Series: Analyzing Difficult Songs

In this new series I will analyze and interpret difficult songs with a twist of humor, hoping to shed some light into the darkness of mysterious lyricists. If you have a song that you’d like me to slaughter embellish with my views, send it to me at fnkymonk at icloud dot com.

For the first analysis I’m tackling Easy by The Commodores.

Lionel's easy, but he ain't cheap.

Lionel’s easy, but he ain’t cheap.

Easy isn’t, as someone once said (probably not), but Easy sounds great. Easy makes you feel good. Lionel Richie’s voice is smooth as silk and seductive as a lonely bar hag at 1:45 AM. If you’re not listening to the lyrics then you are going to feel great about the song—you might even do a duet with your girl while you’re in the car. But if you really sit back and hear what the lyrics are saying, then you know Lionel is so chill, “so high”, only because he’s done with the chick and will soon be free as a bird—just the way you feel waking up late on a Sunday morning knowing you’ve got no plans for the day.

Easy is not such a delightful song for such a duet though, at least not someone you’re planning on being with for a while. It’s a song about a guy breaking up with his girl. It’s a song about a guy who has tried, and tried, and tried, but can’t make things work. And his girl knows it too. And damn, that’s just some serious heartbreaking shit.

Who knows how long Lionel had been with his lady when he decides to write this song, but you can tell how much hell he’d been through with his gut-wrenching, soul-tearing “Ooooh” at the beginning of the guitar solo. That guttural noise sounds like the death of a man’s bowels upon finishing the $2 all-you-can-eat taco special down at Raul’s corner taco stand.

To wrap up this analysis, I do have to give it credit for being an absolutely amazing karaoke song, in spite of its heartbreaking nature. I love to do this song on karaoke night. To be more specific, I love to sing this song in my car and imagine how good I would be doing this on karaoke night. It’s almost the same thing.

2010 in retrospect and 2011 prospecting

There was a movie produced in 1984 called 2010: The Year We Make Contact. While we haven’t had business lunches with aliens this year (which I don’t consider to be entirely bad considering the bad rap they have), we have had some spectacular astronomical discoveries. We discovered a “potentially habitable planet of similar size to Earth in orbit around a nearby star” in Gliese 581. Another important discovery, whether you are a proponent of the eternally cyclical or eternally expanding model of the universe, is that we have discovered evidence that there may be multiple universes. I’m starting to think that Men in Black was written by scientists with inside information who were trying to let the masses know what’s going on.

Both of these discoveries are amazing. Things that were merely figments of science fiction only a few years ago are becoming science. I’m left breathless when I think about it too much. The problem now is we have no way of going to see and experience these things first hand. Maybe 2011 will be the year we make contact and we can stop pussy-footing around our solar system and get out to the deep waters.

On a very light note related to science, if you’re into science fiction and a little bit of suspense, you should watch Sunshine. The story is a little far-fetched, and there’s a pretty big plot hole that leaves you wondering, but overall the it is very entertaining and there are some great special effects. This turned out to be a great segue for…

Movies of 2010

This was a great year for some enjoyable films, but none of them come to mind off the top of my head… wait… … there was an alien movie I had high expectations for but it turned out to be quite bad. It’s called Skyline and the best thing about it was leaving.

Defendor was a fantastic movie. I was expecting a silly Woody Harrelson film, but got so much more. It’s a very enjoyable movie with an unexpected presence of sweetness, honesty, and truth. Have a box of kleenex handy for this one. It came out 2009, but it was released in the US February 2010 on video. This was a Canadian movie that did not get the publicity it deserved here.

I enjoyed The Crazies, a remake of a ‘70s b-film by the same title. How to Train a Dragon was a great movie I saw with my older boys. We all enjoyed it. My wife and I had some good laughs with Hot Tub Time Machine. Date Night was a bit of a let down on our date night, but Kick-Ass totally made up for it. Get Him to the Greek was funnier than I expected, and the remake of The Karate Kid was enjoyed by my kids and my wife and I who remember the original. RED I saw twice, once courtesy of AMD, and the second time with my aunt while she was visiting—a very enjoyable flick, but not for those who dislike violence. And finally Shrek Forever After was a great wrap-up to an amazingly funny series of films.

I’d like to see Tron: Legacy and I hope it’s better than the original which moved about as fast as cold molasses, but the effects were good. It was ahead of its time. While Yogi Bear doesn’t interest me I did enjoy this alternate ending:

While this final movie does not pertain to 2010, I am anxiously looking forward to The Tree of Life. It looks like a brilliant piece of work.


It’s no surprise to me that my favorites have stayed the same. If you know me even moderately well you probably already know that my favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s an almost spiritual connection with their music—something in my soul connects with what they say in their beats, rhythms, and lyrics. There’s a new album coming out soon and I can’t wait for it.

