Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Sleepy's Top ... 10 (and a few randoms)

Last post of the Top 40 !

But first a couple of semi random comments. This top 40 thing has marked the step from my old laptop and the Windows world and into the new world of Unix based Mac OS X and Apple laptops. I have to say, apart from the hole it's left in my wallet, it's a decision I'm very comfortable with. And there's a few reasons :

The cost thing isn't actually as big an issue as it used to be. My last laptop cost me £450 for a 17" Acer. Compare that to £1000ish for a Macbook. If you can buy 2 for the price of 1, there's a definite Value For Money issue. My Macbook Air cost about £960 with work discount, a comparable Windows spec would have been £821 from Pcspecialist. That's still a wide difference but not as much as it used to be. Plus you avoid the uncertainties over interface quality.

What is interface quality ? The keyboard and trackpad on the Macbook Air are super high quality. They're as sensitive as you'd want. No more, no less. It's what convinced me to change to Macbook actually. The keyboard, mouse/trackpad and screen are THE most important thing to consider when you're buying electronic Stuff.

Speed. I haven't tried any games on it yet to see how they run but general operation and use is free of all those mysterious pauses and holds that a Windows machine is subject to. It's so efficient, that when you hit the power button, 15 seconds later there will be a cluster of applications open and ready for action. And they'll all be complaining that they have no internet because the laptop has started up before the wifi has had a chance to negotiate. That doesn't happen in Windows. Not even on my desktop which has a similar SSD magic disc. There's no settling down time before things are usable.

It ain't Windows. Microsoft are steadily destroying their PC business by making their software ever more hostile and increasingly less efficient. Mac OS on the other hand is built upon solid computer engineering principles (Unix is a nifty, proven, well evolved system) and it has a well designed user interface on top. Yep. Takes getting used to but that's partly to drop the bad habits that Windows has embedded in people.

Ok ! The rest of the Top 40 (after waiting 5 minutes for the old laptop to fire up)

At 10 there is Paramore with Playing God. Their track The Only Exception from the same album is probably better but this is very high quality summing up the original Paramore before they lost a couple of members. It's from their excellent Brand New Eyes album.

9th most listened to is The Cardigans with I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need To Be Nicer. Gosh that's a mouthful. Warning - dark lyrics track (it's about wife/husband beating). Dark subject but it gets all those listens because it's on a great album, it has Nina Persson's voice interacting with the band.

8th is another Cardigans track and is my second favourite - 03.45am No Sleep. Another one that sounds sad but I prefer to go by Nina's interpretation that you've been up chatting with friends and you suddenly realise that the sun is starting to come up. I've had moments like that with the Swedes in the VR guild.

Number 7 is a teenage favourite - I Say Nothing by Voice Of The Beehive. These girls disappeared far too early.

6th in the list is from Edie Brickell's Ultimate Collection (you know - one of those greatest hits albums that a label puts out when an artist moves label). It's 1873, more sad subject but wonderfully sung with great accompaniment.

At 5 is Goldfrapp's Utopia. It's from their Felt Mountain album which is ... weird ... I believe this track is based on the film Metropolis with the lyrics suggesting links to the super computer in control of the city. Other people think it's fascist propaganda. Either way, it's an outstanding showcase for Alison Goldfrapp's voice.

4th is Dire Straits again with Expresso Love. This one gets the nod because of the interplay between guitar and piano which is another Dire Straits trademark. It wasn't just about the voice and guitar with them, they also slid in outstanding instrumental sections where the guitar and other instruments would hand off to each other.

Number 3 is the Biker Bunny Song. It's Bat For Lashes with What's A Girl To Do. It's from her first album, Fur And Gold. It's the track that my sister and I keep going back to cos of That Video. Definitely channelling a bit of Donnie Darko there. Great song from a quite distinctive and very powerful live performer. And because I think this girl is the best thing since Alisha's Attic, here's a bonus - Laura, you're more than a superstar.

Second is The Cardigans again with In The Round. This is also from Super Extra Gravity but what makes this one a bit different is that's a bit more carefree than their usual. Bit like a singer or dancer getting lost in the music from enjoying it so much. It has a melody line that immediately gets your head nodding and then it just builds ... With Nina Persson's lyrics providing the perfect counterpoint as usual.

And finally - the band that started my addiction with music off all those years ago. Back then, I'd have someone shouting "Turn That Down !" even though it could barely be heard outside the door. Now, my dad's favourite song is Apple Tree Man (which I won't link cos the video is very strange). Top song - Devil Woman covered by All About Eve, which is a little sad that it's there because songs like Scarlet, Martha's Harbour, Wishing The Hours Away, Blue Sonic Boy (old school Dr Who fans pay attention!) knock it hollow and that's just one amazing song off each album.

That's it - no more music posts for a while. Well - until I feel the urge again. I don't think many people click on the youtube links but I enjoy listening to the songs over again as I'm building the post up.

How's me ? I had someone let me know they were looking out for me last night, which makes all the difference. They let me talk gibberish at them for a while and it cheered me up a bit. I had a better day today. Cheers !

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