IC2S Playlist Update 27/04/2016

In case you haven’t been paying attention, we are now just past the IC2S Playlist’s 1 year anniversary. At 9 1/2 hours and 104 songs long, I find it quite enjoyable to throw on shuffle when I’m at work. I’m going to continue to update it irregularly from here on, but I don’t think I’ll write up big update posts like this anymore, mainly because I felt like they spammed the blog with useless posts that people didn’t care about, and the effort I put into writing them was taking up potential effort that could have been going towards the backlog of topics that I actually had some interest in writing about. That’s more-or-less why I started making the playlist updates into more “regular” blog posts a couple months ago, but it’ll be nice not to have weekly updates hanging over my head from here on out.

Anyway, we’re gonna close out the year with 2 songs I wanted to add for months now. First is “Dear John Piper” by Showbread. I had been debating picking this song for a while because it’s a very IC2S-type song (it’s about the destructive theology of Calvinism/predestination… which, again, is totally something I’m into). I kind of wish that the whole song wasn’t being yelled out, but after a few listens it works pretty well, and contrasts well with the furious preaching towards the latter-half of the song. I quite enjoy it, it’s my kind of deliciously angry.

Secondly we have “Empire of the Clouds” by Iron Maiden, which closes us out with the longest song on the entire playlist. It’s also worth pointing out that this epic was written and performed by a group of nearly 60 year old men, which is just insane for an 80s rock/metal band in this day and age. Very few artists can remain relevant for a decade, let alone the 35+ years that Iron Maiden has been rocking our faces (although they did start to slip into irrelevance through the 90s, releasing their 4 indisputably worst albums back-to-back, but have been putting out high quality stuff again since 2000). I mean, just think about how irrelevant The Rolling Stones have been for years, or even other bands with mini-comebacks like Aerosmith have long since slipped back into obscurity (even Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne to some degree). Even better, they seem to be edging back towards my preferred era of Iron Maiden, the Powerslave/Seventh Son of a Seventh Son sound with its heavy concepts, sweeping epics and technical virtuosity. I maintain that Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is my favourite Maiden album, and it’s too bad that they ditched that sound in favour of the mediocrity they chased throughout the 90s. Now that we have The Book of Souls, who knows what limits Maiden still has within them?

Also, coincidentally, I have put together a small one-off playlist which just happened to coincide with this 1 year anniversary. Basically, I was listening to Sabaton’s “The Rise of Evil” the other day, which got me wondering whether it could be considered part of a “musical trilogy”. “The Rise of Evil” would be part 1, followed by “The Final Solution” as part 2 and then finishing with… well, I wasn’t sure if they had a third song that could fit in well enough. The result of this is a playlist I titled “Sabaton – The Rise and Fall of Evil”, which basically is a recounting of the history of Nazi Germany in WWII. I personally think that the compilation gels together very well and tells a rather compelling story: a madman rising to power, the Nazis’ early victories, the Holocaust, the Allies uniting and turning the tide, and then the German people coming to grips with the evil they had been fighting in the name of for almost 6 years. I definitely recommend checking it out, either search it on Spotify or go to the IC2S Playlist sidebar and then click on my username.

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IC2S Playlist Update 20/04/2016

So we’re now just a week short of the playlist’s 1 year anniversary, and the point where I’m probably going to stop updating it so regularly (or, at the very least, stop flooding the blog every week with Playlist updates that I doubt anyone actually cares about). The limited time is actually making it a little difficult to pick music, and I was actually going to pick some Impending Doom or Project 86… however, then Volbeat announced Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie and released “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”. If the rest of the album is as good as this single, then we’re going to be in for an absolute treat! Volbeat tends to be a bit of a singles-oriented band (similarly to Disturbed), meaning that this might be best of the best on the album, but I’m glad to hear that their sound seems to only be getting better. We’ll have to see I guess when the album drops.

Going along with that, I also picked “Babylon the Murderer” by P.O.D., which is pretty much universally considered one of their best songs in recent years. I’ve always liked how P.O.D. has a very reggae-influenced sound, and this has to be one of their best examples of mixing it with their signature hard rock.

…Anyway, I’m going to make this a little shorter than normal just cuz what I originally was planning on writing about has ended up getting spun off into a whole post of its own that I’ll put up later this week. Look forward to it!

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IC2S Playlist Update 13/04/2016

So I recently got laser eye surgery, and it has been quite the interesting experience. Previously, I was quite near-sighted and couldn’t see more than a couple feet in front of me before the world started to turn into a blur. I was thinking about switching to contacts for quite a while, but then I did some number crunching and figured that laser eye surgery would be more cost effective in the long run. Plus there were all sorts of perks that go along with it, like being able to fit into masks for sports (hockey and paintball) and costumes (Kylo Ren FTW), not looking like an uber-dork when I go to see a 3D movie, the general convenience of not having to worry about wearing/maintaining glasses all the time, and the indisputable fact that I’m a goddamn sexual Tyrannosaurus without them. Plus I’d be lying if I said that finally being able to wear proper sunglasses wasn’t a huge factor either.