This year I took a liking to John Mayer’s music. I didn’t like him too much at first, but his work has grown on me. His songs have meaning and depth that ask questions and deal with being a man. It’s good stuff.

Finally, my interest in hip-hop/R&B has stepped up a notch. It’s a mix of Kanye West and Professor Elemental. Yeah, some of it’s a little silly, but so am I.

Goals for 2011

There’s a lot this year to think about. Bithia and I feel quite positive about the new year. There are a couple of things cooking on the side that may turn into additional revenue for us. And for a single-income home (Bithia stays home with kids) you can use all you can get.

On the more important front, I think I’m finally coming out of the last two years of being a caregiver. It’s been a long and difficult road, and as normal shifts again I’m wrestling with G~d, and trying to understand where I fit with the whole scheme of things. While the last 2 years have been personally challenging, the year before we experienced some life-altering events with a very close friend that forever changed the way we view the world.

In short, and to be plain, G~d’s sovereignty is the question. What is His role in the world? Does every event, good and bad, bear his impression, or is the world merely left on its own and we as Jews are responsible for following the instructions and showing the world a better way? I know there are no simple answers, but it’s something to try to come to grips with and try to learn what He expects of me. I guess I’m at a place of making Judaism my own this year and understanding how I should view the world as one. Maybe I can even pick up a couple of mitzvot this year too. I’ve certainly let enough of them go by the wayside…

And with that, let’s see how it goes and what we can do.

Godspeed, everyone.

MEElectronics M9P Headphones

As soon as my wife asked to borrow my iPhone stock headphones I knew there was going to be trouble. Not because of her, but because of these guys…

Muddy Bottom Boys

Being as I was getting tired of putting these little rubber tires on them so they wouldn’t fall out of my gaping ears I decided it was time to find some new headphones. I wanted in-ear because those fit me best and have always given me a great experience. After shopping around for a while and reading different reviews, I opted for MEElectronics’ M9P for the iPhone. For a nominal $20+ I picked up the set from Amazon.

I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks now and am really impressed. The first music to come through these headphones was Beastie Boys and I was not the least bit disappointed with them. I had never heard bass like this from little headphones. I felt like I was in some pimped out little Honda cruising down the Vegas Strip with bass booming and girls ooh-ing. It was wonderful.

The construction is grand. The cable is encased in a thin plastic coating so you don’t hear the sound of the cable rubbing on your clothes vibrating in your ears. There’s a handy clip to keep them from flopping around too if you use that. The accessories that come with the headphones are also stellar: a semi-hard case, airline adapter (YES!), and several sizes of earbuds for a custom fit.

My only complaint about these headphones is that the single-button for music and phone control is a little funky. I don’t know if it needs to be broken in or if this set has a faulty connection. It works, but it doesn’t always do what I want it to the first time. The microphone works perfect and I haven’t heard any complaints about it from anyone I’ve spoken with while using them.

If you’re in the market for a new set of earphones you have to check out MEElectronics products. They make great headphones. While reviewing their webpage today I noticed they have a promotion called Operation Gratitude M9. For every special M9 headphones you purchase they send a set to our troops. How cool is that?

Favorite music of 2009

Favorite album

Song to the Siren by John Frusciante (The Empyrean). I purchased it Jan 20 and listened to this song 30 times, nearly twice as much as the rest of the album. I first really heard the lyrics while I was waiting for Ethan to be born. I wrote on Bithia’s stomach, “Here I am waiting to hold you.” Listen to it courtesy of Lala.

Song to the Siren—John Frusciante

Favorite album

Incredibad by The Lonely Island. This album is not only insanely funny, but with 437 total plays, it’s very listenable. The music is good, but I have to warn you, don’t listen to this at the gym… you will hurt yourself. Andy Samberg is a comic genius and I think one of the shining stars of Saturday Night Live. Another warning, this CD is incredibly vulgar. Here’s another player to check out this album.

The Lonely Island

Favorite Artist

Finally, and without much surprise, the Red Hot Chili Peppers is my favorite band. With 820 track plays this year, they dominated my listening time. I’ve been listening to them since the Blood Sugar Sex Magik album in 1991. It connected with my soul and they have ever since. Great music. Be sure to check out their page on Lala too. Stadium Arcadium (2006) is their latest release and is their biggest piece of work. The Blood Sugar Sex Magik CD I have never tired of, and their first and second releases are also great. My least favorite is One Hot Minute, though it has a couple of jewels. Dave Navarro played with them for a year after John Frusciante quit the band (which he recently did again under better terms this time to pursue his solo interests).

Red Hot Chili Peppers

And with this I will stop. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this. If nothing else, sign up for a Lala account. Great way to listen to new music without making a $10 commitment. Moreover, Apple just bought them, so you know something smoking hot is going to be coming out of it in the near future.