Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen cover Willow Smith

First and foremost let me say that I really enjoy Jimmy Fallon.  He was brilliant as the one member of the cast who always broke on SNL.  His rapport with Tina Fey on Weekend Update was the highlight of that segment’s long and storied history.  And although he was the surprise pick to replace Coco on Late Night he has been superb in that time slot.

For those that are not familiar (or for those that live across ponds) Jimmy has taken the late night talk show and turned it into a sort of geeked out variety show where he occaisionally pays homage to the Hubble telescope, parodies/lampoons his favorite television series, and performs skits or songs with guests.  In a recent episode Jimmy decided to don a Neil Young outfit (and quite a convincing vocal impersonation) and join up with Bruce Springsteen to cover the latest break out annoyance that is Willow Smith.

mp3 : Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young) and Bruce Springsteen – Whip My Hair (Willow Smith Cover)

First of all, and I sincerely apologize for doing this, but here is a link to watch the original music video.  It is quite honestly cringe inducing bad.  As a sidebar, why on earth would Will Smith think it was appropriate to name his daughter Willow?  Jaden got the upper hand in that sibling rivalry from day one.

This cover features Jimmy Fallon impersonating Neil Young as well as playing both harmonica and acoustic guitar.  About half way through the song Bruce Springsteen joins him onstage with an electric guitar and a killer fake beard, mustache, and sunglasses.  You can check the original video for this performance here.

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Bruce Springsteen track The Wrestler

I can’t seem to help myself when it comes to The Boss.  There’s just something magnetic about him.  Maybe it’s because I don’t really like modern day Cougar and Billy Joel is pretty terrible now and John Denver and died.  But maybe it’s because Springsteen is still good.  He’s still good in a way that actually matters.  His music is gripping and tragic and heart wrenchingly real.  Sometimes, yes, he leans a bit too heavily on patriotism and rhetoric, but in the end his songs feel like they are honest, rough and tumble, struggling working man instant classics.  And I just can’t help myself.

mp3 : Bruce Springsteen – The Wrestler

Yes this is the title track from the soundtrack to the film The Wrestler (amazon) (itunes).  No I have yet to see it.  I also haven’t seen The Hangover or Slumdog Millionaire yet either so get off my back.

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Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama

I had the good fortune of having two tickets to get into Barack Obama’s northern Indiana town hall meeting which took place earlier today.  Barack was charismatic as always and his speech was filled with rhetoric and patriotism not heard since the speeches of JFK.  Fortunately it seems as if Obama actually has plans and strategies to back up his platform of hope.  He spoke for over an hour and during that time, in keeping with the town hall theme, he fielded some questions from the audience.  Let me tell you I was disappointed in the lack of intelligence put forth by my fellow Hoosiers.  No one asked what Barack’s opinion was on the rationale behind the theory that America acts as the World Police, that we largely shirked all responsibility by failing to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, or that we seem to feel as if invading Iraq was justified due to the strife and calamity prevalent under Sadam Hussein when all over the world over 25,000 people die every single day for lack of food and potable water.

What we needed was a question about something that actually matters.  No one asked about Barack’s stance on nuclear power, immigration, or illegal aliens currently in this country.  I personally would’ve liked to hear Senator Obama detail his plan to have American made cars getting 150 miles per gallon in the next ten years {a far sight better than Bush’s plan to have a fleet average 35 mpg by 2020}, or to hear Barack answer literally any question about anything to do with China.  All my opinions on the questions aside, I feel as if Senator Obama is on the right track when he says that he wants to change the way Washington D.C. operates.  I would appreciate a question on whether or not Barack supports a complete ban of lobbyists in Washington.  Alas the majority of questions he fielded were simple and boring {and even though my hand was raised I was not called upon to voice a question}.

mp3 : Bruce Springsteen – Livin’ in the Future

At the end of the meeting Barack Obama shook hands with as many voters as he could find, much to the chagrin of the Secret Service, while the campaign gurus opted to play Livin’ in the Future as Senator Obama’s exit music.  Now this isn’t the first time The Boss has been associated with politics, Obama, or with political happenings across this nation, but I personally found the song choice a little melancholic.  Although the song is catchy and upbeat the lyrics paint a fairly bleak picture of the future.  I personally would choose to play Mates of State’s song Get Better with the repeated chorus of “everything’s gonna get lighter even if it never gets better” and the repeated line “forget all your politics for awhile, let the color squeeze around.”  Maybe I’m joking.  Maybe that’s why I’m an unemployed blogger.

