Monday, December 27, 2010

Favorite Songs of 2010

Well it's time for my annual report of my favorite songs of the year as well as album of the year.

I am well aware that this type of post is very "high-school paper"ish but bear with me, I like to write about my music and it gives me an excuse to create a list and pop culture people love lists.

So here goes. My top songs and album of the year for 2010.

A few brief notes. To be one of my songs of the year, it doesn't have to be a song released in 2010. It just has to be discovered by me in 2010. These are songs that took up a significant portion of my listening this year. For better or worse.

6. "Derezzed" by Daft Punk. From the Tron Legacy Soundtrack.

It's no secret that I am a very big fan of Daft Punk. Many of us have been waiting for a LONG time to get our hands on some new material. Their last album "Human After All" has grown better with time but overall, it was a bit of a let down. The combination of Daft Punk and Tron seemed too good to be true. And after listening to the final soundtrack, it's largely hit or miss, but I'll take it.
"Derezzed" was the single and is Daft Punk at their finest. It's a shame more of the soundtrack didn't have this soul to it.

5. "I Walked" by Sufjan Stevens from the album "The Age."

I'm not a big fan of Sufjan Stevens but I somehow got a hold of this song and I think it's vibe and lyrics are killer. Plus I always like the combination of electronic music with general pop/rock. I can't say I was a huge fan of the rest of the album but this song struck a chord.

4. "Tres Brujas" by the Sword from the album "Warp Riders."

When it comes to simple, heavy hard rock, The Sword has it down to a fine science. "Freya" is one of my all-time favorite hard rock songs and this album produced more great tunes. It's not quite on the level of "Freya" but it's hard not to headbang like it's the early 1990s to this one.

3. "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga from the album "The Fame Monster."

I know I'll get made fun of for this one but I've always said that I'll never lie about the music I like. Good pop music is good pop music period. And this is good pop music. Take away all the weird outfits, bizarre behavior and just listen to the song. It's catchy and beats everything else in mainstream pop music world right now.

2. "The Best One Yet" by Black Eyed Peas from the album "The Beginning."

I can't help it. This song is catchy and I listened to it a lot this year. Sue me. If you tell me it isn't catchy, you're lying! The stupid Dirty Dancing song has really made people think this album is worse than it really is.

Favorite Song of the Year: "I'm Not Your Toy" by La Roux from the self-titled album.

Great song. It's very easy to listen to but has more of a soul to it than some of the other pop songs out there. The sound of the synthesizers gives it a retro 80s feel while Eleanor Kate Jackson's voice is so unique with it's high pitch and emotion. This song is a perfect example of why it is important NOT to use auto tone with a voice, even if the actual music is electronic. The emotion is much too important.

Album of the Year: "La Roux" by "La Roux"

This album came out of nowhere and snatched up my 2010 album choice last minute. Like I said earlier, the album had been out for a while but I would just read the great reviews and never buy it. Well I finally got it and not surprisingly, it's awesome.
It's a great mix of 80s synthesizer with some great lyrics and songwriting. All of the songs are great in their own unique way. I'm glad it showed up because I was probably going to have to give album of the year to the Black Eyed Peas and while i like that album, it was going to be hard to give it album of the year.

So there you have it. After looking back, I can say that 2010 was the year I found pop music again. Now whether or not that is a good or bad thing. I don't know, but that's what happened.

Happy listening!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DVR isn't the Enemy

After working for years in media research related to TV advertising, there has always been one question that I am asked about on a regular basis.

"How are Digital Video Recorders (DVR) affecting commercials?"

It's a very legitimate question, as we know, much of the talk revolving DVR is the ability to skip through the commercials.
I've helped my teams with many objections such as:

"Nobody sees my commercial because they are skipping through it."

"People are not watching the program live anymore so how is my commercial going to be relavent?

"Viewers don't flip through channels anymore, they simply look at the guide."

These are all great questions but after a few years of watching DVR come to fruition, It's effect on the normal 30 second commercial will not be the weapon of media mass destruction many think it will be.

In a survey done by Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, 62% of those surveyed said they had used DVR technology at some point.

Scarborough tells us that Louisville falls right in line at 63%

That is a high percentage and it will continue to grow, but in that same survey, many said that if they didn't have DVR, they probably wouldn't even be watching. They would be surfing the internet or reading a book instead. There simply isn't time to analyze what and when a show is on.
So in one sense, it is keeping our viewers engaged in Television and Nielsen Research agrees. This year Nielsen announced that Americans are spending more time watching TV each day than they ever have, and DVR users watch more TV than those without.
So we have our audience, we just have to continue to make sure we can reach them to the best of our ability as technology continues to emerge.

...Here is a crazy thought. What if DVR actually helps advertisers?

Live is still the preferred method for viewing
  • 76% of all viewing is still done "live" even when a DVR is in the home, with sports programming especially.
A break is not a bad thing
  • Viewers like the breaks. The phone rings, they need a chip re-fill, or another beer. Taking a break during a show gives viewers the chance to catch their breath. Even in playback mode, 40% of commercials are still fully watched.
No flipping the channel or leaving the room.
  • When in playback, viewers don't change the channel to watch other shows during the break or leave the room near to the extend that they used to. And people have been doing that for years!
The DVR user is a captive viewer

  • When a viewer is fast-forwarding through commercials on their DVR, they are focused on the screen. We've all done it. You don't want to miss a portion of the show, so you watch closely to make sure you stop fast-forwarding at the right time. Companies are beginning to leave their name and logo on their commercial longer so it leaves an impression. If the creative is strong, viewers will regularly stop fast-forwarding and rewind to watch the commercial. I do it all the time.

DVR isn't the threat. It still records programming at specific times and has a focused viewer with their eyes on the screen during the commercial break. It is nothing that creativity and adaptation can't fix.

Now as for Internet based TV.........

Sources: Nielsen Media Research. "How DVRs are changing the landscape. 2010.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Working with the Honda Dream motorcycle

I have been helping my Dad restore a 1960s Honda Dream motorcycle. Today was the fun process of painting all of the necessary parts. Check it out!