Anyway, the procedure itself was not all that bad – it didn’t hurt, although the stuff they do to line up the laser was really strange. The laser itself didn’t hurt at all, but smelled like burning hair which was a sensation I’m unlikely to forget soon. Oh, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Final Destination 5, which was making me laugh.

I’m still in the post-op recovery phase, although the worst of it is long over. It has really made a major difference for my sight, but I’m holding out a totally glowing review for the moment as one eye is visibly fuzzier than the other, I’m getting some starbursts at nighttime and I’m having some trouble focusing on very close objects (which sucks when one of your biggest hobbies is painting miniatures). However, I’m cautiously optimistic that these issues will clear up in the next few weeks (the focusing issue is already much improved compared to where it was a couple days ago), but until I see a major improvement I’m going to be a little hesitant to give a unconditional recommendation to go through the procedure. It has been pretty amazing thus far, but it’s hard to give an accurate assessment when you’re still in the middle of recovery.

Anyway, hopefully you found that interesting. This week’s selections and “Antarctica” by Book of Black Earth and “Legion of Monsters” by Disturbed. Enjoy!

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IC2S Playlist Update 06/04/2016

This week’s selections have some moderately interesting stories behind them. First of all, Andrew W.K. is back in the news again after he officially registered his own political party, called… The Party Party. Because of course he did. Most people are thinking this is some sort of political stunt, but regular readers will already know that Andrew W.K. is one of the main personalities on The Blaze. Considering that he is insisting that The Party Party is legit, then odds are that he really is serious about bringing the party to America. I love this little quote he made about his political support, which I can only imagine must have been some of his Blaze collaborators:

“[Andrew W.K.] said that though he did reach out to people from the political sphere for input or collaboration, his offers were denied and they said he his effort was dangerous and a counterproductive distraction. ‘We agreed to disagree and I didn’t attempt to involve any formal political organizations further,’ he said. ‘To be honest, I just don’t think they liked partying very much.'”

What else could I do in response to that but put “Party Hard” on this week’s playlist?

Our second choice for this week is in celebration of the home video release of The Force Awakens. To commemorate the event, I have chosen DUM’s “Come Away”, their Star Wars-inspired love song. There really isn’t much more reason behind it than that, aside from the fact that I haven’t featured a DUM song in ages, and that that is one of their better releases. Enjoy!

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IC2S Playlist Update 30/03/2016

So, we’re going totally random this week. I have often wondered if rates of university education are going to nosedive in the next generation. The reasons I wonder this are many:

  1. Between my parents’ generation and my own, universities (and, in a related fashion, governments) have become increasingly more and more structurally-neoliberal. This has resulted in more business-like universities, which have had their tuition shoot up at a rate higher than that of inflation and has resulted in various cost-cutting measures. For example, most of the “professors” who I was taught by were actually “contract instructors” and doctorate students, which are obviously significantly cheaper to employ. The main thing to take away here though is that university is more expensive now than it was even 20 years ago, even when compensating for inflation. Unless there’s some sort of government action, it is likely that profit-minded universities will be even more comparatively-expensive by the next generation. Which brings me to my next point…
  2. There is a constantly expanding wage gap and shrinking middle-class in Canada and the US. When taking into account the expectation that tuition costs will likely be even more expensive for the next generation, and the likelihood that there will be a smaller portion of the population capable of paying their way into higher education, it would seem likely to me that university enrolment is likely to become more of an “elite” status thing. Of course, the remaining middle-class and even some hard-working lower-class individuals could try to afford it and even take out loans, but that brings me to arguably my most important thought…
  3. For my parents’ generation, you could conceivably go to university, take whatever the hell you want and then have a job waiting for you when you were done. However, the reality these days is that you’re probably not going to find any sort of job opportunity as soon as you’re done school. Naively, I just kind of thought that if I got a degree, it’d give me a good edge in the job market. However, as I got into my 4th year, I realized that there are a lot of people out there in the job market with degrees, and if you really want to stand out then you’re going to need a college diploma as well, and at least a few years of experience in your field. I feel that our parents and our generation are slowly building up the realization that university is no longer the safe bet that it once was in terms of landing work, and worse, it could land you in crippling debt for years afterwards. Naturally, school is not just about what sort of work you get out of it (I for one know that my university experience helped me mature significantly and made me into a much better person than I was going in), but I think that our generation is likely going to have a much more sour tone towards post-secondary education, which could result in advising our children away from it unless they really need it.

On a related subject, I also wonder if the rising prices of tuition, and inflation rates in general, might have something to do with the ease at which one can acquire credit these days. Now I’m not an economist by any means, so take this with a grain of salt, but these things I have been wondering. After all, if everyone had to buy a car with the money that they had on hand and saved, their prices theoretically would be significantly lower (as would the labour costs and various other steps involved with them). Naturally, the actual cost of manufacturing the object has to be taken into account, but I have a hard time believing that credit hasn’t played a major role in the current cost of living and the sky-high costs of housing in many areas. Plus I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a factor in the growing wage gaps, since creditors are always going to get paid one way or another.

Anyway… fitting with the random subject matter this week, I picked a couple songs I’m into at the moment just for the hell of it. First up is “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver” by Primus, and “Devour” by Shinedown. Not really bands (or even songs) that I listen to all that often, but I was feeling it this week so I hope you enjoy.

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