Rock the Vote

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The Best Albums of 2007

At long last here are my top ten albums released during the past twelve months. Download all the tracks and play them loud, support the artist by buying their albums, merchandise, or concert tickets, and most of all continue to enjoy great music. This list was ridiculously hard to create due to the amount of talent in the musical realm, but, these are the albums that I was most excited about in 2007. {note : in the list below the artist name links to their website, the album title links to the album on amazon, and the iTunes link will open iTunes to the appropriate information}

All the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}


01 : Cloud CultThe Meaning of 8 (iTunes)

Easily the most cathartic album I’ve ever heard the general storyline of this album chronicles the path frontman Craig Minowa took while coming to terms with the death of his son. Most of the tracks on this album have to do with what little Kaidin’s life would have been like {he would’ve turned eight this year} or how he inspired his father and those he met with the joy of life. It was a very close call between Cloud Cult and The Weakerthans for album of the year, but this band from Minneapolis pulled it out in the end. From beginning to end there is not a single note that I would change about The Meaning of 8.

mp3 : Cloud Cult – Take Your Medicine
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Your 8th Birthday
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Purpose


02 : The WeakerthansReunion Tour (iTunes)

Second place, and by a very slim margin, goes to one of my favorite bands of all time, The Weakerthans. Coming a full four years after their previous effort, this studio album had a lot of fans wondering if rust and age would tamper with the signature lyrical and melodic brilliance of The Weakerthans. All fears were laid to rest after one listen, though, with the only complaint being it clocks in under forty minutes. John Samson tells these wonderful vignettes about empty rooms, curling tournaments, and runaway cats that are filled with a sense of forlorn truth. Something in this album rings true on every listen. If you’ve never heard The Weakerthans their newest disc is easily a wonderful starting point.

mp3 : The Weakerthans – Tournament of Hearts
mp3 : The Weakerthans – Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure
mp3 : The Weakerthans – Sun in an Empty Room


03 : RadioheadIn Rainbows

Not much else could be written or said about this album other than what has already been said. Radiohead tops many of the best of lists across various publications and blogs. They released their album completely on their own, with their own website, and charged nothing for the music if that’s what you chose to pay. They bucked convention with this release, just as they’ve continually created new and innovative sounds on each of their albums. This, their seventh studio album and first in four years, is an amazing musical achievement even without the marketing {or lack thereof} hype.

mp3 : Radiohead – Reckoner
mp3 : Radiohead – Videotape


04 : Arcade FireNeon Bible (iTunes)

Although many a rabid fan and critic balked at the slightly new direction Arcade Fire went on their sophomore effort I challenge you to find another band that made this interesting, layered, and talented a second studio album. Moving away from stories involving apocalypse and funerals this album instead finds its voice in a social commentary of sorts {which is perfect when you’re influenced by Bruce Springsteen}. I thought this album was a perfect follow up to Funeral. Yes, it is different, but so are we.

mp3 : Arcade Fire – (Antichrist Television Blues)
mp3 : Arcade Fire – Intervention


05 : Bishop AllenThe Broken String (iTunes)

Throughout 2006 Bishop Allen, which is a collaborative effort between Justin Rice, Christian Rudder, and various backing musicians, released twelve EP’s; one for each month. It was with much anticipation, then, that I awaited their first proper studio full length this past July. And Bishop Allen did not disappoint with The Broken String. From start to end the storytelling, the music, the melodies, and the undeniable fun of the album had me playing it for anyone who would listen. Over five months later it still amazes me that this amount of quality music was put on one album.

mp3 : Bishop Allen – The Monitor
mp3 : Bishop Allen – The Chinatown Bus


06 : Foo FigthersEchoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (iTunes)

Foo Fighters released their most mature and grounded album to date while finding a way to showcase Dave Grohl’s massive talent without the use of a sprawling double album. From start to finish this album shows the diversity of the entire Foo Fighter’s cannon while always keeping you on the edge of your seat, anticipating what song is coming next. From a pure rock anthem like Come Alive, to the bombast of The Pretender, down to the the ecstasy found on The Ballad of Beaconsfield Miners, there is no stone left unturned on this, the best rock album of the year.

mp3 : Foo Figthers – The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners
mp3 : Foo Fighters – Come Alive


07 : Sigur RosHvarf/Heim (iTunes)

Sigur Ros is easily my favorite band that I cannot seem to describe to others. Or for that matter get other people to listen to. They’re a band out of the great land of Iceland and lead singer Jonsi sings in one of the most beautiful falsetto voices I’ve ever heard. If the angels from on high sang in Icelandic then this is what the music backing them would sound like. This release was a double album with the disc labelled Hvarf containing studio versions of previously unreleased tracks and the disc called Heim containing acoustic versions of previous favorites.

mp3 : Sigur Ros – Heysatan
mp3 : Sigur Ros – Staralfur


08 : BeirutThe Flying Club Cup (iTunes)

