Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's Been A While...

Just gives you an indication of the schedule differences between "the mother ship" and "the other place".

Okay, so there's also the issue of "the pesky firewall".

But still...

So, much has happened these past 2 weeks. Am currently caught between a rock and a few hard places work-wise, with a poster to prepare, a headache-inducing travel itinerary, an hour-long tutorial to deliver, an exit exam to contend with, ASM admin duties to cover.


Anyway, I've discovered that I really suck at time management. TV, books, housework, grocery shopping and marketing always take priority. Not to mention a recent spate of medical appointments ( not mine ). Oh yeah, and an ever increasing share of church commitments.

Still, life remains good -- exhaustion notwithstanding.

Caught up with various friends, including an interesting morning tea chat with someone who provided some juicy news about a certain thorn in my side. Funnily enough, however, I didn't gloat as much as I thought I would ( or should ). I actually felt a little sorry for the person.

But a surgical reg -- who's now a consultant -- once assured me that what goes around comes around. Never imagined it would come true one day. Pretty cool. :)

In other news...

Continuum - by John Mayer

This is the latest CD to make its way into my stereo, and I'm ecstatic about the fact that I've hit a full house with my 4 recent purchases ( the other 3 being Clay Aiken, Peter Grant and Shayne Ward ).

I have 2 of Mayer's earlier releases, but this is definitely his personal best. So far! Who knows what more this amazing talent is capable of in years to come?

And for the record, his looks have no influence on my appreciation of his music. ( Although you have to admit he's one attractive chap. And his stage presence -- hypnotic! )

Just read the reviews on Amazon and you'll know what I mean. Sure, I enjoyed Room For Squares and Heavier Things, but despite his success with hits like Your Body Is A Wonderland, Back To You, Bigger Than My Body and Daughters, my personal favourite had always been the EXCELLENT 83 ( track 7 on Room For Squares ).

With Continuum ( which tellingly omits Mayer's picture from the cover -- a great career move, IMHO ), I guarantee you an entire album of 83's. Yes, it's that good.

Things kick off to an upbeat start with the reggae-influenced Waiting On The World To Change, which features whimsical yet poignant lyrics. For example:

"now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it

so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change"

This is followed by the melancholy I Don't Trust Myself ( With Loving You ), and a New Age-y Belief ( do I detect a tinge of Sting in the chorus? ).

Gravity is a lovely slow blues ballad ( picture yourself in a smoky bar with Mayer fronting the small stage ), while The Heart Of Life takes a sweet turn with its homey guitar solos and minimal bass / drum accompaniment.

Other songs worth mentioning are Slow Dancing In A Burning Room ( sizzling hot ), Dreaming With A Broken Heart ( moving ) and I'm Gonna Find Another You.

The latter ( aptly arranged as the last track on the album ) provides a beautiful climax, meshing tender vocals, blues, rock, soul and jazz in a perfect cocktail blend to help listeners wind down after a sumptuous feast.

The melody may sound deceptively simple, but so do many of music history's best-loved classics.

Example of some fine songwriting:

"You might have your reasons but you will never have my rhyme
I'm gonna sing my way away from blue
I'm gonna find another you"

Favourite tracks? I have two.

One's a Jimi Hendrix cover ( and in case you're wondering, I've never heard the original version ), titled Bold As Love.

To be honest, I kinda hated this the first time I heard it, but realized that if I blast it on the player and pay attention to the words, it becomes quite a head rush.
The guitar solos are AWESOME!

Get a load of the lyrics:

"Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted,
They quietly understand
Once happy turquoise armies lay opposite ready,
But wonder why the fight is on

But they're all bold as love, yes, they're all bold as love
Yeah, they're all bold as love
Just ask the axis

My red is so confident that he flashes trophies of war and
Ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring,
But very unsteady for the first go round
My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact Im trying to say its frigthened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from, eh,
Giving my life to a rainbow like you

But, I'm , yeah, Im bold as love
Yeah, yeah
Well I'm bold, bold as love (hear me talking, girl)
I'm bold as love
Just ask the axis (he knows everything)
Yeah, yeah, yeah"

Now all you need is some weed and a pipe. Haha. :)

Best Mayer original though, goes hands down to Vultures.

Superb in every way, from the bluesy melody, to the smooth transitions between the lower and higher keys ( Mayer has a gorgeous falsetto ), and those unbelievable lyrics:

"Some of us, we're hardly ever here
The rest of us, we're born to disappear
How do I stop myself from
Being just a number
How will I hold my head
To keep from going under

Down to the wire
I wanted water but
I'll walk through the fire
If this is what it takes
To take me even higher
Then I'll come through
Like I do
When the world keeps
Testing me, testing me, testing me"

There's some Eric Clapton greatness in there. No doubt about it.

Trust me and buy this.

Robbie Williams Rocks!

I don't care what anyone says -- I spotted him as a potential star way back when he was in Take That ( also predicted great things for Justin Timberlake during his NSync days ), and am totally devastated that he's cancelled the rest of his world tour and won't be performing in Singapore as planned.

Still, I got a good dose of him during a 2-hour viewing of his A Close Encounter concert recording ( cable's Starworld - if you missed it, tough! ).

This guy is such a consummate performer I absolutely love him to bits. Brought back a load of terrific memories from his 2001 stopover ( where I screamed myself hoarse, heh heh ).

But the most interesting thing about him is how he clearly sounds so much better 'live', especially with the less popular songs. This is most obvious when he does mildly obscure tracks from Escapology and Intensive Care.

Of course, when he belts those famous anthems ( Angel, Better Man, Rock DJ, Millennium ), that's when everyone ( including this viewer ) gets a major adrenaline rush. :D

He's got a new CD coming out, which I have every intention of getting when I have the opportunity. Titled Rudebox, the music video of Lovelight is already airing on MTV, and Robbie performed the title track during his recent tour.

Both mix disco with hip hop and some soul, with catchy tunes and lyrics not heard since his multi-platinum Sing When You're Winning album.

Robbie's back, even stronger than before.

I can't wait. :)

No comments: