The Hold Steady vs De La Soul

listening-musicTwo albums have dominated my week- Teeth Dreams, the new album by the Hold Steady, and the new De La Soul mix tape, Smell the Da.I.S.Y.

These two albums couldn’t be more different, but somehow they’ve worked in tandem all week in providing a perfect soundtrack to my week. Maybe one day my morning required old school hip hop and my afternoon demanded some Chicago indie rock and then the next day, everything was flipped. There have been breaks where I’ve listened to something else- mainly Let’s Start a Cult, part two by Rustic Overtones, an album I rediscovered this week and gained a new appreciation for, mainly after seeing their new video for “The Show Must Go On.” But for the most part, music choices have vacillated between the Hold Steady and De La Soul.

A quick review of Teeth Dreams:

Another great & spirited rock album by the Hold Steady.

A quick review of Smell the Da.I.S.Y.:

A fun mix tape where old De La raps meet old J Dilla beats.

I haven’t chosen to listen to these albums randomly, though. Like with all music, certain situations I partook in this week fit one album better than the other.

So let’s get down to it. Which album worked for more situations this week?

Giddy Up America’s Soundtrack for Situations: Volume Three

Teeth Dreams by the Hold Steady versus Smell the Da.I.S.Y. by De La Soul

Situation 1: Reviewing my March Madness brackets

Like almost everyone else in America, I spent Monday morning examining the carnage of my various March Madness brackets, looking for survivors and wondering how much life I had going forward. I’ll get this out of the way- I have just a little life left in one bracket, with an emphasis on little. I don’t know how many years I’ve done a bracket, has to be at least fifteen now, and only once have I come close to winning. It was in 2003 when I had Texas winning it all. Texas didn’t win it all. They lost in the Final Four. But that was the closest I’ve ever come. This year I’ve put the most faith in Michigan State. It has less to do with players and more to do with their coach, Tom Izzo. With college basketball teams becoming more and more like rest stops, I feel that when it comes down to picking winners in the tournament, it’s all about coaches.

As for what music I was listening to while doing this? It was De La Soul. The beats are upbeat and De La always has a positive vibe- two things needed when realizing that you’ve once again wasted money.

Winner: Smell the Da.I.S.Y.

Situation 2: Thinking about The Americans

I wrote about this yesterday, but long story short, I dove head first into The Americans recently and as a result, have spent a lot of time thinking about the show and wondering if anyone around is maybe, just maybe a Russian spy. I don’t think anyone is. My dog might be, but that is unconfirmed. While doing this I need to concentrate, I can’t be distracted. The smooth beats on the De La Soul mix tape by J Dilla proved perfect for this. Nothing crazy, just smooth- really just how I like hip hop beats.

Winner: Smell the Da.I.S.Y.

Situation 3: Looking at weather forecasts

Snow. It’s spring and we’re talking about snow. Maybe Donald Trump is right? Maybe Global Warming is a hoax? No, I’m just kidding. Global Warming is real and Trump is a jackass. But it did in fact snow some this week- not nearly as bad here in New Jersey as it did in the northeast. But it snowed nonetheless, prompting millions of work place conversations up and down the East Coast that circled around this one topic- I’m so sick of the snow. Yes, we all are. And for good reason- this winter has been unbearable. Polar Vortexs, nasty snow storms, high winds, too much money spent on car washes. So this week I was looking at forecasts and not for this week, but for the future. Forecasts for this weekend (rain,) forecasts for next week (not bad,) and forecasts for a couple weeks from now when I’m on vacation in Florida (delightful.) I was doing this to get excited, to look forward to something, which is why the raucous energy of the Hold Steady was perfect to listen to while doing this.

Winner: Teeth Dreams

Situation 4: Checking out predictions for the upcoming baseball season

This one goes hand in hand with the last situation because the start of the baseball season is fantastical reminder that better days, specifically summer days, are on their way. It all stays positive too if you’re reading predictions about any of the following teams: Red Sox, Dodgers, Rays, Orioles, A’s, Nationals, Cardinals and Tigers. Not so positive if you’re a fan of the Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Marlins, Braves, etc. As a Red Sox fan, predictions were fun. Sox are getting some love this year and rightly so. I don’t think they’ll repeat as champs, but do think it’s possible and at the very least, a return to the playoffs is all but a given. Baseball is fun again! And the Hold Steady is fun! Especially loud. The Hold Steady play the kind of rock that almost requires a volume level above mid-range.

Winner: Teeth Dreams

Situation 5: Wondering if purchasing a Grady Sizemore Sox t-shirt is premature

A big story coming out of the Red Sox spring training is the battle for center field between former stud Sizemore and promising young buck and nominee for best name in professional sports Jackie Bradley, Jr. For the majority of the spring the battle has gone back and forth, based largely on the promise of both, but also the checkered pasts of both. I’m a long-time Sizemore fan and was stoked when he signed with the Sox. It’s always great when a player you’ve always liked signs with your team. I love Bradley too. This is win/win as far as I’m concerned. But as I’m concerned, I am thinking about getting a new Sox t-shirt and the temptation to get a Sizemore one is hard to pass up. Again, needed to concentrate on this one, so De La wins this one.

Winner: Smell the Da.I.S.Y.

Update 1: Apparently the battle for center field for the Red Sox has been settled…

Update 2: I have yet to make a decision regarding a t-shirt

Situation 6: Writing a monthly report

Gotta get pumped for this one. No brainer. Hold Steady all the way.

Winner: Teeth Dreams

Situation 7: Being bummed about this summer’s lineup at the Stone Pony Summer Stage

Every summer the Stone Pony, yes, that Stone Pony, sets up a stage in the parking lot behind the club. Last summer we checked out the Gaslight Anthem and the Hold Steady there and it was fun. We weren’t able to make any other shows there, but My Darling Wife and I were eager to see who was playing in Asbury this summer. This week this summer’s lineup was announced and you know, it’s kind of a bummer. Primus is kind of intriguing, but not at those prices. And this Under the Sun tour needs to go. As a country, we shouldn’t allow Sugar Ray to perform in public anymore. Like every summer, I kind of want to see 311, but not nearly as much as I used to. Ultimately, I wish De La Soul or the Hold Steady were playing and as a result, saw this lineup and immediately listened to both.

Winner: tie

Situation 8: Wondering whose side Jay Z and Beyonce take in the Chris Martin/Gwyenth Paltrow split

Are they close? I think they are. At the very least I think the couples are close enough where taking sides in a divorce is necessary. I don’t care about Gwyenth either way, although I do find her comments about motherhood kind of insulting to non-celebrity moms. But stupidity aside, I’d bet Jay and Bey side with Chris Martin. I think Jay and Chris are buddies, whereas I don’t think Beyonce and Gwyenth are. Bros win here and so does De La Soul.

Winner: Smell the Da.I.S.Y.

Update 3: Apparently Bey and Gwyn are closer than  I thought, making this whole thing somewhat trickier. Now if I had to guess, I’d say Jay and Bey say screw it and see what Bono and his wife are up to.

Situation 9: Reading about Chris Christie

A report about Bridgegate put together by lawyers loyal to Christie and paid for by the taxpayers of New Jersey could be summed up like this: Women be crazy, am I right? It makes me angry. Loud music cures anger much better than melodic hip hop.

Winner: Teeth Dreams

Situation 10: Missing my dog

Lucy loves peanut butter, British television and belly scratches. If I could bring her to work, I would. But I can’t, so I spend my days missing her. She’s the best.

Winner: Teeth Dreams

Final Scores:
Teeth Dreams: 5-4-1
Smell the Da.I.S.Y.: 4-5-1

Winner: Teeth Dreams








Categories: Music, Soundtrack for Situations

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4 replies


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