05 February 2009


:: facebook ala web without words ::

I have been on a social networking frenzy as of late. And will admit, it's damn near exhausting. Between ordinary Google-ing (my fave verb); YouTubing (a made up word); Twittering (@HeyJoy) like mad—esp during the Super Bowl (which now seems rather sacreligious); getting my Facebook on w/my fantastic + inspiring peeps; and working on a new design for my esteemed colleague, Kirk Phillips' blog (brandStoke-new design launching soon), I'm spent. Not categorically, just short-term. I mean, I am a social beast-just part of my DNA and no way around it. But am relishing this blog post's nod to less is more when in comes to words.

Recognize the image above? Millions of people interact w/the page structure daily, hell, hourly. It's Facebook's user interface. And, while it might not be dead sexy to you (spoken in my best Mike Myers Scottish brogue), it's why FB works for the masses. Information Architecture and User Experience are the precise sciences of how users will interact w/a site. And I love that Web Without Words celebrates this craft. Their approach of taking the most popular mainstream sites, then displaying them distilled, stripped away from brand, graphics, the motion, is refreshing. They have great examples. Take some time to see if you can identify the sites they highlight. Fun stuff... er, for a geek like me. ;)

The tunes I've chosen below are from bands who's reputations are built on lyically-driven tracks. This offering showcases their lyrical hiatus, thus rendering me speechless. As always, enjoy. The play button, or player at the bottom, now await you.

The Air
Modest Mouse   (iTunes)
When I came across this tune, I was surprised it was by MM. From the band that brought you Float On, 3rd Planet, etc, they have an air of angst to them. Isaac Brock's vocal range and whit make it so. Thank you, Isaac.

I have a (bad?) habit of art directing music videos in my head when I listen to tunes. This one conjurs up some type of manufacturing, (ala the Rube Goldberg Honda TV spot), but much more darker, more sinister. Say, in the deep recesses of a castle. Hold that thought, and go darker. There. End scene.

Ricky's Theme
The Beastie Boys   (iTunes)
How much do I love the Beasties? Oh, stupid amounts. And while we all know their popular tunes, I love their lesser-known tunes. They are laced w/intrumental explorations (vs the overt rapping) that pull me in. Ricky's theme is a laid back, hazy kinda tune. A choice compliment to their portfolio.

I Heard You Looking
Yo La Tengo   (iTunes)
YLT has some of the best songwriters around. And the fact they are such strong musicians sometimes gets overlooked. Enter this gem: starts out slow and exaggerated, but wonderfully comes alive at 2:56 mark, and fullfills YLT's trademark of taking you on a journey for seven glorious, guitar-laiden, minutes.

Evil vs. Good
Clem Snide   (iTunes)
When I am melancholy, I love to listen to Clem Snide's Moment in the Sun. They master thoughts/emotions that help elevate my mood just so. I love this specfic tune for one– the title. I like the juxtaposition. And then– for the song itself as it's haunting, lingereing, embodying a contemplation of the dynamics of evil and good. Eef Barzelay's voice droning is perfect closure.

Inland Empire
Peter Bjorn and John
I saw Pete Yorn at Lollapalooza two years ago and he was telling a story of how earlier in the year, fans rushed the stage shouting, "Young Folks...Young Folks!". It wasn't until he got off stage that he and his manager realized the fans thought he sang the PB+J smash anthem, "Young Folks" due to how similar his name is w/the other bands'. Whoops. 

But "Young Folks" is what made PB+J famous. Which makes Inland Empire, from their instrumental album, Seaside Rock, such a find. The sound is quite different for them: moody. gritty. I hope they keep teetering between these two personas as it's a fab mix.

New York Skyline
Saint Etienne
Short and sweet, but I dig this piano compilation. I fell in love w/St. Etienne via "Lose that Girl" due to the 60's, Beatle-esque tempo and lyrics, and this mellow piano arrangement is very much in keeping with their feel good vibe.

You're so evil
And I'm so good
I'll make it up to you someday

- evil vs good

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