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December 2005
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February 2006

Hoodwinked Surprise!

Liner notes, soundtracks and a great little movie...

With the advent of downloading, CD-R’s and disc copying, many are losing site of the benefits of album packaging. I’m referring to album covers and artwork, CD booklets, etc. But even with the actual purchase of the CD, there’s something that’s gotten lost over time and that’s the art of the liner notes. I love great liner notes. The days of good or extensive liner notes are long gone, unless it’s a box set with a nice thick book that comes with it.

So whatever happened to liner notes? Why don’t we still see lyrics, credits for each song and a commentary by the artist or producer talking about the record or the specific tracks? This used to be a more commonplace thing.

Imagine the actual shock and awe that I felt when I cracked open the soundtrack for the movie Hoodwinked and it had lyrics, credits and track-by-track comments for every song in full color 12-page booklet. That’s a rare thing these days, and for a soundtrack to boot. Kudos to the soundtrack’s producers and Rykodisc for doing it right! In case you didn’t know this, most soundtracks suck. But this is no ordinary soundtrack. It’s one of the best I’ve ever heard, mainly because it can stand alone as an album of original tracks, not just incidental or background music for a movie. Even better than the packaging and liner notes is the music itself. The movies writer/director Todd Edwards and John Mark Painter (Fleming and John, Ben Folds) compose and perform most of the music. The best stuff is the power-pop Cars influenced tracks performed by Todd, my favorite tracks are his Critters Have Feelings along with an incredibly fun and original track from Ben Folds called Red is Blue. Flemming of “Fleming and John” also makes an appearance; as does Benji Gaither, yes an actual Gaither. Weird! The talented and underrated producer Todd Collins also has a hip-hop flavored track called Bounce that’s a ton of fun. Good job Todd! I hope both he and John Mark Painter get more soundtrack work! I also strongly suggest that Todd Edwards should get himself a band and put out a full-length album.

That brings us to the movie. I saw the ads on TV and my son begged me to take him. I’m burned out on kids’ movies so I wasn’t all that excited. It looked like it could be dud. It wasn’t. The first thing that grabbed me was the music, original power pop in a movie…very cool. It would be hard to say which I liked more, the movie or the soundtrack. The movie itself is amazing. I know, most of you are way too hip, cool or intelligent to seriously consider an animated “kids” movie, or God forbid admitting that you like one…but this one’s different. It’s extremely clever and loads of fun. It’s a who-dunnit that lets each of the main characters tell the story of what happened from their unique perspective. We, the audience, get to see the story from multiple viewpoints this way and it really works. One of funniest things about this movie for me was the nod to Fletch. They did a little parody of that great movie, a favorite of mine. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone that can have fun. If you need foreign language, tragedy, depression or gore to enjoy a movie, maybe Hoodwinked isn’t for you, but everyone else should love it! If you’re anything like me you’ll rush out to buy the soundtrack as soon as the movie is over.


New Music FAIR

Do you cringe at the thought of yet another new band coming on the scene that everybody tries to push as the “new cool”? Well, here I am, trying to turn you onto another new band, but this one is different…they really ARE good. The band is called FAIR and features indie producer extraordinaire Aaron Sprinkle. You can hear a full song from their forthcoming debut album on their website: www.fairforever.com. Just go to the music page and enjoy. They also have a MySpace page here: www.myspace.com/FAIR

The song is called Carelessness. If you’re familiar with Aaron’s previous solo work this is somewhat similar just a whole lot better, with great lyrics and strong melodies. That boy can write the songs and it seems like this band really gels...check it out.