Originally scoring much higher in my list Beirut fell to number eight after repeated listenings. Although this album didn’t have the staying power I thought it would have it still is a solid effort from Zach Condon throughout the mix as he brings his particular ecclectic/gypsy/folk/balkan style of music and makes it a true edition to the great new American Folk wave. There’s something in his music that cannot be found anywhere else. Due most likely to his extensive traveling throughout eastern Europe during his developmental years and the fact that a wrist injury keeps him from playing the guitar properly.

mp3 : Beirut – Guyamas Sonora


09 : Band of HorsesCease to Begin (iTunes)

The critics who hated and/or panned this album when it was released have almost nothing in common with me. I, for one, cannot fathom what they were looking for in the second studio album from Band of Horses. Cease to Begin showcases a sound and style that are uniquely theirs; from the driving guitar rhythms to the unique crooning style of frontman Ben Bridwell. I thought this album was solid from start to finish with the inclusion of a few incredible tracks like Island on the Coast and Is There A Ghost. Band of Horses is one of the best bands in the past couple of years and I’ve been excited about their music since their first release.

mp3 : Band of Horses – Island on the Coast


10 : Sea WolfLeaves in the River (iTunes)

Rounding out the top ten albums of 2007 is this little gem by Sea Wolf. This band is the brainchild of Alex Brown Church, who formerly played with the band Irving, and he incorporates a variety of devices and sounds to tell his stories. Although at times the record can sound like a smooth amalgamation of various sources, in the end it is a blissful thirty five minute mosey through Alex’s life, music, and stories.

mp3 : Sea Wolf – Leaves In The River

Download all the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

And there you have it. In my humble opinion those were the best albums of 2007. Other noteworthy albums that didn’t quite make the top ten include In Our Bedroom After The War by Stars, Wednesdays by Wakey!Wakey!, From Here We Go Sublime by The Field, Sawdust by The Killers, Magic by Bruce Springsteen, B Sides Live by Zach Williams, Graduation by Kanye West, and We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse. As talented and wonderful as this past year has been I’m looking forward to 2008 when there will be new albums by my favorites Sufjan Stevens, Cloud Cult, the Magnetic Fields, the Postal Service, and Weezer.

For those of you who just found my blog take a minute a peruse other posts here at The World Forgot. I hope you enjoyed yourself this year, 2008 is sure to bring something amazing to everyone.

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Bruce Springsteen

One of the greatest songs Bruce Springsteen ever wrote has been relegated to a simple prayer for 9/11. What’s really unique is that this song, My City of Ruins, was written before the events of 9/11. In fact Springsteen wrote the song looking back on his beloved city of Asbury Park, NJ. It’s the story of a once great place slowly slipping into decay as the people, and the money they had, migrates to other parts of the world. He speaks of empty churches, evoking images of rust and ruin, images of things long since past. It’s quite a change of pace from his more well known tracks such as Glory Days or Born in the USA.

Regardless of how it’s viewed now, how we’ve misinterpreted this song or labeled it as something it is not, it is ultimately a haunting tale. When The Boss sings mournfully “tell me how do I begin again?” you are forced to wonder if anything this far gone could find a new beginning. You want to have the answer to that question, to be able to give him a solution to all these troubles, but in the end you know that all you can do is clasp your hands and pray with him.

As originally recorded for the album “The Rising” this song takes on almost a sick sense of slick production and radio friendly vibe. The version below is the best one available of this song. Coming from the album “America: A Tribute to Heroes” this version is stripped down, filled out with harmonica and a gospel choir, and contains more emotion in the first fifteen seconds than all other versions of this song combined.

mp3 : Bruce Springsteen – My City of Ruins

lyrics :

there’s a blood red circle
on the cold dark ground
and the rain is falling down
the church door’s thrown open
i can hear the organ’s song
but the congregation’s gone
my city of ruins
my city of ruins

now the sweet bells of mercy
drift through the evening trees
young men on the corner
like scattered leaves
the boarded up windows, the empty streets
and my brother’s down on his knees
my city of ruins
my city of ruins

come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up

now’s there’s tears on the pillow
darlin’ where we slept
and you took my heart when you left
without your sweet kiss
my soul is lost, my friend
tell me how do i begin again?
my city’s in ruins
my city’s in ruins

now with these hands
with these hands
with these hands
with these hands
i pray lord
with these hands
with these hands
i pray for the strength, lord
with these hands
with these hands
i pray for the faith, lord
with these hands
with these hands
we pray for your love, lord
with these hands
with these hands
we pray for the lost, lord
with these hands
with these hands
we pray for this world, lord
with these hands
with these hands
we pray for the strength, lord
with these hands
with these hands
we pray for the strength, lord
with these hands
come on
with these hands
come on

come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!
come on, rise up!

come on, rise up
come on, rise up
come on, rise up

For a good look at the decay of favored Eastern Seaboard spots make sure you check out the movie City by the Sea starring Robert De Niro.