. Hilary Duff has a greatest hits collection despite only releasing two studio albums, Hilary Duff and Metamorphosis. This is the second Billboard 200 No. 1 for Hilary Duff.

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