I have included a special section about 1997, which is directly related to this section, but also includes stuff about television and film....
The big news of recent weeks is that Tool won their first Grammy, receiving the nod for "Best Metal Peformance" for "AEnema"....Finally, a band who deserves the award, gets it....
Continuing Grammy news, Radiohead received the award for "Best Alternative Performance".....
I have an Ozzfest '98 update. No word on who is going to appear other then the Ozzman himself, but Zakk Wylde, a former guitarist who appeared on albums such as the smash, No More Tears, has rejoined Osbourne, and plans to tour with him when Ozzy starts up the summer tour....
Reef and Chris Cornell, former lead singer of the now defunct Soundgarden, have some great songs on the recent Great Expectations soundtrack....I've heard most of the soundtrack....Trust me--borrow it from someone, if possible....
An egotistical note: I met Big Wreck recently, at a convention in Indianapolis. They are great live, and their CD, In Loving Memory Of... is brilliant. They are playing a show April 11th, in Evansville, Indiana, but it is at a bar. However, I met their agents at this convention, and they like me quite a bit. They are going to try and sneak me into the show.
I have also included some of my favorite TV shows, films, and actors/actresses of the year, and some other various things....
2. OK Computer, by Radiohead....Walls of guitar, beautiful and brilliant orchestration, and compositions that rival the best bands of today....
3. Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape....Pop rock, no doubt, but good pop rock, and Dave Grohl can sing and play guitar better then Kurt Cobain ever could. The addition of Pat Smear to help write their second record made a tremendous difference. His departure will hurt Grohl....
4. Reef, Glow....Another British band that has made us Americans look pathetic. Rolling Stones fans, take note....Keith Richards will die some day....Check this band out.
5. Faith No More, Album of the Year....No argument here.
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Let's Face It....Great short anthems, from the current kings of skank....
Deftones, Around the Fur....Surprisingly, Around the Fur is lower-key then their first release, Adrenaline, but it pumps with all of the strength nontheless....
Metallica, ReLoad....I was really taken back when I heard this....Metallica proves to the world that they haven't gone soft in this barrage of riffs, yells, and rock....
Corrosion of Conformity, Wiseblood....Capitalizing on the sucess of their previous release, Deliverance, COC actually keeps the same line-up of band members, and continues to churn Sabbath-like chunk...
1. "Paranoid Android," by Radiohead. Some of the most brilliant acoustic I've ever heard. This song drove me to start listening to them. I'm glad I did. Radiohead is a band that proves that you can be techinically amazing, and still appeal to a mass audience.
2. "Touch, Peel, and Stand," by Days of the New. Simple, yet it's a driving acoustic song, and has the power of something Metallica would write. It has a replay value that's a lot higher then most commercially played radio songs.
3. "My Own Prison," by Creed. Disturbing, yet emotive, "My Own Prison" emanates an almost goose-bumping feel....Scott Stapp is Eddie Vedder and Scott Weiland thrown into one....
4. "Everlong," by Foo Fighters. An essentially pop-rock group, this is one of the best rock songs I've ever heard....Great guitar orchestration, and it caused me to buy the CD, and I don't even like the Foo Fighters. Still don't, really....
5. "Hello, Hello," by Talk Show. Who needs Scott Weiland? The remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots prove to their heroin-ridden vocalist that they can rock without his charisma. And people thought the DeLeo brothers weren't any good. Bah.
1. "How Bizarre," by OMC. Take Beck, put him in South America, and you have this surf-Latino crap. This song reeks of annoyance. Horrible vocals, and lyrics that don't come close to coherence regarding rhyme.
2. "Tubthumping," by Chumbawamba. Their only hit in 15 years....I find it pretty sad that it took them fifteen years to write a song that more people hate then prefer. They need a thumping in the head.
3. "Walkin' on the Sun," by Smash Mouth. Any song played during football highlights of Barry Sanders better be good. This isn't one of them. I think their name implies how they should be handled...Physically, that is....
4. "MMBop," by Hanson. This song should be much higher, but I don't hear it enough. I can at least continue to listen to the station that play two of the previous three. This, however, is scraping the bottom of the barrel....Pre-pubescence at its absolute terror.
5. "Fly," by Sugar Ray. I like Sugar Ray, quite honestly, but I can't get into this chick-appealing, trendy Hispanic-sounding crap. Sugar Ray can rock, and this is proved by the recent release of "RPM," which is an honest indication of the true band that they are....
Pantera, Official Live: 101 Proof
Creed,My Own Prison
Sammy Hagar, Marching to Mars
Everclear, So Much for the Afterglow
Days of the New
Third Eye Blind
Big Wreck, In Loving Memory Of...
Paul McCartney,Flaming Pie
Various Artists,Spawn Soundtrack
Live, Secret Samadhi
Best Movies of 1997
1. L.A. Confidential: Based on a highly acclaimed James Ellroy novel, L.A. Confidential proves that some of Hollywood thinks that Americans are intelligent. A great, complex story, and great acting from Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, and Russel Crowe
2. Good Will Hunting: One of the most genuinely heartwarming films I have ever seen, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have written a wonderful tale of a tortured soul, who eventually finds the good in other people, when he realizes that he is not the person he thinks he is....
3. Face/Off: Directed by John Woo, and starring two of the biggest names in Hollywood, John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, Face/Off is an action movie that has all the best stunts, fights and a tremendous story to boot. Woo's directorial style is one-in-a-million, and he does a great job in this shoot-'em-up feature
4. Con Air: Another tremendous action thriller, brought to you by Jerry Bruckheimer (famous for The Rock), Nicholas Cage stars in the second of the two big-budget shooters of the year. With actors like John Malkovich, John Cusack, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, and of course Cage, you can't go wrong. Fabulous direction as well....
5. Swingers: A film no one has seen, unfortunately. Jon Favreau, writer and main actor in the film has brought a great movie that every man and woman can relate to. Great dialogue, and fabulous acting.
The Fifth Element
The Lost World
Air Force One
Tomorrow Never Dies
Grosse Pointe Blank
Best TV show: ER
Best actor on television: Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Best actress on television: Julia Louis Dreyfus (Seinfeld)
Best supporting actor: Jason Alexander (Seinfeld)
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Aniston
Best drama: ER
Best comedy: Seinfeld
Best new show: Dharma and Greg
Best new actor: None
Best new actress: Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg)
Worst Actor: (Tie) David Duchovny (The X-Files) and Lance Henriksen (Millenium)
Worst Actress: Jenny McCarthy
Most Overlooked Actor: Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street)
Most Underrated Show: The Pretender
Most Overrated Show: Mad About You
Biggest disappointment in TV: Many of this fall's shows were complete pan-outs. Bad writing, mild acting, and poor ratings have caused many shows (deservingly), to go under.
What I would like to see next fall: Better writing. Today's shows like Veronica's Closet and Union Square which are doing well in the ratings (due to hammocking), are not funny. They need to be pulled. If it wasn't for Friends, Seinfeld, and ER successes, they would collapse.